When Gov. Palin met with Henry Kissinger and the presidents of Afghanistan and Colombia yesterday, only still cameras were allowed. No reporters, no video recorders, no microphones - nothing was to be brought in that could provide a record of what Palin said. In fact, the McCain campaign is consistently going to great lengths to keep Palin and the press separated. The press, it seems, is starting to take notice - and to cry foul. Campell Brown of CNN has even found a word for the campaign's close control of Palin's appearances - sexist. I think Brown makes a good point:
Perhaps McCain doesn't want a running mate so much as he wants a poster veep for the 'small town values' crowd. What's needed is to let her speak to friendly crowds about the beliefs she shares with the demographic McCain seeks to woo, and then to keep her far away from anyone who will ask the sort of questions that might make voters consider whether or not someone's beliefs alone make them qualified to lead.
UPDATE: Even worse, it looks like Palin won't even be speaking for herself during the debates. According to the New York Times:
At the insistence of the McCain campaign, the Oct. 2 debate between the Republican nominee for vice president, Gov. Sarah Palin, and her Democratic rival, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., will have shorter question-and-answer segments than those for the presidential nominees, the advisers said. There will also be much less opportunity for free-wheeling, direct exchanges between the running mates.
McCain advisers said they had been concerned that a loose format could leave Ms. Palin, a relatively inexperienced debater, at a disadvantage and largely on the defensive....
McCain advisers said... they wanted Ms. Palin to have opportunities to present Mr. McCain’s positions, rather than spending time talking about her experience or playing defense.
Tip of the Hat to Jump off the Bridge for pointing this out, Wag of the Finger to the McCain campaign.