How seriously someone takes Sarah Palin is a decent barometer of whether or not they themselves ought to be taken seriously. I don’t much like Palin, but liking her isn’t the issue. It’s entirely possible for someone to like Palin, and acknowledge the fact that she has no business within a thousand miles of the presidency. It’s when you insist that she’s not only a nice person undeserving of the invective hurled at her from the likes of me, but also a viable candidate for high political office, that you cross over into the same brainless, kooky realm Palin herself inhabits.
Last week, Sarah Palin criticized President Obama’s Nuclear Posture Review, aimed at reducing nuclear proliferation and ending development of new nuclear weapons, comparing Obama to a kid on a playground who invites the bully to punch him and promises not to punch back. (Palin’s actual statement was much longer, and spoken with the rambling incoherence that characterizes her every public utterance.)
As Slate’s Fred Kaplan points out, Palin apparently neglected to actually read the document in question before shooting her mouth off alongside Sean Hannity:
What set this off was a comment that Palin made while discussing the president’s just-published Nuclear Posture Review with Sean Hannity on Fox News:
It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. No administration in America’s history would, I think, ever have considered such a step that we just found out President Obama is supporting today. It’s kinda like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, “Go ahead, punch me in the face and I’m not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want with me.”
It’s clear that she hadn’t read the document. It’s a good bet that she hadn’t read any serious book or article about the general subject of nuclear strategy in her entire life.
Obama’s perhaps-too-flip dismissal of Stephanopoulos’ question may have stemmed from a broader frustration over why this once-serious political commentator was citing Sarah Palin on this sort of issue in the first place.
As for Palin’s dig, here’s the substantive rebuttal, should you need one: Obama’s policy does not say we won’t retaliate if someone hits us. Rather, it says we won’t retaliate with nuclear weapons if the attacker has no nuclear weapons and is not in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In other words, to state the policy in the terms of Palin’s analogy: If some unarmed kid on a playground punches me in the face, I’m not going to blow his head off with a .44 Magnum. (But I will beat the crap out of him every other way.)
I don’t know about you, but I think It’s Clear That She Hadn’t Read the Document would be a great title for the inevitable Sarah Palin biopic.
She’s not a serious person, and neither is anyone who claims she is.
Click here to read Kaplan’s excellent piece in its entirety.