I didn’t watch Obama’s speech on Libya but I did catch the last bit of Greta Van Susteren’s interview with Sarah Palin about the speech after it was done. I was struck by several things. First, Van Susteren actually invoked that silly “you’re not supposed to criticize the president during war” notion while giving Palin a platform to criticize the president.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, in times of war, we’re supposed to drop politics and nothing — and neither side is supposed to make any decision, take any shots politically. Tonight, the Speaker of the House, Boehner, made a statement saying Americans — in response to the speech — Americans still have no answer to the fundamental question what does success in Libya look like?
That’s just bizarre. She says you’re not supposed to make political statements while we’re at war, then moves right on to such a statement. Now, that notion that you’re not supposed to criticize the president during wartime is not only idiotic, it’s incredibly dangerous. Never should we be more critical of a president than when he is ordering military action. But why invoke it when your entire show is dedicated to the opposite premise? Totally baffling.
PALIN: Yes. And those are very legitimate questions on both sides of the aisle. And you know, another big question that has to be asked, Greta, is, Are we at war? I haven’t heard the president say that we are at war. And that’s why I, too, am not knowing, do we use the term “intervention,” do we use “war,” do we use “squirmish,” what is it?
Yes, she actually said “squirmish.” Whatever that means.
And then there’s this absolutely bizarre exchange at the end:
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, in reviewing his speech, what he said tonight, and rereading it several times, I mean, he — there were a lot of nuances. And I thought to myself, if in times of war that you have to explain it in nuances, it really does mean that you really don’t have a clear sense of why we’re there, what we’re doing, what our objective is, is when you have to sort of go, Well, it’s a little bit this and a bit little that. I think that’s what I found disconcerting.
PALIN: That’s disconcerting. But I had a little bit of hope during his speech when he mentioned the North Star. I mention the North Star so often. The North Star is part of the Alaska flag. We’re — we up here are able to use as our GPS, as kind of our plumb line, the great North Star with its abiding light over land and sea, a beacon bright. We look at the North Star, and it helps us, I believe — it helps me — stay focused on what really matters.
So when the president mentioned the North Star tonight, I thought, Hey, maybe he gets it. Maybe he understands what the U.S. interests are, how committed we need to be to winning in this intervention, in this war. And yet, even from there, the reference to the North Star, he kind of wandered off again and allowed more of the inconsistencies and the questions and the kind of the dubious rationale being used, more of that just was being revealed.
So Greta wants nothing but simplistic, cartoonish bluster rather than thoughtful analysis. And Palin starts reciting bad poetry about the North Star for no apparent reason. This isn’t fair and balanced, it’s just plain moronic.