I am not a fan of Charles Krauthammer's columns. I'll be honest about that. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the fact that his views are far afield of mine. His latest column is no different. And by no different, I mean not only no different from most of his columns cheerleading the right, but no different from much of what I've heard from the right in defense of Gov. Sarah Palin after her interview with Charlie Gibson. What is sad is that I thought Krauthammer could come up with a more compelling argument. Yet, his column falls flat. Much has been made of the whole Bush Doctrine gaffe, and whose gaffe it really was. Did Palin really not know what it was, or are there just too many versions out there? Did Gibson even articulate the correct version?
Krauthammer seems to take much glee in pointing out how he was the first one to use the term Bush Doctrine, back in June 2001. Well, well, pat on the back for you, Charlie. I see he's upset because no one bothered to check Wikipedia before the Palin interview so Gibson could give credit where credit is due. But once Krauthammer gets the back-patting out of the way, the rest of his column is a waste of space. Because he's wrong.
I can't take credit for this discovery because I stumbled on it while searching for information about the Bush Doctrine and Krauthammer. Another blogger -- Robot Pirate Ninja -- pointed out a portion of the interview that Krauthammer saw fit to just leave out of his column. One that, had it been articulated, would have made his whole column a bunch of nonsense. The portion of the interview Krauthammer omitted 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.
I don't care if there are 50 versions of the Bush Doctrine. I don't care if Krauthammer was the first person to use the phrase, or the tenth. The bottom line is that Gibson pointed out exactly which version of the Bush Doctrine he was referring to, and Palin still had no idea. From Krauthammer's column: "A year later, when the Iraq war was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of preemptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine." Wrong. This is the Bush Doctrine that Gibson was referring to in the question. The one he clearly described by saying "enunciated September 2002." I would have bought this whole defense of Palin if she had said, "Well, Charlie, which version are you referring to?" or "Charlie, you know there is a more current version, let's talk about that." No, instead she gave a wrong answer, and then looked like a kid who just got caught cheating on a test.
What is more disappointing in all this is that people like Krauthammer keep trying to defend Palin. Oh, Gibson was condescending. He was mean. He looked down his nose at her. Never mind that the McCain campaign hand-picked Gibson to do Palin's first interview. Why should anyone treat Palin with kid gloves? Because she's a woman? Because she's a Republican? You know, if Palin can't handle Charlie Gibson's questions and demeanor, how can she handle the difficulties of being vice president (and possibly president)? And let's not forget that it wasn't just her answer to Bush Doctrine question that made people shake their heads.
I have said in a previous post, and I stick by it, that Palin is not the top of the ticket so we shouldn't be spending so much time talking about her gaffes, lies and scandals. But I think it is important to note that THIS is the person Sen. John McCain thought would be a good vice president for the country. This is how McCain puts country first. Out of all the other women (or men) McCain could have picked, he picked her. And in that respect, her gaffes, lies and scandals are important. If Americans can't even trust McCain to make a sound first decision in his campaign for the presidency, how can we trust him to make other more important decisions? Who would he chose as his Treasury secretary -- Sen. Phil Gramm?
At least Krauthammer and I agree on one thing: "Yes, Sarah Palin didn't know what [the Bush Doctrine] is." All that huffing and puffing about versions of the Bush Doctrine and how Gibson was wrong, just to come to the conclusion that yes, Palin didn't know what the Bush Doctrine is. Like I said, waste of space.
Maybe in Krauthammer's next column, he'll defend Douglas Holtz-Eakin's statement that McCain invented the Blackberry.