Sunday, September 14, 2008

The "Bush Doctrine" Was a Media Creation

When Charles Gibson asked Gov. Palin if she agreed with the "Bush doctrine," I confess I wasn't sure what he was talking about. I remember this term, but I also remember it being used by many people, to describe different Bush policy positions. Indeed, no single policy was ever oficially labeled "the Bush Doctrine."

The media have taken, over time, different statements from several Bush speeches, and claimed them to be his "doctrine.*" I wasn't surprised that she didn't know which one he was talking about. "In what respect, Charlie?" was the correct reply.

Further, as Bill Sammon of FOX NEWS points out (link):

Gibson and his colleagues have been all over the map in defining the Bush Doctrine over the last seven years. In 2001, Gibson himself defined it as "a promise that all terrorists organizations with global reach will be found, stopped and defeated."

But when Palin tried to give a similar definition on Thursday, Gibson corrected her.

"I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation," Palin said in her first interview since being nominated as the GOP's vice presidential candidate.

Gibson countered: "The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us."

This seemed like a "gotcha" question, and somewhat condescending, as well. First of all, he asked a subjective question, giving her a "yes or no" option on "agreeing with Bush." Second, he asked her to "define" a term that has different meanings to different people. Third, when she gave her definition, he ignored the fact that he had defined it in the same terms, and proceeded to try to "correct" her.

All this proves is that she's not "up" on the latest "liberal" definition of the "Bush doctrine." He might think he came out looking "smarter" than all of us who didn't know what the "Bush doctrine" is supposed to be, but her answer seemed to make alot of sense to the average voter.

BTW, I think that both Gov. Palin, and the average voter agree with the "Bush doctrine," in one (or more) of it's formulations. Gibson simply picked the one that sounds most unpopular, these days.

* Besides what Gov. Palin and Mr. Gibson mentioned, the "Bush doctrine" has been described as "bringing democracy to the Middle East," and "treating states that harbor terrorists as terrorists themselves," among others that have been pointed out since the Gibson interview with the Gov.

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