Sarah Palin is a phenomenon. She is plucky and, in a winsome way, in your face. Referring to middle class America as "Joe Sixpack" and to herself as a hockey mom, she debated last week with veteran Sen. Joe Biden, who has served in the Senate for 36 years and knows his way around Washington. I have never met Gov. Palin. I have known Joe Biden for many years, and I really like and share his positions on most issues.
I admire Pain’s spunkiness and feel she has not been treated fairly by the media, which has tried to make her look foolish and provincial. When she was interviewed by Charles Gibson and asked the question, “Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?” I thought it unfair. Why?
I consider myself to be knowledgeable on foreign affairs and I did not know what the Bush doctrine referred to until later when it was described as support for pre-emptive military action. However, that term — Bush doctrine — has also been applied to other policies of the administration.
I certainly do believe in the right to take pre-emptive action to thwart an enemy’s attack upon us. Palin later explained, when she learned what the Bush doctrine stood for, that she did too.
When Katie Couric in a later interview asked Palin if she disagreed with any United States Supreme Court decisions other than Roe v. Wade, a case deciding that abortion was a privacy right protected under the Constitution, Palin, having no Supreme Court decision in mind, again obfuscated and again looked bad.
Interestingly, I am a lawyer — not a constitutional expert — and had I been asked the same question, no particular decision would have come to mind. This recalls President Eisenhower, who when asked at a press conference to describe Nixon's contributions to his administration's policies, replied: “If you give me a week, I might think of one.”
On reflection, I would have said that I, most recently, disagreed with the Court’s decision to reverse a U.S. District Court’s decision which struck down a law allowing judges to be selected by judicial delegates, rather than through a primary. That U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirmed the power of party county leaders to select New York’s Supreme Court judges.
I would have also objected to the Supreme Court’s recent decision defining the language of the Second Amendment to include the right of individuals to own and carry rifles and hand guns. This decision struck down local laws outlawing possession of guns, thereby providing an enormous victory to the National Rifle Association.
Palin’s failure in her interview with Katie Couric was in not challenging Couric at the time of the questioning, asking that she further define the question.
The media howled and conveyed to the public that on the basis of the interviews, Palin was not qualified to be vice president because she might succeed to the presidency. I thought the media presenting that point of view was simply wrong and biased.
Then came the debate with Joe Biden. Both candidates did well. One CNN poll I saw reported that 51 percent of those watching said Joe Biden won the debate to 36 percent for Palin. I agree that Biden won the debate.
However, I also think that Palin’s performance during the debate with Joe Biden made clear to America that she is no rube, but rather an intelligent, thoughtful person who clearly is not as knowledgeable as her opponent Joe Biden, particularly on foreign affairs. She deserves the media’s respect, instead of its mockery and efforts to destroy her by their clear disdain.
Interestingly, highly intelligent women friends of mine who support Barack Obama, as I do, were horrified when I told them of my views and that I was writing this commentary. Their position is not to give Palin any credit.
They believe McCain disgraced himself by choosing her and that she is not worthy to hold the vice presidency. I agree that Joe Biden is a far worthier and more qualified candidate. But I also believe it is Palin’s conservative positions that appall people more than anything else.
I ask what would they have said about the selection by Franklin Delano Roosevelt of Harry S. Truman, who now is considered by many historians as our seventh best president. Truman was a haberdasher from Missouri. In his private diary he used disgraceful language in referring to blacks and Jews, and his wife prided herself on the fact that she never permitted a Jew to enter her home.
Truman, as president, desegregated the armed forces and recognized the state of Israel even though his Secretary of State George Marshall, threatened to resign if he did so.
I am for the Obama-Biden ticket. I also believe that in campaigning for that ticket, it is important to be fair to the opposition — McCain and Palin — who are honorable, intelligent, patriotic Americans
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