Palin-Gibson Interview: Four Screens of Ignorance

I am going to give my initial impressions of the Gibson-Palin interview before I read any of the blogger response, because I don’t want to be influenced by anyone else. Here goes:

  • Charlie Gibson asked pretty tough questions, and he followed up when she didn’t answer the question he asked (which was every question). I guess all the mockery about the McCain campaign picking him for Palin’s first media interview got to him. He actually did a good job.
  • Sarah Palin is frighteningly — no, make that terrifyingly — ignorant. And ignorant is not the same as stupid. This is clearly a very smart woman. But she knows absolutely nothing about foreign policy, or national security issues, or the nature of the dangers this country faces. She answered almost every question Gibson asked in vague generalities and slogans. There wasn’t even the barest outlines of a policy about anything.Here’s what she said about Russia:

    And, Charlie, you’re in Alaska. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia. They are our next door neighbors.We need to have a good relationship with them. They’re very, very important to us and they are our next door neighbor.

    GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

    PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

    GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they’re doing in Georgia?

    PALIN: Well, I’m giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

More quotes:

On Russia, Georgia, and NATO:

“We are thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War, without a shot fired, also.” (Without a shot fired? Palin apparently does not know about the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the CIA-engineered coup in Iran, U.S. military and other aid to Iran in its war with Iraq, U.S. military support and training for right-wing dictatorships in Central and South America in which tens of thousands of people were tortured and/or murdered, and this is just a sampling of the violent conflicts that were part of the Cold War.)

On Iran:

GIBSON: So what do you do about a nuclear Iran?

PALIN: We have got to make sure that these weapons of mass destruction, that nuclear weapons are not given to those hands of Ahmadinejad, not that he would use them, but that he would allow terrorists to be able to use them. So we have got to put the pressure on Iran and we have got to count on our allies to help us, diplomatic pressure.

GIBSON: But, Governor, we’ve threatened greater sanctions against Iran for a long time. It hasn’t done any good. It hasn’t stemmed their nuclear program.

PALIN: We need to pursue those and we need to implement those. We cannot back off. We cannot just concede that, oh, gee, maybe they’re going to have nuclear weapons, what can we do about it. No way, not Americans. We do not have to stand for that.

GIBSON: What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?

PALIN: Well, first, we are friends with Israel and I don’t think that we should second guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.

GIBSON: So if we wouldn’t second guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperative or agree with that.

PALIN: I don’t think we can second guess what Israel has to do to secure its nation.

GIBSON: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right.

PALIN: We cannot second guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.

And then there was this:

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His world view.

GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that’s the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

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

Yes, of course she does, but here’s the point, and what Gibson was trying to find out: She does not know what the Bush Doctrine is. She’s never heard of it.

Gibson gets more and more incredulous as the interview goes on. Plainly, he cannot believe what he’s hearing:

GIBSON: Do we have a right to anticipatory self-defense? Do we have a right to make a preemptive strike again another country if we feel that country might strike us?

PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.

GIBSON: Do we have the right to be making cross-border attacks into Pakistan from Afghanistan, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government?

PALIN: Now, as for our right to invade, we’re going to work with these countries, building new relationships, working with existing allies, but forging new, also, in order to, Charlie, get to a point in this world where war is not going to be a first option. In fact, war has got to be, a military strike, a last option.

GIBSON: But, Governor, I’m asking you: We have the right, in your mind, to go across the border with or without the approval of the Pakistani government.

PALIN: In order to stop Islamic extremists, those terrorists who would seek to destroy America and our allies, we must do whatever it takes and we must not blink, Charlie, in making those tough decisions of where we go and even who we target.

GIBSON: And let me finish with this. I got lost in a blizzard of words there. Is that a yes? That you think we have the right to go across the border with or without the approval of the Pakistani government, to go after terrorists who are in the Waziristan area?

PALIN: I believe that America has to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists who are hell bent on destroying America and our allies. We have got to have all options out there on the table.

Okay, now let’s see what the rest of blogtopia has to say.

Cross-posted at Liberty Street.

16 Responses to “Palin-Gibson Interview: Four Screens of Ignorance”

  1. Rose says:

    Yikes Stripes!
    I’d be terrified if I were Sarah Palin. She has accepted to run a race with shoes that are much to big for her.
    I do agree that ignorance is not the same as stupidity. I live in Alaska and have seen her in action as governor. It is my opinion that she has really made things happen to benefit the people. I like that about her. I think American’s are ready for many of the stodgy people of DC to be replaced. American’s want an ‘Average Joe’ that will see it from their view, without all the PORK that clogs up the works. SP is one of us…she is hip and YES she is very ignorant when it comes to foriegn policy. So I have to say that she isn’t the woman for the job today. She needs more time to prepare for such a position. Besides, I will be happy to keep our governor.
    Another topic that has me concerned is that she has such a young family. There is no time like the present to be involved with kids as they grow up. Because when it is over it is over…one can never recapture lost time. How can she vouche to be that ‘soccer mom’ or that ‘hockey mom’ if she is busying herself with Washington DC and the vast world of politics? I see it that it is ALL about her kids right now…their development, accomplishments, education etc. and she is going to miss being apart of that if she is VP. I would hate to see her sorry in the future for not being there today with those kids of hers as they grow up.

  2. alan says:

    GIBSON: But, Governor, I’m asking you: We have the right, in your mind, to go across the border with or without the approval of the Pakistani government.

    News flash: Aug 1, 2007 … Obama said if elected in November 2008 he would be willing to “attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from the Pakistani government, ..” http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0132206420070801
    Gibson should know better, being a member of the press. I can only assume his patronizing posing is addressed those who are ignorant of the position of their hero. A common problem with the left is a hard focus on simple mis-facts such as “Bush lied, people died”; shallow mantras almost as easily dismissed by serious fact checking. I’m sorry, Al

  3. lawhite says:

    Seems to me that Palin did answer the questions. He asked what she would do if….and she answered that we would do whatever needed to be done. What don’t you understand about that? Do you suppose someone can come up with a formula ahead of time to take care of all exigenies that may be met?
    What you are going to do as President is consult with your advisors when a problem comes up. A President does not have to know everything, that is impossible anyway. But one better believe that he/she has wise advisors to listen to. I’m not sure that Bush had such wise advisors.
    She didn’t know about the “Bush Doctrine”? Can anyone here answer what the Bush Doctrine is? It is not just the right of a preemptive strike, there is more to it.
    So, she didn’t know anything about the Bush Doctrine? She doesn’t pretend to be an expert in foreign affairs. Neither is Obama. But either one can have expert advisors if they get to be president. One can find experts on the particular country in question as well as up to date military questions or anything else there is to know.
    BTY, Bush isn’t running again, and McCain is not Bush. What his “Doctrine” was doesn’t matter. It is a new day and the old may not fit anymore. There may be a McCain Doctrine next. Bush is dead as a president, and so is his “Doctrine”.
    If she doesn’t know about the “Bush Doctrine”, it simply doesn’t matter because after the elections the foreign affairs response will change no matter who is President.
    Palin DOES know far more about energy questions than Obama. Obama is not that knowledgeable about foreign affairs either. And HE IS running for president.

  4. Marc D says:

    There is no substitute for knowledge of history and foriegn affairs. She is an accomplished women but her education and experience is lacking in world affairs. A degree in journalism is
    not the preparation we need for a VP or president. It makes her good on cam and with a teleprompter but we need someone with a breath of knowledge of history and a broader view of history and the world.
    As a father of two daughters I am very tired of the sexism defense for a simpleton. What is lost in any sexism discussion is the policy views of John McCain who has not supported equal pay for equal work. That is sexism not in words but in deeds.
    Sarah should be asked if she would work as VP for 70% of the salary.

  5. Debora says:

    Governor Palin can hold her own. She is clear headed. I am grateful, frankly, that she isn’t contaminated with all of the history and current stances past leaders have initiated. Times have changed; times are changing literally every hour in our nation’s politics at this time! We need someone fresh, someone young to lead. She will not be alone, for heaven’s sake, nor would any other VP or President, for that matter. Please don’t be fooled in believing Senator Obama and Senator Biden know all there is to know to lead this country, and, of course, neither does Senator McCain. Senator Obama talks very well about making change. Senator McCain has already made change. We need to support him and Governor Palin in the best ways we can. I’m amazed that any candidate can declare what changes they are going to implement if they are not in the midst of what needs to be changed. We all can make comments looking in, but being in looking out is how change is made. Again, Senator McCain has accomplished this with wise foresight. He listened, and continues to listen. He and Governor Palin are quite capable of making decisions that will positively affect us 100 years from now, not just ten years from now.

  6. Fred B says:

    Anybody defending Palin at this point has got to be considered a national security threat — our enemies couldn’t ask for more than this…Please, all you Palin apologists just get out of the effing way…”contaminated with all of the history”?…My god, I can actually visualize Vlad Putin sitting at a computer, typing this sort of stuff into a comment box, and hitting send……

  7. alan says:

    I am glad i returned. mare comments “Sarah should be asked if she would work as VP for 70% of the salary.”
    Mare believes the rhetoric but the 70% comment was off on several counts, to wit:
    A watchdog group called LegiStorm posts online the salaries for Capitol Hill staffers. “We have no political affiliations and no political purpose except to make the workings of Congress as transparent as possible,” its website explains. Parsing LegiStorm’s official data, gleaned from the Secretary of the Senate, offers a fascinating glimpse at pay equity in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.
    On average, Obama’s female staffers earn just 83 cents for every dollar his male staffers make. This figure certainly exceeds the 77-cent threshold that Obama’s campaign website condemns. However, 83 cents do not equal $1. In spite of this 17-cent gap between Obama’s rhetoric and reality, he chose to chide GOP presidential contender John McCain on this issue.
    When Alaska governor Sarah Palin was named the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Obama told voters in Toledo, Ohio, on August 31 that “she’s opposed — like John McCain is — to equal pay for equal work. That doesn’t make much sense to me.”

    Obama’s criticism notwithstanding, McCain’s payment patterns are the stuff of feminist dreams.

    McCain’s 17 male staffers split $916,914, thus averaging $53,936. His 25 female employees divided $1,396,958 and averaged $55,878.
    So we have what, another hero gaff, a mis-fact, a collision of perception with fact? Or a politician “doing what politicians do”.

  8. Ingrid says:

    Sara Palin did answer the questions, she just didn’t answer them the way you wanted them to.

    No matter how she would have answered the questions, you and those who think like you, would try to rip her apart. Let’s face it, you just plain “hate her” and nothing she could ever say or do will make a difference. You are dishonest by making it seem you are objective in your observations. This whole election has been like a “high school” exercise, by both sides. I think our two party system has reached its usefulness as or Democracy has reached it’s 300 year limit. We as country can now be destroyed from the outside, because we have butchered it from within. We can thank you, as we can thank those on the extreme right for being blind and self centered and not giving a damn about this country.

  9. your idiots says:

    Really Who the fuck knows what the Bush Doctrine is? I will bet over 90% of you people never knew what the Bush Doctrine was prior to this interview

  10. Cheri says:

    People, we don’t HAVE to know what the Bush Doctrine is, we aren’t running for the 2nd highest office in the United States! Good grief, she’s a lock-step Republican! If she doesn’t know, then she’s not much of a student of recent history, let alone her own party’s hardline policies. We should have EXTREMELY high expectations of our candidates for Vice President of the United States, who, by the way, for the last 30 years at least HAVE met heads of state prior to taking office. Her coaches obviously tried to sequester her for over a week to get her up to speed, without much success considering her overt generalizations and lame attempts to bluff. Her responses were no better than you’d get from an intelligent high school senior with a good grasp of political science and world affairs.

    And Charlie Gibson isn’t exactly known in journalistic circles as a hard hitting interviewer. The governor got off easy compared to a journalist with a law degree (Tim we miss you), who would have challenged her way beyond her abilities and intellect.

    I like her, and I don’t want her failures to reflect badly on women in general, but her weak resume and average IQ cannot be overcome by her pit-bull rhetoric and sparkling personality. Sen. Obama’s weak resume is at least buttressed by his superior intellect. Anyone hoping to feel more comfortable about Senator McCain’s judgement should be deeply disappointed today, and if not, they aren’t being honest with themselves.

  11. Dr.Deek says:

    Now* I understand McCain and Palin

    I’m a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight…..

    * If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic, different.”

    * If you grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you’re a quintessential American story.

    * If your name is Barack, you’re a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.

    * If you name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you’re a maverick.

    * If you graduate from Harvard law School, you are unstable.

    * If you attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you’re well grounded.

    * If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you don’t have any real leadership experience.

    * If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you’re qualified to become the country’s second highest ranking executive.

    * If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you’re not a real Christian.

    * If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you’re a Christian.

    * If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.

    * If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state’s school system, while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant , you’re very responsible.

    * If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family’s values don’t represent America’s.

    * If you’re husband is nicknamed “First Dude”, with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn’t register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

    OK, *much* clearer now.

  12. Sigh says:

    No matter how incompetent she is, Americans will support her. They want someone who can act confident and in charge, no matter how inexperienced or unqualified. They want a beauty queen, and that’s what McCain/Palin are giving them. McCain will win, and this once-proud nation will continue to collapse into the hands of the rich and manipulative.

  13. Seven7 says:

    How can anyone still be supporting this woman. I’m pretty sick of all this talk about her being like the “average american” after all there is a reason that the “average american” doesn’t run for president. She has no excuse not to know what the bush doctorine is because that’s her JOB. How would you feel if in the middle of your surgery, your surgeon realized he “didn’t know” how to put you back together? This woman is ignorant and anyone who is still supporting her is just a moron. She is hot headed and arrogant, the kind of person who wouldn’t think twice about sending citizens out to die. People who are preaching “sexism” should do some research. She doesn’t support women’s rights.

  14. Dr Runne says:

    The last 7.7 years have seen this country go to the dogs in so many ways (don’t ask me to elucidate, the list is so long and if you have not noticed then you are clinically dead). For the first 6 of those years the republicans were in control of the house, senate and executive – the first time for many decades. Until recently I thought all the policies enacted were simply republican policies and that everything is on track with their plan – God’s divine plan I think they call it. Anyway, I just learned that this is not so at all. Apparently all these policies were the responsibility of a maverick president and vice president and the republicans didn’t want any of it. So what we need, apparently, is a complete change in Washington – push out the old and bring in the new. What we need is to elect a new maverick republican president and vice president. Give them absolute power and everything will all be just perfect. OK – I got it.
    By the way – I am emigrating as soon as possible.

  15. Rose says:

    That is quite the list of comparison (by Dr. Deek)…well put!
    A few things come to mind…we all need to make sure that EVERYONE WE KNOW that is eligable to vote is registered and knows where to go to vote in November.
    Much of the verbal retoreck we are seeing out of Palin is that she is frantic…she doesn’t know enough to say about most of what is asked of her so she is easily given to the republican party line. All that wordy stuff she does when asked a question has nothing to do with confidence, it has to do with fear of not knowing what she is talking about. This woman is flying by the seat of her pants. She is not ready for this kind of race…perhaps some day she will be but today it is premature. Often I am reminded of Joan of Arc, and I hope that Sarah isn’t going to get completely roasted when it’s all said and done.
    I am satisfied with the job she has done for us as governor for the last 18 months…We are actually ahead instead of in debt.
    On the side, I wish I could be confident that that baby she recently had is bonding with her. People that fight ‘anti-abortion’ and then have very little to do with daily care of what they fight for are ‘blow hards’. In my humble opinion, she should be with her children doing what parents of young children are supposed to be doing…raising them up.
    Come back home Sarah and finish what you started!

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