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.
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.
Sarah Palin's Charlie Gibson ABC Interview: Video And Transcript
EXCERPTS: Charlie Gibson Interviews Sarah Palin
And finally... Sarah Palin Naked
Technorati tags: Sarah Palin, Palin, Charlie Gibson, ABC, ABC News, interview, vice president, election, US elections, Hillary Clinton, American politics, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Norman J Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute, Politico, Bush Doctrine, Russia, Georgia, NATO, YouTube, WebWeaver's World, webweaver.