The Instigator
Freeman
Con (against)
Losing
118 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Pro (for)
Winning
126 Points

Sarah Palin would be a good president of the United States.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,604 times Debate No: 12301
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (78)
Votes (51)

 

Freeman

Con

In the lead up to the 2008 presidential election, Senator John McCain was in need of a running mate that would serve as his vice president. And given the extremely competitive nature of that race, McCain was in need of someone that would give him his desperately needed popularity boost. From an outsider's perspective, it would seem that his advisor's criteria for deciding a vice presidential candidate was fairly straightforward. They had to pick a nominee that would sufficiently sway evangelical voters and simultaneously appeal to disenchanted Clinton supporters. To strike this balance, McCain's advisors choose governor Sarah Palin — the slogan spouting, wolf hunter from Wasilla.

Quite thankfully, the former governor went down in history as one of the two losers of the 2008 presidential election. Unfortunately, the campaign ended up making her a national figure. Consequently, the prospect of Sarah Palin attaining the republican ticket for the 2012 presidential election isn't as completely ridiculous as it once may have been. Those that care about the future of civilization should find this disturbing.

In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Palin's nomination as president of the United States would represent one of the most potent and invidious threats to American hegemony and global stability since the Cuban missile crisis. This may seem like a grandiose claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the potential hazards of a shocking blend of piety, confidence, and ignorance. Should Palin become president, she would become capable of enacting policies so ill conceived and detached from empirical reality that the world's various nations could conceivably unite to oppose us. Of course, this need not be the case; there are other options to a Palin presidency.

============> The Audacity of Hype: Why Sarah Palin Is Unfit For The American Presidency <============

C1: Sarah Palin's views are incongruous with the pursuits of a civil society.

Though many of Palin's views are fairly mainstream (in the context of American religiosity), some of them still represent dangerous fantasies that are at odds with rationality. For example, given the religious milieu that Palin grew up with, there is every reason to think that she believes in the rapture and a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis. While Palin's beliefs about the origins of life are disconcerting, her likely views on the rapture are far more disturbing. In fact, it is a faith position of the Assemblies of God church she attends that Alaska will be a ‘refuge state' in the ‘last days'. [1] Thus, if this bright-eyed Alaskan were to suddenly wake up and hear that a mushroom cloud had replaced New York City, it is plausible that she would see a silver lining in the subsequent plume of ash and destruction. To the eyes of the former Governor, such an event would be a sign that the greatest event that would ever happen was about to occur – the return of Christ. This is precisely the type of thinking that society does not need. There are scarcely any other beliefs more dreadfully maladaptive to the future of civilization than the belief that society must necessarily come to an end for Jesus to return.

C2: Sarah Palin doesn't posses the intellectual prowess necessary for high office.

Sarah Palin is, quite evidently, intellectually unprepared to assume more power than any other person on the face of the Earth. However, she does not appear to be stupid. In fact, upon close scrutiny, she seems to be perfectly average in terms of her intelligence. And this is the problem. An average intellect isn't an acceptable attribute for the leader of the free world. If this attitude seems snide, consider, by analogy, the fact that when one goes to get brain surgery, one does not seek the council of an average neurosurgeon. Likewise, when one has end stage cancer, one does not try to find the appraisal of an ordinary oncologist. Therefore, shouldn't it be obvious that it's important for any nations political leaders to be elite. Given how high the stakes are, the United States just can't afford to have any presidents that aren't elite.

::Conclusion::

Former Governor Palin is the embodiment of a very backwards, parochial, and primitive mode of viewing the world. And her continued presence in the American political system is nothing short of an absurd mockery of the enlightenment values on which the United States was founded. Thus, to say that she is unqualified to be President would be an understatement. Of course, Palin also has many critics from the right as well as the left. Indeed, over the last two years, there has been a growing chorus of staunch conservatives who have come out to denounce her. In particular, the highly respected conservative columnist George Will has stated that he thinks Palin is "obviously" not prepared to be president. [2] Mr. Will is not alone in his sentiments. There is simply no way to deny what is obvious to most people: Sarah Palin is a religionist that is intellectually unprepared to grapple with the intricacies of the American presidency.

Sources:
1. YouTube - Olbermann: Palin's Religious Beliefs on Israel and the Rapture. YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 09 June 2010. .
2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
RoyLatham

Pro

What makes a good president? I contend it is honesty, sound principles, and executive competence. Sarah Palin fulfills those requirements to make a good president. The potential interference of religious doctrine with governing has been tested and has never been an important factor. Historical experience with Nixon (a Quaker), Kennedy (Roman Catholic), Carter (Evangelical Fundamentalist), and Obama (Black liberation theology) shows that whatever one thinks of the relative merits of these Presidents, religious doctrine has not been a significant factor.

The process of getting to be president ensures above average intelligence. Beyond that there is no correlation between IQ and presidential performance. Our "low IQ" presidents include George Washington and Harry Truman, our "high IQ" presidents include Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Washington never got beyond elementary school, but is perhaps our greatest president. http://www.unionleader.com... James Madison, author of the Constitution, is certainly one of the most brilliant of the presidents, but his lack of administrative skills made him a poor president.

Conservatives like George Will are after policy wonks, which Palin is not, but Palin has more important attributes. She is honest, has proven executive talent and experience, has sound principles, and is smart enough to select competent people to staff her Administration. I doubt there is a conservative alive who would not prefer Palin to a left-wing ideologue, no matter how brilliant the ideologue is or how conventional the ideologue's religious beliefs.

Con puts forth only two objections to Palin. His first contention is that a reliable indication of Palin's governing can be derived from the beliefs of the church she attends, even though she hasn't said anything about the particular beliefs Con attributes to her.

If Con is correct about religious doctrine prevailing in presidencies, then we should, for example, be able to deduce the governing principles of Richard Nixon from his atypical religion. Nixon was a Quaker. http://www.kimopress.com... Some things seem to follow from that such Nixon's strong opposition to racism, but anyone who supposed that Nixon would be a pacifist, teetotaler, or even honest would be grossly mistaken. http://en.wikipedia.org... Nikon was certainly exceptionally intelligent, a graduate of Duke Law School and an outstanding debater. (We all agree that good debaters are brilliant, right?) This bears on Con's second contention, that very high intelligence is a critical requirement for the Presidency.

Jimmy Carter was an evangelical fundamentalist. Teetotaling was consistent with Carter's fundamentalism, but virtually nothing else followed from his religious beliefs. Carter was a leftist ideologue and poor administrator. Carter was also one of our most intellectual presidents. He was a micomanager who spent time scheduling the White House tennis courts. He was an indecisive leader. He was a poor president overall, but it had nothing to do with his religion or his intellect.

If Con is correct that church beliefs can be attributed to presidential candidates, then we must consider President Obama in that light. Obama was a long-time member of Trinity United Church of Christ. The church espouses something called the "Black Value System," which includes calls for congregants to be "soldiers for black freedom" and "disavowal of the pursuit of middleclassness." The system clearly spouses Black values as being distinct from those of other races, and requires allegiance to Black Community. The Reverend Wright, Obama's pastor, was an outrageous racist and anti-American. Obama finally abandoned the Reverend, but Obama didn't renounce the radical theology of Trinity United. Whether one believes Obama is good president or not, there is no evidence that Obama is a Black separatist or a racist. Obama, like Palin, was a member of a church just as part of the local community.

JFK's religion was major issue in the 1960 election. The concern was with Catholic doctrine interfering with JFKs governing. It did not. Nancy Pelosi is a Catholic. May we therefore conclude that Pelosi reflects Catholic doctrine in her political life? Not at all. The Supreme Court had five and will soon have six Catholics, so shall be presume that Roe v. Wade will be overturned? No. What is going on is that people are quite good at sorting out religious doctrine from real life. That is not to say that religious belief has no influence at all, but there is no evidence it has the dogmatic effect that Con supposes.

We don't know what Palin's IQ score is, but as a graduate of a four year college and a governor, it is probably in the 120-130 range. George Washington, who many historians now place as our greatest president, was in the low end of presidential IQs. Harry Truman and John Kennedy are put among the least IQs of 20th century presidents. Truman never went to college and Kennedy squeaked through college with "gentleman C's." Neither were policy wonks. Both are ranked highly as good presidents. Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Woodrow Wilson are high on the list of most intelligent presidents. Among Wilson's many failures, he entered World War I a few months after winning on a platform of not entering the war, and he was a blatant racist who segregated the civil service.

High IQ enables a president to rationalize failed policies and wrong actions as successes. High IQ often leads to an arrogance that resists accepting sound advice from those with more expertise. Of course, these failings are not inevitable. Lincoln and Jefferson are examples of highly intelligent good presidents. Studies of scientists and other intellectual professions show low correlation with above a threshold level. http://www.danielgoleman.info... For presidents, the ability to assess and cope with complex situations has been identified as a key attribute of success, and that is not determined by IQ score.

"Most definitions of intelligence include environmental adaptability in them, but ordinary IQ tests don't measure this very well. Sternberg calls this kind of ability contextual because it involves tacit learning. This is knowledge that is not explicitly expressed or taught, but is only implied or indicated. It has to be learned directly from one's environmental context. People who are good at this tend to come out on top in almost any real world situation, even if they are not especially intelligent in terms of IQ or insight. The head of General Motors or the President of the United States are good examples of people with this kind of ability." http://www.prometheussociety.org...

Palin has shown high contextual intelligence. When Palin resigned as governor, nearly every commentator proclaimed this to be a foolish decision, fatal to her political future. The commentators were wrong. Palin has emerged as a more powerful political figure, with four of the five candidates she endorsed winning in this week's primaries. The ability to assess complex situations is the critical skill for presidents, and Palin clearly demonstrated that ability.

Palin was the most popular governor in the history of Alaska, the result of a record of doggedly rooting out corruption, cutting state spending, and running an open and transparent administration. http://www.weeklystandard.com... She was a tough and competent administrator.

Palin has the attributes of a good president: honesty, sound principles, administrative skill, and contextual intelligence. Con's objections are shown by hisotory to be irrelevant to the job of president. Palin would be a good president by virtue of what is relevant.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 1
Freeman

Con

It's certainly a pleasure for me to get to take up this issue with such a distinguished opponent. I don't anticipate that this dialogue is going to be bogged down too much by my opponent and I attempting to define "good". A "good" president helps promote human wellbeing, justice, and also helps to maintain a functional society. As such, I am inclined to agree with my opponent's standards for "good". However, I would also add rationality to the list of qualities a good president must possess. So, with definitions taken care of, let's get into the crux of the debate.

C1: Sarah Palin's views are incongruous with the pursuits of a civil society.

My opponent opens his critique of my first argument by stating that the religious views of past presidents have traditionally never been an important factor in their administrations. This is probably true; we've never had anyone like Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin win the office of the presidency. People like Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin really are motivated by the basis of their religious convictions. On the other hand, all of the past presidents that my opponent has listed such as Nixon, Kennedy, Carter, and Obama are all deeply secular in a very fundamental way. All of those men understood the importance of the principle that church and state should be kept separate. To take just one specific example, Barrack Obama is only nominally religious. In other words, he is totally a secular leader, although he may hold certain nebulous and numinous religious convictions. This is evident every time he talks, despite the views of the church he may have attended for political reasons. Moreover, this is especially evident in one speech that he gave on religion. [1] Thus, Roy, your analogy is a false one.

C2: Sarah Palin doesn't posses the intellectual prowess necessary for high office.

My opponent has argued that intelligence isn't necessarily the defining quality of a good president. However, it's important to realize that people like George Washington governed in a completely different era than today. Further, Palin seems to have difficulty with talking about even basic things that a political figure should know. Consider, for example, her interview with Katie Couric.

Katie Couric asked Palin, "Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries? Allow them to spend more, and put more money into the economy, instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?"

Sarah Palin responded by stating, "That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in. Where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh, it's got to be about job creation, too. Shoring up our economy, and getting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade -- we have got to see trade as opportunity, not as, uh, competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs created in the trade sector today. We've got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation." [2]

Speaking in tongues may be acceptable in the church Palin attends, but it is certainly inappropriate to engage in this behavior while being interviewed by a professional journalist. That was truly the most incoherent response that I've seen from a major political figure, and the rest of the interview with Couric was just as bad. Bush got hammered a lot for being thick, but even he possessed an admirable level of intellect. I can't, however, say the same thing about Governor Palin. She is a living, breathing repository for clich�s, talking points, and platitudes, and the interview she did with Couric proves it.

A1: ‘Sarah Palin is honest and has sound principles.'

Among other things, my opponent claims that Palin is honest. Nonetheless, she has been caught telling lies, even during the 2008 presidential campaign. For example, Palin practically made it a campaign slogan to say that she opposed the "bridge to nowhere". But this is false. She supported the "bridge to nowhere" before she was against it. In fact, Charlie Gibson pointed out that she even used to wear a t-shirt that indicated her support for the bridge. [3] In addition, Steve Schmidt, McCain's most important advisor during the 2008 elections, went so far as to say that, "There were numerous instances that she [Palin] said things that were — that were not accurate that ultimately, the campaign had to deal with […]". [4] Clearly, she isn't above cynically manipulating the truth.

A2: ‘Sarah Palin has good administrative skills and contextual intelligence.'

Even the people that worked closely with Palin thought she was helplessly ignorant. In fact, one of McCain's closest advisors has come out to call Palin a "whack job". [5] Now, I don't know a lot about the intricacies that go into the political process; however, I do know one thing: loyalties run deep in politics. Here is one of McCain's closest advisors referring to Palin as an idiot. Moreover, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin – the authors of ‘Game Change' who had unprecedented access to Palin - also described the governor as quite ignorant. [6] Therefore, it seems safe to conclude that Palin is even less impressive behind closed doors.

Additionally, Palin's decision to quit as the governor of Alaska halfway through her first term demonstrates her incompetence, not her political intelligence. This is the very type of decision one would expect from a bad administrator. Likewise, her motives for quitting also seem to be suspicious. She called it quits right when an ethics investigation was overshadowing her administration. [7] This was probably a wise decision on her part considering the fact that this investigation found that Palin had abused her power as governor. [8]

::Conclusion::

Palin is shockingly unqualified to be president in terms of her principles and her political knowledge. To take just one more example, during a prayer for the former governor in her church, she was rebuked from every form of ‘witchcraft'. [9] This leads one to wonder, what forms of ‘witchcraft' are afoot in the Alaskan tundra? Perhaps Harry Potter came to Wasilla in order to get his revenge on the governor for her disavowal of his book series. At any rate, this whole spectacle speaks to a larger problem. Governor Palin may be charismatic, but her entire career exudes an aura of ignorance – a clinging and systemic ignorance that is beyond the power of exorcism to dispel. What the United States needs now is not leaders who are guided by medieval incantations. If anything, it should be obvious that such techniques are unlikely to produce results in the real world. What is needed now is the application of reason – and swiftly at that.

Sources:
1. "YouTube - Barack Obama Versus Religion." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 12 June 2010.
2. http://www.washingtonmonthly.com...
3. "YouTube - Palin: Okay, I Didn't Quite Say "Thanks, But No Thanks"" YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 12 June 2010.
4. http://www.politico.com...
5. http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
6. http://www.nydailynews.com...
7. http://online.wsj.com...
8. http://www.msnbc.msn.com...
9. "YouTube - Raw Video: Palin Saved From 'Witchcraft'" YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.Web. 12 June 2010.
RoyLatham

Pro

Con adds "rationality" to the list of attributes of a good president. Sure, but every normal person is rational about some things and not so rational about others. President Obama smokes cigarettes, and since we know cigarettes cause cancer, that's not rational. We shouldn't care, because it doesn't affect governing. No one gets the stamp of "total rationality." In politics, many equate "rational" with "has my viewpoint on most of the important issues." Con is searching for a reason why the doctrine of Palin's church ought to disqualify here from office. Con needs to show that the doctrine has an effect on her governing, and it does not.

1. How does Con claim to know Palin's religious beliefs? Has she said or written something that exposes religious beliefs more radical than other presidents? No. Did she inject religion into governing Alaska, so that we know her beliefs lead to radical practices? No, nothing there either. Con deduces her beliefs from the doctrine of the church she attended and from fellow congregants in the church. I pointed out that past presidents have had profound religious beliefs. Evangelical fundamentalist Jimmy Carter subscribed to doctrine every bit as radical as Palin's. The Quaker doctrine of Nixon, involving pacifism, was more radical than Palin's.

Con's says that past president's are not comparable, because they turned out to govern without relying on the extreme church doctrine. Con claims that Palin would be affected by doctrine, whereas others were not. The only way that he "knows" it is because he doesn't like Palin. The only evidence is his reference to church doctrine, not anything that Palin has said or done in her career in government. Consequently, Palin is entirely comparable to past presidents.

Note that Obama did not give his speech espousing secularism in government until well after his election. Palin may well do something similar.

An historian studied past presidents and found that many had profound beliefs. FDR turns out to be one of the most dedicated to his religion:

"Franklin Roosevelt ... frequently asserted that God directed history, considered himself to be God's agent, and insisted that the United States would prosper only if its citizens sought divine guidance and followed biblical principles .... During World War II, the president set aside three special days of prayer to "solemnly express our dependence on Almighty God." Roosevelt's most famous prayer was the one he composed and then read during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944." Dr. Gay Smith, "Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush" http://www.visandvals.org...

Palin is not as overtly religious as FDR. Con has singled out Palin without evidence.

2. Con grants that Palin has enough intelligence to handle the job of president, her apparent IQ level being comparable to Washington or Truman. Con says that we should seek a president with the highest intelligence. I showed that among presidents, who all have IQs over 120, there is no correlation between intelligence and the quality of President, and he didn't refute that. Secondly, the debate is not whether Palin is the best President imaginable, but rather if she would be a good President.

Further, being a good president is not accurately judged by being a slick campaigner. Palin certainly stumbled in her early campaign interviews, like the one with Couric. The small-statured depression-plagued wretched-speaking James Madison wouldn't have a chance in the media age. I agree that Palin need to know more about national issues, but the earliest she could be president is 2012, and she is learning the issues.

Palin admits that she blew the Couric interview. She attributes it to an overloaded schedule in which she was "over managed" as to how to respond. Palin also admitted that Couric's condescending attitude and obsession with the abortion issue didn't help. Unaccustomed to national media attention, Palin froze up and stumbled through it. She does much better these days.

President Obama usually gives polished performances, but Obama came off as surprisingly rambling and incoherent in his interview with Katie Couric http://www.cbsnews.com... "Well, you know … I think that … there are so many issues in which I am not an expert but require you to be an expert. That the most important job that I will have as president is choosing excellent people to help to shape policy and provide me with a clear set of decisions. So …I'll give you … a very clear example. ...I know quite a bit about health care, from a 4,000 to 40,000-foot level. But I'm not a doctor. I'm not a biochemist. You know, if you ask me about the human genome, I can vaguely describe it to you, but I don't know all the possibilities and potentials. So when I think about what I have to do as a president, my job is to be smart enough to choose really smart people, … "

There are two points from this. Even media stars give poor performances, and the role of president is not to understand every issue in depth ahead of time, but rather to use executive skills to find answers.

A1. Palin supported the "bridge to nowhere" before examining the matter in depth. It's not dishonest for a politician to change opinions. In fact, we should suspect those who never do.

The best test of executive skill is being governor of a state. Con did not question that Palin as governor doggedly rooted out corruption, cut state spending, and ran an open and transparent administration.

A2. The anonymous and untraceable criticisms by McCain staff are the rationalizations of aides who put together a losing campaign and want to blame the loss on Palin. The Campaign Manager has said the charges are unfounded. http://www.foxnews.com... The "top McCain adviser" who called Palin "a whack job" remains anonymous and never made any specific allegations, nor any that could be checked. It is unsubstantiated slander. Con is absolutely wrong that "loyalties run deep in politics." That doesn't apply to staffers taking responsibility for a losing campaign.

The report accusing Palin of an ethical violation was issued by a partisan legislative committee. http://www.independent.co.uk... Later, the matter was investigated by the state personnel board, along with 13 other charges of ethics violations. Palin was cleared of all 14 complaints http://startthinkingright.wordpress.com... The charges were all over trivial issues http://www.juneauempire.com... and were designed to harass the governor.

Con says that Palin's resignation demonstrated administrative incompetence, but he didn't say what it had to do with administration or why it was bad. He claimed she was about to be crushed by ethics charges, but that's clearly false. Palin's decision was not an administrative one. She had the problems of fighting the ethics charges that had drained her financially, the problem of responding to the endless slander flowing from the Left, and of staking out a new position in national politics. The opinion of pundits was virtual unanimous that resignation would but an end to her political career. It certainly did not. Moreover, she needed to study national issues, and being freed from the governorship has allowed that. Alaska did not suffer as a consequence of Palin's decision. She has brought needed attention to issues important to Alaskans.

The best evidence that Palin would be a good president is her track record as a government executive. She governed honestly, transparently, and effectively. That is substance. There is no convincing evidence in the record to support Con's theory.
Debate Round No. 2
Freeman

Con

Thank you, Roy, for what has been an interesting debate. There is clearly a vast spectrum of how well presidents can perform. As far as the evidence is concerned, there is simply no reason to think that Palin would even be an average president, let alone a good president. As such, I will spend the rest of this round by continuing to defend my views that Palin lacks the necessary intelligence for the presidency. In addition, it seems clear that her religious beliefs are also quite troubling. On top of this, there are good reasons to think that my opponent's defense of Sarah Palin is nothing short of misguided. And for the record Roy, Obama gave that speech about religion on June 28, 2006. [1]

C1: Sarah Palin's views are incongruous with the pursuits of a civil society.

My opponent's attempt to compare FDR's religiosity with Palin's is simply fatuous, but let's leave that aside for now. There are significant and specific aspects of her religious beliefs that are worrisome. In one instance, while former Governor Palin was speaking to her church about her son's departure to Iraq, she urged her fellow religionists to pray "that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God; that's what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God's plan." [2] Basically, everything that has come forth about Palin's life in Alaska suggests that she is a devout and literal-minded religious dogmatist. As such, my opponent's attempt to argue that she is comparable to past presidents is incorrect.

Fortunately, Palin has given the world a glimpse into her religious worldview. And the evidence that has come forth is quite scandalous. Like other Pentecostals, it seems likely that Palin believes that she and her fellow congregants can have a unique insight into future events through divine revelation. If this is not the case, what could she possibly have meant when she told her parishioners that "God's going to tell you what is going on, and what is going to go on, and you guys are going to have that within you"? [2] Moreover, Palin's contempt for scientific rationality and the scientific process is not just evident in her apparent beliefs; it is also evident in the way she talks about matters concerning science. She ignorantly mocked research that was done on fruit flies. [3] However, that research on fruit flies has been essential in helping find treatments for autism. All of this evidence indicates quite clearly that Palin's religious beliefs would negatively impact her presidency.

Gaze, as though through a glass, darkly, upon the world as Palin sees it. She is an avid member of a church where worshippers enjoy "baptism in the Holy Spirit," "miraculous healings" and "the gift of tongues." [4] It's worth pointing out that this is the same brand of religious fervor adopted by Becky Fisher – the trashy little guttersnipe that ran Jesus Camp. [5] While I have never been to Alaska, I have had the unique experience of going to a Pentecostal church. And I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the people who go to places like that are all slightly deranged. Consequently, the thought that some religious fanatic like Palin would lead the United Sates is beyond hilarious.

C2: Sarah Palin doesn't posses the intellectual prowess necessary for high office.

Honestly, I doubt Palin would rank in the 120 – 130 range on an IQ test, but that is beyond the point. She is borderline retarded in terms of the relevant knowledge a person needs to be an effective leader of the free world. According to Carl Cameron of Fox News, McCain's staffers have stated that Palin didn't know basic things about the structure of the United States government. [6] This seems likely to be true, given that Palin didn't even appear to know what the role of the vice president is. [7] In particular, some sources within the McCain campaign have even claimed that she was unaware of the fact that Africa is a continent. Of course, I think it's unlikely that all of the specific claims about Palin are true in every detail. It seems incomprehensible that any governor wouldn't know that Africa was a continent, but the point still remains. Sarah Palin may be charming and a nice person, but she is a former beauty queen/sports reporter that happened to find her way into small town politics. Such qualifications may be relevant in some professions, but they hardly make anyone qualified to direct the utilization of our nuclear arsenal.

A1: ‘Sarah Palin is honest and has sound principles.'

Con has claimed that Palin is honest and transparent, but all the evidence indicates that this isn't true. It's true that most of the 19 ethics charges against her have been dismissed. [8] However, it is still likely she fired Walter Monegan over personal family matters. [9] Moreover, even her former allies have called her deceitful. As I've pointed out earlier, McCain's highest ranked advisor has come out to denounce Palin saying, "There were numerous instances that she [Palin] said things that were — that were not accurate that ultimately, the campaign had to deal with […]". My opponent completely ignores the fact that the people who oversaw her thought that she was duplicitous. It's almost as though my antagonist is willing to forgive any transgression Palin may make short of cannibalism. In light of the evidence coming from her former allies, it is simply untenable to think that she is honest and transparent.

A2: ‘Sarah Palin has good administrative skills and contextual intelligence.'

In truth, Palin is a slick campaigner, despite what my opponent has suggested. Her ability to raise money and excitement within the Republican Party has demonstrated this. Unfortunately, this is all she is truly good at. She knows how to work a crowd and how to connect with certain groups of people. She does not, however, possess the insight necessary to give substantive and thoughtful responses to questions about policy issues. This is why she falls back to platitudes and talking points when being interviewed. It is inconceivable that Palin would manage to become a respectable and well-informed candidate for president in the next year as a result of her newly acquired free time. Therefore, it seems clear that she still lacks the ‘contextual intelligence' one needs to be president.

::Conclusion::

My antagonist has offered nothing apart from Palin's own campaign slogans to demonstrate that she is qualified to be president. Upon close examination, even these vague platitudes turn out to be untrue. Sarah Palin is dishonest, ignorant, and lacks good administrative skills. Additionally, she is quite evidently absorbed in a very backwards form of religion that ensures her commitment to rather pernicious dogmatisms. None of this, absolutely none of this, is any sort of evidence that she would be a good or even an average president. Let's all hope that Palin doubts whether or not she is qualified to lead the United States, while more thoughtful, intelligent, and qualified people determine the future of civilization.

Sources:
1. http://usliberals.about.com...
2. http://www.newsweek.com...
3. "YouTube - Rachel Maddow on Palin & Fruit Flies." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 16 June 2010.
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
6. "YouTube - Fox's O'Reilly: Sarah Palin Unaware Africa Was a Continent." YouTube - Broadcast Yourself. Web. 16 June 2010.
7. http://www.thinkprogress.org...
8. http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
9. http://www.cbsnews.com...
RoyLatham

Pro

Con begins with the false assertion that there is "simply no reason to think that Palin would even be an average president, let alone a good president." Palin was a superb governor of Alaska, rooting out corruption, soundly administering the laws of the state, and garnering unprecedented support of Alaskans. I introduced evidence of that early in the debate, and Con never disputed her track record as an executive. Instead, Con focused on the flurry of ethics charges filed to harass her when she became a national figure. Every one of the ethics charges ended up being dismissed. Con also argued that Palin's religious beliefs would make her a poor president, but he could not cite a single incident of her beliefs playing any role in her governing. Past presidents had far more radical beliefs, with FDR believing he was the chosen agent of God, but those radical beliefs has no role in those presidents' governing, and Con claimed none.

Anyone who graduates from an accredited four year college and is elected and serves successfully as governor has the intellectual capacity to be president. Historical analysis of the IQs of past presidents shows no correlation between IQ and performance, with the threshold of about 120 having been met in all past cases. Above the threshold, other factors dominate, and research shows that true for virtually all professions. For presidents, a key ability is "situational intelligence," which is the ability to sort out complex situations. Palin has demonstrated that ability, especially in her decision to resign as governor in order to resolve her finances and to allow her to fight critics. Virtually everyone thought the strategy would fail, but it has worked well.

During the 2008 campaign, Palin was not adequately spun up on all the national issues. However, she is now spending much time on those issues, and will be fully prepared before she could possibly be president, in 2012. Below, I cite the chief foreign policy adviser for the McCain campaign, who said, "She is among the smartest, toughest, most capable politicians I've ever dealt with. She has a photographic memory." Con cites unidentified campaign aides willing to trash Palin so that she gets the blame rather them. They have no credibility because they won't be named or be cross-examined on specifics.

We have not had a president in modern times who was knowledgeable in science, and that is not a realistic prospect.

Con said that the fact she resigned proved she was an incompetent administrator. I challenged Con to connect it with Administration ability, and he claimed it was under the crush of ethics charges. She was cleared of all charges. She resolved a very difficult personal situation by resigning, Defending against false ethics charges had put her $500,000 in debt. Her analysis of the complex situation proved correct, although almost no one agreed with her decision at the time. She got out of debt, cleared her name, and restored her political career.

Con's clam that she is dishonest rests upon the onslaught of ethics charges lodged by critics. The Alaska personnel board that is officially charged with investigating the complaints cleared her of each and every charge. It turns out that the exact number of complaints is not made public. There may have been more than 20. However, all of them were dismissed. http://www.newsmax.com... The board that cleared her was appointed by the previous governor. Con restated the old charges from the legislative report, of which she was cleared by the personnel board.

I relied upon the date of Obama's "secular" speech as 2010 that Con gave in his reference; I guess that was his download date rather the speech date. In any case the text of the speech seems to be talking about Con: "At worst, there are some liberals who dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, ..." The sense of the speech was that religion in America is nothing to fear, which is my point.

Palin had said "country" rather than "continent" referring to Africa. Campaign aide Meg Stapleton responded to the ridiculous charges lodged against Palin, "she knows [Africa is] a continent," Stapleton said. "It was just a human mistake, just like Obama saying 57 states. I don't think anyone ever doubted that Obama knows there are 50 states." http://abcnews.go.com... The ABC News article goes on: "Randy Scheunemann, McCain's top foreign policy adviser, who helped prepare Palin for her vice presidential debate, praised Palin's campaign effort and intelligence. "I've been working over 20 years in Washington and I've been around literally dozens and dozens of politicians. She is among the smartest, toughest, most capable politicians I've ever dealt with," Scheunemann said. "She has a photographic memory."

Con quotes an aide as saying that Palin said things that were "not accurate," and he cites that as evidence that she was "duplicitous." But "not accurate" means "factually incorrect," not duplicitous. It is not unusual for vice presidential candidates to make factual errors. Joe Biden told us that FDR immediately went on television to explain the the 1929 market crash; the errors being that FDR wasn't president then, and mass-media television hadn't been invented. http://purplepeoplevote.com... Palin's flubs were less egregious, but Palin sent opponents into a tailspin, while Biden's were merely amusing. It's not the candidate, it's the spin.

The pattern is that anonymous McCain campaign sources, who have the motive of wanting to blame the election loss on Palin, trash her, while those willing to put their name on their opinion praise her.

Con asserts, "My opponent's attempt to compare FDR's religiosity with Palin's is simply fatuous..." Really? The evidence is that "Franklin Roosevelt ... frequently asserted that God directed history, considered himself to be God's agent, and insisted that the United States would prosper only if its citizens sought divine guidance and followed biblical principles ..." Con says Palin "urged her fellow religionists to pray "that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God; that's what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God's plan." I don't see anything wrong with praying that leaders are following a plan from God. That means that she is not certain that they are, but is praying that they are. A positive effect of prayer is contemplation. Roosevelt, on the other hand, was certain he was acting as God's agent. Roosevelt's position is more extreme.

But is there any evidence that Roosevelt's belief that he acted as an agent of God made Roosevelt a poor president? There is not. Con is virulently anti-religious, so he believes that religious belief ought to produce terrible consequences, but the evidence is that the American varieties of religion produce no such results. That applies to Roosevelt, Obama, Nixon, JFK, and Jimmy Carter, all belonging to churches as "extreme" as Palin's.

A slick campaigner makes speeches in which middle-of-the-road voters always find what they want to hear. Obama is the master of that skill, and certainly Reagan scored high as well. Palin doesn't have that skill. I think we are due for a president who is not so slick. Palin would be a good president because he would say what people need to hear, not what they want to hear.

Palin would be a good president because of her exemplary performance as governor of Alaska. She rooted out corruption, demonstrated fiscal responsibility, and showed administrative skill. Con has only cited groundless ethics charges, unwarranted fear of religion, and nameless disaffected campaign staff.

The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 3
78 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by adealornodeal 3 years ago
adealornodeal
Just to clarify: "I cannot describe in words how much I agree with the CON in today's debate." I meant to say I agree with his side on the issue, not necessarily his contentions in the debate itself.
Posted by adealornodeal 3 years ago
adealornodeal
RFD (Part 2)

PRO's points:
1) "Honesty and sound principles"

a) Honesty

Well refuted by Con with bridge to nowhere example. Pro's response to bridge to nowhere made sense, but I didn't give this contention much weight in the round because ultimately, every politician lies and flipflops. All politicians lie. Even Obama, but I wouldn't say that makes him a bad President. I didn't weigh this contention in my final decision.

b) Sound Principles
"My opponent completely ignores the fact that the people who oversaw her thought that she was duplicitous." Pro had actually responded to this with his explanation of McCain's aides pinning the blame on Palin. I had to give it to the Pro.

2) "Administrative Skills and Contextual Intelligence"

Refutation to "Palin quit her job as governor" by the Con was excellent. But Pro did refute the ethics investigation example. Con failed to refute "Palin has demonstrated that ability, especially in her decision to resign as governor in order to resolve her finances and to allow her to fight critics." with anything except repeating the already refuted ethics example. I had to give this to the Pro.

Overall:
Religion - PRO
IQ - PRO
Honesty - Neither.
Sound Principles - PRO
Executive Competence - PRO
Rationality - Neither. (Con brought it up as a judging criteria but never linked any of his arguments back to it).

Sorry for the long RFD. I felt it would be unfair to say I agree with Con before and after the debate and then give the "convincing arguments" vote to the Pro. This was an amazing debate by both sides.
Posted by adealornodeal 3 years ago
adealornodeal
RFD (Part 1 of 2)

I cannot describe in words how much I agree with the CON in today's debate. I judged this debate trying hard to maintain an objective perspective. In the context of today's debate, RoyLatham's arguments were much better. I judged the round based off of the four criteria presented by both sides: honesty, sound principles, executive competence, and rationality.

CON's points:
1) religion.
Pro easily took this down by stating that Palin had never even mentioned her religious beliefs. It would be unfair to vote for the Con on this point because I don't judge Obama based on the beliefs of his church, so it would be unfair to judge Palin based on the beliefs of hers. He also explained how religion plays a minor role for presidents with his example of Nixon, Carter, Obama, JFK, and Nancy Pelosi. Con's response, I felt was inadequate. He merely mentioned that Palin was strongly motivated by her religious convictions without presenting any evidence or examples of it. After the Pro pointed out that "the only evidence is his [CON's] reference to church doctrine, not anything that Palin has said or done in her career in government.", the debate over this contention eventually became repetitive and easily went to the Pro.

2) IQ
Again, Pro's examples were excellent refutations. However, simply because past presidents with low IQs happened to be good means nothing regarding Palin, and Con pointed that out. The Katie Couric example was excellent, and so was the allusion to talking points. But, at the end of the day, Pro pointed out two things: "IQs over 120, there is no correlation between intelligence and the quality of President, and he didn't refute that" and "the debate is not whether Palin is the best President imaginable, but rather if she would be a good President." Both of these went unrefuted and this point went to the Pro.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Freeman, when there is as must vote bombing as there has been in this debate, later vote bombing comes in retaliation for earlier vote bombing. It shouldn't have been started in the first place, of course.
Posted by Freeman 3 years ago
Freeman
Everyone, if you're going to give someone all 7 points, at least give some sort of reason for it.

I don't particularly enjoy getting 7 points against me and I know that Roy doesn't either. However, there are situations where it might be appropriate to give someone all 7 points.
Posted by Danielle 3 years ago
Danielle
I really did try to remain as unbiased as possible.

1. Palin's Religious Beliefs -- Con did not convince me that her extreme views would interfere with her politics (even if they are ridiculous). Pro asked for an example of them being problematic before and none were presented. Con did convince me that her governing might be fueled by religious motives thereby interfering with a secular approach to decision making, though I kept in mind that all kinds of factors pertinent to a politician generally push them in one way or another regarding policy, and that it'd be unfair or perhaps irresponsible to single religion out as automatically incriminating in this regard. I don't think Pro elaborated on this enough, but regardless he more or less wins this point due to lack of available evidence by Con.
Posted by Danielle 3 years ago
Danielle
2. Intellect -- I thought this was pretty much the most important factor of the debate, and ultimately the point goes to Con. While Pro made a decent argument regarding IQ, Con convinced me that Palin lacks both the highly relevant articulate abilities, as well as current events, history, and overall political know-how sufficient enough to be the so-called leader of the free world. Her slip-ups were frequent and drastic, and I wasn't convinced that they were merely blunders from being flustered on the campaign trail. Pro also made the assertion "Anyone who graduates from an accredited four year college and is elected and serves successfully as governor has the intellectual capacity to be president" which I think is simply a bare assertion that was not evidenced anywhere in the debate. Essentially Pro's defense here was that regardless of how intelligent she might seem, if her policies were okay then ultimately her intelligence must be up to par. I didn't buy into this at all. First, she's a Republican, and she implemented Republican policies. That in no way speaks for Palin's intelligence but merely shows her following traditional Conservative ideals. Second, a President ought to be respected not only by the people but by their colleagues, peers and worldly officials all over the globe. Con convinced me that Palin would essentially be an incompetent embarrassment, instead of a confident, established or prominent leader.

3. Honesty and Sound Principles -- I think Palin was deceitful with her "bridge to nowhere" stance, as she never acknowledged changing her mind but instead specifically alluded to the idea that she was ALWAYS against it. Still, Pro challenged Con to cite confirmed ethics charges made against her and I don't think Con proved that she was an immoral governor. In short Con did not convince me that she was an intentionally dishonest leader who did ridiculous things.
Posted by Danielle 3 years ago
Danielle
RFD: This was a *very* close debate, but I'll explain my vote which is not really about sources but rather me wanting to give 2 and not 3 points to Con for arguments.

As the instigator, it was Con's burden to prove that Sarah Palin would not be a good president of the U.S. While it would have been nice for Pro to explain why she would make a good president, ultimately he merely had to refute any of Con's attacks. Indeed I believe Pro defended formidably against MOST of Con's points. However a debate isn't merely about winning a sheer number of points, but making the overall better and more convincing argument. In the end, I was convinced by the evidence presented in the debate by Con that Sarah Palin lacks many of the fundamental qualities that would make her a good present.

Now here's where it gets tricky. Because of the way the resolution was structured, it's hard to see who has or hasn't fulfilled their burden. In other words, I'm not sure if Con had to prove that Palin would be a BAD president (as opposed to just "not good"). In that case, my opinion would be that Con proved Sarah Palin would not be a GOOD president, but he did *not* prove that she would be a bad president. In other words, good would refer to not only being adequate but being fairly above adequate, while bad would be below adequate. I think Pro defended the idea that Palin would not necessarily run the country into the ground (after all he pointed out that Alaska survived, dinnit?) though nothing was acknowledged that would make her a good president, and in fact I thought Con gave enough unrefuted evidence that she would not be above adequate as president. For this reason, I gave Con just 2 of 3 points for arguments, not sources.
Posted by Freeman 3 years ago
Freeman
@Shtookah

You are a notorious vote bomber. Please stop voting on debates. Your votes are not appreciated, and they are not recognized as valid. The fact that you could write this "IN THE NAMe OF ALL THAT IS SACRED ROY WHY?!?!" is an indication to me that you are either incapable or unwilling to read and vote on any debates fairly.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Shtookah, You are vote bombing. Read the debate. It's about the very specific arguments that Con made against Palin, not about whether Palin is the best candidate. Palin is not my favorite candidate, but the arguments presented are false. If you are gong to vote on debates you need to start reading them.
51 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by DDO.votebombcounter1 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering Erick
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Reasons for voting decision: :)
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Reasons for voting decision: Everything was even to me except for convincing arguments which went to pro.
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Reasons for voting decision: This was a good debate, one of my favorites. CON's sources were better, but PRO had better and stronger rebuttals.
Vote Placed by feverish 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Thoroughly agree with a lot of Freeman's points but Roy's rebuttals were generally stronger. A few bare assertions and dropped arguments on both sides but probably slightly more from Freeman. Great debate all round though.
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