And another thing: more on Palin
Read John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s book Game Change (2010, Harper Collins) from page 369 to 371. It gives a hilariously chilling account of Palin being briefed on foreign policy. It begins when Steve Schmidt (McCain’s chief counsellor) warned the briefers “You guys have a lot of work to do – she doesn’t know anything.”
The briefers – hard not to pity them – sat the student down and gave her a potted history of foreign policy, starting with the Spanish Civil War, the two World Wars and ending with the so-called “three wars of today” (Iraq, Afghanistan and the global war on terror).
The eager pupil insisted that all material be put on five-by-seven index cards. All material. The names of world leaders were all on separate cards. Also, in a throwback to the late unlamented W. one of those cards had phonetic pronunciation instructions for the word “nuclear.” Eventually she had towers of cards to memorise, leading to a running joke among her staff “don’t get between Sarah and her cards!”
Terrifying ignorance? Maybe. But at least she was eager to learn. When her (probably exhausted) briefers wanted to take a break she said “No, no, no, no let’s keep going – this is awesome.”