Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin, Charlie Gibson Interview -- A Matter of Perspective

Based on search hits to the blog this evening the Sarah Palin interview is the hot topic. I guess I should not be surprised. I stand by my previous post that her performance wasn't stellar but it was good enough that trying to skewer her over it is likely to backfire.

That said, I can help but be amused by the sparring over her performance. In one corner we have John at Powerline with a post titled "On Paper, An Excellent Performance". If you are curious, follow the link and read his analysis. Suffice it to say, he thought that from the transcript, she did a fine job. Where it gets interesting is in an update at the bottom. He quotes from the opponent in the other corner--the Associated Press.
John McCain running mate Sarah Palin sought Thursday to defend her qualifications but struggled with foreign policy, unable to describe President Bush's doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against threatening nations and acknowledging she's never met a foreign head of state.
His response:
What's happening here is that America's least respected, least talented and least honorable interest group, our reporters and editors, are trying to ram their choice for President down our throats. The AP directs its "news" account, which might as well be an Obama campaign press release, toward the ignorant, that is, those who weren't able to see or read the interview, or otherwise judge for themselves. Will the media's effort to force the election of Barack Obama work? It's hard to say. There is no precedent for this sort of mass mis-reporting of the news.
Did both authors watch the same interview? From following this exchange, I'd like to make two points.
  1. Of course the media is biased and I think it is horribly incorrect to call it unprecedented. The media does this all the time. What the Bush Doctrine exactly is is not clear. If you'd like to feel superior blame that on Bush's less-than-clear foreign policy decisions. It originally was something along the lines of "countries that harbor terrorists will be treated the same as terrorists". Later the idea of preemptive strikes, to some, got added to that definition. There is no official document that states what it is unequivocally. And certainly the decision to invade Iraq but leave Iran alone makes "the Bush Doctrine" muddy at best.

  2. Of course Sarah Palin is not strong on foreign policy. How could she be? She has no experience in that area so it would be quite remarkable for that to be one of her strengths. Now before you go chortling "See! She has no foreign policy experience! McCain blundered in picking her! Vote Obama/Biden!" I'll just point out that Obama also has no foreign policy experience. And, this may shock you, he is running for president and she is running for vice-president. That is only equivalent if you assume, as I've said before, that McCain is going to keel over and die the minute he takes office.
What basically happened last night is that a young politican was quizzed rather than interviewed in an attempt to make highlight her flaws. Not surprisingly, some of those flaws were indeed highlighted. On the other hand, considering the circumstances, she acquitted herself quite well. Well enough, as I have noted now three times, that it should really be a non-issue. If people try to make it one, I wouldn't be surprised to see another round of negative backlash.

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