Even in the midst of a truly disastrous interview, Palin manages to remind me why I warmed to her in the first place (emphasis mine):
Sarah Palin: I think it should be a states’ issue not a federal government-mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I’m, in that sense, a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. Now, foundationally, also, though, it’s no secret that I’m pro-life that I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country. Personally that’s what I would like to see, um, further embraced by America.
Couric: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?
Palin: I do. Yeah, I do.
Couric: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.
Palin: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.
OK, so she’s not a constitutional scholar. But her views on federalism are fundamentally sound and fairly well articulated. They also suggest a real willingness to compromise on an extremely contentious social issue (no national abortion bans here!).
Further, it’s entirely defensible to argue that while the Constitution implicitly protects privacy (see, for example, the Fourth and Ninth Amendments), safeguards against government intrusion shouldn’t take precedence over an unborn child’s life. I may not agree with this formulation, but – contra Ambinder – I certainly think it’s logically consistent. Perhaps more importantly, it’s downright heartening to hear a prominent conservative leader acknowledge that government does not have the right to peep into everybody’s window at the drop of a hat.