Sunday, September 7, 2008

Desperately Seeking Sarah

Not the GOP nominee for vice president, but she could play one on TV

America is in love--again. Remember how we loved Vivian Ward, the pretty woman in Pretty Woman? And who could forget Maggie Carpenter, the runaway bride in Runaway Bride? Or Tess Ocean, the twelfth ocean in Ocean's Twelve? But then there's my personal favorite: Erin Brockovich, who was Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich.

But none of those women--not Vivian, Maggie, Tess, nor Erin--none of them have touched our collective heart with their honesty, integrity, their sheer 'niceness' like Sarah Palin has. I mean come on! This hockey mom who puts lipstick on a pit bull has embraced us all to her discreet (yet still alluring) bosom. We love her. And why shouldn't we love her? In the immortal words of Billy Crystal: 'It's not how you are--it's how you look. And you look Mahvelous!'

And yet--not to be Captain Alienation--but as charming and groovy as Erin, Tess, Maggie, and Vivian were, those were not real people (Okay, Erin was a real person, but I mean the MOVIE Erin. YOU stop Captain Alienation). It was the person who played Vivian, Maggie, Tess and Erin who hit all her marks, and spoke her lines brilliantly, that was the real person. Who can say for sure if that ACTRESS really is all that? Similarly, in accepting the GOP nomination for Vice President, Sarah Palin read her teleprompter almost flawlessly, and hit all her marks. But is that Sarah the hockey mom cum a heartbeat from the most powerful person on earth that we think she is? How can we know for sure? Just because she looks mahvelous, does that mean she really is mahvelous?

Here's an idea: why not just ask her? Now, I know what you all are thinking: Big Genius, like no one's thought of THAT before. What might surprise you is that apparently, no one at the McCain-Palin campaign has thought of it (start writing those apologies for making fun of me). How many interviews has Governor Palin given, since she was named John McCain's vice president? It rhymes with 'zero.' At all her press conferences, media events, speeches, etc. etc., how many questions has she taken from the legions of press? Hint: It's what a fat boy ought to have for lunch. On September 7, three people are on a battery of news shows getting their grills grilled by miscellaneous news hawks: Senator Obama, Senator McCain, and Senator Bidden. Where's Waldo?

But I'm not the only one thinking along these lines. Since naming Governor Palin as Veep, the McCain campaign is receiving between 80-100 requests a day for interviews from news organizations all over the world. But for some reason, they can't find one they like. There is one publication that will be reporting a brief Q&A, along with a 'lifestyle feature on the Governor's life as a working mother running a statehouse and her own house.' The publication? No, not Foreign Affairs. It's People magazine. Larry Hackett, managing editor of People, was quoted as saying 'we have a different job' than political publications. 'Are we going to ask about Pakistan?' Larry asked rhetorically. To save you the suspense, Larry went on to explain that no, People Magazine would not be asking about Pakistan, because Pakistan is not a focus for their readers. I guess the assembled commentators and reporters forgot to ask Mr. Hackett which country armed with nuclear weapons whose government just collapsed and could erupt in civil war had the 'focus' of People magazine readers.

Now, I KNOW Governor Palin isn't going to Washington to win the good opinion of all those commentators and reporters. Unfortunately, Governor Palin won't take my calls, forget about answering a couple of questions. Believe you me, I got a few. So, like it or not, both me and Governor Palin have to depend on all those reporters and commentators--regardless of opinions good, bad or otherwise--as matchmakers.

So------Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make me a match! If and when La Belle Sarah deigns to have a tete-a-tete, here's my shopping list--better known as 'Everything You Want to Know About Governor Palin, and Shouldn't Be Afraid to Ask:

1. During the GOP convention, you said that you told congress 'thanks, but no thanks' on building the bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina Island, the so-called 'Bridge to Nowhere,' and that if Alaskans want to build a bridge, you'll build it yourselves. Did you send that $220 million in federal funds back to the treasury? Or did you spend it on some other public works project in Alaska?

2. In both your speeches and Senator McCain's speeches, congressional earmarks were singled out for particular scorn. Don't you think it's somewhat unusual for the Governor of Alaska, the state that receives over twice the per capita national average in earmark funds to be speaking out against the system?

3. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens expressly fought the criticism of Senator McCain to secure funding for the 'Bridge to Nowhere.' Senator Stevens is up for reelection this year. Will you endorse his reelection? Are you aware the web site for his campaign features a photo of you standing next to him, implying that you do support him?

4. Senator Stevens is currently under a seven count federal indictment, facing trial over a 'remodel' that nearly doubled the size of the Stevens' family home. Are you endorsing Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, the Democrat running against Senator Stevens? If you don't endorse Mayor Begich, how do you reconcile your support of Senator Stevens with you being a 'reformer'?

5. Your campaign continues to bill you as a 'hockey mom,' and that you solidly support 'family values.' Because your family is a strong basis of your appeal to America, why do you think it's improper to ask about your seventeen year old daughter being five months pregnant, or why your son spent his high school senior year not in Wasilla, but in Michigan--ostensively to play hockey in front of 'college scouts'? Why isn't your son going to college?

6. When Alaska Representative Don Young comes up for reelection, will you endorse him?

7. You and Senator McCain are running on a campaign to 'change' Washington. Do you think it's unusual that you are endorsed by President Bush, the sitting President for the last eight years? Would you ever consider rejecting his endorsement?

8. You are critical about high federal spending, specifically attacking the $3 million allocated for study of grizzly bears. How do you feel about the $12 to $15 billion a month being spent for the war in Iraq? Since the March 2003 invasion, over $550 billion has been spent on the war. Mr. Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winning economist, has conservatively estimated the Iraq war will cost over three trillion dollars. As a reformer, what dollar amount is the point when you would decide that enough is enough, and stop that level of spending?

9. You are on record as opposing abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, only allowing abortion if the life of the mother was threatened. In a McCain-Palin administration, would you appoint federal judges who disagreed with your view? Will abortion be a litmus test for any potential Supreme Court appointees?

10. Studies have shown that schools with 'abstinence only' sex education programs have a higher pregnancy rate than programs that include contraception. Wouldn't you agree that abstinence only education is not sufficient to reduce teen pregnancy (cough cough)? Would you block federal funds to health care agencies, either here in the US or internationally, that gave family planning counseling?

11. What is your plan for rebuilding New Orleans, and replacing the lost wetlands that formed a natural break for hurricanes?

12. Do you think our balance of trade payments with China is a problem? If it is a problem, how do you propose to address it?

13. Regarding health insurance, Senator McCain has presented what he calls a market based solution to address the problems of the uninsured. However, many people do not have health insurance, because no company will insure them at any price. Do you have a plan to address that?

14. President Bush wants to build 'anti-missile' missile batteries in Poland, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe to protect against 'rogue states.' Do you endorse that program? Do you believe those missiles will work ie stopping a bullet with a bullet? Who are the rogue nations that you believe have developed ballistic missiles to the point justifying such a system?

15. President Bush unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Do you agree with his action?

16. I know People meant to ask you this, but what is your opinion about Pakistan? What can be done to stabilize that democracy?

17. Of the 774 'worst of the worst' that were imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, over half have either been released, or are awaiting release because they are innocent. To date, two have been convicted, and only of relatively minor charges. Will you close that prison camp?

Oh, you get the idea.....I really could go on forever. And I will---if anyone asks me to....waiting.....waiting...still waiting...It's not too late......

But here's my last question:

Governor Palin, are you ever going to do anything with those glasses? They really bug me.

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