Sarah Palin, who is "usually not one to Told-Ya-So," is on social media this afternoon to remind the world that she predicted that Obama would let Russia invade the Ukraine. About that:
- She sort of predicted what's happening now.
- She is usually one to Told-Ya-So.
At Facebook, Palin makes her case.
Yes, I could see this one from Alaska. I'm usually not one to Told-Ya-So, but I did, despite my accurate prediction being derided as “an extremely far-fetched scenario” by the “high-brow” Foreign Policy magazine. Here’s what this “stupid” “insipid woman” predicted back in 2008: "After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next."
Then she links to two posts which are basically the same, including one at Breitbart that's getting a lot of attention. That site's Tony Lee also dismisses then-Foreign Policy writer Blake Hounshell's critique of Palin's claims as a "far-fetched scenario."
In fact, Palin makes four claims about crises that would result from the election of Barack Obama (which was about two weeks away from the moment that Palin was speaking).
- That Obama will sit down with the world's worst dictators without conditions, and meet with Iranians.
- Invading the sovereign territory of Pakistan.
- Opposed the surge in Iraq, and wants to pull troops out which would just mean that troops would have to go back in.
- That Putin might invade Ukraine after Georgia, as above.
So some of these things did happen! Administration officials sat down with Iran and worked out a temporary agreement to curb the refinement of uranium. The United States violated Pakistan's sovereign territory without its knowledge — to kill Osama bin Laden. And he is drawing down troops in Iraq. Whether or not you think that all of these things resulted in "crises," in Palin's evocative terminology, is up to you.
But it doesn't really seem like she deserves credit for the Ukraine thing. For one thing, calling what's happening at the moment an "invasion" is overly strong, though Ukraine is certainly alarmed at the seizure of an airport in the Crimea region. (The BBC has a good explainer of what's happening.) It is certainly not comparable to the 2008 situation in Georgia — so far — though Palin's 2008 running mate Sen. John McCain used the same language in an interview with Time that he used then: "We are all Ukrainians."
It's also been six years, during which Putin left and then reassumed the position of president and during which tensions in Ukraine also evolved and changed. As Hounshell pointed out in 2008, Russia didn't need to invade because it controlled the government in Kiev. Once that destabilized (dramatically), the situation changed, as did the urgency for Putin. Palin argued that Putin would consider Obama weak and invade as he did in Georgia (underrrr George W. Bush). If he hasn't and doesn't, what does that say about Palin's prediction?
Palin's gotten a lot of mileage out of her 2008 predictions, cherry-picking ones that sound right or close to right in the intervening years as evidence of her foresight. In August, I looked at several such cherries, including a prediction about Fannie and Freddie (Told-Ya-So!), Jeremiah Wright (Told-Ya-So!), and death panels (Told-Ya-So!). She wasn't "right" about those either.
But tell it to the commenters at Breitbart.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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