Proximity to Russia is irrelevant

PROXIMITY TO RUSSIA IS IRRELEVANT…. On Friday, my friend Kevin Drum came up with a clever little way to preemptively mock Republicans’ claims about Sarah Palin’s foreign policy experience. “Isn’t Alaska a central front in the new Cold War? That’s foreign policy experience right there!” Kevin joked.

If only the Republican establishment wasn’t serious about this. For example, Fox News’ Steve Doocy, with a straight face, insisted, “[T]he other thing about her, she does know about international relations because she is right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia.” (This led Jon Stewart to call Doocy a “moron.”)

This morning, Cindy McCain made the exact same argument, telling George Stephanopoulos, in response to a question about national security experience, “[R]emember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. It’s not as if she doesn’t understand what’s at stake here.”

Has Palin ever been to Russia? No. Has she ever demonstrated any expertise on U.S. policy towards Russia? No. Does she have any background in international relations at any level? No.

But for Republicans, the fact that she’s lived near Russia is somehow a qualification for national office.

The mind reels.