In her column yesterday, Washington Post‘s Ruth Marcus argues for why having Sarah Palin in high public office is a “terrifying prospect.” Marcus’s specific complaint is that Palin, in her interview with Katie Couric, said that the way she has understood the world is not through travel but “through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world.” In response, Marcus writes this:
This would be more reassuring if Palin had demonstrated more evidence of having read extensively about history or world affairs. Asked in an interview for PBS’s Charlie Rose show last year about her favorite authors, Palin cited C.S. Lewis—”very, very deep”—and Dr. George Sheehan, a now-deceased writer for Runner’s World magazine whose columns Palin still keeps on hand.
Marcus seems to believe that unless Palin’s favorite author is Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. or Zbigniew Brzezinski, she is unfit to serve as vice president.
I gather as well that Marcus believes citing Lewis as her favorite author is somehow an indictment against Palin. As one who counts Prof. Lewis as one of my favorite authors, let me write what may be the most indisputable and uncontestable sentence I have ever penned: There is more depth, intelligence, and insight into human nature in a single letter from Screwtape to Wormwood than in everything Ruth Marcus has ever written and said. That is probably true for most of us; but it is doubly true when it comes to Ms. Marcus.
In using Lewis to criticize Palin, there are two possibilities: Either Marcus has not read Lewis or, if she has, she was unable to grasp him. The fact that Sarah Palin reads C.S. Lewis more than she does Ruth Marcus is reassuring to me; it should be to others as well.