Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 1, 2008
By: Hilzoy

There's, Of Course In The Great History Of America There Have Been Rulings ...

Here's the video of Sarah Palin and Joe Biden answering questions on Roe v. Wade. It's pretty stunning:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Palin's interview:

"COURIC (to Palin): Why, in your view, is Roe v Wade a bad decision?

PALIN: I think it should be a states issue not a federal government -- mandated -- mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I'm in that sense a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. Now foundationally, also, though, it's no secret that I'm pro life that I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country. Personally that's what I would like to see further embraced by America.

COURIC (to Palin): Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

PALIN: I do. Yeah, I do.

COURIC: the cornerstone of Roe v Wade

PALIN: I do. And I believe that --individual states can handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in in an issue like that.

COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?

PALIN: Well, let's see. There's --of course --in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are--those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know--going through the history of America, there would be others but--

COURIC: Can you think of any?

PALIN: Well, I could think of--of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today."

***

A couple of points. First, I cannot imagine a conservative watching this video without wincing. I just can't. Even if I didn't agree with Joe Biden on anything, even if I thought he was all kinds of wrong for the country, he plainly has some idea what he's talking about. The contrast is just painful.

Second, just to repeat what a whole lot of other people have said: not being able to come up with a single Supreme Court case you disagree with is really pretty staggering. There are the cases most people retain some dim memory of from high school: Marbury v. Madison, Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, etc. But, as Ed Kilgore points out, that and all those newspapers she reads are not her only source of knowledge:

"Supreme Court decisions are actually the one area of public policy in which Palin's core constituency, the Christian Right, is extremely well-versed.

Any anti-abortion activist worth his or her salt knows all about Griswold v. Connecticut, the famous "penumbra" decision that first established a constitutional right to privacy, and thus provided the key precedent for Roe. They'd also know about Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the 1992 decision that reaffirmed Roe and demonstrated the eternal perfidy of Reagan appointees O'Conner and Kennedy. And more than likely, they'd be familiar with Gonzales v. Carhart, the 2007 decision that validated the federal ban on so-called partial-birth abortions, with Kennedy performing remarkably gymnastic judicial contortions in squaring the decision with Casey. And social conservatives focused on gay rights would be able to remember Lawrence v. Texas, yet another Kennedy decision, which struck down state statutes illegalizing gay sex, and scandalously (to conservatives, at least) citing international law as a relevant factor."

There are also other cases that are wildly unpopular on the right, and which she might have known about -- e.g., Kelo v. City of New London (pdf). Likewise, cases like Exxon v. Baker (pdf), which she had to deal with as governor, and commented on at the time. (And "at the time" means last June, when it was handed down.) (h/t)

This isn't about being a legal scholar. It's about being able to come up with one single example, when there are a lot of separate reasons why you ought to be able to.

Third, if Sarah Palin were to become President, it would be nice if she had some idea of how our system of government is supposed to work. In that light, consider the bit about whether there is an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution. Palin says yes, which is odd, since as Couric points out, that right is central to Roe v. Wade, and (pretending for the moment that what Palin said actually reflected anything worth calling a view) accepting it also means that she cannot accept the kind of Constitutional literalism that is gospel to a lot of conservatives. But Palin then goes on to say: "I believe that --individual states can handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in in an issue like that."

If there is a right to privacy in the US Constitution, then protecting it is a federal issue. It has to be. You just cannot say that there is a right to privacy in the US Constitution, but that what to do about that fact should be up to the states. Not if you understand what the Constitution is, and how our system of government works.

At the end of the day, though, the story isn't Palin's ignorance, or the fact that she is manifestly not prepared to be President. It's McCain's shocking recklessness in nominating her in the first place.

No one who put country first would have done that.

Hilzoy 7:49 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (82)

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Comments

There's been a week of this, and every, single, day, we get comedy gold, on the order of Quayle correcting the kid on how to spell "potato". Every. Single. Day.

I have to say, the way Couric handled this interview was just the perfect balance of pressing and deferential.

Posted by: Memekiller on October 1, 2008 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

She also says that she's a "Federalist in that sense" and then goes on to spout and anti-Federalism position. I mean, that's stunning. She not only can't talk the jargon, she gets the jargon exactly backwards.

Stunning.

Posted by: paulk on October 1, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Mind if I pile some data atop your conclusion?
Go to Juan Cole, read the short post and watch the video:

Palin on Hamas;
Sort of

Posted by: koreyel on October 1, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Third, if Sarah Palin were to become President, it would be nice if she had some idea of how our system of government is supposed to work."

Can't she just watch that one Schoolhouse Rock episode?

Posted by: ChristianPinko on October 1, 2008 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Sweet mother of mercy. Oh my f***ing God. Jesus Christ on crack. We. Are. Screwed.

Posted by: Steve Schmidt on October 1, 2008 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

I learned two things in that interview.

1. Palin agrees with the court's decision in Roe v. Wade.

2. Palin doesn't know what the court decided in Roe v. Wade.

Posted by: Callimaco on October 1, 2008 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Third, if Sarah Palin were to become President, it would be nice if she had some idea of how our system of government is supposed to work."

Don't fix what ain't broke. We ain't had a terrist attack in six years.

Posted by: George Bush on October 1, 2008 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

It is not "the federal government" which, according to Roe v. Wade, protects the right to abortion (any more than protects the right to free speech). It is the Constitution, to which the states are obliged to adhere.

Posted by: Chris Kearin on October 1, 2008 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

And of course, she believes in a right of privacy under the U.S. Constitution, but the states should decide about that. No conception at all of what "federalism" even means.

Posted by: Bill in Chicago on October 1, 2008 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

How will the usual suspects describe these interviews so that Palin's answers are construed to be more appropriate for a potential VP? I honestly cannot stretch my head that far, even given the usual rote-right responses about elitism, peppiness, realness, ovaries, whatever.

What would Palin herself say in defense? What does she have to believe in order not to be shamed by these interviews?

Posted by: mossie on October 1, 2008 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

When the answers from Biden and Palin were played side by side the difference was profound. Biden displayed intellect and logical thought and Palin just babbled.

Posted by: The Other Ed on October 1, 2008 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Third, if Sarah Palin were to become President, it would be nice if she had some idea of how our system of government is supposed to work."

Sullivan had a line the other day that resonates in neon:

I'm unsure, at this point, if she could pass a citizenship test.

Posted by: koreyel on October 1, 2008 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Likewise, cases like Exxon v. Baker (pdf), which she had to deal with as governor, and commented on at the time. (And "at the time" means last June, when it was handed down.)

Sarah Palin: "I'm not a governor, but I play one on TV."

Posted by: AK Liberal on October 1, 2008 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

No one who put country first would have done that. -- Hilzoy

Ah, but you're taking his words out of context, you see... He never meant "Country First"; he meant "Country CLUB First". But, due to the 5.5yrs spent as a POW (something you may not have heard about, since he's too modest to mention it), he has some problems speaking clearly, so certain words tend to disappear.

If viewed in proper context, his choice of VP was pluperfect. By covering his rear end with the base, Palin will be his ticket to the White House, where he'll continue to take care of his *real* constituency -- the non-elitist Country Club Set.

Posted by: exlibra on October 1, 2008 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

What ! All those words she was using weren't the right ones ? Now you're saying that she has to learn more words ? OMG, how can this woman ever get around to saving America?

Posted by: PatD on October 1, 2008 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

hi everyone its me. (sarah lol) from sedona. i just want to say i didn't get to say all the things i coud have had to say to katie who has great shoes btw. because i didnt have the tiem. anyway about the supreme court i like some of the decisions like dread vs. scott and no wait i dont like that one oops! and i dont like griswold vs. the other guy and i do like gore vs. bush meaning i liked bush but not gore because of the federalism of the states. ok steve shmit says i have get back to work. hittin the books dontcha know!!! goodye and dont forget to vote for me in december love you political animals. xxx ooo sarah

Posted by: Governor Palin on October 1, 2008 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans are well aware that a majority of Americans are opposed to a complete ban on abortion, so national candidates will be very careful about saying they disagree with specific decisions (Did Reagan ever say he wanted to overturn Roe? If so, he did nothing overt to try to do it.) Not that this proves that Palin really knows anything.

Posted by: skeptonomist on October 1, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

It is not "the federal government" which, according to Roe v. Wade, protects the right to abortion (any more than protects the right to free speech). It is the Constitution, to which the states are obliged to adhere. -- Chris Kearin, @20:30

But that's the Constitution of the United States, not the Constitutions of individual states (which, often, differ in many respects). IOW, *federal* Constitution. Decided by the SCOTUS (federal court). And enforced by the federal govt. No?

Mind you, I didn't get my schooling here, my "civics" classes were somewhat different than y'all's (OTOH, how much do you know about the Marxist/Leninist philosophy, eh?). I really *did* have to cram it all, within a very short period, just for the exam (20+yrs ago, too). So I'm not all that certain of my reasoning.

Posted by: on October 1, 2008 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. @20:50 was me. Damn that Abou Gonzales software of the WaMo...

Posted by: exlibra on October 1, 2008 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

What just amazes me is, as these things crop up with each day's offering outdoing the one from the day before, we're now getting entire transcripts like this where not one single sentence is constructed in its entirety by her without some glaring grammatical flaw, mostly of the run-on type, kind of like this one, except actually, if you go back and look at it, this one does in fact possess all the correct elements required to make it a complete and correct, if inelegant, sentence.

Whereas hers do not. They're just dopey.

Posted by: on October 1, 2008 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised that she couldn't come up with Dred Scott, considering that the pro-lifers talk about it all the time (the analogy that they draw is that Scott said blacks weren't human and Roe said embryos weren't human, therefore supposedly everyone who disagrees with the Dred Scott decision must also oppose Roe v. Wade).

Posted by: Joe Buck on October 1, 2008 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Stunning absolutely stunning. I do not think this woman could pass a high school history test. Apalling beyond appalling. When is her appearance on "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader". It boogles the mind -- I cant even tell what she is talking about. Try reading the Constitution and its amendaments. SHe cant even come up with soemthing gross like Dred Scott or Plessey - two apalling cases. Not even some property rights BS.

I know being educated, living in Cambridge MA that at best I am a wine sipping elitest liberal. I know plenty of conservatives who could rattle off a couple of Supreme Court cases they disagree with in about 30 seconds. They are also educated wine sipping elitest and they too are appalled and stunned by shear ignorance of this woman.

End of rant -- I apologize for misspellings and poor grammer but I jsut could not take it any more.

Bob O'Reilly
Cambridge MA

Posted by: Bob O'Reilly on October 1, 2008 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

Not quite sure on this.

Women have the right to privacy but the states should each decide if they can exercise it??

huh?

Posted by: david s on October 1, 2008 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Ultimately, it isn't Sarah Palin's ignorance that's being put to the test, but the ignorance of the American public.

Posted by: beep52 on October 1, 2008 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Palin is positively incoherent. Air-head speech.
She is a woman who as gotten by on "cute" and it is no longer working for her.
As a woman I am sad for all women.
A heartbeat away from the presidency...Yeah--she added a voice to the McCain campaign --an illiterate one. Someone said she makes Bush seem like Aristotle.
CBS just dribbles out this entertainment each day--more and more of her deficient refrains. Absolutely stunning.

Posted by: consider wisely always on October 1, 2008 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the question I have: what was going on with Palin's handlers? The campaign put major conditions on this interview, and they were all sitting there, watching, gauging the damage. Yet, they let Palin come back again and again and again. Which means, either they had totally given up, or they were thrilled with how well Palin was doing, in comparison to the prep sessions, and didn't think they could possibly get as friendly of an interview elsewhere.

Posted by: Memekiller on October 1, 2008 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

I am dumbfounded by that answer. My mind is so reeling, so I can't even come up with some pithy comment to say.

Posted by: Reverend J on October 1, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

"I am so sorry I'm such a weasel"

- Sarah Palin

Posted by: kmeson on October 1, 2008 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Of course what she is trying to sound is the 'states' rights' theme, you know, so the states that want to can bring back segregation, and all that.
I also am now starting the countdown to how many hours pass before someone (with some influence, ie, not me) brings up her husband's membership in the Alaska Indepence Party. Insofar as she thinks states can override federal law, she would seem to be sounding that party's platform, no?

Posted by: lisainvan on October 1, 2008 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe she agrees with all the other decisions

Posted by: coral on October 1, 2008 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

One can make sense of Palin's position on a US constitutional "right to privacy" as an issue for the states only to decide if she is advocating the Supreme Court begin by overturning Marbury v. Madison. Some of Bush's legal "scholars" were, in fact, advocating overturning Marbury v. Madison implicitly under their unitary theory of the executive. Isn't Palin a deep thinker? Wow!

Posted by: EL on October 1, 2008 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

How will the usual suspects describe these interviews so that Palin's answers are construed to be more appropriate for a potential VP?

That's easy. It was a "gotcha question" that shows Couric's liberal bias. Rather than try to explain why Palin spouts meaningless noise as substitute for real answers, they'll turn it as an attack liberals and the media.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on October 1, 2008 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

mccain the maverick would have at least named buckley v. valeo, his personal campaign finance reform nemesis. some maverick she is

Posted by: mvrick on October 1, 2008 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

I've been more sympathetic than most to Palin's situation: the only other famous SC decisions that are easy to "disagree" with are things like Dred Scott and Plessy, which are inoperative anyway and might be seen as dodging the question. Saying she disagrees with standing decisions is a minefield, unless she's confident she knows the political ins and outs of a given decision, and it's smarter and safer to stay away from it. The Exxon decision Hilzoy refers to, though, seems like an easy one for Palin to have cited: as governor she officially denounced the ruling that cut awards to Exxon Valdez victims from $2.5 billion to $500 million. Her statement even talks about eviscerating "deterrence" of oil companies. Seems like that answer would have really burnished her anti-big-oil credentials, and the fact she didn't make it lends some weight the argument that she is simply a totally clueless airhead who should've stayed on the local TV sports desk.

Posted by: brooksfoe on October 1, 2008 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Every person in the country who could conceivably vote for Obama knows that Sarah Palin is not qualified for the VP spot, to say nothing of the presidency. It's been evident for weeks. So what is the point to this incessant attack on every single thing she does or thinks or says or has done in her life? What is the point of so mercilessly attacking this woman? I've heard of beating a dead horse, but this is ridiculous.

I just don't understand it. Explain the strategy of beating this woman to a pulp day in and day out. How does that translate into votes? How does mocking her for everything she does - even playing the flute got ridiculed by Rachel Maddow tonight for God sakes - win the hearts and minds of undecided voters? Hasn't it occurred to the Palin bashers that these people might get so turned off by this stuff that they won't vote for Obama? Hasn't it occurred to anyone that this might be a bit excessive, over the top?

Posted by: hark on October 1, 2008 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country.

OK, Sarah, then come out against capital punishment.

Posted by: Vincent on October 1, 2008 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK


I'm a little confused. Is this the interview where she couldn't name ANY Supreme Court decisions? Because in this one, she couldn't name any decisions she didn't agree with.

Are there TWO interviews?

TIA.

Posted by: phoebes in santa fe on October 1, 2008 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe that she didn't come up with Dred Scott, since that case is another bete noir of the Pro-Life right. Odd.

She really is clueless.

Posted by: John Sully on October 1, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Think Progress offered this:

"Sources in the McCain camp, the Republican Party and Washington think tanks say Mrs Palin was identified as a potential future leader of the neoconservative cause in June 2007. That was when the annual summer cruise organized by the right-of-centre Weekly Standard magazine docked in Juneau, the Alaskan state capital, and the pundits on board took tea with Governor Palin. […]

A former Republican White House official, who now works at the American Enterprise Institute, a bastion of Washington neoconservatism, admitted: “She’s bright and she’s a blank page..."

One of the commenters said: They took tea...how elitist.

Posted by: consider wisely always on October 1, 2008 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

The 'blank page' description is apt.

Posted by: jcricket on October 1, 2008 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Just to put in my two cents: lots of us on the left didn't care for _Kelo v New London_ either. I'm not sure expand the power of the takings clause, especially given the corruption of the Bush administration. Imagine what would happen to the fair market value of your property if some big donor could call in a favor. Sell now at this price, or my buds in the admin will condemn your property. Yes, I found myself on the same side as Scalia and Rehnquist, and yes, I've never felt quite clean since.

Posted by: Batavicus on October 1, 2008 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

She is hurting herself Hank; we're merely pointing out the obvious. If a ridiculously unqualified - and arrogant - person is going to remain on the ticket for the most powerful position on Earth we are going to catalog her failings.

We're not the ones making believe that we read every newspaper on the planet, for example. No one would have written her lines as comedy - they'd be too outrageous. After reading her sneering at "elites" I think that she deserves everything that is coming at her; she represents the know-nothing arrogance that is the modern republican party perfectly.

When one of the opposition candidates makes a fool of herself, repeatedly, Democrats are not supposed to point it out? This is "beating her to a pulp"?

Posted by: Marc on October 1, 2008 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wait? Where's the moron brigade that wants to compare Obama and Palin? The dimwitted clods who suggest that a comparison between Obama and Palin somehow reflects badly on Obama? Sure, trying to compare a Constitutional Law Professor to the mayor of Moosehump is insulting, but only because you nitwits have the nerve to make it, not because a valid comparison exists.

Does any one of these clowns imagine that a guy who taught Constitutional Law would answer these questions worse than Biden did? Let's be honest, Biden's overuse of heterogeneous smacks of a talking point. But Biden sounded like a Supreme Court Justice compared to the train wreck that was Palin.

Come on, where are Palin's defenders? Does her "executive experience" not come into play here? What's the deal. Weren't you dipshits arguing that she has more executive experience than McCain? Or is that merely a paid RNC talking point from idiots who aren't competent to talk about politics?

Posted by: the on October 1, 2008 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Look, any right wing troll worthy of his pay knows that Plessy v. Ferguson is (mis-)used by the pro-life lobby as the prototype for Roe v. Wade. That is, they say that P v. F's "separate but equal" argument is as poorly reasoned and discriminatory as R v. W.

And then, of course, is the recent Exxon court decision -- made while she was govenor(!) -- that had HUGE impact on Alaska.

This absolutely proves, if there had been any doubt, that Palin has absolutely ZERO academic interest in ANYTHING at ANY level of depth outside of social chit-chat.

She will try to filibuster during the debate -- but Biden does have the right for limited follow up and if he uses that correctly he'll make her look as bad as Couric did.

Posted by: Anonny on October 1, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Ms. Palin is foolish BUT it is not utterly preposterous to say that the US Constitution affords a right to something -- but that the states may behave as they see fit with respect to that something. As you may recall, the provisions of the Bill of Rights were originally understood as protecting citizens only from the actions of the federal government. Over time, the Supreme Court has held that most, but NOT ALL, provisions of the Bill of Rights also protect citizens from the actions of state governments. For instance, the grand jury right under the 5th Amendment applies to the federal government but has never been held to apply to the states. Thus, one could argue that there is a constitutional right to privacy but that this only protects against the actions of the federal government and that states are free to legislate in ways that would not be permissible by the federal government.
I am confident that Ms. Palin is utterly unfamiliar with the history of the Supreme Court's incorporation doctrine, and that this was not what she was thinking -- but the notion she articulated is not completely incoherent.

Posted by: mike on October 1, 2008 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's like Mario Andretti versus a guy in a fifteen year old Honda.

Posted by: F'in Librul on October 1, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's like Mario Andretti versus a guy in a fifteen year old Honda.

Posted by: F'in Librul on October 1, 2008 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Dumb Canadian question.

Palin says "I think it should be a states issue not a federal government -- mandated -- mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I'm in that sense a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas.". Is she not rather misconstruing the issue? Roe v. Wade is not a "federal government mandate", but a Supreme Court decision. Or am I misunderstanding something?

Posted by: Buckets on October 1, 2008 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

I would have thought she could remember the recent Supreme Court decision limiting the amount of money Alaskans would get from the EXXon Valdez accident--as governor, she was outspoken about it. Duh!!

Posted by: klaidlaw on October 1, 2008 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Sarah Palin's retarded son is going to turn out to be the brains of that family!!

Posted by: Hugh G. Rection on October 1, 2008 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

How come Biden doesn't know the 9th Amendment?! "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." No surprise that Palin is ignorant of the Bill of Rights, but shouldn't Biden have done a lot better?

Posted by: ltdsgnr on October 1, 2008 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

She is an energy EXPERT ladies and gentleman!

Get it energy!

Just because everyone that comments on this blog is smarter than her, knows more about newspapers and the constitution, you aren't energy experts. "Alaska, is like, responsible a whole bunch of energy fungal molecules."

Posted by: TBone on October 1, 2008 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well, mike beat me to it, but I'll say it any way: The bill of rights, such as freedom of the press, freedom of speech, disestablishment of religion, was not incorporated into the 14th admendment restrictions on states until the 1920s. So maybe Palin disagrees with Shenck v US (sp?), though I kinda doubt she even knows about incorporation.

Posted by: Cap and Gown on October 1, 2008 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Wait a minute. Aren't the states obliged to follow the Constitution of the U.S.? The last time states decided not to do that, it didn't work out that well for the country. Did Alaska earn a get out of jail free card when they joined or something?

Posted by: gary on October 1, 2008 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

This is Sarah Palin as a sportscaster:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/style/features/2008/rhetoric/gallery.html

She has the slurry sound of a high school girl who pretends to be stupid so guys will treat her like a dimwitted sex object, while convincing herself that it's all a clever ruse.

FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

Posted by: Marc Schlee on October 2, 2008 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

After watching this interview and the segment yesterday regarding her reading habits, I think it's obvious that she could answer the questions if she wanted to, but that she's been told not to do so. A person may blank for a moment on Supreme Court decisions, but not on what newspapers s/he reads. I think she's been told not to answer any questions except for the ones you might find in a ladies' magazine in an effort to deprive her critics of any specifics to use against her. The only thing left to say about her ("what a moron") isn't going to dissuade her supporters, and may seem gratuitously cruel to any remaining undecideds. Her gibberish has the advantage of filling up air time, getting her face in front of the voting public, and making some people feel sorry for her while leaving the rest of us mystified as to what she actually stands for. Having resisted being pinned down on anything prior to the debate, she can't be accused tomorrow night of cynically changing her positions or opinions to get elected.

Posted by: Jersey Tomato on October 2, 2008 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. Just...wow. I, uh...no words.

Posted by: doubtful on October 2, 2008 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Sarah Palin is reportedly worth more than $1 million dollars as a result of "land deals".

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-10-01-palin-assets_N.htm

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

FREE AMERICA

REVOLUTIONARY (DIRECT) DEMOCRACY

Posted by: Marc Schlee on October 2, 2008 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't really expect Palin to perform any better in this Couric segment than she did in the previous ones. I wonder what McCain would have rattled off in answer to that question.

Posted by: sparrow on October 2, 2008 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

What just amazes me is, as these things crop up with each day's offering outdoing the one from the day before, we're now getting entire transcripts like this where not one single sentence is constructed in its entirety by her without some glaring grammatical flaw, mostly of the run-on type, kind of like this one, except actually, if you go back and look at it, this one does in fact possess all the correct elements required to make it a complete and correct, if inelegant, sentence.
-----------

She isn't going to blame man's activities on global warming? I should hope not!

Posted by: TBone on October 2, 2008 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

She was obviously caught off guard. If she had her wits about her, she would have distracted Katie by saying, "Well, so what; Obama can't BOWL!"

Posted by: Mark on October 2, 2008 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

If I had to counsel Sarah Palin, I'd suggest that she plead blanked out from stage fright, even though severe docking of poise points would result were she to do so.

Posted by: yonodeler on October 2, 2008 at 4:10 AM | PERMALINK

So now the right wing smear machine is beating up on Gwen Ifill. I always thought she was fairly right wing herself. I guess this is merely laying the groundwork for the post debate spin about why Palin performed poorly. They are getting the idea out that Gwen is a biased liberal (any other kind?) and they will say that she asked "gotcha" questions which is why Palin rambled on incoherently. Oh those rascally liberals.

Posted by: JohnK on October 2, 2008 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

"I cannot imagine a conservative watching this video without wincing."

Hilzoy, despite being the most brilliant and right-thinking blogger around, you are, I'm sorry to report, rather lacking in imagination.

Posted by: Margolis on October 2, 2008 at 5:26 AM | PERMALINK

"I cannot imagine a conservative watching this video without wincing."

Hilzoy, despite being the most brilliant and right-thinking blogger around, you are, I'm sorry to report, rather lacking in imagination.

Posted by: Margolis on October 2, 2008 at 5:26 AM | PERMALINK

and to koreyel:
citizenship tests are elitist

Posted by: margolis on October 2, 2008 at 5:35 AM | PERMALINK

and to koreyel:
citizenship tests are elitist

Posted by: margolis on October 2, 2008 at 5:35 AM | PERMALINK

Beep 52 That is "Quote of the day" - I just had to repeat it

Ultimately, it isn't Sarah Palin's ignorance that's being put to the test, but the ignorance of the American public.

Posted by: John R on October 2, 2008 at 5:54 AM | PERMALINK

Lipstick on Gobbledygook.

I would not let this babbling banshee near a kitchen; anything she prepared would be totally unrecognizable as safe for human consumption, as she wouldn't even be able to recite the ingredients used.

Now, there will be some who may find the above comment distasteful, or sexist, or chauvinistic (oops; I'm giving away my antiquity again with a word like that!), but the greater point to be made here isn't to decry what Sarah Palin is not; rather, it is to expose what Sarah Palin is: The ultimate Manchurian/Stepford "hybrid" Candidate.

This candidate is in no way competent to do the job-at-hand on her own, and that is the way it is meant to be.

The great question to be explored should not be why McCain picked her.

It should be, "Who is the power behind the McCain campaign?"

Common sense dictates that it can be neither McCain nor Palin; the former clearly has lost his sense of direction, and in all probability will not survive a full first term---and the latter is neither willing nor politically capable of demonstrating the cognitive fortitude and logical reasoning prerequisite to governance at the federal level.

Again, I ask, as we all must ask: Who is the power behing McCain and Palin?

Posted by: Steve on October 2, 2008 at 6:20 AM | PERMALINK

I've been hearing over the past few days about Sarah Palin's debating prowess, and that people may be in for a big surprise tonight. Well I've lnow watched her celebrated debate performances and I frankly don't see much difference between them and this Couric inter view clip. She rambles almost incoherantly and says nothing of substance. Maybe that passes for great debating skills in Alaska. If this side by side comparison of Biden and Palin is any indication of what's in store tonight then I would say the McCain campaign has plenty to worry about. The white hot glare of US Presidential politics is alot different than what she was dealing with up north. Her down-home hokum and glib remarks won't mask the fact that woman isn't that bright or informed.

She may further endear herself to the faithfull, but she's not in danger of losing them anyway. I think after tonight, the Sarah Palin side show will be over.

Posted by: Saint Zak on October 2, 2008 at 6:32 AM | PERMALINK

You just cannot say that there is a right to privacy in the US Constitution, but that what to do about that fact should be up to the states.

Why not? The neo-Confederates that are the core of the modern Republican Party had no problem believing in the rights to vote and free speech, and yet believing the states should have the right to restrict them in order to keep those uppity n*****s in their place.

Oh, but hilzoy meant consistently and with intellectualy honesty. As our Republican trolls demonstrate day after day, Republicans have no truck with those concepts. Never mind.

Posted by: Gregory on October 2, 2008 at 7:25 AM | PERMALINK

You know what's going through her mind when she hears "court case"? She wants to talk about Scopes Monkey there. Ohhhhhh. Please Lord let me attack Clarence Darrow...! No -- no! John said not to talk about that. Ohhhhh. School choice! Intelligent Design!

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on October 2, 2008 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

I just realized that she gives this shiny smile whenever she's either unable or unwilling to answer a question (someone with a day off, could you go back and check the other videos for me?). With a nod back to Steve's post yesterday, "A Great Debater ... or Evader," I 'spect we're going to see a lot of that smile tonight. Bring your shades, y'all.

Posted by: tina on October 2, 2008 at 7:59 AM | PERMALINK

Beep52: Ultimately, it isn't Sarah Palin's ignorance that's being put to the test, but the ignorance of the American public.

I move that this be adopted as the "Quote of the General Election." I can think of no other comment that lays bare an issue in the 2008 election so completely and succinctly.

Posted by: chrenson on October 2, 2008 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm in that sense a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas."

Umm, that's not federalism. Federalism is a cooperation of states to run under the umbrella of a unifying government for trade and defense. She once again fails to articulate. What a friggin 'tard. Miss North Carolina for VP!


From the Stanford University site:

"Federations may foster peace, in the senses of preventing wars and preventing fears of war, in several ways. States can join a (con)federation to become jointly powerful enough to dissuade external aggressors, and/or to prevent aggressive and preemptive wars among themselves. The confederate American states moved to a federation largely for the first of these reasons, since the center powers of the Confederacy were too weak for protection from external threats. The European federalists Altieri Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Eugenio Colorni argued the latter in the 1941 Ventotene Manifesto: Only a European federation could prevent war between totalitarian, aggressive states. Such arguments assume, of course, that the (con)federation will not become more aggressive than each state separately, a point Mill argued."

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/federalism/#ReaForFedOrdRatThaSepStaSec

Shovel Tusk Palin in '48


Posted by: RememberNovember on October 2, 2008 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine that Palin is not already completely done, with a fork in her and everything.

What I'm curious about is what these interviews do for Couric's reputation. It is clear from the bits I've seen that Couric knew that Palin was flailing and while remaining respectful and professional, Couric did not let up. She didn't push the knives in, but she didn't pull them out either.

Posted by: bdbd on October 2, 2008 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

"What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?"

Maybe she privately did not disagree with Exxon v. Baker. Of course she can't say that as Governor. The fact that it did not immediately come to mind makes me think her statement opposing it was purely political.

Posted by: John Henry on October 2, 2008 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Third, if Sarah Palin were to become President, it would be nice if she had some idea of how our system of government is supposed to work."

I'm compelled to observe that Bush has always acted as if government is supposed to work like a corporation -- he's the CEO, he gives orders, everyone else obeys.

Posted by: Gregory on October 2, 2008 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon, this was a softball question. What's fundies' second least favorite ruling? Lawrence v Texas. That should be a big, visible, low hanging fruit for her to placate the base and answer the question. To not be able to grasp at that straw indicates such muddled thinking that it makes one weep to think she could be VPOTUS or POTUS.

Posted by: gex on October 2, 2008 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Just to put in my two cents: lots of us on the left didn't care for _Kelo v New London_ either. I'm not sure expand the power of the takings clause, especially given the corruption of the Bush administration. Imagine what would happen to the fair market value of your property if some big donor could call in a favor. Sell now at this price, or my buds in the admin will condemn your property. Yes, I found myself on the same side as Scalia and Rehnquist, and yes, I've never felt quite clean since.

Just because you don't like Scalia and Rehnquist doesn't mean they're wrong about everything; this is a very, very dangerous attitude to have. Anyone who is concerned by the Bush administration's power grabs should be very wary of legal doctrines that give unlimited power to any sector of government. Kelo was one of the worst examples, but not the only one; Raich v. Ashcroft was almost as appalling. In both cases, the majority decisions were written by liberal darling Justice Stevens. If you honestly believe in a constitutional right to privacy, you can't sincerely defend decisions that essentially destroy your right to private property and economic autonomy. (To be fair, Raich was merely an affirmation of Wickard v. Fillburn, perhaps the worst legacy of the New Deal. And Scalia voted the wrong way, probably because there were hippies involved.)

Critics of Scalia's "originalism" would do well to read his opinion in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, which is basically a history of habeas corpus, and an evisceration of the administration's policies. It should be required reading for high school government classes. Sometimes the Constitution really does mean what it says, not what we - or Bush, or John Yoo, or the city of New London - would like to imagine it says.

And no, I don't like Scalia very much either, and I don't want more justices like him on the court. But I'd don't want another Stevens either.

What's fundies' second least favorite ruling? Lawrence v Texas.

Opposing that decision is even harder to justify than opposing Roe v. Wade if you've just said that you support a right to privacy. And I suspect that sodomy laws are a lot harder to demagogue than abortion. Middle America is genuinely conflicted about third-trimester abortion, taxpayer subsidies for abortions, and parental notification laws, even if most people oppose an all-out ban on abortion. I'm pretty sure that the level of support for police breaking down a door to stop consenting (and non-paying) adults from having sex is pretty low.

The aspect of Lawrence that pissed off many conservatives was the possibility that it would provide a legal justification for gay marriage. It was pretty difficult to find any mainstream conservatives who explicitly supported the concept of sodomy laws. (Although it still blows my mind that the Texas government decided to fight all the way to the Supreme Court.)

Posted by: Nat on October 2, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

i have to confess that if someone asked me for specifics on a supreme court case i would have to say i would not be very forthcoming.

most politicians learn how to take a question they don't know the answer to or do not want to answer and use that to change the subject to something they do want to talk about.

she could have said I'm sorry Katie I did not stay up all night reviewing the supreme court decisions over the last 50 years but i want to talk about this and then shared her thoughts on abortion, family, judges, the supreme court etc in general and then talked about some aspect she does know something about.

seems clear that outside of wasilla and alaska she really has nothing to say or add to the national debate.

if she was a great choice or had any leadership abilties then she would take charge of the interview and talk about what she wants to talk about. it is not some much that she could not think any supreme court cases but the fact that she lets a question like that stump her and define her.

if i was a vp candidate in an interview and some said "hey let's see you name the capitols of all 50 states" I would respond thanks for the question but what is more important than answering your jeopardy question about state capitols is the fact that the finance system in the us is in jeopardy affecting all 50 states and the economy is suffering I think we need to refocus our priorities as a nation on thr basic fundamentals of controlling spending and finding a balance between taxes and regulation that allows us to keep a healthy economy to weather the current downturn while finding a way to make strategic investments as a nation in energy, education, infrastructure while continung to defend the country. A key drain on our resources is the war in Iraq. men and women from all 50 states are still iraq, we have to make sacrifices in all 50 capitols and work together to resolve the conflict in Iraq so we can reduce our forces their and reduce the strain Iraq is placing on the nation while maintaining stability in the region and hopefully setting the framework for a sustainable peace in the middle east.

Posted by: del3 on October 2, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Somewhat on point, but not quite, it's always bothered me generally that no one's ever had to account or defend Bush v. Gore, and specifically, why the candidates have never been asked.

Posted by: VI on October 2, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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