Sarah Palin's debut interview in a widely-touted exclusive on World News with Charles Gibson showed she has little knowledge of foreign policy and needs to study up on what she, herself, has said in the recent past. Will her fans care? Not a whit.
Witness her re-write of her own words. In the online version, Gibson played a clip of her describing the Iraq war as a "task from God." It was there. She said it. No ands, ifs or buts. But to Gibson, she went on to claim she was quoting Abraham Lincoln (no evidence of that in the original clip, which I have watched in full) and added:
I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.
When asked if she believed she was "sending [her] son on a task that is from God," Palin said:
I don't know if the task is from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.
Safe for her to avoid answering the actual question (yes, she did call the war, a la Taliban-speak, a "task from God") and wax poetic about her son. Great theatre. Bad interview technique.
The other low point of the session was her obvious lack of knowledge about the Bush Doctrine. Gibson had to explain to her that it was President Bush's 2002 declaration that the U.S. has a right to a pre-emptive strike against another country.
As the American Enterprise Institute has noted:
If nothing else, the Bush Doctrine, articulated by the president over the past eighteen months in a series of speeches and encapsulated in the new National Security Strategy paper released in September (2003), represents a reversal of course from Clinton-era policies in regard to the uses of U.S. power and, especially, military force."
Again, will it reduce the GOP base's enthusiasm for her? Not a mite. It will make them feel she's "more like them." And American presidential races are becoming more and more like high school popularity contests every four years.
By Bonnie Erbe