Sarah Palin: Random Platitude Generator

From the debate,

Moderator Gwen Ifill: The next question is…about the subprime lending meltdown. Who do you think was at fault? I start with you, Gov. Palin. Was it the greedy lenders? Was it the risky home buyers who shouldn’t have been buying a home in the first place? And what should you be doing about it?

Palin: Darn right it was the predator lenders, who tried to talk Americans into thinking that it was smart to buy a $300,000 house if we could only afford a $100,000 house. There was deception there, and there was greed and there is corruption on Wall Street. And we need to stop that.

Let me see, the lender was greedy. Okay sure, I buy that. He (or she) wanted that nice commission. But, why isn’t the person buying the house greedy? In Palin’s example the buyer is getting 3 times as much home as he can really afford. Isn’t that the definition of greed?

One thing that Americans do at this time, also, though, is let’s commit ourselves, just everyday American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey moms across the nation, I think we need to band together and say never again. Never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars.

Translation: Everyday American people, Joe Six Pack, hockey mom’s, et. al. are stooopid. They didn’t realize that they couldn’t afford a house that was 3x what they could afford.

We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt.

Again, people are too stooopid to oversee their own investments and savings. Government has to do it for them.

Let’s do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. Don’t live outside of our means.

What? Did she just suddenly forget what she said second ago? The people decided to live beyond their means and it wasn’t their fault. So what if I get a credit card run it up to the max and can’t pay for it. It was the fault of those predatory credit card companies that made me charge things!

We need to make sure that as individuals we’re taking personal responsibility through all of this.

Uhhh…buuuuut…didn’t she just say we need government to do this?

Sarah Palin is like some sort of random platitude generator. Toss a question at her and soon she’ll start spouting an incoherent stream of platitudes.

Oh well so much for the conservative/Republican belief in free markets. We are all big government nanny-staters now.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Economics and Business, US Politics, ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. Brian says:

    We’re more likely to get straight answers from a magic 8-ball.

    Q: How will the economy respond to the bailout?
    A: Outlook does not look good.

    The beauty of this is that there are only a few different answers we can get.

  2. anjin-san says:

    I am trying to reconcile Plains calls to “get government out of the way of the American people” with “We need to make sure that we demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings “.

    What principal does she adhere to… Less regulation or more? Guess it depends on the expedience of the moment.

    (no wonder bit loves her!)

  3. mike says:

    Democrats will vote for the Democrat. Republicans will vote for the Republican. That’s how it has always been.
    John McCain and Joe Biden are politicians. They know their numbers, and they know Washington.
    What is different about this election is culture. Where is America going, culturally?
    This is where Barack Obama and Sarah Palin come in.
    Some say race is a factor against Obama, but I say it is the opposite: Obama has been propelled upwards by his skin color. The positive ‘racism’ (Black-Americans supporting him, White-Americans feeling guilty about the legacy of slavery) far outweighs the few remaining pockets of negative racism (traditional bigotry) that still exist in our country.
    Whereas Black-Americans account for 12 percent of America, women number about 51 percent.
    This is where America’s reaction to Sarah Palin gets interesting. It is not only sexism at play, but regionalism too. Keep in mind that America’s reaction could be vastly different from the media’s reaction, which tries to intervene in how America thinks and observes for itself.
    For the last decade, American women have been trying to become either the fifth ‘Manhattanite’ cast member of ‘Sex and the City’ or a ‘Desperate Housewife’ on Wisteria Lane. The White male executives who created, packaged and marketed these female stereotypes have made plenty of money as women across America spent time and money trying to become ‘Carrie Bradshaw’. But somehow, these wanna-be’s never lived it up as glamorously.
    Sarah Palin is all about God, Family, Country and Shot-Guns. She is a completely New American Woman. She was not constructed by a Public Relations agency in either New York City or Los Angeles. She is not a Hollywood creation. Sarah Palin is simply a product of American small-town wholesomeness: happy childhood, hard work, self-discipline and a bright, and almost chirpy, outlook on life.
    Sarah is not the high-maintenance, drama-seeking, bulimia-suffering fragile caricature of a working woman as peddled by TV.
    Her husband, Todd Palin, is not a neurotic metro-sexual obsessing over the price of organic arugula, or whining about his commitment phobias to his shrink. He is a man’s man, and frankly, a woman’s man: just your regular American guy—wholesome and uncomplicated.
    Sarah and Todd are American ‘retro’, but it is retro made cool all over again. They are a brand of Americana that has been tested and true—genuine, confident and mature.
    Something happened to the Obama brand on the way to the election. It is as if the fashion gods decided that “Didn’t you know? No one wears Obama after Labour Day.”
    Once exotic and different, the Obama brand has been turned into something weird and creepy. “Obama’s Witnesses,” “Obama’s Blue-Shirts,” “The Obama Youth Fraternity League”…Plus, after the initial swooning over him, most people still think that there’s something “off” about Obama; as if he’s hollow, or hiding something.
    Today, the Obama brand has become decidedly “uncool”. That’s why people tuned out from watching him debate McCain.
    On the other hand, Americans are discovering that they are intrigued by Sarah Palin. The TV pundits may want to spin things their way, but the surest measure of who won the Vice-Presidential Debate is that, at the end, the vast majority of viewers walked away from their TV sets and said to themselves, “I’d like to see more of Sarah Palin—unfiltered and uncut.”
    The Obama camp may be celebrating too early. There are still plenty of people out there that haven’t made up their mind, and Obama’s triumphalism may begin to sound like arrogance, and he’s already been accused of that.
    This is indeed a culturally interesting time to be an American.

  4. Spoker says:

    And I suppose undefined “change” qualifies as heavy intellectual political rhetoric.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Today, the Obama brand has become decidedly “uncool”.

    I am pretty sure the use of the term “uncool” automatically makes you unqualified to discuss what is actually cool or not.

    And thinking Palin is “cool” absolutely does….

  6. KatieUtah says:

    Yeah, Mike, I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one. Obama is as much in favor with his fans as he ever was. And Governor Palin? Well, all you have to do is compare polls (you don’t seem to like polls, but they’re the only decent barometer we have at this juncture). In the past week alone, Obama’s favor in national polls has shot up 7 points. As for the candidate you compare him to, Gov. Palin, overall positive opinion of her has dropped nearly by half since she was first introduced. Yesterday’s debate may be a shot in the arm, but, again, every single major poll showed there were more people who thought Biden won that debate than who thought Palin did, so it wasn’t a very effective shot in the arm.

    I’ll give you one example of why Obama is not suddenly, well, “uncool,” as you chose to describe it. Brigham Young University is the #2 most conservative university in the nation, comprised almost entirely of Mormons who champion pro-life values and decry gay marriage. And yet, the BYU Democrats have had a better showing at any of their meetings than its counterpart club, the BYU Republicans. And at those meetings, whenever Obama’s name is mentioned, these students cheer and stomp their feet, with expressions of purest enthusiasm. I have watched Texans from staunchly Republican families get converted to the cause. I have watched nonpartisan Independents who shy away from politics become rabid defendants of Sen. Obama, and fierce opponents of Sen. McCain and his running mate, Gov. Palin (especially her, actually). These are the same students who go on two-year missions to evangelize and marry young and have children before most college kids are even thinking about settling down. And yet, this intensely conservative, family-centered group of people passionately express their love and admiration for Sen. Obama, looking beyond the usual litmus test issues like abortion and gay marriage to see an individual who they believe with deepest conviction has their best interests at heart and will turn around this country.

    BYU students are just one example. There are scores more Utahns who are avid Obama supporters, and scores more I have encountered in pivotal states like Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. Utah will probably still go to McCain, because you can’t change a red state like this overnight — but many of these students are voting absentee from states like the ones I just mentioned. In fact, as a pair of students ourselves, my husband and I will both be voting from key districts in Ohio. And the fact that there are so many ultra-conservatives who see the Illinois Senator in such a positive light is a testament to the fact that Obama’s incredible charm, commitment, conviction and charisma continue to drive his poll numbers up … and will continue to do so all the way to Nov. 4.

  7. sam says:

    Steve, your cynicism is showing. Rich Lowry had it right:

    A very wise TV executive once told me that the key to TV is projecting through the screen. It’s one of the keys to the success of, say, a Bill O’Reilly, who comes through the screen and grabs you by the throat. Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can’t be learned; it’s either something you have or you don’t, and man, she’s got it.

    A guy like that, who can write and jackoff at the same time, is someone worth paying attention to.

  8. glasnost says:

    I’m impressed, Steve. Rather honest of you to dare to examine Sarah Palin’s statements according to standards remotely similar to those with which you’d examine a Democrat.

    You realize that professional conservatives on all sides of you are absolutely full of sh*t, right? They’re all swooning over this woman while putting their hands over their ears so they can’t hear all this populist-Democrat rhetoric she was spouting about the ‘greed and corruption’ on Wall Street.

    They’re probably guessing she doesn’t mean a word she’s saying. And I expect they’re right. Good for you for not playing this sick game.

  9. just me says:

    I agree with this completely:

    Some say race is a factor against Obama, but I say it is the opposite: Obama has been propelled upwards by his skin color. The positive ‘racism’ (Black-Americans supporting him, White-Americans feeling guilty about the legacy of slavery) far outweighs the few remaining pockets of negative racism (traditional bigotry) that still exist in our country.

    I am sure there are still racists out there that under no circumstances would ever vote for a black person, but I think they are outnumbered by those who don’t give to flips and those who would vote for him solely because he is black.

    If Obama with his record and time in national politics was a white guy he wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far. Just look at the white guy whose political story most closely resembles Obamas-John Edwards. He was the rising star when he won his senate seat. He also ran for the presidency during his first term. He didn’t do poorly, but he didn’t win the nomination either, and that was in a year with a lot of mediocre democrats running for the spot.

  10. Steve, in my generous moments I think that Governor Palin isn’t speaking to me or you and this is what they think Joe and Betty Six-Pack want to hear. For the record, I do find it as reprehensible as you.

  11. Sheila says:

    While I agree with Mike’s comments completely, getting back to the blog topic…..
    Regarding personal responsibility – we are never going to get all of the people to act responsibly all of the time – just look at the democrats!

    The lenders are supposed to be MORE responsible and MORE knowledgeable in their field. I remember a time when I tried to get a loan for my restaurant and no one would loan me the money – despite an excellent credit rating and 5 years in the business! At the time, I don’t know if we were in a struggling banking economy or not – I wasn’t paying attention, all I knew is that I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t give me a loan so I could improve my business. I’m a woman, and it occurred to me that there might be some sexism going on, but I’ve never really been one to let other people get me down. That’s why I like Sarah Palin, she embodies the American woman, at least the American conservative and independent woman. Sarah Palin is tough and determined, happy and optimistic, entrepreneurial and adventurous! In Sarah, I see myself, a better version of myself, which makes her even more valuable as an inspiration to us all. 🙂

    By the way, I stayed in business and sold four years later – probably as a direct result of not being able to get a loan to take my business to the next level.

    I’m crediting the banking industry at the time of showing fiscal restraint and discipline, even though I vehemently disagreed with them at the time. Apparently, that is not what’s been happening lately.

    Lots of people THINK they qualify for a loan, the banker is the one who is supposed to KNOW whether they’re qualified or not.

    People don’t have as much personal discipline and responsibility as you would like to think. The reason is not because they’re stooopid, it’s because they are not likely to be an expert in the field of banking. Anyone who takes advantage of people like this is a predatory, greedy lender.

  12. Our Paul says:

    Daniel Larison, of <a href=””, Eunomia examines Peggy Noonan and David Brooks gushing reviews of Sarah Palin’s debate performance. It is bit ponderous in style, but worth a read because of its substance. He links both columnists, so that mike and sam can warm their hearts as the winter, and November 4th approach…

    Now then, I do not always agree with Steve Verdon’s views, but he does deserve a round of applause for an elegant deconstruction of Sarah Palin’s puffery (AKA answers to questions). I am sure that he, as I, note Rich Lowery’s comments (as quoted by sam) about Ms. Palin’s visual presentation. All I can say is that I have received more subtle “come on” at the local watering hole. “starbursts”, winks, and smiles, indeed…

    A bit off the topic, but there is a difference between style and substance. A while back, there was a vote in the Senate to approve or reject a treaty that would ban the use and manufacture of cluster bombs. These weapons, with their residual unexploded “bombletts”, can have devastating effects on civilian populations.

    Voting to reject this treaty was the majority of the Senate, including John McCain and Hilary Clinton. About 104 nations, including Great Britain and all our NATO allies, have accepted the key provisions of this treaty. Today, the United States stands shoulder to shoulder with Russia, China, Israel, and a couple of other stall worth nations that view these as permissible weapons.

    One can dismiss style, but not substance. Obama voted to accept the provisions of this treaty.

  13. Our Paul says:

    Correction: The link on Eunomia can be found here.

    Conclusive proof that God punishes for pubescent sins.

  14. Steve,

    I had a similar reaction to those responses from Gov. Palin. The bottom line is that a lot of people bought more house than they could afford on the assumption that a) interest rates would stay low and b) the value of their property would continue to increase.

    Likewise on the “greed on Wall Street” meme that many of the politicians (and citizens) are spouting: no one was griping about “Wall Street greed” when the Dow was soaring and everyone’s 401k quarter balances looked great.

  15. Steve Verdon says:


    What is amusing is that people on Wall Street thought exactly the same as the person buying too much house on the false assumptions. So if the Wall Street guys are greedy then so is Joe Six Pack and I don’t like Sarah Palin.

    She is a smarmy arrogant liar….and that is the most charitable take.

  16. sam says:

    Paul, buddy, turn your irony detector on and go back and read my post.

  17. Floyd says:

    That’s a great piece of writing! Well said.