Sunday, February 07, 2010

Palin And Her Palm

Toward the end, the President said:

Jeb, with all due respect, I've just got to take this last question as an example of how it's very hard to have the kind of bipartisan work that we're going to do, because the whole question was structured as a talking point for running a campaign.

Now, look, let's talk about the budget once again, because I'll go through it with you line by line. The fact of the matter is, is that when we came into office, the deficit was $1.3 trillion. -- $1.3 [trillion.] So when you say that suddenly I've got a monthly budget that is higher than the -- a monthly deficit that's higher than the annual deficit left by the Republicans, that's factually just not true, and you know it's not true.

And what is true is that we came in already with a $1.3 trillion deficit before I had passed any law. What is true is we came in with $8 trillion worth of debt over the next decade -- had nothing to do with anything that we had done. It had to do with the fact that in 2000 when there was a budget surplus of $200 billion, you had a Republican administration and a Republican Congress, and we had two tax cuts that weren't paid for.

You had a prescription drug plan -- the biggest entitlement plan, by the way, in several decades -- that was passed without it being paid for. You had two wars that were done through supplementals. And then you had $3 trillion projected because of the lost revenue of this recession. That's $8 trillion.

And so it went, this having been the lion's share of the response to the question about the federal budget posed by Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas at the Q&A session on January 29. The answer was given by a "charismatic guy with a teleprompter," as a former Alaska governor, whom 53% of Republicans believe is more qualified than he to be President of the United States, refers to him.

No reason to belabor, 11 days later, the slaughter by the President of the not-so-innocent GOP legislators at their retreat in Maryland. A slaughter without teleprompter, handwritten notes, or even notes written on hand, which contrasts nicely with the question-and-answer session Sarah Palin was afforded following her speech at the tea party.

We since have learned it was "ENERGY," "TAX CUTS," and "LIFT AMERICAN SPIRITS" written on her left hand. Not details about the budget, health care, of job creation strategies. Talking points. She had TALKING POINTS written on her left hand.

Why that would be is a matter of conjecture. Stefan Sirucek at The Huffington Post argues, reasonably, "The takeaway is that this presidential contender apparently can't remember her supposed core principles and needs a cheat-sheet when simply asked about her beliefs." Doug Molitor calls her an "imbecile"- but this is harsh and inaccurate, given that Palin has become one of the two leading candidates for her party's presidential nomination while being shallow and uninformed, hardly a trivial accomplishment. However, the characterization does give me an excuse to post Molitor's video (below), complete with his own ideas for what Palin could have written on her palm.

Or it may be this: Sarah Palin doesn't know what she believes. Howard Fineman, citing Palin's (inspirational, vacuous) speech in Nashville, is on Countdown tonight saying of her "it's not about ideas; it's all attitude." That could be why the ex-governor, implying support for a declaration of war against Iran, cited the position of anti-war Pat Buchanan, confusing him with the pro-war Daniel Pipes. Or why Mrs. Palin, who is associated with no policy more than anti-abortion rights, could agree to speak at a fund-raiser for a Canadian hospital, notwithstanding its practice of end-of-life counseling ("death panels") and of performing abortions.

With Sarah Palin, it's all about the music, not the lyrics; substance optional.

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