Palin’s First Interview

I didn’t watch Sarah Palin’s interview last night because, frankly, I wasn’t in the mood. I watched “House” reruns instead. Hugh Laurie is a hoot.

So what’d I miss? I’m catching up with the reviews now. The consensus on the Right is that Charles Gibson asked unfair trick questions, like “What is your favorite color?” The consensus on the Left is that Palin was unaware there were such things as “foreign countries” until last week.

Seriously, Jack Shafer found this exchange, um, unworthy of a serious candidate for national office:

Gibson: Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?

Palin: In what respect, Charlie?

Gibson (refusing to give her a hint): What do you interpret it to be?

Palin: His worldview?

Gibson: No, the Bush Doctrine, enunciated in September 2002, before the Iraq War.

Palin attempts to fake it for 25 seconds with a swirl of generalities before Gibson, showing all the gentleness of a remedial social studies teacher, interjects.

Gibson: The Bush Doctrine as I understand it is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense. That we have the right of a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

Of course Palin agrees with the Bush Doctrine, but she can’t come out and say so, having just admitted that she doesn’t know it by name. At every point in the Q&A, Gibson had the right follow-up questions to elicit more from Palin, including after he asked the Bush Doctrine cringe-maker. He asks her to give thumbs up or down to the U.S. military’s recent forays into Pakistan from Afghanistan. He asks her several ways. But she can’t answer the question, and she won’t dismiss it. Instead she slows the interview to a crawl again, dribbling and dribbling the ball but refusing to take the shot.

James Fallows rightfully points out that Gibson should have used the word preventive rather than preemptive. But he also said that anyone who understood the doctrinal underpinnings of the invasion of Iraq would have known this and would have asked Gibson to clarify.

I don’t know that this interview would have changed anyone’s minds. Non-Palin supporters were underwhelmed, but Palin’s fans think she shouldn’t be expected to bother her pretty little head with boring foreign policy issues, and Gibson was a meanie to ask such hard questions. After all — Palin has never had an abortion!

If elected, maybe Palin could send just her righteous and holy uterus to Washington, and the rest of her can stay in Alaska.

Elsewhere, in another context, I got into a discussion of whether Palin or Palin supporters can be called “feminists.” I say it’s absurd; Palin is to feminism what the invasion of Iraq was to spreading peace and democracy.

See also Steve Benen, John Cole, and Greg Sargent.

18 thoughts on “Palin’s First Interview

  1. I don’t know that this interview would have changed anyone’s minds.

    I agree to a certain extent. It won’t change anyone’s minds who were firmly cemented on the side of McCain or Obama, but I think the interview could sway the undecideds or wobbly independents. When you strip away all of the filler she was spouting, she really didn’t say much of anything in the interview. It was painfully obvious to anyone without rightwing blinders on that she doesn’t have the knowledge or experience to be a heartbeat away.

    Also, I predict that tonight’s interview is going to put the hurt on her even more than last night did. ABC News has been doing some fairly decent reporting (via Brian Ross) on all of her Alaska controversies and even if she’s coached well on how to explain them away, Gibson bringing them up will push them further out into the mainstream.

  2. Yargh. At least the media is starting to worry that this nutcake is going to be our next V.P.

    I didn’t watch either, but I’ve seen many excerpts and transcripts. Am I mistaken, or at one point did Palin argue for her foreign-policy experience because Alaska has an island from which Russia can be seen in the distance??? Ay freaking caramba.

    Hugh Laurie as Greg House would make that stupid woman cry. I think even his Bertie Wooster had more on the ball.

  3. Am I mistaken, or at one point did Palin argue for her foreign-policy experience because Alaska has an island from which Russia can be seen in the distance???

    Yeah.. It can ” actually” be seen.

  4. To me its another anecdote illustrating how little the right cares for intellectualism. “Bush Doctrine” who cares about such elitist words? I just know that Bush was doing what he believed to be right!

    I’m just glad she got creamed by Gibson

  5. Thanks for the link to the John Cole post. He has a beautiful passage that captures how Sarah is the apotheosis of wingnut.

    The Bush Doctrine segment was cringe-inducing, but also worth watching is the clip where Gibson confronts her with the whole Bridge to Nowhere lie. Between the two segments, I can’t imagine any independent thinking she is qualified to be a heartbeat away. Especially if that heartbeat is John McCain’s. It’s bad enough that she’s ignorant of things we want our President to know, she’s also a Big Fat Liar.

    And we’ve already done that for 8 years.

  6. Ohhh… mercy. After 45 minutes of THE INTERVIEW, Part 2 (so she’s the freaking Second Coming now?!), I need a very hot shower with a wire scrub-brush.

    mealy-mouthed adj : not plain and straightforward : devious : Sarah Palin.

  7. And just for a sense of scale… in mid-“INTERVIEW,” ABC reported that Hurricane Ike is now almost the size of the state of Texas. Not hyperbole; I checked the NOAA radar, and it really is.

  8. What is everyone’s explanation of why McCain-Palin are doing so well in virtually all the polls now? Why aren’t Palin’s “painfully obvious” lack of abilities not causing polling to swing strongly in Obama-Biden’s favor?

  9. What is everyone’s explanation of why McCain-Palin are doing so well in virtually all the polls now?

    Having just read this article myself a few minutes ago, I’d suggest giving it a read. It explains a lot about how and why people vote as they do, according to different values criteria. It’s painfully obvious that the Dems aren’t paying attention to research like this. What Makes People Vote Republican.

  10. Why aren’t Palin’s “painfully obvious” lack of abilities not causing polling to swing strongly in Obama-Biden’s favor?

    Palin has been sequestered from interviews until the last 48 hours. While voices in the media, generally from better-informed individuals than the electorate at large, have shouted about Palin’s gross inappropriateness for two weeks now, the Gibson “INTERVIEW” was the first chance Americans had to hear Palin address the question of her inappropriateness. Any discriminating, undecided person would have to say she fell on her face. I have never seen such bullshit responses from any politician– and I’ve survived Nixon, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

    Your question raises another question: Who is being polled, anyway? I’ve had a land line for 25 years, and haven’t been polled once.

  11. alto2 links to an interesting, if highly academic, article. This quote jumped out at me:

    The Democrats would lose their souls if they ever abandoned their commitment to social justice, but social justice is about getting fair relationships among the parts of the nation. This often divisive struggle among the parts must be balanced by a clear and oft-repeated commitment to guarding the precious coherence of the whole.

    Ironically, it’s Obama whose approach is to “establish fair relationships among the parts of the nation,” and “[guard] the precious coherence of the whole,” while McCain and Palin encourage a “divisive struggle among the parts.”

    Obama supporters remain diverse to this day. With the selection of Palin, the McCain ticket actually narrowed its appeal by pandering to religious fundamentalists and the more extreme social conservatives.

    Again: the electorate hasn’t been given a chance to figure that out yet. Sadly, most people pay little attention to the election until, oh, Halloween. Then they often just vote for the one with the least-scary rubber mask at the office or school party. We’ll see.

  12. The article is certainly academic, as it’s written by a psychology professor, but I do want to point out that it’s also highly accessible. It’s not written in impenetrable academic prose. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and read it. The responses to the article are also quite interesting.


    I have yet to hear the MSM mention the SCO. Palin has stated she thinks getting Georgia and the Ukrane in to NATO is a good idea. This means that she has never heard of the SCO. This means that she would favor a military confrontation with the Russians, Chinese, and a number of the Caspian basin ‘stans united in opposition to us should we move to protect the Republic of Georgia if they pull another bone-headed move in S.Ossetia or Abkhazia. This means that Palin is not fit to be in any position of authority in the executive branch. ‘Better clue Obama and Biden in on this issue………..

  14. Palin is funny, there is somethimg so high school about this woman. she says Wasilla is a microcosm of america- keep telling yourself that baby. show how ignorant you really are. I wonder about how high office magnifies traits: she didn’t announce her pregnancy when it happened choosing to cover it with clothes for as long as possible, she didn’t tell her grown kids that the baby had downs syndrome until it was born. Looks like she is “suzy perfect” trying to hide imperfections. Gibson did not followup with questions. He let her get away with the abortion answer of ‘working with’ the other side- how do you work with sweetie? appointing more Scalitos? The fact is that she had a choice when pregnant and chose what she did. Would she deny that choice to other women? I read she didn’t want rape victims to have much choice. There is something about the faux insult concerning lipstick and pigs- looks like they protesteth too much ie they know all they have is a pig and she is the lipstick, the window dressing. Barak didn’t say it. They did.
    There is also alot of white small town elitism here- she represents people who think they are better that those dark people in the cities who actually might find a community organizer useful.

  15. SARAH PALIN IS A ‘PHONY MOM & POLITICIAN!’. Simply because…SHE DIDN’T EVEN ‘BLINK OR CARE’ she is leaving a ‘special needs’ child behind, with a pregnant teenager to take care of it, and her other two daughters to fend for themselves when daddy is on the trail too! DID SHE EVEN DISCUSS THE OFFER WITH HER HUSBAND? so much for her ‘christian belief’, the bible says the husband is the HEAD of the family! goes to show it’s all about HER!

    it happens every day in allot of homes, with moms who have to juggle between family and an 8 hour shift, but there’s one difference..their not running for office! she is a poor example of a mother! whatever happened to ‘sterilization’, birth control pills, or family planning? 44 and unprotected sex?? really irresponsible!

    secondly, she has no experience or has any idea what the job demands, is contrary to john Mc Cain on ‘many issues’, and is lying, repeating her lies NON-STOP!
    I also hate the fact she doesn’t give SQUAT about the environment! Especially her comments during her convention speech! quote referring to Obama; what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? she isn’t even aware ALASKA’S ice cap IS MELTING ALL AROUND HER! and what’s wrong with HEALING THE PLANET anyway? we’re doing a lousy job of protecting it don’t we! All she really cares about is lying, defaming others, hunting, and being in the ‘spotlight’.
    I’m a Hillary supporter who accepts Joe Biden, and i see clearly how ‘phony she is’.


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