Kathleen Parker

In a rational world, this presidential election would be between Hillary Clinton and John McCain, with their respective running mates Barack Obama and (maybe) Sarah Palin.

But we do not live in a rational world. We live in a world of emotional excess and so are left to ponder the qualifications of two relatively young, relatively inexperienced candidates -- even if one of them isn't running for president.

Confession: I love Barack Obama and I love Sarah Palin -- both for different reasons. They both also scare me to death.

I love Obama for his style, grace, intellect and his way with words. I want the healing power that an Obama presidency could deliver to this country.

I love Palin for her chutzpah, courage, maverickness and her authenticity. As a woman, I want her to be fantastic. I want her to expose the fraudulence of identity politics and show the world that Woman is not just one thing.

But my inner eye is watching. And my inner voice is saying: These are not good enough reasons.

I worry.

I worry that Obama isn't serious enough about terrorism and free markets. I worry about his out-of-touchness with the people who, he says, cling to guns and religion because of frustration and anger. I worry about a worldview that may have been shaped in part by a spiritual mentor who damns America in church and thinks the government invented the AIDS virus to kill blacks.

I worry about Obama's over-intellectualizing -- that he will get lost in a maze of deep thoughts and fail to be decisive when necessary.

I worry that Sarah Palin won't set foot in that maze.

I worry that she won't intellectualize enough. I worry about her certitude and her slight offness. Whatever her charms, anyone in public office who thinks out loud about banning books might be missing some aces in her deck.

I worry about a worldview that might have been shaped in part by a minister who believes that Alaska someday will be home to Christian renegades arriving for the Rapture.

I do not worry about her small-town values, which are mostly Main Street's values. Or even her social conservatism, which is driving Democrats insane. Most Americans are more worried about a crumbling economy and the next terrorist attack than they are about what motivates Palin to have a baby others would abort.

Even were Palin to become president and be in a position to fill Supreme Court openings with pro-life justices, the likelihood that Roe v.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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