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 Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is it Worth for the Media Covering Sarah Palin At All?

  Read here article by Sara Murray and Gerald F. Seib

Given that it now appears Gov. Sarah Palin will finish the campaign without ever holding a press conference or making an appearance on the Sunday interview shows, Christopher Hitchens, writing on Slate, wonders whether the press should even continue to cover her.

Noting that Sen. Lindsey Graham, an adviser to Sen. John McCain, in early September offered a promise that Palin would be made available, Hitchens writes:

“If it is not kept, then why should the press and the networks continue to cover
a candidate who could, for all we know, be Angela Lansbury?”
Hitchens writes that, when she was named,

“I rather feebly took the line that one should give her the benefit of the doubt
and not be condescending, but it does now begin to look as if most of what she
claimed for herself, from the ‘bridge to nowhere’ to the ‘troopergate’ business,
was very questionable at best, and much of what her critics said was essentially

...The problem with Gov. Palin is not that she lacks experience. It’s that she
quite plainly lacks intellectual curiosity….”

Speaking of the Republican vice presidential nominee, Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times looks into her college career, and finds she left few footprints.

Among professors and classmates, Abcarian writes,

“Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin…is barely remembered at all. In the five years of her collegiate career, spanning four universities in three states, Palin left behind few traces. ‘Looking at this dynamic personality now, it mystifies me that I wouldn’t remember her,’ said Jim Fisher, Palin’s journalism instructor at the University of Idaho, where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in journalism in 1987…

Indeed, interviews with a dozen professors yielded not a single snippet of a memory.

Most were perplexed and frustrated that they could offer no insight into a woman who has become their most famous former student.

Only a few classmates recalled her, and those with the strongest memories were people she had grown up with in Alaska.”

While vice presidential picks usually don’t have an effect on the outcome of the race, the Palin pick might be different, points out the Huffington Post’s Thomas B. Edsall. For one, she’s
“costing McCain newspaper endorsements. Editor and Publisher calculated that as of Oct 18, Barack Obama led McCain 58-16 in the competition for the backing of newspapers. Many of the endorsements cited Palin as a factor in their rejection of McCain.”

Plus, there’s her effect in Florida.

“If McCain loses Florida by a close margin, Palin will likely deserve responsibility because of the animosity she has generated among a key constituency the GOP was depending on to abandon its traditional support for Democrats: older Jewish voters.”
Edsall also addresses the future, saying
“The crucial long-range question about Palin is whether she becomes the banner
carrier for Republican conservatives, especially social conservatives, earning
their support for the GOP nomination in 2012.”
Edsall quotes a piece from’s Chris Cillizza from right after the Palin nomination in which he says,
“She is seen as the bright new star in the Republican universe and it seems
unlikely that her fresh-faced appeal will wear off completely — especially among
the GOP rank and file voters who tend to decide the identity of their party’s
Ultimately, Edsall concludes,
“That luster has, however, come off and — despite Democrats privately cheering
her on — Palin’s future as a national politician now appears likely to be
Meantime, The Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne Jr. takes a look how Catholics, which are generally encouraged to vote on one issues (abortion), are changing this year.
“Catholics, who are quintessential swing voters and gave narrow but crucial
support to President Bush in 2004, are drifting toward Barack Obama. And this
time, some church leaders are suggesting that single-issue voting is by no means
a Catholic commandment.”
So why is this group so important?
“The impact of the new Catholic politics could be substantial. Catholics are
often a decisive electoral group partly because church membership ranges from
upscale to working-class whites, a large group of Latinos, and a significant
number of African Americans…Catholics typically make up about a quarter of the
electorate, and they are strategically located. White (non-Latino) Catholics are
important in such swing states as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, while Latino
Catholics make up a notable share of the populations of New Mexico, Colorado,
Nevada and Florida."

Of course, their leaning toward Obama could:
“simply reflect the country as a whole in moving toward the Democrats because
of frustrations with the economy and the Bush years. But the Catholic debate
entails a very particular argument over what counts as a commitment to life. To
an unexpected degree, this election could hang on the struggle of Catholic
voters with their priorities and their consciences.”

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