Sarah Palin not an ‘Average Joe’

By Erica Eding |

One of Governor Sarah Palin’s main points during the vice-presidential debate was that she’s just an average American. I strongly disagree. I believe the average American is more qualified than Palin to be vice-president.

I’ll begin with Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, a journalist who’s known for her soft-news, morning-show style. Palin’s awkward silences and blank stares made Couric seem like an FBI interrogator.

Palin’s response to the bailout plan was so irrational and rambling that Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey used Palin’s own words to mock her.

The bailout plan was the major news that day, but Palin was completely unprepared to discuss it.

There have been plenty of news stories recently where reporters ask regular people for their opinions on the financial crisis.

Every single one of these man-on-the-street interviews I’ve seen has been a more intelligent discussion of the economy than Palin had with Couric.

When it came to the vice-presidential debate, Palin must have studied because she always had a response ready.

Some responses were completely off-topic, but at least she didn’t give a deer-in-headlights look.

However, what she did give her audience was plenty of “you betchas” and “doggone its.” I used to live in the Midwest, but I’ve never heard the phrase “darn right” as many times as I did during the debate. It felt forced, and it was an obvious attempt at trying to connect with working-class viewers.

My favorite part of the debate was when moderator Gwen Ifill asked Palin to respond to the criticism of McCain’s statement that the foundations of the economy are strong.

Palin responded by saying that McCain meant the American workforce is the greatest in the world. She said, “that’s a positive, that’s encouragement” and then winked at the camera.

Call me bitter, but when I see unemployment rates rising and this great American workforce unable to afford the cost of living, I expect more than just encouragement. And, I could do without that wink altogether.

Palin’s flippant attitude during the debate just reinforces the point that she’s not an average American, a Joe six-pack like she claims. The average American cares deeply about these issues. High gas prices, the mortgage crisis and rising unemployment rates are not just political catchphrases.

To your typical middle-class voter, they are important concerns. Palin needs to take them seriously.

She can’t continue to justify the McCain-Palin ticket by throwing around words like “reform” and then avoiding the moderator’s questions and refusing to give specifics on how her party will make this country better. She can’t keep proclaiming John McCain a maverick without justifying the fact that he’s voted with President Bush over 90 percent of the time.

“Reform” and “maverick” are just words.

There’s no substance, there’s nothing to suggest that she understands the plight of the middle class.

Last week I experienced firsthand how difficult it must have been for Palin to answer questions about the economy. I work at a clothing store, and our sales numbers have been dropping. A woman came in looking for a job. When I handed her the application, she thanked me and said that she couldn’t afford to live off her day job anymore. I didn’t know what to tell her. My store can hardly afford to give hours to the employees we already have. She certainly won’t be hearing from us.

In my opinion, that woman is more qualified than Palin to be vice-president, because she actually understands the severity of the economic crisis.

Sarah Palin would probably have acted cheerful and told her that the American workforce is resourceful and strong.

I just watched the woman walk away. I didn’t offer her insincere words of encouragement, and I certainly didn’t wink.

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