10/10/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Twenty Questions for Sarah Palin

Dear Sarah,

As I write these words, Charles Gibson of ABC News is undoubtedly preparing a bag of softballs--or rather marshmallows--for his forthcoming interview with you. Before the campaign is over, I would dearly love to see you field any or all of the following hardballs.

1. Since you freely and bravely decided to bear a Down's Syndrome child, do you think every pregnant woman who learns that her fetus is defective should be likewise free to make her own choice?

2. As the mother of a Down's syndrome baby, you have a deeply personal interest in the lives of what you have called "special" children? What specific steps will the McCain administration take to ensure that all such children get the help they need?

3. As a pro-life candidate for the vice-presidency of the United States, you surely know that at least twenty percent of women who choose abortion do so because they do not think they can afford to bear and raise a child. You must also know that premature births, which cost an average of $41,000 per baby (nearly fifteen times the cost of normal births), are chiefly due to the lack of pre-natal care. What then will you do to ensure that every woman who becomes pregnant gets the pre-natal care she needs, regardless of her ability to pay?

4. As a staunch supporter of babies, what will you do to ensure that every baby born in this country gets the health care that he or she needs?

5. While running for mayor in the city of Wasilla (population then about 5000), you campaigned as a "fiscal conservative." During your six years as mayor (1996-2002) you cut taxes on large property owners but also raised government expenses by more than 33 percent, increased tax collection by 38 percent, and raised the sales tax on everything, including food. Does fiscal conservatism mean raising taxes on ordinary citizens while cutting them on big corporations?

6. After taking office when Wasilla owed nothing, why did you leave it with a debt
of more than 22 million dollars?

7. Why did you promote a sports complex and park in a city with no sewage
treatment plant or storm drainage system?

8. When you borrowed more than 15 million dollars to finance the sports
complex, why did you fail to ensure that the city had clear title to the
land needed for it, with the result that the project has been stuck in legal limbo
for the past seven years?

9. Why are there even now no road signs in Wasilla, so that houses which catch on
fire there burn to the ground because fire trucks cannot find them?

10. As mayor of Wasilla, why did you try to fire the highly respected city librarian, and what made you back down?

11. As Governor of Alaska, you fired the police chief because he refused to
fire a state trooper who happened to be your sister's ex-husband. Why did you repeatedly pressure him to fire the trooper, and then fire the chief himself for refusing to do so?

12. When you tried to replace the fired police chief with a man whom
you knew had been reprimanded for sexual harassment, what finally made you
withdraw your support for him?

13. While running for the governorship of Alaska in the fall of 2006, you were the only candidate who consistently supported the building of a bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina Island: the "bridge to nowhere" that would have cost 400
million dollars, most of it in federal funds. Why did you support this project
as a candidate and then oppose it after you were elected?

14. During the present year, your administration has asked Congress for 31
earmarks totaling 200 million dollars. How then can you support Senator
McCain's demand for an end to all earmarks?

15. In making cabinet appointments as Governor of Alaska, why have you consistently over-ridden the recommendations of state advisory boards? On what basis have you chosen your cabinet officers?

16. According to the latest figures from the Department of Education, 64 percent of
Alaskan students--nearly two-thirds-- do not graduate from high school, and Alaska ranks 46 out of 50 states in its high school graduation rate. As the Governor of Alaska and a strong supporter of education, what have you done to persuade more students to finish high school?

17. With sea ice in the Artic ocean now shrunk to its second lowest level since 1979,
climate scientists such as Jay Zwelly of NASA say that "climate warming is
coming larger and faster than the models are predicting," and that in less than
ten years the Arctic could be wholly free of sea ice in the summer. If you don't
believe this loss of ice is due to global warming, how do you explain it?

18. With polar bears clearly threatened by the shrinking of Arctic sea ice, why has your state sued the Department of the Interior to stop it from listing the polar bear as a threatened species?

19. Why have you just opposed a ballot measure in your state that would have protected salmon from potential contamination caused by mining?

20. According to the Energy Information Adminstration, drilling in ANWR would
trim the price of gas by 3.5 cents a gallon in twenty years, and according to the
National Resources Defense Council, drilling in all offshore areas might
eventually cut the price of gas by four cents a gallon at most. But according
to the American Automobile Association, anyone who drives at 60
mph RIGHT NOW can save 20 cents a gallon over those who drive at 65,
and 40 cents a gallon over those who go 70. Given these facts, why do you
think more drilling--with all its risks to our lands, oceans, and wildlife-- is better
than slightly slowing down?