Is Palin Woman Enough to Answer the Hard Questions?

Palin looks tough, so why has she ducked the media?

Last weekend, we were treated to Barack Obama on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Joe Biden on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and John McCain on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Sarah Palin, though a topic of discussion for everyone, was nowhere to be found, not even on the FOX News Sunday chat show. She’s preventing access to e-mails regarding her staff doing GOP political work when they were supposed to be serving the public in nonpartisan roles. McCain even has the nerve to demand that the media show “deference” to Princess Palin. Seems to me that Alaska’s governor spends a lot of time ducking the press. 

That’s changing. The lipsticked pitbull (who only indulges in the rhetoric of book-banning) makes her first interview appearance this campaign season on ABC with Charles Gibson soon, however, I don’t expect it will be fair. I’ve seen too much media ridiculousness regarding her and the GOP. When a convention address made up solely of insults and jokes and that contained no solutions to the nation’s problems and TV and radio media pundits call it a “great speech” and a “home run,” the broadcast media prove their unfitness for their jobs.

So, major props to the Anchorage Daily News, the newspaper serving Palin’s home state, for fearlessly putting the hard questions on the public record:

Here are some of the questions Palin should be answering, for Alaskans and the rest of the country:

• You present yourself as a Republican maverick who took on your own party’s corrupt political establishment. In November’s election, your party is running an indicted U.S. Senator, Ted Stevens, who is awaiting trial on charges he accepted more than $250,000 of unreported gifts from the state’s most powerful lobbyist. Will you vote for his opponent? Will you urge Alaskans to help you change Washington and vote him out of office? If not, why not?

• Sen. Ted Stevens’ trial is still pending; he has declined to say whether he would accept a pardon from President Bush before he leaves office… Do Alaska voters deserve an answer to that question before they cast their vote for or against Stevens in November? What is your position on a president pardoning a public official before a jury has ruled on guilt or innocence?

• Alaska Congressman Don Young appears to have won his Republican primary, even though you endorsed his opponent. Will you vote for your fellow Republican Don Young, who has spent over $1 million on legal fees without telling his constituents what sort of legal trouble he is in?

• Why have you reneged on your earlier pledge to cooperate with the Alaska Legislature’s investigation into Troopergate?

• In spring of 2004, the Daily News reported that you cited family considerations in deciding not to try for the U.S. Senate: “How could I be the team mom if I was a U.S. senator?” What was different this time as you decided to run for vice president?

• As governor of Alaska, you have not pushed for laws or regulations that put your personal views on abortion, same-sex marriage and creationism into public policy. As vice president, will you push to outlaw abortion, restrict same-sex marriage and require the teaching of creationism?

• If you were a fully qualified vice-presidential candidate from the get-go, why did you wait more than 10 days to face reporters?

• McCain spokesman Rick Davis told Fox News the media didn’t show you enough “deference.” How much deference do you expect to get from Vladimir Putin or Hugo Chavez?

• You have said victory is in sight in Iraq. In July 2007, when you visited Kuwait, you said, “I’m not going to judge the surge.” In the March 2007 issue of Alaska Business Monthly, you were asked about the surge and quoted saying:

“I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. . . . While I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place.”

Define “victory” in Iraq? What is the exit plan?

Is Palin strong enough to answer the questions thoroughly, accurately, honestly, and plainly?

And are the media — and in particular, Charlie Gibson — strong and competent enough to ask these questions, and the many others that need asking? (Be wary if you’re hoping the media will do what’s decent and professional. So far, says EJ Dionne in today’s Washington Post, the media are choosing to tilt in the Right’s favor.)

I can think of plenty more so far unanswered questions covering her pastor problem; sex education; her so-called experience commanding the Alaska National Guard; Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and why ousting queers is more important in the GOP view than national security; her own double standards (it’s OK to talk about Track, but not about Bristol); allegedly using her office to settle personal scores; violence against peaceful protesters and independent journalists at her convention; her lack of respect for community organizers and activists, the front-line workers who serve those most in need (the folks Mike Huckabee reviled at the McCain-Palin convention); her feelings regarding science vs. spirituality and how they should be handled in state-sponsored schools; the real reason behind her lawsuit to keep polar bears off of the endangered species list; whether it’s God’s will that Republicans keep the White House; racism’s role in the GOP convention bounce; should she, as McCain demands, receive media deference that none of the Democrats — including Hillary Clinton — asked for or receive; the administrator who reportedly helped her manage a city of 5000-9000 people; the fear some in Alaska allegedly have about what might happen to them if they cross her; exactly when the Sunni awakening took place… and so many others.

I don’t know if I can make it through the interview itself — listening to the woman literally makes me physically ill — but the transcript will be available, so we will scrutinize her answers to Gibson’s questions. Let’s hope the questions he chooses to ask will be worthy ones.

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