Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wasilly Can You Get?

On CNN last night, Anderson Cooper asked Barack Obama about the notion that as mayor of Wassilla and then governor of Alaska Sarah Palin would have more experience than he in handling a natural disaster. Obama's response:
"My understanding is that Gov. Palin’s town, Wassilla, has I think 50 employees. We've got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year – we have a budget of about three times that just for the month,” Obama responded.

Our ability to manage large systems and to execute I think has been made clear over the past couple of years and certainly in terms of the legislation I’ve passed in the past couple of years, post-Katrina.”

Only, if you go here to the video, and you skip ahead to about the 7:50 mark, you'll hear Cooper's question and Obama's answer--and Obama clearly says "Wasilly," not "Wassilla."

It could be an honest mistake from a man who confused Veterans' Day with Memorial Day and also thought we had 57 states in the Union. Or it could be a slam at small towns, and at the idea that people who run them have any sort of experience that counts.

What I find so obnoxious is the idea that running a town is like running a campaign. When you run a campaign you're directing a group of people who are all motivated toward one goal, and who are committed to the success of the man at the top, so to speak. Maybe running the fictional town of Mayberry would be like running a political campaign, but in the real world you have to deal with situations that have nothing to do with coordinating volunteers, stuffing envelopes, making phone calls and buying advertising.

Further, of course, there's the obvious point that Palin transitioned just fine from running a town to running Alaska. Obama, to paraphrase what Mark Steyn said that has been quoted continuously, has written two autobiographies and has been successful at running his mouth.

Word of advice to the Obama campaign: you might want to make sure your candidate can correctly pronounce "Wassilla." I have a feeling that if he keeps trying to portray Sarah Palin as an uneducated, unsophisticated woman from small-town hicksville, he's going to have a lot of reasons to remember, and regret, that name.

1 comment:

Margie said...

I agree with most of what you said, except I think the "Wasilly" was his childish attempt to equate a woman with the word silly. I would have liked to see them jump on that harder like they did with Bill's use of fairy tale. But what is even more significant to me, and why wasn't more made of it by the press, the best experience HE could come up with was running his campaign. You mean the campaign that you have a campaign manager for, what was the biggest contract Barack negotiated for his campaign? Whatever, I'm getting irritated with the media!