aardvarkcola

Palin-Couric interview painful to watch

Posted on: September 25, 2008

The interview of Alaska Governor Sara Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, with American television news anchor Katie Couric, went badly for Palin, but one cannot help hating Couric for it.

Palin looked and sounded ill-informed and ill at ease as she answered Couric’s questions on issues she will have to face as vice-president should she win the post. But almost overshadowing that impression was Couric’s usually familiar, smiling Today-on-NBC face, twisted, for much of the interview, into an impatient, squinty-eyed, den mother, get-on-with-it expression, complete with telegraphed gotcha points as the interview went on.

It was rather like watching a rich, connected and rather polished snooty sorority senior interviewing the new poor girl from the other side of the tracks. Couric’s expression telegraphed more than her words: you are not one of us, you don’t belong, I’ll be nice, but I don’t like you and never will, you hopeless dumb bit of trash.

It was a painful interview to watch.

It was like watching the death of America. It is not true anymore. Not everyone can grow up to be president. There is a club you must belong to and the media hold the tickets. If you don’t smell of money and connectedness, and if you haven’t spent half your life as a news junkie reading rip-and read items like a candy addict, then you’re nothing.

Sarah Palin is the last American. A frontier woman who understands the oil patch, has a decent hard working husband, five wonderful kids, and a career, But she stepped outside Alaska and “they” are squashing her like a bug, even while crowds adore her.

Couric’s interview made one thing very clear. There really is a “they” in America.

The interview was painful to watch because Palin really doesn’t belong in this league. You never want to cheer for her. You have the constant impression, like fingernails scraping on a chalkboard, that just when you think it cannot get worse, it does. Palin gives the impression she is clearly over her head and John McCain should really have his head examined for taking her seriously as a running mate. Her experience as town mayor and state governor adds up to squat when you listen to her on issues.

If I were an American I would not support Sarah Palin for vice-president. That has been a given from the first time I heard her speak.

But I am still bothered by her failing. Very bothered for some reason. What may bother me is she is more representative of working Americans than any American vice-president since Truman, who was turned down by his eventual bride when he was farmer. He left farming and asked her again, this time successfully. Truman never graduated college, but he devoured books. He also never presented himself as a working man, but he was born to the family farm and worked it before starting his army career. Much later, Jimmy Carter, who never served as vice-president, relished his image as a simple peanut farmer, but he was far from unschooled. He was a physics major and naval career man with training in nuclear engineering. He has a brilliant mind of a planner (his botched chopper-over-sand attempt to rescue the hostages from Iran notwithstanding). Carter was from small-town people (when he told his mother he was going to run for president, Miss Lillian answered, “President of what?”) and he really was a peanut farmer. Truman never sported a tool belt around his waist like Carter has on many occasions, but Truman was truely simple in his outlook. He wasn’t dumb. He was well read, knowledgeable of history, well versed in geopolitics with a sense of right and wrong. That was why, in fact, he was misunderstood. He dared stand up to a recognized hero, General Douglas McArthur, over the Korean Conflict. History proved Truman right, but at the time, he was thought a bumpkin dumbass who was over his head. One can almost hear the critics: What the hell does Truman know? He’s from small town Missouri, for God’s sake, and is a failed haberdasher, to boot.

Interestingly, when Truman signed his name on registers that had a space for place, too, he never signed “White House”. A contemporary, Winston Churchill, wrote “10 Downing Street” while in office. But Truman put down “Independence, Missouri.” That was home. He never gave any other impression while in the White House. He was Independence, Missouri, as much as Sarah Palin is Wasilla, Alaska.

The point I’m making is this. Ordinary people make up America. Ordinary people make up a democracy. Ordinary people are not lawyers, but they are the ones who sit on juries. Ordinary people may not be police officers, but they are the ones who sit on police boards. Ordinary people may not be teachers or educators, but they are the ones who sit on school boards. Ordinary people run governments that include experts on banking, warfare, diplomacy, infrastructure, budgeting, public relations and so on. The commander in chief of the United States armed forces has always been an elected civilian, always, no exceptions. Retired armed forces, yes, but active service, no. Ordinary people are what makes democracies tick. If you reach a point when it is considered that there is an elite group of people who can be rulers (Couric’s expression says there is) and they are considered separate from the grubby unwashed ordinary groundling working people (read Sarah Palin) to be frowned upon, then you no longer have a true democracy. Instead of “We, the People…” you have “We, Some of the People…”

Like Sarah Palin, Harry Truman didn’t pass muster. In those days Americans were used to the voice and manner of their four-term president. (Joke from Bob Hope during this time: “Anyone in America can grow up to be vice-president.”) Truman’s hokey Missouri manner of speech must have been an added shock to a grieving nation when long-time president Franklin Roosevelt died, he of that great full upper-crust New England accent during warm fireside chats and forceful radio speeches (…a day that shall live in infamy). Truman must have sounded mule-like in comparison. But the country was stuck with him. Not until two decades had passed did the view of Truman change into appreciation for a well-run presidency with some very savvy people in charge.

Palin gives the impression that she is really is one of us, the ordinary folks. Love her or hate her- and I too, have rolled my eyes at this surprise pretender to the American throne- one has the impression that this is the last of ordinary people that will ever get this close to the White House. From here on in, it will be family dynasties, connected people, and those too rich to understand what it is like to need to work for a living. Barak Obama is admirable, but he was never just folks. He attained much from university but the experience polished him, there are no rough parts to him that would survive on a fishing boat year after year in Bristol Bay to make ends meet. He is the better candidate, but he is not working people- no matter how much he admires them, he is not one of them. Palin is.

Palin will lose, and she should lose. But when her vice-presidential bid dies, a part of America will die, too.

I feel sad over Palin hopelessly treading water while trying to answer questions from old hand reporters who have (almost) seen it all. I can’t abide the woman’s politics. I cringe when she answers questions on issues that should be a slam dunk. I feel badly for her. Sarah Palin just doesn’t get it. For some reason I wish she did.

Here is the interview. The transcript follows.

Here is the transcript to the above interview. I understand it is part two of the Couric interview. I have not seen part one. The transcript to part two follows:
Couric: Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin kept up her busy schedule today, meeting with several world leaders who are here in New York for the U.N. session. But she took time out for an interview and we talked about the financial crisis at length.
We began, though, with reporst that Senator McCain’s campaign manager received
payments last month from mortgage giant Freddie Mac, even as was failing. I asked her for her reaction during our exclusive interview.

Palin: My understanding is Rick Davis excused himself from the dealings in that firm. I don’t know how long ago, a year or two ago, and that he is not benefitting from that, and I would hope that is the case.
Couric: But he still has a stake in the company, so isn’t that a conflict of interest?
Palin: Again, my understanding is that he excused himself from the dealings with Freddie and Fannie, and any lobbying effort on his part there and I would hope that is the case, because as John McCain has been saying and I have been, on a much more local level, been also rallying against is the undue influence of lobbyists in public policy decisions being made.

Couric: Then we focussed on the $700 billion government bailout of bad debt and I asked her if she supports it.

Palin: I’m ill about the position that America is in and we have to look at a $700 billion bailout. At the same time, we know that inaction is not an option. And, as Senator McCain has said, unless this nearly trillion dollar bailout, is what it may end up to be, unless there are ammendments in Paulson’s proposal, really, I don’t believe that Americans are going to support this and we will not support this.
The interesting thing in the last couple of days that I have seen Americans are waiting to see what John McCain is going to do on this proposal. They are not waiting to see what Barak Obama is going to do, is he going to do this and see what way the political wind’s blowing, they are waiting to see if John McCain will be able to see these ammendments implemented in Paulson’s proposal.
Couric: Why do you say that? Why are they waiting for John McCain and not Barak Obama?
Palin: He’s got the track record of the leadership qualities and the pragmatism (hat’s needed at a crisis time like this.
Couric: But polls have shown that Senator Obama has actually gotten [sic] a boost from this latest crisis with more people feeling that he will handle this situation better than John McCain.
Palin: You know, I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to go back and look at track records and see who has actually
who is apt to be merely talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for some opportunity to change and who has actually done it.
Couric: If this doesn’t pass do you think there is a risk of another Great Depression?
Palin: Unfortunatley that is the road America may find itself on. Not necessarily this as it has been proposed has to pass or we’re going to find ourselves in another Great Depression, but there has to be some action taken, bypartisan effort, Congress not pointing fingers at this point at each other, but finding a solution to this, taking action and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.
Couric: Would you support a moratorium on foreclosures to help keep Americans keep their homes?
Palin: That is something that John McCain and I have been discussing whether that is part of the solution or not. You know, it is going to be a multi-faceted solution that has to be found here.
Couric: So you haven’t decided yet whether you will support it or not?
Palin: I have not.
Couric: What are the pros and cons of it, do you think?
Palin: Well, some decisions that have been made poorly should not be rewarded of course. At the same time-
Couric: By consumers, you’re saying?
Palin: Consumers, and predator lenders also.That has to be considered also. But again, it has to be a comprehensive, long-term solution found for this problem that America is facing today. As I say, we are getting into crisis mode here.
Couric: You’ve said, quote, John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business. Other than supporting regulation for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, can you give us any more examples of him leading the charge for more oversight?
Palin: I think the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie, that’s paramount, that is a heck of a lot more than other senators and representatives did for us.
Couric: But he has been in Congress for 26 years, he’s has been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee, and he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.
Palin: He is also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party and certainly taking shots from the other party trying to get people to understand what he has been talking about, the need to reform government.
Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time, not to belabour the point, but specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.
Palin: I’ll try to find some and I’ll bring them to you.

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1 Response to "Palin-Couric interview painful to watch"

This is quite a up-to-date information. I’ll share it on Facebook.

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