Palin criticized for the wrong reasons
John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, purports some pretty scary views. She believes that a woman who has an abortion is a criminal. She believes that certain books should be banned from public libraries. She sees nothing wrong with civilians owning AK-47 assault rifles. She thinks creationism should be taught in schools, rejecting the dictates of our founding fathers who believed that matters of church and state should be separate. She is okay with staying in Iraq for 100 years, and for the United States to keep murdering innocent Iraqi civilians, all because the war is part of “God’s plan.” She rejects overwhelming scientific evidence about the global-warming crisis. And, speaking of protecting the environment, Palin wants to drill for oil in a wildlife refuge. Even the man at the top of her ticket is against that. Clearly, Palin gives us plenty of things to criticize, and lots of reasons not to vote for her in November. Instead, the media has focused on four issues, none of which have merit or relevance. Issue 1: Palin opposed sex education in schools, saying that parents should teach abstinence. Yet, the governor’s 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant and unwed. Issue 2: Palin’s husband Todd was arrested for drunk driving. Let’s address these first two issues together. As Sen. Barack Obama said, “We don’t go after a candidate’s family.” Translation: Even if Palin’s daughter and husband had gone on a shooting spree in a shopping mall, that doesn’t have anything to do with Sarah’s ability to govern. Moreover, Todd’s DWI occurred when he was 22 years old, a fact that US Weekly omitted in its recent inflammatory cover story. And the broadcast media in particular was shameful in its dogged coverage of Todd’s daughter, who committed no crime, and who had made plans months earlier to marry the father of her unborn child. Also, the media kept harping on how Palin couldn’t possibly be a good mother and be vice president at the same time. Those same journalists never once asked Bill Clinton or Obama if they could be good fathers and be president at the same time. Issue 3: Palin’s staff complained to the Alaska Commissioner of Public Safety about threats from the governor’s ex-brother-in-law (an Alaska state trooper). The commissioner ignored the complaints, and soon found himself out of a job. CNN reporters and anchors fell all over themselves in an effort to get the scoop on this so-called scandal. In the process, they botched nearly every report, including a morning anchor saying that Palin had fired the trooper, and Larry King saying that Palin had fired a “sheriff.” CNN also was the first to attach the moniker “Troopergate” to this non-story. The truth is that the trooper and Palin’s sister had been engaged in a bitter custody battle in which it was revealed that he had tasered his own son (Palin’s nephew) and allegedly threatened to kill the governor’s father. At no time did Palin call the commissioner and ask that her ex-brother-in-law be fired. And there has never been any hint that Palin herself did anything wrong. All we have is a legislative investigation launched by partisan politicians. Yet In spite of these facts, one CNN pundit joked, “We won’t have to worry about her being vice president if she’s in jail.” Well, Palin is a better person than I am. If someone were threatening my family, I would borrow the governor’s AK-47 and get revenge. And if the news media were smearing me over something I didn’t do, I would hire a team of powerful attorneys to sue them for malicious defamation. Issue 4: Palin can’t possibly be qualified to run for vice president (or ascend to the presidency in the event of McCain’s death), because she is just the governor of Alaska. Having worked closely with five governors and on special projects with 19 others, I can tell you that the least among those on his or her worst day had more experience than McCain, Sen. Joe Biden and Obama put together. Governors can deploy the National Guard to quell riots or protect borders. Governors are on the front line in dealing with natural disasters. Governors set budgets and levy taxes. Governors oversee maximum security prisons and can order stays of execution. Governors can be directly involved in negotiating trade pacts with other nations. Governors direct state policy for public education. And Governors administer health and human services. Meanwhile, US senators attend hearings and take trips overseas. Pretty pale in comparison to Sarah Palin’s duties and responsibilities. And Palin is more adept with energy policies and problems that any other national candidate, evidenced by the gas pipeline project which she initiated after a 30-year gridlock. Democrats and the left-leaning news media need to cease and desist, especially CNN’s obnoxious Campbell Brown, who was repeatedly belligerent with a number of Palin defenders. The Alaska governor is, in fact, qualified to be vice president or president, as much as Lincoln, Carter and Clinton, and more than Obama or Biden. So here’s my advice to the news media, and to Democratic pundits: if you want to oppose or criticize Palin, there’s plenty of fodder for your cannon. Just be sure to stick to her actual views, which are reason enough to vote for Obama or Nader this fall. If not, you run the risk of alienating and mobilizing millions of women who, regardless of their politics, might pull the lever for Palin if they continue to be bombarded by sexist reporting on the part of the mainstream media. Women just don’t like to be patronized by men. I know this because my wife explains it to me everyday in words that I can understand.
Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).