Thursday, September 11, 2008

An Open Letter to Charlie Gibson

Tonight, for the first time since getting the VP nomination, Sarah Palin will sit down for an interview. While her seclusion is unheard of in today's political circus, it's certainly indicative of McCain's modus operandi: What they don't know won't hurt us. Meaning, the less the public knows about McCain-Palin and their positions on the issues, the better it is for McCain-Palin. That's why they've spent the last two weeks lobbing insults, accusations and downright lies via tightly scripted remarks delivered a safe distance away from the media. Not once in two weeks have they addressed issues of substance, or commented on current events like the staggering new unemployment numbers -the highest in five years, or anything that matters for that matter.

The campaign handpicked Charlie Gibson (no doubt because of his stunningly weak performance as a moderator during the Democratic debates) to be the one to break Palin's cone of silence. We can only hope that Charlie is up to the task. We can only hope that there isn't an agreement between Gibson and the McCain campaign regarding what type of questions he can ask.

Since I'm not too confident that Gibson didn't sell his soul for the interview, I want to make a personal plea to him:

Dear Charlie,

Tonight you hold the voices of millions of America's in your microphone. Don't blow it. When you sit down with Sarah Palin, remember your job as a journalist. The public wants to know about her qualifications to be next-in-line for the presidency and her specific ideas and positions about important issues. We also want to know about her record as mayor and Governor and how it relates to the way she is presenting herself as a VP candidate. We don't want to know about her favorite color or her zodiac sign. We also don't want to know her favorite place to hunt for moose or fish for salmon. In fact, here's one thing I do want to know so maybe you can ask it for me:

Sarah, you haven't discussed health care since your nomination, not during your convention speech or on the campaign trail, even though it's one of the most important issues facing the country. Previously, you have stated you believe in a market-driven system, which is the current system we have in place.

As I hope you know, over 54.5 million people were uninsured for at least part of the year in 2007 -- it is a matter of great interest to the public. The U.S. is ranked #37 as a health system by the World Health Organization, even though we spend a higher portion of our gross domestic product on health care than any other country. The market-based philosophy that's ruled our health care system seems to be an utter failure. The premise that competition will bring lower costs and more options has not been fulfilled. Costs have skyrocketed across the board and people are denied coverage for nearly any reason, at the sole discretion of the provider. Given this reality, why do you continue to advocate a market-driven system?

According to a recent analysis of the candidates' health care plans by the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, McCain’s plan would cover fewer than 10 percent of Americans without health insurance, while Obama's plan covers about 50 percent. The study also found that Obama’s plan costs far less per person to get people covered. McCain’s plan would cost $1.3 trillion over ten years, slightly less than Obama's plan, which is estimated to cost $1.6 but will cover tens of millions more.

Given these facts, can you explain your continued support for a market-driven system? Can you also provide details about how this system will best serve Americans under a McCain administration?

--Thanks Charlie, hope you can fit this question in during the interview.

Readers - if you have any questions you'd like to hear Sarah Palin answer, hit the comments link below and share. I'll collect them and send to ABC.


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