Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thoughts on Palin Interview

You can find the series of Palin interviews with Charlie Gibson here.

The first segment was certainly her weakest. She was clearly in unfamiliar territory and was speaking from talking-points as opposed to engaging in a conversation. The following three segments showed her to be more comfortable, which (in my partisan opinion) was due to a familiarity with the discourse, as opposed to the substance of the issues. When Gibson asked her where a McCain administration would find money for programs she talked about "efficiencies" but refused to go into specifics. It is clear that the federal budget shortfall will not come from nickel and diming social security and welfare, but from major realignments of the US tax code and possibly consolidating programs. A mayor or governor can fill shortfalls with tightening the reigns of government, but I don't think the federal budget works quite the same way. I see no reason to believe that Palin has any grasp on macro-economic matters in the least.

Gibson asked good questions and Palin gave good answers (after the first segment). By good I mean that they were convincing, though they often did not actually address the issues. Why did she keep the earmark money from the bridge to nowhere? So she was for the bridge in her role as governor-cum-advocate. While opposed to lobbyists in general, she did not seem to have any problem with commissioning a lobbyist herself. I think it can easily be explained by saying that once the lobbyist culture in Washington exists she is not going to fight it from Wasilla, but compromises her image as a reformer at all costs.

She continues to look like a well spoken politician, with no substantive grasp on federal politics. Biden's job will be to engage her as an equal and direct the conversation outside of her talking points, demonstrating a feeble understanding of economic and foreign policy issues. If he can't do it the Sophists might seize the day from the Socratics yet again.

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