Four Bush Doctrines

Charles Krauthammer, who coined the phrase “Bush Doctrine” in July 2001, argues that the condescension of Charlie Gibson and others over Sarah Palin’s not knowing what “Bush Doctrine” meant is misplaced.

He notes that there have been four distinct meanings of the term, with Gibson’s being the third and thus obviated.  The first, from Krauthammer’s coinage, was a willingness to unlaterally abrograte treaties judged no longer to be in our national interest.  The second, immediately after 9/11, was the “with us or against us” idea.  The third, spawned by the Iraq War debate, was the right to strike preemptively.  The fourth, set forth in the second inaugural address, is a commitment to use American resources to spread democracy throughout the world.

Was Palin’s confusion as to which of these four formulations Gibson was referencing the problem?  My guess:  No.  But Krauthammer’s right that the sense of superiority this interview has brought out in so many is unjustified.  

Michael Seitzman, a screenwriter of some note who blogs at HuffPo, perhaps takes the cake on that score.  Writing under perhaps the best Google-bait headline ever, Sarah Palin Naked, he begins:

She said “nucular.” Twice.

I realized three things tonight. For one, if you are a McCain/Palin/Bush voter, you and I do not have a difference of opinion. We have a difference in brain power. Two, she really is as ignorant as I feared. And, three, she really is kinda hot. Basically, I want to have sex with her on my Barack Obama sheets while my wife reads aloud from the Constitution. (My wife is cool with this if I promise to “first wipe off Palin’s tranny makeup.” I married well.)

Now, I want to be clear and speak directly to those of you who LOVED that Palin interview. You’re an idiot. I mean that. This is not one of those cases where we’re going to agree to disagree. This isn’t one of those situations where we debate it passionately and then walk away thinking that the other guy is wrong but argued well. I’m not going to think of you as a thoughtful but misguided person with different ideas who still really cares about the country and the world. No, sorry, not this time. This time, if you watched those interview excerpts and weren’t scared out of your freakin’ mind, then you’re mentally ill, mentally disabled, or mentally disturbed. What you are NOT is responsible, informed, curious, thoughtful, mature, educated, empathetic, or remotely serious. I mean it.

While I think it’s a happy accident, it almost seems as if Team McCain picked Palin precisely in hopes of eliciting this kind of reaction from Obama and his supporters.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. G.A.Phillips says:

    I realized three things tonight. For one, if you are a McCain/Palin/Bush voter, you and I do not have a difference of opinion. We have a difference in brain power.

    lol, well ya, and your other 2 things prove it.

  2. G.A.Phillips says:

    But it’s a living breathing doctrine.I thought you liberals loved doctrines that live and breath, babies not so much.

  3. Rick Almeida says:

    Those leftists are always so cruel to conservatives, who always respond with unfailing respect and dignity.

  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    Those leftists are always so cruel to conservatives, who always respond with unfailing respect and dignity.

    I don’t, I treat people the way they treat others.

  5. James says:

    Well, no one should expect a lady to know about things like policy and war. It’s unladylike. And it was rude of Gibson to pick such hard questions to ask. Women can’t be expected to answer questions like that; questions of policy, war and economics are topics for us menfolk, not the ladies. He should have asked about recipes and housekeeping. She would have been much more comfortable with ladies’ topics like that than with politics. I fault Gibson for his lack of chivalry.

  6. JKB says:

    The question was bad for all involved. Gibson is getting grief because he was trying to carry Obama’s water and messed it up. He was trying to get her to say,

    that she supported the Bush Doctrine – They probably already had the Same as Bush ad ready for the clip to be dropped in

    that she supported non-imminent-threat pre-emptive action against countries – that would be Obama ad #2

    show she wasn’t up on DC-speak

    show she wasn’t up on foreign affairs – a legitimate purpose for the question.

    Palin was lucky and avoided the first two, only the DCnerds care about the third and she came to an effective neutering of the 4th with the imminent threat action answer.

    Looking at the question, I believe Palin chose Gibson for the first interview due to some awe of him due to her limited exposure to the national media jerks. Her body language tells me she was disappointed and hurt by the ambush question. Had Gibson explained his question it would not have been taken as an ambush. She buckled down and got out of the ambush with aplomb. I don’t expect she’ll make the mistake of respecting the media again.

  7. Brett says:

    I’m almost positive that Gibson was referring to the National Security Strategy of 2002, which was released on September 17, 2002 (Gibson referred to the Bush Doctrine as coming from September 2002). It lays out a justification for pre-emptive attacks.

  8. Moonbat Boy says:

    I realized three things tonight. For one, if you are a McCain/Palin/Bush voter, you and I do not have a difference of opinion. We have a difference in brain power.

    He’s right but for the opposite reason he thinks.