Sarah Palin’s interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson

Yesterday’s episode of 20/20 featured part two of Charles Gibson’s interview with Sarah Palin. The second part of the interview was the first time I’d actually heard her speak for a significant amount of time. I will first present just what she said, and then comment on it.

1. Palin said that the economy was weak, and that what she’d change to improve things are: reduce taxes, cut the use of earmark spending, and increase the oversight on quasi-governmental agencies such as Fannie Mae and all government agencies to find where things can be made more efficient (at least, that’s what I assume she meant by “find efficiencies”…unless she was saying “find deficiencies”…but I don’t think I’d mishear that many times…).

2. She gave words of praise for Hillary Clinton.

3. She denied that she ever asked for books to be banned. She said that the conversation she had with a local librarian was about what to do if someone were to request a book be banned.

4. She denied that she had anything to do with the firing of a state trooper and said she welcomes the investigation into the matter.

5. Palin asserted that it was her “personal opinion” that abortion is wrong except in the case of the mother’s life being in danger. Likewise she said that it was her personal opinion that Roe v. Wade be repealed. She said it was an important choice for women, and that regardless of one’s beliefs, everyone “can agree on” the need for there to be less abortions and greater highlighting of the other options available to women considering abortion.

6. She said she was for citizens having semi-automatic weapons. She pointed to guns being a part of the Alaskan culture as a part of hunting, and that this was part of her world-view. She also argued that outlawing guns wouldn’t stop the people “who would pull the trigger” from getting and using guns. She affirmed that she is a life-long member of the National Rifle Association.

7. When asked how she felt about homosexuality, she said that she doesn’t judge and that she doesn’t know anything about whether it is a choice or a trait one is born with.

8. Her energy focus is on gaining independence from foreign oil by increasing production of the oil resources available in the US.

9. As far as stem cell research, she said she thought it was wrong to create a human embryo, then destroy it, and pointed to new research that uses adult stem cells.

Now, for my reactions to these items.

1. When asked why the GOP keeps saying that Obama would raise taxes, Palin responded that it was because when given the chance to lower them, he didn’t. This is not a strong argument. Furthermore, reducing taxes cuts government services, and the people who get the short end of the stick are invariably those who are less well-equipped to handle the shortfall. Even if the wealthy don’t care about the poor on a human level, they should care about them on the level of their own peace of mind: when things are hard, many of those struggling turn to crime, of which the rich can become the victims. I agree with trying to find ways to make all agencies run efficiently–but I have to wonder what would get labeled as “inefficient”. Would services for the poor be axed as “inefficient”?

2. Obviously, the flowery language for Hillary is a tactic to get her supporters. If HRC were her opponent, the mud would be flying.

3. I haven’t really read much about the book banning thing, so I won’t comment on it.

4. Ditto for Troopergate.

5. Her answer to the question of abortion was very interesting to me in that she talked about it being a “woman’s choice”. While she didn’t explicitly say that she would work to overturn Roe v. Wade by talking in terms of her “personal opinion”, I have to take the evasion to mean that she doesn’t believe a woman should be able to choose to have an abortion. While I do think that in cases outside of rape, incest, and danger to the mother, it would be good to have recourse to something other than abortion, ultimately, that some women choose to have them doesn’t mean I have to. Their choice does not affect anyone but themselves and immediate family. Palin also talked about promoting a “culture of life”. I found this ironic given that she supports guns, whose purpose is to kill, injure, and at the very least, frighten.

6. Speaking of guns, I found it very interesting to think about how guns are a part of one’s local “culture”. It may well be that when Alaskans hear the word “gun”, they think of hunting and of sport, not of crime and accidental deaths, which is what I think about as a member of Detroit’s culture. So how can we craft laws to reconcile these local differences? Honestly, I don’t think we can. And while I do agree that restricting semi-automatic weapons won’t stop criminals from acquiring and using them, I think we need to answer this question: would stricter laws at least cause an appreciable decrease in gun violence? I think that they would, because I think that right now anybody can go out and get a gun by some means or other, whereas stricter laws might be just enough to make it too much of a hassle for the average, petty thug to deal with.

7. I think Palin avoided the deeper meaning in answering the question about how she felt about homosexuality. It’s all well and good that she doesn’t judge and doesn’t know whether it’s a choice or a biological thing, but when issues like gay marriage come up, you can’t just say those things and make the question go away. The point of evading questions is deceiving voters.

8. I found it interesting that Palin talks about making government efficient in order to save money and make government smaller, but didn’t say anything about dealing with the energy crunch by becoming more efficient in how we use energy. She says she’s stood up to big oil, that she and McCain are mavericks, that you can look to the GOP for change, yet their main strategy in the oil crisis is to bring in more oil. That’s not change! Change would be demanding that the Big Three hurry up and make all their vehicles more fuel efficient. It would be putting a priority on new energy technologies, not the same old systems that got us into this mess in the first place. Remember, this is not the first oil crisis the US has faced.

9. Lastly, stem cell research. This argument about it being wrong to create an embryo then destroy it doesn’t hold water if she isn’t going to also oppose all in-vitro fertilization. The embryos that would be used in stem cell research are those that are created for in-vitro as extras, or as a ‘margin of error’, so to speak. Those that aren’t implanted into the client get destroyed regardless of whether their stem cells are used or not. So, without being against in-vitro, being against embryonic stem cell research is hypocritical.

Well, that’s it for me. What were your reactions, O World?


3 thoughts on “Sarah Palin’s interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson

  1. My view is that this woman is clearly not ready to be vp! Her views are too extreme and it doesn’t serve as what our country would stand for which is “United States is the land of free and the land of choice”! She’s more of a narrow minded where as she’s only thinking in her perspective not for the interest of everyone else’s choice of views. Opposing too much thing is only hurting a person’s choice of choosing for themselves.

  2. I take a little different view of this than you. I trust you read the whole interview. Not just the highly edited version played on tv.

    I see no contradiction in what Sarah Palin said about the “Culture of Life” and the 2nd Amendment. She was talking about carrying a child to term. And she has the absolute right to promote that. I respect her for it. And she is right to believe that we should have far fewer abortions. As to overturning Roe vs. Wade, I think I have heard that bugaboo a bit too often.

    Her support for the Second Amendment and responsible gun ownership is another matter entirely. That she exerts her right as an American citizen should surprise no one. Blame our founders.

    On the issue of homosexuality Sarah Palin has a record of supporting gays. An actual record. Something verifiable.

    On Energy, Sarah Palin also has a record of achievement. And while you don’t hear her saying the things you want to hear, I hear her saying that it will be the Republican party that issues this new surge toward energy independence. This might upset the “Democrat” in you but I will remind you that it was the Republicans that brought us the Environmental Protection Agency and the national parks.

    I hardly agree with the policies of many Republican Administrations concerning the environment. But I do know that both McCain and Palin are great respecters of it. And I am willing to allow them to be true to their word.

    Sarah’s aversion to stem-cell research is troubling personally. But McCain supports it and he is on the top of the ticket. So I look for progress soon.

  3. Well, PaganPower, likewise I agree that she has the right and indeed should promote the idea of there being less abortions. In my view of an ideal system, the right to have one would never be taken away, but there would be no need to ever use the right, because rape and incest would end, there would be better health care so that women’s lives weren’t in danger during pregnancies, and people would be educated and responsible enough to not end up with unwanted pregnancies. Of course this utopia is impossible, humans being humans, but we could certainly be more proactive in better educating ourselves and the young ones.

    As for guns, I should perhaps have stressed more that how people feel about them is very strongly linked to what their experience of them has been, which makes it hard to make good laws at the national level. I’m sure many people do have only good connotations of what guns are: things that help you catch some food, memories of going hunting with family, protecting your family, foiling an intruder, etc. But for me and many Detroiters and other urban dwellers, they carry only negative connotations: gang violence, drive-by shootings, innocent bystanders, too often children, caught in the cross-fire. I saw when a cousin of mine got shot when I was only 9 years old. My view of him was obstructed, but seeing the gun fire, thinking to myself, “it really does look like fire comes out of it”, seeing that the house’s gate, which locked, prevented the thugs from getting in, was nothing to impede a bullet, these were very disturbing things and to this day I feel uncomfortable around guns, even if the person carrying it is a police officer. So, it’s cumbersome to have nearly the same laws everywhere, but at the same time, like Palin and others have said, criminals are going to find ways to circumvent laws because that’s what they do.

    It doesn’t at all upset the Democrat in me that it was the Republican Richard Nixon that started the EPA. Likewise it was the Republican Abraham Lincoln who emancipated the slaves, and for many years thereafter African Americans continued to support that party, even when the GOP no longer supported their interests. Of course, I’m going on what I’ve read, since I wasn’t around back then, nor am I black. And given that both political parties are in general filled with wealthy people who don’t reflect the majority of American experience, it may one day be that the Democratic party will no longer have the interests of people such as myself in mind, which is why all citizens need to be ever-vigilant. To give further examples: the Democrat Harry Truman issued an executive order to desegregate the Armed Forces, which was good, but also made the decision to use nuclear weapons against a virtually defeated Japan, which was bad (to keep it simple). No president, regardless of party affiliation, has ever been completely vile nor completely awesome. Even the current Bush administration has had good moments, such as protecting the waters around the Northwestern Hawaii Islands, greatly expanding the environmental protection already in place in the area. But just as I knew Detroit’s Democratic former mayor Kilpatrick had done good things for the city, I knew that the bad had come to outweigh those achievements and he had to go. So it is with Presidents.

    That’s why I think our current system that in theory allows for the existence of many parties but in practice in the modern age just two have any real chance of reaching the White House is a system that hampers any real progress and generally helps keep citizens complacent in the status-quo. I’ve never believed that any politician was going to make my life better. I volunteered full-time for two years in an AmeriCorps program because I knew that given the current political system, no one but the citizens can truly have the citizens’ best interests in their hearts.

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