ColumnsWhat A World

What A World: Palin Comparison

There’s nothing scarier than the wrong person for the wrong job.

NancyFord at desk
Nancy Ford

By Nancy Ford

It was prime time for opportunity when I first arrived in Houston in the early ‘80s. There were more jobs—solid, high-paying jobs—than qualified people to fill them in those boom days. A headhunter’s paradise.

Because my job title at the time carried with it the broad term “auditor,” I was frequently tapped by employment professionals who, though unsolicited, would phone me about any position with that word in it, asking me if I “knew someone in my field who might be interested in a job that paid considerably more” than I was making.

One day I was called by a headhunter who believed my title qualified me to interview for the job of a nuclear (pronounced: new-CLEE-ur ) auditor, inspecting procedures conducted at nuclear energy sites throughout the country.

Nancy Ford, Nuclear Auditor. Has a nice ring to it, no? My mother would have been so proud. I can almost picture her glowing at the prospect.

On the surface it must have appeared that I possessed at least some of the qualifications for that important job. But in truth, I’m not even detail-oriented enough to notice while grocery shopping that I’ve picked up a can of creamed corn when I needed whole kernel corn. The only thing that even remotely qualifies me for so much as the lowliest position in a nuclear power plant is my affectional commonality with Waylon Smithers.

For grins, and fully aware of my lack of nuclear expertise, I interviewed for the job. Quicker than you can say “Hans Blix,” the sage interviewer determined that my practical experience, not to mention lack of advanced science degree, rendered me much more familiar with fishin’ than fission. After he explained what the job actually entailed, I thanked him profusely, for humanity’s sake, for not hiring me.

He, a fellow former Buckeye, and I then spent the next hour discussing Ohio’s über-polluted Cuyahoga River which had spontaneously caught fire a few years earlier, and how Cleveland’s mayor, some little guy named Kucinich, would probably never amount to much. We chatted about his industry’s shift from using the word “atomic” to the word “nuclear” (again, pronounced: new-CLEE-ur ). All in all, considering what a total waste of time talking to me had been for this amiable man, it was a pleasant meeting. In fact, had we met under different circumstances, he might have been fun to have a beer with.

For the record, know that I would never have accepted that nuclear auditor’s position, even if all of the company’s failsafe measures had failed and it was offered to me. You’re welcome.

I was reminded of that totally mismatched job interview when I first learned that Sarah Palin had been tapped as the Republican Party’s nominee for vice president.

Does Palin really, truly believe the GOP powers-that-be believe she is qualified to serve as vice president of these United States? Alaska’s governor strikes me as simple, yes, but not stupid. Wasn’t she even uncomfortably curious when being measured during her last Pap to see if both Karl Rove’s and Dick Cheney’s puppeteer-like hands would fit far enough up in there to move her lips?

In just one example among hundreds of her legendarily naïve gaffes, here’s how the woefully in-over-her-head Gov. Palin explained in a Sept. 24, 2008 interview with CBS’ Katie Couric why Alaska’s close proximity to Russia gives her foreign policy experience:

“It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where—where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is—from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to—to our state.”

I can see Lakewood Church from my condo balcony, but that doesn’t qualify me to assault—even allegedly—a flight attendant.

There are lots of reasons beyond our control to be scared this Halloween/election season: The collapsing economy. The post-traumatic stress inflicted by Ike. Nuclear auditors of questionable background. But the horrifying visage of Sarah Palin answering any urgent 3 a.m. call tops them all, unless it’s one summoning the gubernatorial Hummer to pick up the DUI-prone First Dude after he’s slammed down too many Jaegers at an Alaskan secessionists’ meeting.

Likewise, there are lots of other reasons why I’m voting for the Obama/Biden ticket on Tuesday, Nov. 4—and not just because Hillary asked me to. Please encourage your friends and family, especially those in swing states like Ohio or Pennsylvania or Michigan, to do likewise. Together, let’s exercise what little control we still have over our destinies and send Sarah Palin back to Alaska where she can sit by the light of a burning-book bonfire, gazing across the horizon at Russia with a moose burger in one hand and a shotgun in the other, dreaming of what might have been.

Otherwise, creamed corn, anyone?


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