Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson, part 1 - EPIC FAIL

Holy hell.

I've just been watching and reading Palin's first interview with Charlie Gibson, and all I can say is... heaven help America (and the rest of the world) if McCain and Palin end up in the White House.

Oh my God.

She doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is.

To pre-empt anyone who says "well I don't know what the Bush Doctrine is either", here's a very sensible rebuttal-in-advance from orrg1, a DKos poster:

As for not knowing what the Bush doctrine is: the spin already is "so what? Lots of people don't know that!" Well Bullcrap. This was a central contention during the buildup to Iraq, whether preventive war made any sense, and if it did, whether and when it was justifiable. It was sometimes (in my memory at least) contrasted with the Powell doctrine, which says that you don't go to war unless you have a clear goal, a clear exit strategy, and overwhelming force. She should have been able to discuss that intelligently. Of course the fact that she couldn't wasn't a surprise, since she's admitted previously that she wasn't particularly interested in Iraq, but don't worry, now she's studying real hard! She's running for second in command of the whole damn country, and her foreign policy experience is eclipsed by a bunch of bloggers?

This isn't a matter of campaign spin. This is far, far more serious. With this kind of "job interview", anyone would feel reluctant giving this person a foreign policy job with far less responsibility than that of the Vice President of the United States.

Contrast Palin's response with Hillary answering a similar question - Hillary Clinton on with George Stephanopoulos - Part 3

Here's the wikipedia definition of the Bush Doctrine.

Plus a very interesting comment on CBS News - Palin And The Bush Doctrine:
To anyone who had been following foreign policy in even the most cursory way, but who had somehow forgotten what the name "Bush Doctrine" referred to, Charlie Gibson's explanation would have made it clear what big Bush administration change in policy was under discussion. "Oh, right", such a person would think: "that."

For that reason, one of the most striking things about Palin's response, to me, was this: in answering Gibson's question, she seemed to think that she was accepting the Bush Doctrine, but what she actually said just restated the old doctrine of preemption. When, as Palin said, "there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people", the claim that we have the right to preempt that strike does not require the Bush Doctrine; it just requires the old, and much more widely accepted, doctrine of preemption. That is: in what Palin says here, she's not actually supporting the Bush Doctrine at all. She's just saying what generations of American Presidents and candidates have said: that when a country is actually about to attack us, we don't have to wait for them to actually land a blow before we can strike back.

The good news, I guess, is that when she's forced to make up an answer out of whole cloth, she goes with preemption, not prevention. She doesn't deny that she accepts the Bush Doctrine; she just doesn't say one way or the other. The bad news is that this makes it pretty clear that the problem isn't just that she doesn't know what the name "Bush Doctrine" refers to. She doesn't seem to know that there was a debate about preventive vs. preemptive war, in which the Bush administration came down decisively on the side of prevention. And that's a pretty important thing to be unaware of.

Palin casually threatens war with Russia if they stage an "unprovoked" attack on a NATO member (remember Georgia isn't currently a member of NATO and they were the ones that provoked Russia in the first place...).

Quotes from a couple of Kossaks (orrg1 and a gnostic) to help Sarah out here:
Here's what's wrong with her answer on Georgia and Russia. She wasn't wrong on the memorizable technical details. But it was the fact that she lightly threatened nuclear war with Russia while dealing with a hypothetical, and seemed to be partly oblivious of the fact. This type of subtlety if ignored during the Cuban MIssile Crisis could have spelled the end. She would be hopelessly over her head if she had to step in as President. I don't want to be accused of plagiarism, so I'll say I'm paraphrasing Palin's Dangerous Sable Rattling on Russia, an excellent read.

I think this is an even bigger deal than the fact that she tried to pretend that she knew what the Bush Doctrine was: Sarah Palin either didn't know that Georgian troops, who were trained by American special forces, initially attacked South Ossetia or she lied when she said that the Russians weren't provoked.

The fact is, the Russians WERE provoked.

And Gibson called her on it.

She says America needs to "get to a point in this world where war is not going to be a first option. In fact, war has got to be, a military strike, a last option." - which - correct me if I'm wrong - means she thinks that, for America, war is currently the first option.

She won't answer serious questions about what America should do if Israel decided to attack Iran, instead repeating three times that "we shouldn't second-guess Israel".

She thinks the fact that "They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska" gives her an insight into what Russia is doing in Georgia.

And finally:
GIBSON: And you didn't say to yourself, "Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I -- will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?"

PALIN: I didn't hesitate, no.

GIBSON: Didn't that take some hubris?

PALIN: I -- I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink.

So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.

Here's Norman J. Ornstein, Resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (from Politico - How did she do?):
She had me at hello Charley-- had me scared to death. Not a single doubt that she is ready to be president-- everyone, no matter how experienced, should have doubts about the ability to take that job. A combination of utter inexperience and utter arrogance is about the worst possible combination I can imagine.

Bloody hell.

Sarah Palin's Charlie Gibson ABC Interview: Video And Transcript

EXCERPTS: Charlie Gibson Interviews Sarah Palin

And finally... Sarah Palin Naked

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Anonymous said...

palin is ripped by the commie left wing media. well biden last year pronounced iraq lost and wanted to divide it into three states and obama the community organizer wanted to invade pakistan. so much for the democratic left wing

webweaver said...

Oh please. Is that the best you can do?

I have no idea what you're referring to as "commie left wing media" - or in your mind is that everyone who isn't Fox News?

Perhaps I should point out that there are plenty of people on the Republican side of the fence who are pretty darned unhappy with the Palin pick. Here are just a few of the many:

Ramesh Ponnuru and David Frum from the National Review spring to mind, or how about Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan? Charles Krauthammer has also slammed McCain's choice of Palin. And let us not forget Karl Rove.

On Face the Nation a few weeks ago, Karl Rove argued that if Obama picked Tim Kaine for VP, it would be for purely political reasons and would ignore the responsibilities of the presidency.

On the show, Rove said the following -

"I think he's going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice," Rove said. "He's going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he's going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He's not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president...

...With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years...

...I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America...

...So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I'm really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States? What I'm concerned about is, can he bring me the electoral votes of the state of Virginia, the 13 electoral votes in Virginia?'..."

He could have been speaking about Palin, the similarities with her bio are striking...

Maybe he didn't get the memo. Or, more likely, the memo hadn't even been written at that point, and the name "Palin" was about as far from anyone's mind as it is possible to be.

I notice of course, that you have not put forward a single word in defence of Sarah Palin or her performance during the Charlie Gibson interview.

But then I guess it's impossible to defend the indefensible.