Let’s imagine for a moment that John McCain, a 72 year old with a history of lethal skin cancer, wins the election and then dies while in office. Sarah Palin becomes president. We need to start asking the question: what would Palin do (WWPD)?
Due to her limited foreign policy experience, Palin doesn’t have many (if any) trusted, experienced foreign policy advisers. She will be extremely vulnerable to influence, and considering her lack of intellectual curiosity, I guess that’s some type of relief. Unfortunately, the neocons (Cheney and friends) have a track record of influencing Evangelical presidents and, despite their massive failures, they’re eager to continue to use our military to achieve their imperial objectives. Would Palin resist neocon influence?
Let’s assume Palin avoids the neocon pitfall and, instead chooses the somewhat less frightening McCain foreign policy team or, better yet, a team of experienced moderates like Colin Powell. The nascent Palin presidency will have to face their next great challenge: a world that thinks she’s weak.
The world follows our election and they know that Palin was chosen for political expediency. I think we can safely assume that a Palin Presidency will look weak in the eyes of our adversaries in Iran, Russia, Iraq and along the Afghan border. They will test her administration, and the American people’s confidence in her presidency, by becoming more beligerent and aggressive. It will take extremely skilled manuervoring to show the world that Palin is a competant leader. Let’s hope she is.
The biggest challenge to a Palin Presidency is how the American people would respond to a crisis during her tenure. Imagine, for a moment, that you’re watching CNN in a year or two and President Palin has just sent US bombers into Iran to destroy some piece of nuclear equipment. How will you feel knowing that our nation’s favorite ‘hockey mom’ started a war? How will you feel if she tries to send you to fight? You’ll probably be angry McCain never took the WWPD question more seriously.