In our high-mindedness, we target Palin's hamartia -- the term in Greek drama for the fatal flaw, born of ignorance, that brings on the protagonist's downfall. In this case, Palin's opposition to sex education in public schools invited the wrath of the gods upon Palin's hearth, and all but impregnated her daughter Bristol.
What enrages the press corps here the most is the fact that Palin -- like Obama -- is a bit of a risk. And a needless risk because candidate McCain could have treaded in safer waters by picking a running mate whose hand the press corps already had stamped.
I'll grant that Palin is a risk. She may falter, or -- like Obama -- she may have a magic appeal to voters. In this choice, McCain risked the race, but not the nation, secure in the knowledge that voters know leadership when they see it.
Or as Palin said when McCain named her as his pick, "A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why the ship is built." And please, spare me the outrage and expressions of disappointment in McCain's judgment, because he made a political decision when he chose a running mate. McCain has made unnecessary risks before -- as in, when he pushed for comprehensive immigration reform and the troop surge in Iraq.
The problem with equating judgment with not taking any risks -- the problem with demanding that leaders take no risks -- is that you end up not with leaders, but with gutless politicians.
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