Monday, September 29, 2008

Finally Someone who Gets it: Straight Talk from Newsweek Columnist

More Days Till the Palin-Biden Debate

Palin is Ready? Pleeeeeeeeeease.

Senator John McCain likes to characterize himself as a "straight-talker." Then he says: "I'm John McCain and I approve this message" for political ads that are blatant lies. Then he chooses Sarah Palin for his running mate. And she is only allowed to repeat memorized talking points. So much for the "straight talking express."

There's some talk that this could change at the debate, that they're going to "let Palin loose" and be herself. But that's what happened with the Katie Couric interview. We know how well that went. This "straight talking express" is a train wreck waiting to happen.

Finally the mainstream press is getting it. One of my favorite columnists, Fareed Zacharia who often writes for Newsweek and Time, more or less makes that point in a hard hitting article that will appear in this week's Newsweek magazine. This is the kind of straight talking we need.

* * *
From the October 6th issue of Newsweek Magazine:

Palin Is Ready? Please.

McCain says that he always puts country first. In this important case, that is simply not true.

Fareed Zakaria
From the magazine issue dated Oct 6, 2008

Will someone please put Sarah Palin out of her agony? Is it too much to ask that she come to realize that she wants, in that wonderful phrase in American politics, "to spend more time with her family"? Having stayed in purdah for weeks, she finally agreed to a third interview. CBS's Katie Couric questioned her in her trademark sympathetic style. It didn't help. When asked how living in the state closest to Russia gave her foreign-policy experience, Palin responded thus:

"It's very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where—where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to—to our state."

There is, of course, the sheer absurdity of the premise. Two weeks ago I flew to Tokyo, crossing over the North Pole. Does that make me an expert on Santa Claus? (Thanks, Jon Stewart.) But even beyond that, read the rest of her response. "It is from Alaska that we send out those …" What does this mean? This is not an isolated example. Palin has been given a set of talking points by campaign advisers, simple ideological mantras that she repeats and repeats as long as she can. ("We mustn't blink.") But if forced off those rehearsed lines, what she has to say is often, quite frankly, gibberish.


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