Palin: Surge? What Surge?
Among the tiny number of occasions on which Sarah Palin has expressed even an opinion on foreign policy, one of the most recent bears putting out there one more time. It's from a critical moment in the war in Iraq, December 2006, which John McCain has made the centerpiece of his campaign. In fact, his support for a double-down strategy in Iraq in the winter of 2006 and early 2007 is one central argument he has made for his candidacy. He has now chosen as the person who would replace him instantly if, at any time bgetween the ages of 72 and 76, he might be incapacitated or die, a person whose view of the situation was as follows:
Alaska Business Monthly: We've lost a lot of Alaska's military members to the war in Iraq. How do you feel about sending more troops into battle, as President Bush is suggesting?
Palin: I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe. Every life lost is such a tragedy. I am very, very proud of the troops we have in Alaska, those fighting overseas for our freedoms, and the families here who are making so many sacrifices.
As far as I can tell, her response to this central issue of national security was three-fold: I don't know enough to have an opinion apart from what I hear on the news, I agree with the Democratic party's focus on the welfare and safety of the troops, I'm a loyal Republican and patriot, and
I want to know that we have an exit plan in place.
Wasn't the whole point of the surge to kill off any notions in Iraq that we were going to withdraw and to ramp up counter-insurgency and troop levels indefinitely until the place was secure, and democratic?
The whole point was that there was no exit plan for 2007 or beyond, and McCain opposed such an exit plan. The point, according to McCain, was "victory." So McCain has picked a woman who, in so far as she had any views at all, actually echoed Democratic party talking points, not McCain's.
Do you think he even asked her about foreign policy? Me neither. This pick has told us very little about Sarah Palin, except that she seems like a promising young governor focused almost entirely - and understandably - on the demands of her idiosyncratic state. But it has told us a huge amount about McCain.
As in: way too risky for the White House right now.