Sarah Palin Falls Back on Some Very Old Tactics

Her tea party speech revived the ancient practice of attacking people who actually know something.

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Of all the striking utterances that Sarah Palin delivered during her speech to the National Tea Party Convention on Sunday, none is more worthy of analysis than her claim that, as our president, “We need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern.”

The charge is puzzling on several levels—but crystal clear on another.

Puzzling, because it makes no sense to criticize the Obama administration for arresting accused Christmas bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and prosecuting him in civilian courts for allegedly trying to blow up a passenger jet as it descended into Detroit.

That is exactly how the Bush administration handled the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, now doing time in a federal prison—and no one, least of all Palin, has ever accused Bush of being soft on terrorists.

Moreover, Palin’s sneering hint that Obama is going easy on the nation’s foes is belied by the facts. He has relentlessly escalated the war against al-Qaida, the Taliban and their allies, sending tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan and using CIA-controlled Predator drone aircraft to kill terrorist leaders in Pakistan.