Friday, September 26, 2008


The Sarah Palin Chronicles

A lot of attention has been paid to Katie Couric's interview with Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, particularly the the parts in which she veers from inane to downright incoherent, such as when she talks about Vladimir Putin "rear[ing] his head and com[ing] into the air space of the U.S." in Alaska as part of her "foreign-policy credentials." But there were two things that have received less attention that caught my eye.

One wasn't actually a Palin answer, but a Couric question. Strangely enough, however, although I will swear in the best Dave Barry tradition I am not making this up, I cannot find it in the video or transcript [bonus points and a hearty handshake to anyone who can find it online]; it's been replaced by a generic "Next, Couric asked about the $700 billion government bailout of bad debt - and whether she supports it." But what she actually said, quoting from memory, went like this:

"The government is proposing a $700 bailout for the banks. Why shouldn't we take that money and spend it on health care, housing, and similar direct needs, and let people spend the money and get it into the economy that way?"
What's interesting about that isn't the answer, which is 100% blather, but how that question comes almost out of left field (pun intended). Aside from myself, others on the left, a tiny handful of progressive Democrats like Dennis Kucinich, and rarely cited economists, no one in the "mainstream" is talking about the solution Couric asks about. Yet here she was asking about it. Needless to say Palin wasn't prepared to answer that specific question, and didn't.

The second comes when the discussion turns to "nation-building" and "spreading democracy" around the world, which is in the video here (but, curiously, is not part of the CBS transcript):

COURIC: What happens if the goal of democracy, Gov. Palin, doesn't produce the desired outcome? For example, in Gaza, the U.S. pushed hard for elections, Hamas won.

PALIN: Yeah. Well, especially in that region, though, we have got to protect those who do seek democracy and do seek protections for the people who live there. And, you know, we're seeking in the last couple of days here in New York, a speaker, a President of Iran, Ahmadinejad, who would come on our soil and express such disdain for one of our closest allies and friends, Israel, and we're hearing the evil that he speaks.
Note how the question itself assumes that the result of the democratic election in Gaza wasn't democratic, and how Palin goes immediately to another subject without even pretending to answer the question. But note also how her answer (about Ahmadinejad having the nerve to "come on our soil" and speak his mind) parallels almost exactly what Barack Obama had to say on the subject. She's not remotely as informed or articulate as Obama, but their actual positions are virtually identical.

Why stop here? There's more...

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