In 1992, George H.W. Bush and the Republicans referred to Bill Clinton as “the failed governor of a small state”. Because of that, they argued, he was not fit to be president.
The words “small state” weren’t used by accident. The implication was that executive experience in a place with so few people couldn’t translate into fitness for governing a country with 300 million people, nuclear weapons and nuclear-armed enemies.
With the selection of Sarah Palin, the Republicans have apparently had a change of heart.
There’s no disputing that she’s the governor of a small state. Alaska has around 600,000 people. In 2000, it was ranked 48th in size. (In 1990 when the last census before the ’92 election was conducted, Arkansas was 33rd largest with 2.3 million people.)
So is Sarah Palin a “failed governor”? I don’t know. A survey conducted by CNBC this year says Alaska is 41st in education. At least it can look down on Mississippi.
The same study ranks Alaska’s economy 50th. I don’t think that’s good, but I didn’t go to an Alaska school.
Overall, CNBC says that out of 50 states, Alaska is somewhere between 49th and 51st.
On the other hand, when he took office, Bill Clinton had no foreign policy experience. Palin, by contrast, has a lot: