Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, and the Bush Doctrine

I gather, although I did not watch the interview, that Sarah Palin responded to a question from Charlie Gibson about the “Bush Doctrine” by describing it as “Bush’s Worldview.” This was supposedly incorrect, as Gibson allegedly corrected her by noting (with all the smugness that only Charlie Gibson can appropriately muster) that the Bush Doctrine refers specifically to Bush’s belief that it’s appropriate to engage in pre-emptive war. I’m quite sure that all the usual suspects are in hysterics, although I have neither the time nor the patience today to suffer through the ecstasies of Andrew Sullivan in order to confirm these suspicions.

Anyway, if you had asked me as of yesterday, point blank, to identify the “Bush Doctrine,” I would have responded, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them.” I was slightly puzzled to learn that apparently it refers to authorizing pre-emptive strikes against enemies that threaten America – I mean, I know Bush believes in that, but that’s not what I identify as the “Bush Doctrine.” Apparently, as Josh Trevino notes in an indispensible post, confusion as to what the “Bush Doctrine” is abounds among media personages and, lo!, Barack Obama:

In July 2007, Senator Barack Obama described the “Bush Doctrine” as, as reported by ABC News, “only speaking to leaders of rogue nations if they first meet conditions laid out by the United States.”

Now, it isn’t clear from the actual ABC News article whether Obama himself used the words “Bush Doctrine” or whether ABC applied this label to the stance Obama referred to. One way or the other, either Barack Obama or ABC News (Charlie Gibson’s employer) is thoroughly confused by what the “Bush Doctrine” is – I mean, not even close.

But in any case, let’s be clear: there was no correct answer to this question. If Palin had answered with my answer, it would have been that the pre-emptive strike bit was the correct answer. If she had answered with the pre-emptive strike bit, my answer would have been the right one. If she had answered that it represented his general worldview, which is probably closest to accurate, then she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Obama’s sycophants in the press are not the least bit interested in learning Sarah Palin’s views on anything; they are interested merely in playing gotcha and giving the Obama campaign new talking points (since he can’t come up with any new ones himself).