September 16, 2008

Sarah Palin Should Rest Her Case With This

Hatched by Dafydd

CBS's Marketwatch columnist Jon Friedman smirks that "the Sarah Palin phenomenon is doomed" (hat tip to frequent commenter Wtanksleyjr, through the Lizardly Tips e-mail link here... this is what it's for, sending us hot tips!):

But it's not because of her lack of foreign policy experience or her deer-in-the-headlights look during part of her interview last week with ABC's Charles Gibson.

The primary reason why the Palin bubble will burst is that the media will decide that they are bored with her. They'll need to move to shine a light on a fresh issue or individual.

This is how the world works in the age of 24/7 news cycles. Whether the subject is Britney Spears, Michael Jordan or Sarah Palin, we inevitably raise stars to mythic levels, out of all reasonable proportions. Then we knock them down. (Look out, Michael Phelps. Your time is coming, too.)

So according to Friedman, We made you and we can break you! Anytime we want! You big phony baloney! The miasma of hubris is thick enough to choke a dinosaur.

But towards the end, he offers a searing indictment of her unpreparedness... which in fact turns out to be one big, fat admission against interest:

Specifically, Palin seemed to have little idea about the Bush Doctrine, in which the U.S must spread democracy around the world to halt terrorist acts. When Gibson put it to her and asked if she agreed with the doctrine, she answered, "In what respect, Charlie?"

Some analysts [where "analysts" here means "liberal media pundits"] have suggested that Gibson knew more about the Bush Doctrine than the vice-presidential candidate.

"She sidestepped questions on whether she had the national security credentials needed to be commander-in-chef," the Associated Press noted.

Really? Is that what the "Bush doctrine" comprises -- that "the U.S. must spread democracy around the world to halt terrorist acts?" Well yes, actually; that is the Bush doctrine... one of them.

Alas, it's not the same Bush doctrine so smugly enunciated by Charlie Gibson, as he mocked Palin for not knowing what "the" Bush doctrine was:

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?

PALIN: I agree that a president’s job, when they swear in their oath to uphold our Constitution, their top priority is to defend the United States of America.

I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people.

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.

Let's compare and contrast the two pronunciamenti from two of the many mouths of the elite news media:

  • Charlie Gibson of ABC World News knows for a fact that the Bush doctrine comprises "anticipatory self-defense... the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us."
  • Jon Friedman of CBS Marketwatch knows for a fact that the Bush doctrine comprises "the U.S.... spread[ing] democracy around the world to halt terrorist acts."

And both castigate Palin as a dunce, as does practically the entire massed elite media, for responding to Gibson's question, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?", by asking, "In what respect, Charlie?"

If there is any better demonstration that there is no one "doctrine" that can fairly be called the Bush doctrine -- and that therefore Sarah Palin was absolutely right to ask Gibson which one in particular he meant -- I cannot imagine what it is. (And as soon as Gibson clarified which particular Bush doctrine he was interested in, Palin answered -- not "sidestepped" -- the question quite forthrightly: The answer is Yes, we do have the right of "anticipatory self-defense.")

Charles "the Sauerkraut" Krauthammer -- who has never been called "Charlie" in his entire 93 years of life -- was absolutely correct in his column in pointing out that there are in fact four distinct Bush doctrines, as dubbed by various elements of the elite news media (Krauthammer himself created the term for the first version):

  1. Rejecting or withdrawing from useless and unenforceable diplomatic hand-waving agreements, such as the ABM Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol (pre 9/11);
  2. "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists" -- no neutrality in the war against the al-Qaeda/Iran axis (immediately post-9/11, September 2001);
  3. Anticipatory self-defense (shortly before the Iraq war, late 2002);
  4. "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world" -- spreading liberty to drain the fever swamp that sustains militant Islamist terrorism (Bush's second inaugural address, January 2005).

Had Gibson asked me the same question, I would have been just as stumped as Gov. Palin... and I have been avidly following the news, voraciously reading everything on the subject I could find, since long before George W. Bush was elected. I wouldn't have come up with the first definition above, but I certainly knew about the last three [I suspect Palin would say the same; pace, Sauerkraut, but nobody remembers the first except you].

I passionately believe that Friedman's thesis shatters against the rock-ribbed common sense and basic reason of the American voter. The drive-by media did not create Sarah Palin and John McCain, and they cannot "knock them down," either. They've been trying desperately to do just that for two years now -- and failing miserably.

They tried to build Barack H. Obama into a superstar who is beyond criticism; but he is now almost universally seen as just another politician. And they've been trying to blot out John S. McCain, who they always recognized as the most dangerous opponent for the One, since he first declared his candidacy for president.

True, his campaign faltered at one point; but that was not due to attacks by the mainstream media so much as by McCain's own maverickness (conservatives deserted him for various alternative GOP candidates). But even then, the media were unsuccessful in driving a stake through the heart of the Straight Talk Express, and McCain rose again like a phoenix, the namesake of Arizona's state capital. Today, McCain is running ahead of Obama in nearly every poll (excepting only Hotline), despite the elite media's best efforts at knocking him down.

And they will fail just as surely trying to knock down Sarah Palin; because, when all is said and done, she is far more real to most people than are the entire elite news media.

One of the five greatest movies of all time, Mary Poppins, offers the best summation ever of the self-inflicted immolation of the news media -- even though the movie dialog is directed at a very different target. The children's father, George Banks, has been summoned to an emergency board meeting of the Dawes, Tomes, Mousely, Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank... whence he has just been sacked:

Mr. Dawes Sr.: Well, do you have anything to say, Banks?

George Banks: Well, sir, they do say that when there's nothing to say, all you can say...
[He feels his son Michael's tuppence in his pocket, takes it out and looks at it]

Mr. Dawes Sr.: Confound it, Banks! I said do you have anything to say?

George Banks: [begins giggling hysterically] Just one word, sir...

Mr. Dawes Sr.: Yes?

George Banks: Supercallifragilisticexpialidocious!

Mr. Dawes Sr.: What?

George Banks: Supercallifragilisticexpialidocious! Mary Poppins was right, it's extraordinary! It does make you feel better! Hee hee hee hee!

Mr. Dawes Sr.: What are you talking about, man? There's no such word!

George Banks: Oh yes! It is a word! A perfectly good word! Actually, do you know what there's no such thing as? It turns out, with due respect, when all is said and done, that there's no such thing as you!

This is perhaps the best epitaph ever for a once-great -- or at least once-trusted and respected -- institution.

UPDATE from Sachi: The day after the interview, the news spread all the way across the Pacific to Japan, where I was temporary stationed in my capacity as a civilian employee of the United States Navy. On a political analysis show, they showed the ABC segment; after a newscaster characterized Palin's reaction as "ignorant about foreign policy," one of the commentators protested: "That was an unfair question," he said; "there is no one thing called 'Bush doctrine'. It was a word invented by the media, composed of many different aspects. Palin was right to ask which aspect of it Gibson was talking about."

So even the Japanese are learning, on their regular news talkshows, that it was Charlie Gibson, not Sarah Palin, who was confused about the so-called "Bush Doctrine." I wonder how long it will be before Americans get to hear that?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 16, 2008, at the time of 3:38 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Just the same, if either Gov. Palin or Sen. McCain decide to use that line, I would suggest they try to give it without the hysterical giggling.

Just sayin'.

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2008 5:09 PM

The following hissed in response by: Ken Hahn

Friedman does have a point. If the media got bored with Palin, her popularity would not grow at the amazing rate it has. But there's little chance of that. The media can't ignore Palin, they hate her too much.

The above hissed in response by: Ken Hahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 17, 2008 9:56 AM

The following hissed in response by: Doc-obiwan

And on a tangent...the OTHER four greatest movies?

The above hissed in response by: Doc-obiwan [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 17, 2008 1:44 PM

The following hissed in response by: Pam

Lizzard, I'm loving your stuff of late. I for the most part am still not worried about the tightening polls that show Obama moving ahead. Do you still think McCain is going to win this race? I guess I need for you to confirm that I'm right not to panic.

The above hissed in response by: Pam [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 17, 2008 7:08 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


It all depends upon how McCain responds to the mortgage-market collapse. If he just sits there like a lox and lets Obama frame the issue and define McCain, then McCain will likely lose.

But if McCain moves aggressively to seize the issue by making very specific policy recommendations and speeches straightforwardly laying blame where it's due -- pointing out that Obama is not the solution, he's the problem -- and if McCain cuts solid commercials explaining what's happening, and why passing more regulations like the one that caused the collapse is not going to cure the collapse... well, then I think he will roar back into the lead and win the election.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 17, 2008 11:22 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

Obama is the poster boy of the mortgage crisis.
His own house ahs fraud written all over it.
His mortgage pal is sa convicted mortgage crook.
The democrats turned FNMA and FMAC into social service companies, with outcome based lending and funnels for democrat political money.
McCain needs to be on this like white on rice.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 18, 2008 11:58 AM

The following hissed in response by: nk

I met a man with a wooden leg named Smith.

The above hissed in response by: nk [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 19, 2008 6:45 PM

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