- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gibson’s gaffe

“There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration - and the one Charlie Gibson [in his interview of Sarah Palin] cited is not the one in common usage today. …

“I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term. In the cover essay of the June 4, 2001, issue of The Weekly Standard titled, ‘The Bush Doctrine: ABM, Kyoto, and the New American Unilateralism,’ I suggested that the Bush administration policies of unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM treaty and rejecting the Kyoto protocol, together with others, amounted to a radical change in foreign policy that should be called the Bush doctrine.

“Then came 9/11, and that notion was immediately superseded by the advent of the war on terror. In his address to Congress nine days later, Bush declared: ‘Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.’ This ‘with us or against us’ policy regarding terror … became the essence of the Bush doctrine. …

“A year later, when the Iraq War was looming, Bush offered his major justification by enunciating a doctrine of pre-emptive war. This is the one Charlie Gibson thinks is the Bush doctrine.

“It’s not. It’s the third in a series and was superseded by the fourth and current definition of the Bush doctrine, the most sweeping formulation of Bush foreign policy and the one that most distinctively defines it: the idea that the fundamental mission of American foreign policy is to spread democracy throughout the world. …

“Yes, Palin didn’t know what it is. But neither does Gibson. And at least she didn’t pretend to know - while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain, ‘sounding like an impatient teacher,’ as the New York Times noted. In doing so, he captured perfectly the establishment snobbery and intellectual condescension that has characterized the chattering classes’ reaction to the phenom who presumes to play on their stage.”

Charles Krauthammer, writing on “It was Gibson’s Gaffe,” on National Review Online Sept. 13.

Fey’s Palin

“Tina Fey is just a heartbeat away from having to be on Saturday Night Live every week.

“There were a lot of ways you could have gone with the first Palin skit … but I’m glad they went the Hillary route since (1) ‘What must Hillary be thinking right now?’ has been a constant question … since Palin’s nomination, and (2) it gave Amy Poehler one more shot at her character.

“Much like Hillary, Poehler worked hard and doggedly prepared for her moment only to see it surprisingly denied to her. Poehler’s Clinton was an example of how SNL impersonations work when done right; it wasn’t about how much she looked and sounded exactly like her …, but she created a character in her own right. …

“Fey’s Palin was perfectly good enough; at heart, face it, you mainly needed someone who could wear the hair and glasses and say, ‘Hellooo, I’m SEERah PAYlinn!’ …

“The skit itself did a good job of what SNL - which has lately cultivated a strong set of female comics - tried hard to do through Hillary’s campaign, which is try to address sexism without either simply going for the easy stereotypes or letting female candidates off the hook. The script took shots at the typecasting of women candidates while also sending up how these two different women candidates have played into, or off of them, themselves. It had its cankles and ate them too.”

James Poniewozik, writing on “Fey’s Palin? Not Failin’,” on Time.com Sept. 14.

Most generous

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey has been named the most generous celebrity for the second year running, according to a charity’s annual list.

The Giving Back Fund, a group that encourages philanthropy, said the star’s charities spent $50.2 million in 2007 on health care and education, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported Sept. 14.

Second was trumpeter and A&M records co-founder Herb Alpert, who donated $13 million to education, followed by singer Barbra Streisand (with $11 million).

Paul Newman was fourth, giving $10 million to the Scholarship Kenyon College, and Mel Gibson rounded off the top five, donating $9.9 million to the Holy Family Church in Malibu, Calif.

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