Sarah Palin's book tour has aroused the ire of McCain staffers and everyone who thinks she is utterly unqualified to be president or to have been selected as the vice presidential nominee by the septuagenarian candidate of the Republican Party. They point to her minuscule tenure in the Alaska governor's office, fumbled interviews and seeming lack of knowledge about much having to do with running the country. But if you think about the vice presidential selections since World War II began, is Sarah Palin even the worst? A quick review of contenders:
1. Spiro Agnew. Driven from office for bribery charges, he resigned in 1973. Before that, Agnew had been the governor of Maryland for less than two years when Richard Nixon plucked him from obscurity--the same amount of time that Palin was in office. Sure, Agnew had been Baltimore County executive and not mayor of Wasilla, but in terms of corruption and temperament, has there been anyone worse in memory? And he wasn't really qualified either.
2. Richard Nixon. Before Watergate, before the invasion of Cambodia, before the Disraeli-like expansion of government under his tenure--EPA, OSHA, affirmative action--there was Richard Nixon, the vice president. Qualified? Sure, he'd been a senator and a congressman and a McCarthyite witch hunter. Suppose, given what we know now about Nixon's paranoia, Eisenhower had died in office. Would you have wanted Nixon dealing with Stalin? Khrushchev during the height of the Cold War? Leaving aside how he might have handled the Cuban Missile Crisis had he beaten John Kennedy in 1960, was the Tricky Dick of the '50s really someone you wanted to see in the Oval Office? You can say some good things about his presidential tenure, but the combination of his personality and the '50s and him as commander in chief is a frightening thought.