September 12, 2008


The Palin interview with Charles Gibson shows, once and for all, that she has no business anywhere near the White House. Because the average undergrad who has taken a semester of Intro to International Relations likely knows more about foreign policy than she does.

James Fallows has the best analysis:

What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues. Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the "Bush Doctrine" exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years...

Sarah Palin did not know this issue, or any part of it. The view she actually expressed -- an endorsement of "preemptive" action -- was fine on its own merits. But it is not the stated doctrine of the Bush Administration, it is not the policy her running mate has endorsed, and it is not the concept under which her own son is going off to Iraq.

It's one thing to be for or against the Bush Doctrine. But Palin, clearly, had never heard of the Bush Doctrine. And she could be president of the United States within the year...

UPDATE: I agree wholeheartedly with Conor Clarke:

Let me take the bait and make a plea for good old-fashioned elitism: It's not "about time" for an average American to occupy the White House (or the Naval Observatory), and the notion that some ossified and preening elite lords over Washington is silly.

Everyone is an elitist. We want elite doctors to treat our cuts and cancers. We want elite lawyers and accountants to smooth over our divorces and taxes. And we (some of us, anyway) want our elite soldiers to invade foreign countries. And we don't apologize for these preferences. In most contexts, "elite" is just another word for "merit."

So why don't many of us want elite politicians? The reverse snobs usually argue that Everywoman politicians are better at understanding everyone's problems. But even if this claim is true (and I'm pretty sure it isn't) it remains suspiciously unextended to all other aspects of social life. We don't think the lawyers who have been dragged through a messy divorce are more capable of handling a client's. Why?

Posted by Stephen Silver at September 12, 2008 04:39 PM

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Posted by: Florida Voter at September 13, 2008 01:20 PM
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