During the run-up to the election that made Sarah Palin the governor of Alaska, the right-wing pro-life group Eagle Forum sent a detailed questionnaire to each of the candidates.
Among its many questions was this one:
"In relationship to families, what are your top three priorities if elected
This was Sarah Palin's response:
"1) Creating an atmosphere where parents feel welcome to choose the venues of education for their children; 2) Preserving the definition of "marriage" as defined in our constitution, and 3) Cracking down on the things that harm family life: gangs, drug use, and infringement of our liberties including attacks on our 2nd Amendment rights."
Palin's answers to questions 1 and 3 were fairly predictable. They might even be embraced by some Democrats.
It's the answer to Question 3 that should worry us.
"Preserving the definition of 'marriage' as defined in our constitution."
It should worry us because the word 'marriage' never appears anywhere in our Constitution.
For the past seven-and-a-half years, the Bushies have chosen to trash the Constitution with their own extreme interpretations. As a consequence, they have made a mockery of our most basic foundational document. But they surely know what's in the Constitution and what isn't. Governor Palin obviously doesn't.
If marriage were defined by the Constitution, why would so many homophobic activists be pushing so hard for a Constitutional amendment to define it?
But this is an issue that goes way beyond marriage. It raises the question of what else Sarah Palin doesn't know about our Constitution.
And that should make us all very worried about just how serious a McCain-Palin administration would be about restoring the rule of law. Would it, like Dubya and his loyalists, simply decide to uphold only those parts of the Constitution that happen to fit their ideological agenda?
It was this approach that gave us warrantless wiretapping. That gave us detainee torture. That castrated Congress through the doctrine of the "unitary executive." That eviscerated the Founding Fathers' mandate of separation of powers that established three distinct branches of government and gave them the authority to legislate, execute and adjudicate -- and prevent any of the branches from curtailing the powers of the others.
Mrs. Palin is entitled to her own interpretations of the Constitution. But she's not entitled to her own facts. What's in our Constitution isn't stuff you make up; it's stuff she should have learned in high school.
That she apparently didn't should make us very afraid. Because she's the person who would be one heartbeat away from a 72-year-old heart.