It seems that Sarah Palin is having a bit of a problem with geography — again. A glaring gaffe made on Glenn Beck’s radio show Wednesday has caught fire and is burning up the blogosphere, perhaps doing no small damage to Sarah Palin’s political ambitions of being president but doing far more to her credibility as a serious contender for the Republican nomination for a presidential bid in 2012. The gaffe may have been just another “doh!” moment, had it not been for the fact that Palin made the mistake of referring to North Korea as an “ally” of the United States.
Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck were discussing the recent bombing of a South Korean island by North Korea, an act of aggression that left at least four people dead and the region more tense than usual. South Korea, which has been allied to the United States since 1953, when a cease-fire established a demilitarized zone along the 38th parallel and effectively ended the Korean Conflict, has made rumblings of retaliation but has yet to act, cautioned by the U.S. and other nations that an escalation of hostilities might lead to an all-out, mutually destructive war with its northern counterpart.
Given its historical prominence and the fact that North Korea’s aggression had been headlining the world’s news for a day, Palin’s gaffe was made even more pronounced. When taken in context with the fact that Beck was asking what she would do as president, generously adding that polls have indicated that she could “probably win” the Republican nomination, her answer is even more striking.
“We’re not having a lot of faith that the White House is going to come out with a strong enough policy to sanction what it is that North Korea is going to do,” Palin told Beck.
The United States rarely — if ever — sanctions anything North Korea does. However, given its history of militarism, its push toward acquiring nuclear weapons, the open bellicosity toward South Korea and the U. S., and continued perceived human rights violations, the United States has often issued sanctions against the peninsular nation.
Still, the sanctions remark would have amounted to little or nothing, a mere slip of the tongue, a misapplication of a term to a location, had it not been for Sarah Palin’s comment made just seconds later. “Obviously,” she warbled, “we gotta stand with our North Korean allies.”
Even Beck, master of the outrageous and sufferer of Nazi Tourette’s, didn’t let the gaffe slip by. He corrected, “South Korea,” to which Palin delivered a quick, “Yeah.”
Apparently realizing her mistake, Palin added that the U.S. and South Korea were allies by treaty. ” And we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes.”
The gaffe will stand as just another example of Palin’s perceived ill grasp of important matters and even poorer grasp of geography. Although she was famously lampooned for her comment about seeing Russia from her house — Saturday Night Live‘s Tina Fey altered it to “see Russia from my house” — the comment was not a gaffe, nor was she technically incorrect. But the mocking comments and jokes made about her folksy geographic remark presented the then-governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate as somewhat of a ditzy rube.
After the election, her running mate’s aides and staffers told reporters that she had a “lack of knowledgeability” and was averse to “preparedness.” One example given was that Palin had not known that Africa was a continent. A second had to do with aides having to supply her with the countries involved in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The North Korea “ally” gaffe will not help her reputation for “knowledgeability”…
“Sarah Palin – We’ve Got To Stand With Our North Korean Allies,” Glenn Beck Show audio excerpt, YouTube.com