Not Ready For Prime Time Palin
by Todd Beeton, Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 11:10:26 AM EDT
Sam Stein at HuffPo picks up on what he calls Sarah Palin's first gaffe over the weekend.
Gov. Sarah Palin made her first potentially major gaffe during her time on the national scene while discussing the developments of the perilous housing market this past weekend.
Speaking before voters in Colorado Springs, the Republican vice presidential nominee claimed that lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had "gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers."
McClatchy does some fact checking.
McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaking in Colorado Springs, Colo., said Fannie and Freddie had "gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers." The companies, however, aren't taxpayer funded but operate as private companies.
The irony, of course, is that:
The takeover may result in a taxpayer bailout during reorganization.
As even the conservative Cato Institute concedes:
"Heretofore, if the treasury had a balance sheet there would have been a liability but there was never a taxpayer payment before [the bailout]," said Gerald P. O'Driscoll, an economist with the Cato Institute. "[Fannie and Freddie] were not taxpayer funded. They had taxpayer guarantee, which is worth something, especially in the stock market..."
Palin clearly knows nothing about this. But hey, at least, as David Brooks told us on This Week yesterday, she's really hard working and she's studying up! I feel better now!
It's not surprising, I suppose, that this gaffe wouldn't really blow up -- so far -- since the inner workings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren't exactly kitchen table discussion fodder, and there might be some reluctance to lower people's expectations about Palin's knowledge base and thus set her up to far exceed them in coming interviews and debates. But the reason this gaffe should be significant and should be pushed far and wide is that Palin's lack of understanding about these institutions plays into what should be the Obama campaign's central message: the McCain/Palin ticket can not be trusted to turn around the economy because they really just don't know that much about it. Many pundits have said this and I agree -- Obama should own the economy as an issue and the fact that he doesn't at this point is a problem.