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Jewish World Review
Oct. 7, 2008
/ 8 Tishrei 5769
Palin is no rube; she deserves media's respect
Sarah Palin is a phenomenon. She is plucky and, in a
winsome way, in your face. Referring to middle class America as
Joe-Six-Pack and to herself as a hockey mom, she debated last week with
veteran Senator Joe Biden, who has served in the Senate for 36 years and
knows his way around Washington. I have never met Governor Palin. I
have known Joe Biden for many years. I really like Joe and share his
positions on most issues.
I admire Sarah 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 preemptive 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 preemptive
action to thwart an enemy's attack upon us. Sarah 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 Governor 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 distain.
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 many
people 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,
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© 2008, Ed Koch