Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How Governor Palin should answer the sharks - part two

We started considering yesterday how Governor Palin could respond to the out-for-blooders among the MSM. (Hm, that sounds as if I think they're a subset... and I really don't.)

In sum: as a Christian, Palin can't lie, but she needn't answer every question, nor say everything that could be said in answer to every question. She must, however, confess Christ. At the same time, she may need to withhold what is holy from those set on mocking and degrading it.

So, in other words, she's pretty much walking a high-wire made of dental floss, at an elevation of 4000 feet, while carrying fifteen live monkeys — in a gale-force wind.

No sweat!

Here's what I'd recommend, from my safe seat.

Option three: use some verbal karate. A wise man (or woman) knows how to turn the tables on hostile questioners, user their own inertia against them. Our Lord was master of this technique. The opponent would throw a haymaker, the Lord would step aside and give a little nudge — next thing you knew, there was a red-faced, sputtering Pharisee, in a pile, on the floor, wonder what had happened (cf. Matthew 16:1ff.; 19:3ff.; 22:15ff.).

So, asked if I were a Christian, I might just start by asking the questioner to define his terms. "What do you mean by ''Christian'?" If the response were along the lines of, "You tell me," I'd return, "So... you're asking me to explain my religious beliefs? I'll admit, as my critics have said, that I'm new to this. Do you customarily do this with all your guests?"

Having noted the special treatment for which an evangelical Christian is being singled out, I'd eventually give a straight-up answer. If necessary, I'd offer my own definition. ("I believe everything Jesus said was true, including everything He said about Himself, about the world, about His Father, and about me.")

The mouthpiece will then bring out one of the "Gotcha!" questions outlined in previous articles. I think I'd first look at the questioner quizzically for a tick, as if he'd just said, "By the way, I am Gondira, High Queen of Jupiter."

Then I might return any or several of the following eight responses, each of which engages or shifts the discussion to varying degrees. I'll number them, simply to make discussion easier:
  1. "You know, Dirk, I keep hearing on your channel that voters are concerned about the war, taxes, jobs, housing, health care, the price of gas, terrorism — now, help me out: which one of those is that question about?" If need, I'd follow up solicitously with, "Can you help me understand how you think John McCain might propose that item [wives submitting to husbands, homosexuals going to Hell] to Congress? What bill you think might come to the President's desk? I'm trying to understand your question." Or (similarly)....
  2. "How do you see that coming to the President's desk as legislation, Courtney?" Or....
  3. "I'm actually not running for pastor, or theologian-in-chief, Hillarie. I'm a Christian. There are tens of thousands of us in every walk of life and branch of government. We've been there since the first settlers landed at Plymouth Rock. If someone wants Biblical answers, I think he should talk to a local pastor — not a politician. Now, what John McCain and I are aiming to do is...." Or....
  4. "You know, Troy, Christians have been around for about 2000 years. Am I really the first one you've met? [Pause for the answer.] Hm; maybe you should try to broaden your circle. See, I think most of the people watching us right now do know Christians, or they are related to Christians, or they work with Christians, or they live next door to Christians, or they are Christians themselves. They don't need or want a political candidate to tell them about being a Christian. They aren't looking to apply a religious test to their candidates. But they are interested in knowing what John McCain and I would do about ______. So maybe we could talk about that?" Or....
  5. "Hm. I'm interested to know where this question is coming from, Brooke. Do you give a religious quiz to every political candidate? Why is that? What did Obama tell you about his stance on infralapsiarianism? Is he a complementarian, an egalitarian, or what? What was his understanding of the hypostatic union? Or was all that above his pay grade?" Or....
  6. "What an odd question, Skippy. Do you feel that it is unusual for a practicing evangelical Christian to serve in public office?" Or....
  7. "So, Biff, do you ever participate in discussions about why the media are liked less and trusted less than Congress or the President? How do you think practicing Christian viewers perceive you, right now? What message does this question send to young Christians — or other religious people — who are considering public service, and thinking that they may be interviewed by you or one of your peers someday? Do you mean to have a chilling effect on religious people considering public service?" Or....
  8. "Sure, I'd be happy to answer that question. I am a Christian: I believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. You know, Brianne, we Christians have been around for about 2000 years. We have served faithfully in every sort of political system, from oppressive tyrannies, to the British monarchy, to this great Republic. Were I to become President, as a Christian, my sacred oath of office will bind me to respect, uphold and defend the Constitution. The Constitution does not clash with the Bible, and the Bible does not give any human the authority to prevent or direct me in discharging that sacred oath, whether that is my husband, my pastor, or the consensus of the mainstream media. I think that answers any question that isn't a silly question, don't you? Now, what I keep hearing from people is that they're concerned about _____. Here's how John McCain and I mean to address that:...."
Somewhere in that range of responses is a satisfactory way to stay on the offensive, avoid being put on the defensive, and bypass the deadly deer-in-the-headlights look.

Will these suggestions get anywhere near the campaign? Should they? Who knows?

But I did notice a hit from Anchorage yesterday.

Now, all this was in response specifically to the "gotcha" religious questions. I also think Palin should have some substantive replies ready for abortion "gotcha" questions, beyond "Well, I'm pro-life, and so I...."

But maybe that's a topic for another day.

UPDATE I: I didn't do a good enough job of incorporating ReformedMommy's excellent point that Palin should be motivated by love in how she responds. So... after she skewers the DNC's mouthpiece, she should do this:



Mike Westfall said...

Brilliant, Dan.

I'm just itching for it to happen just as you've suggested. Popcorn's going in the microwave right now...

CR said...


And I'm dead serious about this, have you forward this to the McCain campaign, if not, I'll forward for you.

DJP said...

I wouldn't know how. If you have a way, feel free. In fact, let me say, anyone can forward anything to anyone he wants.

Who knows? Maybe blogs and sites that regularly feature topics such as those I regularly treat here and at Pyro, yet which never seem to "see" any of my articles, will have thoughtful readers bring them to their attention?

Could happen.

J♥Yce Burrows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You should be on Palin's payroll.

CR said...

I couldn't agree more.

Michelle said...

Dan, I think you're brilliant and I think your suggested responses are excellent, but in my heart I feel Sarah should pack up and go home - not just in a physical sense, but that would be a good start.

I am troubled by the role model she is to Christian mothers - too many of whom have already believed the feminist lie of the enemy that says "you can do it all".

Titus 2:5 speaks about being keepers at home, etc., lest the Word of God be blasphemed. Pretty serious.

Just my humble opinion which I hope has not gone too far sideways here.

Stefan Ewing said...

"Skippy" (#6) and "Biff" (#7)? Gave me a chuckle.

DJP said...

Michelle, my only problem with your opinion is that I've discussed that in at least two recent posts.

You would have been welcome to pursue the issue in one of them. Now (in the flow of the blog) we've/I've built the wheel, and we're/I'm trying to figure out how to drive. If you foller me.


Carol Jean said...

Biff? Is he the reporter for CBN?

Brilliant Dan, really.

I received an e-mail from Summit Ministries in my inbox this morning about how "smart" Jesus was ( probably a better word). In Jesus' Favorite Mind Games, speaking of the trap set by the Pharisees and Herodians (Matthew 22), the article states:

What was the response of those who heard Jesus' answer? Read Matthew 22:22:

"When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away."

Do you know what the word "amazed" means in Greek? It means "amazed"! In other words, they marveled at Jesus' insight and keen understanding. Here we find Jesus going toe to toe with the most highly educated people of his day and he outmaneuvered them intellectually. He avoided their verbal trap and went to the very heart of the political question. This means that Jesus had developed a full-orbed worldview, including insight into the area of politics.

Michelle said...

Got it Dan, thanks. I shall go back and take a look. My comment was a drive-by, I confess - I usually just hover around at TeamPyro.

DJP said...

Well, don't be a stranger! You're welcome here!

~Mark said...

I SO love this post! The intelligent Christian is a gladiator among unarmed puppies, man.

Dawg Doc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

You know who you are: get some help, get a clue, or get back off to Democratic Underground. You're about to get banned, here.

Rachael Starke said...

Or maybe on of those nice Christian side-hugs... :)

So, in younger, unregenerate days, a predictive list like this would then be followed by some kind of game at the actual event invlolving adult beverage consumption with each accurate answer..... Not sure what the Christian corollary might be ...

CR said...

Her first test will be with Charlie Gibson tomorrow. Right now, she's probably spending time with her son before he ships off to Iraq. We definitely should be praying for her.

Does anyone know what kind of questioner Gibson is? He is part of the MSM but he is probably a little bit more fairer from what I've heard? He's not a shark like Keith Olberman from what I've heard. He'll be a tough questioner but I don't know that he would be an out-of-blooder like a Keith Olberman.

What channel is World News Tonight ABC News on? (Just kidding)

candy said...

Charles Gibson is not that fair, he is quieter with just a slight sneer.

I think these are great responses Dan. Too bad the MSM and Democrats are so obtuse when it comes to clear communication on issues.

DJP said...

Thanks Candy, and I agree about Gibson.

I remember when then-candidate The Nameless One was on Gibson's show, in a diner, supposedly to talk with "real folks."

One guy was too real, and asked, "Yeah, I was just wondering: how could we ever trust a guy who'd cheat on his wife?"

Gibson hustled TNO on to a more friendly questioner. Didn't stop TNO from smearing previous presidents to make himself look better; but he had to do it over his shoulder.

Mike Westfall said...

So far the sharks seem more like clown fish.

I just saw the "pinheads" segment on O'Reilly. Joy Behar and Matt Damon got the honors.

I just about fell out of chair laughing when I heard Matt Damon say it was really, really important for him to know whether Palin believes dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago! Because, you know, if she's in the White House, she'll have access to the Nuclear Codes...

CR said...

Okay, so, Gibson then will be a good first shark/wolf run through.

Dawg Doc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DJP said...

Okey doke, sounds like I'm doing you a favor.

You're banned.

Rachael Starke said...

((Sighing heavily))

Okay. So. I forgot to mention earlier that I loved your definition of evangelical Christianity (the "I believe everything Jesus said" one) so much I put it on my Facebook page. I have a whole posse from work, high school, etc. that have already responded positively to some other things there, but that one is gonna get them all riled up.

In a GOOD way.

John said...

Dan...hope you are sending these things to her or to her staff! They need to know!

Jim Wright said...

This is great. I am a Canadian but am watching the American election more than our own. Somehow I believe it will have more impact on us.

Keep up the great work.

W. James Wright

CR said...

I think that's being done J Kane, but we probably want to be hush hush about it. There are people probably lurking and forwarding this stuff to the Obama campaign.

I didn't think about this before, but that hit that Dan got from Anchorage could be from one of the 30 lawyers that the Obama campaign sent to Anchorage to dig dirt from Gov. Palin.

CR said...

Excerpts of the interview of Palin with Gibson are online. Video excerpts of whether she has experience and her explanation of the the Iraq war being a task from God are on on the ABC News website.

A written transcript of Georgia being in NATO is also ABC News website. No video of that, probably will be shown on Nightline tonight.

I would be curious to hear people's thoughts.

Mike Westfall said...

Well, Gibson asked her if she's sending her son to Iraq on a mission from God!

Fits right in with the type of questions Dan prophesied.

Mike Westfall said...

Charlie is guilty of attempted gross deception.

Gibson quoted her as saying: "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." He said that those were her exact words. And they were.

But I watched the video from her church. He didn't quote the first two words of her sentence! She actually said, "Pray that our national leaders are sending [U.S. soldiers] on a task that is from God."

CR said...


Kudos to you, and very astute of you to notice that. When I first heard that part of the interview, I thought to myself, wait a minute, she did say that it was a task from God. Then I thought, what is she talking about from Abraham Lincoln? And you astutely point out, no, she actually said, pray that our leaders are sending them on a task that is from God.

I initially fell hook, line, and sinker to the twist of what she said. Thanks for pointing that out.

Of course, we're setting aside that every single event that occurs in human history is an act of the providence of God. But that's a separate issue, we're not testing her or the media's knowledge of the sovereignty of God.

Anyway, thanks again for pointing that out, Mike. You are brilliant.

DJP said...


So... what does Gibson think Christians believe?

She did give solid answers, in that clip. I do wish, however, she'd taken the offensive away from him.

Mike Westfall said...

Apparently Gibson didn't do primary research. It seems he's just parroting the quote from an AP story a couple days ago.
Hot Air caught the deception a week ago

DJP said...

Good link, Mike.

Gibson was the first at-bat. But I don't think Gibson "got" her good enough to satisfy the Christophobic left. He tried though — but he had to twist her words to do it. She handled it pretty well.

But did you notice, it was there? "God's will?" Gibson asks, in puzzled, amazed tones. Are there people who actually think about such things.

Yep, Charles. Called "Christians."

Look it up.

Next attack from an interviewer is likely to be much more vicious and pointed, along the lines we've discussed. She handled this too well. Next time, or the time after that, it'll be for blood and entrails.

Hope she's ready.

CR said...

A third excerpt of the interview is now available on ABCNews website.

She does have a huge blunder when Gibson asks her what she thinks of the Bush Doctrine. Gibson kinda has to explain it to her. Ouch...

candy said...

Gibson could hardly restrain his restlessness at her comments. His body language spoke volumes.

Mike Westfall said...


ABC News now has a new video up that, instead of showing Gibson asking the deceptive question, has the portion of the church video where what Palin said is completely in context.

A media backpedal already?
And here I thought the clownfish were starting to grow some teeth.

DJP said...

Oh, Carlo, I took it completely differently. I thought she did just as one of the suggestions above: "What do you mean by 'Christian'?" She asked, "What do you mean by 'Bush Doctrine'?" Rather than just let him hang the name "Bush" on her, she made him define terms. I honestly thought it was a deft move. Never occurred to me that it was a blunder.

DJP said...

Carlo, on that "Bush doctrine" matter, I found THIS after I responded to you. Makes some good points.

I think she handled it perfectly. "Define the doctrine, I'll tell you whether I agree with it" — when all he wanted to do was hang "BUSH" on her.

Mike Westfall said...

I thought she was just being careful, too.

Even so, Charlie wouldn't tell her what he meant. So she proceeded with an answer.

And THEN he explained what he understood the Bush Doctrine to be, which was different from what she answered.

CR said...

Hmmm, , but I thought that when Gibson asked her what she interpreted the Bush Doctrine to be, her initial response was, "his worldview?" Her initial response made her sound she wasn't aware of the Bush Doctrine.

I agree that liberals are trying to set her up to make this look like a 3rd Bush term. And any question with "Bush" in it is a set up gotcha question.

Overall, I thought she did fine.

Tim Brown said...


I agree; I think she did well also.

Something that has been running through my mind in the "it'll never happen department": With Obama saying he's more qualified than Palin to be President (???) and the media perpetually trying to demonstrate somehow that she's not qualified to be a VP, wouldn't it be a good strategy to say "Hey, Barack. . .since you're so hot, why don't you and Palin have a debate?".

Their response would be very interesting. . ..

CR said...

Yeah, and I think I made have overreacted with my concern of how Palin answered the Bush Doctrine question. I'm not use to watching the MSM and the last time I think I ever saw Charlie Gibson was when I was in high school and he was the host of Good Morning America!

Charles Krauthammer came out with a good response to the Bush Doctrine issue (Krauthammer was the first one who coined it).

The longer the democrats make this election about Palin, the worse it will make Obama look.

Anonymous said...


Just for clarity sake can you provide an example of Obama saying he is more qualified to be president than Palin?


I don't think the Democrats have made this election about Palin as much as the Republicans have.

For what it is worth I think Palin looked like an amateur who is nowhere near ready to be VP of this country. It is a good thing most Americans do not cast their ballots based on the VP selection.

Mike Westfall said...

Speak for yourself Icthys, but I'm casting my ballot based on the VP selection!

"Read My Lipstick!"

Anonymous said...


So what you mean to say is that you are casting your ballot for who will be the most powerful man in the world based on who will occupy the most do-nothing office in the world? That is truly bizarre.

CR said...

Mesa Mike,

I cast my ballot in the primary for Sen. McCain (I would have cast my ballot for Thompson after he left the race). I felt he was the best candidate to beat (who I thought at the time would be Sen. Clinton).

His selection of Palin makes me feel a lot better. Californians (the only time a Republican vote counts is in the primary) help put McCain over the top.

You can thank me by sending me an signed autograph (name is Carlo) of Palin the next rally you and your family attend! :=)

Tim Brown said...


One example: Anderson Cooper interview on CNN. He was defending himself against the "Palin vs. Obama controversy". And I'd be interested to know if this doesn't sound, well, *amateurish*. Uh..Um..Uh...

" AC: Some Republican critics say, you don’t have the experience to handle a situation like this [Hurricane Gustav]. They’ve in fact said that Governor Palin has more executive experience as mayor of a small town and as governor of a big state like Alaska. What’s your response?

BO: Well, you know, my understanding is that, uh, Governor Palin’s town of Wasilly [sic] has, uh, 50 employees, uh, uh, we’ve got 2500, uh, in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. Uh, uh, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. Uh, so I think that, uh, our ability to manage large systems, uh, and to, uh, execute, uh, I think has been made clear over the last couple of years. Uh, and certainly, in terms of, uh, the legislation that I’ve passed just dealing with this issue post-Katrina, uh, of how we handle emergency management. The fact that, uh, many of my recommendations were adopted and are being put in place, uh, as we speak indicates to extent to which we can provide the kinds of support and good service that the American people expect."

That's *one* example.

So, given my original statement, I'd suppose you'd welcome a Palin/Obama debate?

Mesa Mike:

Same here. I wasn't planning on voting until the Palin choice.

Mike Westfall said...


Of course, there was no way I'd be voting for Obama, anyway. I was just making a statement of my enthusiasm for the Palin pick.

Like Carlo wrote, having Palin on the ticket makes me feel better about voting for McCain.

Tim Brown,
That's great!

As I punningly wrote elswhere in cyberspace, McCains pick of Palin hsa effected the palingenesis of the republican base.

Anonymous said...


Your response doesn't really fit your claim of Obama saying he's more qualified to be president than Sarah Palin. In your quote Obama is answering a question posed to him which requires he address that issue. There's a big difference between that and what you meant in your original post.

Re: Obama v. Palin debate: no. It would just give you guys one more thing to gripe about after he wiped the floor with her. It truly makes me scratch my head when I see God fearing Christians supporting a man they do not trust simply because he put a Christian on his ticket. It was purely a strategic move to get the conservative base to fall in line and it worked. The strategist should get the Rove Award because I don't think even the master himself could have pulled the wool over as many Christian eyes as McCain's strategist has.

Note: This is NOT a defense of Obama and I am not an Obama supporter, even though I am in Illinois. In general I don't vote because both parties usually put forth dishonest candidates and as a Christian I cannot knowingly vote for one whom I know is lying. John McCain has proven himself to be a liar in his distortions and deceptions about Barack Obama's record and Obama has done the same about McCain's record. Sarah Palin has deliberately falsified information not only about her record but lied about Obama's record as well. I haven't heard much from Biden but I'd bet he's engaged in the lies as well. You can call it politics if you wish but it is still dishonesty and our Lord condemns that. Therefore I condemn it as well.

Mike Westfall said...

Oh, no!
This can't be true!

I guess I'm voting for Obama after all...

DJP said...

Well, that is pretty devastating.

I mean, you know, as much as the other stuff.