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Sunday, August 31, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

This is the kind of thing that will, I expect, become an ongoing punchline.

When asked by George Stephanopoulos about Sarah Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience, Cindy McCain stated:

McCAIN: You know, the experience that she comes from is what she’s done in government, and remember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. It’s not as if she doesn’t understand what’s at stake here.

The video:

Ok, it semi-works to say that a governor of, say, Texas or California has some international relations experience because of the very real relations that the governments of those states have with the governments of those countries. Even then, the degree to which those things equate to “foreign policy” experience is a bit much.

However, to suggest that the governor of Alaska has any actual interaction of any serious nature with the government of Russia is ridiculous and borders on a SNL skit to suggest that it conveys foreign policy bona fides on Palin.

And yes, I know that Mrs. McCain didn’t specifically say that Palin has directly interacted with Russia, but she is clearly suggesting that geographic proximity to the hinterlands of Russia means that Palin has some operative understanding of the politics of Russia’s international behavior. This is something of a stretch, shall we say.

h/t: Think Progress.

Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments/Trackbacks (12)|
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12 Responses to “Palin’s Russia Experience”

  1. doug Says:

    Geez…

    I watched the video. Twice.

    Cindy McCain doesn’t say any of what you imply, Steven.

    She basically dodges the question, “Duh! Governors don’t have national security experience.” She says, “She understands what’s at stake…she has a great mind…she focuses…yada yada yada.”

    Did you hear her “suggest that the governor of Alaska has any actual interaction of any serious nature with the government of Russia”???

    I didn’t.

  2. Polimom Says:

    Actually, I think Dr. Taylor has represented her words quite well. But I don’t know that this says as much about Sarah Palin as it does about Cindy McCain.

  3. George Sorwell Says:

    Cindy McCain says exactly what she’s quoted by this author as saying.

    I don’t see how anyone can deny it.

  4. Max Lybbert Says:

    Compared to Obama’s original “I once went on a college trip overseas” foreign policy credentials, I’ll take Palin any day.

  5. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    Doug,

    Did you read this part of my post:

    And yes, I know that Mrs. McCain didn’t specifically say that Palin has directly interacted with Russia, but she is clearly suggesting that geographic proximity to the hinterlands of Russia means that Palin has some operative understanding of the politics of Russia’s international behavior.

    And, as Polimom notes above, the issue here is really about Cindy McCain. It is simply a ridiculous argument and it will end up being a punchline–I have little doubt.

    I would note, btw, that I never actually criticized Palin herself.

  6. El Kabong Says:

    Would you say the same thing if someone implied that the governor of Texas or Arizona “has some operative understanding of the politics of Mexico’s international behavior”? Or the governor of Minnesota or Washington vis-a-vis Canada? Maybe it’s not to the extent that everyone would like, but I’m not sure the implication is as ridiculous as you state.

  7. Does Alaska’s proximity to Russia equate to foreign policy experience for Palin? | Bearing Drift :: Virginia Politics and Podcasts Says:

    [...] to PoliBlog for posting this Cindy McCain clip from ABC’s “This [...]

  8. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    El Kabong:

    Did you read the whole post?

    Ok, it semi-works to say that a governor of, say, Texas or California has some international relations experience because of the very real relations that the governments of those states have with the governments of those countries. Even then, the degree to which those things equate to “foreign policy” experience is a bit much.

  9. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    And, regardless of anything else, this (Cindy McCain’s statement or the defense thereof) is pretty much grasping at straws to establish some sort of foreign policy knowledge.

    Plus: some basic geography: the part of Russia that is near Alaska is, to paraphrase a line from Star Trek III, the “hind end of” Russia. It is hardly the same as, say, the border between Washington state and Canada or Texas and Mexico.

    And really–is there anything that she might have encountered in her two years in office that would inform her about the serious issues where Europe meets Russia? I think not.

  10. MSS Says:

    Like I said a bit up the page, this is stuff that is just too good to be true.

    And not to quibble too much, but I don’t think Magadan qualifies as Russia’s “hinterland.” More like fringe or periphery. I mean, Alaska is almost “metropolitan” US, by comparison.

  11. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    More like fringe or periphery. I mean, Alaska is almost “metropolitan” US, by comparison.

    Indeed.

  12. Backgammon Says:

    I truly believe the LEFT will say/do anything to discredit Sarah Palin. On a Daily Kos site, I read 1,924 adults (some parents) say that they would do anything to make Sarah Palin a Liar. They then proceeded over the course of Saturday to list one lie after the other, to justify themsleves. One did admit to being ashamed. This is not politics, it is trailer trash at it’s lowest form. SHAME on Daily Kos. We all need to be more responsible when posting gossip, untruths for shock value, and pure lies.


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