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Posted at 8:14 AM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Right-wing bloggers defend Sarah Palin's fake history

By Stephen Stromberg

According to the right-wing blogosphere, Sarah Palin knows more about history than I do.

Last week, I wrote that Palin got some history wrong when she claimed that the Soviets incurred crippling debt in their effort to launch Sputnik. Palin seemed to want to suggest a lesson to apply to the U.S. debt debate. But as I wrote, her narrative doesn't have much to do with what actually happened.

It's not so easy to relate the 1957 Soviet economy to the 2011 U.S. economy, because the models are vastly different. There was nothing but government in the Soviet Union; if the Soviets wanted to build a space program, they didn't have to go into debt to do it -- they simply forced the country to divert its resources into the effort, even if that meant fewer consumer goods for ordinary folks. That the U.S. government would have to debt-finance a major domestic initiative -- instead of simply ordering people to stop making consumer automobiles and to start producing rocket fuel tanks -- actually illustrates how different it is from the Soviet command economy for much of its existence. In other words, the Soviet economy was pretty awful, and we shouldn't emulate it. But spinning this history into some tale about the dangers of government debt in a capitalist system is simply ignorant.

Not true, writes Peter Schweizer at Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace, who wrote a post attacking me (which John Nolte over at Big Hollywood repurposed Wednesday to attack Jon Stewart for pointing out yet more historical inaccuracies in Palin's account). Schweizer's argument? He relies on a sentence that Secretary of Defense Bob Gates wrote years ago: "From the late 1950s, CIA had clearly described the chronic weaknesses as well as the formidable military power of the Soviet Union." A line that says, literally, nothing about the amount of debt the Soviet government incurred, or about how much of a drain the Soviet space program was on other elements of the economy. Nor does it specify what those "chronic weaknesses" were. That's because the chronic weaknesses of the Khrushchev-era Soviet Union had less to do with debt and more to do with the lack of market incentives in a command economy, among many other problems.

Schweizer also rejects my argument, because he claims that I based it on a link to Wikipedia. Actually, I've formally studied Russian history. My knowledge of the period didn't come from an online reference tool. I simply linked to an image hosted on Wikipedia (one I didn't even mean or need to link to, it turns out, but that's beside the point). Then I followed up with a reference to a State Department country study, which, in plain terms, explains that, throughout its history, the Soviet Union actually had relatively modest external debt and, therefore, ready access to foreign credit, until the very late Soviet period.

Confusing aspersion for evidence doesn't make Palin's case stronger; it just illustrates that she was misapprehending the history of the Soviet Union -- a country that didn't need America's 21st-century problems to collapse for its own reasons, and a topic that deserves far more serious attention than this debate has given it.

By Stephen Stromberg  | February 2, 2011; 8:14 AM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Comments

"According to the right-wing blogosphere, Sarah Palin knows more about history than I do."

And I've a bridge to nowhere to sell you. :)

Posted by: HDon2 | February 2, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

You are obviously one of those academic, government supporting left-wingers. Your arguments are only supported by either your own academic studies or government references (non-military at that!) All highly suspect. Where are your biblical quotes? There must be something in the New Testament about Soviet debt levels in the 50s.

Posted by: AdamH1 | February 2, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

It's getting worse. It used to be that they overlooked her egregious errors and trumpeted things they thought made sense. I wouldn't agree, but that's another question. Now they are attacking people with reasoned arguments backed up by cited facts. No-Nothingism wants to rule!

Posted by: MaineWoman | February 2, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't aware history was written in blogs or on twitter. Only an imbelcile would look for history there. I've never seen one yet and highly doubt I will in my lifetime. People dwell in ignorance out of choice. Let them.

Posted by: kchses1 | February 2, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

The Right has never been overly concerned about truth or facts. They invent history as they go, winging it, to suit them. From their viewpoint, everything is all politics anyway.

Posted by: samsara15 | February 2, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I wish they'd quit just making stuff up.

Posted by: HDon2 | February 2, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Like all neo-cons, PALIN is at a distinct advantage in ANY debate. It would be great if we could all make our case unfettered by reason, reality, and/or rational thought...but that luxury is only afforded those unaware of such encumberances. Curiously, the further PALIN strays from anything resembling the truth or reason, the more ardent her supporters embrace her idiocy.

Posted by: mrtimmaulden | February 2, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

There's a joke about arguing with Republicans being a waste of time because they simply are not bothered with facts. I guess we can also add that history doesn't impress them much either. Let's recall Michelle Bachmann's mangling of the "founding fathers" history with slavery.

Posted by: CardFan | February 2, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Does palin even know what Sputnik was. Someone ask her. Love to hear her answer.

Posted by: mikel7 | February 2, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Dude, how about obamacare being deficet neutral, having all bills posted on the internet 3 days in advance of voting, transparency in government..... yeah you liberals are real straight talkers.

Posted by: 2012anewstart | February 2, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The Palin Tea Bag supporters hate facts. So they just make up their own and run to the Koch Brothers to bankroll the lie.

Posted by: fare777 | February 2, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The Palin Tea Bag supporters hate facts. So they just make up their own and run to the Koch Brothers to bankroll the lie.

Posted by: fare777 | February 2, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

It is very obvious that Stephen Stromberg is an idiot who doesn't know anything about history.

Down with MuBarack Obama !

Posted by: skponggol | February 2, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm more concerned about Obama's fake everything.

Posted by: Bevhome | February 2, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that there are millions of Americans who simply believe anything Palin says without question. Ignorance truly is bliss. To those people, anyone who points out Palin's many errors is simply proving that he is part of an evil left-wing media out to destroy poor Ms. Palin. The only way Palin's disciples would ever renounce their devotion to her would be if she offended their Holy Scripture or announced her support for gun control legislation (both highly unlikely).

Posted by: clacina | February 2, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@ AdamH1: GOOD satire . . . still chuckling.
@ Palin and Palinites: Go for it! Why let facts get in the way of a good rant, screed, or hatchet job on political opponents?

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | February 2, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

When Obama people compare Mao Zedong to Mother Theresa, we know that they know nothing about history.

Posted by: skponggol | February 2, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

It is quite likely true that they incurred no debt for Sputnik. A socialist/communist government does not need to borrow money (which in any case is not likely to be lent) when it can take resources and labor from people and simply force its citizens to do what it wants them to do.

Like say, buying health insurance policies.

Posted by: INTJ | February 2, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Just give up on the Palinites. It's hopeless. They defend her because of their common bond -- we cannot tolerate a black president. Same with the birthers. Trying to reason with these people is like banging your head against the wall. They have their own opinions which go along with their own set of 'facts'.

Posted by: jpawlik1 | February 2, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

When Obama the Idiot met the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Mr Putin sternly lecture Obama the Idiot on the history of the Cold War. Obama the Idiot sat down quietly and listened obediently for over 1 hour while the great teacher Putin gave him some basic history lesson on the Cold War.

From Russia, some basic history lessons to the American President..... ha,ha,ha,ha,ha......

Posted by: skponggol | February 2, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"My favorite heroes are Mao Zedong and Mother Theresa.

My name is Barack Obama and I scored F for my history lesson."

Posted by: skponggol | February 2, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Is it possible we're all missing the overall point here?

Palin talks without thinking, stringing buzzwords and sentences together ad infinitum. I believe that to spend ANY time arguing about what she meant is a grand WASTE of time, in that there is NO WAY this intellectually challenged woman has ever bothered to study USSR/Sputnik/economy *stuff* -- too much work!

She's probably laughing at everybody about this ...

Posted by: hsubyma | February 2, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

NYAH! NYAH! NYAH! I'm right, Sarah Palin's wrong! Is this type of commentary worthy of the WaPo?

A major part of Sarah Palin's attraction is the reaction she evokes from the media & the left. WE GET IT! You really, really, really HATE! her.

So here's a clue for you, Stromberg. Every time you attack Sarah Palin you make her wealthier. She's not going to run for President, she's never going to hold elected office again. What she is going to do, is make tons of money by annoying the media and the left.

So if your goal is to make the Palins wealthy, keep attacking.

Posted by: pilsener | February 2, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mr. Stromberg!! When Putin rears his head and comes into the US air space...who will be there to greet him? Why, of course..Sarah Palin with guns blazin'. That idiot should just keep her flap shut because she's obviously dumb as a rock. I beg any tea bagger to "refudiate" that statement.

Posted by: CorrineK | February 2, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Stromberg, most historians I've read recently say that Palin was correct in her statement about Russian debt. However, you forgot to mention that your buddy Obama claimed to have campaigned in all 57 states, and he claims to be a US citizen, both of which are not true.

Posted by: mike85 | February 2, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to know who mike85's "historians" are. Probably all have the initials "GB" and/or work for Fox.

Idiot or troll or both.

Posted by: polaris11 | February 2, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

In the AJC Neal Boortz argued that the 3/5 compromise was not racist because there were black slave owners and "white slaves."
http://www.ajc.com/opinion/neal-boortz-the-whole-798373.html
Race was apparently coincidental to an enslaved state, according to Boortz. Therefore the Founding Fathers were not racist.
I haven't seen much reaction to this anywhere.

Posted by: minorthread | February 2, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

the m0r0ns defending their m0r0n messiah

Posted by: calif-joe | February 2, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Stephen Stromberg needs to read the transcript of Sarah Palin's comments regarding Obama's Sputnik moment. She specifically said the Soviets beat us in the race to space. That is a true statement, but Liberals and their media changed it to read that the Soviets beat us in the space race. She also alluded that the race bankrupted their nation, which it did. That was also changed using her transcript statement that the Soviets beat us in the race to space.
You are so scared of Palin that you continue to lie to destroy her.

Posted by: Steve863 | February 2, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Palin, Beck, and the rest of the idiots know nothing about history, truth, or religion. The best they can do is make stuff up, and then have their moronic minions echo them endlessly. Truth? They don't need no stinking truth.

Posted by: COLEBRACKETT | February 2, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The problem is the left-wing blogosphere is determined to undermine Sarah Palin whenever they please, however they please. The left-wing feels it and it alone are the only ones who should be allowed to determine who is qualified for any office in the land. Palin was marked as unqualified during the 2008 election even though she had more executive experence than the other three major party candidates combined. Her Democrat counterpart, Joe Biden, certainly has a better grasp on history than Stromberg. Biden, of course, remembers FDR's fireside chats on television in 1929. That is hard to top.

Posted by: sailhardy | February 2, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"I'd love to know who mike85's "historians" are. Probably all have the initials "GB" and/or work for Fox.

Idiot or troll or both.

Posted by: polaris11 | February 2, 2011 11:40 AM"

Please don't feed the trolls or the idiots. Mike85 easily qualifies as both....

Posted by: blbower | February 2, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

The revisionist history (and histrionics) of Palin and Bachmann are no less amusing than the pundits who feel compelled to come to their rescue. Why they do so is really no mystery: it's all they got!

If these women are so smart and capable they wouldn't hesitate to accept invitations from the "lamestream media" to defend their arguments. If it's so "lame", what's their worry? Fox seems to be the only outlet that will tolerate their version of reality. If you can't take the heat...

Posted by: gregorywells1 | February 2, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

More and more I feel sorry us as a nation. We used to strive for knowledge, now we just make it up as we go. It's amazing how some will jump in to criticize without bringing any sort of factual arguments. It's even more disturbing when the facts argue against said people they will denounce you as being an elitist. I rather be an elitist who knows how to support an argument then someone on a soap box who sounds less reasonable than end is coming guy on the corner of a street.

Then again, most of these people love being trolls to the internet and do it for attention. *shakes head* Sometimes I wonder if our destiny is a world depicted in Idiocracy.

Posted by: Falling4Ever | February 2, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

It is sad to see this exchange. At one time, most news sources and people attempted to find some objective description and understanding of reality. Now, there are competing realities. Not a good way to pull the country together for any common objectives. Where ignorance is blessed, you throw a tea party.

Posted by: twstroud | February 2, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

A little thin skinned Stromberg? We she said and you said are basically the same thing.

Posted by: j751 | February 2, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

If the American Public was properly educated you would see fewer misspelled signs at these Tea Party rallies and fewer disconnects with history and/or facts! The people that believe anything out of Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, Hannity et.al is a result of their overriding STUPIDITY. These people are not ignorant, they are stupid. My Colonel in Vietnam taught me the difference between Ignorance and Stupidity, and the cures for both.

When you are ignorant concerning something you lack knowledge of the subject matter at hand. Once you come into possession of the facts, you are no longer ignorant of that subject matter.

Stupidity is the result of "being stupid saying something stupid or doing something stupid". He told me that in his lifetime he has found that the only cure for stupidity .... is death! Once these people die, they are no longer stupid!

Posted by: Taylorsucram | February 2, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"Reality is the natural enemy of Conservatives." George Kennan

Posted by: ccalhoun1 | February 2, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea what the post "However, you forgot to mention that your buddy Obama claimed to have campaigned in all 57 states, and he claims to be a US citizen, both of which are not true." has to do with the topic, but wasn't the claim that he campaigned in all 57 states and territories, including the District of Columbia? And being a U.S. citizen has what to do with the Soviet debt issue?

dungarees2@gmail.com

Posted by: Dungarees | February 2, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin invades yet another moonbat's brain! Stromberg deliberately misquotes Sarah and creates today's feature: Palin Derangement Syndrome.
Sweet Sarah was right, the Russians beat us in the first act of the space race and in trying to keep up with us, it ultimately bankrupted them.

Palin/Christie 2012
John Bolton at State
Thomas Sowell at Treasury
Oliver North at Defense
Chuck Norris in charge of everything else!

Posted by: jonfraudcarry | February 2, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, well, one of the unforeseen results of the Right's constant complaining about "Bias Liberal Media" (to paraphrase a popular bumper sticker) is that there are no longer any facts, at least as far as conservatives are concerned. Just spin and opinion.

If conservatives in this country don't like a particular fact, they just ignore it and count the source as being biased.

You know, it's pretty cool that Conservatives/Republicans have their own news network in the form of Fox News.

However, is the answer to perceived bias in the "liberal" media the creation of a news source or sources that leans to the right more often than not?

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | February 2, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Stromberg says Palin is "ignorant" for comparing a capitalist economy to a command economy. He says, in essence, a command economy can not be in "debt" as the concept is used in a free market sense. This is neither high academic understanding, nor much more than a very minor side argument.

It seems that the burden of crumbling infrastructure toppled the Soviet Union when it could no longer finance the arms race and maintain a viable society in the 1980's. Apparently, though, Stromberg warns that we must not see an inability to financially function successfully as any form of "debt."

It is a distinction without a difference, but it is how eels argue. Of course the Soviet Union would still be there today if they had gone about killing off population in order to "save" the resources they were spending on them. (Think China today.)(But, do not think "debt.")

Anyway, Mr. Stromberg, figures don't lie, but liars can figure. I cede you your little game of "debt" and the command economy. I do not cede to you the idea that Palin is ignorant because she does not use your tricky view of economics.

By the way, if the government shifts resources to the space arena by shorting other areas of the economy, how does one report the fiscal health of those areas shorted? It would seem by basic mathematical rules that they would be in down turn. You might check the full meaning of "debt" against that reality.

But perhaps your formal study in the affairs of the Soviet Union did not include the more universal study of growth and decline in any type of market system, be it command, free or Idi Amin squandered.

This Palin is "ignorant" and I am smarter piety dance does not even rise to the level of a tempest in a teapot. It is more a playground taunt.

Posted by: davidstacy | February 2, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

That's so many words to say..... palin basically got it right.

USSR did go bankrupt trying to match the tech race with the US.

That did happen, I lived through it.

Posted by: docwhocuts | February 2, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Everyone including rightards know by now that for rightards facts are irrelevant and usually an annoyance.

As Colbert likes to quip - reality has a well known liberal bias.

Actually the correct analogy is not the USSR soending itelf into debt, which as this author points out was technically impossible, but rather reagan spending the United States into debt in a unilateral arms race in the 1980s. reagan tried mightily to get the USSR to re-engage in an arms race. Gorbechev was having none of it and refused to play. That did not stop reagan from almost quadrupling the national debt in his mad pursuit of a 600 ship fleet (why 600? nobondy knows really but it sounded so good on the teevee) "star wars" and new missile systems. The conservative mythology is that reaga, although he did not say then or ever after - was so wily that he spent all that moeny to force the Ruskies to do the same and that was why communism collapsed. PURE fantasy. The USSR did not engage in that arms race, ad the fall of the Berlin Wall had essentially nothing to do with reaga, or the US, or in large part even the USSR. Ad the dissolution of the USSR had way more to do with Dynasty and Bon Jovi and blue jeans than it did with reaga, or bush who had ben president for 3 years when it happened.

Righties don't care what ACTUALLY happened. They just make up nice stories and for them, that IS what happened. Just like children with their own personal Santa and tooth fairies.

Posted by: John1263 | February 2, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Stromboli? Maybe you should run for out-of-context-fact-checker-in-chief. You're like that dooshbag we all knew growing up that, when confronted with something or someone you didn't like because that's how all your loser friends were, you would seize on a word or phrase and try to win a debate by killing a sentence uttered by your opponent.

Either way, you're an utter bag of doosh.

Your entire piece was a thinly veiled and deliberate effort to impress upon us what a learned Russian SME you are.

Putz.

Posted by: Personal_Fowl | February 2, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

docwhocuts exemplifies the self-centered and self-satisfied ignorance of Palin and her defenders. He "lived through it." That's good enough for him.

Posted by: karlmarx2 | February 2, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

@JohnDinHouston ...you hit the nail on the head. Conservatives have gotten so good at "staying on message" with easy talking points that its impossible to have a real discussion about real problems. The only drastically oversimplified response from them is that all taxes are bad, all regulation is bad, all government is bad. Anyone who isn't screaming that message is ostracized so nobody dares step out of line to actually think... scary!

Posted by: cage | February 2, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

AdamH1 Says: "You are obviously one of those academic, government supporting left-wingers. Your arguments are only supported by either your own academic studies or government references (non-military at that!) All highly suspect. Where are your biblical quotes? ...."
Phew! Biblical quotes? Maybe he/she thinks Moses was led out of the wilderness by sputnik? Bye-the-way, is there anything at all wrong with supporting your words or conculsions on academic studies?
If it is wrong, then, why pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to send our kids to college? Does this mean Trinity University is not academic?

Posted by: crosseyedamerican | February 2, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

who you gonna believe, someone who merely studied russia or someone who can actually see it from her house?

Posted by: scientist1 | February 2, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse


What her silly 'history' DOES prove is that someone is trying to teach her something about the subject.

IN, undoubtedly, blocks of facts, "once upon a time" things she can plug in to the latest news.

Imagine interviewing her about any period or situation of history. What a rag that would be.

Posted by: whistling | February 2, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to the Sewer White America! Courtesy of Sarah from the wrong side of the tracks Palin. She was misled by the Team Captain in High School and she's going to make all of you pay. Amazing how so many of you enjoy the Filth and Stench of CRAP!
What was it Superman used to say? Truth, Justice, and the American Way? LOL! YOU'RE MAKING YOUR COUNTRY A JOKE! To the entire world we've become a laughing stock.

Posted by: minco_007 | February 2, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

What do you think ended the Soviet Union? The greatness and goodness of Mikhail Gorbachev? Hardly. It was the economy, stupid. Yes, the Soviet Union was going more broke than it was already and they needed some form of Capitalism to bring them out of the hole they began digging in 1917. There was never a day, in the Soviet Union, that there was ever a non-deficit day. The ruble is still a non-negotiable currency throughout the world and back then, it was completely worthless, except in the Soviet Union. The Soviets handed out more "IOU's" than our present government, in the USA. Also, to enlighten you, young socialist minded journalist, the ruble, as defined in my favorite "Standard College Dictionary", copyright 1963, defines "ruble" as "A standard monetary unit of the U.S.S.R, equivalent to 100 kopecks: in 1960 worth about 25 U.S. cents: ..." Now doesn't that hearten you into thinking that the great Soviet Union was an impregnable fortress? Get your history right before you begin bashing anyone who is older than you.

Posted by: smokincols | February 2, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"She also alluded that the race bankrupted their nation, which it did."

Posted by: Steve863

This is precisely why people laughed at her, because the Soviet Union was not in fact bankrupted by the space race. They ultimately went down because they subscribed the theory that things work better if the government owns everything.

davidstacy said: I do not cede to you the idea that Palin is ignorant because she does not use your tricky view of economics.

Yes, it is tragic that most academic subjects require study--if it were possible to apprehend them through intuition and common sense they would require no study--and cab drivers would be qualified to fly 747s and Palins would be qualified to run large countries.

Posted by: scientist1 | February 2, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

“There was nothing but government in the Soviet Union; if the Soviets wanted to build a space program, they didn't have to go into debt to do it -- they simply forced the country to divert its resources into the effort…”

Just like the Dems did with Obamacare?

Posted by: TheRhetoricalQuestion | February 2, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Well, I suppose this all goes back to George Frost Kennan, who actually thought up the "contain and let them starve themselves" approach to Soviet Communism, back when Raygun was just a lame ham actor.

Posted by: aprilglaspie | February 2, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

You are correct, Palin is an ignorant idiot but she has found a link between herself and all the other "conservative, right wing idiots" in the country and she has learned how to exploit it.

Posted by: moemongo | February 2, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Stephen, buddy, you're first mistake was trying to debate Sarah Palin and one of Breitbart's henchmen with facts. Silly man! Don't you know that group doesn't believe in "facts." THEY make up their own "facts," that's how they operate.

Better to simply let anything Palin says go in one ear and out the other. Trying to argue with her only gives others the perception that what she's saying holds any type of relevance whatsoever. Do yourself a favor, next time Palin says something, IGNORE IT!

Posted by: sachancp | February 2, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Nothing like another Palin story to bring out the liberal hate fest. My God, Joe Biden said more stupid things yesterday than Palin has said all year, why not turn the fact-checking around on someone who is actually IN power? I mean, my God, Harry Reid couldn't even name the branches of govt last week! I've found over the past few years that the easiest way to determine a person's political leanings is to simply mention Palin in some neutral, disconnected way... if they're a leftist, they cannot resist the low-hanging fruit. They simply cannot, not lash out. You guys on the Left are nothing, if not predictable. Predictably hateful. Which is why I'll enjoy 2012 so much... I figure if Palin wins, all your heads will collectively explode. Should be quite a show.

Posted by: prof_robinson | February 2, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

You are obviously wrong. No where in the Constitution does it say that Sarah Palin is innaccurate on this subject.

Posted by: double07 | February 2, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Really Stephen, it is so sad that somebody from Andy Breitfarts Hack Factory spins a load of malarkey out of thin air and you have to write up a full post to explain the reality that anyone smart enough to tie their shoelaces should know from high school history.

Posted by: oldguy9 | February 2, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Palin's base are evangelicals who have the lowest incomes in USA except for Hispanics leading to a conclusion that they are not very bright. Evangelicals do not know that Palin is a baptized Catholic but was never instructed in religion by her parents after they moved from Idaho to Skagway, Alaska where Catholic churches were scarce.

Posted by: mascmen7 | February 2, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Why don’t Republicans get it? Central planning is a viable economic model and the smart people know what is best for us.

Posted by: TheRhetoricalQuestion | February 2, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Back in the year 1312 when the US bought Alaska from Mars, the original Palin was born. He went on to become Emperor of Lower Slobovia and King of Freedonia. He promptly appointed Groucho Marx as the minister of defense, as well as de yard and de driveway....
Please, don't force the Bachmann-Palin Underdrive into retirement. The laughs are too good. No comedy writer could ever write this stuff.

Posted by: chopin224 | February 2, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Back in the year 1312 when the US bought Alaska from Mars, the original Palin was born. He went on to become Emperor of Lower Slobovia and King of Freedonia. He promptly appointed Groucho Marx as the minister of defense, as well as de yard and de driveway....
Please, don't force the Bachmann-Palin Underdrive into retirement. The laughs are too good. No comedy writer could ever write this stuff.

Posted by: chopin224 | February 2, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Sputnik in 1957 did not bankrupt Russia. It was President Reagan placing missiles in Europe which made Russians over spend thinking we were going to over run Moscow.

Posted by: mascmen7 | February 2, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

There's no need to study Russian or Soviet history to know that Palin and her supports are wrong on this point.

For Americans of a certain age, all they have to go is go back and remember the anti-Soviet propaganda they were told when they were in school -- The Soviet system was bad because it wasn't free -- it was a COMMAND system and a COMMAND economy.

No businesses. No banks.

Any thinking American who knows these things -- and their are millions of us -- knows right away how stupid Palin sounds and how much more stupid her defenders sound.

The Soviets DIDNT USE BANKS. Thus, the Soviets NEVER BORROWED MONEY. Thus, the Soviets NEVER HAD DEBTS.

Their economy was a wreck. But it was debt-free. Instead of debts, the Soviets had SHORTAGES -- Remember?.

They built rockets, so they didn't have enough washing machines. They build rifles, so they didn't have enough razor blades.

Remember the pictures of long lines in Red Square, Russians waiting for basic supplies that never showed up, only to have to wait in line again?

THIS IS IMPORTANT. Because it's about more than who can recite history accurately.

It's about WHETHER PALIN AND HER DEFENDERS REALLY UNDERSTAND HOW THE WORLD HAS WORKED, HOW IT WORKS NOW, AND HOW IT CAN WORK IN THE FUTURE.

With the 'Soviet debt' revelation, we're beyond mere 'gaffes.'

Palin is in a space in which it is clear she doesn't understand something that every American sixth grader used to know by heart -- THE SOVIETS HAD A COMMAND ECONOMY. THEY DIDN'T USE BANKS. THEY HAD SHORTAGES INSTEAD OF DEBTS.

If she can't be at least as well-informed as a sixth-grader from the 1960s, then she has problems far greater than saying a few gaffes.

Yes, Joe Biden runs his mouth sometimes, but his critics still respect him. Because they are smart enough to recognize the difference between a 'gaffe' and a failure to understand fundamental facts. No one, not even his greatest critic, has ever successfully and convincingly accused Biden of not having a solid, adult grasp of the facts.

Posted by: EgoNemo | February 2, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Poor Sarah Palin requires constant explanation from her supporters like Breitbart and Limbaugh and her bloggers.
They all look like potential acrobats for Cirque du Soleil with their increasingly convoluted and mind bending excuses
for her daily gaffefest.
Most adults on the conservative side have taken off their rose colored glasses and either remain silent on Palin's bizarre behavior ,
illogical conclusions, poor grasp of the English language and her grossly uneducated views on most topics.
Or they speak out and face the extreme wrath of her angry bloggers.
Their screeches ridiculing anyone who dares to criticize Palin are so predictable,
it's almost as if one person spends all day on the net writing
the same angry post over and over.
Their usual response is to accuse a critic
of being a being a gay ,
college educated , mentally disabled , RINO, liberal Democrat hater who is jealous of Palin's good looks.
Could Sarah herself be penning most of the responses ?
The mystery is why the few remaining defenders
on the conservative side continue to lash themselves
so tightly to the SS Palin.
Her own words and behavior have irretrievably damaged
her reputation
to the point where it's now parody.
Breitbart and Limbaugh and FOX News still have some credibility left.
But, they won't for much longer if they continue
on this ridiculous quest to convince Americans that Palin is actually Lady Thatcher in camouflage.
When she's really Minnie Pearl in a caribou coat.

Posted by: CaptainKarl | February 2, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Whether it be Global Warming, or Oil Spills, or American History, or Evolution....the Palin crowd never lets Facts get in the way of their beliefs.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | February 2, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Republicanism means using fiction when it suits the narrative.

Ms. Palin's veneer is thin.

Posted by: vigor | February 2, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Palin is correct, it was through these programs such as the development of the space program in Russia that inevitably bankrupted the country, along with its military acquisitions. I too have FORMALLY studied the former Soviet Union and wrote a paper entitled "The New Cold War" in 2004 which turned out to be somewhat prophetic in regards to Putin's ambitions of a return to communist rule. The Soviet Union, since its inception, was never able to sustain itself financially because of government take-overs of every aspect of Russian life and therefore its economy was practically non-existent. If this hack writer spent more time listening to Sarah Palin, instead of doing the liberal interpretation nonsense, this article would never have been published.

Posted by: candyzky | February 2, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Stephen, you are a brave man to take on the Mensa freight train known as Sarah Palin. Dontcha know she reads newspapers? All of them?

Posted by: bretb | February 2, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

prof_robinson, from your lips to God's ears. I pray everyday (and I'm not religious) that Sarah Palin is the Republican/Tea Party candidate in 2012. Pres. Obama could then change his first name to Osama, go back to Rev. Wright's church, raise taxes on everyone and publicly perform an abortion and he'd STILL win a second term.

Please Sarah, run!

Posted by: sachancp | February 2, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Palin is a true Idiot....if she somehow does get elected, it will be the saddest day in our history....on the other hand, we can get rid of any early-warning radar, because she'll able to detect any nukes with her aluminum foil hat!

Posted by: franklynapperson | February 2, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Palin, and Stromberg, and Obama and everyone else forgets much of their history.

Palin's errors are easy to spot. The Soviets never had banks, so who did they borrow from to create these 'debts?' The idea that the Soviets had debts is amusing.

Stromberg and Obama are people with a good handle on the facts. But they accept an interpretation of world history that leaves out several important points.

Sputnik did indeed startle and worry America and the West. But what really happened was that the American press handed the Soviets a propaganda victory for the Kremlin's shrewd stunt.

Sputnik was hardly a 'satellite.' It was a metal sphere, about the size of a basketball. It contained a very simple, battery-powered radio transmitter that produced an automatic tone on a given frequency. Basically, it was an aluminum ball spinning containing a broken radio spinning through space.

The Soviets had planned to send up a satellite with a live dog and related sensors for a true scientific achievement. But that project was way behind scientists in the West.

But then, the Soviets heard about the U.S.'s leadership in the World Geophysical Year, that would be capped off with the American launch of Explorer 1, the first manmade satellite.

The Americans were going to beat them by launching Explorer 1, an advanced piece of equipment designed to actually do a job in space, namely prove Dr. Van Allen's theories about protective radiation belts that surround the Earth.

So, the shrewd Soviets stripped down their satellite, put in the repeating radio transmitter and launched the sucker. Sputnik didn't anything but orbit and beep, but it scared the h3ll out regular Americans. Whipped up by scary newspaper headlines about a new "Soviet Moon," everybody freaked. Except that is, the American scientists who had Explorer 1 on the launchpad and ready to go. It was a technological achievement that the Soviets would never surpass, yet Sputnik stole the headlines.

Explorer 1 was launched. The Van Allen belts were measured, and that data was crucial to the success of the later manned spaceflight program -- and generally to mankind's understanding of his home planet.

Still, Sputnik did propel public opinion in favor of the space program. The scientists running it were already ahead of them, having designed Explorer 1 and were already at work on Mercury and what would become Gemini and Apollo.

It is inaccurate to say that Sputnik got the American space program started. It was already started, but the regular American public was skeptical of its worth. It took a Soviet stunt to make them value something they should have valued already.

Now, 50 years later, the president of the United States extends the power of a Soviet propaganda stunt to say this our "Sputnik moment" and we ought to get to work.

Well, I look forward to day when we can say, "Yep, that was the world's 'Apollo 11 moment."

Posted by: EgoNemo | February 2, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

About the only factual' information ' that was gleamed from that Greta interview was that we know Space Cadet Palin ate a Spud-Nutz donut when she was younger and she ' liked ' them.Just like the old " Life " commercial with Mikey.. " He likes it !.. He likes it ".

The fact that the next day she had one of those PAID FB ghostwriters go to Her FB page and defend her position made it even MORE pathetic.She is like an immature 12 year kid who has been caught red-handed 'with their hand on the cookie jar ' and cookie crumbs all over their face and they proclaim.... " Wasn't ME ? "
You point out the evidence/proof and they stomp their feet even LOUDER and say.. " WASN"T ME!!!"
Palin is stuck on 12 yo... accept that Fact.You can't " reason " with a 12 yo.

See what else Palin and the other RWNJ are up to here.
http://politicalgates.blogspot.com/

Posted by: honestyinGov | February 2, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I opine that this is really not a question of Sarah Palin's knowledge of history, which I guess may not even be up to the level suggested in her comments. For me, it is more about the audience she speaks to. The need for one-liners (we are becomming like the old Soviet Union, for example)is what she is playing to. The real ignorance and the real need for easy to understand one-liners is in the crowd not at the podium. She may be quite ignorant of Soviet history and a lot of other things, but what is really important is that the vast majority of her passionate followers are even less knowledgeable of the underlying facts and anlysis of these subjects she comments on. And furthermore, they really don't care about facts or reasoned analysis. With them it is visceral. They know something is wrong, life feels complex and unexplainabe to them, and any answer that attacks "government" or "elites" or "the left" provides the easy answer. It's not worth going after Sarah Palin's ignorance, the Palin crowd loves it no matter how wrong and inaccurate it might be. That's where the problem is.

Posted by: rschaeffer1 | February 2, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The right wing has been pooping & telling us its Baby Ruths for a quarter century now. They're masters at it & as long as it sells, why change?

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | February 2, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Didn't your own Dana Milbank call for a Palin boycott for the month of February? An it's only February 2nd!!!!!

Posted by: shapiromarilyn | February 2, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, Palin's ignorance is willfully overlooked by her rabid fans as was George W. Bush's. Birds of a feather flock together.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | February 2, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

basically what this and similar articles shows is the blatant disregard for reality. sarah palin could shoot the (insert VIP) on live, national TV and her minions, droolers, and other synchophants woould label it a 'liberal media conspiracy' and dismiss it. Its not Palin's fault for her continued preeminence-rather the medias fascination with "eyeballs on the screen"+ waterhead supporters whose level of cognitive dissonance suggests maladaptive coping skills to reality.

Posted by: sherlockjt | February 2, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Creationism is fake history.

I say we out-pray them!

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | February 2, 2011 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love the line that the Soviet Union was 'bankrupted.'

Weren't they communists? Didn't they have a command economy?

They didn't know from banks and debts.

The Soviets didn't go 'bankrupt,' that's the vocabulary of a capitalist.

The Soviets were crushed by shortages. Which is what you get when you are a command economy, don't take out loans, and still can get it all done.

If Palin is any example, America isn't running a shortage on anything, especially hair spray and hot air.

So, nothing to worry about. That is, until Palin decides that America is going through just what happened in Atlantis ("I can see it from Hartsfield Airport!").

Posted by: EgoNemo | February 2, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is ignorant but rich, thanks to her slavering mob of acolytes, who are ignorant and poor.

Posted by: Observer691 | February 2, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

You have a choice between someone that was schooled in Law at Columbia and Harvard on scholarship and someone who took 8 years to make it through a community college majoring in sportscasting.

Posted by: WmLaney | February 2, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

This article may technically be correct. The Soviet Government didn't have to borrow, because it just took what it wanted. (In the US, when the Governmemt confiscates private property, we call it taxes.)


Whatever you call it, the effect is the same. In the Soviet Union, most resources were controlled by the Government. That left fewer resources in private hands. That caused the economy not to grow. So, the Soviet Union kept falling farther and farther behind other countries.

The primary issue is the Government increasing its percentage of the economy, which is occurring in the US.
The Government can achieve that increase in its percentage of the economy through multiple means:

- piling up debt
- increasing taxes
- imposing regulations - no need to own it, if you control it
- printing money - all other money becomes less valuable when the Government prints more money
- diverting Social Security trust fund taxes to pay for other projects and issuing IOUs to replace real assets
- pension promises to government employees that are not funded by any reasonable actuarial standard

Whatever the tool the Government uses, the effects are the same. The Government grows. The private econmony does not grow. In some cases, the private sector actualy shrinks. In other cases, private sector growth is so slow its percentage of the economy shrinks even if it is nominally larger.

Eventually the Government sector becomes too big for the economy to support and the system collapses. This is actually what happened to the World Trade Center. The fire in the middle floors weakened the steel structure and the structure became too weak to suppport to weight of the floors above. Like the Soviet Union, the collapse came quickly.

Yes, the Soviet Union went bankrupt, because the system it produced failed to produce enough to support itself and people.

The same will occur in the US, if we let Goverment keep growing. Arguing about which tool the Government is using to grow is really pointless. You eventually end up in the same place.

The reason Sarah Palin has supporters is that it will take a resolute leader to reverse the cycle of Government growth. One can argue about Governor Palin's academic credentials, but she is resolute in stalking prey once she identifies a target. She's also smart enough to know that the first thing to do to get out of a hole is to stop digging. Apparently, they don't teach that at the Ivy League schools that produce our Presidents and Wall Street leaders.

STOP DIGGING!
If you don't, Sarah will stop it for you.

Posted by: jfv123 | February 2, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Not likely that the USSR's space program ever was a significant cost relative to the USSR's spending on its military and internal policing. Furthermore, the space program was the one thing that all Russians were proud of. If paying for the space program had been the only sacrafice they had been asked to make, they probably would have willingly made it.

Posted by: rjoff | February 2, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

With Palin we can have a Lack History month in February too.

Posted by: ejgallagher1 | February 2, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Real history irritates Tea Partiers. What was the top income tax rate in the 1950s when America responded to Sputnik and built its giant world-class economy?

68%

Posted by: minstrelmike | February 2, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

No Liberal I know was ever a supporter of Communism. The add in the Village Voice personals said it all, "Communist with knife and fork would like to meet Capitalist with steak and potato". That is all one need say, no make specious claims about debt, etc.

Posted by: chopin224 | February 2, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

mike17 wrote:
Does palin even know what Sputnik was. Someone ask her. Love to hear her answer.
-----------------------
Of course Palin knows what Sputnik was! She watches everything that happens in Russia from her porch in Alaska.

Posted by: JimZ1 | February 2, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Lets face it. Palin is a dope. We don't have to do anything but quote her to prove that point.

Posted by: roberthurley | February 2, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Another pedantry netroots out to impugn Palin with disputations in a progressive newspaper where the hauteur reside. Just look at the base of the Democratic party. Public service unions, trial lawyers, 1-2% rich Wall St investment bankers and Hollywood elites, 1-2% Ivory Tower intellectuals, and Genetic Democrats (like those who reference FDR and Hoover). The remaining base includes some of the least educated, least successful, and least informed citizens in the country. If you live in a large urban area. Half the high school kids drop out before graduating. These people are not stupid in any way--like any population, under the proper circumstances, they might even be brilliant. They are, however, profoundly ignorant. They couldn't tell you what country is on our North. They couldn't name within 100 million people how many people reside in the US. Survey after survey has shown that the level of civic understanding amongst this group is abysmal. Yet, despite this, the primary intent of the "Get Out the Vote" is to get these, the most ill-informed group, to the polls. No facts here just your education vs the rest of us. I'm not impressed

Posted by: buckaroo5 | February 2, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Palin is the punch line.

Conservative realize if Palin is pushed out to early she will not bring in the cash they need in 2012.

So Barbara Bush, Rove and others have backed off for a while.

Posted by: knjincvc | February 2, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The Emperess has no brain, but loyal subjects fear to tell her.

Posted by: tzem | February 2, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"“There was nothing but government in the Soviet Union; if the Soviets wanted to build a space program, they didn't have to go into debt to do it -- they simply forced the country to divert its resources into the effort…”

Just like the Dems did with Obamacare?


Posted by: TheRhetoricalQuestion | February 2, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

If by "forced" you mean enacted through the process set forth in the Constitution, then you are correct, teabagger.

Posted by: Observer691 | February 2, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

mikel7, in the same commentary, Palin invoked the Spudnuts donut shop in Hanford, WA., suggesting to me that she may have conflated it with Sputnik. Or "Spudnik," which was Ross Geller's Halloween costume on an epi of "Friends."

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | February 2, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Tell a lie enough times and you will believe it to be true.

Posted by: sr31 | February 2, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse


Question for racist conservatives and liberals:


In what other country are the females of the First family all subjected to the orthodoxy of discouraging one another from experiencing the free and natural love and affection they would otherwise have for e.g., the natural texture of their own hair?

Judeo-christian White supremacist rule is superior to Nazism – inasmuch as even the Nazis couldn’t get Hitler or the Jewish people to all dye their hair blond (as a condition of playing their roles in that society…)

How did racist religious extremist put it…. ‘just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do it [in a country our sect controls]’

Black First Children with straightened hair… what will Judeo-Christian White supremacist and their indoctrinated House Negroes think up next?

Freedom – you gotta love it

Posted by: stephendavid2002 | February 2, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"My favorite heroes are Mao Zedong and Mother Theresa.

My name is Barack Obama and I scored F for my history lesson."

------

A typical invention by a teabagger.

Posted by: sr31 | February 2, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

She very well may be smarter than you...most crazy people are highly intelligent.

Especially sociopaths.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | February 2, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Shame on you elites for actually using facts and messing up a good story.

Posted by: impressed1 | February 2, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"...and a topic that deserves far more serious attention than this debate has given it."

National Politics in the U.S. also deserves serious attention. Serious attention would exclude all mention of Sarah Palin.

But that doesn't stop the MSM (including the WaPo) from mentioning her every chance they get.

Posted by: MDLaxer | February 2, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"...and a topic that deserves far more serious attention than this debate has given it."

National Politics in the U.S. also deserves serious attention. Serious attention would exclude all mention of Sarah Palin.

But that doesn't stop the MSM (including the WaPo) from mentioning her every chance they get.

Posted by: MDLaxer | February 2, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

palins says whatever
always
why should we care?
Move on people - it is too much attention to someone who carries Ignorance like her best feature.
let her.

Posted by: lordmi | February 2, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The far right has plenty of fans who flunked high school history and are perfectly happy with the history made up on right-wing blogs, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

This fan base hates the elite simply because they are far from elite; they are uneducated and slow witted.

Posted by: colonelpanic | February 2, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

She's popular with the bucktoothed.

Posted by: danw1 | February 2, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"When Obama the Idiot met the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Mr Putin sternly lecture Obama the Idiot on the history of the Cold War. Obama the Idiot sat down quietly and listened obediently for over 1 hour while the great teacher Putin gave him some basic history lesson on the Cold War. From Russia, some basic history lessons to the American President..... ha,ha,ha,ha,ha......"

When Georgie Boy Bush met Putin, he looked deep into his eyes and read his soul. When Putin looked deep into the eyes of George W. Bush, he saw the back of his skull.

Posted by: LeeH1 | February 2, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

This just confirms what most of us know by now - Sarah Palin's defenders are every bit as stupid as she is.

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | February 2, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

In 20 years there will be no right wing comments.By then they will have devolved to the point where they are hunting animals with spears and grunting to communicate.

Posted by: fish4 | February 2, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"That the U.S. government would have to debt-finance a major domestic initiative... actually illustrates how different it is from the Soviet command economy"

Not so fast

First of all, the 50s Soviet economy was freer than it had ever been, or ever was again until after the collapse.
It was the reforms of Krushchev, which consisted of stripping power from the centralized government, lowering taxes, reducing regulations, and letting market forces determine food prices, that led to an expansion allowing them to maintain the appearance of a viable system.
In other words, the only success they ever had as an economy, other than the rebuilding years immediately following WWII, was when they introduced elements of a free market system into their economy.
In 1957, When they abandoned those principles, returning to centralized regional authorities, rather than allowing the administrators over the individual market sectors to regulate, by reacting to demand, their economy began to spiral downward, and never recovered.
They replaced industry specialists with administrative bureaucrats.

from
http://www.econ.umn.edu/~evdok003/planning3.pdf


"Reform programs were proposed by Nikita Khrushchev and Georgy Malenkov, who both fancied themselves experts on agriculture. Malenkov worked out a plan that cut peasant taxes by 50%, and Khrushchev developed the “Virgin Lands” program of agricultural development in previously unused regions (parts of Siberia, Kazakhstan, etc). Bureaucratic control over agriculture was reduced and more power was given to local authorities. In 1955, grain production was 6% above the 1948-53 average in spite of bad weather conditions.
The next couple of years see Khrushchev’s rise in popularity..."

Davies calls 1950-1965 the “golden years of the Soviet administrative economy.” In this period, the quality of Soviet medicine and education (both offered to citizens free of charge) saw further, dramatic improvements... Gross output saw impressive rates of growth; standards of living of both rural and city workers rose, and wage inequality fell.
During the 1950s, Soviet GDP grew at an average rate of 7.1% per year (according to Suny; Millar says 6%).

In 1957, a switch was made to a region (rather than sector) based system of economic planning: industrial ministries were replaced by regional economic councils. After 1958, annual GDP growth slowed down to a number around 5%, where it remained until 1964.

What eventually emerged was a mixture of area-by-area and industry-by-industry control. But economic administration was so complicated that the old ministries were restored in 1965, less than a year after Khrushchev’s fall.

These unsettling trends were recognized by Alexei Kosygin (then Premier of the U.S.S.R.), who declared in 1964:

"[The U.S.S.R.] cannot hope to exceed the high productivity reached by the most developed capitalist countries unless we increase the workers’ initiative and freedom of action"

Posted by: MrMeaner | February 2, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh like Obama is so all fired smart saying he had been to 57 states. Honestly! It is so sad people find Palin so threatening to find anything they can to hold against her. I find this equally silly. The Soviet Union starved their people and poured all their money into space exploration and military needs. Their people stood in bread lines and had nothing to buy. It was bleak and dreary. Palin's version was not so wrong. To this day you see empty warehouses and as you pull into the port, it is all empty. There is no manufacturing nothing. It is dead. The country looks dead and drab and I was just there not long ago.
I like Palin and I am stunned at the intense jealousy of this woman. She would not be my favorite to run for President but she is so superior to what we have now it is not even funny.

Posted by: greatgran1 | February 2, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

to All,

Having read all the utterly stupid blather, hate-filled stupid comments & other just plain bilgewater in the posts above, i have come to the sad conclusion that " the left", the "progressives" & the DIMocRATS here are all just pitiful.

Furthermore, most of the above posters also appear to be brain-dead, as well as terminally prejudiced against anything/everything that doesn't agree with their stupid/unknowing personal opinions.
(otoh, anyone who still supports Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, BHO or any of the other DIMocRAT "leaders"/idiots is automatically included in the category of nitwits/fools/bigots/antisemites by intelligent people everywhere.)


But no matter, by the general election of 2012, the DIMocRATS Party will be permanently irrelevant & headed for the dustbin of politcal lost causes. = The DIMs will be as dead as the Whigs by 2014, as almost every moderate to conservative Democrat has left their former party forever.
Many of those former Democrats are now active members of THE TEA PARTY and that's a good thing for the USA!

Sincerely, Retired MP46

Posted by: retiredMP46 | February 2, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

greatgran1, even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | February 2, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

of course they'll defend the indefensible.

GOP minions, as a general rule in MY book (write your own) are more likely to believe what they're told, not be critical of the favored speaker's statements, and then in turn defend this second-hand truth as incontrivertible and essentially the holy grail of truth.

It's called being really, really lazy, and not being too terribly adept at critical thinking.

Yes, agree with Sarah so you don't have to come up with an idea of your own.

THis is the GOP.

Think "health care reform", as proof.

Posted by: pgibson1 | February 2, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I've taken the Dana Milbank Palin-Free Month pledge and it's a wonderfully freeing sensation!!! Didn't read this article and haven't read any of the comments. I'm positive my blood pressure is lower. ;-)

I just may do a permanent extension of the Palin-Free Month!

Posted by: seaduck2001 | February 2, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

retiredMP46, what a rant.

It is interesting that you did not even address the missguided understanding of history of She-who-must-not-be-named, just fell to the mindless assumptions that you accuse other of holding.

Posted by: amelia45 | February 2, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

The point(s) of my last post, for those leftists who have no ability to comprehend meanings of words:

1)Sarah Palin was completely correct in her criticism

2)In practice, Barrack Obama is idealogically to the left of Nikita Krushchev.

3)The Soviet economy in the 50's, was almost as free as the US economy in 2011

Posted by: MrMeaner | February 2, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I thought you all agreed to write about something important in February instead.

I know, I know, the urge to slow down and take a good look at this traffic accident is strong, but must you really keep circling it?

It's time to move on!

Posted by: rwolf01 | February 2, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Looks like to me that Stephen Stromberg doesn't have one iota more of support for his perspective than Sarah Palin has for hers.

I guess I'll have to call it a draw, since both are just relying on pure opinion.

If you're going to call someone's history "fake", the least you can do is come up with a more substantiated version yourself.

Otherwise you are nothing more than a pundit.

Posted by: postfan1 | February 2, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Great content here. Everyone politely sticking to the facts and thinking deeply about how to interpret and apply them. There is such hope for the country!

Posted by: frodot | February 2, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow, two whole days the WaPo remained a Palin free zone. Readership dropping off so you resurrect the tried and true world of Palin bashing? Small, petty and partisan rules here at the WaPo.

Posted by: elcigaro1 | February 2, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

amelia45,

let me define "rant", as defined by leftists/nitwits/bigots/fools & DIMocRAT extremists, for you. = Anything that does not agree in every detail with the preconceived/ignorant/arrogant/self-important notions of the academic/financial/social/business/politcal elites of the left portion of the political spectrum is a "rant".
(calling intelligent criticism of the left a "rant" is easier & requires less "gray matter" than having an alternate/well thought out response to the comments.)

it has been my long experience (over the last 60+ years) that some of the the most hate-filled, arrogantly ignorant & prejudiced of persons are those who describe themselves as:
1. "progressive",
2. "left of center"
and/or
3. as "Democrat Liberals".

Sincerely, Retired MP46

Posted by: retiredMP46 | February 2, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? Russian history has nothing whatsoever to do with this.

Obama's comment about a "Sputnik moment" was referring to the US, not Russia, rising to the *challenge* that Sputnik (and now our economy) represented. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Sputnik as a Russian accomplishment, or whatever they might or might not have traded off to get it. Whether Russia went bankrupt from Sputnik or not is irrelevant; Obama was referring to America rising to a challenge presented to it.

The issue is not whether Sarah Palin's version of Russian history is right; the issue is that Sarah Palin lacks even basic listening or comprehension skills. That people are debating the nature of Sputnik at all is devastatingly stupid.

Posted by: bobgregg | February 2, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? Russian history has nothing whatsoever to do with this.

Obama's comment about a "Sputnik moment" was referring to the US, not Russia, rising to the *challenge* that Sputnik (and now our economy) represented. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Sputnik as a Russian accomplishment, or whatever they might or might not have traded off to get it. Whether Russia went bankrupt from Sputnik or not is irrelevant; Obama was referring to America rising to a challenge presented to it.

The issue is not whether Sarah Palin's version of Russian history is right; the issue is that Sarah Palin lacks even basic listening or comprehension skills. That people are debating the nature of Sputnik at all is devastatingly stupid.

Posted by: bobgregg | February 2, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Palin's a moron, and it's sad but not unexpected that other fools try to cover up her ineptitude. It's too bad the GOP can't ditch her. She is like a brain tumor on an idiot, an affliction that won't do anyone any good.

Posted by: Nymous | February 2, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama's comment was in the context of calling for more government "investment".
That was the point of Palin's critcism.
The fact that anyone could miss the point of a simple analogy is devastatingly stupid.
You would almost have to be an idiot, or have a brain tumor to miss that

Posted by: MrMeaner | February 2, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse

check "conservapedia", I think it will agree with her

Posted by: Chops2 | February 2, 2011 6:30 PM | Report abuse

The Soviet Union fell for many reasons:

* The Soviet war in Afghanistan.
* The arms race with the US.
* A lousy economy.
* The liberalizing effects of Glasnost under Gorbachev.
* Russians seeing countries like Poland breaking away and making better lives for themselves.

The Russian space program was always a minor expense. They didn't need to spend as much money as the Americans did, because their philosophy was always "big dumb boosters." They never developed a fancy space shuttle, they have always -- until this day -- relied on cheap, old-fashioned, reliable rockets and spacecraft that were developed in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Russian program has had its rough patches, selling rides to the space station to rich foreigners on occasion. But the irony is that now that the shuttle is being decommissioned we will be (and have in fact already been) relying on the Russian program for getting our astronauts to and from the space station.

Posted by: bkvam | February 2, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Who gives a crap about Sputnik and the old Soviet Union. What is wrong with you people? The Obama government is leading our country to financial ruin. We will collapse if these big Government,Socialistic policies aren,t stopped.You Liberals think we are a bunch of idiots because we want to stop it. You hate Sarah Palin because she wants to stop it. Haven,t you figured out yet that Sarah Palin in the symbol of us?! When you attack Sarah Palin with your hate, you are attacking us! You are turning the majority of the country against you, just look at the last elections as proof. You cannot and will not win! We will see who the "idiots" are in 2012!

Posted by: dexterdunk | February 2, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

To mascmen7: I disagree with you on Catholic Churches being scarce in Alaska.
St. Teresa is a very old Catholic Church located in Skagway. I believe I read the Heath family changed denominations for the social activities that were not provided at the Catholic Church. I could be wrong. It doesn't really manner because what's her name changes her stories to suit her audience.

She offended Catholics and maybe others with her criticism of President John F Kennedy in her book. She obviously didn't discuss the manner with religious scholars before she or a ghost writer wrote their nonsense.
She is petty and nasty. How she thinks she can critique President Kennedy's speech on religion during his campaign is a sign of her inflated ego.
One of the many reasons I consider her unqualified for higher office and certainly not having the proper temperament to deal with World Leaders.

Posted by: cjackman | February 2, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

If eight years of George W. Bush has taught us one thing it is: Never try to argue facts with an ideolgue. They will simply deny your facts with trumpeted-up "Facts" of there own. Think WMD's,Water boarding Haliburton overcharges, "Mission Accomplished", Bank bailouts, "Good Job Brownie" and "Global warming is a myth".

Posted by: birddog2012 | February 2, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Could we please have a Palin free month as proposed by Dana Milbank?????

I'm really tired of hearing about Sarah N. Dipidity.

Posted by: RickyGibson | February 2, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

The columnist writes:
That the U.S. government would have to debt-finance a major domestic initiative -- instead of simply ordering people to stop making consumer automobiles and to start producing rocket fuel tanks -- actually illustrates how different it is from the Soviet command economy for much of its existence.

*****

So why do the liberals get so upset when people call Obama's unconstitutional healthcare mandate "socialist". Our Socialist "president" is trying to start a "command economy" by commanding that everyone buy health insurance they don't need.

Posted by: oldno7 | February 2, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who want to know the history of Soviet Union must listen to the great teaching of the great Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

The Obama boy sat down quietly, listened obediently and nodded slavishly while the great Russian master lectured him on the history of the Cold War for over 1 hour.

Boy Barack Obama - Valdimir Putin's little pupil.

Posted by: skponggol | February 2, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Our Socialist "president" is trying to start a "command economy" by commanding that everyone buy health insurance they don't need.

Posted by: oldno7 | February 2, 2011 7:28 PM |
==========================

Do you have life insurance? If so, are you dead?

The reason you buy health insurance in the first place is JUST IN CASE you ever get sick and need health care.

Silly.

Posted by: MadamDeb | February 2, 2011 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The Obama boy sat down quietly, listened obediently and nodded slavishly while the great Russian master lectured him on the history of the Cold War for over 1 hour.

Boy Barack Obama - Valdimir Putin's little pupil.

Posted by: skponggol | February 2, 2011 7:33 PM
=====================

Why are you even alive, skponggo1?

Posted by: MadamDeb | February 2, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Huh! Next Stromberg's going to tell us that Africa isn't a country after all. The lamestream media is just out to get Sarah because they are terrified of her considerable intellectual prowess.

PS - Why would you bother defending yourself against a column posted on a website run by serial liar Andrew Breitbart? Don't two shamelessly dishonest edited videos designed to bring down people for a political agenda not disqualify you from being mentioned in a reputable newspaper? If so, then what exactly does it take?

Posted by: B2O2 | February 2, 2011 7:52 PM | Report abuse

When Pres. Palin and us takeover you journalists will be put in camps.

Posted by: schmidt1 | February 2, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

You libs are just sore because a federal judge wisely ruled Obamascare unconstitutional. Since that was the cornerstone of his presidency and it's now been essentially canned like a tuna, he has nothing left to stand on and, sadly, neither do you.

So you pounce on Palin, in a last-ditch, desperate attempt to get ANYBODY to pay attention to you.

Smoove move, idiots. Nobody's buying it anymore, especially after blaming the Tucson shooting on her backfired big time. (sigh....) When will you dolts realize that the more you harp about her, the more....

Oh forget it. Why should I enlighten you? Just keep up the good work. Keep trying to tear her down. Keep her in the news. We Conservatives love her getting the publicity - good, bad or otherwise. And it's entertaining and funny reading your irrational hate comments about her. Do you REALLY think you're winning anybody to your side? Like the closing of Gitmo.... it just ain't gonna happen.

Posted by: QuineGeology | February 2, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Stephen. I had access to a great many Russian archives and lived in Russia.

Your conclusions are third rate and self serving.

Posted by: HostileKnowledge | February 3, 2011 1:55 AM | Report abuse

QuineGeology; all,

personally, i hope that the arrogant, bigoted, clueLESS, antisemetic, elitist, extremist, lunatic fringe, LEFTIST wing of the DIMocRATS Party continues to "trash" Sarah Palin and every other conservative. = doing that will hasten their demise & ASSURE that "normal people" continue to desert the DIMs party by the thousands each day.

furthermore, the DIMocRATS are quickly turning the "thinking public" into TEA PARTIERS & the Tea party into the largest political movement in US history.
(we are growing in membership, nationwide, by about 5-6% a week & soon will be larger than the GOP & the DIMocRATS, combined.)


note to all: IF you are angry & throughly disgusted with the mess that the DIMocRATS, BHO & "the smart set" have made of our nation over the last few years, join your local TEA PARTY group & help us return our country to being the small/sane/commonsense REPRESENTATIVE REPUBLIC that our founders wanted it to be/remain. you will be warmly welcomed & "put to work" to help us end the FOOLISHNESS.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | February 3, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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