There's no polite way to say it: Sarah Palin has been hiding out from hard questions. It took 10 days from when John McCain announced his pick until the McCain campaign agreed to schedule Palin an unscripted interview with a serious journalist.
ABC landed the big "get" with Palin. She'll talk to newscaster Charlie Gibson later this week.
McCain's camp has handled their vice-presidential pick like some celebrity who will only deign to give an interview if conditions are favorable. McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told Fox News Sunday, Palin would take questions "when we think it's time and when she feels comfortable doing it."
Palin has accused Barack Obama of being a me-first celebrity candidate for president. At least he has been facing media questions for the past 18 months.
Here are some of the questions Palin should be answering, for Alaskans and the rest of the country:
You present yourself as a Republican maverick who took on your own party's corrupt political establishment. In November's election, your party is running an indicted U.S. Senator, Ted Stevens, who is awaiting trial on charges he accepted more than $250,000 of unreported gifts from the state's most powerful lobbyist. Will you vote for his opponent? Will you urge Alaskans to help you change Washington and vote him out of office? If not, why not?
Sen. Ted Stevens' trial is still pending; he has declined to say whether he would accept a pardon from President Bush before Bush leaves office in January. Do Alaska voters deserve an answer to that question before they cast their vote for or against Stevens in November? What is your position on a president pardoning a public official before a jury has ruled on guilt or innocence?
Alaska Congressman Don Young appears to have won his Republican primary, even though you endorsed his opponent. Will you vote for your fellow Republican Don Young, who has spent over $1 million on legal fees without telling his constituents what sort of legal trouble he is in?
Why have you reneged on your earlier pledge to cooperate with the Alaska Legislature's investigation into Troopergate?
In spring of 2004, the Daily News reported that you cited family considerations in deciding not to try for the U.S. Senate: "How could I be the team mom if I was a U.S. senator?" What was different this time as you decided to run for vice president?
As governor of Alaska, you have not pushed for laws or regulations that put your personal views on abortion, same-sex marriage and creationism into public policy. As vice president, will you push to outlaw abortion, restrict same-sex marriage and require the teaching of creationism?
If you were a fully qualified vice-presidential candidate from the get-go, why did you wait more than 10 days to face reporters?
McCain spokesman Rick Davis told Fox News the media didn't show you enough "deference." How much deference do you expect to get from Vladimir Putin or Hugo Chavez?
You have said victory is in sight in Iraq. In July 2007, when you visited Kuwait, you said, "I'm not going to judge the surge." In the March 2007 issue of Alaska Business Monthly, you were asked about the surge and quoted saying:
"I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. . . . While I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place."
Define "victory" in Iraq? What is the exit plan?
Keep right, quills
I've never seen a porcupine sprint.
The other night I almost hit one while riding a bicycle home. Waddle and roll, old quills was in a hurry on the right side of the trail just shy of the overpass that leads to the landfill outside of Eagle River. Headlamp light caught his tail a few feet before my front tire would have. I swerved. Quills kept going in a straight line.
No dash to the safety of brush and shadow. Just straight on, huff and puff and still slo-mo.
I had a vision of a leg full of quills if I'd hit the critter and fallen on it. Having pulled quills from the swollen muzzles of yelping dogs, I've got no desire to feel their pain.
Quills can kill, but the porcupine never seems to mean any harm.
Good thing they're nocturnal. They don't move fast enough for daylight living.
"Death on dogs," is how an acquaintance once described them. He recommended shooting them. Another old Alaskan once told me they were walking wilderness survival kits. Easy to kill with a stick. Fresh meat.
Deal death to a porcupine? Its very nature rules out fair chase. I once watched one go up a birch tree to escape a dog. The leaves grew faster than the porcupine climbed. Fortunately for both dog and porcupine, it was already out of the dog's range by the time the dog saw it.
Another time a porcupine huddled, head tucked between front paws against a garage door as I walked up to it in the dark. It raised its head once and looked back to see if I was still there, then put its head back down. It seemed to be thinking that if it didn't see me, I wouldn't be there anymore.
So I left. I waited half an hour before checking to see that it was gone. I figured the porcupine needed at least that much time to get away.
-- Frank Gerjevic