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Sarah Palin’s politics remain undefined, much less cast in stone. Her Roe V. Wade interview — broadcast on October 1, with Katie Couric — suggests to me that like most women, she doesn’t like abortions; and like most women who don’t like abortions, Palin is pro-choice.

She just doesn’t know it.


What am I, nuts? Well, maybe. But if you, like Palin, spent a lifetime among a majority of ultra-conservative Jesus people — the type you’ll find in Idaho and Alaska — you might speak their language like a dialect. If she had been born in Beijing, she would speak Mandarin.

When she announced her teenage daughter’s pregnancy, she commended Bristol on her “choice.” When confronted with a hypothetical involving a girl raped, and impregnated, by her father — she said she hoped the girl would “choose life.” She said she would never suggest a girl be sent to prison for choosing abortion.

Ergo, Sarah is pro-choice.

Palin can change her stance just as quickly as the information gets to her. In her debate with Joe Biden, it took her under a minute to promote Reaganomic deregulation, then disavow it in favor of Keynesian intervention. True, she didn’t know that she was doing it. But that’s just because she’s stupid, not because she’s intractably right-wing. Put cunning advisers around her, and you could have her promoting Maoism with just two days prep time.

Joe Conason points out at salon.com:

As a foe of Wall Street greed and a late convert to the gospel of government regulation, along with John McCain, Palin promised to clean up and reform business. But when her programmed talking points about “getting government out of the way” and protecting “freedom” conflicted with that promise, she didn’t notice.

Specifically, from the transcript of the debate:

PALIN: We do need the private sector to be able to keep more of what we earn and produce. Government is going to have to learn to be more efficient and live with less if that’s what it takes to rein in the government growth that we’ve seen today.

BIDEN: Gwen, the governor did not answer the question about deregulation, did not answer the question of defending John McCain about not going along with the deregulation, letting Wall Street run wild. He did support deregulation almost across the board. That’s why we got into so much trouble.

PALIN: We did all of those things knowing that that is how our economy would be heated up. Now, as for John McCain’s adherence to rules and regulations and pushing for even harder and tougher regulations, that is another thing that he is known for though.

Palin is an open book. She stands for no particular ideology, apart from the promotion of Sarah Palin. It’s because she has no particular interest in issues. Political parties also don’t care about issues, they just care about getting elected. Jim Greer, Republican strategist, said “I think the Katie Couric interview shows that she needs to be briefed more on certain aspects.”

We don’t need a president who has been “briefed” on issues. We need a president who has been immersed in history and Constitutional law.

James Fallows:

What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues. Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the “Bush Doctrine” exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years.

Marcia DeSanctis puts it well, too:

...no one expects Palin — or any candidate — to give an exegesis on the criteria necessary for democracy to emerge, some demonstrable grasp of history might be helpful in making an argument for why our system is best for most countries in the world. It’s not enough to contend that freedom is good. It’s simplistic to reduce a head of state to the status of “bad guy.” Sure, we all can love a self-made, plain-spoken hockey Mom, but we also value expertise, and we raise our children to study hard for a reason, not to be satisfied with skimming the surface.

Why do people defend the inept Palin candidacy? Because she reminds them of them.

These are people who can’t name the 50 state capitals. They can’t even name the 50 states. They don’t know the country directly north, or south, of us. Many can’t name the current president, or his predecessor — much less explain the meaning and significance of each seven articles of the Constitution, or the 27 amendments.

I can do that. But see, unlike Sarah Palin, I studied American political history and Constitutional law.

There are thousands like me. There are thousands who are much, much better read than I am. None of them was nominated for vice-president. Instead, we have someone who reminds the uneducated commoners of themselves. That’s her qualification. She reminds them of them.

In what respect Charlie?