Rocket to Russia

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Marc Ambinder provides the transcript of Sarah Palin's foreign policy chat with Katie Couric.

COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land– boundary that we have with– Canada. It– it's funny that a comment like that was– kind of made to– cari– I don't know, you know? Reporters–

COURIC: Mock?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that's the word, yeah.

Hrm. It wasn't just one comment. That talking point escaped the lips of Cindy McCain, Lindsay "John, do you need a back rub?" Graham, and countless spinners.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our– our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia–

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We– we do– it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is– from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to– to our state.

Slate did a fun "explainer" on whether you can see Russia from Alaska. You can! But not much of it. And is Palin claiming some role or knowledge in sending satellites ("eyes") over Moscow? I don't know anymore.

NEXT: Two Parties Good, or, McObama Makes Texas Ballot in a Non-Squeaker

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  1. She’s acting like a liberal parody of a Republican.

  2. “And is Palin claiming some role or knowledge in sending satellites (“eyes”) over Moscow?”

    I believe she is. But, she also seems to be claiming that these satellites are in response to Russian incursions into US air space thru Alaska, possibly by Putin himself. Maybe he’s got a jetpack or something. I don’t know what other conclusion to come to based on her statement:

    “We– we do– it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border”

  3. Let me check the liquor cabinet to see if i have enough to remain shitfaced until 5 Nov.

    Nope, I’m off to the store. McCain is gonna get beat like a redheaded stepchild.

  4. Y’know, I’d be more impressed* if she just told the truth and also said they’ve got a battalion of advisers for stuff like that. But instead, we’ve got this idea in America that our leaders must be omnipotent, flawless hero(in)es.

    *but not impressed enough to vote for her (or… anyone)

  5. I was waiting for her to explain that some US Americans don’t have maps….

  6. What the fuck? Is this serious? Was I redirected to the Onion?

  7. Hey, there’s a “Find your Russian beauty today!” ad right next to this box I’m typing in!

    (Mmmmmm…box.)

    Doo-doo, doo-doo….

  8. J sub D – you mean enough to last until Nov 5th 2012, right?

  9. J Sub D: You have a lot of faith that the American public can discern stupid people and then decide to not vote for them. That two-step process might be just too much for some people.

  10. What the fuck? Is this serious? Was I redirected to the Onion?

    You woke up! We’re all glad you made it. There’s something we’ve got to tell you about how long you’ve been asleep. The year is 2008, and things are a little different now…

  11. It is so very obvious that what she should have said is:

    “It is an exaggeration to say that being the governor of Alaska gives me deep foreign policy experience, but I am certain I have at least as much as most who have run for this office and even for the Presidency itself.”

    And then she can name any of a hundred other pols, former VP candidates, and others.

    She should admit that she does not have it but that she is not running for secretary of state… Trying to cover and make it seem like she has experience makes her look dishonest and downright stoopid.

  12. Bingo,

    That’s quite optimistic of you to think the drinking will cease after the next election.

  13. You have a lot of faith that the American public can discern stupid people and then decide to not vote for them.

    Uh, what was the middle part, again?

  14. I’m kind of over Sarah. I’m going back to fantasizing about Drew Barrymore. I hear she’s available these days.

  15. I, Kahn O’Clast,

    The last few VPs had way more foreign policy experience than her; Cheney, Gore, Bush, Mondale, Rockefeller and even Quayle. Agnew is the last VP that had pretty much no foreign policy experience.

    Granted, a lot of these guys were VPs for guys (Clinton, Reagan, W, Carter) that had no prior foreign policy experience.

  16. THere’s the whole experience issue and then there’s the whole intelligence issue. SHe can’t seem to coherently answer questions. She hears and retains talking points – painfully obvious – but cannot form sentences to play them back effectively.

    Trainwreck. She’d be a very dangerous VP.

  17. J Sub D: You have a lot of faith that the American public can discern stupid people and then decide to not vote for them.

    Well, we’ve had a lot of practice over the past 8 years. Complete with aversion therapy.

  18. Joe Biden has a lot of foreign policy experience, and he thinks Hillary–who has none–would have been a better VP pick.

  19. It’s all good.

    On the off chance that the 72-year-old man who’s had three outbreaks of cancer and a years-long period of malnutrition doesn’t live four years, they can just, like, swear her in and stuff. You know?

  20. Is it just me, or is she channeling Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap here?:

    PALIN: it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is– from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to– to our state.

  21. In 2000, Bush claimed that Texas’ proximity to Mexico gave him some foriegn policy cred. But there was a better case for that because the border with Mexico is well populated, Texas authorities routinely deal with Mexican citizens. Notably, Texas’ prosecution (and sometimes execution) of Mexican nationals created situations where state authorities occasionally had to deal with the Mexican government.

    I don’t see any analgous issues on Bering straits.

  22. Yet another example of Reason being in the tank for The One, someone who has just as much FP experience as Palin, but demonstrably far, far worse judgment.

    Is BHO going to be good for the oil business or something?

    Doesn’t Reason have even the slightest qualms about their fellow travelers on the HopeChangeAndAPony Express?

  23. Wow, what a shocker! A post from LoneDipshit wherein he pimps his own website! I never thought I’d see the day…

  24. Abdul,

    Good point. Heck, I would say the mayor of San Diego has a better case about foreign policy experience wrt to Mexico than Palin does wrt Russia. If she had limited her foreign policy experience to Canada, they’d be in the clear. Alaska does pipeline work and energy export deals that work with Canada extensively. But the McCain campaign decided to turn the B.S.ometer to 11 and had to throw Russia in because of recent events.

  25. Yeah, in the tank. She’s clearly well spoken and literate with the issues. Shouldn’t you be on lithium or something?

  26. LoL, more from the well spoken, issues-literate Sarah Palin:

    COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries? … Instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

    PALIN: Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy- Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions.

  27. What was Barack “57 states, New Pennsylvania” Obama’s foreign policy experience again?

    Oh, right, a Syrian national named Tony Rezko helped him buy his house while committing felonies.

    So Sarah Palin is only slightly more qualified than the Democrat Presidential candidate. Horrors!

  28. Jeebus, joe, she does sound like Sean Hannity there, trying to jam as many Party-approved soundbites into a single sentence as she can.

    Thank God the Dem VP is gaffe-free. We need somebody coherent in that position.

  29. Between her and Biden this is getting pretty entertaining.

  30. Misspeaking is one thing.

    That woman doesn’t have any idea what she’s talking about, and is hoping she can make people not notice by the sheer force of her will.

    It takes a heroic level of hackitude to keep up the front at this point. To pretend that Sarah Palin isn’t over-the-top clueless is beyond normal human ability.

    TallDave, it’s your birthday. A friend of yours gives you a calf-skin wallet. What do you do?

  31. Between her and Biden this is getting pretty entertaining.

    You meant pathetic, right?

  32. What was Barack “57 states, New Pennsylvania” Obama’s foreign policy experience again?

    Don’t ever ask questions you don’t know the answer to, TallDave.

    The Lugar-Obama Cooperative Threat Reduction Act.
    Introduced by Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Dick Lugar and Sen. Tom Coburn.

    First introduced in November 2005 and enacted in 2007, this bill expanded upon the successful Nunn-Lugar threat reduction, which helped secure weapons of mass destruction and related infrastructure in former Soviet Union states.

    Lugar-Obama expanded this nonproliferation program to conventional weapons — including shoulder-fired rockets and land mines. When the bill received $48 million in funding, Obama said, “This funding will further strengthen our ability to detect and intercept illegal shipments of weapons and materials of mass destruction, enhancing efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism.”

    Democratic Republic of the Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act

    This law helped specify US policy toward the Congo, and states that the US should work with other donor nations to increase international contributions to the African nation.

    The bill marked the first federal legislation to be enacted with Obama as its primary sponsor. Following this legislation’s passage, Obama toured Africa, traveling to South Africa, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Chad. He spoke forcefully against ethnic rivalries and political corruption in Kenya.

    Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007

    Introduced by Obama, this binding act would stop the planned troop increase of 21,500 in Iraq, and would also begin a phased redeployment of troops from Iraq with the goal of removing all combat forces by March 31, 2008.

    Explaining the bill, Obama said it reflects his view that the problems in Iraq do not have a military solution. “Our troops have performed brilliantly in Iraq, but no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else’s civil war,” Obama said.

    The Comprehensive Nuclear Threat Reduction provision

    Working with Sen. Hagel and Rep. Adam Schiff, Obama authored this provision, which would require the president to develop a comprehensive plan for ensuring that all nuclear weapons and weapons-usable material at vulnerable sites around the world are secure by 2012 from the threats that terrorists have shown they can pose.

    A provision from the Obama-Hagel bill was passed by Congress in December 2007 as an amendment to the State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill.

    Also, he can see Russia from his house!

  33. Foreign policy expert Joe Biden:

    “After seven years, in which our senior diplomatic personnel were not allowed to make a single contact with Iranians, the Bush administration realized the absurdity of its own policy and sent our leading diplomat to Iran,” he said. “The Assistant Secretary of State as he went to Tehran, sat down at the instruction of the President of the United States.” . . .

    Trouble is, the event Biden described never actually happened.

    In point of fact, the one “meeting” that has taken place was in Geneva, Switzerland, when Under Secretary of State William Burns sat in on a discussion between Iranian representatives and the other “P5+1” political directors involved in nuclear talks. The meeting, while a first, was not a negotiation; Burns was there merely as an observer, and had no formal role or talks with the Iranians.So, point by point: Burns was not sent to Tehran; he did not go to Tehran; and there was no such instruction from the President.

    Oh well, at least he didn’t claim it was President Jefferson that sent him. I think he’s improving!

  34. You’re walking through the desert, and you see a tortoise on its back…

    Do you know what a turtle is? Same thing.

  35. And is Palin claiming some role or knowledge in sending satellites (“eyes”) over Moscow?

    To be fair, she’s talking about how Alaska air bases are used to launch aircraft to shadow Russian ones, a la the openning scene in Top Gun.

  36. He spoke forcefully against ethnic rivalries and political corruption in Kenya.

    Yeah, thanks. That really helped me out, here in my Kenyan shack.

    Maybe during that one year Barack spent being a Senator before campaigning, he could have gotten some foreign policy experience that actually accomplished something.

  37. Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007 Introduced by Obama, this binding act would stop the planned troop increase of 21,500 in Iraq, and would also begin a phased redeployment of troops from Iraq with the goal of removing all combat forces by March 31, 2008.

    Hilariously, a bill opposing the surge, easily the most successful foreign policy decision in recent memory, is now being positively cited as “experience.”

    It’s like they want Obama to lose!

  38. Joe Biden may make stuff up and be a piece of shit, but he at least knows enough to make up real sounding, somewhat convincing shit.

  39. Well, no one can argue Obama doesn’t have experience dealing with terrorists!

  40. And is Palin claiming some role or knowledge in sending satellites (“eyes”) over Moscow?

    To be fair to Palin there is a satellite launching facility on Kodiak Island in Alaska.

    http://www.akaerospace.com/klc.html

  41. Well, guy too chickenshit to post a handle, I guess the American people are going to make up their own minds whether opposing the Iraq War and arguing for withdrawal is something they agree or disagree with.

    Frankly, I think you’re better off shouting KENYAN SHACK WILLIAM AYERS SCARY BLACK CHURCH! That’s not going to work, either, but at least by avoiding ideas, you can pretend that your own haven’t been cast in complete disrepute by an overwhelming majority of the public.

    So, anyway, when are we going to see that list of Sarah Palin’s foreign policy accomplishments? Other than living in a state that’s separated from Russia by water, I mean.

  42. TallDave
    Is it every tiring to wake up every day and try to put the best face on anything stupid a conservative GOP official might do? I would think it would wear one out after a while…

    What would be the harm in you just saying “Jesus, I like Palin for various reasons, but these were in fact silly answers.”

  43. No amount of bad interviews will hurt her.
    Plenty of voters will still ‘connect’ with her:
    “She stammers out useless responses in an interview, just like I would”
    Plenty of voters will still WANT TO’connect’ with her:
    “I sure would like to bust a nut up granma’s butt”

  44. “That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, we’re ill about this position that we have been put in. Where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh, it’s got to be about job creation, too. Shoring up our economy, and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade – we have got to see trade as opportunity, not as, uh, competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation.”

    Welcome to Costco, I love you.

  45. I believe the trade missions. Heck, LA’s mayor will go to other countries to drum up trade and to learn best management practices. Still, her foreign policy experience is about as minimal as Bill Clinton’s, Ronald Regan’s, and Jimmy Carter’s were when they went to DC.

  46. jtuf,

    I don’t think that people are harping on her experience on this one, just that some (if not most) of her answers were incomprehensible.

    And yes, I realize that Joe Biden said something dumb, too.

  47. “Joe Biden may make stuff up and be a piece of shit, but he at least knows enough to make up real sounding, somewhat convincing shit.”

    IDK, like, “Hey guys, I’m just brainstormin’ here, but about sending a $200,000,000 check to Iran, you know, just to show we’re nice guys” on 9/12/01.

  48. Mantooth, Palin did trip up a bit when she mentioned the media mocking her, but the gist of her comment seemed reasonable.

    Governors and mayors of major cities do send trade missions to major trading partners, set up cultural exchanges with sister cities, and arrange for consulates. I’m sure Palin’s foreign policy experience is much smaller than say, John Bolton’s, but it’s more than I have and it’s on par with what previous presidents had.

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