A CBSNews.com article asserted that "[Gov. Sarah] Palin's readiness to be president ... has been widely questioned by Democrats and many in the media." The article failed to note, however, that many of those “questioning” Palin's readiness are conservatives. In fact, CBS Early Show correspondent Jeff Glor noted, “even some conservatives are concerned, including syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who said Palin is 'clearly out of our league' and called for the Alaska governor to leave the race.”
A September 29 CBSNews.com article asserted that "[Gov. Sarah] Palin's readiness to be president in the event she and [Sen. John] McCain are elected and McCain becomes incapacitated has been widely questioned by Democrats and many in the media," but did not note that many of those who were “question[ing]” Palin's readiness are conservatives. In fact, as CBS Early Show national correspondent Jeff Glor noted during the September 29 edition of The Early Show, “even some conservatives are concerned, including syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who said Palin is 'clearly out of our league' and called for the Alaska governor to leave the race.” Earlier, Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez stated: "[T]he question a lot of Americans are asking this morning, including some prominent Republicans, is whether Sarah Palin is ready."
On September 26, Parker wrote: “As we've seen and heard more from John McCain's running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn't know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion.” Parker later wrote: “Palin's recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.” She concluded: “Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first. Do it for your country.”
Numerous other conservative media figures also have expressed concerns about Palin's readiness to be vice president. For instance:
As the website Raw Story and others have noted, on the September 28 edition of the NBC syndicated Chris Matthews Show, New York Times columnist David Brooks stated:
I admire Sarah Palin for many things. Not many of us put our careers on the line to challenge something. And she put her career on the line to challenge the corrupt Republican Alaska establishment. So, I give her a lot of credit for that. But is she ready to be vice president? Based on what we've seen with the Katie Couric interview, it's embarrassing. It's painful to watch those things. You want to turn them off. And, so, I just think that's the fundamental fact. She is a very talented politician who was brought to the national limelight before she was ready, and it's just a problem.
In a September 26 column, National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote: “Does Palin know enough to be a national candidate right now? No, but she can be mostly walled off from the press.” Earlier in the column, he said McCain was “making moves that mark him as different, but can be seen as risky or gimmicky, whether choosing Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential nominee or canceling the first day of the Republican Convention during Hurricane Gustav.”
Additionally, in a September 13 post on National Review Online's The Corner blog, Lowry said of Palin's interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson: "[T]his was a merely adequate performance. The foreign-policy session was a white-knuckle affair. She barely got through it and showed no knowledge more than an inch deep." Lowry later added: “The fact still remains that she very likely didn't know any of the possible definitions of the Bush doctrine. I can't imagine if Obama had picked Gov. Tim Kaine [VA] and he had had a similar moment, conservatives would have rushed to say that the Bush doctrine is just too amorphous and complicated for him to know anything about it. [italics in original]” Lowry added: “Palin seemed weak on economic and budgetary policy too, talking in the vaguest generalities. She was much better, and positively good, on the social issues -- which are dear to her and she's thought about -- and anything having to do with her personally or with her record in Alaska.” And he concluded: “I understand how we all want to be protective of her -- I feel the same impulse -- but let's not be patronizing. I believe the truly pro-Palin position is to think she can, should, and will do better than this.”
In a September 13 blog posting, titled “Sarah The Unready,” Ross Douthat, conservative blogger and senior editor at The Atlantic stated of Palin's interview with Gibson: "[S]he seemed about an inch deep on every issue outside her comfort zone." He further stated that Gibson's questions “were all questions that a vice-presidential nominee needs to be able to answer.” Douthat added: “There's no way to look at her performance as anything save supporting evidence for the non-hysterical critique of her candidacy -- that it's just too much, too soon -- and a splash of cold water for those of us with high hopes for her future on the national stage.”
In his September 5 Washington Post column, Charles Krauthammer stated that “the choice of Palin remains deeply problematic.” Krauthammer later stated: The vice president's only constitutional duty of any significance is to become president at a moment's notice. Palin is not ready. Nor is Obama. But with Palin, the case against Obama evaporates."
George Will stated in a September 3 Washington Post column that “the man who would be the oldest to embark on a first presidential term has chosen as his possible successor a person of negligible experience.” He later wrote: “Clearly, experience is not sufficient to prove a person 'qualified' for the presidency.”
In an August 29 column in the National Post, columnist and former speechwriter for President Bush David Frum asserted that “she [Palin] has zero foreign policy experience, and no record on national security issues.” He went on to say that “Mr. McCain's supporters argue that he is more serious about national security than Barack Obama. But the selection of Sarah Palin invites the question: How serious can he be if he would place such a neophyte second in line to the presidency?” He further claims that “if anything were to happen to a President McCain, the destiny of the free world would be placed in the hands of a woman who until the day before Friday was a small-town mayor.” Frum concluded his column by stating: “Ms. Palin is a bold pick, and probably a shrewd one. It's not nearly so clear that she is a responsible pick, or a wise one.”
From the September 29 CBSNews.com article:
A month ago, Sally and Chuck Heath's third child, Sarah Palin, a self-proclaimed hockey mom and wildly popular governor of Alaska, was thrust into the national spotlight when John McCain picked her to be his running mate.
In the time since, Palin's readiness to be president in the event she and McCain are elected and McCain becomes incapacitated has been widely questioned by Democrats and many in the media.
But, in an exclusive interview at their home in Wasilla, Alaska, the Heaths told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith their daughter is, indeed, ready to occupy the Oval Office at a moment's notice.
From the September 29 edition of CBS' The Early Show:
HARRY SMITH [co-host]: You bet. Now here's Maggie.
RODRIGUEZ: Thank you, Harry. You can bet the vice-presidential candidates will be asked about the bailout during their debate on Thursday. But the question a lot of Americans are asking this morning, including some prominent Republicans, is whether Sarah Palin is ready. Early Show national correspondent Jeff Glor is in Columbus, Ohio. Jeff, good morning.
GLOR: Maggie, good morning to you. This is a state -- Ohio -- that could, once again, decide this election. It's one of the reasons why we're here. It's one of the reasons why John McCain and Sarah Palin will be here today as the campaign deals with these continued questions.
[begin video clip]
GLOR: Sarah Palin has mostly been kept away from reporters, but the interviews she has done are raising eyebrows.
PALIN: It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there.
GLOR: The most recent, with Katie Couric, provoked widespread criticism from liberals on the Web and a lampooning on Saturday Night Live:
TINA FEY: Katie, I'd like to use one of my lifelines.
AMY POEHLER: You don't have any lifelines.
FEY: Well, in that case, I'm just gonna have to get back to you.
GLOR: But even some conservatives are concerned, including syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who said Palin is “clearly out of our league” and called for the Alaska governor to leave the race.
ALEX BURNS [Politico reporter]: I think there are a small number of people who will publicly say that they're worried about her abilities as a candidate. I think there's a larger number of people who privately express kind of muted criticism and concern.
GLOR: McCain himself was asked about the chatter on Sunday.
McCAIN: I'm so excited about the reaction that Sarah Palin has gotten across this country -- huge turnouts, enthusiasm, excitement. She knows how to communicate directly with people. They respond in a way that I've seldom seen.
[end video clip]
GLOR: Palin will be interviewed again today by Katie Couric -- which you can see on the Evening News -- and then Palin is off for a couple of days of debate preparation in Arizona before Thursday's much anticipated vice-presidential debate in St. Louis. Maggie.
RODRIGUEZ: CBS' Jeff Glor in Ohio. Thank you, Jeff.
Varun Piplani is an intern at Media Matters for America.