I never thought I’d say this–but thank God for Barbara Walters. I have been waiting patiently for the election’s narrative to shift from pigs wearing lipstick to the issues, but I never thought that the usually grating hosts of The View would help supply it. On a day when Obama launched fresh, stronger ads taking on McCain, Sarah Palin’s husband was subpoenaed because of "Trooper-gate" and Palin finally admitted that she had indeed once supported the "Bridge to Nowhere"–The View made the front page of the New York Times website. Why? Because unlike so many other mainstream journalists right now, Barbara Walters actually did her job yesterday.
John McCain appeared on her show Friday morning in an obvious atempt to pander to its audience of mostly middle aged, white women. According to recent polls, the choice of Palin as a running mate has helped McCain make serious inroads with that demographic and he must have assumed an easy, softball interview on The View would only continue to improve his fortunes. Especially since the show features one of his most unambiguously eager beaver supporters, right-winger Elisabeth Hasselbeck. But instead the show’s only experienced journalist, Barbara Walters, flanked by entertainers Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg took John McCain to task on a host of real issues like Palin’s experience (or lack thereof), abortion and earmarks. To say that McCain was floundering would be a tremendous understatement. Take this exchange and analysis from the New York Times for instance:
Ms. Walters also noted that Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin have said that her job will be to reform Washington. But, she pointed out, Mr. McCain has been in Congress for 22 years, the Republicans have been in the White House for eight years, so who, exactly, is Ms. Palin going to reform?
"The Democrats have been in charge of both houses for the last two years," Mr. McCain replied.
Pressed, he added: "The Republicans, the Democrat party, even the independents. She’ll reform all of Washington."