As I have already written, the McCain campaign is doing its best to keep Palin (the “barracuda”) away from the media (the “piranhas”). With just five weeks left, the only ethical and respectful thing to do is to let us hear, in her own words, Palin answer some basic questions about the record she is so proudly hailing and the issues. I don’t really care about her family life, but I would like to know about her policies, worldview, and intelligence. And if she is a hockey mom and lipsticked pit bull, I would like to know what those are and how they are relevant to the presidency.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve learned a lot of about Barack Obama. Some things that have been written about him and his family have been both baseless and offensive, but there were also plenty of other questions about his trajectory and abilities that needed to be delved into. You may believe in the “change you can believe in” or not. You may not like his politics or think that his experience is adequate for the presidency, but at least now you have something to base your opinion on. You have a footing.
The same goes for John McCain who has been in the Congress in Washington, DC since the early 1980s, or Joe Biden who also has a long Congressional record. They have debated, appeared dozens of times in front of the “piranhas” in the media, and have shown themselves to the electorate. I think we deserve equal access to Sarah Palin. (Not even letting the press chat with Palin in flight contrasts heavily with this year’s nonstop images of the various other candidates and journalists freely mingling in air or McCain’s 2000 “Straight Talk Express”). I want to have an opinion of her that is based on more than just how she delivers one pre-fab speech or rumors about her Christian sharia-ism. The McCain camp can cry about the media frenzy around Palin, but didn’t they fully expect the frenzy after nominating the country’s most unknown governor for the vice-presidency?
I am not alone in begging for this election to be more than an Oscar performance about who can best memorize their lines or play a role. Today there were various articles questioning Palin’s seclusion and demanding transparency. The Chicago Tribune published an editorial, “Take the Wraps of Palin” asking for precisely that, while the Washington Post wrote “When Lies Become Truths“. The Post’s E.J. Dionne Jr. has written two back to back articles “Does the Truth Matter Anymore” and”Unready to Lead” and Tim Rutton in the Los Angeles Times came out with “The McCain Campaign is insisting on deference in the questioning of the vice presidential candidate“.
For the first time in American history, we have a “My Fair Lady” moment, as teams of experts bustle around the most famous woman in politics, intensely coaching her for her big moment at the ball — her first unscripted interview here this week with ABC News’s Charlie Gibson.
If you were Charles Gibson, what questions would you have for Governor Palin? For the sake of the country, I hope Gibson asks better questions than the ones he asked Obama in the Democratic primary debate with Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia earlier this year. I don’t want to hear about American flag pins or the sex lives of anybody’s children. I just want to know that Palin is capable of stepping in as acting president and that the country where I was born and raised and the world in which I live will not be run by cynics and Carl Rovian spin doctors, even if my candidate does not win. Is that too much to ask?