Tuesday, September 02, 2008


What a deal: Two weeks of Olympics followed by a couple more of convention fun. I'm not sure what's on after the RNC, but if the TV people want people like me to watch, now's the time to put on something good.

An observation:

It seems to me that politics reporters sometimes miss out on good follow-up questions. To wit: Gov. Sarah Palin's wealth or paucity of foreign policy experience was the topic du jour on, I think, MSNBC. Or maybe that was CNN. Anyway, the anchor lady asked some guy who used to be famous about this and our pal from the city said Palin's foreign policy experience trumped that of Sen. Barack Obama. The cat's argument was something like: Well, if you're governor, you're in an executive position, so that means you actually make the decision, etc.

Yeah, but doesn't that mean Palin has more foreign policy experience than John McCain?

But that question went unanswered, and it certainly went unasked.

Just like the failure to dig into Obama's religious views. So he used to belong to that one church, where the pastor ran his trap about 9/11, right? How often did he go to church? Once a year? Once a day? Did he attend any other churches during the same period? These questions have discrete answers, unlike the usual piffle (why didn't he quit sooner? does he condemn that message now?)

This isn't hard. If there's a car wreck and you show up on the scene, you go talk to the sergeant (unless you're the first one there, I suppose). Do you just listen to his speech and leave without asking if anyone else was in the car? What caused the wreck? How many beer cans were in the road?

What I'm taking away from these political rallies is that if I had the misfortune of becoming a TV politics personality - what my father would rightly call a contrafactual proposition - I would try to make my name by just turning off the mike of people who won't give a straight answer.

Q: Why did Obama wait to disavow that jackass preacher?

A: Well, the senator has never believed that the U.S. is to blame for 9/11. In fact, he's worked hand in hand with his colleagues across the aisle on tax relief for firefighters suffering from irony. In fact, his opponent once attended a church whose pastor was caught wearing a dress and lipstick during an S&M festival. Plus, he eats live baby chickens during his Sunday devil worship!

I'd get to about "Well, the senator has never believed" and flip the switch.

That'd be a damn sight easier than trying to talk over the spokeswanker. And you could have a lot of fun with a flashing, weasel-talk light and telling the beleagured guest "blink once if you're going to give me a straight answer and I'll turn your mike back on." That sort of thing.

Maybe that'd be the Straight Talk show?

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