On a brighter note:
CN&R readers have no problem selecting the best and brightest. The polls have closed for Best of Chico, as well as Best of Oroville and Best on the Ridge. We’re tabulating the votes and will announce the winners in the Sept. 25 issue. The Best Of banquet—open to the public, benefiting the Red Cross—will be Oct. 15.

I was in Los Angeles when Robert Speer, with whom I see eye to eye most all the time, penned the editorial in the Sept. 4 issue about the Republican National Convention. I agree with what he wrote, particularly the coda:

“To the extent Obama’s campaign challenges Palin, it should be on matters of experience and policy only, not family values. This election is about much more than the personal life of the governor of Alaska.”

Sarah Palin made her keynote speech as News & Reviews rolled off the press, receiving generally favorable reaction. She smiled and waved the following night as John McCain accepted the GOP nomination. Quite convincingly, she portrayed the image of a strong, determined individual who could hold up her end of the ticket.

Well, we’ve had a week to settle down. The convention bump has made its scheduled appearance on the opinion polls. The shock and awe over Palin’s family drama has subsided. Now it’s time to look at things rationally—realistically.

A wholly unqualified person may well become president of the United States.

The only “ifs” are whether McCain wins and she’s still on the ticket. If so, Sarah Palin will become the first woman to serve as president.

That’s not a knock on McCain’s age. The vice president doesn’t have to wait for a death (or disgrace) to become commander-in-chief. Dick Cheney has done so multiple times over the past seven-plus years when President Bush was, for instance, incapacitated because of a medical procedure.

Difference there is Cheney was a former defense secretary and congressman who’s been a driving force in Bush administration policies. His top résumé lines aren’t “small-town mayor” and “small-state governor.”

No offense to Alaska, but it’s essentially a county with Senate seats and congressional earmarks. Palin brands Barack Obama as a “community organizer”; well, I’d bet the people he rallied in Chicago neighborhoods alone outnumber all her constituents. Think of it this way: With roughly 700,000 residents, the state of Alaska has a smaller population than the city of San Francisco.

Is Gavin Newsom ready to be president?

This has nothing to do with gender—if McCain had picked, say, Christine Todd Whitman, his judgment wouldn’t have seemed so suspect. This has nothing to do with ideology, either, even though some of Palin’s core beliefs frighten me. (Secessionists are OK, but evolutionists aren’t?!?)

This is about relevant experience and qualification for the job.

The Republicans talk a lot about 9/11, the seventh anniversary of which coincides with this issue. What if a terrorist attack happened on her watch? Or a counterinsurgence? Or a diplomatic incident?

The vice president is also the president of the Senate. Palin hasn’t been to Capitol Hill without a visitor’s pass, and a title alone doesn’t bring reputation or respect. In the past six decades, only one of 13 vice presidents got elected without a term in Congress: Spiro Agnew, who at least knew the neighborhood as governor of Maryland.

OK, I get it: McCain is the maverick who says he wants to shake up Washington, and Palin clearly is a wild card. Sadly, she’s not even a joker—more like the queen of clubs against aces.