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 Likewise she said that it was her personal opinion that Roe v. Wade be repealed.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?