I was eagerly anticipating this series of interviews. Not as the left asserts because the McCain camp has avoided allowing full access to the press, but because I am genuinely interested in what Sarah Palin has to say. She is one of very few candidates in my lifetime that inspire me, so yes I was thrilled to learn she had agreed to sit down for a two day interview with anyone even Charlie Gibson. What I found most fascinating was the lead up to The Interview as ABC News called it. The talking heads were all a flutter about how the McCain camp was hiding Sarah Palin from the media. Look I know we live in a world of a twenty four hour news cycle, but there are still only 24 hours in day and more to the point Seven days in a week. I bring this up because Sarah Palin gave her historic speech at the convention on Wednesday, September 3rd. Yep you heard it hear first! Sarah Palin gives first major network interview one week after the convention ended. One whole week! The media's been whining that she isn't giving interviews, well I could be wrong but I've seen her give multiple speeches a day to crowds as large at 25,000. She doesn't appear to be hiding. Unlike Joe Biden.
The night before she was to send her son to Iraq for deployment as his governor, she came home to say good bye to him as his mother. The next day before and after the deployment ceremony she agreed to sit down with Charlie Gibson. I think they should be grateful she could squeeze him in, but they're not. Before it was announced that she would sit down with Gibson the media had started the cry Why won't she talk to us? She's not allowed to talk to us? The inference being of course that she would screw up on camera and then the Liberals could go back to comfort zone of feeling superior to you know, regular Americans. Once the Gibson interview was announced the comments changed but the tone remained the same, Sure she'll sit down with Gibson, he'll take it easy on her, why isn't she going on a real interview show? So now she agrees to interviews but the Libs take the position that it's just a puff piece so it won't really prove anything. I for one think it proves something. The elite liberal media continue to underestimate Sarah Palin and in doing so show how much they underestimate the American People.
It was obvious from the first released segment that Charlie Gibson thought this was his opportunity to show his intellectual superiority to Sarah Palin. I believe you would have to be pretty naive to believe that it was coincidence that ABC lead with the segment on the "Bush Doctrine". They have two purposes in this; One to tie the McCain/Palin ticket to what they see as a failed Bush Administration and Two to try and make Sarah Palin look uniformed on National Issues. But after watching the exchange, where Gibson asks Palin her take on the Bush Doctrine, I thought she handled it beautifully, she asked for clarification and when she got it she answered the question. I just don't think Charlie liked her answer.
Watching the feeding frenzy Friday morning about her "confusion" over the Bush Doctrine well confused me. There is no legal document or declaration called The Bush Doctrine, it is a media generated term. Therefore it was wise for Sarah to get clarification about Gibson's interpretation of the so-called Bush Doctrine before answering. This is another Media Driven story, the question should have been "Do you believe in Preemptive Strikes to protect our National Interests?" if that was what Gibson wanted to know. And in fact after Palin requested clarification that's basically what Gibson said. Then Palin answered in no uncertain terms that it was the Duty of the President to protect American Citizens and that no options should ever be taken off the table completely when it comes to National Security. See how easy that was? So much was made of Palin's request for clarification that her actual response to the question got lost you could say in "a blizzard of words".
While her skeptics will continue to insinuate that Palin's response was an admission of ignorance or evasiveness, allow me to advance my theory: Sarah Palin is a shrewd politician and knows when she's being lured into a trap in enemy territory so she choose to force Gibson to rephrase the question, so as to eliminate any "confusion" the media may have about her position on preemptive strikes and the use military force in general.
As the 20/20 introduction began I knew I was in for a treat! ABC News opened the "biographical" section on Palin by saying her life story was half fact half Fable. Half Fable? Interesting choice of words, followed by a video montage, suitable for any tabloid in a super market. The narrative was easy to understand; Sarah Palin's Got Scandals! (oh no!) Sarah Palin's Got Family Problems! (insert shocked expression here) And leave it ABC News to find four women in the state of Alaska, where Palin holds an 80% approval rating, who would go on camera and say they would make up their minds after the debates! What? Yeah they never really explained who these women, "some of Sarah Palin's best friends" were. This morning I looked for additional footage that I may have missed in the multitude of edited versions that ABC released to find out who they were and what they thought of her after watching the interview and of course how they know Sarah Palin, but I was unable to locate that bit of information. If anyone has this I would greatly appreciate the link.
As for the The Interview segment of the special, Gibson could barely contain his condescension even when doing the "casual" interview on the Dock. As Gibson stood chest out, head lowered he asked " Little Frightened?" In that you can tell me kind of voice, when Palin rebuffed that assertion with a positive response, Gibson offered "Overwhelmed?" and again Palin rebuffed the premise. Let me ask you a question Charlie Gibson: What happened to excited? Honored? Surprised? The negative inference with your "questions" is a little frightening and overwhelming, considering you are supposed to be finding out about the REAL Sarah Palin, not the one you want her to be.
When they cut back to the sit down interview segment, Gibson seemed all too eager to try and 'explain' issues to Gov. Palin oft times interrupting her asserting his vast knowledge of the political buzzwords. Gibson's showed disrespect of her current post as Governor of Alaska, dismissing her experience dealing with foreign trade commission as "something all Governors do." The more Gibson attacked the stronger Palin looked in her answers. She is a foil against the Charlie Gibson's of the world, answering questions in a straight forward manor that don't require three rounds of smug follow up questions "clarifying" her answers. But that didn't stop him from asking, and asking and asking....Notably the one time Gibson/ABC didn't deem it necessary to follow up was when Palin challenged Obama's stance on Taxes after Gibson accused the McCain/Palin campaign of misrepresenting Obama's position. Palin didn't mince words but instead stated Obama's had 94 chances to vote in favor of lower taxes and didn't. It almost appeared as though she was cut off mid-sentence in editing, then back to Gibson for a different line of questioning. I guess no follow up was needed there.....
Palin looked the Media in they eye and She didn't Blink. She stood strong on her beliefs and did exceptional in the "social issues" section of The Interview taking the opportunity to explain the difference between personal opinion and public policy. She stood firm that she is pro life but respects those with opposing positions. She not only supports the 2nd amendment, she is a lifelong hunter and card carrying member of the NRA. She understands that criminals don't care about "new gun" laws just like the don't care about other existing laws, hence the name criminal. When pressed about whether Homosexuality was genetic or learned behavior, she said I am not the one to judge. The highlight of the two day interrogation was when Charlie inquired about Palin's reaction to the "sexism" claims being made about her campaign, She called the question Irrelevant. She would not be baited into victim status, but instead choose to remind Charlie and the American people that gender has never been an issue for her.... just for her detractors.
I probably learned as much about ABC as I did about Sarah Palin in this interview, but that wasn't Gov Palin's fault. She performed beautifully under intense scrutiny. She knew whatever she said in this first crucial national interview would be replayed in soundbites for the remainder of the campaign. With this knowledge she took the questions head on, showing amazing restraint and grace under pressure. Much was has been made about Obama's post college career as a community organizers, but maybe Sarah Palin should have reminded Charlie, that she too had a post college first job as a reporter. Then she moved on to better things....
The Interview was a perfect opportunity for Americans as well as the pseudo intellectuals and elitist liberals to really learn something from Sarah Palin, respect the rights of those that disagree with you, and try not to prejudge. Gibson and his cronies on the left will continue to look for moments when they can feel superior to the "Hockey Mom" from Alaska, but as we're all finding out together, although the elitists may look down on her, Americans have found someone to look up to, Sarah Palin.