Sarah Palin: Day 26 and Almost Ready

The Sarah Palin joke must end. Palin herself might be a wonderful person, a great (hockey) mom and a terrific moose hunter. Be that as it may, the Team McCain orchestrated Palin U.N. visit was vintage Saturday Night Live satire except that it was meant to be serious.
The very idea that an hour with this world leader, ten minutes with that one, somehow amounted to substantive foreign affairs-only speaks to the desperation of a candidate at the top of the ticket. A guy who, in the middle of the worst economic crisis in generations flips between stating the economic fundamentals are solid before flopping a mere three hours later with the acknowledgement the nation is in a meltdown.

But I guess, for Sarah, when your only previous foreign relations experience is being able to gander at Russia from your lawn and a single trip abroad, experience by osmosis is not so ludicrous.

Although we can't really be sure.

Pool reporters were supposed to be allowed to take pictures — just some sweet, little hang-'em-on-the-fridge-photos — of Sarah's big day with the "old boys club." Only, last minute, Team McCain decides to pull the pool reporters for fear they might accidently hear Sarah speak on something — to express an opinion that wasn't focus-group tested and talking-point ready.

From the LA Times regarding Palin's sit-down with Afghan President Hamid Karzai:

"The pool of reporters, which was to include a television crew, was supposed to be in the room for a few moments — just to capture the opening of Palin's meetings. But when the campaign announced that even the pool television producer — who is charged with capturing editorial content for the five networks — would not be permitted in the room, the networks threatened to pull their cameras from Palin's events today."

Eventually, the campaign relented and allowed a CNN producer into the room for the meetings. But there were no wire service reporters or print reporters present for the first meeting, with Karzai.

According to the pool report from the CNN producer allowed into Karzai's hotel suite, Palin was seated a few feet from Karzai; seated slightly behind her were foreign policy advisors Steve Biegun and Randy Scheunemann.

Two policy advisers backing her up. She and President Karzai talked about his son.

Well, clearly we're in good hands.

On August 29, John McCain promised us a candidate who was ready on day one to be VP. It's been 26 days and counting and Palin has yet to hold a press conference. This from a presidential candidate who claims his administration will be more open and transparent than the most previous. I think about now Dick Cheney's in his undisclosed secret bunker going: "C'mon, go siddown with Michelle Malkin. She'll give you a foot massage."

But, no, we get nothing from the Alaskan Sphinx. The clock is literally ticking. The conversation about the effectiveness of being a hockey mom VP is fading into so many yesterdays. Like a reveler showing up to the party late, Sarah is just getting up to speed on world affairs and the conversation has already turned domestic.

I image she'll have that the economy down around, oh, Nov. 5 or so.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Sarah Palin and the McCain group need to understand that this is not a beauty contest. Sarah is not contesting to be Miss Alaska. She is running for the vice president of the United States. This is a huge responsibility. We should not vote to put someone who rather "win a war" and put the country down to its knees (like the Bush Administration).

Sent by Kevin | 9:34 AM | 9-25-2008

This was a brillant piece and a perfect example of why Black journalists at NPR are misplaced because your real audience will rarely see or hear what you produce

Sent by Black Press | 12:53 PM | 9-25-2008

WITH mccain's TENDER YOUTH...and just palin's BEAUTY QUEEN GLAMOUR, is the REPUBLICAN PARTY writing an four year saga for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.....or just repeating ' THE SAME OLE 8 YEAR GAME ' with all of the taxpayers ... GREED, STUPIDITY AND GOLDEN PARACHUTES.

Sent by Cal | 2:49 PM | 9-25-2008

Thank you Thank you. What a great piece. I would love to be involved in a live discussion on this subject. I do not understand how anyone can be excited about Sarah Palin. We really know so little about her. What I do know does not excite me. She really needs to learn to pronounce her ings. What kind of word is fixin'?

Sent by Jonni Darby | 3:30 PM | 9-25-2008

Black Press Mag, you seem to be saying that anyone who isn't black is not a real audience for Mr. Ridley. Does everything need to be solely about race? Can't someone just be a journalist?

Sent by Gene | 4:43 PM | 9-25-2008

That was the most succinct appraisal of the Palin candidacy I've seen. Bravo.

Sent by Scott | 4:57 PM | 9-25-2008

I hope that the above comment was a joke?

Sent by Black NPR reader | 6:52 PM | 9-25-2008

I'm a member of your real audience (the thinking public), and I think your article is spot on. Thank you.

Choosing someone like Palin to run for the vice presidency demonstrates bad judgment, especially given McCain's age, and shows that he is unfit for the presidency. It frightens me to think that Palin could someday become president because of McCain's bad choice.

Sent by Peter Nau | 10:49 PM | 9-25-2008

Black Press Magazine - "Don't stand in the doorway Don't block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he that has stalled ...For the times they are a-changin"

Sent by Visible Man Fan | 10:54 PM | 9-25-2008

Sarah Palin appearance at UN was just to project her as the leader. But only appearance does not matter in political and diplomatic carrier. Experience and standing is a must.
American voter are smart enough to make their on view. They must choose the candidate who is more fit for this high responsibility job.

Sent by dennis | 12:42 AM | 9-26-2008

His real audience seems to be America. Let's just hope they're listening! Thank you, Mr. Ridley.

Sent by Jason Allenberg | 2:21 AM | 9-26-2008

I ask only why John Ridley is not MORE visible on NPR. These views are spot-on!

Sent by patty | 2:47 AM | 9-26-2008

John, Outstanding once again! Amazingly written and very informative. I'm emailing this to everyone I know. This is a very important issue. We always hope that the VP will not need to step in as President, but as many of us know, the future is always uncertain. The "what if" regarding Palin would keep me awake at night if McCain-Palin were in the White House. Keep up the great work. I love reading your blog. It's always on point and at the same time I usually find something in it that gives me a good chuckle.

Sent by Darlene | 9:10 AM | 9-26-2008

Isn't the real audience the people who read a piece and absorb its message? It's presumptuous to declare which audience is 'real' and which is not.

John Ridley's work is insightful regardless of race, perhaps even more so for those unfamiliar with ideas that are common knowledge in the Black community.

Sent by Dan Z-F | 9:46 AM | 9-26-2008

Why is a black journalist's "real" audience only other black folks? It seems to me that the audience for any smart commentary should be everyone.

Sent by Rebecca | 10:00 AM | 9-26-2008

In my opinion, I am sorry to say, race is the elephant in the room. Sarah Palin's aptitude, intelligence and experience are meaningless to many American voters who want to see a white man in the White House. I only hope that after this election we won't have to stampede to Canada (like they want us!).

Sent by Maureen Mercury | 4:29 PM | 9-26-2008

All black journalists trying to do is to put down whites with any opportunities they get just to get Obama elected. Obama is clearly chasing history, to be the first black president, he has made this election all about that. A true journalist should be able to critique evenly, not just project racial views.

Sent by nprfan | 6:40 PM | 9-26-2008

nprfan, i have no idea what you mean when you say that Obama has made the election all about being the first black president. I am not aware of any comments or insinuations he has made that illustrate your point. It seems to me that as soon as someone points out weaknesses in the McCain-Palin ticket, you are the ones who starts playing the race card. Not that I care about the race or gender of any of the candidates, but was not McCain making a bid to 'chase history', to have the 'first female VP', and 'make the election about gender'?

Sent by TonyK | 10:03 PM | 9-26-2008

Could this all be a way to lower expectations for the VP debate? No one could be as silly and stupid as she appears to be in the Couric interview.

Sent by Michael | 3:33 PM | 9-27-2008

With all due respect, why isn't Obama's foreign policy experience receiving the same scrutiny? What foreign policy experience did Clinton, Carter or other presidents bring to the table? None, as I recall. Obama has charisma and is able to criticize because he has no record. Double standard, if you ask me....

Sent by LC | 4:43 PM | 9-27-2008

This article plus Kathleen Parker's hopefully will persuade people not to vote McCain/Palin. Too much is at stake, and we cannot take a chance on Palin. Or McCain for that matter. He certainly has not used good judgment.

Sent by ccarlto1 | 6:25 PM | 9-27-2008

John McCain must have been watching Cartoon Network. He picked PINKY to be his running mate. Unfortunately, the BRAIN is missing!

Sent by Bennett | 6:46 PM | 9-27-2008

I am confused and surprised by the statement that was made by the Black Press Magazine. If I had found this particular piece crumpled up on the floor in a busy public place and I picked it up and read it, and there was no author's name on it, I would say "This is brilliant!" I would have no idea from reading it the gender or race of the author. Does that really matter? If it does, then we are never going to move on to the important issues in this country and this world.

Sent by Darlene | 6:54 PM | 9-27-2008

Interesting there aren't any dissenting opinions on this article. Have our news mediums become that polarized in America? We go to certain media outlets just because we know they will tickle our ears and reinforce what we already think. Attacking Palin's foreign affairs experience seems to be a smoke screen taking the attention off of Obama's own deficiency in this area.

Sent by Repubocrat | 12:20 AM | 9-28-2008

I am a professional, middle aged white woman who lives in the rural midwest and in no way does Palin represent me in any way, shape or fact the whole idea of her being on any ticket is embarrassing to me. I don't find her attractive or intelligent and honestly her voice is like fingernails on a chalk board...sorry to sound so superficial but that is how it is.
McCain is truly losing it...

Sent by jrmcrna | 8:00 AM | 9-28-2008

Obama "has made all about".......what? "To be the first black president"?? Nonsense!!

Sent by Beny Flores | 9:02 AM | 9-28-2008

Does anyone read the newspapers anymore? Cynthia Tucker (Universal Press Syndicare) and Thomas Sewell (Washington Post's Writers Group) very often are side by side in the Huntsville (AL) Times. These columnists write very informative and insightful reads. By the way, these columnists happen to be black and probably disagree on a lot of things. I'm just a white reader trying to find the candidate who will keep us out of the most trouble.

Sent by Peggy Olyniec | 12:38 PM | 9-28-2008

Wow, nprfan, Palin is far from qualified in a cabinet post let alone VP. There are many white people that find his views spot on. You may want to look in the mirror about how one sees racial views. McCains appointment of Palin shows he has a poor ability to bring qualified people into his administration. By the way Obama is not chasing history, he is the future.

Sent by Stephen | 12:55 PM | 9-28-2008

Hmmm. I must say that the more I see of Sarah Palin, the more reservations I have. However, all the assumptions about John McCain kicking the bucket and leaving her in charge represent clear age discrimination and a disgregard for the facts about average life span the American male. Of course, none of us is guaranteed to be here tomorrow. That would bring us to the other candidate. He is charismatic, intelligent and inspires so much hope. He too is inexperienced - has there ever been a candidate with less experience? I anticipate that his intelligence will make him a quick study and that he will make wise choices for his cabinet. What if he should die? His replacement, Joe Biden, certainly garnered a pitiful bit of support in his bid for presidency from the democratic party. His own did not want him. Obama missed the opportunity to make a wise choice on that one.

Sent by Ale | 2:53 PM | 9-28-2008

To nprfan:

Your comment above alone is completely racist. I am surprised someone as ignorant and unintellectual as you even listens to or reads NPR online. You seem like someone fit more to get their "factual news" on FOX News or from The Post. Educate yourself on the state of affairs in the world. Sarah Palin is an insult to the American people. Our economy is obliterated, we are at war with a country who has done nothing to us, killing 4,000 of our own soldiers and over 100,000 Iraqis, spend a billion dollars a day of our own tax dollars on this; the Taliban is building their troops, we are celebrating the seventh year of Bin Laden not being caught and you are going to state that Obama is all about getting elected because he is black?! How about Obama should be president because he is the wisest, soundest, most rational, intellectual choice?

Maybe if we made the people who run for office, who are supposed to represent our needs have to take an IQ test, we wouldn't be even discussing McCain or Palin right now.

Sent by thesage | 6:37 PM | 9-28-2008

What previous foreign relations experience does Mr Obama have? Or am I allowed to ask that question.

Sent by Wesley | 1:30 AM | 9-29-2008

Thanks for the article. People nowadays prefer charm to charisma. I am not white nor black. But I found your message more 'color'-blinded than 'color' sensitive.

Sent by noris | 1:21 PM | 9-30-2008

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