Maybe that press embargo of Sarah Palin is a good idea

I know that transcripts of spoken remarks can sometimes look foolish in print/on the screen.  I’m pretty sure that the problems currently plaguing Wall Street are complex and defy easy answers on the campaign trail.  I suspect that had Sarah Palin been given another four years to, you know, govern something, she might be a ...

I know that transcripts of spoken remarks can sometimes look foolish in print/on the screen.  I'm pretty sure that the problems currently plaguing Wall Street are complex and defy easy answers on the campaign trail.  I suspect that had Sarah Palin been given another four years to, you know, govern something, she might be a bit more up to speed on policy.  None of these caveats, however, make me feel any easier about the answers Palin gave to Sean Hannity in her latest interview.  Time's The Page blog has excerpts.  I hereby challenge readers to translate the following Palinomics quotes into something approximating standard English: On fixing the economy:  “Through reform, absolutely.  Look at the oversight that has been lack, I believe, here at the 1930s type of regulatory regime overseeing some of these corporations.  And we’ve got to get a more coordinated and a much more stringent oversight regime…government can play a very, very appropriate role in the oversight as people are trusting these companies with their life savings, with their investments, with their insurance policies, and construction bonds, and everything else."  On who is responsible for the failing financial institutions:  “I think the corruption on Wall Street.  That’s to blame.  And that violation of the public trust.  And that contract that should be inherent in corporations who are spending, investing other people’s money, the abuse of that is what has got to stop. “And it’s a matter, too, of some of these CEOs and top management people, and shareholders too not holding that management accountable, being addicted to, we call it, OPM, O-P-M, “other people’s money.” “Spending that, investing that, not using the prudence that we expect of them.  But here again, government has got to play an appropriate role in the stringent oversight, making sure that those abuses stop.” On AIG getting government bailout:  “Well, you know, first, Fannie and Freddie, different because quasi-government agencies there where government had to step in because of the adverse impacts all across our nation, especially with homeowners. “It’s just too impacting, we had to step in there.  I do not like the idea though of taxpayers being used to bailout these corporations.  Today it was AIG, important call there, though, because of the construction bonds and the insurance carrier duties of AIG.” Like Kevin Drum, I'm going to claim absolute ignorance here:  what are construction bonds, exactly?  Do they have anything to do with the current financial crisis?  What was she trying to say by saying "construction bonds"  Do any of my readers speak Palin?  Memo to McCain campaign:  I think it's swell that you're going to introduce Sarah Palin to a few UN folks.  Let's face it, she wasn't terribly convincing on foreign policy in that last interview.  While she's in the cosmopolitan capital of the godless blue states New York City, however, maybe it would be a good idea to have her sit down and chat with a few finance people as well?  What I've learned about Sarah Palin to date is that she doesn't know a lot about foreign policy, doesn't know a lot about the economy, and she sounds just as bad in friendly interview situations as she does in slightly more probing interviews.  Her best skill displayed to date was delivering a speech off a teleprompter (not insignificant in politics, mind you) and she's apparently exaggerating that skill as well.  Am I missing anything?  Help me out, readers -- because her current appeal seriously escapes me.  UPDATE:  Several responses on the construction bonds question suggesting that Palin was actually speaking from her own experience as governor/mayor in charge of infrastructure projects, and that because of AIG's role in insuring some of those surety bonds the point was relevant.  I buy the former, but the latter dog won't hunt.  Besides, Palinologists now have a whole new issue area to defend Palin -- energy:  In defense of Palin, I think this is an episode that has to do more with mangled syntax than with a lack of knowledge on her part.  

I know that transcripts of spoken remarks can sometimes look foolish in print/on the screen.  I’m pretty sure that the problems currently plaguing Wall Street are complex and defy easy answers on the campaign trail.  I suspect that had Sarah Palin been given another four years to, you know, govern something, she might be a bit more up to speed on policy.  None of these caveats, however, make me feel any easier about the answers Palin gave to Sean Hannity in her latest interview.  Time’s The Page blog has excerpts.  I hereby challenge readers to translate the following Palinomics quotes into something approximating standard English:

On fixing the economy:  “Through reform, absolutely.  Look at the oversight that has been lack, I believe, here at the 1930s type of regulatory regime overseeing some of these corporations.  And we’ve got to get a more coordinated and a much more stringent oversight regime…government can play a very, very appropriate role in the oversight as people are trusting these companies with their life savings, with their investments, with their insurance policies, and construction bonds, and everything else.”  On who is responsible for the failing financial institutions:  “I think the corruption on Wall Street.  That’s to blame.  And that violation of the public trust.  And that contract that should be inherent in corporations who are spending, investing other people’s money, the abuse of that is what has got to stop. “And it’s a matter, too, of some of these CEOs and top management people, and shareholders too not holding that management accountable, being addicted to, we call it, OPM, O-P-M, “other people’s money.” “Spending that, investing that, not using the prudence that we expect of them.  But here again, government has got to play an appropriate role in the stringent oversight, making sure that those abuses stop.” On AIG getting government bailout:  “Well, you know, first, Fannie and Freddie, different because quasi-government agencies there where government had to step in because of the adverse impacts all across our nation, especially with homeowners. “It’s just too impacting, we had to step in there.  I do not like the idea though of taxpayers being used to bailout these corporations.  Today it was AIG, important call there, though, because of the construction bonds and the insurance carrier duties of AIG.”

Like Kevin Drum, I’m going to claim absolute ignorance here:  what are construction bonds, exactly?  Do they have anything to do with the current financial crisis?  What was she trying to say by saying “construction bonds”  Do any of my readers speak Palin?  Memo to McCain campaign:  I think it’s swell that you’re going to introduce Sarah Palin to a few UN folks.  Let’s face it, she wasn’t terribly convincing on foreign policy in that last interview.  While she’s in the cosmopolitan capital of the godless blue states New York City, however, maybe it would be a good idea to have her sit down and chat with a few finance people as well?  What I’ve learned about Sarah Palin to date is that she doesn’t know a lot about foreign policy, doesn’t know a lot about the economy, and she sounds just as bad in friendly interview situations as she does in slightly more probing interviews.  Her best skill displayed to date was delivering a speech off a teleprompter (not insignificant in politics, mind you) and she’s apparently exaggerating that skill as well.  Am I missing anything?  Help me out, readers — because her current appeal seriously escapes me.  UPDATE:  Several responses on the construction bonds question suggesting that Palin was actually speaking from her own experience as governor/mayor in charge of infrastructure projects, and that because of AIG’s role in insuring some of those surety bonds the point was relevant.  I buy the former, but the latter dog won’t hunt.  Besides, Palinologists now have a whole new issue area to defend Palin — energy: 

In defense of Palin, I think this is an episode that has to do more with mangled syntax than with a lack of knowledge on her part.  

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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