Patterico's Pontifications


AP Mis-States The “Bush Doctrine” in Criticizing Palin For Not Being Able To Explain The Bush Doctrine

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — WLS @ 11:42 pm

[Posted by WLS]

Here is the lead paragraph from the AP story on the ABC interview of Palin:

John McCain running mate Sarah Palin sought Thursday to defend her qualifications but struggled with foreign policy, unable to describe President Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against threatening nations…

For those of you who haven’t watched the tape, Gibson asked her if she agreed with the “Bush Doctrine.”  She gave a generalized answer supporting President Bush’s strategy of combating Islamic extremism wherever it is found. 

Here’s the problem — the “Bush Doctrine” is many different things, not one thing that Gibson thinks he knows it to be or the AP thinks it knows it to be.  I’ve seen other critics of her performance describe it as the “You’re either with us or against us” warning to third party nations harboring terrorists.

Here is the actual “Bush Doctrine” — otherwise known as the National Security Strategy of the United States 2002:

It’s actually a 31-page policy paper that spells out how the United States intends to pursue and protect its national security interests in a post-9/11 world.  It is both the justification for preemptive war, as well as a justification for including rogue nations in the same class as terrorist organizations. And it’s a lot more.

Which just goes to prove that allowing reporters to ask questions on subjects about which they have an incomplete understanding is an invitation to hilarity — at the reporter’s expense.


Link Fixed.

The Document linked above was issued Sept. 2002. 

There may have been an oral formulation of the policy in a speech given earlier than that date.   So, what’s the point of Gibson’s question?  Whether she had memorized different Presidential speeches that were given on different days and in different locations? Whether she had read the 2002 version of the Policy, or the revised 2006 version of the Policy? 

Generically calling a broad national security policy by its short-hand title, and asking someone if they “agree with” it, is inane.

Comparing Charlie Gibson’s Treatment of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 11:09 pm

No commentary necessary. Just watch the videos.


Maureen Dowd and Matt Damon Both Fall for Viral E-Mail Smear of Palin

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 9:11 pm

Ace says Matt Damon is a moron. Well, yeah. But so is Maureen Dowd.

First, read Ace on Matt Damon. He notes that Damon says: “I need to know if she really thinks dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago. That’s an important — I want to know that. I really do. Because she’s going to have the nuclear codes. You know? I want to know if she really thinks dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago.”

Ace notes the source for this ridiculous and debunked claim: an idiot unsourced viral e-mail that is an obvious parody, but that morons like Damon are apparently taking seriously. It purports to quote Palin as saying:

God made dinosaurs 4,000 years ago as ultimately flawed creatures, lizards of Satan really, so when they died and became petroleum products we, made in his perfect image, could use them in our pickup trucks, snow machines and fishing boats.

Good thing Damon doesn’t have the nuclear codes.

But then, he’s just an actor, not a New York Times op-ed writer.

Yes, Maureen Dowd did the same thing:

[I]f you’re reading this, Charlie [Gibson], we want to know everything, including:

. . . .

Does she really think Adam, Eve, Satan and the dinosaurs mingled on the earth 5,000 years ago?

That’s straight out of the viral e-mail. And it’s not even the first time that MoDo has made a reference to this smear.

I suppose someone could argue that Dowd doesn’t really believe this nonsense herself, but that doesn’t absolve her. Either she fell for it, or she’s deliberately spreading smears. One or the other. Either way, I think this is more significant than Matt Damon. Dowd is not some idiot actor. She’s an idiot New York Times op-ed writer.

Obama’s Campaign as a Measuring Stick for His Executive Experience

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama wants to be judged on his ability to lead but he has limited executive experience. His position in the Annenberg Challenge might give us some clue about how he makes executive decisions but, so far, Obama seems unwilling to discuss his role detail.

Instead, the Obama campaign and the media have urged American voters to judge Obama on the way he’s run his Presidential campaign. Jennifer Rubin (writing at Pajamas Media) isn’t impressed:

“Has he shown grace under pressure? Not exactly. Has he controlled his own message? Nope. Did his own personnel pick (the serially obnoxious Joe Biden) set this slow-motion pile up in motion? Yup.

So here’s the rub: Palin has energized the GOP base, driven women and independent voters into McCain’s camp, and flummoxed the MSM, but her greatest accomplishment has been to unveil the Democrats’ true liability.

That basic liability has nothing to do with the fact that they are ultra-liberals and lack credibility on national security issues. Their biggest problem is that they have never led, never managed, never navigated during a crisis, and as a result never demonstrated calm under fire. It is one thing for the GOP candidates to state that in a speech — as many did at the Republican National Convention — but it is quite another to see it being played out before your very eyes.

Like water dumped on the Wicked Witch of the West, Palin’s popularity has melted the façade of professional competence and personal stability which cloaked her opponents’ weaknesses.

Now we can all see for ourselves their executive prowess. When pressured they whimper, whine, and insult.

Is this the message Americans have gotten in the past weeks?


Charlie Gibson, Probably Innocently, Distorts Palin’s Prayer

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 6:53 pm

In the first segment of his interview with Sarah Palin, Charlie Gibson seriously distorted the meaning of a prayer Palin said about Iraq. I don’t blame Gibson for this; I believe he reasonably relied on an Associated Press story that cut off Palin’s quote in a highly misleading fashion. I hope that Gibson will go back and look at Palin’s original remarks, and clarify the record in a future segment.

Here’s the relevant exchange:

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words when he said — first, he suggested never presume to know what God’s will is, and 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.

That’s what that comment was all about, Charlie.

GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on and said, “There is a plan and it is God’s plan.”

This is a distortion of what Palin said. Palin didn’t say the war was a task from God. She said: pray that the war is a task from God. She didn’t say the war was God’s plan. She said: pray that it is God’s plan. In other words, pray that we are carrying out God’s will.

Here’s the accurate quotation, from the Huffington Post, complete with a clip:

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God,” she exhorted the congregants. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

Just as Palin said in her interview with Gibson, Palin is clearly praying that the U.S. plan is God’s plan. In other words, as she said to Gibson: “let us pray that we are on God’s side.”

As Hot Air pointed out last Thursday, however, the Associated Press quoted Palin’s prayer this way:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told ministry students at her former church that the United States sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on a “task that is from God.”…

“Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” she said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.”

Allahpundit explained the problem:

What’s missing from the AP’s version? Right — the beginning of what she said, the part that makes clear she’s not asserting that we’re doing God’s will but simply praying that we are. It’s the difference between me saying “McCain will win” and “I pray McCain will win.” The first is an assertion of fact/secret knowledge, the second is an expression of desire/hope. The AP actually stoops to picking up the quote mid-sentence to make it better fit the stereotype of the holy-roller yokel claiming divine inspiration for Bush’s Crusade.

As I have pointed out, Palin’s prayer was in the tradition of speeches by past leaders, such as FDR during World War II. This is still a largely religious country, and a leader praying that we carry out God’s will is simply not startling at all. Claiming that Iraq is a “task from God” would be different — but Palin didn’t do that. Gibson suggested she did — but she didn’t.

Readers may not be as charitable as me, but I’m going to give Gibson the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didn’t know he was distorting Palin’s prayer. You have to have been paying attention pretty closely to know what the AP did; if you weren’t reading Hot Air or a similar site, you could easily be misled by the AP spin. I can’t tell you how many friends of mine have misunderstood what Palin said, and have told me that they were disturbed that Palin was claiming that Iraq was a task from God.

She didn’t. Yet Charlie Gibson has, in effect, told the country that she did.

I sincerely hope that Gibson will go back and look at the original language Palin used, and will correct the record, so that the AP‘s distortion of Palin’s prayer is not compounded by its repetition in what is sure to be one of the most widely watched programs of the campaign.

UPDATE: I have now watched the segment and part, but not all, of the relevant quote from her statement in church is set forth. It’s cut off, however, at the end of the phrase “on a task that is from God.” Thus, it omits the context showing that the phrase about “God’s plan” was a prayer — not a statement — that we are carrying out God’s plan. The net effect is wholly unfair and should really be corrected.

UPDATE x2: Every single observation in this post was made first by Allahpundit. I’m just highlighting this one because I think it deserves highlighting.

UPDATE x3: Via Ace we learn that ABC edited out a) Palin’s objection that Gibson’s initial quote was incorrect, and b) Gibson’s riposte: “Exact words.” They also (as I noted in my first update) included the full “Task from God” quote. I just went back and looked at the tape, and this is true.

But it doesn’t correct Gibson’s misleading quote: “I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on and said, ‘There is a plan and it is God’s plan.'” That was left in, and it was wrong. She said: “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.” Very different.

Antonio Villaraigosa – The Worst Mayor L.A. Has Had In Quite Some Time

Filed under: Government — Justin Levine @ 6:21 pm

This has been obvious on a gut level to those who live here, but the L.A. Weekly now has an important article detailing why this is so.

– Justin Levine

Palin Interview & 9/11 Forum Tonight (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 4:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Open thread on ABC’s interview with Sarah Palin.

UPDATE 1: The 9/11 Service Forum is also tonight. It looks similar to the Saddleback Forum except John McCain is being questioned first. Consider this an open thread on the 9/11 Forum, too.

UPDATE 2: Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute considers Gibson’s God question, Palin’s Lincoln answer, and finds ABC lacking.


Compare Joe Klein’s View of America Against This Kid’s View Of His Life

Filed under: General — WLS @ 3:11 pm

[Posted by WLS]

Maybe the best piece of political advocacy this entire campaign season.

If my efforts at embedding this video are equal to my earlier efforts, try this link instead:



Joe Klein’s Myopic View Of America Is Not The America I Know

Posted by WLS:

Joe Klein has a truly breathtaking column out today which calls into question the authenticity of Sarah Palin’s life story by claiming that the “small town” America that Palin claims to represent doesn’t exist anymore, and that it’s really nothing more than a political construct of the Republican Party that appeals to nostalgia in order to win elections.

The Palins win elections and snowmobile races in a state that represents the last, lingering hint of that most basic Huckleberry Finn fantasy — lighting out for the territories. She quoted Westbrook Pegler, the F.D.R.-era conservative columnist, in her acceptance speech: “We grow good people in our small towns…” And then added, “I grew up with those people. They’re the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food and run our factories and fight our wars. They love their country in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America.”

Except that’s not really true. We haven’t been a nation of small towns for nearly a century. It is the suburbanites and city dwellers who do the fighting and hourly-wage work now, and the corporations who grow our food. But Palin’s embrace of small-town values is where her hold on the national imagination begins. She embodies the most basic American myth — Jefferson’s yeoman farmer, the fantasia of rural righteousness — updated in a crucial way: now Mom works too.

My life is a perfect expression of why Klein’s view is an east coast, urban-centric, myopic view of the country that he apparently doesn’t know all that well:


Sarah Palin, Game-Changer

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

MSNBC reports these inflammatory comments from former Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chaffee, a former Republican who supports Barack Obama for President. From the sound of it, Chaffee wants to energize the far left. Calling Sarah Palin a “cocky wacko” is a good way to do that:

“They’ve [the McCain campaign] just thrown this firestorm, this tornado, into the whole presidential election,” Chafee said in response to an audience member’s question about whether the Obama campaign should worry about Palin’s presence in the race.

He said her speech at the Republican National Convention had the unintended effect of energizing Democrats and Obama supporters.

“People were coming into my office, phone calls were flooding in, e-mails were coming in, ‘I just sent money to Obama, I couldn’t sleep last night’ — from the left. To see this cocky wacko up there,” Chafee said to laughter.”

I have two thoughts about the Palin story. First, it’s an understatement to say Palin dramatically changed this election. The past 2 weeks have been all-Palin and there’s no sign it will let up until the first Presidential debate later this month. That’s bad news for the Obama campaign because voters know who John McCain is but they don’t know as much about Barack Obama. September was Obama’s time to define himself with the voters and that time is lost now.

Second, Palin has dramatically changed the role of Vice Presidential nominees. Instead of being the attack dog of the campaign, she’s become the vortex for attacks. Chaffee called Palin a tornado and I think that’s a good description, although not the way he meant it. Like a tornado, the Palin story has sucked up everything around it and, unlike the typical VP nominee, Palin hasn’t had to go on the attack to generate that energy.

Furthermore, ABC’s Palin interview will be broadcast today and at 10 PM EST Friday evening. This guarantees Palin will be the top news story for at least 2 or 3 more days.

In sporting terms, Palin has been a real game-changer and so far the Obama team hasn’t had an answer.


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