How did Sarah Palin do on Fox News Sunday?....
Fair to middling. Let's take a look:
Begin with Chris Wallace, who turned in another stellar performance as interviewer--there is no one better than him today--asking Palin about her influence in the Delaware & Alaska Senate races. CW noted that Tea Partier Christine O'Oonnell trails Democrat lefty Chris Coons by 14 points (53-39) in the Delaware senatorial contest. For Alaska, TPer Joe Miller polls around even with sore loser Lisa Murkowski, she of the entitlement establishment & spelling-unfriendly write-in surname.
Of Delaware, Palin said that she will always back the conservative candidate against a RINO (Republican In Name Only--the Democratic version is DINO) and that RINO Mike Castle backed cap & trade. Besides, she said, who says Castle would win?
On the first point, Palin ignored that Castle had opposed the Obama stimulus & ObamaCare bills, a 2/3 pro-GOP score on the three biggest bills of Obama's first 21 months. On the second, Palin appears completely unaware that Castle, who had not only been elected several times to Congress, but also had been elected Governor of the First State; in all, Castle had won twelve--yes, a dozen--statewide Delaware races. Castle was a surefire winner over a little-known lefty lawyer whose campaign would have gotten nothing from Democratic big guns.
On Alaska Palin predictably did far better, knowing the state intimately as a former Governor. She told CW that she has a tape of a reporter caught deliberately fabricating lies about Joe Miller. Fox played the tape of a voicemail recording of a conversation a Miller staffer inadvertently captured because the caller, a local CBS radio affiliate reporter, failed to hang up his cellphone; the reporter was thus subsequently taped discussing with colleagues strategies as to how to discredit Miller in the closing hours of the campaign. The Weekly Standard Blog posted the offending tape and transcript; TWS Blog's post also includes the radio station's response. Palin called the offending media "corrupt bastards." For his part, asked by Fox's Neil Cavuto about this Miller said: "The level of corruption is staggering."
Asked about the "bean counters" project a $4 trillion budget gap if the Bush tax cuts are fully extended Palin fumbled (as did Carly Fiorina the previous week). She rambled on, even lapsing into wonk-speak here & there. But she missed (as did Fiorina) the main point: Bean-counter estimates of the budgetary impact of long-term tax rate changes (rebates do not count) are almost always wrong--frequently, way wrong.
How so? Because bean counters always assume that the tax base remains constant, regardless of what the tax rate is. So raise taxes to 90 percent from today's 40 percent top, and bean counters assume nobody stops working or investing. Recall the "yacht tax" of 1993? Clinton raised taxes, secure in the advice he got that those rich folks could easily afford an extra levey on zillion-dollar yachts. Well, what actually happened is that demand for yachts dropped precipitously, and several yacht builders went belly up. Did bean counters learn from this? Nope. Nor did they learn from the act that the deficit declined as a share of GDP down to 1.2 percent in FY07, the last year before the financial meltdown & long, nasty recession; higher rates will prolong the economic doldrums. Budgetary balance can only be achieved by the combination of robust economic growth and modest spending restraint that led to a sinlge budget surplus during the second Clinton term.
As for 2012, Palin made a telling comment: "I love the freedom that I have, I love the position that I have." Then FNS aired a video clip from her Alaska special premiering in a fortnight on cable. In a rock climbing segment she is told by the mountaineer: "You always wanted to be a rock climber?" In response Palin quipped: "Was it a rock climber or a rock star?" Methinks she was only half-kidding.
Then CW faced her directly, telling her that because Palin loves her freedom, given the money she is making, and given her ability as a private citizen to ignore hostile media queries, she will not run in 2012.
Palin said if duty calls she would answer despite her currently happy position. The she praised CW for keeping his questions short. To which CW quipped "I wish I could say the same for your answers, Gov. Palin!" Ungentlemanly, but on point.
Bottom Line. Palin is a more polished performer now in interviews. But she is rarely tested the way Wallace, however gently but firmly, pressed her. And she has gaps in her grasp of economic & budget questions that her gubernatorial experience should have taught her (though many governors seem not to learn). She would do well to listen to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who would have hit these questions out of the ballpark. And her ignorance of Mike Castle's voting record and unique status in Delaware politics suggests she should do more homework before picking which candidate to support. As to 2012, her enjoyment of her current superstar status and position of political influence makes Wallace's guess that she will not run in 2012 very likely on the mark.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics