What Is The Bush Doctrine?

Some commenters have cited this White House document as a delineation of the Bush Doctrine. The key portion I think is this:

For centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack. Legal scholars and international jurists often conditioned the legitimacy of preemption on the existence of an imminent threat—most often a visible mobilization of armies, navies, and air forces preparing to attack.

We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries. Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction—weapons that can be easily concealed, delivered covertly, and used without warning.

MORE . . .

The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.

The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.

(Emphasis mine.) Charlie Gibson does not really understand what the Bush Doctrine means. This was made clear in his questioning of Barack Obama in January of this year:

GIBSON: I'm going to go to the others in a moment, but what you just outlined is essentially the Bush doctrine: We can attack if we want to, no matter the sovereignty of the Pakistanis.

OBAMA: No, that is not the same thing, because here we have a situation where Al Qaeda, a sworn enemy of the United States, that killed 3,000 Americans and is currently plotting to do the same, is in the territory of Pakistan. We know that.

(Emphasis supplied.) Obama of course is right and Gibson is wrong. Gibson asked Palin about attacking Al Qaida in Pakistan in the context of discussing the Bush Doctrine, proving he still does not understand it.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

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    you ought to google the origin of the statement (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:16:28 PM EST
    someone must have been the first to publish the label "The Bush Doctrine"

    The nearest term I recall from my Grad days is Tony Blair's Chigago Doctrine. That was actually used widely in academia and Foreign Policy circles and used to describe what Gibson may have been talking about.

    Here's me in me ivory tower polishin' the ornimints.

    I remember it being tossed around (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:21:54 PM EST
    AFTER the IRaq Debacle.

    I will say this, Wes Clark substantively critiqued what came to be known as the Bush doctrine in Congressional testimony in 2002.


    It's more accurately Wolfowitz/Rumsfeld Doctrine (none / 0) (#15)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:28:37 PM EST

    That the proponents of the Doctrine are gone from DoD indicates Bush wasn't using a doctrine in any systematic way.


    The title of the doctrine (none / 0) (#31)
    by christinep on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:44:34 PM EST
    What I recall is that shortly after Bush spoke to a West Point graduation (2002?), commenters started referring to the Bush approach, doctrine of preemption, and so forth. To be fair, any questioner referring to the general Bush doctrine should have added "about preemption." Or an adjectival phrase. To do otherwise is really playing a form of "gotcha." The key is the expansion of the preemption doctrine.

    Anyone remember the One-Percent Doctrine? (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by KVFinn on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:20:33 PM EST
    "If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response."

    Good times, good times.

    The rest of Obama's response btw:

    And so, you know, this is not speculation. This is not a situation where we anticipate a possible threat in the future. And my job as commander-in-chief will be to make sure that we strike anybody who would do America harm when we have actionable intelligence do to that.

    There's one that was actually used... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:21:08 PM EST
    ...in real time. Good recall.

    As I said in the other thread (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Steve M on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:26:46 PM EST
    after watching the video, I thought it was very clear that she did not understand that the Bush Doctrine was a defined term.  Not just that she didn't know what it was, but that she didn't know there was such a thing as the Bush Doctrine.

    Maybe some people think that is a huge gotcha.  To me, it simply confirms what most of us knew going in: that she hasn't been following foreign policy issues particularly closely over the last 8 years.

    Beyond that point, I agree with David Gergen, who agreed that she didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was but questioned how much it matters, since the term really isn't that widely defined or used.  When she was asked specific questions, like when Gibson gave his not-entirely-accurate version of the Doctrine and asked if she agreed, her answers were just fine.  Not saying I loved what she had to say, but the answers certainly weren't embarrassing.  If you can fluently answer questions like "do you agree with preemptive war" or "should we support Georgia's application to NATO," then whether you know what the term "Bush Doctrine" means seems a lot like trivia to me.

    If people were under the impression that she had a huge base of foreign policy knowledge, I guess they're disappointed now.

    I agree with this. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by lansing quaker on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:40:12 PM EST
    It seemed like a quiz.  "CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WAR AND FOREIGN POLICY?!"  

    Bush Doctrine is a very academic term.  And, besides, for a Republican it's a poltical landmine.  "Yes" means "YOU'RE BUSH!"

    "No" means "A-HA!  EAT IT, FUNDIES!"

    The "Bush Doctrine" is not a tangible policy -- it's an ideology.  It's an academic term and  -- at the end of the day -- little more than a cultural phrase.  

    Yes, it is rooted in policy-wonk, but it is not a concrete policy in and of itself.  This is akin to asking Sarah Palin about the serial comma and it's proper use.

    Her answer was not the best she could deliver, but it reeks of trying to trip her up as "dumb broad from nowhere."

    And that's the problem.  It won't work.  Suddenly, I can hear the raucous choir of "SHE DID NOT KNOW THE BUSH DOCTRINE!" as several from the left ran to Wikipedia to reference it before the commented on it themselves.

    It's putting up a pile of sawdust.  The Republicans will blow it away.


    It is a quiz (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by G Davis on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:26:40 PM EST
    Not to disagree with the rest of what you said, it really is a quiz.  No one knows her, she's been very isolateed since she was appointed to fill one of the most powerful jobs in the world.

    I don't want to argue about how she did, but it's fairly defensive to take a stance that she shouldn't be grilled.  Everyone else in this race has been, why not her?


    Worse - it seemed like a quiz (none / 0) (#33)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:50:06 PM EST
    thought up and administered by Steven Colbert.  Now I know who he is imitating when he does the fake-serious interviews.  She was right to be cautious and make Gibson define the terms. She probably watched tapes of him during the debates.

    All I have seen is the brief clip on the previous thread, but Gibson just seemed like a joke to me, and I am sure he would not know the Bush doctrine if it dropped a bomb on his house.  It reminded me of that last Obama-Clinton debate when he didn't know economics either.


    Quite frankly, I was bored. (none / 0) (#38)
    by lansing quaker on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:57:33 PM EST
    I know Sarah Palin is not in the running on FP credentials.  So does everyone else -- even the most ardent of Obama (not Democratic, mind) partisans -- if they look deep down.

    She was selected on domestic issues.  Energy.  Taxes.  Bureaucracy.  

    The FP talk, quite frankly, bores me.  I don't expect the VP candidate to discuss FP with aplomb.  Trade?  Sure.  War and diplomacy?  Nah.

    It just makes me feel Palin was on an unnecessary defensive from a ridiculous angle.  What next?  What do the first ladies/"dudes" feel about the Russia/Georgia conflict?

    I wanted to hear Palin talk about domestic issues.  Not policy and faith.  That's why I'll defend Palin on this FP angle: because I know it's little more than red meat for the Netroots base.  "She's DUMB!"

    McCain didn't select Palin to talk about FP.  That much is obvious to even the most ardent of Republican Palin supporters.  She was selected on energy and economy.  It's a red herring, and will only highlight the Palin/Obama parallel, which is a losing battle for Democrats.


    Have you guys seen (none / 0) (#44)
    by frenly on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:05:48 PM EST
    I have, (none / 0) (#64)
    by lansing quaker on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 01:52:07 AM EST
    I watched Palin before she was selected.

    Great interview.  They're trying to knock her off-message and away from domestic issues like energy with this "WHAT IF YOU WERE PRES AND AT WAR?" line.

    It won't work.  They'll focus back on energy.


    She's said that (4.00 / 1) (#52)
    by andrys on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:40:04 PM EST
    she's been too busy with running the State (and raising that rambunctious family) and so had not kept up with international affairs.  That was about a week ago...

      Said right out there.  Sent some minds reeling at the time.


    I really disagree (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:28:48 PM EST
    I think she does know but you know what, we are all speculating here.

    BTD, do you think (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by bjorn on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:33:34 PM EST
    Bush knows what the Bush doctrine is?  Just curious.  It actually would not surprise if he didn't!

    Yes (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:37:10 PM EST
    That's true, it is speculation. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by KVFinn on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:36:59 PM EST
    And let me say that while my impression was that she hadn't heard of the Bush doctrine, I do agree with you in a limited sense.

    The left blogs often have a tone like:

    "Palin's never heard of the Bush doctrine, neener neener neener neener!" This is way too close to free republic and yeah, it's likely counter productive.


    Shrug (none / 0) (#19)
    by Steve M on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:32:11 PM EST
    That's fine.  We all read demeanor differently.

    Here, I'll stick my neck out: if this country has to make a foreign policy decision, I would rather see it made by Sarah Palin than John McCain.  How's that for a position?


    Based on her answer tonight (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:37:56 PM EST
    I agree.

    Tomorrow I will write a post comparing McCain statements on preemptive war to what Palin said.


    I was perusing the wiki... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:43:42 PM EST
    ...and the Bush Doctrine page indicates that the policy paper was the result of a power struggle between State and DoD. One in which the DoD won out--until Rummy was fired.  I don't even know if the Doctrine such as it existred IS being used to guide contemporary policy.  Rice at State is essentially attempting to contain the mess brought about by the 2001-2004 ascendency of the neoconservative wonks at DoD.

    I agree (none / 0) (#37)
    by Steve M on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:57:26 PM EST
    all the more reason why "Bush Doctrine" is a pretty meaningless term.  Useful for your term paper, maybe.

    Confusion over Bush's policy (none / 0) (#65)
    by huzzlewhat on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 05:15:02 AM EST
    At the risk of injecting Hillary into this, this whole discussion reminds me of something Hillary Clinton said in an interview, what seems like years ago now (was it her panel discussion with the KS Star?). She had a whole bit about how she couldn't begin to critique Bush's foreign policy, because she couldn't even figure out what his foreign policy was... there was no sense of a plan there, no sense of predictability of how his administration would react in any given situation because there was no coherency. I completely agreed with her at the time. So in that sense, definition of terms makes sense.

    hmm (none / 0) (#53)
    by connecticut yankee on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:41:30 PM EST
    I dont know if I agree with that yet, I'd need to see more.  

    The other candidates in the race has been prepping for years, she just started two weeks ago.  My concern is that if she needs to take over quickly, there is a lot of tutoring to do.


    Obama has 300 FP advisers and Biden (none / 0) (#59)
    by nycstray on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:58:30 PM EST
    if Biden should leave use suddenly, is Obama still just as strong?

    Methinks she'll have good backing. Advisers, a new experienced VP, SoS, SoD, Congress etc, just like Obama.

    If G-d forbid, something should happen to McCain, from what I've read on her, I think she would make  good use of her resources. She strikes me as the "dig in" type. Seems smart and able to be a quick study. And more than willing to do the task at hand.

    She's not ideally experienced enough, imo, but Obama, imo, isn't either. And he causes me pause with his "style".

    BTW, this is no way endorsing her views! Just commenting on possible capability :)


    She was asked... (none / 0) (#24)
    by freethinker25 on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:36:59 PM EST
    What she interpreted the Bush Doctrine to be: her response, 3 words, Bush's world view. Does that show she had any idea what it was? Please.

    For me... (none / 0) (#32)
    by lansing quaker on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:48:14 PM EST
    Asking about "Bush's Doctrine" and "Bush's worldview" are pretty much akin to one another.

    It's his executive opinions, with regard to foreign policy.  It's nebulous and multi-faceted.  Do you mean something specific with regard to policy, or do you mean in general?

    The Bush Doctrine is, more or less, Bush's worldview with regard to terrorism and defending America.  Yes, there are specific policies tied to this (pre-emptive strike/war, "embargo") but there is a clear distinction between:

    1. We will use force against rogue states that threaten America.
    2. We will strike the Mozambique if the leader threatens us!

    Nuance.  To wit: do you mean Bush's personal opinion and thoughts (worldview), or more specific measures of what constitues a need for pre-emptive strike?

    Palin was not going to fall into that trap.  She did not handle it as adroitly as she could have.  But that means you're expecting her to be binary:


    She won't do either.  And any politician would avoid that.



    She also answered (none / 0) (#34)
    by frenly on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:50:30 PM EST
    by giving the background context to Bush's foreign policy - which has been as she said essentially, to defeat Islamic terrorism and protect the USA by any means necessary with a dash of democracy spreading thrown in.  That is an expansive way of talking about the Bush doctrine and not really inaccurate.

    basically he was asking (none / 0) (#18)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:31:30 PM EST
    her in a round-a-bout way if she was a Wolfowitzian Neocon.

    I understand that Powell and Rice were the (weak) institutional check to Rummy and Wolfowitz.

    But that's really the history of the Bush cabinet and the fight between DoD and State.  Which is a pretty old fight that goes back to the end of ww2.


    Well, after all (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:53:41 PM EST
    after watching the video, I thought it was very clear that she did not understand that the Bush Doctrine was a defined term.

    Gibson didn't use little air-quotes when he said it. He has such a questioning style that it did not even seem like he had finished the question. She would have looked really stupid if she had just sat there and waited for him to finish. Good for her for prompting him to either finish or clarify.


    You don't think its a big deal (none / 0) (#50)
    by dailygrind on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:38:25 PM EST
    that the VP of her party doesn't know the doctrine that has defined her party's foreign policy since 2001?

    I m really struggling to understand the Oh it's no big deal argument.


    ya (none / 0) (#55)
    by connecticut yankee on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:46:28 PM EST
    It is a big deal in the sense of readiness.  If Palin needs to take over quickly, there is a lot of tutoring to do.  She may handle it fine but it's just another indicator that she is not a foreign policy pick and so is not my favorite candidate at a time of war.

    McCain, Obama and Biden actively campaigned for the big job, she's the only one who isnt really ready on day one if needed.

    She could maybe do it but it will require lots of advice and mentoring as she goes.


    That's at least a sensible statement (none / 0) (#56)
    by dailygrind on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:50:49 PM EST
    But to say "oh well sure she doesn't seem to know " or as BTD is doing calling anyone questioning did she know as "deranged" just isn't sensible. I don't expect her to be an expert on the finer points, but quite frankly I am a little shocked after being prep'ed that she didn't know this. Again, it's like the key element of Bush/GOP foreign policy. I w ould have thought it would have been the first question they had her understand before going into an interview. It's a little like doing the cold war not knowing what the cold war is.

    If McCain goes... (none / 0) (#61)
    by kredwyn on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 11:05:46 PM EST
    her VP choice would, like Biden, probably have a certain amount of FP experience.

    IIRC, that VP choice would have to be approved by the House of Rep.


    Well, (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by frankly0 on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:12:17 PM EST
    what I find interesting about the quotes defining the Bush doctrine is that they don't actually say that the Bush doctrine essentially justifies a pre-emptive strike against a nation or an enemy without any consideration as to whether an attack is imminent. It really seems to be saying that, given the nature of terrorist actions, we can never know whether an attack is imminent before it is launched, so that we are justified in striking merely on the possibility that an attack might be imminent, given the underlying capabilities and intentions of the terrorist enemy.

    As I read the quotes, essentially the Bush doctrine seems to be merely relaxing the requirement on a justified pre-emptive strike from being one in which an attack is imminent and known to be so, into one in which an attack might be imminent, given what we know.

    On some level, at this level of abstraction, it doesn't sound so unreasonable. Of course, it can be twisted to justify some truly crazy stuff -- Iraq comes to mind. (Really, the problem with Iraq from the standpoint of the Bush doctrine is that there was no serious argument that there was even a possibility that it, or any terrorists it might supposedly enable, would launch any kind of attack against the US. That was all just made up. Basically Bush wasn't following the Bush doctrine as here stated, but just making stuff up to do what he wanted to do anyway.)

    A quick google of 'The Bush Doctrine' (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:14:08 PM EST
    brings up enough different results to justify anyone insisting on a  clarification of terms before discussing it.  

    I hope for Obama's sake that the rest of the interview was more damaging.

    I agree... (none / 0) (#49)
    by skuld1 on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:32:56 PM EST
    I think it was a passable response, one that will neither help or hurt her in a significant way.

    Predictably, the left and right bloggers are/will pick and choose bits and pieces of interview to reinforce their view of Palin.


    Heck, a few talking heads agreed it wasn't (none / 0) (#54)
    by nycstray on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:42:35 PM EST
    definitive and not something everyone would know, even in their own circle, lol!~

    Thanks goodness Palin didn't understand it either. (2.66 / 3) (#1)
    by WillBFair on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:15:31 PM EST
    Next time, I hope she puts both feet in her mouth, scratches herself, and farts loudly on national television.

    One nice point to make is that (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:19:40 PM EST
    Obama was an International Relations undergrad. So he's pretty good at teh Theory stuff and rarely makes huge errors on terminology pertaining to international affairs.  It's his only strong suit in my opinion.

    LOL. Like a unicorn? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Polkan on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:17:37 PM EST
    Her answer to the Al Qaeda piece... (none / 0) (#3)
    by prose on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:17:33 PM EST
    was a good political answer.  But I was surprised by her none-answer to "How do you understand the bush doctrine?"  She should have done there what you just did here.  She could have really schooled Gibson.

    Hmm (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:18:51 PM EST
    I doubt it.

    You doubt that she could have answered the... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by prose on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:19:59 PM EST
    question?  I do too.  But if she had known what the doctrine was, she could have hit a home run.

    No (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:20:47 PM EST
    I doubt answering the question in the way you describe would have been more politically astute.

    If she had gotten wonky... (none / 0) (#17)
    by prose on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:30:19 PM EST
    and really gone textbook on it, giving her definition in a clear way, I would have been blown away because my sense has been that she doesn't have a good feel for theory and poli sci.  

    I don't know, maybe you are right and this was well handled.  I don't agree, but that's OK.  I do agree that it was a lousy trap question.  Asking a more clear and pointed foreign policy question would have been better and more enlightening.


    she was showing her Journo training. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:32:55 PM EST
    That will stand her in good stead in avoiding a catastrophic gotcha. She was trained in the dark arts of the twisted statement.

    You may be right (none / 0) (#67)
    by BigElephant on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 11:14:20 AM EST
    Unfortunately, political expedience has not come to mean pandering to public intellectual vacuousness.  

    Here's the level of "straight talk" we can expect from the Straight Talk express... if they were doctors:

    Voter: Dr. Palin, do I have cancer?

    Palin: What aspect of "you" are you referring to?

    Voter: Umm... me, the lady in front of you?!

    Palin: Oh, oh yes.  Well what type of cancer are you referring to?

    Voter: I don't know!  The kind that kills you!

    Palin: Death is something that will visit us all, but I will fight to ensure that we get the best medical treatment available.  I will do my all to ensure that none of us suffers.

    Voter: So does that mean I don't have cancer?

    Palin: Death is something that will visit us all, but I will fight to ensure that we get the best medical treatment available.  I will do my all to ensure that none of us suffers.

    Voter: You already said that, verbatim.

    Palin: Did it answer your question this time?

    Voter: No. I don't even know what question it would answer.

    Palin: Times up.  I have other patients to see.

    Voter: But you never answered my question.

    Palin: Certainly you know that actually answering your question would be professional suicide.  I only have to repeat what is on these cards in front of me for any question you give me.  

    If only I could play this game with my boss at work.  Only when your boss is the American public can this type of discourse fly.


    I'm not sure there is a definite... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:24:09 PM EST
    ...list of things that I would call "Bush Doctrine".   He's way too random to have a Doctrine named after him.

    "Bush Meanderine" suits him better.


    yeah he'd have just harrumpffed (none / 0) (#9)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:20:36 PM EST
    and moved to another question designed to tangle her up with Bush.

    Asking if she supports Bush's foreign policy... (none / 0) (#20)
    by prose on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:32:19 PM EST
    is a great line of questioning.  You act like Gibson is Olbermann.  Gibson has not been very Obama friendly.  I imagine that was part of why he was hand picked.  I just don't think that working the refs is going to work for the GOP this time

    Not at all. (none / 0) (#23)
    by Salo on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:33:56 PM EST
    It's a good question designed to see if she'll say:

    "I agree with Bush's foreign policy 100%"

    She wasn't dumb enough to fall for it.


    well (none / 0) (#57)
    by connecticut yankee on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:53:04 PM EST
    I thought it was perfectly fair.  Most average people watching that had the impression he was talking about preemption.  

    She didnt know but that won't hurt her with christian conservatives. Whether it will concern independents is up to them.


    We do not own the exclusive rights to the Bush (none / 0) (#29)
    by Saul on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:40:14 PM EST
    doctrine.  When Bush used this doctrine he also authorized this same doctrine to anyone who wanted to use it to rationalize their attacks to any other country.  Iran can use this same doctrine and  say we have to hit Isarael since they hate us and want to attack us and Israel can also used the Bush doctrine against Iran.  Anybody can use it now and the United States can't complain one bit if another country uses this same doctrine.  If we did complain there answer would be  "You used it"

    It open Pandora's box.


    You're playing a semantic game (none / 0) (#36)
    by Garmonbozia on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:54:06 PM EST
    to justify her dismal attempt to answer a question by stuttering and tossing out a few canned responses. ("TERRORISTS! ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS! DESTROY AMERICA!") You can almost hear the gears rattle as she tries to decide which one to call on.

    Last night, you referred to Reagan as a cancer...and I was genuinely relieved to agree with you for a change. But if you can't see that Bush has been exponentially worse than Reagan and that Palin has the potential to be even worse than Bush (since she's basically Bush without the inability to use the English language), you've got some serious blinders on.

    And before you or anyone starts with the "she's only the VP candidate" response to that, think about the power Cheney has wielded. McCain doesn't even have to die for her to be a mortal danger to this country.

    This is the main symptom of the late stages of PDS (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by ruffian on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:03:39 PM EST
    Her pitiful experience as a small town mayor and governor of caribou has left her so unprepared to be VP that she can't even answer a question without:

    ...  stuttering and tossing out a few canned responses.

    Yet she is going to wield Cheney-esque power over McCain, and his cabinet, and the Congress.


    ha (none / 0) (#58)
    by connecticut yankee on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:55:36 PM EST
    Gee, good thing to know we can have differences of opinion without it being a syndrome.

    Hilarious (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:59:50 PM EST
    I'm playing the semantic game? Incredible.

    Yeah, you are. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Garmonbozia on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:27:54 PM EST
    And you're good at it. Not quite "incredible," but you're getting there.

    Devil's Advocate (none / 0) (#40)
    by lansing quaker on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 09:59:59 PM EST
    Did Cheney push the "nuclear button"?


    Then why is everyone screaming that Sarah Palin will?


    Heh... (none / 0) (#51)
    by skuld1 on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:38:35 PM EST
    This is actually a very interesting point.

    Cheney has been successfully destroyed in terms of public opinion... he's widely viewed in various negative ways.  It will be virtually impossible to paint Palin as someone WORSE than Cheney in ~55 days... IMO any continued serious attempt to do so will be a net negative (unless she self-destructs).


    well (none / 0) (#60)
    by connecticut yankee on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 11:01:13 PM EST
    Palin lacks Bush's education and experience but there is always the hope that she will do little more than Dan Quayle.  

    My concern isnt that she would be Cheney but rather that McCain will either die or not run in 2012 and leave the shot for Palin.  


    Bush's education? (none / 0) (#62)
    by kredwyn on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 11:07:42 PM EST
    You mean the gentleman's C?

    Palin lacks (none / 0) (#66)
    by votermom on Fri Sep 12, 2008 at 09:06:41 AM EST
    Bush educational opportunities but she has  leveraged her own education to get her where she is today.

    I can't see Palin being Cheney. (none / 0) (#41)
    by Emma on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:00:51 PM EST
    But maybe she'll shoot someone.  Ya never know.

    I doubt it (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Steve M on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 10:01:53 PM EST
    She seems to have had better training than Cheney.

    what boggles is me (none / 0) (#63)
    by dws3665 on Thu Sep 11, 2008 at 11:39:16 PM EST
    is that some left bloggers twist themselves into knots defending Palin, when the simplest interpretation of her comments is, simply, that she didn't understand the question.

    In what way is asking, "In what respect, Charlie?" "rejecting the premise" of the question "Do you accept the Bush Doctrine?"

    I think Sargent is right on this one - Palin didn't understand the question and responded with evasive talking points. And somehow this passes as a reasonable response.