Sunday, September 14, 2008

Palin and the "Bush Doctrine"

Charles Krauthammer shares some insight into the "Bush Doctrine" and why it was entirely appropriate for Sarah Palin to request clarification when asked about it by Charles Gibson in last week's ABC interview:
Charlie Gibson got it wrong. There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration — and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today.
I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term.
So just for kicks, when someone tries to criticize Palin for not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is, ask them what they think it is. Or better yet, just ask them, "Which one?"

5 comments:

Cheryl said...

Great minds think alike. I just posted on this, too! :-)

Shane said...

I still prefer this definition of Bush doctrine. I doubt it'd survive 10 minutes on Wikipedia, though.

There's no question in my mind that Gibson got it wrong. Besides, preemption isn't anything Bush came up with, preventative war with no imminent threat is.

To me, the best indicator that she doesn't know what she's talking about is that she didn't show any glimmer of recognition for the term. Any candidate on the national stage should have been able to take Charlie Gibson to school for his crappy definition. God that guy gives real interviews the way Ed Helms gives satirical interviews.

Ta Nehisi Coates on his Atlantic blog:
Many have noted that the Bush Doctrine has actually been a somewhat amorphous phrase. Fair enough. But she seemed to not even have a handle on any of the various definition. It was almost as if she'd never heard the phrase. It wasn't like she said "Well what aspect" or "It's changed a few times." She seemed to be basically clueless.

And I'm pimping the James Fallows analysis again because I agree with almost all of it.

Evan said...

Hahahaha, nice.

As to Coates's analysis "It was almost as if she'd never heard the phrase. It wasn't like she said 'Well what aspect'...". Actually, her response was "In what respect, Charlie?". Seems like a fair response to a completely ambiguous question. I love the way Gibson then refuses to clarify, haha. To me, Gibson's ineptitude makes the whole thing a bit inconclusive. I do wish she'd been a bit more on top of him for those sorts of things, but you can't have it all. I also liked her point about how, as governor, she's made state trade policy with other countries, which must count for something. But then, ABC edited that part out.

Evan said...

I think Fallows's analysis is fair, though I don't (obviously) fully agree. I've only been reading the transcripts, for one, so should see the video before I make a judgment as to whether she was truly caught clueless or not. On the other hand, reasonable people seem to be disagreeing, so I'm not willing to see either point as really conclusive.

Evan said...

UPDATE: Rich Lowry has some excellent comments:

"Gibson apparently didn't want to go into full "gotcha" territory by asking flat-out if she knew what it is. And then he muddled things further with his dubious definition of it, so she was never truly nailed and there was enough ambiguity there for conservatives to defend her. The fact still remains that she very likely didn't know any of the possible definitions of the Bush doctrine."

"I hope she got up from the foreign policy session and said to her aides, 'Dammit. That wasn't good enough and I'm not letting it happen again.'"

"I understand how we all want to be protective of her—I feel the same impulse—but let's not be patronizing. I believe the truly pro-Palin position is to think she can, should, and will do better than this."

Okay, okay. You got me. Guilty as charged.