Yesterday I was having a discussion with my aunt, who asked me if I had heard of Sarah Palin making that ridiculous statment about their North Korean “allies”. She was concerned that this would not harm her chances of becoming president in the least, because it fed into the American ignorance culture, in which a large proportion of voters will not think anything less of you if you don’t know much about what goes on outside America. I’m not convinced; these sorts of people don’t care much for most places outside of the USA and think power is more important than knowledge (hence Ronald Reagan saying, in response to Jimmy Carter asking if he knew the name of the president of Iran, “I don’t know his name, but if I win the election, he’s going to know mine”). North Korea has been a well-known enemy of the USA for more than 50 years and American lives were lost defending South Korea within living memory. The gaffe will alienate, I suspect, a very large constituency with connections to the military, and if not everyone who has ever served will be turned off her by it, others in the military will quickly educate them.
There was a feature in the New Statesman this past week by Alice Miles (sadly not online) in which the author watched a programme in which Palin’s claim to be an outdoorsy Alaskan woman is laid bare — perhaps that might have the same effect as Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi being shown as incapable of unjamming his rifle. Miles wrote that, had she not seen the programme, Palin might have worried her. Still, she was a huge asset to Barack Obama in the last election, as some people who would otherwise have voted for McCain did not like the idea of Palin being a heartbeat away from the presidency. They are unlikely to vote for this ridiculous woman after this gaffe.
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