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Wednesday, October 1, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

Tonight Tomorrow1 is, of course, the veep debate and there is much anticipation about how Governor Palin will do. Reactions to her performance will be fascinating. I think that a lot of people have already made up their minds. The hardcore supporters think that either its all the media’s fault, or the McCain campaign’s for not “letting Sarah be Sarah,” while the opposition to Palin has decided she was a disastrous pick. The test is primarily how undecided voters respond, but the canary in the mineshaft will be how harshly conservative commentators criticize her performance. If there are any more Kathleen Parkers after tonight, one will know it was a loss.

Still, as the Couric interview continues to dribble out, one does wonder how well see will do, even with the low expectations that are in place.

Here’s a clip on what Palin’s news sources have been in terms of shaping her worldview prior to being tapped for McCain’s ticket.

Partial transcript (via Think Progress):

COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

COURIC: Can you name any of them?

PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.

That’s quite the nonanswer to a reasonable, if not softball, question. And from there she gets a bit defensive about Alaska, which didn’t seem warranted. The bottom line of the question is what sources she relied upon to get news and information that she used to think about foreign and domestic policy. That shouldn’t have been too hard. Of course, the problem may be that she hasn’t actually done much news gathering and therefore not much thinking about the issues.

This is not to suggest, by the way, that I think that she isn’t smart. However, it does underscore her lack of general preparation for the job to which she aspires and therefore he lack of readiness for what might be before here in that job.

  1. Correction: I was leaping forward in time for some reason []
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10 Responses to “Countdown to Palin-Biden Day”

  1. Ratoe Says:

    I think Katie reads your blog, Steven, since her question was redolent of the comparison I made a couple of days ago with Sen. Mel Martinez.

    I can understand getting nervous when being interviewed for a national tv program, but as I said before anyone who spends 1/2 hour each morning skimming a serious national newspaper (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Christian Science Monitor) could answer ANY of the questions she faced over the last couple of week.

    Keeping up with these “serious” news sources is the mark of an engaged citizen and an educated person. That is not to say that any of these sources are not without faults. But they form the context of national political and policy conversations.

    This woman clearly-and self-admittedly-is disengaged with the “national conversation” and, as such, is an irresponsible citizen (let alone public servant). To aspire to national office without EVEN FOLLOWING national conversations is extremely reckless.

    The fact that McCain would choose someone so disengaged as a running mate is disturbing and shows his own disregard for the country.

  2. Desert Jeff Says:

    Slight correction: the debate is tomorrow, unless of course you’re blogging from the fuuutuuurrrre.

  3. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    Jeff,

    Quite correct. For some reason I keep wanting to jump ahead in time.

  4. Our Paul Says:

    The real question will not be posed: “When a decision on a policy had to be made, did you request that your briefing document be limited to one page?”

    Sorry, the devil made me say it…

  5. Western Man Says:

    I don’t think her answer is all that strange. I’d have answered much the same way. I don’t maintain subscriptions to much of anything but will read about anything I see. If I was asked to recount specifically what I’ve read in the lobbies of doctors offices on the web pages of the hundreds of news sources that the blogs I read link to, I’d stumble around also. I can’t recount those things. Who could?

    I think it was a stupid question to ask. Ask a stupid question, get a vague answer.

  6. ts Says:

    As a general reflection on all this, I can’t remember a VP candidate ever undergoing an interview that has been packaged and released piecemeal for more than a week like this. Without being able to see an unedited version of the entire interview, it’s hard to tell whether her reaction with respect to Alaska is unwarranted. Having lived up in Alaska for a number of years in the ’90s, I can remember encountering an incredible degree of ignorance regarding the state when I visited the lower 48 and moved back permanently. People did act like you lived in a third world country, which I found insulting and dare I say elitist.

  7. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    The packaging of these interviews has been odd, but there is little doubt in my mind that the McCain camp agreed to it.

    BTW: the weirdness factor about the interviews would have been mitigated if Palin had simply done the normal gamut of media availabilities.

    I have little doubt that folks in the lower 48 are not that well versed about Alaska. On the other hand, I am not sure that it is an Alaska-specific phenomenon. When I moved from Texas to California I was treated as it I was from some odd, exotic place.

    I could, however, tell folks from whence I received my news ;)

  8. Ratoe Says:

    I can remember encountering an incredible degree of ignorance regarding the state when I visited the lower 48 and moved back permanently. People did act like you lived in a third world country, which I found insulting and dare I say elitist.

    Uhh….what does that have to do with anything??? Palin has been asked a series of straightforward questions about pressing national policy questions and general questions about how she thinks and processes information. No one gives a damn that she’s from Alaska. McCain is from Panama, for crissakes.

    The only reason Alaska comes up in these interviews is because Palin talks about it as a way to hide the fact she doesn’t know anything about the question that is being asked.

    The problem isn’t that Palin is from Alaska-it’s that she’s a moronic lightweight.

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