Wow. I haven’t seen such in-depth analysis of a single interview since, well, never. The pundits and media elites are dissecting Palin’s recent interview with Charles Gibson like a group of archeologists trying to determine the eating habits of an extinct civilization from a single fossil. You can’t help but think their conclusions will lack validity. I can just see the staff of the New York Times all sitting in front of a big-screen, notepads and laptops in hand, watching the interview over and over, rewinding then watching again in slow motion desperately looking for anything that would suggest a shortfall. “Ah-ha, she twitched her nose. Did you see that, she twitched there. Clearly she has no foreign policy expertise!”
Well, I’ll save them the trouble with this simple revelation: Sarah Palin has no foreign policy expertise! There ya go. I knew that already, so did everyone in this country who supports her bid for Vice President. Sarah Palin is a Governor, a job in which foreign policy experience is neither required NOR acquired. Governor’s govern their state – all 50 of which are within the United States and not a separate national entity - which generally means they’re not meeting with heads of state or formulating comprehensive strategies for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If a governor is doing these things, then that governor isn’t doing his/her job. And Sarah Palin has most definitely been doing her job and doing it well.
Governors run their state. They are basically the CEO. And Sarah Palin has done a damn fine job in her state for 2 years, which means that she is the only person on either ticket who has ever actually headed-up a government as the chief executive, a simple fact that the Dems often conveniently overlook. It’s also worth noting that four of our last five presidents were governors who entered Washington with no foreign policy experience. And since I’m pointing out the obvious, I’ll go ahead and say that Palin is not running for president, another fact the Dems somehow repeatedly overlook. She looked like a Vice President, forwarding the policy as determined by the top of the ticket where the foreign policy expertise is SUPPOSED to be!
We’ve only seen a portion of the interview, but so far I feel Palin did very well. She answered Gibson’s questions without dodging or redirecting. As expected, I agreed with her views on foreign policy which basically echoed those of McCain. Interestingly enough, the MSM is in a twist over the fact that she gave standard, “canned” answers straight from the McCain camp. Well, yeah. She IS his running mate and it’s McCain, after all, who will be determining US foreign policy. You know, like the law says. I think McCain knows better than to select a running mate who disagrees with him on foreign policy issues…but that’s just my simplistic way of thinking.
Then came the point that has all the Left dancing in glee. Gibson asked her about the Bush Doctrine. I immediately thought, “huh?” As in, “what’s the Bush Doctrine?” Palin asked him to be more specific, and he didn’t, referring instead to a speech Bush gave in 2002. I thought: “Sorry, I don’t remember that speech”. And neither did Palin. So she basically gave her impression of Bush’s strategy and objectives in the war on terror. No, that’s not what Gibson meant. He was referring to the policy of preemptive strikes on global threats. Oh! In that case! Palin then answered the question appropriately, and I once again agreed with her.
This was clearly a trap door that Gibson set for her. I follow politics pretty close and I’ve never heard the term “The Bush Doctrine”. Perhaps it will show up in history books one day, but I don’t think the strategy of preemptive attacks on potential threats is known nationwide, or even throughout political circles, as the Bush Doctrine. In fact, Bush isn’t even the first president to employ this strategy. For that matter, why isn’t it called the Clinton Doctrine? I was trying to think of some obscure policy that Bush Sr. had implemented, perhaps that’s what Gibson was referring to. Nope. Somehow he’s under the impression that everybody knows what the Bush Doctrine is, certainly the Governor of Alaska should. Clearly, Palin hadn’t gotten the memo either. And, again, most of her supporters would agree.
Gibson would have been more fair to ask: “What is your opinion on Bush’s core strategy of preemptive military strikes on potential global threats?”
But that’s not what he did and he looked like an egocentric journalist trying to trip up a candidate with a vague question rather than gather information for his viewers. Just my opinion. Conservatives will feel the same way, Liberals will see it as some sort of revelation that Palin isn’t qualified (even though they had no idea what the Bush Doctrine was either), thereby further demonstrating the disconnect these people have with everyday Americans who don’t live in the urban jungles of America’s two coasts. It’s those everyday Americans who will wonder why Gibson didn’t phrase the question appropriately, instead of trying to make the Governor look bad and please his media pals.
Palin certainly didn’t lose any voters with her answers, she may have even gained a few. She did well, responding to questions with poise and clarity, even when some of those questions were tough, like whether we should honor our NATO treaty obligation (this actually was an easy question, unless you’re a liberal who believes that honoring our treaties stops whenever bullets start flying).
Indeed, this interview was tougher than anything Barack Obama has faced, even from Bill O’Reilly, whose cupcake questioning was quite a disappointment for someone who likes his hard-hitting style. And it wasn’t filled with the usual “uh”, “um”, “I mean” and “you know” that seems to pepper any answer that Obama gives to a question he didn’t anticipate. Good thing no one analyzes his interviews like they’re doing to Palin’s.
I thought Gibson did well, understanding the difficult task he faced, with the exception of the lone trap that he set for her. I like how Palin handled it, no sign of frustration even after she recognized the trap for what it was. I also like that she stuck to her guns on ANWR, even though she knew McCain didn’t agree. I took it as an early sign that national politics isn’t shaping her core beliefs. That’s always a good thing.