Salon.com contributor Glenn Greenwald has had a complete turnaround on GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. In his piece just published September 25, 2008, Greenwald discusses his previous defense of Gov. Palin’s intelligence…
Sarah Palin isn’t Dan Quayle. She is extremely smart — much smarter than the average media star who will eventually be interviewing her — and she is very politically skilled as well. She didn’t go from obscure small-town city council member to Governor to Vice Presidential nominee by accident. She’ll be more than adequately prepared for the shallow, 30-second, rote exchanges that pass for political interviews in our Serious mainstream discourse. Anyone expecting her to fall on her face or be exposed as some drooling simpleton is going to be extremely disappointed.
Greenwald goes on to express his change of heart, that after viewing the interview of Sarah Palin by CBS anchorwoman Katie Couric, he now feels sorry for Palin. Although he believes Palin is “perfectly smart” and that he is “largely unbothered” by her lack of experience because “judgment, intellect and views and infinitely more important” Greenwald voices real concerns about Gov. Palin’s interview performance.
Sarah Palin’s performance in the tiny vignettes of unscripted dialogue in which we’ve been allowed to see her has been nothing short of frightening — really, as I said, pity-inducing. And I say that as someone who has thought from the start that the criticisms of her abilities — as opposed to her ideology — were much too extreme.
One of two things is absolutely clear at this point: she is either (a) completely ignorant about the most basic political issues — a vacant, ill-informed, incurious know-nothing, or (b) aggressively concealing her actual beliefs about these matters because she’s petrified of deviating from the simple-minded campaign talking points she’s been fed and/or because her actual beliefs are so politically unpalatable, even when taking into account the right-wing extremism that is permitted, even rewarded, in our mainstream. I’m not really sure which is worse, but it doesn’t really matter, because with 40 days left before the election, both options are heinous.
What seems most likely is that she’s perfectly conversant in the exceedingly narrow and parochial range of issues she’s concerned herself with as Wasilla Mayor and Alaska Governor — oil drilling on the North Slope, specific local budget items, corruption issues inside the Alaskan State GOP, and evangelical and religious matters. She really doesn’t seem to have any thoughts about anything outside of that — or if she does, she is suppressing them — and is thus capable of spouting little more than empty right-wing slogans. That’s what makes all the issues raised by Salon’s David Talbot more significant than it otherwise might be — she could be a religious fanatic with an extremist agenda, or a power-crazed, vendetta-fueled, secrecy-obsessed Cheney-ite, or something else altogether. She may not even know what she is, and we’re clearly not going to find out.
… It’s now conclusively, disturbingly clear that the McCain campaign really does intend essentially to shield her from any and all media scrutiny until the election.
TPM Election Central‘s Greg Sargent was surprised at the length John McCain’s campaign will go to prevent journalists from asking Gov. Palin any questions. At the conclusion of John McCain and Sarah Palin met with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, McCain appeared to welcome questions from reporters but refused to allow Gov. Palin even to answer the most basic of questions.
The lengths the McCain campaign is going to in order to shield Sarah Palin from questioning are reaching truly comic dimensions.
McCain then looked around the room and gestured as if to welcome questions. The AP reporter shouted a question at Gov. Palin (“Governor, what have you learned from your meetings?”) but McCain aide Brooke Buchanan intervened and shepherded everybody out of the room.
Palin looked surprised, leaned over to McCain and asked him a question, to which your pooler thinks he shook his head as if to say “No.”
Palin can’t even be allowed to answer a question as basic as this?
What’s really sobering is that the McCain campaign continues to block Palin from answering questions even though it’s now resulting in reams and reams of bad press for the McCain-Palin ticket. That suggests McCain advisers know that letting her answer even the most elementary questions in an uncontrolled environment is so dangerous that it’s worth weathering the current media drubbing they’re taking in order to prevent it from happening at all costs.
Has anyone pointed out that McCain has placed Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency?