Access to Palin
can go long enough without giving the press full access to Palin to pick her brain on foreign and domestic policy issues, they can somehow stall the big looming question of whether Palin has what it takes to run the most powerful country in the world long
The nomination and press coverage of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is troubling to me for several reasons and not for the reasons you’re likely thinking.
Conservatives are heralding Palin as the ‘ change’ t h e Republican Party needs and her speech at the RNC was certainly the best of the convention. I was impressed that she, as one so new to national politics, was able to pull it off on such a big stage.
When John McCain announced his candidacy for president last year, some of his critics derided him, saying that he would be too old to serve if elected. He’s 72 now. I don’t think age alone is a good reason to vote against somebody, but it does carry some weight as he would be 76 at the end of his first term.
Even though McCain could go on to reach 100 ( his mother’s nearly there), that doesn’t mean that things like a stroke or a heart attack couldn’t put him out of commission for several months while in office, leaving the running of the nation in the hands of his No. 2.
Which is why I think so many Americans were withholding judgment of McCain pending his veep pick. The thinking for many Americans about McCain is that ‘ I can vote for you, so long as you assuage my age/ health concerns by choosing a really strong vice president.’
Now I don’t believe age determines ability. Barack Obama is fairly young too. And I don’t necessarily think experience should be given greater weight than ability. But what do we really know about Palin’s ability to lead outside of the insular and very unique world of Alaskan politics?
What would she do if McCain is out of commission temporarily for health reasons and Russia decides to invade Georgia again? Or what if Iran announces they’ve enriched enough plutonium to make a bomb and Israel decides they are going to bomb Tehran first?
The problem is, we the people, are being kept in the dark on Palin’s views on these very important questions deliberately by the McCain campaign. See the McCain campaign has devised a pretty savvy strategy of trying to run out the clock with Palin. Right now most conservatives/ moderates have very warm, fuzzy feelings for her and are enjoying the image of a hockey mom, fiscal reformer sticking it to the corrupt Washington establishment.
The McCain campaign figures that if they can go long enough without giving the press full access to Palin to pick her brain on foreign and domestic policy issues, they can somehow stall the big looming question of whether Palin has what it takes to run the most powerful country in the world long enough to win the election and then figure out the answer themselves later.
The McCain campaign has turned down numerous interview requests from The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC, CNN etc. They finally agreed to an interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson this week after the press outcry reached an uproar.
Asked on Sunday why the campaign was denying all interview requests, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis answered, “ until . . . we feel like the news media is going to treat her with some level of respect and deference, I think it would be foolhardy to put her out into that kind of environment,” according to a report by The Washington Post.
Now the erroneous reports by the liberal blog Daily Kos alleging some kind of pregnancy switcheroo with Palin and her teenage daughter, Bristol, definitely crossed the line. But most of the ensuing coverage of Palin by the press ( and by the press I mean the national newspapers and large TV networks and not the obviously partisan outlets) has all been fair game.
Americans have a right to know about her real record as mayor of Wasilla and where she really stood on ‘ the Bridge to Nowhere.’ But all of that aside, by Davis painting Palin as some kind of wilting wildflower who can’t take a couple of justifiable probing questions by the press on her foreign policy stances doesn’t leave me with a comforting image of how she’s going to stand up to Vladimir Putin if the need ever arises.
This is largely regarded as one of the most important presidential elections in America’s history. In seeking to win the election, the McCain campaign could be doing us all a national disservice by keeping from the public the facts about Palin and her ability to lead us in a time of crisis.
She might turn out to be one hell of a foreign policy expert. But right now we don’t know and we won’t know so long as the McCain campaign keeps dodging interview requests from the press.