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I just had a terrific interview with Governor Sarah Palin this afternoon. Her new book, Going Rogue, came out today. I’d like to say we talked a lot about her book, but I did not get it until 10:00 a.m. and had family stuff to take care of. I gave it a quick thumbing through, but largely asked questions based on readers submissions via twitter etc.Up front, I asked Governor Palin what she wanted people to take away from her book. She said policy should be a take away. She wants people to read about what she thinks should be done to get the country back on its feet and help “everyday ordinary Americans,” a group she referred to repeatedly during our time together.We spent a lot of the conversation talking about various policy issues.
One of the criticisms leveled by the right when Palin was chosen as McCain’s nominee is that she had not shown she’d done the reading to lead, i.e. read the Hayek, Friedman, Goldwater, Bastiat, to form her thoughts. She admitted she is a gut level conservative, but also said that criticism comes mostly from “shallow people who have not delved into [her] record.” I did not want to sound like Katie Couric and ask what she’s read, but I broached the subject and she went right into mentioning Thomas Sowell and Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. She said she has read some of the foundational stuff, but she sees no need to focus on the old writings. She likes “the modern stuff too.” Her preference is policy and application, focusing on writers who are not just following up on foundational conservative ideas, but applying those ideas too.
One of the issues that has divided the right lately is nation building. I asked her view and she said “I really do think America is blessed. We have taken a voluntary responsibility to assist other nations,” but we have to do our part at home first to build ourselves up. She said it didn’t do us any good to help lift up other countries if we weren’t lifting up ourselves. She cited “cutting taxes, helping employers, and building up our military” as examples.
With China in the news, I thought I’d ask her about that. She said China is a rising super power and we should treat it as such, but recognize there is an unbalanced trade situation right now complicated by our reliance on foreign energy sources at a time China has a voracious appetite for more and more energy of its own. “We should be selling energy to China,” Gov. Palin said. While she wants good relations with China, she said our primary obligation must be to our existing allies. We need to make sure everyone knows we will absolutely stand by our allies and need to show our spine is still made of steel.
Domestically, Governor Palin said a lot of everyday ordinary Americans are frustrated because we’ve been trying to show the government it should trust us to lead our lives as we want, but we have a government bureaucracy filled with bureaucrats who think they know better. She wants to change that and free up people and small businesses.
I shifted gears to New York 23. “It is encouraging to see the race tighten even more,” she said. She too agrees NY-23 was a “real victory for conservatives.” “An independent with common sense really can make a difference outside the party establishment,” she said. “It shows an underdog can make a difference.”About what I’ve called the “Spirit of New York 23″ that is now becoming apparent — people of both parties picking off incumbents and insisting on change — Governor Palin said she neither expects nor needs any sort of title to play a role in the rising effort to fix the country, but she does intend to play a role. “I’m not gonna sit down and shut. That’s why I resigned,” she said referring to her resignation as Governor of Alaska. Groups inside and outside Alaska were making it too difficult on her as governor, wife, and mom to work for improvements in Alaska and the nation. By resigning, she said she could “throw off the shackles” groups were putting in place to restrain her ability.
It was a delightful conversation. Governor Palin is very gracious and personable. I would have loved to delve into the book a bit more, but time constrains and its late arrival meant I couldn’t. Nonetheless, I was pleased she was willing to go with a free for all in the questions — really shifting back and forth on topics.You can buy Governor Palin’s book here at Amazon if you don’t already have a copy. Just from my quick page turning, I suspect you’ll be surprised by a lot of it.