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Tilting at Windmills

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July 14, 2009

PALIN PONDERS CAP AND TRADE.... Last year, the McCain/Palin ticket touted a cap-and-trade proposal as their solution to combating climate change. John McCain has already changed direction -- he recently labeled the policy a "far-left" agenda item -- and today, Sarah Palin has an op-ed in the Washington Post that also denounces the idea.

The soon-to-be-ex governor of Alaska, instead of retreating from politics, has published a 700-word piece explaining that she's "deeply concerned" about the Democratic plan.

American prosperity has always been driven by the steady supply of abundant, affordable energy. Particularly in Alaska, we understand the inherent link between energy and prosperity, energy and opportunity, and energy and security. Consequently, many of us in this huge, energy-rich state recognize that the president's cap-and-trade energy tax would adversely affect every aspect of the U.S. economy.

There is no denying that as the world becomes more industrialized, we need to reform our energy policy and become less dependent on foreign energy sources. But the answer doesn't lie in making energy scarcer and more expensive!

In an impressive feat, Palin managed to write an entire piece about energy policy without mentioning the words "global warming," "climate change," "carbon," or "emissions." There's "no denying" the need to address the issue, but there's also no explaining why. (She did, however, manage to work in the phrase "cap-and-tax" four times.)

So, if Palin doesn't care for cap-and-trade anymore, what's her vision for U.S. energy policy? All we have to do, she explains, is "tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil." That means drilling in Alaska, drilling in Western states, drilling off the U.S. coasts, and making use of "abundant coal."

As a substantive matter, the Atlantic's Conor Clarke explained that Palin's op-ed suggests she "does not understand cap and trade." Clarke added that Palin's piece "displays an ignorance for the subject so profound it's almost gutsy. Almost." Jon Chait said it "has that 9th grade, five paragraph essay style along with random bits of right-wing jargon sprinkled throughout in appropriate contexts."

Kate Sheppard added the governor's op-ed "is just bad enough to make me wonder if Palin may have written it herself." Ouch.

As a political matter, Palin's op-ed was probably the first in a series of steps to give people the impression that she knows something about public policy. She's about more than poorly-written Facebook messages, poorly-written Twitter messages, and poorly-written speeches -- she's also willing to publish poorly-written newspaper pieces.

Update: Media Matters Action Network also does a nice job fact-checking the piece here.

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

What is it about Sarah Palin that looks like she should be wearing antlers?

Posted by: alan on July 14, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Does anybody know whether they paid her for this?

Posted by: DR on July 14, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to think that the ghostwriter oil lobby public relations officer doesn't understand cap-and-trade.

Posted by: norbizness on July 14, 2009 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

The WaPo does it again. Thanks for reading this op-ed so I didn't have to. I'm still boycotting them.

Posted by: Rolla on July 14, 2009 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

when Palin flames out nationally, as she almost inevitably will, how much lower will the GOP go? I'm trying to imagine someone even dumber and more arrogant than Palin, but I'm failing.

Our politics scare me these days. A major political party should not have Palin as mascot. It's just crazy.

Posted by: LL on July 14, 2009 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

The policy at WaPo must have changed to:

Bring us your deluded, misinformed and clueless. We will print them for a price.

Posted by: berttheclock on July 14, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

So just to make clear: Dan Froomkin doesn't merit any space in the WaPo, but Sarah Palin does. That says everything you need to know about the leadership of that publication.

Explain to me again why I'm supposed to be anxious over the demise of newspapers?

Posted by: bluestatedon on July 14, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Did it have any exclamation points?

...the governor's op-ed "is just bad enough to make me wonder if Palin may have written it herself."

Posted by: koreyel on July 14, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

AND, just how far along is that Alaska oil pipeline project? Any shovels "ready" yet...

Posted by: Dancer on July 14, 2009 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Sarah Palin shouldn't be allowed use exclamation points anymore!!!

Posted by: Anonymous on July 14, 2009 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Cap and trade already worked for SO2, and the costs were far below estimates.

Can someone please tell Bible Spice?

Posted by: JM on July 14, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

The women is an idiot. Dumber and more ignorant then W. Wow, it is a scary thought she was given the opportunity to be a heartbeat away. I will give myself credit for spotting it day one,not that it was hard with the hint that she didn't believe in evolution.

Posted by: JM on July 14, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

When the WaPo goes under for good, I will dance in the streets.

Posted by: kc on July 14, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Sarah is by far the smartest Republican!!!

Posted by: JoeSixPack on July 14, 2009 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

@ Koreyel..Oh fer sure she wrote it herself. Did you catch this one:
"In Alaska, we are progressing on the largest private-sector energy project in history."
Who else but Miss Moose "Progresses" something, instead of developing or constructing.
You are always sure to find some elements of the proverbial word salad in there. Wink! Wink! you betcha

Posted by: John R on July 14, 2009 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Leave exclamation points alone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: hells littlest angel on July 14, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Get used to it. This is her new role. There will probably be comments on everything from Sotomayer to healthcare to the economy, all in that homespun, girl next door in Alaska style. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Matt on July 14, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

The McCain/Palin ticket touted a cap-and-trade proposal as their solution to combating climate change? Wow, I thought C&T and AGW were anathema to true conservative believers! How can Sarah Palpulist present as bona fide?

BTW, it is also ironic, that McCain's current immigration proposals are more "liberal" than Obama's at least in a major aspect: McCain doesn't want as much checking on employers about hiring illegals! Of course that's not from "liberalism" but from selling out to business interests. McCain has lost most of his straight-talk, independent reputation for good reason.

Posted by: N e i l B on July 14, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

did she say "blow job"?

was her hair up?

Posted by: neill on July 14, 2009 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know ... I think exclamation points add a touch of class to newspaper op-ed pieces. I just wish she'd also used a few emoticons.

Posted by: Hoosier Paul on July 14, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

The WaPo has provided a megaphone to an idiot.

This is just the first in what will be a long line of attempts by Palin and her minions to keep her face and name in the headlines. Doing the grunt work of actually governing in Alaska didn't carry with it the same newsworthiness, hence the "will-she-or-won't-she-attend" game she played with the Republican banquet, and her contrived feud with Letterman.

The rightwing has far, far too much invested in Palin to let her slip away quietly. She will do whatever she can to keep her name on the marquee without doing anything of substance to deserve it.

The opinion piece in the WaPo is a case in point. All she is trying to do is establish bona fides by proxy, as if by saying she's an energy expert and publishing an opinion piece on the matter means she really IS.

But that, in a nutshell, is what the rightwing laps up. Conservatives will take two pieces of information--(1) that she claims to be an energy expert and (2) that she published a piece in the WaPo--and see that as evidence that Palin knows more about energy than anyone else in America.

It won't matter how many holes can be poked in her analysis by true experts. In their minds, conservatives now see her as an energy genius.

It's not like rightwingers are famous for their critical thinking skills.

Posted by: castanea on July 14, 2009 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Particularly in Alaska, we understand the inherent link between energy and prosperity, energy and opportunity, and energy and security.

Well, "Duh." Alaskan citizens get paid to be Alaskans. Link established. Prosperity? Not so much.

What a monumental idiot this woman is. She makes me truly scared that there are more stupid Americans than smart Americans.

If we only spent the Iraq Invasion money on American education, the next generation would have fewer morons, like this drooling fool.

Posted by: JJC on July 14, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

She has been the leader of the Republican party since the election, its not her fault no one told her!!! Her flippant answers to complex questions and her mavericky attitude is all a hockey mom needs to run the country!!!

Posted by: JoeSixPack on July 14, 2009 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Save Ezra Klein's blog, I'm done with the Washington Post. They have no credibility whatsoever.

Posted by: Chris on July 14, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Sarah seems to think because Alaska has oil and can make enough money off of the oil companies to pay all of its citizens, the rest of us in the lower 48 should just drill for oil in out states.

I tried it once over in Charleston, and all I got was a muddy slurry that smelled faintly of molasses.

Posted by: BrendanInBoston on July 14, 2009 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

"Palin Ponders" cap and trade???!!!! Come on. I knew you were yanking my chain after that second word. She hasn't pondered anything beyond which mascara to use and which shampoo to buy since....well...since yet. But, the public gets what the public wants. Seems the re-public-ans have want they want, their spokesperson and true leader. Fitting. (Just like her $180,000 campaign wardrobe. You go girl.)

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on July 14, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Given that the average I.Q. is 100 points, you gotta know there are at least as many stupid Americans as smart ones.

Posted by: Danny on July 14, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know how this is projected to affect trade deficits? I couldn't find any info from any of the links. I am concerned that this will further decay American manufacturing.

Posted by: Bob on July 14, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry to say that I read the whole Palin op-ed. I think she may already be drawing a paycheck from the entrenched energy companies. What else can explain it. Puttin aside the 9th grade cheerleader level of thinking and writing involved does she actually beleive we can just conduct business as usual here?
She's an obvious example of the effects of mercury pollution.

Posted by: Gandalf on July 14, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

She didn't write that.

Regardless of what it says, there's no way she could write something with coherent sentence structures.

As to the merit of her "argument" -- the status quo is not enough for Republicans. Instead, we're meant to be dragged back to the Industrial Revolution & the marvels of coal.

Erm.

Posted by: zhak on July 14, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

She is so HOT!

Posted by: Eric Cantor on July 14, 2009 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

I think Palin wants to be the female Newt Gingrich.

Come to think of it, she pretty much is.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on July 14, 2009 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

castanea:
"...that Palin knows more about energy than anyone else in America. "

Crazyeyes McCain actually said that about her.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on July 14, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

today, Sarah Palin has an op-ed in the Washington Post

Drat that "liberal media"!

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2009 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

So just to make clear: Dan Froomkin doesn't merit any space in the WaPo, but Sarah Palin does.

It's worse than that. Froomkin never had space in the WaPo's print edition; his column was online-only.

Whe powers that be at the WaPo decided that Froomkin isn't worth paying for, and Palin is.

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2009 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Did it have any exclamation points?

You're admitting you didn't read it?

Posted by: DH Walker on July 14, 2009 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

Palin said what one would expect her to say. It's the WaPo that needs to be held responsible for being willing to print this tripe.

Let's count some of the ways this was bad.

1) Palin says, "Those who understand the issue know we can meet our energy needs and environmental challenges without destroying America's economy."

Cap-and-trade is a response to a specific environmental challenge - global warming. As Steve points out, she never even mentions global warming or climate change, let alone explain how her ideas will meet that challenge. Did Fred Hiatt not notice this? Or did he just figure that it was legitimate for Palin to rely on an unstated assumption that the Magic Ponies would fix global warming?

2) Palin says cap-and-trade "would undermine our recovery over the short term." Didn't Fred Hiatt ask her if she knew that Waxman-Markey would have virtually no effect on energy prices over the next few years? Or did he think it was perfectly okay to give Palin a platform to lie to his readers?

3) Palin says, "[t]he Americans hit hardest will be those already struggling to make ends meet." Needless to say, this would be less of a problem (when the cap eventually becomes meaningful) if the carbon permits were fully auctioned off, and most of the proceeds distributed equally to all Americans, rather than giving away the vast majority of the permits. Also needless to say, support for fully auctionable permits came from the left, and opposition came from the right and center.

Did Fred Hiatt not think her avoidance of this issue was important? Of course not.

And so it goes.

Going meta for a moment, Palin complains about her treatment in the media, but really the only thing she has going for her is the mainstream media's willingness to accord her a patina of respectability. Like Hiatt's willingness to print her tripe on his op-ed page.

.

One advantage of having switched from a 7-day-a-week subscription to the WaPo, to Sundays only, is that I didn't have to throw down my paper in anger when I realized they'd given op-ed space to that vacuous twit.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on July 14, 2009 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

low-tech cyclist wrote: "Or did he think it was perfectly okay to give Palin a platform to lie to his readers?"

Why not? Hiatt has given second-rate sports writer George Will a platform to lie to his readers about global warming again and again and again in multiple columns over a period of years.

Hiatt calls George Will's repeated, deliberate, long-ago and many-times-over debunked lies an "important contribution to the debate" and "a challenge to the consensus".

I'm sure Hiatt will say much the same about Sarah Palin's ghostwritten, scripted, ExxonMobil-funded lies.

It's obvious that the management of the Post has determined that it's in their financial interest to join the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal as an aggressive purveyor of the fossil fuel corporations' denialist deceit.

Meanwhile, the New York Times runs paid, ExxonMobil adverts on the front page.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 14, 2009 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

She writes, "As the president eloquently puts it, their electricity bills will 'necessarily skyrocket.'"

How is that eloquent? Does this even make sense?

Posted by: The Pop View on July 14, 2009 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

there's no way she could write something with coherent sentence structures.

This, from The Wasilla Quitta, is coherent?

Many states have abundant coal, whose technology is continuously making it into a cleaner energy source.

Coal has its own technology? I hope it doesn't get the bomb!

Oh, and as for the subsequent sentence:

Westerners literally sit on mountains of oil and gas

Um, no. They don't.

And as for this BS:

Our 3,000-mile natural gas pipeline will transport hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of our clean natural gas to hungry markets across America.

The present plan is for a 2000-mile pipeline to central Alberta, to be completed in around 2018. Then, they might consider building a 1500-mile extension to Chicago.

Hmm. Anything that might use gas in central Alberta? How about the Great North American Black Hole for Gas Consumption, the tar sands projects? By 2018 they'll be running low on MacKenzie Delta gas, and they'll need new supplies, or they'll be shut down. That gas is never getting to Chicago. Hell, you're better off betting on Chicago getting energy from cold fusion than from Alaskan gas.

In truth, that gas will indirectly aid US gas supplies, by allowing Canadian gas sources to be sent to the US, instead of the tar sands. So: the pipeline means the US sells gas to Canada, which sells gas to the US. As far as trade deficits go, it'll be a wash.

We'll still be importing most of our energy, and changing the climate.

Posted by: CItizen_X on July 14, 2009 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Palin has just positioned herself to be an ongoing foil to the Democrats and Obama: a white woman standing up to the Fear of A Black Planet.
I also think the op-ed suffices as a 'show me the money" to the oil industry.
Trust me, she will for all practical purposes be Obama's Stalker until the GOP primaries and the crap she has ghostwritten for her here is going to be some of the more sane stuff we will hear from her.

Posted by: OXYMORON on July 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

"...In an impressive feat, Palin managed to write an entire piece about energy policy without mentioning the words "global warming," "climate change," "carbon," or "emissions." ..."-Benen

There's no need to go any further to demonstrate her ignorance since these are the main reasons for having a cap and trade policy...and she fails to even mention them.

Fear the Paliens...their brains have been removed

Posted by: bjobotts on July 14, 2009 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Many states have abundant coal, whose technology is continuously making it into a cleaner energy source."

"Coal has its own technology? I hope it doesn't get the bomb!"

That was worth getting out of bed for today.

Posted by: trex on July 14, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Sarah is and has always been under the delusion that if she was just free to speak her mind without handlers and advisors then all the endless criticism directed at her would vanish, and she would be recognized as the sizzling wit and world-class intellectual she has always felt herself to be.

Actually, no. She is a self-absorbed minimally intelligent housewife/hockey mom/bulldog with an insatiable hunger for power and acceptance.

And I for one am happy to see her spread herself thick around the media and in every public forum she can manage. Then there will be no more excuses, no one she can point to as the cause of her repeated failures. It will be all Sarah, all the time.

In six months to a year, max, the world will be thoroughly sick and fed up with her mindless posturing, and that will be the end of Sarah Palin.

And the peoples of the world will rejoice.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on July 14, 2009 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I have no problem with the WP running this editorial; after all, she was a national candidate and remains a well-known political figure.

My problem is with the editorial itself. It doesn't make an argument; it only makes conclusory statements, with no explanation or supporting facts. If I knew nothing about cap-and-trade and were coming to the issue with an open mind, I would not find this piece at all persuasive. How does c-and-a increase energy costs for the consumer and by how much? Why would it eliminate jobs and what would be the estimated job loss? What environmental impact will it have? These are the questions that anyone trying to form an opinion is going to want to see addressed.

And, of course, as noted by others, it creates the misimpression that the c-and-t policy is intended to lead to energy independence, rather than the actual goal, which is to reduce carbon emissions.

On a related note, my guess is that this editorial was written by a professional writer trying to make the voice sound like Palin's. Based on what we've seen of her to date, I don't think she is capable of writing a piece this smooth

Posted by: drf on July 14, 2009 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm glad Steve brought her back up - believe me, I wish we weren't compelled to keep discussing her many and varied embarrassments... a sarcastic 'thanks' from intelligent women everywhere, for trying to get by on the least common denominator of merit, Ms. Palin - does a candidate qualify for the Guns'n'Ammo pinup calendar or not?

Posted by: Georganne Ross on July 14, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

What the heck is the Permanent Fund-- that thing that gives every Alaska resident a $1,000+ check every year-- if not a tax on energy?

Posted by: Patience on July 14, 2009 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with zhak. Palin didn't write that piece. Although it was written with a 9th-grade essay style, Sarah doesn't have that capability.

Posted by: pol on July 14, 2009 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Wrote it herself? Oh come on. It's in complete, grammatical sentences. If she wrote the first draft, someone edited heavily for grammar, although obviously not for content.

Posted by: T-Rex on July 14, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

This is the launch of her 2012 presidential campaign. It's a publicity stunt created by a staff of campaign advisers I'm sure she hired right before quitting as Governor. They picked an Obama topic for her to attack, told her what to think and gave her a couple reports to read in case the media asked, and then launched this statement for her. She doesn't know anything about cap-trade. The way that she came out with this statement shows that she is already being pushed and guided by the GOP. She's the perfect presidential candidate for the GOP. Shes the controllable female counterpart of George W. Bush. I'm sure there will be "intelligent" Republican candidates to vote for in 2012. Don't make the same mistake twice GOP.

Posted by: Paul Browning on July 14, 2009 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

the Atlantic's Conor Clarke explained that Palin's op-ed suggests she "does not understand cap and trade."

Goodness! Do you think that the Congressfolks who voted for Waxman-Markey understood cap and trade? They would have you believe that it is both cheap (about the cost of half of a postage stamp per day for a family of 4) and very effective at reducing AGW, whereas it is probably neither. At least Palin understands that it is very costly.

During the American transition to an energy economy that is all based on renewable supplies, a transition that I advocate here repeatedly, our economy would be better off if we developed more of our fossil fuels to wean ourselves off Middle Eastern and Venezuelan oil. Otherwise we kill our economy while the economy of China thrives.

Her article isn't well written, but the message is worth repeating.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on July 14, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Pop View: She writes, "As the president eloquently puts it, their electricity bills will 'necessarily skyrocket.'"
...
How is that eloquent? Does this even make sense?

Well, candidate Obama did say that. It's how the added fee on coal (either the tax or the cost of the emissions permits) will drive the coal-fired power plants out of business. Coal-fired plants provide a little less than 55% of American electricity, and an even larger share of the electricity used by the auto industry.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on July 14, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

Media Matters Action Network: Investment In Clean Energy Technology Will Create Over 1.7 Million American Jobs. According to the Center for American Progress: "Investments in a clean-energy economy will generate major employment benefits for the entire U.S. economy. Our research finds that spending $150 billion on clean-energy investments would create roughly 1.7 million jobs. This is even after assuming a reduction in fossil fuel spending equivalent to the increase in clean-energy investments." [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]

That assumes that the spending of $150 billion does not itself cost jobs directly or indirectly. Not a "fact", it is another assumption.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on July 14, 2009 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

The proof in Palin's pudding will be if she ever holds a real press conference and answers complex questions that test her understanding of energy. Or simple questions, for that matter, which she answers with something more refined than vague generalities about God having put petroleum under American soil and Washington bureaucrats standing in the way of that petroleum being used.

My guess is that she'll avoid press conferences and questions like the plague.

Posted by: castanea on July 14, 2009 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

If Palin didn't write and talk that way, her audience wouldn't understand her.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on July 14, 2009 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jake Tapper tweeted her earlier today (hehe) and asked if she was going to give interviews w/a question and answer session on her op-ed. No response back yet from her on that, although, she did tweet about a lot of other nonsensical things.

Posted by: lkt on July 14, 2009 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK
That assumes that the spending of $150 billion does not itself cost jobs directly or indirectly. Not a "fact", it is another assumption.

It is, however, an assumption actually based on reality, unlike Palin's drivel. Did you have a point to make?

Posted by: PaulB on July 14, 2009 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

LL: A major political party should not have Palin as mascot.

Palin is their mascot precisely because she has been shown by sane republicans and the entire progressive community to be a colossal idiot. Same as with Bush, this makes her 100% defensible in the God-dazzled eyes of "true" Americans. Because she unabashedly believes in God, they will follow her anywhere. Because she is loathed by democrats, her followers believe she has proven herself worthy of coronation.

This is how the same people could look at the obvious Bush hypocrisies but not see them. It's the conservative two-step. 1] The politician loves God. 2] The politician is reviled by lib'ruls.

Voila! Conservative mascot!

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