The first two segments of he Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin are here.
Initial grade: D+
It wasn't a complete failure because she was articulate and can prove she can speak complete sentences without a written script. And let's forget the "Bush Doctrine" gotcha question - that was a low blow - Gibson would never have asked anyone else a question like that. Good journalistic practice is not to ask a question that the vast majority of the audience would not understand (I sure as hell couldn't summon up what the Bush Doctrine is, and I'd be surprised if even Obama would know off the top of his head - I mean, it's not like anyone ever talks about it).
But otherwise she fell easy prey to Gibson's bait. He tried to nail her down on NATO membership and she fell for it hook,line and sinker. She effectively stated that a) Russia's invasion of Georgia was 'unprovoked' (almost certainly not true) and that b) Georgia should be admitted to NATO and that c) that means we should make war with Russia should this be repeated. My most charitable interpretation is that she is fundamentally opposed to such a policy and, finding it hard to fully incorporate McCainism into her belief system, she thus ended up inadvertently expressed what is effectively a caricature of it. More likely, she has spent little time thinking about this at all.
The next segment should have been an easy home run. Charlie thought he was rearing back and throwing a bruising fastball on the inside of the plate. In fact, it was a fattie, hanging right down the middle. But Palin's batting coaches had her all confused, and she ended up hitting an infield chopper that maybe she beats out for an infield hit at best. Gibson repeated the gross misrepresentation that Palin had proclaimed that we are on a mission from God in Iraq. Of course, all Palin actually did
was ask for prayers that we have a plan, and that that plan is God's plan.
But here we can see the campaign preparation process at work. Were she to have forcefully pointed out the distortion, and said exactly what she actually said, she would have scored some major points personally. But, since her actual words clearly express some concerns or doubts about our Iraq mission, the campaign could not have allowed her to take this course. Instead, they came upon the clever tack of attributing the words to Lincoln. But it sounds like bull - because it is bull. Then she gave a ringing endorsement to the insane Bush/McCain doctrine that all people deserve (and the U.S. can somehow secure) freedom throughout the world. The idea that all people are deserving of freedom may sound like a nice sentiment, but from what I've seen of people's behavior around the world (and in Iraq in particular), I'd have to register my sincere dissent from that view.Steve Sailer
has summarized the Bush/McCain vision succinctly
: Invade the World, Invite the World, In Hock to the World. In these first interview segments, Palin has fully embraced the first leg of this tripartite lunacy. Obviously, as McCain's vice presidential nominee, she has no choice but to go along. But her failure to cleverly hedge her responses* tells me she either has no other thoughts of her own or doesn't have the intellectual self-confidence to retain any semblance of her own voice. Sarah, you're breaking my heart!
* For example, when asked if Ukraine and Georgia should be in NATO, a simple response would be "I believe membership in NATO for these countries should be on the table, and John McCain will work closely with our European allies to come to an agreement on this issue" But do you believe they should be in NATO?
"It's not for me to make this determination on my own sitting here talking to you, that's a decision that must be made in consultation with our allies. It would not be constructive for me to inject my opinion on this type of important diplomatic matter at this time." Instead, she has forcefully propounded a dangerous course of action that even the Bush administration is backing off of
On the other hand, maybe she has
thought about these issues, and this is how she really does feel about the situation over there, and perhaps on her own she went further than McCain's advisers would have preferred. I really can't come up with any comforting scenarios here, try as I might.