Sarah Palin Forgets History, And Her Own Words

Sarah Palin’s comments last night about the debt ceiling debate are, in a word, curious:

“Scaring the American people is exactly what President Obama is doing. In that bizarre speech that he gave last night, it reminded me of when he insisted that TARP had to be passed — it was life-or-death, at that time, also.”

There’s just two problems here. Barack Obama wasn’t President when TARP was passed, George W. Bush was.

And, Palin supported TARP:

In the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, Palin held that now infamous interview with CBS News‘ Katie Couric, and she endorsed the bailout. The exchange was odd because Palin provided a confusing reply, inexplicably tying the bank bailout to health care reform, but it was clear she favored the bailout (as did Sen. John McCain):

COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries? Allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy? Instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That’s why I say, I, like every American I’m speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in, where it is the taxpayers looking to bailout. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy—helping the—Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. Shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track… And trade we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive scary thing. But 1 in 5 jobs being created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

Weeks later, during an October 21 CNN interview, Palin gave a straighter answer, indicating her full support for the bailout:

Now, as for the economic bailout provisions and the measures that have already been taken, it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in playing an appropriate role to shore up the housing market to make sure that we’re thawing out some of the potentially frozen credit lines and credit markets, government did have to step in there.

In her 2009 book, Going Rogue, Palin noted that the bailout had been absolutely necessary, and she even chastised the House Republicans (like Royce) who had voted against it:

The House of Representatives rejected a Bush-backed economic bailout plan in a vote in which two-thirds of Republicans voted no. The impression this made on the electorate was not helpful to our cause. Millions of Americans were poised to go bankrupt or lose their savings, and the perception was that Republicans had failed to respond.

Palin isn’t alone in holding this position on the debt ceiling, she speaks for others including some who assert, absurdly, that the GOP has already compromised with the President by agreeing to raise the debt ceiling. Well, they need to understand that acting to protect the fiscal stability of the United States is not a compromise.

FILED UNDER: Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Well I, for one, am shocked that Palin is contradicting herself!

  2. Jay Tea says:

    Senator Obama strongly supported TARP and voted for it. I remember it because it was one of the few times he bothered to show up and do his job over his last year in the Senate.


  3. Yes Jay but it wasn’t Barack Obama who was calling for a yes vote on TARP as loudly as George Bush and John (Its a crap sandwich but vote for it anyway) Boehner. And it wasn’t Obama who absurdly suspended his campaign to “do something” about the financial crisis and then did absolutely nothing.

    Palin needs to go back and read her own book

  4. Jay Tea says:

    You need to stop reading your own prejudices into everything Palin, Doug. She said he sounds now like he did then. And since then, we’ve learned that TARP was, by and large, a colossal waste that he still defends.

    I don’t see the problem. But then, I don’t have this pathological need to cut down Palin at every opportunity. Maybe that makes a difference.


  5. Alex Knapp says:

    Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

  6. Jay,

    Anyone who takes the position, as Palin does, that the debt ceiling doesn’t need to be raised at all needs to be cut down and never taken seriously as a commentator on public policy ever again.

  7. @Jay Tea: That’s right Jay: change the subject.

  8. Jay Tea says:

    Doug, the mere prospect of you declaring me or Sarah Palin as needing to be “cut down and never taken seriously as a commentator on public policy ever again” feels me with great fear and trepidation.

    Nope, sorry, guess that was just that burrito. (Excuse me.)

    On the other hand, the people who insist that all we need to do is just keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing and someday it will all just go away do need to be taken very seriously. And kept as far from positions of any kind of power. That kind of reality denial is seriously dangerous.


  9. Jay Tea says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Steven, the topic is what Palin said. Is it so off topic to point out that, once you cut out Duog’s typical anti-Palin prejudice, she was correct?


  10. @Jay Tea: Your first comment was about Obama. The subject is Palin. Bringing up something else is changing the subject, yes? (or, at least, attempting to do so).

  11. Jay Tea says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The subject is Palin’s comments about Obama. How the hell does noting that she was correct considered off-topic?


  12. @Jay Tea:

    First, the topic was not Obama’s TARP vote.

    Second, the issue about TARP was alleged scare tactics.

    Third, all you did was snark ” I remember it because it was one of the few times he bothered to show up and do his job over his last year in the Senate.”

    Fourth, the post is about Palin’s inconsistent position.

  13. @Jay Tea:

    If Palin is criticizing Obama for supporting TARP, she needs to look in the mirror because she supported it too. So did the man who put her on the 08 ticket, and the leader of her party at the time.

    That’s the point.

  14. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: You don’t have to worry about people no longer taking you seriously, Jay. No one ever did.

  15. JohnMcC says:

    But fellows, it’s all so very clear and obvious to Mr Tea. Just as clear and obvious to Ms Palin. It’s we poor confused proles stuck in the bonds of reality that are confused.

  16. Jay Tea says:

    OK, I think I’ve figured it out. It’s not that Palin was wrong, but she’s not allowed to say it. Gotcha.


  17. No, she’s wrong. Just like all the other debt kamikazes are wrong. But in drawing the analogy to TARP, she also comes across as hypocritical.

  18. An Interested Party says:

    I don’t see the problem. But then, I don’t have this pathological need to cut down Palin at every opportunity. Maybe that makes a difference.

    No, you seem to have the pathological need to worship at her altar which makes a hell of a difference…

    No, she’s wrong… But in drawing the analogy to TARP, she also comes across as hypocritical.

    How shocking…

  19. Jay Tea says:

    Here’s a quote that might be what Palin was referring to:

    Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address:

    Our most urgent task upon taking office was to shore up the same banks that helped cause this crisis. It was not easy to do. And if there’s one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, and everybody in between, it’s that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it — (applause.) I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal. (Laughter.)

    But when I ran for President, I promised I wouldn’t just do what was popular -– I would do what was necessary. And if we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today. More businesses would certainly have closed. More homes would have surely been lost.

    So I supported the last administration’s efforts to create the financial rescue program. And when we took that program over, we made it more transparent and more accountable. And as a result, the markets are now stabilized, and we’ve recovered most of the money we spent on the banks. (Applause.) Most but not all.

    No, I bet it was this speech on the Senate Floor.

    I see lots of similarities in the style and tone. But that’s right, Palin’s not allowed to make this point.

    So, who would have the appropriate standing to point it out?


  20. Jonathan Poletti says:

    Palin does not say she was for the bailout. She was giving the McCain position, not her own. This is a convention in the VP role. She adds in her book that voting against it was bad optics for the GOP, not that doing so was wrong. Also in the Couric reply she is being asked about health care. The presentation here takes that out of context.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “I was for it before I was against it !”