“Jaw dropping” is Maria Shriver’s characterization of Sarah Palin’s refusal to meet with the press.
“I’ve never seen someone who’s become a national candidate, or even in the primaries (like this),” Shriver added in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, intimating that Palin’s camp would not consider an interview without preconditions for the Women’s Conference, an annual event for women in politics and the media hosted by Shriver. The conference has hosted both Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama.
Shriver, a veteran journalist before her terminator husband became governor of California, and niece to Jack Kennedy, also watched her father Sargent Shriver run for president and vice president.
“You just do press when you are in the middle of a campaign every day,” Shriver said in her Chronicle interview. “You try to get anyone to interview you on a daily basis.”
“It is the way to communicate with the American people,” Shriver said.
Probably this sounds like old news. So Palin’s not meeting with the press—that was covered last month.
As Shriver points out, however, Palin’s continued refusal to make unscripted public appearances is mind boggling, if considered in the larger historical context of major modern political campaigns, of which there have been tens of thousands.
Yet it seems like we are only able to read Palin in the context of the last eight weeks, rapidly becoming inured to her blatant attempts to disguise her gross lack of qualifications to be vice president. Arguably, we were primed for this refusal to speak to the press by the secretive Bush administration, but they didn’t have too much trouble foisting their refusal on the public either, if I recall the events of eights years ago correctly.
This swift adjustment of the press and the public to tight-lipped political candidates frightens me at least as much as the possibility, thankfully increasingly distant, of Palin’s becoming vice president. It seems like one of a million examples of how the changes of the last eight years, disgusting and antithetical to democracy as most of them have been, have simply been absorbed as part of our cultural fabric in the United States.
We look the unacceptable in the face and move on to a new subject, another legacy for which we have the Bush administration to thank.