As published in The Huffington Post
Dear Governor Palin,
During your debate with Senator Biden you said you welcomed the opportunity to speak directly with the American people, “uncensored” by the media. That sounds great. In fact, I’d like to challenge you to a debate: one regular American, me, versus you, the Governor of Alaska.
I mean a genuine debate, where we exchange ideas back and forth, and we are each expected to actually answer the questions asked by the moderator. Not like anyone would want to know what I have to say, but this would give you a real chance to talk directly to the American people (instead of being badgered by pesky reporters like Katie Couric!).
Since you are the candidate, I think it would only be fair to begin in your area of self-proclaimed expertise. Energy policy. Which, if I understand correctly, boils down to “drill baby, drill”. I guess I just don’t understand how drilling in Anwar and off America’s coastline would stop rising oil prices, or make America energy independent. Oil is a global market, and the U.S. produces only 3% of the world’s supply. This means that even doubling U.S. oil production would have a negligible impact on world oil supplies, and no effect on the prices Americans pay at the pump. Plus, it will take at least ten years for any newly developed oil production facilities to come on line, so drilling is no solution to rising gas prices today. On a related note, since the big oil companies that would be doing the drilling are multinational corporations, how does giving big oil more opportunities to profit make America more energy independent? If the goal is to increase America’s energy independence and lower the price of gas, wouldn’t it make sense to invest in domestic resources that we have in much greater supply, like wind, solar, and methane?
This leads into the second issue I would like to discuss. Climate change. You said during your debate with Joe Biden that “I’m not one to attribute every activity of man to the changes in the climate”. Huh? Well I would certainly agree. Not sure how this is relevant, but I do agree. You emphasized that “We have got to clean up this planet. We have got to encourage other nations also to come along with us with the impacts of climate change”. I guess I am confused again. The U.S. has only 5% of the world’s population, but we consume 25% of the world’s fossil fuels. This doesn’t seem to me like leadership in cleaning up the planet. As I’m sure you know, President Bush refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol – the comprehensive global agreement aimed at limiting carbon emissions – much to the chagrin of other nations who were trying to do their part. Would you and Senator McCain support the global climate treaty that is currently being negotiated under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change , which would establish emissions caps for the United States? It seems like drilling for oil instead of developing alternative energy will worsen climate change. How does “drill baby, drill” square with your call for the U.S. to be an international leader in cleaning up the planet?
I also must admit, I am a bit worried about your cavalier attitude towards the U.S. Constitution. Articles I and II are pretty explicit about enumerating and limiting the powers of the Executive, including the Vice President. I think the founding fathers feared the president could become too powerful – like a king – so they established three separate branches of government in order to create check and balances. The American freedom you keep talking about is grounded in and safeguarded by this very Constitution, which you appear willing to modify a bit impetuously.
You seem less excited to discuss foreign policy, so perhaps we can leave that for a later debate. (Although, I am a bit curious to know how the “Castro brothers” made it into your pantheon of evil dictators alongside Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il.)
So, what do you think? If you are serious about speaking directly to the American people, please drop me an email. Here’s your golden opportunity.