The Palin Tragedy
There just isn’t any doubt at this point: Governor Palin is in way over her head. And Senator McCain had to have known this would be the case. His luring a good but unqualified woman – a woman, moreover, with serious responsibilities at home – into a bruising and cynical national campaign is inexcusable. Even more disturbing is the way she has been coached to bluff her way through interviews, pretending to have answers to questions she doesn’t begin to understand. It is impossible to watch this CBS interview without feeling acute embarrassment for her:
“You don’t just walk into Washington, unless you’re a maverick like John McCain, who walks the walk and has been reforming Washington all along, which is why it’s so desperately in need of reform. Its Beltway is guarded by more than lobbyists, which is why we must have that reform and that process of reforming also. There is corruption there that doesn’t sleep much, it’s kind of wide awake; the Unblinking Eye is, you know, watching constantly and it’s very watchful. It is an elitist wasteland, just full of earmarks and taxes and inefficiencies, and special interests also.”
Seriously, her dishonesty in this interview is systematic – not incidental to a particular question – and is evidence of personal corruption right out of the gate. She is not only corruptible, but she’s already internalizing the corruption of her handlers.
Now then, it seems that most politicians do this routinely. McCain, Obama, and Biden are experts at pretending to have answers they don’t have. Obama is so smooth he can make a journalist forget what the question was. So why pick on Palin?
I’ll tell you why. Sarah Palin is still an essentially honest person who isn’t good at telling lies. She averts her eyes. You can see the conflict in her face, you can hear the doubt in her voice, and it all betrays her words. You know her conscience bothers her and she’s going to feel terrible about this interview when it’s over. Dishonesty doesn’t come easy to her … yet. Perhaps a few more interviews like this one and she’ll get better at it.
But no! I don’t want this for Sarah Palin. I want Sarah Palin to go home, protect and re-build her integrity, and take care of her family and her state.
On a related note, someday I want to see an interview that goes like this:
Interviewer: So, Mr. Candidate, what is your solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
Candidate: To be honest, I just don’t know.
Interviewer: But you want to be president. How can you just shrug and say “I don’t know” to an issue of such global importance?
Candidate: Because it’s the truth. I just don’t know. If I’m elected, I will consult the best experts available on this question.
Interviewer: But your opponent says he has studied the question thoroughly and has drafted a multi-faceted proposal that is sure to bring peace to the region. He’s going to send Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson to Tel Aviv in the first week of his presidency.
Candidate: Gosh, my opponent is an expert on everything, isn’t he? That should save the taxpayers millions of dollars in cabinet salaries and consultation fees. I do like the idea of sending Carter and Jackson to Tel Aviv, though. Probably not for the same reasons.
Interviewer: What is your position on global warming?
Candidate: I don’t have a position on global warming.
Interviewer: Don’t you think it’s a problem?
Candidate: It certainly could be, but I don’t know enough about it to say. Do you know something I don’t?
Interviewer: Experts say that if we don’t reduce greenhouse emissions, we’re doomed.
Candidate: If those experts are right, then my position is that we need to reduce greenhouse emissions. But other experts say it’s a bunch of hooey. I’ve got a lot more studying to do and haven’t made up my mind about it.