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 Covington News - - Opinion -

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.

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