Sunday, September 28, 2008

Running for Heartbeat Away

Peggy Noonan well summarized Governor Sarah Palin's status at the end of her Friday column:

As for Sarah Palin, the McCain campaign continues to make mistakes. They don't seem to understand her strengths and weaknesses. The U.N. photo-ops were a staged embarrassment. Keeping the press away made her look infantilized. When she finally began to sit for television interviews, the atmosphere was heightened, every misstep magnified. With Katie Couric she seemed rattled. In the Charlie Gibson interview it was not good when she sounded chirpy discussing possible war with Russia. One should not chirp about such things. Or one wouldn't if one knew the implications. And knowing the implications is part of what we hire leaders for.

Mrs. Palin is a two-term mayor and has two years as a governor of an American state. She is well-liked and highly regarded back home. She rose for a reason. She has to show America what she showed Alaska.

It is true that the mainstream press, in interviews, will tend toward muted hostility. That's life for Republicans. But it's also part and parcel of the game and its requirements. Mrs. Palin gave a great speech at the Republican convention, and has roused crowds since. But there is much about her we do not know. Are her impulses, in terms of foreign policy, Reaganite or Bushian? Is she of the realist school, is she a neoconservative, does she see such a distinction? How does she see the world?

Mrs. Palin is charming, bright and strong enough to be a social conservative in a world whose establishments don't love social conservatism. But she is still a largely unknown quantity in terms of how she thinks, what she thinks, and who she is. And voters must be able to judge these things, because she is running for Heartbeat Away.

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