Friday, September 12, 2008

Sarah Palin is Stupid, Says Smarty Pants Dick Polman

Political genius Dick Polman scoffs at Sarah Palin's performance during in her interview with ABC Newsman Charles Gibson.

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.

Here's Polman:

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.[1]

"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.[2][3][4]

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.[16] 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.

5 Comments:

Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 13, 2008 at 2:56 AM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

It is clear that what many people saw in the Gibson-Palin interview was what they WANTED to see.

The people who wanted to see Palin embarassed and humiliated (i.e. Obama supporters) saw that. And they are pushing that narrative.

But here's how UPI's David Sieff saw it:

Gibson was out to embarrass Palin and expose her presumed ignorance from the word go. By contrast, when Obama referred to his "Muslim faith" on Sunday and did not correct himself, Stephanopoulos rushed in at once to help him and emphasize that the senator had really meant to say his Christian faith.

By contrast, Gibson tried to embarrass Palin by referring to her Christian faith in asking people to pray for U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Palin countered by pointing out she was following the precedent set by Abraham Lincoln...

...Palin's assessment of foreign policy was competent and not embarrassing. Although she initially exhibited ignorance of the Bush Doctrine on pre-emptive strikes that has been a central pillar of U.S. foreign policy after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, she recovered quickly and then made the case clearly. Tactically, she made the mistake of trying to be friendly and informal with Gibson, who assumed a superior, professorial and critical stance toward her. She would have been far better going on the attack to rattle him.

The double-standard Gibson applied to Palin, compared with the uncritical media platforms repeatedly offered to Obama, who has had zero executive experience running anything, was especially striking. ABC and Gibson focused on Palin as if she were running right now for the presidency rather than the vice presidency. He and other media pundits, by contrast, have never asked the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, if he has ever had to make a decision on anything."

There's more and I linked to it above.

But even Zieff missed Gibson's misquoting Palin's words when she called for her congregation to pray that the mission in Iraq was God's plan.

As has been pointed out by others, there is a huge difference between praying something to be true and asserting that it is true.

September 13, 2008 at 7:38 AM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

Correction: It's Martin Sieff. Not David Sieff.

September 13, 2008 at 9:07 AM 
Blogger David Diano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 13, 2008 at 11:08 AM 
Anonymous r said...

Sure enough, the Libs in the Media are once again abusing their position and playing partisan politics.

The debates scheduled are being hosted by Lib “moderators”. With all the national focus on these biased Lib abuses why would Repubs agree to this?

September 13, 2008 at 11:51 AM 

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