Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin both came “this close” to being vice president. Obama could easily have selected the former to be his running mate and I have no doubt he would have won handily with her at his side. Had it not been for the financial melt-down, a victorious McCain would have elevated Palin to the vice presidency. Watching Clinton in her confirmation hearing for secretary of state I am unable to envision Palin displaying such a depth and breathe of knowledge about world affairs for hours on end.

There’s no way you can cram for the “exam” Clinton is facing as I write this. Unless she’s on smart pills and they suddenly wear off, she will progress to the end of the hearings without so much as one Saturday Night Live or Daily Show worthy gaff.

This is one of those tests which are easy because you go into them saying to yourself that you don’t have to study because “either I know it or I don’t”.

Either you have a mastery of foreign affairs and international relations or you don’t. Mastery, that’s one word I’d be hard pressed to put into the same sentence with Sarah Palin unless it had to do with subjects taught in charm school.

Clinton talked about using “smart power” in dealing with hostile nations. Not to be nasty, but I can see the late night comedy writers rushing to their notepads to write sketches around Sarah Palin uttering the words “smart power”.

Republican Richard Lugar not only said that Clinton was “remarkable” but added she was “the epitome of a big leaguer.” If she’s a big leaguer, I ask you John McCain, if you agree with your colleague, what does that make Sarah Palin?

Clinton volunteered that she was both moved and influenced by Nick Kristof’s powerful and detailed New York Times columns about the worldwide exploitation of women. A few thousand miles from her, the other “vice president who might have been” is busy casting Katie Couric as a gothcha journalist because she asked a question about what she read with an implication that was clearly not intended.

Palin now says the reason she might have been misunderstood by many voters is because she didn’t give enough interviews.

Am I allowed to say “balderdash” to that, and suggest you use more colorful synonyms?

I wish I was sitting with a group of Palin apologists and diehard fans, those who still insist she was qualified to be vice president, and see if they’d say their “gal” would be capable of expounding on foreign affairs with the expertise of Clinton.

For that matter, I wonder if John McCain could observe this and honestly say that under similar questioning Palin wouldn’t freeze up like an orchid in an Alaska blizzard.

Unfortunately only political junkies spend hours watching U.S. Senate confirmation hearings. That’s too bad, because the morning part of the hearings showed Hillary Clinton at her best.

She is demonstrating that she’d have been an excellent president or vice president, and is a wise choice to head the State Department.

I simply can’t see how anyone not blinded by partisanship and/or limited by cognitive ability could believe that Sarah Palin was qualified to be vice president.

Hal Brown is a clinical social worker and former mental health center director who is mostly retired from his private psychotherapy practice. He writes on the psychopathology of public figures and other topics that pique his interest. He can be found online at www.stressline.com . He also publishes a website about his hometown of Middleboro, Massachusetts (aka Middleborough) called Middleboro Matters. Archive: of previous columns.

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