For two months, when she was unknown, yet asking the American public to elect her vice president of the United States - when it mattered seriously for Americans to know precisely who she was and see her vetted in public- Sarah Palin couldn't be found anywhere near a challenging microphone. Even in the midst of an actual debate, she haughtily refused to answer questions asked of her.
Now, however, you can't keep her away from reporters. Now, if you were standing between Sarah Palin and a camera, you'd be stampeded. Now, it's like she's morphed into the creepy Norma Desmond at the end of "Sunset Boulevard," eerily gliding down the stairs of her home, calling out, "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille."
Except, now, it doesn't matter. Now, we're no longer deciding who should be elected to lead the United States. Now, we don't care what she reads, what she can see from her porch. We already chose who we wanted. Sarah Palin lost, even if she didn't get to give her "concession speech."
Sarah Palin kept insisting she would only talk when she wasn't filtered. That was why she wouldn't do interviews, so people could get to know the Real Sarah.
But at some point between "You lost" and "Last boarding call for Anchorage," Sarah Palin miraculously realized that people could discover the Real Sarah even when filtered through a reporter. In fact, the more filters the merrier.
It's a smarmy, cowardly act. Just like her whole campaign. Hinting at her opponent being a traitor created a dangerous atmosphere in the country that lingers, all the while hiding behind a fake-whine that she should be the one protected against criticism.
And her cowardice continues: slamming the press she avoided, yet now courts. Smearing bloggers, yet "palinforVP.blogspot.com" started her crusade to become vice president.
Mind you, while it's annoying to see her empty interviews, that's not the problem. The problem is that too many interviewers are letting her get away, at best, with blather. And at worst, lying. When she told Matt Lauer that she couldn't have banned "Harry Potter" when she was mayor because the books hadn't yet been published, he should have said, "Yes, they had!" When she told a reporter she was annoyed by Katie Couric's question because "Alaskans read what everyone reads," he should have replied, "No, you were being asked what specific newspapers inform your world view. And you still haven't answered." And someone should have pointed out to Ms. Palin that she still hasn't delivered to Katie Couric that list of McCain regulations she promised she'd get. Or that she still hasn't made her medical records public, that she also promised.
So, as much as I hate seeing this losing candidate using up airspace that could be better spent on Barney (Fife, Rubble or the purple dinosaur), I'd LOVE to see reporters actually interview her. Not just hand over a microphone and let her continue to slam the president-elect, lie about her clothes, and cook a homey stew as if the state didn't provide her a chef that she never did, in fact, fire.
So many questions. Yet amid them all, sometimes I wonder what if I was allowed to ask Sarah Palin a question - but only one. What would it be?
After much thought, I've honed it down to this:
"Throughout the campaign, you talked endlessly about Joe the Plumber. How you cared about Joe the Plumber. How Joe the Plumber was what America was all about. How Joe the Plumber was what you were all about. How you understood Joe the Plumber to the depths of your very soul. My question is - What is Joe the Plumber's name?"
I have cash money on the table that she couldn't answer, "Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher."
Of course, I won't get the chance. But since every TV reporter in America with a camera will likely get their chance, here are some questions gratis they are welcome to ask Sarah Palin.
Why isn't the oil distribution payout you made to Alaskans socialism?
How could you say, "I'm comfortable with Barack Obama as our Commander-in-Chief," after suggesting he dangerously palled around with terrorists?
Did you find it creepy to have hands laid on you in church by a witch doctor?
Were you in church, as your pastor insists, when the invited speaker said it was God's will that Jews in Israel were killed in terrorist attacks?
Whether you were in church or not, why haven't you ever condemned the statement?
Why did you tape a greeting for the Alaskan Independence Party convention that wants Alaska to secede from the United States?
Your husband was a member of the secessionist AIP, which affiliated itself with the Iran dictatorship. Doesn't that mean you palled around with a domestic terrorist?
What was a typical day like as mayor of Wasilla?
Would you like to try that answer about your foreign policy experience and seeing Russia again?
You said that you also got experience from books you read. What books have made you an expert on Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, France, North Korea, Venezuela and Spain?
What newspapers do you read?
What places in America aren't pro-America?
Do you believe that Barack Obama is an anti-American terrorist?
Do you understand the great and lasting danger you caused America by hinting that he was?
When people at your rallies continually yelled "Traitor" and "Kill him," why didn't you say anything to them?
What do you want?
After insisting your family was off limits, why did you carry your children around like stage props, even bringing your two daughters onto the ice when you dropped a hockey puck?
Is something wrong with your eye?
If Sarah Palin wants to talk now - she has to now be willing to answer questions that she avoided before.
If Sarah Palin wants to talk now - she has to talk about "now." Yet she's still grasping at her old, divisive, hollow, losing stump speech. What the American public demands is someone who can speak to the collapsing economy - and offer solutions. To finally ending the Iraq War. Getting health care.
And the empty Sarah Palin keeps showing she has nothing to add to the public discourse. Yet talks anyway. Now.
Sarah Palin seemingly wants to lead the Republican Party in four years. Fat chance, but still, she should at least take the advice of the founder of her party, Abraham Lincoln. No, not that advice about, "You can't fool all the people all of the time" - though admittedly that's pretty good.
No, the advice I'm referring to is another from Lincoln --
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
Follow Robert J. Elisberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertElisberg