A even we conservatives are amazed that Sarah Palin really is a vice presidential candidate and that in an instant she could become president. Her interview last week with Katie Couric was particularly embarrassing because she seemed so incapable of answering simple foreign-policy questions, or even speaking intelligibly. But buried within the interview was an even more concerning answer from Palin, one in which Jeffrey Goldberg argues that she, possibly out of ignorance, endorsed Hamas.
I’ve watched Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric three times, and my astonishment does not diminish. Her nonsensical answer about Russia has deservedly been highlighted, but let me focus on another question, this one concerning the export of democracy. Couric asked, “What happens if the goal of democracy doesn’t produce the desired outcome? In Gaza, the U.S. pushed hard for elections and Hamas won.”
Palin’s answer, in full, was this: “Yeah, well especially in that region, though, we have to protect those who do seek democracy and support those who seek protections for the people who live there. What we’re seeing in the last couple of days here in New York is a President of Iran, Ahmadinejad, who would come on our soil and express such disdain for one of our closest allies and friends, Israel ... and we’re hearing the evil that he speaks and if hearing him doesn’t allow Americans to commit more solidly to protecting the friends and allies that we need, especially there in the Mideast, then nothing will.”
The issue here is not that Palin didn’t know the answer. There are many possible answers to this question, some of which are right and some of which are wrong. The issue here is that she didn’t know the question. Because she was apparently ignorant of the subject, she endorsed Hamas’ victory, and, in essence, called for the U.S. to “protect” Islamists who seek to use democratic elections to lever themselves into power. And, of course, Ahmadinejad came to power in a more-or-less democratic election.
It’s difficult to know what Palin actually meant to say, and I can only assume that if shown Goldberg’s argument, she would counter that Hamas is a terrorist organization and the United States does not recognize terrorist organizations. (Though that may take some coaching.) Regardless, the vice presidential debate Thursday should be very interesting.