Thursday, September 11, 2008

Charlie Gibson vs. Sarah Palin

As many loyal readers know, I don't watch television--except on rare occasions, such as Sarah Palin's first major interview. I break my short-lived silence to make a few points.

We all saw an edited version of the interview. Given the media bias, you can be certain that we saw the worst of her performance, not the best of it. Nevertheless, she performed well. Charlie Gibson evidenced the media bias with a sour vengeance. He scowled at Gov. Palin the entire time, trying to trap her, pressing her in ways that Obama has never had to experience. Nevertheless. Palin held up quite well. She never stuttered (unlike Obama without a teleprompter), gave nuanced answers, refused to step into a trap, and rebounded well when she did not know exactly what Gibson meant by "the Bush doctrine," which he later contemptuously explained. She was honest about a disagreement with McCain on drilling in ANWR (she's for drilling there, and right on that) and said Gibson was cynical in his accusation that she was changing her mind on global warming. She invoked Abraham Lincoln to explain her views of God's will in warfare--a deft move.

She was well poised, confident, and insistent, but without being angry, bitter or scowling. And all of this came after two weeks of intense, relentless media scrutiny, which didn't spare the private details of her own family. It came after Obama likened her to a pig with lipstick; after a Democratic US congressman said that Jesus was a community organizer, but Pilate was a governor; and after another sagacious Democratic leader said that her primary credential was not having an abortion.

Sarah Palin will never sink to this level. Instead, she will rise to the occasion, as she did tonight.


Brian said...

she did good.

While everyone has their knickers in a knot over the "can't change a pig with lipstick" comment from Obama - apparently John McCain used the same phrase in referring to Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan - he may have said "can't change a pig by putting lipstick on it.' So.. I guess it was more comment by Obama in reference to the Republican party?

Southern Dreaming said...

Exactly what I said to a friend as I watched - he's trying to trap her. I wonder if he would do that with Biden.

David said...

I only had the opportunity to see the highlights on the news later. But one part that annoyed me was this exchange over whether she's qualified to be president. It seems like one of those "when did you stop beating your wife?" kind of questions. If she insists she's qualifed and has never doubted, then she is arrogant and close-minded; if she admits that she wrestled with her qualifications, then she lacks sufficient confidence to lead.

Bill said...

You mentioned the perceived media bias in your post, but on Hardball last night they were reading a transcript of the interview (it had not yet been televised) and Chris Mathews and other pundits were noting how well Palin performed even when Gibson was obviously trying to trap or catch her. They said her foreign policy answers were stronger than a lot of W. Bush policies and were praising her for her overall performance. She really did a good job and I am looking forward to the debates.

Bill said...

You mentioned the perceived media bias in your post, but on Hardball last night they were reading a transcript of the interview (it had not yet been televised) and Chris Mathews and other pundits were noting how well Palin performed even when Gibson was obviously trying to trap or catch her. They said her foreign policy answers were stronger than a lot of W. Bush policies and were praising her for her overall performance. She really did a good job and I am looking forward to the debates.

Gary said...

An ultimate irony from the anti-TV bard:

Perhaps your brief poem "Too" can be used as the epitaph on the tombstone of television's national evening news programs.

Tom said...


Doesn't it bother you that Palin's claim to have said "thanks, but no thanks for the Bridge to Nowhere" has been shown to be dishonest? She had advocated for bridge, then once it had become widely condemned and wasn't going to happen she was against it. And she still took every dime of the pork for other projects. See this article on the nonpartisan

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


No. Repetence is a good thing. A good person changes her mind when that is due. She ended up with the right position.


Paul D. Adams said...

Moreover, Tom, dishonesty carries the weight of the intent to deceive. Changing one's mind due to new or otherwise unknown evidence is not the same as dishonesty. The burden of proof is upon anyone who charges Palin with lying to demonstrate she really intended to deceive the Alaskan/American public. That is a burden no one can bear because there is no evidence suggesting she intended to deceive.

Tom said...

Wait, my point wasn't that it was wrong of her to change her mind (although she didn't change her mind on taking the money). My point was that she is clearly giving the impression of having turned down the offer of the bridge, and giving this impression is important for the image she's trying to project, i.e., as someone who stands up against wasteful spending and pork projects. The problem is that she only came out against the bridge project when it was pretty well dead and she still took the pork!

C'mon, Doug, even if you like her and think she'd make a good VP, you have to grant that this is pretty sketchy on her part. She might be good but she's not flawless!

Tom said...


One of us is misunderstanding something.

Here's my claim: Palin is currently saying that she turned down the bridge to nowhere (adding that if Alaskans want a bridge, they'll build it themselves) as an example of her anti-pork/wasteful-Washington-spending cred. She wants us to think that the federal government was trying to give her money to build a bridge and that because of her refusal, the bridge wasn't built. (If you think she doesn't want us to think this, what do you think she keeps saying it for?)

However, she knows that (a) she was originally in favor of the bridge, (b) by the time she came out against it, the project was pretty well dead, and (c) Alaska still got the money but without the string that it be used to build the bridge.

So when the facts are known, this turns out not to be an example of someone standing up to wasteful federal spending. Yet that's what she's holding it up as. And that is dishonest.

Am I missing something?

The Daily Fuel said...

"Repetence [sic] is a good thing. A good person changes her mind when that is due. She ended up with the right position."

There is no repentance. She did not say "I was wrong in supporting the bridge, and I changed my position when I realized it was wrong." She repeats that she said "thanks, but no thanks to that bridge to nowhere."

In reality, she was for the bridge to nowhere when she campaigned to be Governor, and she became against it once the bridge to nowhere project was exposed and became a scandal.

The Daily Fuel said...


Gov. Palin may have changed her mind for the best reasons (though I doubt it.) However, that is not the issue. The issue is that on the campaign trail she keeps repeating the "thanks, no thanks line" to appear as a paladin against waste, without saying that before she was against the bridg she was for it. Obviously no one expects a candidate to clarify the background of each statement, particularly when the background makes one's statement suspect, but that does not mean that Gov. Palin should get a free pass when she continues to use the soundbite to her advantage.

Moreover, Kerry was crucified by Republicans for his supposed flip-flops in 2004. Why should a different standard apply to Gov. Palin? The only reason I can think of is partisanship.

Jeremiah said...

Gov. Palin's interview, part two, aired tonight on Charles Gibson's World News.

Republicans, and all people of faith, rejoice. Our time is coming.

Obviously, Sarah Palin has been sent to us by the Lord, and His Son Jesus Christ. In tonight's interview, she was cool under pressure, poised, and gave good answers.

Only a person who enjoys God's blessings could have handled with such poise Charles Gibson's sexist question about how reconciling her duty as a mother with her duty as an elected official.

The liberal interviewer's question was an obvious attempt to rattle her, but she passed with flying colors.

Her answer was very well delivered and I knew immediately that she has been chosen by the Lord for us.

Under continuous attacks from the liberal media, she was full of the Lord's grace and she remained calm, attractive, and eloquent.

In spite of the fact that liberals are spreading all kind of falsehoods on her and her family, she has been an example of grace and moderation.

Sarah Palin has destroyed the liberal media's Goliath.

In the next few days, the liberal media is going to keep smearing this wonderful woman, and the wise man who chose her to succeed her in the White House when the Lord takes him.

Surely, liberals must be scared to death by the prospect of Gov. Palin sitting in the Oval Office.

All I can say to them is, repent while you can, for repentance is good as Dr. Groothuis says, and Gov. Palin has shown you the way by changing her mind about the bridge to nowhere.

Continuous liberal attacks will do nothing to change that.

Elijah himself, the prophet of God, would be ecstatic at the fact that a wonderful person like Gov. Palin will be inaugurated as the first female vicepresident on Jan. 20.

No matter what the liberal media says, the Lord's will shall be done.

Sarah Palin will be our next vicepresident.

Obama and Biden have no chance.

Rejoice. Our time is coming.

The Daily Fuel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremiah said...

Dr. Groothuis, I am so excited I found your wonderful blog!

Recently, I discovered it while I searching the internet for "Biden abortion dichotomy," and Google returned the Constructive Curmudgeon near the top of the search list.

Great minds think alike, I guess!

Dr. Groothuis, I have a few liberal friends who believe that Sarah Palin will say anything to get elected. I tell them:

"Obama does that when he says he is a Christian while in fact he is a Muslim."

Evidence is plentiful that Obama is a political opportunist.

Sin to him is just an empty word.

Nothing I said could convince my liberal friends I am right.

Obama, I say, comes from a corrupt political culture (Chicago) where he rose to the top thanks to the favors of corrupt friends, unlike Gov. Palin who comes from Alaska and whose past is as spotless as the snow on Denali (her Secret Service code name), which is evident to any objective observer.

They tell me that Alaska is actually rife with corruption,
and they brought up Sen. Stevens who is being investigated (unjustly , I am sure) for taking gifts in return for political favors.

Probably he is being set up by his liberal enemies, of which Alaska must be full, I tell myself.

Or I am wrong?

Sarah Palin is a breath of fresh air in a fallen world.

Todd, her husband, is a wonderful man.

Obama's wife is just an incredibly ambitious woman, whereas Todd Palin, who must be a democrat because he is a union member, stays in the background with his five children and supports his wonderful Republican wife.

Palin's family is an example of the love that only a true Christian family can show, because she and her husband decided to keep a child born with down syndrome.

Palin is so proud of him that she brought him on stage at many events.

Obama would most certainly have chosen to abort a child with down syndrome, since he supports abortion and is an accomplice in the death of millions of innocent lives.

Sarah Palin understands the value of life and is a first-hand example of what Christian love can do to improve our increasingly godless society.

Incidentally, Biden is a hypocrite himself, which is why I was searching for Biden, abortion, and dichotomy when I found your inspiring blog.

No democrat who supports abortion should be able to call himself a Christian, regardless of what he proclaims in public to get elected.

Google should return images of little aborted fetuses when people search for the word democrat, to remind everyone of liberal hypocrisy.

Oh Lord, my pressure is rising just thinking about the liberal hypocrisy.

Promise me, all that you read and approve of The Constructive Curmdugeon, that you will pray for liberal hypocrisy to end.

Innocent lives must be saved.

No democrat must be allowed to win the White House until Roe v Wade is reversed.

Important as other issues may be (health care, poverty, war, education, etc.) they are dwarfed by the ignominy of abortion.

Obama is a murderer, period.

Nothing else matters.

Sarah Palin Will rise to the vicepresidency and will become president when McCain (whom I do not fully trust) is received by the Lord in Heaven (for choosing Gov. Palin as his running mate): that's the only hope to end abortion.

Tom said...


Maybe I wasn’t clear about why I think Palin is being dishonest. Because from where I sit, there’s a lot of evidence of this. (I’m not saying, though, that she’s lying: there is probably a way to parse “thanks but no thanks” so that it turns out to be true. Still, one can intend to deceive without out-and-out lying. That’s what it seems clear to me that she is doing.)

Here’s are the facts (and I do think these are facts that are generally acknowledged—or at least nonpartisan groups like state them as facts).

1. Palin has said repeatedly that, regarding the “bridge to nowhere,” she told the federal government “thanks, but not thanks” and “if we want a bridge, we’ll build it ourselves.”
2. She is saying this to back up her claim to be a reformer who opposes pork projects.
3. She was originally an advocate for the bridge.
4. After the project was widely the subject of ridicule as an objectionable pork project and the federal government had decided not to insist that Alaska use the money that was to be for the bridge, for the bridge, she came out against building the bridge.
5. She did not refuse the money ($330 million, I think it was) but took it for other projects.

I have to conclude that she wants us to think is that, in the name of limited federal spending and against pork projects, she stood up to the feds who wanted to dump a lot of money on Alaska. The facts are (and of course these are facts that she knows) there was nothing here that could be called “standing up” (public opinion and even the federal government was against the bridge by the time she came out against it) and she took all the money that was originally going to go to the bridge. So while Alaska might have been willing to build the bridge themselves, they apparently didn’t have that view regarding various other projects for which she took federal money.

A couple final points. First, I have no problem with a politician changing his or her mind about an issue. In fact, I think doing that from time to time is probably a good thing; it shows an ability to admit mistakes. So I’m not accusing her of dishonesty because she reversed her view. (Although if you're going to make a big deal of your position on an issue that you have changed your view on, you probably ought to mention that.) Second, I’m a political moderate who has real concerns about Obama (I think the lack of experience is a very big deal; and I don’t believe that he’s a ‘new kind of politician’—for the most part I think he’s a good, old-school politician).

Bill said...


"Republicans, and all people of faith, rejoice. Our time is coming."

Hasn't your time been for the last eight years? W. Bush ran twice on a conservative, evangelical platform ... W. Bush embraces pretty much all of the important issues stated in and commented on in this blog.

I like John McCain and Sarah Palin has been impressive, but it is worth noting that we've had an evangelical president in the White House for the last 8 years and it hasn't exactly worked out.

Jeremiah said...


President Bush had the best intentions. Remember when he nominated Harriet Myers, a principled, anti-abortion conservative to the Supreme Court? Liberals derided her as Bush's cleaning lady.

See what happens when a principled Republican president decides to nominate a principled, staunch pro-lifer to the Supreme Court? Liberals come out of the woodwork and start questioning the nominee's lack of credentials other than blind allegiance to the president, and shoot the nomination down (with the complicity of some spineless Republicans who do not stand up against abortion, and, of course, of the godless liberal media.)

This, by the way, is the same thing liberals are doing now against Sarah Palin, who quite reminds me of Harriet Myers, except of course she is a much more attractive woman (after all, she was a beauty queen contestant at one point).

I say again: rejoice, for 2009 will be the year of the Lord!

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...


Points well taken. It looks like the story Sarah was projecting was only partially true. That disappoints me, but I'm still behind her, but now only 95%!


Tom said...


Fair enough. If we were to drop our support of every candidate on the basis of a single indiscretion, we'd never support anyone.

(Having said that, I still think there are other reasons to not be wild about SP, but I'll leave that conversation for another time.)

God bless you as you preach, I guess that's today now!


Bill said...

Actually Jeremiah, both republicans and democrats were against the Myers nomination, not because she was pro-life, both of Bush's other nominations were pro-life, but because she was incredibly unqualified for the court. Bush retracked his nomination very quickly mostly in part because his own party leaders disagreed with his decision.