Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sarah Palin, Not So Good

By now, most of you have probably heard about the disaster that was Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric. Julian Sanchez voices the opinion that Palin just might not be up to the job, and it's tough to say I disagree with him.

Sure, we can look back and find instances where she’s handled herself more competently, but her gaffes have not been, as some of her apologists seem to want to imply, a matter of getting flustered by her failure to recall the name of the Brazilian finance minister. Her problem is not mastery of the details: It’s fundamental cluelessness about how the economy works, and a demonstrable inability to conceive of foreign policy in anything but the crudest terms.

And apparently, as noted on Politico, the worst of Palin's gaffe's wasn't even aired. When Palin was asked about Supreme Court decisions other than Roe v. Wade, Katie Couric's question was met with silence. Julian Sanchez, in response to Palin's defenders saying she's not a "legal scholar," put it rather well:

The “legal scholar” is the one that really kills me. As though a passing familiarity with important Supreme Court decisions were the exclusive province of academic specialists, rather than, you know, the most minimal sort of prerequisite for considering yourself an educated citizen.

My take is this- Certainly, some of the Katie Couric questions were "gotcha questions." In particular, I thought the one about whether a 15 year-old who had been raped should get an abortion was a particularly nasty sort of question, one that seems more geared to get a incriminating sound bite than anything else. But as a whole, Palin really does come across as not just unintellectual, but uninformed. This particular exchange was telling:

Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, "Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?" Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

For the life of me, I can't think of a reason to avoid a softball question about where you get your news from. And to not even throw out something that sounds good, like the Wall Street Journal ... it's just sort of a jaw dropper. The thing is, the newspaper question is one that can be conveniently glossed over with a simple answer, or one that can be a jumping point to talking about liberal media bias and the rise of new media, but Palin doesn't take either of those turns. This isn't to say Palin is stupid or incompetent, only that we expect more- or should expect- more from our political leaders. Palin is probably perfectly knowledgeable about what goes on in Alaska, but this entire Katie Couric interview, for me, had the look of someone who's never really concerned themselves with issues outside of their own little sphere.

Of course, that all being said, maybe we'd be better off with a Vice-President like Palin than we would be with an absolute tool like Joe Biden. What ultimately bothers me though, is what Sarah Palin's supposed conservatism actually means, as it seems to be nothing more than a few cobbled together issues- namely abortion- that led her to the Republican side of the fence.


Anonymous rose said...

Count me as one McCain supporter who thinks Palin is a joke. I can't defend her at all. I'm gonna have a heart attack Thursday.

Let's see who we've got to choose from to help our economy and keep us safe. We are so fucked.

We've got Barack Obama, a 1st term senator with no record and no economic experience or background whatsoever, who is leading in polls because we think he is going to turn our economy around.

We've got the foreign policy GURU Joe Biden, who opposed the original gulf war, supported the 2nd Iraq war and opposed the surge in favor of splitting Iraq in 3 based on ethnic lines. 0 for 3 is that? Nice.

We've got a woman who has been governer for less than 2 years and appears to be semi-retarded when not on a script.

And we've got John McCain, who is right on most issues, but whose rhetoric and lack of any ability to articulate anything is absolutely killing his campaign. I mean good god, he was not this bad in the republican primary. What is happening?

It's ok though, Harry Reid and Pelosi will protect us in the mean time.

Misc: Now that we've gotten to better know Biden, how funny is it that he was actually running for president??? It takes talent to not ever mean a word you say and pull it off. He lacks that talent. If Bill Clinton had 30 beers then tried to give a speech, he'd be Joe Biden.

2:01 PM  

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