Sarah Palin: you have a right to free speech, but have you no shame?

January 13, 2011

It’s too bad someone could not stand up to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and Rush Limburger Cheese and their ilk and say to them what that Army counsel said to Sen. Joseph McCarthy all those years ago: “… Have you no shame? Have you no sense of decency?…”

(Okay, I’ve now read the actual quote was, in part: “… Have you no sense of decency…? At long last have you no sense of decency?” )

Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whose head was made a symbolic target by Palin, darling of the Tea Party set, is critically wounded, a federal judge and several others, six in all, dead and some 20 people in all shot and all they can think to do is circle the wagons around their constant inflammatory rhetoric — and it is just that, rhetoric with little to no substance — and use the whole tragic event to continue to charge that people want to take guns away from American citizens, violating their Second Amendment rights, and to prevent Tea Partiers and others from exercising free speech.

It is not Sarah Palin’s fault that a deranged young man who had reportedly spouted off incomprehensible statements and posted disturbing stuff online took it upon himself to be an assassin. But certainly if she had any decency she would be contrite and publicly express some contrition (or at least shut up) about her own actions.

As everyone who follows such stuff knows, Palin had before the last election posted maps of various congressional districts with the cross hairs of gun sights overlaying the heads of various office holders, including Giffords, she felt the Republicans and Tea Party should go after (bring down in electoral defeat).

Because the issue of gun rights is such a hot button and such a draw, particularly among the far right, she used the analogy of the target range or hunting or war in her call for political victory over said opponents.

In a most tragic irony, the gravely wounded Tucson, Arizona area congresswoman, Giffords, was one of those with the Palin target on her head.

Then last Saturday (Jan. 8, 2011) one Jared Lee Loughner, 22, of Tucson, without warning, shot Congresswoman Giffords and the others in a shopping mall parking lot near a Safeway store while the congresswoman was meeting with constituents.

So does Palin lay low or offer quiet and circumspect apology? Well, she did lay low for a few days, but then in the modern, and particularly Palin style, she posted a video response where she can talk and not have to respond in person to any troubling questions.

I watched the video (as much as I could stomach). She seemed to be charging that her opponents were using the incident to stifle her — and to a limited extent she might be correct.

(In a New York Times article and elsewhere she was sniped at for using the term “blood libel” (you can look that one up), which she claimed described what she was being subjected to. On that I just felt she or her script writers were just using a little acceptable license in a kind of analogistic word play. But the disturbing thing is the fact either Palin or her detractors might see it appropriate to dwell on the ongoing political tug of war rather than the tragedy itself and how to prevent such things from happening, to the extent they can be prevented in a free and gun-toting society.

I think she could have defended her free speech rights and at the same time expressed sorrow that she had ever used the device of the targets, while assuring everyone she in no way meant it literally.

While I doubt Palin’s actions, or her actions alone at least, are what incited the nut case to act, it’s those type of actions that create an atmosphere in which certain nutcases are prompted to act. And it sets an evil, ugly tone in society that we would not want the younger and future generations to emulate or adopt. (And even though the nut case seemed to have been following  Palin’s right-wing-driven lead, some have described his rantings as left wing — but really there is not much difference between rants from the extremes.


In a bizarre twist to this whole thing, the suspect in last Saturday’s shooting tragedy in Tucson had been pulled over for running a red light, I understand, just before the incident. Kind of similar to the Oklahoma federal building bomber being pulled over for a traffic violation after the fact with no immediate connection made by law enforcement, which is all meaningless, except that it goes to show the police are not all-knowing — would you want them to be? We don’t want the police state.

On one extreme all would carry guns and be shooting it out with each other and in the other extreme the black helicopters would be circling and all citizens would be stripped of their weapons and personal rights. It’s extremism from all the political angles that is the danger.

When outlaws become heroes watch out — the U.S. could go the way of Mexico

December 13, 2010

Power is ever-present in society and when it sees a vacuum it fills it.

Take the demonstrations that have just occurred in Morelia, Mexico in support of a drug cartel kingpin reportedly killed in a shootout with government forces. While the drug wars have killed and injured thousands over the past several years, including rivals in the drug gangs, police and soldiers, government officials , and innocent citizens, some of the people, apparently, are in sympathy with the outlaws.

(Kind of a modern-day version of the Bonnie and Clyde fable, but much more threatening.)

In one way this seems crazy or topsy-turvy, but when one realizes that society seeks order, some type of order, and that people seek support and services, and when the existing elite and the government fail to offer it, some other source of power will take over, maybe there is some logic here.

(Apparently, the drug gang in question had been giving out free bibles and offering some help to locals in some crazy crime-ridden version of Christianity.)

This may be what is happening in Mexico, that is the outlaws have supplanted the role of the government. I do not pretend to know.

While my sympathy remains with law-abiding citizens down there who only want to live out their lives in peace, I think we have to let them down there figure out how to do that.

But when the troubles spill over the border, and they have to a degree, at least, then it becomes our problem up here in North America, the United States of America, to be exact.

We up here cannot escape the fact that there is a major illegal drug market on our side of the border — a vast demand, and that there is also a large illegal weapons or gun-running industry in the U.S. which supplies the cartels south of the border. We have to do what we can to dampen the demand and to stop the gun running.

I think the so-called War on Drugs, though, is for the most part a boondoggle that eats up a lot of tax money that could be better used elsewhere. What probably is needed more are programs that go more to the soul of society and counteract the feeling of hopelessness that seems to pervade much of our population. I’m not sure how you do that, but the fact that much of society is left idle with the at least perceived notion that there is little opportunity for a better life does not help. And the fact that our whole culture nowadays seems to glorify nothingness and shallowness and the quick buck, and sex for the sake of sex without any thought to humanity, does not help either. A lot of what we need to change on our side of the border does not involve money or the changing of hands of money, it’s more along the lines of attitude adjustment.

We are losing or have lost for the most part, the leadership and the elite in society who are moral and who are respected and looked up to.

That’s why we see the likes of the seemingly shallow and even ignorant Sarah Palin talked about now seriously as a candidate for president. It’s not that I think that Mrs. Palin is a bad human being — I don’t know about that. But c’mon can anyone with a straight face say that she has ever demonstrated having any substance or any real knowledge of world or even national affairs beyond cheap sound bites? Would you want her to have her hand on the nuclear trigger? Would you want to see some as yet unknown dark force take advantage of her ignorance and secretly run the country (such as Cheney to George W., that was bad enough).

And I am only using Palin as an example. Much of the reason that the seamier side of the Tea Party has had so much success is that there is a power vacuum because the elite in the nation have lost much of the trust of the vast majority or at least of a whole lot of the public.

Maybe all of what I have just written is a poor analogy, but I will go on with it, nonetheless. I see some connection.

At the least we risk being led by ill-prepared politicians, at the worst we risk being led by outlaws.

Let’s don’t go the way of Mexico!

Yes, Sarah Palin is apparently in it for the money, even if she tries to keep her feeding from the public trough secret — and oh that “niggardly” word….

April 1, 2010

A clue to what kind of political leader (president?) Sarah Palin would make is in the fact that she keeps secret how much money she makes for public speaking. She seems to be in this thing more for the money than any sense of public duty or altruism. You know she complains that the status quo in politics worry more about fattening up their own pocket books along with those of the special interests who fund them than representing the citizens at large.

I bring this up because Palin is lined up to speak at the state-run university in Turlock, California and it is reported she may be paid as much as $100,000 to do so. Tickets to hear her speak are being sold for $500 each. And this thing is at least partly supported by public funds because the California State University Stanislaus Foundation, the non-profit group sponsoring the event, gets administrative support from public funds and there presumably will be public-funded security —  how much public funding no one knows, because such foundations are not subject to public disclosure laws. 

And for all I know this is the usual thing — public figures getting big bucks for talking to the public at public venues.

But it is wrong, no matter who does it. The very idea that political aspirants or spokespeople, or even has-beens, would charge the public to speak to them is absurd and shameful and just plain wrong. Worse yet, university officials refuse to disclose how much public funds are to be spent. Gee, I thought Ms. Palin would want more transparency in the evil government she rails against.

ADD 1:

And to be clear here, I don’t begrudge Palin profiteering from on her extended 15 minutes of fame — I just don’t think it ought in any way to be at the public expense.


And now to another subject, that strange word “niggardly”. It is not a form of the dreaded “N” word but it is often confused with it.

And sometimes, or at least in one case close to where I live (a town south of where I live), the confusion is apparently the whole idea — a despicable play on words.

A sign was posted on a local business that was going under. It claimed President Obama (our first black president), is “niggardly” and is hurting small businesses.

Niggardly means stingy (you can look it up). But it is a relatively obscure word not often used in every-day conversation or even every-day writing in the mass media.

There have been several controversies over the word’s use over the years, but in most of them the use was innocent, clearly not intended to be a double meaning.

While I object strongly to the implication of the local use of the word, I do not agree with those who are suggesting its use should be prosecuted as a hate crime. I don’t think I even agree in the concept of prosecuting hate crimes. While I believe in going after anyone who harms someone else, we don’t want to impinge on free speech or make even thoughts illegal. But we can consider the source of some of these things and judge accordingly.


You can call up the “niggardly sign” story on the internet and see the photo of the sign. Actually it does not make sense to me, except for the obvious excuse to pretend to innocently use a word that sounds and looks like “nigger”, and thus pander to the ignorant and bigots (and ignorant bigots) among us. It just seems to say Obama is stingy and hurts small business. I thought the complaint against Obama was that he was anything but stingy in that he was handing out too many public dollars. Whether he hurts small businesses, I could not really say.

Tea Party movement is healthy — Palin not so much…

February 8, 2010

If you take your country, the USA, seriously, and if you take its politics and public policy debates seriously, you have to be somewhat concerned that an electorate who elected George W. Bush could conceivably elect Sarah Palin. I’m serious. While on the one hand I don’t think she has ever demonstrated any knowledge of the issues and she is a terrible public speaker — she can deliver snarky one-liners like asking President Obama: “how’s that hopey changey stuff working for you?” but not complete paragraphs — on the other hand, George W. was not much of a communicator and not much of a student himself.

But while I have nothing good to say about Palin herself, and while I tend not to think much of what I have heard so far from the so-called “Tea Party” set, I have come to the conclusion that what they are doing is healthy for the democracy —  that is unless somehow they get Palin elected president one day. But it is healthy because both political parties — the establishment itself — needs a good shaking up.

The Republicans at this time seem to have the most to gain from the Tea Party movement, but it has been noted that it could come around to bite them in the posterior, for the tea partiers indicate they are in nearly just as much a mood to throw out rascal Republicans as Democrats. And also, since although a true political ideology is hard to identify among them, they do seem to come across as conservative to reactionary conservative, and that means the GOP is likely to move even farther right than it already has, thus alienating that many more folks who might not identify with Democrats but would find it hard to go along with an unbending attitude of the far right.

The Democrats would seem to have the most to lose from the Tea Party movement and I think it befuddles most of them. They’d like to curry their favor for votes, but it is hard to please any group that is just plain anti government (are they pro-anarchy?). Of course if the Tea Party splits up the GOP, then maybe the Democrats actually have the most to gain from the Tea Party.

But make no mistake about it, we do have a government that is unable or unwilling to control spending, but not borrowing, and piling up a staggering national debt, even in the face of declining revenues from a stagnant economy. And as far as public policy, the government at this times seems nearly dysfunctional.

People need to raise a fuss, and maybe that is what is happening via the loose-knit Tea Party group.

I think there are entities or special interests trying to take advantage and even take control of the Tea Party, but as far as I can determine from reading on the web it is a true and spontaneous movement.

Sarah Palin. I believe, should have had her 15 minutes (or so) of fame as the surprise VP candidate selection by John McCain and then faded out of memory. But those years of beauty pageants taught her something. You don’t have to actually learn anything much at school if you can learn how to profit by selling yourself (and I’m not referring directly to the world’s oldest profession). She may well have been surprised as much as anyone else when John McCain called her. And she had to know that she was ill prepared. But she quickly discovered she could cash in on fame and boy has she –book sales and public speaking engagements and a gig on Fox News. She quit being a political office holder, not enough money in it (although she surely would not turn down the presidency).

Palin is supposedly a political commentator on Fox News. Well, first of all, FOX News, as far as I am concerned is not even a legitimate news organization. It is a strictly for profit operation (with no higher journalism calling) that just happens to have created a niche with the reactionary right that brings in bo coup advertising dollars. I am pretty sure that no original thoughts come from Palin herself.

It was reported that she made some weird commentary to the effect that if President Obama were to get a little tougher with his foreign or defense policy, such as do something like declare war on Iran, he might get a lot more political support. Does Palin suggest we need to go to war with Iran? Or does she just want to be able to criticize him for not doing so (knowing full well she does not have to shoulder the responsibility for any such decision)?

(Personally, with the latest news reports that Iran is continuing with its work on nuclear weapons, I would say if what we are being told is true, let’s not make a lot of noise, let’s just take care of the situation with a pre-emptive strike and be done with it — the only rub being that we would have to depend upon our intelligence community, and it has not had a good batting record over the years.)


Anyone who adores Palin probably would not be reading this, but if they are, I challenge them to read any transcript of what she has said and say with a straight face that she has demonstrated she has an ability to put forth clear thoughts — and I mean get beyond the cheap one-liners.

David Gergen, noted political animal who works both sides of the fence, said that the Tea Party is a populist movement, but unlike the historical populist movements which were essentially liberal, this one is conservative.

Now in my own thinking, I may have an answer to why that is. In the past vast numbers of everyday Americans may have had a beef with the establishment. And when you want to change the status quo, you are a liberal. But the American experiment has been so successful that the bulk of society has worked its way up to so-called middle class (although just what that is is debatable). So now the problem is that the heretofore silent majority is afraid that they are losing ground. They have been comfortable until the most recent economic shock wave, so they do not want to change things; they want to preserve the status quo or what was the status quo. So the modern populist movement is conservative, being that conservative is the opposite of change.

(I hate to use the term middle class, because I have never been clear on exactly what it is, but it’s what we all wish we could at least call ourselves).

After Gergen said what he did, a Democratic spokeswoman opined (and I paraphrase) that although Palin seems to be the titular leader (no pun intended, but what the heck) or spokesperson for the Tea Party and has even indicated she might run for President in 2012, she would need the backing of Latinos and blacks and other groups that do not seem to be represented by the Tea Party (it’s fairly white so far), and that might turn the Tea Party fans against her.

The way it looks to me now is that if the economy improves measurably, and barring any other unforeseen circumstance, Obama could be re-elected.

But if not, if the economy continues to be dismal, he is in trouble. And since a good candidate is so hard to find, the whole nation could be in trouble if Palin is ever seriously considered as a choice for President of the United States (remember, she reportedly did not know there was both a North and South Korea and that Africa is a continent and not a single nation. And she was not even up to speed on the wars in the Middle East until her son went over there).

The Tea Party needs to guard against being captured by the likes of Paln or other opportunists. If it really is pure, it needs to remain so, and it will have a big effect. I think it probably already has.

Ignorance pays for Palin; telling it like it is not so good for Reid, but why not?

January 13, 2010

So Sarah Palin reportedly did not know that Africa was a continent and not a nation and that there were two Koreas, north and south (some connection to the Korean War, which she probably never heard of), but what the heck, she has a mouth, some think a good bod, and she can bad mouth Democrats and liberals and the establishment and all those who actually paid attention in school and were inquisitive by nature, so she was good enough to be a vice presidential candidate and better yet she’s landed a spot as a professional ultra-high-paid blowhard on Fox News, something that she was probably aiming at early on — or at least her time in the limelight opened her eyes to the incredible opportunity show business offers (and that is what all those beauty contests were about). She supposedly has a degree, or took classes or something, in political science and did a stint as a local TV sportscaster. Unfortunately much of so-called broadcast news is really entertainment disguised as the serious. And as to her education, if she does indeed have a college degree (and in poly sci no less) that points up to the sad fact that the value of a college education has been severely diminished. I’m talking value in terms of actual learning and expanding of the mind, not dollars and cents, necessarily.

Are we simply to choose from the prettiest (be they man or woman) and loudest or even the most clever with the words or turn of a phrase (Barack?) or should we be looking toward the more knowledgeable and political astute or maybe I should say the more policy oriented, someone who actually understands the history and current thought in public policy, rather than the person who simply grabs the most current reactionary sound bite.

Enough of Sarah already. I expect she’ll have her time at Fox, but her appeal may quickly fade as events move on and she sounds so dumb that even the know nothings are embarrassed.

AND WHAT ABOUT Nevada U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s reported remarks that Barack Obama would have a good chance at the presidency because he is a “light skinned” negro and he did not use “negro dialect” except when the situation suited it?

As Obama himself said, forced to shrug it off because Reid is a party ally in the health care debate and other policy, Reid’s remarks were merely “in artful”. I would say they may have been a little too candid, but I don’t know if they were publicly made or what. But even if he was being indiscreet, he was just being honest — making a political assessment, and I think he must have been right on — recent history suggests so.

Seizing the opportunity, Republicans tried to connect such a remark to those made by Southern Republican Trent Lott who was forced to resign after making public remarks that he longed for the days of segregation and Jim Crow laws and wishes the late and infamous segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond (who had a black mistress and child from her whom he paid support for) could have won the presidency.

While there is some similarity to both sets of remarks, the difference lies in the fact that Lott suggested he would prefer to go back to denying civil rights to black folks, while Reid simply commented on well-known public attitudes and political strategy.

(And because I can’t get my paragraph insert to work I go back to Sarah here) I can hardly believe that otherwise intelligent-sounding political commentators can say with a straight face that despite her ignorance and her apparent lack of concern about the world stage, anything outside Wasilla, Alaska, that Palin has a political future — she just needs to be brought up to speed. Sorry they tried to do that with Bush Jr. and it really never took hold.

I personally think the main explanation for her appeal is her hokey (not hockey) brand of showmanship and the fact that there are a lot of folks out there who don’t trust people who did better in school than they did, especially in the subjects that require critical thinking and a broad general knowledge — she’s a broad with not much general knowledge of the world or even the history of her nation.

Before I go any further with this, I must say I always wonder if these reports of her ignorance are exaggerated by her detractors. But she could easily refute them by demonstrating some knowledge, something I have not seen nor heard her do yet.

If Palin is the best the Republicans or any political movement (I’m not sure she really wants to be a Republican or some form of new populist/right wing reactionary order) has to offer then they are indeed in trouble, but the moderates, to the extent any are left, may prevail eventually.

But then again, so are the Democrats, in trouble that is. The Democrats seem to have won a giant victory with the first black American president. And he promised so much, but now the party is deeply divided and in the middle of what is being called the Great Recession, under Barack Obama’s leadership the nation is running up a deficit so astounding it is hard to conceive it could ever be paid off, but much easier to conceive that it could actually bankrupt the nation.

I for one may be experiencing voter’s remorse over Obama, but what choice was there? I don’t think Hillary could have had a chance — too many hard core Hillary haters, and she has Bill as an albatross around her neck. And McCain showed his judgment or lack thereof by choosing Palin as his running mate — yes she fooled me for a day, maybe, but it was not my job to pick a possible VP or future president.

President Obama is not a failure yet, but he needs to get something going in a hurry.

Show bizz is killing serious news and politics

July 10, 2009

I’m a news and political junkie and as such I make this observation after reading about how Sarah Palin is trying to use her brief moment in the national political spotlight to cash in, even without gaining higher or holding lower political office. And then I read how her would-have-been son in-law Levi Johnston is saying critical things about her  nd is hoping to maybe get into acting or get a book deal – Palin herself has a book planned.

And now Johnston is quoting his would be mother in-law as saying she might rather cash in on all of the commercial offers she has received and forget the political office part of it. But of course he could be saying this because he has his own agenda, being attached to this Palin saga and hoping to cash in himself.

(As far as books, the two would certainly need help — from what I’ve heard of them, one is barely if at all able to utter a thought, and the other rambles on but seldom utters a complete thought.)

So I make this observation, being a news and political junkie:

Show biz has ruined news and politics.

Organizations that pass themselves off as dedicated to news operate like they are putting on a constantly-running variety show. People running or claiming to run for public office have found that there can be more money in promoting one’s self than actually seeking an office or fulfilling the duties of that office. And even the news people spend a lot of time interviewing each other and plugging their own books.

I wish all these people would leave news and politics and try their hands in the show biz world directly and that in some other universe there would be real news and real political discussion.

With all the problems the nation faces, from the disastrous economy to being threatened by North Korea and terrorists from the Middle East, and nuclear proliferation, it is galling that these phony pundits grab so much attention.

And the cable and internet news outlets discredited their credentials as serious news entities by spending and continuing to spend so much time on Michael Jackson – he’s dead already!. He was an entertainer, an artist, and a troubled person, and he apparently had one heck of a lot of fans. But that’s entertainment. What about the real news that affects everyone’s life and the future of the world?

I do this blog in a kind of fantasy world as if anyone really cared. But it seems to me there must be a lot of others living in some parallel universe who cannot or do not want to come to grips with real public issues but can obsess on Michael Jackson or Sarah Palin (although I think the latter is losing her allure, while the former, although dead, continues to bring in money).

Newspapers are dying, in part because many were serious. Meanwhile, TV news, cable and network, have completely sold out to commercialism, and the internet is full of gossip passing itself off as news, and is not really a separate entity for real news in that it still for the most part depends upon the traditional news sources, you know, the ones that are going out of business because they may be too serious.

Palin lacks faith in democracy and quits when going gets tough…

July 6, 2009

Sarah Palin claims she is quitting her governorship of Alaska in part because she wants to effect change by working outside of government. I’m not exactly sure what that is supposed to mean. In this nation public policy is supposed to be made by the democratically (small d) elected government.

There is such a thing as lobbying – private interests who work to influence government. So maybe that is what she means.

Apparently she would rather help pressure government to do things from the outside, hoping to avoid public scrutiny – raise money, work behind the scenes, whip up the base with demogoguery by spouting off narrow-minded hot button issues that appeal more to emotion than rational public policy or accuse anyone who does not agree with her message of lacking patriotism. She could drum up money with her fanatical appeal to further her policy aims — whatever they might be — or to buy fancy clothes for herself and her family as she did with Republican Party funds when she ran with John McCain. Last I heard SarahPac or whatever it is called was still accepting donations.

Maybe she just means she is going to work on behalf of other candidates, but those candidates would be working directly in government.

And maybe she thinks there ought to be some power out there beyond government because she does not agree with the majority of voters at this time.

She claims to have been mistreated by the press. Well join the ranks of all those in public life. That is the ugly price that is paid for freedom of speech. We can’t just arrest people who may say things we don’t like, such as might be done in Iran. And it is true that freedom of the press, guaranteed in the First (the very first mind you) Amendment to the Constitution carries with it the annoying aspect of sometimes protecting those who distort the truth or tell outright lies (including Sarah Palin). Unfortunately, it’s the only way to guarantee an actual free press (and press these days means all types of public dissemination of thoughts and information – there are fewer and fewer newspapers).

Palin through a lawyer has reportedly threatened a blogger with a lawsuit over defamation of character. I think even Palin is aware of the First Amendment but thinks anything unfavorable to her is not covered.

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision called New York Times vs. Sullivan (1964), public figures have a higher standard to meet when trying to prove defamation and libel. It could be done if it is shown a person acted with reckless disregard for the truth and actual malice. But in the blogger’s case, as I understand it, it involved repeating a rumor or rumors that have been circulating about Palin for years, something about awarding construction contracts and personally benefitting when she was Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. True? Have no idea. Rumors can be a troubling thing and are often unfair. But if in public life rumors were illegal we’d never find out anything and real corruption would never be investigated. Word from rumors is often how investigations get started and/or how those in power are forced to look into things.

What Palin must be trying to do is intimidate opponents or anyone who might hold her up to public scrutiny. As evidenced by her VP campaign, her mode is to be able to say a lot of things but be questioned very little (and no wonder, have you ever heard her respond to questions?).

Palin also made a weird comment about quitting the governorship (half way through her term) because she did not want to waste the taxpayers’ money by being a lame duck. If she ran again, she would not be a lame duck. And does she mean that anyone who is voted into office should simply quit at the point he or she may not get his or her way? And does she not have an obligation to those who voted for her? I’m not understanding all of this.

(Add 1: An Anchorage Daily News editorial lauded Palin’s accomplishments as governor but said her explanation about not wanting to be a lame duck was “more lame than duck”.)

And I personally detest the political strategy that allows candidates (or potential candidates) to make a lot of noise, make accusations, distort the truth, but then allows them to hide from questions under the guise that questioners are only trying to discredit them – that is sometimes true, but what other way is there? Have FOX news lob leading softball questions to you? Or for that matter have CNN ask leading softball questions? No if you run for political office you should be able to stand up to penetrating questions from all and let the public at large judge. The public is smarter than you think Sarah. Is that what you are afraid of?