Palin sounds unsolid on questions of national security

Thursday, September 18, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:39 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In the words of the American philosopher and comedian Elmer Fudd, "Be afwaid. Be vawy, vawy afwaid."

Many have suggested that Sarah Palin has been picked on enough since the debacle of her selection by the otherwise commendable presidential candidate John McCain. They are wrong as she continues be affected by "foot-in-mouth disease" as illustrated in her interview with Charlie Gibson of ABC News. This candidate for Vice President scares me.

Let me give the McCain campaign credit where credit is due. Their marketing strate­gy for the two weeks after the Democratic National Convention was right on the money. They took every advantage away from the Obama campaign as soon as possible through a magnificent series of announcements and a well orchestrated Republican National Convention. Any "bounce" in the polls by Obama was nullified almost immediately by McCain's announcement of a candidate for vice president, regardless of who it was. The convention ran like a well-rehearsed opera. Everything went wonderfully until Governor Palin was let off on her own.

Now here is the rub. McCain's advisory staff includes Karl Rove. You remember Karl, Bush's number two man in the White House, the pit bull of negative campaigning, the man who could make Santa Claus look like the Grinch.

According to the Huffington Post, Rove has at least four more former Bushies, including Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon, as media and strategy advisors for McCain-Palin.

OK, Arianna Huffington and her Internet site are liberal in their politics, but I caught the same news on Rush's radio hour, the Washington Post and the Journal in Salem, Ore. Rove, "The Puppet Master," can manipulate the facts and people better than any strategist on the planet. He is a scary man.

Gibson's questions cultivated a feeling of distrust and uneasiness with the governor of Alaska. This is a not a chauvinistic position but a political one. Not one question, at least to my viewing, was out of line or addressed the governor's ability to lead because she is female, regardless of the suggestions by the Republican advocates as seen on Sunday morning's political television. Yet her answers were not direct, requiring Gibson to repeatedly restate or ask for clarification, a wonderful method of argument distraction by Palin.

The one thing Rove and his crew forgot to do was to properly brief Palin on foreign policy or national security before her interview with Gibson. Her sole idea of national security concerned energy independence through drilling for more oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) or off the shores of Florida and Texas. When asked directly about the "Bush Doctrine," she knew nothing. She should have had this one down solid.

Here is the "Bush Doctrine" in a nutshell, as the president recited it to the graduating class June 1, 2002 at the United States Military Academy at West Point:

"We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act.

"... And our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives."

Until G.W.'s Iraq war, America has never made a "preemptive strike." It was below our collective morals ... I thought.

I asked 50 students to cite the Bush Doctrine. 28 could. So can Senators Obama and Biden. Palin, Karl Rove's puppet, could not. My students are average American citizens. Palin is running for the vice president of the United States. What is wrong with this picture? Have the Republicans pulled the wool over the American electorate's eyes yet again?

I can see Karl standing on top of a mountain with his Viking helmet, holding his spear, singing "Kill the wabbit. Kill the wabbit. Kill the wabbit. Hahahahahaha." Where is Bugs Bunny when you need him?

David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


John Schultz September 18, 2008 | 11:59 a.m.

How many of those students could cite the Bush Doctrine prior to the Gibson interview? I know I would not have been able to, and have heard other people claim Gibson got it wrong (I don't know if they are correct or not).

The only time Gibson acted as if he was unclear on Governor Palin's answer was when asking what the US should do if Israel struck Iran. I believe Governor Palin's answer, while a bit circuitous perhaps, was fairly clear to me, but Gibson acted as if she was speaking a foreign language.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.