Dem columnist says Palin dodged issues, showed ignorance

Naomi Green

Don’t feel too bad for Sarah Palin. She ruined any credibility she possessed over the past couple of weeks, so her main goal at Thursday’s debate was not to focus on the issues, but reconnect with America and prove that she’s not as dim-witted as she seems. But she had successfully lowered the bar to the point that all she had to do was show up and not drop the F-bomb. As a result, she could say the most ignorant, bull-headed things and get away with it. Which is a good thing, since that is essentially all she accomplished.

As quick as the McCain campaign is to cry sexism in regards to Palin, it’s hypocritical how hard she relied on her folksy charm to try and woo America. She’s banking on her cuteness and should be ashamed of herself. Gov. Palin, winking and smiling does not erase from memory the fact that you couldn’t name a newspaper you read regularly. Americans are not that stupid. Not even the “Joe Six-packs [and] the hockey moms across the nation.” I’m not trying to attack her unjustly; all one has to do is watch the debate. Seriously, she couldn’t win on a high school level with that performance. I counted nine different times she avoided a question and hopped on a McCain campaign talking point. (To her credit, at least she’s learned to dodge the questions she didn’t have the answers to.) Early in the debate, she openly declared: “And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or [Joe Biden] want to hear.” This came after Biden called her out for not answering the question of why John McCain stood for the deregulation of Wall Street. Why is she so special that she doesn’t have to play by the rules? And how did she get away with it? What if Barack Obama gave that same answer?

Honestly, considering the answers she did give, I don’t blame her for sticking with talking points. But she could have at least known when to implement those points. When talking about Barack Obama’s proposed tax plan, she stated: “In the middle class of America, which is where Todd and I have been all of our lives, [paying higher taxes is] not patriotic.” That would have been a logical assertion, if only Joe Biden had not JUST SAID that no one making under $250,000 would see a tax increase and called the middle class the “economic engine of America.” He said that literally moments before Palin’s gaff. Where were her listening skills? Could she not comprehend that Biden just obliterated that particular talking point? She couldn’t think of anything else to say? In theatre they call that improvisation. Perhaps they don’t have theatre in Alaska, only hockey. But I digress…

Palin, as well as John McCain, is hell-bent on staying the course in Iraq. Fine, I get it; the Republican ticket insists on continuing the war in Iraq. I’m just going to agree to disagree. But the last straw for me came when she was trying to rebut Joe Biden’s claim that the central front on the war on terror is in Afghanistan, not Iraq. She argued that the central front is in Iraq. How does she know? Because General Petraeus and the leader of al-Qaeda say so. She said, AND I QUOTE: “You don’t have to believe me or John McCain on that. I would believe Petraeus and the leader of al-Qaeda.” Let me pull a Joe Biden and say that again. Sarah Palin said, “I would believe Petraeus and the leader of al-Qaeda.” With all due respect, how dumb can you be? You are the Republican vice presidential nominee for the United States of America. We are in a war. With al-Qaeda. You cannot say that you would believe their leader! This is not rocket science! There is no defense, excuse, or explanation for that. It can’t be blamed on misspeaking. If she didn’t have the common sense to cut that sentence off after “Petraeus,” she doesn’t deserve to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Period. Again, imagine if Barack Obama had said that?

There is a bipartisan consensus that Gov. Palin is not the sharpest crayon in the box. Her alleged strength is her ability to appeal to ordinary Americans. But is it so outrageous to propose that the next president and vice president be intelligent? Especially after the last eight years? Voters are supposed to overlook Palin’s numerous blunders because she winks and smiles and is adorable? It’s insulting. This is the most important election of our lifetime, not a Little Miss Sunshine pageant. Speaking of pageants, Sarah Palin proved Thursday night why she didn’t win Miss Alaska in 1984: good looks just aren’t enough.