You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.
Inigo Montoya to Vizzini in The Princess Bride
That line from the movie is so apropos of many of the things in the Media. Take, for example “Swiftboating.” To the Media it means to tell lies about a candidate for public office. To people who actually read the Swiftboat Vets books and saw their ads it refers to Kerry's fellow Swift Boat vets telling the truth about John Kerry’s actions in Viet Nam and his activities to smear his fellow vets when he got back.
So now we have what appears to be a controversy about the “Bush Doctrine.” Let’s be clear about this: George Bush did not say in either a speech or in written form anything with the title “Bush Doctrine.” The reference to the existence of a Bush Doctrine was a literary invention of Charles Krauthammer; at the very least he claims to be the first to have used the term. So anyone who wished to define the term Bush Doctrine should show some deference to Krauthammer’s opinion of what Bush Doctrine means.
He devotes his latest column to the subject and tells us that what the media claims and what Charles Gibson claims is simply wrong.
The Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.
There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration -- and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today.
He asked Palin, "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?"
She responded, quite sensibly to a question that is ambiguous, "In what respect, Charlie?"
Sensing his "gotcha" moment, Gibson refused to tell her. After making her fish for the answer, he grudgingly explained to the moose-hunting rube that the Bush doctrine "is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense."
I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of The Weekly Standard titled, "The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism," I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.
[The]...fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of Bush foreign policy and the one that most distinctively defines it: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world. It was most dramatically enunciated in Bush's second inaugural address: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world."
This declaration of a sweeping, universal American freedom agenda was consciously meant to echo John Kennedy's pledge that the United States "shall pay any price, bear any burden ... to assure the survival and the success of liberty." It draws also from the Truman doctrine of March 1947 and from Wilson's 14 points.
If I were in any public foreign policy debate today, and my adversary were to raise the Bush doctrine, both I and the audience would assume -- unless my interlocutor annotated the reference otherwise -- that he was speaking about Bush's grandly proclaimed (and widely attacked) freedom agenda.
Not the Gibson doctrine of pre-emption.
Not the "with us or against us" no-neutrality-is-permitted policy of the immediate post-9/11 days.
Not the unilateralism that characterized the pre-9/11 first year of the Bush administration.
And here is slaps Gibson upside the head:
Yes, Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Gibson. And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, "sounding like an impatient teacher," as the Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes' reaction to the phenom who presumes to play on their stage.
It will be interesting so see how this controversy evolves. Will the term Bush Doctrine be defined by the media, like Swiftboating was? Will the mastery of the ability to define the language remain with the media dinosaurs?
It does remind you of Lewis Carroll, doesn’t it? Is Charlie Gibson Humpty Dumpty? 'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.'
From Martin Sieff at UPI we get this:
The pattern of previous presidential election interviews and debates has always been that individuals who come across as intellectually superior, arrogant and condescending forfeit support that goes to their perceived victims. This dynamic played a crucial role in propelling George W. Bush into the White House eight years ago. It remains to be seen if Gibson's perceived arrogance and condescension will give Palin another boost.
Gibson should get contact lenses for his next interview. That way he will be able to read his questions without looking down his nose.
Democrat strategist Mark Penn:
I think here the media is on very dangerous ground. I think that when you see them going through every single expense report that Governor Palin ever filed, if they don't do that for all four of the candidates, they're on very dangerous ground. I think the media so far has been the biggest loser in this race. And they continue to have growing credibility problems.
And I think that that's a real problem growing out of this election. The media now, all of the media — not just Fox News, that was perceived as highly partisan — but all of the media is now being viewed as partisan in one way or another. And that is an unfortunate development.
The Democrats had a very powerful weapon against the Republicans in the media. That weapon is now misfiring; it's in a self destructive mode and is breaking under the strain of carrying Obama across the finish line. For an organ that depends for it's very life blood on credibility, it's committing suicide.