Osmosis

Osmosis

Every so often, I run across an argument so manifestly absurd that I think: wow, this isn’t just spin and deception, this is performance art. Today I found just such an argument, made by Frank Gaffney:

“Speaking of geography, Alaskan territory is also along the trajectory of ballistic missiles launched eastward out of Stalinist North Korea. For that reason, among others, Alaska’s Fort Greely was selected as the site for the principal U.S. ground-based defense against such missiles. As that state’s governor, Sarah Palin would know more by osmosis — if nothing else — about the necessity for U.S. anti-missile systems than either Messrs. Obama or Biden.”

Sarah Palin learned foreign policy by osmosis? Really? I always relied on catalysis, myself: I just drop some zeolytes into my brain, and lo! instant expertise. I had no idea it was possible to do it by osmosis, though on reflection that would explain the large number of grizzly bears who are up to speed on Sino-Soviet relations.

Osmosis is an even lamer argument than the claim that Palin learned foreign policy by commanding the Alaskan national guard. As it happens, that’s also false (h/t):

“Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, considers Palin “extremely responsive and smart” and says she is in charge when it comes to in-state services, such as emergencies and natural disasters where the National Guard is the first responder.

But, in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, he said he and Palin play no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard. The entire operation is under federal control, and the governor is not briefed on situations.”

Still, even though she has visited two foreign countries, and refueled in a third, as she said, “I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq.” That makes it all the more fortunate that she can learn foreign policy by osmosis. All the McCain campaign really has to do is send her up in a zeppelin and let it meander lazily around the globe, allowing her to absorb the ambient expertise.