principles or strategies

just wanted to share something that's been bugging me since watching the VP debate last week.

basically, it's clear that palin was given semantic work-arounds for question dodging.. parsing words and slicing distinctions so fine that, as kramer would say, "you can't see them."

and below is one instance from last week where palin dodged a question about the approach to success in the middle east. she replaces the word "strategy" with "principle."

Palin in relation to afghanistan:

The surge principles, not the exact strategy, but the surge principles that have worked in Iraq need to be implemented in Afghanistan, also.

now, i'm not the smartest guy in the room. but for starters, i would've loved to have seen biden ask her to distinguish those two things. but frankly, even if i was asked, i'm not sure i could.
in fact, i think the difference between these two words in the context of their use is so minor that the distinction is meaningless. which is to say, she just used semantics to give a non-answer. and in some ways, it worked. she got herself off the hook.

this isn't admirable or desirable in a candidate. we don't want someone who will wriggle through the cracks to get out of a tough situation. we need someone who will face challenges head-on with resolve. palin seems to have fallen short here... with coaching help from her party's strategists.

surprise surprise.

but what gets me even more is that, having given palin this tactic, the mccain camp fails to maintain continuity when it comes to the presidential candidate himself. he quickly and immediately dives into "stategic" rhetoric with no mention of "principles" anywhere in sight.

McCain in relation to afghanistan, iraq, pakistan, waziristan:

Now, General Petraeus had a strategy, the same strategy -- very, very different, because of the conditions and the situation -- but the same fundamental strategy that succeeded in Iraq. And that is to get the support of the people.

the sad fact for me is that this linguistic slight of hand can actually work.

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