Much has been made of Sarah Palin’s interview with Charles Gibson on ABC and how it reflects her ability to hold the position of Vice President, but the media appears to be stretching itself thin in hopes of finding a gaffe in what most partisans would call an uneventful exchange. At the center of the faux controversy is Palin’s insistence that Gibson clarify his inquiry into the “Bush Doctrine,” and liberal columnists and commentators are attempting to start a field day with a main event that stinks of petty partisan competition.
In Jay Bookman’s September 12th article printed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Bookman asserts that Palin’s interview with Gibson makes “Dan Quayle Look Good,” and goes on to say “The Bush Doctrine was the justification the president cited that led us into the war in Iraq, and that some cite now as justification for attacking Iran.” as if there were one distinct definition of the term “Bush Doctrine.” But should Palin be expected to know what Gibson was discussing when he introduced the term?
As the final year of Bush’s term winds away, the American people are faced with two conflicting notions of the President’s policy: the one they supported after 9-11 and reaffirmed in the 2004 election and the one they have been coached to disdain by a power-hungry Democratic Party that won the elections of 2006. Gibson’s assumption that Palin would be able to answer an open-ended question about the “Bush Doctrine” shows how many in the media have come to believe that their version of the “Bush Doctrine” on foreign policy is the only way a rational American can regard the waning Presidency and its effect on the world.
Bush himself never called his reasoning for invading Iraq his “doctrine,” and in the course of a presidency that changed the US’s policies on taxation, education, foreign policy, and emergency response programs; one has a clear reason to believe that his doctrine, his legacy, and his impact on history have yet to be viewed from the correct historical frame of reference. While we should not ignore his shortcomings and clear mistakes, we likewise can not expect Governor Palin to regard them as his “doctrine.”