I should stop watching Sarah Palin interviews.

September 12th, 2008

I saw the interview on ABC last night and tonight. It surprised me that she quite clearly didn’t understand what the Bush Doctrine is (Charlie Gibson had to explain it to her). She dodged and evaded too many questions to count. Every foreign policy question she turned into an oil question, citing Alaska, as if somehow Alaska has played a key part in international conflict in the last decade.

Charlie asked her about the budget deficit, the economy. He got her implied assent that Bush hadn’t done well, and asked her to name three concrete ways she’d change. She dodged for a minute. He tried again. She cited lower taxes, better oversight, and I forget the third. Anyhow, it didn’t sound very different to me — and not very specific either. It’s so general that everybody from Ron Paul to the green party can agree to it.

He asked her about the deficit, and what she and McCain would do to fix it. She stumbled for a minute, then said “I certainly wouldn’t cut veterans benefits” and spent the next minute talking about how important veterans are. Which is a whole other topic. She never did say how they’d cut the deficit, just that in some magical way, they’d find inefficiencies. McCain’s had over a year to name them, and I haven’t seen the specifics yet.

I came away feeling more concerned about her than I expected. She reminds me of Bush in 2000. Cocky, self-confident, a shallow thinker on every topic, and utterly unprepared.

This process of getting to know McCain’s unknown pick is not going so well, I think.

Categories: Politics

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  1. Chris Burkhardt

    “It’s so general that everybody from Ron Paul to the green party can agree to it.”

    Ron Paul and the Green Party agreeing to something?

    [url=http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog/?p=484]“We Agree”[/url]

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  2. Gurtz

    Regarding the “Bush Doctrine”, Charles Krauthammer, who was the first to use the term (see the Wikipedia article you referenced), defends Palin. There is no single definition. Gibson got it wrong.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/12/AR2008091202457_pf.html

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    John Goerzen Reply:

    Take a close look at the interview. Gibson initially specifically stated “the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.” Which I think is quite crystal clear.

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  3. Gurtz

    Your point is somewhat taken. However, he doesn’t get specific at the start of that line of questioning. ["Initially"???] Once he does get specific, she does provide an answer (though admittedly a somewhat rambling one):

    GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine? PALIN: In what respect, Charlie? GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be? PALIN: His world view. GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war. PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that’s the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better. GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?
    PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.

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  4. MarkW

    Look, I had though this wasn’t a direct concern to me, as I thought whatever the outcome was, it was sure to be better than the present situation.

    You know, the combination of bad ideas and putting them into practice badly, is one that would take some beating, and I thought even if we did have four years of bad ideas, they would clearly be four years in which bad ideas were followed up with some competence.

    That now seem in doubt. I wasn’t aware that I was in any danger of being described as an out-of-touch optimist, but so it goes.

    Reply

  5. Jason

    Your blog has some interesting technical information and nice stories about family/culture, but the political stuff is really disappointing.

    Palin, a U.S. politician, dodged questions? Unexpected to be sure. But of course when Obama was asked tough questions (e.g. if his children would use the Negro college fund, etc.) he answered completely straight.

    The fact both sides are corrupt and only care about (1) money and (2) power. Each side has different lies but they’re all lies.

    By saying party X (e.g. Repubs) is bad bad bad and party Y is good good good (e.g. Dems) you are really saying “I don’t really know what’s going on but I’m emotional about it anyway!”. Such thinking is the basis for racism, sexism, and every other ignorant behavior humans engage in. Rise above the simply minded “good guys, bad guys” that’s packaged and presented for you.

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    John Goerzen Reply:

    I think this shows that you haven’t been paying attention to what I’m saying.

    There are plenty of things that particular Democrats, including Obama, have advocated that I disagree with. And there are also things that particular Republicans, such as Arlen Specter, advocate that I agree with.

    It’s a far cry from me expressing an opinion on the presidential race to expressing an opinion on an entire party.

    Having said that, the way that the majority of Republicans on both a federal and a state level have been operating in the last few years leaves little there for me to like, and an awful lot to dislike. But each candidate must be treated individually.

    I think it is the height of hubris to claim that you know what either Obama or McCain care about deep down. How are you so sure that both of them care about only money and power?

    Now I would probably find it hard to argue with “MOST federal politicians care about money and power far more than anything else.” But how can you be so sure that is ALL?

    Reply

    Jason Reply:

    I guess my thing is I don’t really pay attention to what politicians *say* anymore. What’s the point? They always make big promises and if they actually do what they say they will you can be sure it is by coincidence.

    As far as “know deep down” it isn’t hard or magical. It’s D.C. I’ve seen many of these “not a politician” people get elected saying they aren’t insiders and they will do things differently. After 2 years of getting no where because they don’t play the game they all either (a) get out or (b) switch. So how do I know this about McCain and Obama? Simple: they are the level of politics that no other possibility exists.

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http://changelog.complete.org / I should stop watching Sarah Palin interviews.