The View from Abroad on Palin: God Help Us

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Here’s columnist Bradley Burston in Israeli daily Ha’aretz:

I get it. I get that millions of Americans have a crying need for someone to stand up and say the things that Sarah Palin has been telling them. …

But it wasn’t until I got into the taxicab this morning, that I realized what the American voter truly faces this November. The radio was playing a clip from her ABC News interview, the one in which she was asked about the Bush Doctrine. The problem was not that she was unacquainted with the doctrine. Millions of Americans are unacquainted with it. The problem is that Sarah Palin was also asking those millions of Americans to put her first in line for the most important position in humankind. …

Even my Israeli cab driver, a non-American through and through, knew more about the Bush Doctrine than Sarah Palin. And that is cause for serious concern. … There is something in the smugness, the faith-based rigidity, the dismissiveness, that suggests that once again, we may have a national leader who knows better how to divide than to rule.

On the bright side, Burston continues, the realization that Israeli politics would never elevate such an inexperienced statesman to a top leadership position restored some faith in their country to the writer and his colleagues. “‘This would never have happened in Israel, ever’ remarked a journalist friend … With irony bordering on the painful, the journalist added, ‘Sarah Palin has restored my faith in Israel.’ Israel is far from a model of good government, wise policymaking and exemplary leaders. But here, at least, voters and the politicians make it their business to know inside and out …. politics … for what politics really is, in America and Israel both: a matter of life and death.”

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