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Column: Palins Experience An Exercise In Manipulation

This story was written by Gerald Cox, Badger Herald

Sarah Palin has more experience than Barack Obama. On this, Republicans are not lying to you, despite the cries of foul from the left. Its a matter of record, done with simple math (Republicans try to keep things simple): Palin has been involved in politics since 1992 about 16 years. Obama has been in politics since 1997 about 5 years less than the newly minted Republican vice presidential hopeful.

Im an economics major, so Im pretty good at math, and 16 is more than 11, so Palin wins.

If only things were so simple. Then maybe we could send Palin on over to Russia, Iraq, Palestine, Zimbabwe and, at last, to China, to fix our most troublesome of international issues.

The head-to-head comparison of the Democratic presidential nominee and the Republican vice presidential nominee is an interesting one considering the historical nature of each candidate. But the assertion that Palin, in the end, bests Obama as the one with more experience has an artfully ambiguous and shamefully asinine conclusion to it. But this is coming from the same party that brought you the lies that led us out of Afghanistan and into Iraq, out of surpluses and in to breathtaking debt. So it appears shame is not an issue with this party.

This egregious and outrageous assertion is being swallowed by the obdurate masses. As if the simple summing up of each candidates time in elected office or appointed political position is all that is required in establishing who is more prepared to be president.

When Palin was first beginning her time on the Wasilla City Council in 1992, Obama was starting out as a lecturer of constitutional law at the University of Chicago. Obama had just graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review. Before that, he had graduated from Columbia University and worked with a number of firms including the Business International Corporation and the New York Public Interest Research Group.

So while Obama has earned a bachelors degree from Columbia University, a rsum that would make an MBA student jealous, a Juris Doctor magna cum laude from the worlds most prestigious law school and a historic editorship with the Harvard Law Review, Palin has managed to star on her high school basketball team, win first place in the Miss Wasilla pageant and second place in the Miss Alaska pageant. She went on to earn a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Idaho. And she was a TV anchor for a year.

America, then, has on the one hand a former Miss Wasilla, and on the other a former Harvard Law Review editor. Republicans want you to believe that the former Miss Congeniality of Alaska is better prepared to lead our nation than a former University of Chicago constitutional law lecturer. An intellectual giant, or a photogenic Everywoman.

When it comes to leading my country, Ill take the genius.

However, Palin did start her career as an elected official in 1992, half a decade before Obama, so its true shes been doing the politics thing a bit longer than the junior senator from Illinois. And its true that she has the most executive experience of all four of the presidential and vice presidential candidates. However, so does Beloit, Wis.,city manager Larry Arft, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and current Madison, Wis.,Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, all of whom many would argue are not prepared to be President of the United States of America. Sorry, Terminator fans.

Palins speech to the Republican National Convention is being compared to Obamas keynote at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The major difference: Obama wrote his own speech, while Palin added biographical details to a speech already prepared for the vice presidential nominee. Obma spent the lions share of his speech emphasizing a united America, while Palin spent hers attacking Obama. An emphasis on division contrasts starkly with an emphasis on unity.

Palin is being hailed as the Republican Obama. Meanwhile, the Zune is being hailed as Microsofts iPod. Do you even know what a Zune is, much less want one? You can wrap a Zune in the prettiest gift wrap available, but Id rather have an iPod wrapped in a dirty sock.

Or more directly, Id rather have the most transformative leader in Washington and one of the wisest men in Washington leading my nation than a man who cant remember how many houses he has and Miss Wasilla. Id rather have a brilliant and internationally acclaimed orator facing down Vladimir Putin than a respected but unspectacular lawmaker well past his prime.

And Id rather have Obamas experience than Palins.