Tuesday, February 09, 2010

As Performance, Passable

Sarah Palin deserves credit.

She gave a politically savvy answer when Chris Wallace asked her on Fox News Sunday "Should the rule "don't ask -- don't tell" for the Military be revealed?" (Note: I believe Matthews said "reversed" or "rescinded"- and if not, certainly meant to.) Palin shrewdly responded

I don't think so right now. I'm surprised that the President spent that on his State of the Union speech when he only spent about nine percent of his time in the State of the Union on national security issues. And I say that because there are other things to be worried about right now with the Military.

I think that's kind of on the back burner. It's sufficient for now.

To put so much time and effort and politics into it, unnecessary.

Palin could not have supported rescission of "don't ask, don't tell" without engendering significant controversy. However, she qualified her answer: not "right now;" "other things to be worried about:" "kind of on the back burner;" unnecessary "to put so much time and effort and politics into it."

Translation: I'm against it until it becomes politically advantageous to modify my position. Flexibility in this case is a virtue, if a little disingenous.

Flexibility is one thing. Charging the President of the United States with disregarding the interests of the American people is something else. This exchange got a lot of attention, but not enough:

WALLACE: I know that three years is an eternity in politics. But how hard do you think President Obama will be to defeat in 2012?

PALIN: It depends on a few things. Say he played, and I got this from Buchanan, reading one of his columns the other day. Say he played the war card. Say he decided to declare war on Iran, or decided to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. But that changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years. Because I think if the election were today, I do not think Obama would be re-elected.

But three years from now things could change if on the national security threat --

WALLACE: You're not suggesting that he would cynically play the war card.

It was good of Wallace to ask Palin "you're not suggesting that he would cynically play the war card," after she did suggest that he would cynically play the war card. Unfortunately, the FOX News host failed to follow up when Palin responded

I'm not suggesting that. I'm saying, if he did, things would dramatically change if he decided to toughen up and do all that he can to secure our nation and our allies. I think people would perhaps shift their thinking a little bit and decide, well, maybe he's tougher than we think he is today. And there wouldn't be as much passion to make sure that he doesn't serve another four years --

She stated "I'm not suggesting that"- and then did suggest just that: "if he did...." The proper answer, if there were anything proper about Sarah Palin, "no, I'm not." Then she could have proposed such an action. Or not.

All in all, though, the former governor got through an interview, albeit with one so friendly that it employs her, nearly unscathed. And without peeking at anything which might have been written on her palm.

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