Out of Her Depth: When Charles Gibson Asks Sarah Palin about the Bush Doctrine, She Doesn’t Know What It Is!

ABC’s Charles Gibson, in his interview with Sarah Palin, asks her a simple question about the Bush Doctrine, and it’s obvious that she doesn’t know what the Bush doctrine is!

Gibson has to define it for her before she can speak to it.

And when he asks her other direct questions, she simply resorts to rehearsed platitudes, without specificity.

There is no hint here that she can think on her feet about these issues—and she may be the next VP.

This is getting very scary:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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10 Responses to Out of Her Depth: When Charles Gibson Asks Sarah Palin about the Bush Doctrine, She Doesn’t Know What It Is!

  1. arfalert says:

    that’s right!, she doesn’t know about it, and she doesn’t want to get involved with it. that’s my VP! That only proves that her party is devoid of Bush’s administration.

    Go McCain-Palin!

  2. santitafarella says:


    i can’t tell if you’re being ironic—but if you are not—and if you are serious—your theory that this demonstrates Palin’s independence from Bush is undermined by the fact that once Gibson told her what the Bush Doctrine is, she, in general terms, seemed to agree with it. So she wasn’t distancing herself from the doctrine, she was just sounding confused and mouthing platitudes of general agreement with Bush.

  3. plantainman says:

    Well, you certainly cannot blame her for not being able to think on her feet about something she knows nothing about! All she can do is resort to platitudes, as you say. Like, such as, I personally believe, South Africa…(ring a bell? :p)

    She looks like she is good at dancing…around questions. And she is especially competent at pronouncing the name “Charlie.” America, we’ve got a winner!

    It gets better though. Before she was tapped as Vice President, she said really doesn’t know what exactly a VP does every day. Interesting clip.

    Man is she ever ready for this job!

  4. plantainman says:

    To be perfectly fair though, I’ll have to add that I am extremely easy that Obama is fully supportive of the notion of making strikes in Pakistan without their permission, to get at the terrorists.

    I think the answer is a clear-cut and very strong no! We need to stop acting the bully on the playground and start treating other nations like actual nations, complete with actual people and sovereignty and stuff like that. I think foreign policy attitudes like these just aren’t going to roll.

  5. santitafarella says:


    i respectfully disagree with you about cross-border raids into pakistan. i agree with obama on that.

    i don’t think we should take shit from violent fundamentalist extremists—if we have good intelligence, we should do a gary cooper on them and smoke em out.

    i trust obama to know when to hold em and fold em on this level—and think he has good judgment.

    but sarah palin?

    it’s just too pathetic to contemplate.

    McCain has definitely put the country in danger by putting this person on the ticket with him.

    I’m really pissed at McCain for the stupidity of his decision.

    He deserves to lose the election over it.

  6. plantainman says:

    So imagine there were terrorists in the US who were, for some reason, really, anti-Mexico or whatever. They want to bomb the hell out of Mexico, for whatever reason. The US doesn’t really have much control over them (okay, so it’s a little far-fetched), and at any rate can’t be bothered hunting them down.

    Mexico, of course, wants to take these guys out. So they want permission to, on actionable intelligence, send in their military to make strikes in the U.S. against these terrorists. Would you be comfortable granting them that carte blanche?

  7. santitafarella says:

    If we couldn’t get them for the Mexican govt., i might think it would be okay.

    I’m a liberal, I’m not glib about territorial integrity, but if a foreign govt., by inaction or indifference or covert support, harbors people who mean to do Americans serious harm, and we know where they are being harbored, then I think that we have to deal with them without mercy.

    I believe that America, Japan, and Western Europe are still the last best hopes for humanity (in terms of having secular, democratic institutions that will protect civil liberties).

    I believe that international terrorism is doing their best to get, and will have, over the next decade, a nuclear weapon.

    I don’t want to see LA or NY city destroyed in our lifetime.

    I have two small daughters. I want them to live in a free and peaceful world.

    I trust Obama or Biden to sanely exercise American power.

    I also trust McCain to do so.

    But I wouldn’t trust Palin.

    McCain, I think, totally screwed up on his VP pick. But I think that he is generally otherwise sane and sensible.

    I just hope, if he wins, he doesn’t die in office.

  8. plantainman says:

    OK, fair enough. Me, personally, I would not be cool at all with another military conducting military affairs within the borders. I mean, suppose Mexico’s army was ten times larger and stronger than our own?

    I do agree that it’s troublesome if a country is harboring terrorists who are a threat to us. So we need to reevaluate our political ties with that country. We can’t really dance in there without their permission and still be friends. If it’s necessary…well, maybe, I don’t know. But it would certainly amount to an act of war against Pakistan.

    I really don’t buy into the belief that certain ways of life are somehow “the last hopes for humanity.” I think when you get down to it, you realize that people everywhere are people, that common threads link us and we are really not so different. There are perfectly acceptable ways of life and governing that don’t involve democracy.

    I’m definitely with you on not trusting Palin. Then again, I do not think I would really trust McCain, or Obama, either. McCain seems to have a somewhat conflicted sense of diplomacy. In reference to the Georgia conflict, he said, “Nations don’t invade other nations anymore.” I mean…yes! but what’s Iraq then?

    I have a healthy amount of respect for McCain. But I agree: if he dies in office…well, fuck.

  9. santitafarella says:

    I would never want to dehumanize Pakistanis, but there are ways that I want to live—and ways I don’t.

    And I would never want to live in a non-democratic country, or a country without secular political institutions, or a country in which civil liberties were not fiercly protected against tyrannous majorities, or a country where my daughters were treated as second class citizens because they are female.

    If anyone, or any country, tried to take these things away from me, I would fight them to my last breath.

    I think that the Enlightenment heritage is worth fighting for.

    Viva Voltaire, and Hume, and Adam Smith, and Jefferson, and Mary Wolstonecraft.

    Viva the scientific revolution—and Locke, and Bacon, and Newton, and Darwin.

    I think that we have to guard against a civilzational lapse into medievalism and fundamentalism—and that these phenomena have to be confronted directly, especially if they manifest in violent forms.

  10. Ed Rae says:

    While it seems true that Palin did not know what the Bush doctrine was, what is also clear is that Gibson (and an awful lot of internet bloggers) also have no idea what the Bush Doctrine is (and what International Law is).

    As far as what International Law is, at least as far back as Hugo Grotius in “On the Rights of War and Peace” (1625), at Book 2, Chapter, 1, Section 5, pre-emptive war was justified if the threat was clear and imminent. That was exactly the position Palin advocated. If that’s all the Bush doctrine was, then the Bush Doctrine would be nothing new (pre-emptive strikes being used by other nations at least as far back as by Scotland in the Bishops’ Wars of 1639-1640 and in the last century by Israel in the Six Days War of 1967).

    What was supposed to be new about the Bush doctrine is that the threat did NOT have to be imminent (Iraq may have been thought to be a threat to attack the U.S. down the road, but it was not a threat to attack the U.S. at the time of the invasion).

    If anyone should be getting criticized, it’s Charlie Gibson and those internet bloggers who were so unprepared and uninformed that in spite of being able to prepare in advance (Gibson) or after the fact (bloggers) they still can’t accurately explain what the Bush Doctrine is.

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