Now that the Republican National Convention is done, there is much speculation about how Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will respond to questions from the media that she so pointedly attacked in his Wednesday night speech to delegates who cheered her “here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators” announcement that “I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion — I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.
The interviews with Palin will be important. And everyone I’ve talked to from Alaska says that she will handle them ably. This is not a woman who is going to stumble on the “gotcha” questions. In fact, she will tear into them with the relish of the lipstick-wearing pit bull she described Wednesday night.
I’m more interested, actually, in the next serious sit-down interview with John McCain.
There’s the set-up for the question McCain needs to answer:The talking-point message from the McCain-Palin campaign and its enthusiastic acolytes is, to quote former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, this: “Sarah Palin has more executive experience than the Democratic ticket combined.”
That message was tweaked out by Palin’s chief vetting agent at the convention, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, who claims “the Democrats’ presidential candidate has zero experience. He’s never led any city, never led any state. So our vice-presidential candidate has more experience than their presidential candidate has.”
Palin, says Lingle, “is a proven leader on local level as well as the state level, she’s had a balanced budget, she’s had to deal with every issue from the environment to energy and healthcare to education and public safety, and she’s done it in a way that every governor does, which is: you make the final decision for which you’ll be accountable.
“It’s not like being in Congress, where no one might know you’re responsible,” argues Lingle. “When you’re a governor you’re the one to make a decision. It’s a great, great preparation for a job such as vice president.”
Fair enough. Let’s accept the experience argument.
Which brings us to the question: “Mr. McCain, the argument of your campaign is that the McCain-Palin ticket should be elected because it has more executive experience than the Obama-Biden ticket. But you have no executive experience, while Sarah Palin does. So what executive role will Sarah Palin play in your administration? Will she be in charge of energy policy? Of social policy with regard to abortion and gay rights? Of foreign policy?”
And if McCain suggests that he will put Palin in charge of a task force or a study group, the follow-up must be: “But that’s just writing a report. Your campaign is pinning the argument for your election on the executive advantage that Sarah Palin brings to the ticket. So, again, what job will this essential executive have in your administration?”