The Plank

Palin, T.r., And Truman

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I'll let Marty decide if he wants to bother responding to the shot Bill Kristol fires at him in today's NYT, but there's another part of Kristol's column that I'd like to take on. It's this graf:

Should voters be alarmed by a relatively young or inexperienced vice-presidential candidate? No. Since 1900, five vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency during their term in office: Teddy Roosevelt in 1901, Calvin Coolidge in 1923, Harry Truman in 1945, Lyndon Johnson in 1963, and Gerald Ford in 1974. Teddy Roosevelt took over at age 42, becoming our youngest president, and he’s generally thought to have proved up to the job. Truman was V.P. for less than three months and had been kept in the dark by Franklin Roosevelt about such matters as the atom bomb and he’s generally thought to have risen to the occasion. Character, judgment and the ability to learn seem to matter more to success as president than the number of years one’s been in Washington.

Of course, by the age of 42, T.R. had already served not only as New York governor, but as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and as New York City police commissioner, so his youth wasn't accompanied by inexperience. And Truman, despite only being VP for three months before Roosevelt's death, had been a U.S. Senator for 10 years prior to that, so he'd already been in Washington for a decade when he entered the White House. 

In other words, I'm not sure why Kristol's invoking T.R. and Truman to defend Palin's credentials--since they actually seem to call those credentials into question. Is he being stupid or just disingenuous?

Update: I see Marty has weighed in.

--Jason Zengerle

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