The election is two weeks from today with 13 days of campaigning left and Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for Vice President, has yet to give a press conference and has not released any of her medical records. According to The Times, “Last week Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for Ms. Palin, said the governor declined to be interviewed or provide any health records.”
At numerous rallies where the atmosphere has been, shall we say, a little uncivil, Gov. Palin has accused Sen. Obama of accusing our forces in Afghanistan of simply bombing villages. Only a moment’s work is required to discover that the words complained of were never uttered in that form and that they occurred in a speech that stressed the need for more ground troops as opposed to more airstrikes (a recommendation, by the way, that begins to look more sapient each week, at least in respect of the airstrikes). Again, I have a question: Did Palin know that she was telling a lie? Or did her handlers simply assume that she would read anything that was put in front of her, however mendacious? And which would be worse? And when will she issue the needful retraction? There seems no way of putting her in a forum where these points could be raised. So, continued media coverage of her appearances is no better than lending a megaphone to a demagogue, the better to amplify her propaganda.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., an honorable man with a high place in the McCain campaign, when asked about Palin’s failure to do so much as a Meet the Press appearance, told the Washington Post: “We’re asking the American people to pick the next president and vice president, and we do not expect the American people to do so—’Trust me’—blindly. She will have to do what’s expected of people in this business. … In countries where that does not happen, I do not want to live.” That highly admirable statement was made Sept. 2. Something of McCain’s own reputation for honesty and honor is now involved in keeping Sen. Graham’s implied promise.
Important too since the McCain-Palin campaign is banning some reporters from the campaign plane.
Regarding medical records, although John McCain, Barack Obama, and Joseph Biden have released some, yesterday the medical correspondent of The New York Times, Dr. Lawrence K. Altman, said that “serious gaps remain” in the public’s knowledge about the health of the Democratic and Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees. As Dr. Altman wrote,
In past elections, the decisions of some candidates for the nation’s top elected offices to withhold health information turned out to have a significant impact after the information came to light. This year, the health issue carries extraordinary significance because two of the four nominees have survived potentially fatal medical problems that could recur.
If, as I keep hearing and reading that this is one of the most important elections to come down the pike, does the American voting public not deserve full disclosures about health from all of the candidates, and at least one press conference from the Republican vice presidential candidate?