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.