A Slip Of The Tang

Here at the imaginary think-tank the Serious Poo-Poo Institute of Technology, the latest story regarding Prudence Palin somewhat reminds us of yet another presidential gaffe made some 30 years ago:

MAX FRANKEL, New York Times: Mr. President, I’d like to explore a little more deeply our relationship with the Russians… Our allies in France and Italy are now flirting with Communism. We’ve recognized the permanent Communist regime in East Germany. We’ve virtually signed, in Helsinki, an agreement that the Russians have dominance in Eastern Europe…

PRESIDENT FORD: I’m glad you raised it, Mr. Frankel. In the case of Helsinki, 35 nations signed an agreement, including the secretary of state for the Vatican – I can’t under any circumstances believe that the – His Holiness, the Pope would agree by signing that agreement that the thirty-five nations have turned over to the Warsaw Pact nations the domination of the – Eastern Europe. It just isn’t true… There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration.

MR. FRANKEL: I’m sorry, I – could I just follow – did I understand you to say, sir, that the Russians are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence in occupying most of the countries there and making sure with their troops that it’s a Communist zone?

PRESIDENT FORD: I don’t believe, – Mr. Frankel that – the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don’t believe that the Rumanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don’t believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union.

Now, for those readers who lack the historical context to grok this, we should explain that Ford’s statement was not just factually incorrect. It was downright bizarre. Americans had watched the Soviet Union dominate Eastern Europe for a decade—500,000 troops worth in Czechoslovakia in 1968, in fact.

Ford has since explained his statement like this:

There is no question I did not adequately explain what I was thinking. I felt very strongly that regardless of the number of Soviet armored divisions in Poland, the Russians would never dominate the Polish spirit. That’s what I should have said. I simply left out the fact that, at that time in 1976, the Russians had about 10 to 15 divisions in Poland.

At the time, though, this singular response was so utterly bizarre and seemed to reflect such an unfamiliarity with global politics on the incumbent’s part that it deflated Ford’s surge in the polls, and Jimmy Carter was elected the 39th President of the United States.

Prudence Palin characterizes her statement that said that we’ve “gotta stand by our North Korean allies” as a slip of the tongue, and, of course, she blames the media. I’m not buying it, of course.

I’m not buying it because it’s already well-documented that A) Prudence Palin is, generally, an ignoramus. B) That, during the 2008 campaign, she had to be taught simple facts regarding history. And that, C) One of the facts she had trouble keeping straight was regarding North and South Korea.

I’m not being an elitist snob here folks. Knowing the difference between the Koreas and which one is the godless commie one that starves its own people so they can have an army and which one we still invest 28,500 troops defending, to me, that’s the price of admission, not just for being the Preznit, but for being a decent American. When “our North Korean allies” rolls off of your tongue, you admit that this bit of data about the world has not yet been imprinted into your brain DNA like your times tables and your Grandma’s home phone number. Once again, for the umpteenth time, Prudence Palin has copped to being a drooling idiot.

And yet, and yet, she may still very well become President of the United States.

Holy cow has this country gone to crap.

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