It’s the ‘Doctrine’, Stupid!
Most of the discussion of Sarah Palin’s ABC interview has focused on the fact that she didn’t seem to know what the Bush Doctrine was. To be sure, that is a pretty significant gaffe — anyone even passingly familiar with the foreign-policy debates of the past eight years should know what that is, even if they may disagree on the particulars.
But check out the transcript again. It’s not just that Palin doesn’t know what the “Bush Doctrine” is. It’s that she doesn’t seem to know what the word “doctrine” means. That is, she seems to understand the broad definition of the word, but not the specific sense of “a statement of fundamental government policy, especially in international relations.”
For example, if someone were to ask me my thoughts on, say, the Fillmore Doctrine, I would have no idea of the specifics, but I would assume that it was some sort of foreign-policy principle espoused during the administration of Millard Fillmore. Palin apparently thinks that a doctrine applied to a specific president simply refers to his “world view”.
Almost makes me wonder what her response would have been if Gibson had asked her about the Monroe Doctrine.