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Archive for the ‘National Security’ Category

Palin on National Security

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Charlie Gibson had the opportunity of being the first journalist to interview Sarah Palin, after several days of being prepped by McCain aides. The New York Times wrote that choosing Mr. Gibson allowed the campaign to go with “a journalist known for having a mild manner but the gravitas to be taken seriously.” However, Gibson ranged from being somewhat stern to exasperated throughout the course of the interview, which focused on national security issues.

The most interesting moment, which was covered only by the Huffington Post, was in minute 7:52, when Palin is visibly confused about how to respond to Gibson’s question “Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?” She does not seem to know what the doctrine is, and tries to circumvent the question twice, before Gibson actually explains to her what the doctrine is all about. There are other tense moments throughout the interview, but this one was the most telling. It is interesting that a Republican governor who is the Vice Presidential Nominee doesn’t know about the Bush Doctrine, which is a set of foreign policy positions that has changed the course of this nation for decades to come, as it has led us into two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan). 

In general, Palin does not have a strong command of the issues, often regurgitating small catch phrases. However, she fails to make a case for why she is strong on national security, even though at the beginning of the interview, she confidently explained that she was ready to be VP. Even on energy security, which both McCain and Palin have said was her area of expertise, she failed to persuade viewers that she understood the complexity of national energy security policy. 

However, what is more interesting is the coverage that followed. I did a comparison of the headlines from a series of online news sources, including some of the major networks. Here are the ways each of them represented what was a fairly lackluster performance, for the heavily touted VP: 

New York Times: In First Big Interview, Palin Says ‘I’m Ready’ for the Job

LA Times: Palin says she’s prepared to be president

Washington Post: Palin Links 9/11 Attacks to Iraq

CNN: Palin takes tough stance on Russia

Fox News had NO article! They provided the transcript, which I had to search for myself. Here you go: RAW DATA: PALIN’S INTERVIEW WITH ABC NEWS

Well, I’ve been reading the comment boards, and there are still people who are writing things like ‘Oh she nailed it!’ I suspect many did not listen to her evade questions and repeat simple catch phrases over and over. I don’t doubt that Sarah Palin is a smart woman, but thats not really what the national debate is about. Its about whether, she is ready to lead the country, on any issue. Judging by just the Gibson interview, regardless of his demeanor toward her, I would say she’s not. Why? Well, if she’s angling for the number 2 spot in the country, and in many ways the world, she ought to not falter on a gimme question like the Bush Doctrine, especially when the McCain campaign has set the bar so high with regards to experience.

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Written by Veena

September 12, 2008 at 4:30 am

Pit bulls With Lipstick

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If you thought this convention was going to be about issues, tonight’s line up of speakers from Mitt Romney to the VP nominee herself, Sarah Palin, made it clear that it was more about the art of illusion. Throughout the summer McCain had trouble rallying his base, and in the wake of the convention and the proximity to election day, he decided to coalesce and go along with traditional Republican themes. I suppose what is disappointing is that before this election began, twenty or so months ago, John McCain had a reputation in Washington as a Senator who had worked across party lines and had focused on issues like campaign finance reform and energy security. However, in the last few months, and especially in the weeks since Steve Schmidt joined his campaign, it seems that much of this independence has dissipated in a race for the White House. This feeling was most apparent in Mitt Romney’s speech, which was both Romney’s opportunity to appeal to the base, and a way to rouse the crowd, after a fairly uneventful first night.

Mitt Romney’s speech was perhaps the most reprehensible because of his use of fear mongering; reaching into Bush’s vocabulary using phrases like axis of evil and exclaiming that John McCain would defeat radical violent Islam. He also tried to evoke the notion that Patriotism was reserved to Republicans. It amazes me that he can talk about what America needs and then talk about how Democrats as elitist liberals who were more interested in giving rights to criminals. When someone who was running for President questions habeas corpus, you have to wonder if they really understand what America is really about.  This sentiment was echoed forcefully by Sarah Palin, who stated ““Al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America; he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights.” These are dangerous remarks to make, they are polarizing and inaccurate and it is irresponsible for the Republican party to play to Americans’ vulnerabilities in such a misguided way. Since 9/11 the “imprison now, question later” motto of the Bush/Cheney administration has seriously encumbered on our rights as Americans. Romney also talked about how the Republican party was the “party of big ideas, not the party of big brother.” What about wiretapping, isn’t that as big brother as it gets? 

As far as Sarah Palin went, she seemed to be the refreshing face that the Republicans have needed. She was effective with the crowd and is definitely a more exciting speaker than McCain. However, I thought it was in extremely bad taste for her to diminish the role of community organizers, saying “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities,” which was a direct reference to Senator Obama’s remarks, that were later called sexist by Carly Fiorina. Several commentators pointed out that her remarks have the potential to alienate the communities she was seeking to reach out to in her speech. The other interesting thing is that in recognizing Sarah Palin’s executive experience, albeit still rather slim, one must also recognize that John McCain does not have any executive experience. Since this is one of their strongest claims against the Obama/Biden ticket, and McCain is angling for the top job, does that mean he too is ill-equipped for the job? 

Sarah Palin came out fighting, and in her own words remarked that she is a pitbull with lipstick, so I am hoping Carly Fiorina will stop playing the sex card, and recall the cheap shots that were angled at Obama’s character, instead of his policy stances, when the Dems start to fight back. 

As an American, I think that RNC Night 2, was extremely offensive. Mike Huckabee actually used the phrase “man of color”, Palin dimished the importance of community organizers and the whole host of speakers made it seem like Democrats were both unpatriotic and unAmerican. I watched speech after speech last week, and the Dems did not go for the jugular, they went after McCain on the issues. On the other hand, the Republicans, while trying to rally a cry to all Americans, made it seem like they were focused on a very particular demographic. This is concerning, as the latest census shows that in 30 years, this country will be one-third Hispanic and one-third White.

However, I do recognize that Sarah Palin appeals to people in a way that Barack and Joe have not been able to, because I think they seem different, despite their humble beginnings. This is where the Democrats need to improve their appeal. In any case, I look forward to less of the partisan politics and more to some substantive discussions on issues where America is headed.

Written by Veena

September 4, 2008 at 7:13 am