September 14, 2008

The Palin Doctrine

Desperate McCain supporters are pushing an explanation for why Sarah Palin didn't know what Charles Gibson meant by "the Bush Doctrine." The problem, they say, is that Palin actually knows more than most people about foreign policy. She's well-informed enough to be aware that there have been several policies described by that phrase, and she merely wanted to know which one Gibson was referring to!

This nonsense has been pushed most forcefully by Charles Krauthammer, who avers that "I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term." What Krauthammer doesn't mention is that Wikipedia didn't cite him as such an authority until after the Palin interview. It turns out that up until September 8, Wikipedia was pretty clear: while the phrase has been applied to "various" policies, it is almost entirely associated with the one Gibson was asking about, preventative war. After the Palin interview aired, the Wikipedia entry was changed more than 100 times, as Palin apologists literally rewrote the definition to retroactively make their candidate look less ignorant.

Even if you couldn't tell from her entire affect that Palin's hesitancy was not from an excess of knowledge, the story is tissue thin. After all, Gibson's response to Palin's question about what he meant was "what do you interpret it to be?" That's the point at which Palin could have said, "Well, of the various policies given that name, the one I agree with most is..." What she actually said was, "His worldview?"

But even if you still want to contend that Palin was somehow using worldview to mean "there's more than one foreign policy doctrine by that name," the entire argument falls apart. Because look how Krauthammer himself frames it: "If I were in any public foreign policy debate today, and my adversary were to raise the Bush doctrine, both I and the audience would assume -- unless my interlocutor annotated the reference otherwise -- that he was speaking about the grandly proclaimed (and widely attacked) freedom agenda of the Bush administration." [emphasis added]

But Gibson did annotate the reference otherwise! Seeing Palin's confusion he made clear that he meant, "the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war" And Palin still had no idea what he was talking about. Indeed, even after he spelled it out for her, she didn't understand it. She gave an answer about "imminent strikes," when the whole point of the Bush Doctrine was that troublesome countries must be attacked before a strike can become imminent.

Palin's defenders know all this. They just don't care. John McCain's fundamental dishonesty and lack of integrity has infected his entire party.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


Krauthammer's piece was complete nonsense -- the kind of right-wing apologist crap that gets circulated long after it's arguments have been revealed as fraudulent.

Daniel -- on the fundmental issue of blatant dishonesty, I would also be interested to hear what you think of Christians and lying (or "righteous lying" as it's sometimes called).

At Catholic school, I was always taught that lying was a sin.

Palin doctrine = Ironclad Inept

anagramatically speaking, of course.

Palin doctrine = Tried plain con!

Plaid on cretin

The Palin Doctrine = Help Indoctrinate

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