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Sarah Palin: One of Us


"Many in the national media would rather focus on the personality-driven political gossip of the day than on the gravity of these challenges," writes Sarah Palin in The Washington Post, one of the country's few nationally oriented media outlets. "So, at risk of disappointing the chattering class, let me make clear what is foremost on my mind and where my focus will be: I am deeply concerned about President Obama's cap-and-trade energy plan, and I believe it is an enormous threat to our economy."

It's probably a bit kind to say that Sarah Palin "wrote" this. There are no words in all capital letters. There are no sports metaphors. There is nothing at all like "*((Gotta put First Things First))*." The stylistic and grammatical tics on display in last week's speech are totally absent. Sarah Palin signed her name to this. Or at least let someone else do so.

But that's not all that's missing. The term "global warming" is absent. So is "climate change." It's a bit like an op-ed that attacks firefighters for pointing pressurized water cannons at everything but never mentions fires, or a column that condemns surgeons for sticking sharp things into people but never mentions illness.

You could no more argue with this op-ed than you could drive a car made out of candy. Though it looks like one thing, it's actually another. And that other is a declaration of political intent: Palin is going to spend the next couple of years trying to act as leader of the opposition. She'll start with what she knows: Drill, baby, drill. And she'll start where she knows. In the media.

A week ago, Eugene Robinson ended a column by saying, "Sarah Palin is by nature more of a firebrand opinion-maker than anything else. I know one when I see one. She can deny it all she wants, but really she's -- gulp -- one of us." He had no idea how right he was. That column came out on July 7. Today is July 14, and he and Sarah Palin are across from each other on the op-ed page.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 14, 2009; 11:04 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Next: Chris Hayes Should Have His Own Television Show


Pretty much my thoughts exactly.

Nice, I suppose, that the Post gets the buzz that her piece will generate; but it really is too bad it accepted this.

Posted by: Castorp1 | July 14, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

To be fair, while there are no words in all caps, there is a fun exclamation point in paragraph 5, so you never know...

Posted by: economistsdoitwithmodels | July 14, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

"Palin is going to spend the next couple of years trying to act as leader of the opposition."

Palin will spend the next couple of years raising millions of dollars for the GOP from her base. There is no one in GOP, at this time, who can tap her base for donations.

The MSM will have no choice but to treat her as the leader of the GOP because no one else will step forward while she is raising money for them.She will campaign and raise money from her base for whoever is the GOP presidential candidate.

The danger for the GOP is its current state of lacking any leaders. If Palin is treated as the leader of the GOP for the next two years it will become harder for anyone else to step forward and claim leadership of Palin's base.

The GOP cannot win with just corporate and neo-con republicans, loosing Palin's base would be a huge blow to the GOP.

Posted by: knjincvc | July 14, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse


Note also the use of the verb "to progress." It is a verbal tic of hers. But I have also heard her spokesperson say it too. And I'm sure if she has good staff they notice stuff like that and try to incorporate it.

Posted by: Castorp1 | July 14, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to take a paper seriously that prints tripe like this.

What is Fred Hiatt thinking when he allows stuff like this on his op-ed page? That the WaPo is doomed anyway, so there's no point in rebuilding its journalistic credibility at this late date? That the most important thing the Post can do in its remaining lifespan is to confuse as many important issues as possible, to prevent the body politic from dealing with them in a sensible way?

I've dropped my 7-day-a-week Post subscription, and am now down to Sunday-only, so I can get the advertising supplements. This after being a daily reader of the WaPo since my childhood in the 1960s. Just sayin'.

Posted by: rt42 | July 14, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"One of Us" is evocative.... of the movie Freaks.

Posted by: boutros23 | July 14, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, I suspect that Barack Obama didn't personally write the op-ed that the Post recently published under his name, either. This sort of attack just makes you look juvenile.

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 14, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

tomtildrum: The pithy reply is that Barak Obama is the President of the United States and Sarah Palin is running out a month as Governor of Alaska, a position where she basically said she's got nothing left to do.

Really though, I'm not sure we can say for sure whether Sarah Palin or Obama wrote much, if any, of their pieces. I wouldn't normally expect the President to write an opinion piece, but I can see Obama deciding to stretch his writing chops or at least participating heavily. On the other hand, I would expect a politician bucking for a more national spotlight to be at least heavily involved in writing an op-ed, but I don't see Palin's mannerisms and generally would believe that she left it to subordinates.

Either way, we just don't know, so I think Ezra jumped on her a bit too hard. Ultimately though, I think the post is right. This isn't about cap and trade as much as it is about Sarah Palin telegraphing her goal for the next few years: raise money for the party, stay in the press, and keep her finger on the pulse of the conservative base so she's irreplacable to the party.

Posted by: MosBen | July 14, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"The writer, a Republican, is governor of Alaska."

The "writer", a Republican, is borderline illiterate

Posted by: erh1103 | July 14, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

You can tell Sarah didn't write this one because it lacks the serious vapidity and lack of coherence demonstrated by her laughable Twitter posts...

Posted by: likeahurricane | July 14, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

She knows more about energy than anyone else in the Country, of course she wrote this op/ed.

Posted by: flounder2 | July 14, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

It's hilarious to see Ezra Klein trying to criticize someone for not discussing all the factors involved in an issue, considering that he's consistently promoted immigration "reform" without even a glance at his opponents' many arguments against it.

This post, however, will earn him brownie points among the WaPo editors, since it continues a habit the WaPo has of smearing her:

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | July 14, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"Sarah Palin signed her name to this. Or at least let someone else do so."


I'm someone who pays obsessive attention to matters linguistic and syntactic--mostly because I abhor plagiarism and other situations in which the lazy and incompetent take credit for the writing talents of others--and I am *dead certain* that Governor Palin did not write that Op-Ed by herself. So certain, in fact, I would bet what's left of my 401K on it.

This newspaper ought to do what the publishers of celebrity tell-all books do: compose the byline so it reads thus:

"By Sarah Palin, with Will Inghack."

Posted by: litbrit | July 14, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Palin is worth ridiculing but cap and trade is a highly questionable is not the gold standard of action on global warming. It is a political work around of a carbon tax. In order of effectiveness here are your instruments:

1) direct regulation of polluters (coal moratoria, etc.)
2) Ascending carbon tax
3) Incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency
4) cap and trade with 100% auction with price floors and ceilings.

By favoring (a weak version of) Cap and trade, Democrats are opening themselves up to criticism, even though the current Republicans doing the criticism are laughable.

Posted by: michaelterra | July 14, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow is Ezra a sharp, insightful, concise, and pithy writer. In 265 words he eviscerates Palin, Palin's op-ed, Palin's fans and supporters (indirectly,) and the powers-that-be at WaPo. 265 words!

I'm new around here. It it always like this? You know...


Posted by: drewconk | July 14, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"I'm new around here. It it always like this?"

Yup. Ezra is pretty awesome. You should stick around.

Posted by: Castorp1 | July 14, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Seriosly, though, did you guys also see his 248-word disembowelment of Bill Kristol?

Please name for me someone else in the blogosphere this on right now.

Posted by: drewconk | July 14, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

She'l raise money, all right, but she's no kind of team player.

One of her underappreciated broadsides on the GOP is that she'll help out members of either party that share her values. I think she meant any, not either.

Since her main value is Sarah Palin, I think we'll be hearing about her being uninvited to fundraisers she thinks are for her.

Posted by: bluespapa | July 14, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

The talking points must have come out early today, every lib pundit uses the line about the words global warming missing from the piece. Next come the personal attacks evenly divided between"she isn't smart enough to write this" and she must have wrote it because it's fourth grade material. I wonder how many of the compassionate left have made the oh so witty commented about Trig having written it. BAH the sheople train moves on.

Posted by: Chyng | July 14, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse


The reason everyone mentions that she did not say climate change is because she didn't and in talking about cap-and-trade you do need to at least address it. You can say you don't agree with the science like most right-wing pundits do, or that climate change is bad but our resources would be better spent elsewhere like Bjorn Lomborg does, or that we just don't know and it is too risky, but you can't ignore it.

Posted by: Castorp1 | July 14, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Chyng: "[...] and she must have wrote it"

First things first: it is *written*, not wrote.

Second, and most importantly, the attacks on the substance of the Op-ed are well-founded. That certain members of the right are addicted to talking points does not mean the rest of the nation is similarly afflicted. Palin--or her ghostwriter--keeps saying "energy" as though fossil fuels are the only kind of energy available. Thus, anyone who does not support the drilling for and exploitation of fossil fuels, environment and carbon-heavy emissions be damned, is automatically against *energy* itself. And against jobs, affordable transportation...hell, against what it is to be a Real American!

I'd say it was a clever conflation if it weren't such a damned tired and worn-out argument at this point. If Palin had used the word OIL--which is what this is all about, really--she'd at least garner a few points for being honest.

Oh, right. Sorry.

Posted by: litbrit | July 15, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

"The talking points must have come out early today..."

Google "Journolist".

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 15, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

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