I admit it: Sarah Palin is making me go as batshit crazy as a Young Earth Creationist. While watching Real Time with Bill Maher by myself last night, I actually yelled out loud…at the TV. When Maher and his panel—which included Salman Rushdie, Janeane Garofalo and Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund—didn’t hear me the first time (or, rather, when they didn’t finally make the same obvious observation I did), I yelled louder. In defense of Palin’s indefensible lack of knowledge about the Bush Doctrine (or if you want to get technical, the biggest fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy in 200 years) during her interview with Charles Gibson this week, a smug Fund cited a Democratic primary debate in which candidates were asked a similar question but were given a definition of what the doctrine entails, the implication being that no politician running for president, even those in the incumbent party, should be expected to know the basic tenets of the current administration’s foreign policy. The reality is that moderators of nationally televised debates provide information about the topic being discussed partly to avoid publicly embarrassing the candidates but mostly for the benefit of laymen viewers. The Bush Doctrine was simply not one of the topics, buzz phrases or talking points Palin was told to commit to her short-term memory prior to the interview.
Semi-related, someone needs to turn Matt Damon’s recent query, “I need to know if she really thinks that dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago…because she’s gonna have the nuclear codes,” into a bumper sticker because, frankly, it even beats Pam Anderson’s “I can’t stand her. She can suck it. Quote me.”
This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.