Sarah Palin may not be ready to be president,

in my opinion she isn’t, but on the evidence of tonight’s ABC interview she’s ready to go head-to-head with Charles Gibson. Palin handled the portion of the interviewed that aired tonight well enough that the only glove laid on her occurred during a hit-piece ABC aired before the interview.

The hit-piece was a compendium of various meaningless or trivial anti-Palin talking points — she attended four colleges, she received reimbursement from the state for her expenses, etc.

Has ABC done this sort of thing to Obama and Biden? For example, has it reported that around the time Palin was attending her various colleges Biden was engaging in plagiarism? Has ABC reported that Biden was near the bottom of his class at Syracuse law school but pretended otherwise? Not to my knowledge.

The hit-piece did mention that Palin’s approval rating in Alaska is 80 percent. But ABC never provided a clue as to why that’s the case. Doing so would have required it to say something positive about Palin. ABC did present one woman who said Palin “is as honest as the day is long” (this is particularly big praise in Alaska). But that was only by way of trying to show how people who like and respect her are undecided (as this woman, at least, was) about whether to support the Republican ticket.

As for the interview, it consisted mostly of Gibson reading a talking point in the form of a question, Palin responding with her talking point (but with excellent demeanor), and Gibson moving on to his next point.

The one place where Gibson pressed Palin was on the economy. He demanded to hear three things she would do to help our “very sick” economy. After talking around the question for a short while, Palin said (1) reduce taxes, (3) reduce spending, and (3) provide better oversight over agencies. When pressed on the second and third points (which tended to merge), Palin basically argued against wasteful spending by government departments. As economic cures go, this is pretty lame, but not much more so than Obama’s claim during his speech in Denver that he would pay for his spending programs by curbing waste and abuse.

The bottom line, I think, is that Palin was able to stay on the campaign’s reformist message while providing a passable answer to Gibson’s question. Whether she knows much about economics (McCain once said he would be looking for economic expertise in a vice president) is another matter.

My favorite part of the interview concerned the Bridge To Nowhere. Undaunted by the MSM’s narrative, Palin raised the subject and touted her role. Naturally, Gibson pounced. Stating that Palin once supported the bridge and changed her stance only after the Bridge had become an embarrassment, Gibson asked Palin whether she wanted to “revise and extend” her remarks. Palin was having none of it. She noted, correctly, that it was the state’s (i.e., her) decision not to use federal money to build the bridge, and that the state quite properly kept the money to use for more worhwhile infrastructure.

Gibson asked Palin a series of questions on social issues. Palin stuck to her right-wing guns, but perhaps minimized the fall-out by being so pleasant about it. She insisted that her views were personal and would not necessarily be reflected in a McCain administration, inasmuch as McCain does not agree with some of them. She also declined to speculate about the origins of homosexuality, and instead expressed respect for diversity.

The final question was whether Palin thinks it’s sexist to question whether she can be the vice president while dealing with five children and a grandchild. Palin’s answer was perfect — she said she can handle the responsibilities of her family and her office just as other other top elected officials do, but she avoided directly addressing the “sexism” issue. For anyone with an open mind on this question, I think she scored big with this answer.

Overall, as one might expect, Palin handles questions about herself very well, questions about her time as governor well, and questions about policy less well. But with her sunny, likeable demeanor, and the gender card so far working in her favor, “less well” might be good enough to get by until election day.

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