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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 12/12/2010

Sarah Palin in prose

By Jennifer Rubin

Last week, I criticized Sarah Palin for using Twitter to render an ambiguous, off-the-cuff response to the bipartisan tax agreement. I understand that some of her supporters weren't too pleased with the suggestion that one of her favorite modes of communication made her seem like a lightweight. But she then followed up in the Wall Street Journal with a robust and detailed endorsement of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R.-Wisc.) Roadmap for America's Future. After detailing her criticisms of the debt commission proposal, she argued:

The Roadmap offers a reliable path to long-term solvency for our entitlement programs, and it does so by encouraging personal responsibility and independence.

On health care, it would replace ObamaCare with a new system in which people are given greater control over their own health-care spending. It achieves this partly through creating medical savings accounts and a new health-care tax credit--the only tax credit that would be left in a radically simplified new income tax system that people can opt into if they wish.

The Roadmap would also replace our high and anticompetitive corporate income tax with a business consumption tax of just 8.5%. The overall tax burden would be limited to 19% of GDP (compared to 21% under the deficit commission's proposals). Beyond that, Rep. Ryan proposes fundamental reform of Medicare for those under 55 by turning the current benefit into a voucher with which people can purchase their own care.

On Social Security, as with Medicare, the Roadmap honors our commitments to those who are already receiving benefits by guaranteeing all existing rights to people over the age of 55. Those below that age are offered a choice: They can remain in the traditional government-run system or direct a portion of their payroll taxes to personal accounts, owned by them, managed by the Social Security Administration and guaranteed by the federal government.

Well, that's a sound analysis, and her reasoned conclusion is well within mainstream conservative thinking these days. ("Our country is on the path toward bankruptcy. We must turn around before it's too late, and the Roadmap offers a clear plan for doing so.") But it does raise a couple of questions. She previously said that'd she run in 2012 if a solid conservative ready to enact necessary change didn't. Does that mean that if Ryan ran, she wouldn't feel compelled to do so? And I wonder whether just rubber stamping another conservative's detailed plan improves her stature, or instead suggests she can only borrow wonkery from others.

At any rate, regardless of whether she runs, she's made a valuable contribution by highlighting and explaining Ryan's plan. It is a step in the right direction for someone who in some capacity wants to be a player in the GOP.

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 12, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Sarah Palin  
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Comments

"It is a step in the right direction for someone who in some capacity wants to be a player in the GOP."

What a kindly dispensation Jennifer Rubin offers Governor Palin. The generosity just drips from her pen. Perhaps our blogger fails to understand that Sarah Palin is a player in the GOP, whatever Miss Rubin feels about the matter.

Posted by: kryon77 | December 12, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I love your work, Jennifer, but if I had a red pen I would circle this part and give you a bad grade:

"I wonder whether just rubber stamping another conservative's detailed plan improves her stature, or instead suggests she can only borrow wonkery from others."

ANY President worth a darn will "borrow wonkery from others". It's selecting the right wonkery and implementing it (the President is the Chief EXECUTIVE, right?) that is the test of a successful president. I am happy that there are think tanks, policy wonks, and experts within their own fields who can provide the pieces that a great leader can coalesce into operational policy. Only a narcissist would think himself so omniscient as to not need the "wonkery of others" to fill the gaps in his own knowledge.

PS: I really dislike the caricature of you. Can the Post try to tone down the exaggeration of features that makes you look like an evil cartoon character with pre-fab die-cast hair?

Posted by: pdigi | December 12, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

We can have a debate on another day whether Sarah Palin should have resigned her position as governor. She has used the added available time well to increase her power and influence. Palin seems to be studying the issues---and I suspect will be able to defeat mostly anyone in a debate in less than a year.

I always get a kick of those questioning Sarah Palin's knowledge. These same people often did not think twice before supporting the ill educated Barack Obama. Palin likely reads more in the first few hours of the week than Obama does in an entire month.

Posted by: DavidThomson | December 12, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry, do people REALLY think Palin wrote that WSJ article?

Really?

Posted by: gryphen | December 12, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"sound analysis, and her reasoned conclusion is well within mainstream conservative thinking "

This is a strange way of admitting that your dislike of Palin is superficial.


"Does that mean that if Ryan ran, she wouldn't feel compelled to do so?"

I hope she runs just to make the establishment insane with fear.
She knows she can't win. She knows that you people in the media hate her, and have, and will continue to use the influence of your positions, to paint her as unqualified.

By the way, the ridiculous argument put forth by some here, that we shouldn't nominate someone as "inexperienced" and "unqualified" as Obama is just pretense.
It's basically a performance, a ruse.

Was it Obama's inexperience that led to the take-over of GM?..or that passed the health-care bill? Did his qualifications get in the way of passing the horrible financial reform bill, while exempting the real problems, Fannie and Freddie?
How much easier would it have been for a veteran administration to work out an end-around through the EPA to enforce their carbon trading scam?
Could an inexperienced moron, with no qualifications to hold office, pull that off?

The whole argument is a canard

Posted by: MrMeaner | December 12, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"They can remain in the traditional government-run system or direct a portion of their payroll taxes to personal accounts, owned by them, managed by the Social Security Administration and guaranteed by the federal government."

Hmmm if we're all upset with Fannie and Freddie, why create the exact same type plan to cover retirees?

Posted by: 54465446 | December 12, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It's one thing to tweet or post to Facebook. It would be such another thing to have Palin face to face with a non-Fox News journalist or two who would ask her questions about Rep. Paul Ryan's (R.-Wisc.) Roadmap for America's Future which she in turn would answer with clarity, understanding, and perspective. Hasn't happened yet. All Palin seems to have done during her years in the limelight is repeat statements she has memorized without displaying that she has any deep understanding of the issues.

Posted by: millerwen | December 12, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

davidThomson wrote:

"She has used the added available time well to increase her power and influence"

She has increased media face time, but hardly power and influence, espcially within her own party. She is the enemy of the Republican establishment, persuing her own agenda. You can be sure that they are actively making sure that she will not be the nominee in 2012, even as she probably has no intention of doing so anyway.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 12, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Rubin--light weight and small minded. Family get you this job? What center stage can you play in===or yeah--yellow journalism PHD

Posted by: bulldogss | December 12, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

agree with gryphen - we all know Sarah Palin has an excellent ghost writer.

When I read this yesterday, I thought it rather shallow rubber-stamping. Worse, if this is really what the Ryan Road map is, how does it differ from the Ryan-Rivlin proposal? I just remembered why I vote for the lesser of two evils - the Democrats. Ryan's roadmap as described by Palin sounds too much like a new face of Starve-the-Beast, and does nothing to further the dialog of what the Federal government should do and how much it should cost and how to be responsible about taming the deficit. When is the GOP going to throw Grover Norquist under the bus? (and start listening to Douglas Holz-Eakin?).
It seems only the Clinton presidency will be remembered as fiscally sane.

Why conservatives believe the Bush43 tax cuts did anything to stimulate REAL job growth is beyond me. All that happened was a real estate bubble, and acceleration of even more manufcturing jobs leaving America.

How can anyone think that lower corporate tax rates are so important when corporate America is currently sitting on almost TWO TRILLION USD in retained earnings because they do not know where to invest it? and that does not count retianed profits in oversease subsidiaries. Did Ireland's really low corporate tax rate actually create sustainable economic growth? Does Japan's high corporate tax rate inhibit high value manufactured exports?

Yeah, Palin needs to go one-on-one with Candy Crowley "about Rep. Paul Ryan's (R.-Wisc.) Roadmap for America's Future" (hat tip to millerwen)

Maybe the bond market's bite by Friday was as much in response to Palin in the WSJ as the Fed's QE2 plus Obama's deficit-busting deal with the GOP Senate.

Posted by: K2K2 | December 12, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what your corporate tax rates are, if your deficit spending is 32% of GDP, as is in Ireland.
Why would any corporation invest in an economy that is looking more and more like the Keynesian nightmare that led to the crisis in Europe?..especially when we're "bailing out" their failure on our debt, while pursuing the same kind of policies that led to their collapse, in the first place.

Posted by: MrMeaner | December 12, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Palin again parrots the work of others with no real critical understanding e.g. a consumption tax disproportionately harms poor and middle class Americans as it would tax essentials.

Neither she nor Ryan addresses how America would pay for its ongoing love affair with the military industrial complex and global empire; Ryan is no true conservative like Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan, who argue factually that a great part of deficit and of resentment towards U.S. is incessant meddling in other nations' affairs (WWII was over 60 years ago and no, U.S. did not "save" Europe's behind; rather, Hitler's ego led him to several key strategic blunders, including attacking USSR and having so many forces bogged down in cold Eastern front and in Yugoslavia) and the fact that defense is 1/5 to 1/4 of Fed budget, not counting parallel agency and security spending.

Someone said Fannie/Freddie cause of crisis. Hate to burst your bubble but the line that F and F and CRA caused mortgage crisis has been discredited several times. Might want to read something other than NR or seek sources beyond Fox or AM Radio. Majority of subprime loans were issued by private mortgage lenders with NO CRA obligations and little regulation. Majority of borrowers (71%) were non-Hispanic middle income whites.


http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/kroszner20081203a.htm

http://rismedia.com/2008-07-23/report-shows-subprime-rate-lending-dominant-with-non-hispanic-whites-and-upper-income-borrowers/

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2008/10/12/53802/private-sector-loans-not-fannie.html

This info has been available for some time so fact that some are still parroting the Beck/Limbaugh/Kurtz Fannie/Freddie/CRA lie is a testament to willful stupidity and dead certainty of the truth of a debunked talking point.

The GM nationalization lie is exactly that. GM ASKED for Fed aid and anyone who knows the streets knows the rule of, you take MY money, you play by MY rules. Then again, Palinbots are simpletons who generally are congregated in rural areas/small towns and likely have NO concept of "the street."

Until Palin can speak to issues beyond Murdoch media or pop culture groupies like Barbara Walters or Oprah Winfrey and speak to the McLaughlin Group or Meet the Press, she is nothing but a tawdry, trashy reality star who can only speak to issues in simple soundbites and answer advanced softball questions from Hannity.

Posted by: Handsome19781 | December 12, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

In 2008, Fannie and Freddie owned 5.1 trillion dollars in residential mortgages, or half of the entire market.
As of June 30, 2008, their net worth was 114 billion.
You don't have to be a math wiz to do that subtraction.
And Fannie and Freddie were EXEMPTED from Obama's financial reform bill.
That isn't a crisis?

And what does race have to do with anything?
Can you progressives make a point without injecting your racism in to it?

Posted by: MrMeaner | December 12, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"suggests she can only borrow wonkery from others"

You started to walk back the poorly aimed comment that Twitter is not the place for policy issues. Then Palin responds at some length and that has problems too.

What would have worked for you?

Have any of the other major candidates responded on this issue via Twitter or at length with adequate independent policy expertise? Does this mean they're not up to presidential standards? Silence from you on that.

Sarah Palin is an expert on energy development. Does she have to be an expert on every other major issue as well? Isn't that why presidents (and governors) have advisers?

Not to mention that your premise that presidents need to be policy wonks is a thinking wrinkle not based on history.

Was Reagan a policy wonk? How about Lincoln? How about FDR (who actually had a "Brain Trust"--which JFK tried to emulate)?

Greatness in a leader comes from having the broad vision, being able to inspire others, and knowing which people to appoint/inspire to implement the vision.

You need to walk this one back more effectively than you walked your Twitter comment back.

Posted by: TD01 | December 12, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

A lot of people are concerned about whether Sarah Palin is smart enough to be president. It's comical when airheads like Couric, Letterman and Barbara Waters condescend to her, but the concern is also shared by many conservatives.

Most presidents come from the 120 to 125 IQ range or about the 90th to 95th percentiles. Any higher and the person may have difficulty communicating with people of average or below average intelligence. Supposedly, people separated by more than two standard deviations, or about 30 IQ points, have great difficulty understanding each other. Voters don't like politicians they can't understand or who don't seem like one of them.

Bill Clinton is the rare exception of a very smart man who can communicate really well with anyone, even with dimwits. Most presidents are in the smart but not extremely smart range, like FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, LBJ, Ford and both Bushes. It's not their IQs that make them successful. Nixon and Carter were exceptionally smart and both had serious communication problems. Romney is a current example of a brilliant, accomplished man who has difficulty relating to grassroots audiences.

With Palin, most smart educated people -- say, professionals or business executives -- question whether she is really one of them intellectually. Of course, many thought the same about Reagan, the most successful president of the last couple of generations. Maybe they are wrong about Palin too, but I don't think so. Reagan's journals and other writings reveal a man of great intellectual curiosity who thought deeply about a wide range of subjects. There's just no indication of that with Palin.

I admire a lot about Palin and believe she's a great asset for Republicans, but I don't think she has the intellectual heft of even a Bush, Gore or Kerry. She seems more at a Reid or Pelosi level -- not dumber than dirt but not a lot smarter either.

Posted by: eoniii | December 12, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Millerwen writes:

It's one thing to tweet or post to Facebook. It would be such another thing to have Palin face to face with a non-Fox News journalist or two who would ask her questions about Rep. Paul Ryan's (R.-Wisc.) Roadmap for America's Future which she in turn would answer with clarity, understanding, and perspective. Hasn't happened yet. All Palin seems to have done during her years in the limelight is repeat statements she has memorized without displaying that she has any deep understanding of the issues.

I think this is a key point. No matter how big a celebrity you are you lose the controlled environment during a campaign. She will be challenged and queried on completely legitimate points. Maybe she has a fluid grasp of detail, but if she runs she's going to be severely tested. Other readers, I think miss the point. It is not a question of intelligence but of a persona that inspires confidence and allays voters' concerns about her. Was/is the press unfair? You betcha. But so what? Really, whining about the "lamestream" media is so 2008.

Posted by: Jennifer Rubin | December 12, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse


You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check http://ow.ly/3akSX .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: timothyrow | December 13, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse


After what seemed like a lifetime of thirty-Year adjustable-rate mortgages, with monthly mortgage payments going up all the time, The "123 Mortgage Refinance" helped me to lock in a great low fixed rate of 3.16%, helping me to guarantee myself the ability to always make my mortgage payment on time with money to spare.

Posted by: marybaskin | December 13, 2010 2:37 AM | Report abuse

"I think this is a key point. No matter how big a celebrity you are you lose the controlled environment during a campaign. She will be challenged and queried on completely legitimate points. Maybe she has a fluid grasp of detail, but if she runs she's going to be severely tested."

How did she do with Chris Wallace, one of the best in the business? He's had at least two serious interviews with Palin in the last 6 or 7 months in which she has done as well as, if not better than, President Obama did in his interview with Wallace.

Posted by: TD01 | December 13, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"HER" reasoned conclusion????

Posted by: danw1 | December 14, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Why do conservatives get in trouble with the IRS so much? Wouldn't it be more conservative to go ahead and pay the taxes you owe and not be burdened by the fines and penalties?

Posted by: danw1 | December 17, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin reminds me of a slutty Sunday school teacher. Sanctimony in tight sweaters.

Posted by: danw1 | December 17, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

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