by Max Brantley
How bad was Charles Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin? So bad that the local ABC affliate in NYC used a clip of him asking this smoking fastball: Can you look the country in the eye and say you are qualified to be president? Shazam. Sarah said she could. It must not have gotten much tougher. Gibson chose to lead his nightly news segment with that same zinger. And to close with her rehearsed answer about how she wasn't presuming to speak for God when the camera caughter her linking God's will and the invasion of Iraq in a church talk.
But there was the little matter of suggesting we might need to go to war with Russia if it acted too aggressively toward a former Soviet state. TPM notes that Republican Lincoln Chaffee called her a "cocky whacko" this week.
The opening session on the national ABC newscast was a blizzard of Palin words, mostly "Islamic terrorism" and other jargon. White noise. Any fair reading is that she's a parrot, and not a very good one when it comes to depth on the issues. But the questioning wasn't designed to illustrate that. Gibson did gently show that she had not a clue what the "Bush doctrine" was -- beyond going after the evildoers whenever, wherever, with approval of other governments or not.
The rest of the media isn't so sanguine toward this race as the Republican-friendly Gibson, who wants to protect his capital gains tax cut and is friendly toward those who think as he does. Howard Kurtz sees anger out there.