Sarah Palin is Stupid, Says Smarty Pants Dick Polman
And Polman has the credentials to do it. As his bio reads:
"Cited by the Columbia Journalism Review as one of the nation's top political reporters, and lauded by the ABC News political website as "one of the finest political journalists of his generation," Dick Polman is a national political columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He is on the full-time faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, as "writer in residence..." and completely full of himself. Oh sorry, the bio leaves that last part out.
But the highlight of the interview was the exchange that began when Charlie Gibson simply asked, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?"
And she froze. One second passed, two seconds...Then this reply: "In what respect, Charlie?"
Clearly, she had no idea what he was talking about. This person is supposedly ready to assume the presidency on a moment's notice, yet she had no clue about the signature foreign policy doctrine of the Bush era, as enunciated in a 2002 speech, and subsequently in the 2002 National Security Strategy, declaring that the United States reserves the right to launch preventive wars against potentially hostile regimes - or, as the document put it, against "emerging threats before they are fully formed."
Actually, the "Bush Doctrine," such as it is, has evolved somewhat over the past several years so that even the most seasoned pol might be a little taken aback by the question.
According to Wikipedia:
"The Bush Doctrine is a term used to describe various related foreign policy principles of United States president George W. Bush, enunciated in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"The phrase initially described the policy that the United States had the right to treat countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups as terrorists themselves, which was used to justify the invasion of Afghanistan.
"Later it came to include additional elements, including the controversial policy of preventive war, which held that the United States should depose foreign regimes that represented a supposed threat to the security of the United States, even if that threat was not immediate (used to justify the invasion of Iraq), a policy of supporting democracy around the world, especially in the Middle East, as a strategy for combating the spread of terrorism, and a willingness to pursue U.S. military interests in a unilateral way.
Still later, "Another part of the intellectual underpinning of the Bush Doctrine was the 2004 book The Case for Democracy, written by Natan Sharansky and Ron Dermer, which Bush has cited as influential in his thinking. The book argues that replacing dictatorships with democratic governments is both morally justified, since it leads to greater freedom for the citizens of such countries, and strategically wise, since democratic countries are more peaceful, and breed less terrorism, than dictatorial ones."
All that is to say is that Gibson's question was hardly as simple as Polman makes it out. Given the various definitions, her asking "In what respect, Charlie?" is perfectly reasonable.
But Polman can't help himself.
"Apparently her tutors had neglected to provide that particular index card.
"The torture continued. Gibson, asked again about the doctrine: "The Bush - well, what would you interpret it to be?"
"Now she was really lost, so she hazarded a guess: "His world view?"
"It was like hearing an English teacher ask a student for her interpretation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter, and the student, not having read the novel, responding, "Human nature?"
Actually, it was nothing like that. It was nothing like that at all.
It was a lot more like a TV journalist trying to play the old gotcha' game in front of a national TV audience and... failing. By posing a question that not even he fully understood, Gibson looks far more ridiculous, in retrospect, than she did.
For more on this check this out.
Oh, and something "one of the finest journalists of his generation" failed to mention about Gibson's interview was his awful misquoting of Palin in an attempt to characterize her as some sort of religious nut.
Jim Lindgren explains it very well over at the Volokh Conspiracy.
As for Polman, it is just this sort of heavy-handed, left-leaning, condescending slam jobs some "top political reporters" try to pass off as objective analysis that is helping to drive independent voters over to the McCain-Palin ticket in droves.
UPDATE: For a fairer and more insightful analysis of the Gibson Palin interview try UPI.com's Martin Sieff.