Monday, November 22, 2010

Benyamin Korn: Why Sarah Palin's Still Alive & Kickin'



Benyamin Korn has a great piece in today's Philadelphia Daily News in which he details why Governor Palin is still around and only getting more powerful and influential, despite the best efforts of the establishment GOP:

NO SOONER had the polls closed on Nov. 2 than Sarah Palin began shaping the platform of the Republican Party and the conservative movement heading into 2012. And when the chief Mama Grizzly sets her formidable mind to something, her opponents start looking a lot less electable.

In a 1,500-word manifesto in National Review two days after the historic vote, Palin outlined a strategy for her party, and the country.

"The meaning of the 2010 election was rebuke, reject, and repeal," she wrote.

"We rebuked Washington's power grab, rejected this unwanted 'fundamental transformation of America,' and began the process to repeal the dangerous policies inflicted on us. But this theme will only complement the theme of 2012, which is renew, revive, and restore. In 2012, we need to renew our optimistic, pioneering spirit, revive our free-market system, and restore constitutional limits and our standing in the world as the abiding beacon of freedom."

John Podhoretz, editor-in-chief of Commentary, bellwether for the intellectual right, called the Palin Plan "brilliant."

Last week, in yet another display of tactical savvy, Palin staked out a position on, of all things, monetary policy - specifically the plan by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to essentially print $800 billion in new currency, further devaluing the already plunging dollar.

Palin's warning that Bernanke's action would further weaken the dollar and cause inflation, and her call on him to "cease and desist," prompted the Wall Street Journal - no cheerleader for Palin - to declare in a lead editorial that Palin had "exhibited a more sophisticated knowledge of monetary policy than any major Republican this side of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan."

Not only is she "way ahead of her potential Presidential competitors on this policy point," the Journal editorial said, but Palin "shows a talent for putting a technical subject in language that average Americans can understand."

Read the rest of Mr. Korn's piece here and visit his website, Jewsforsarah, here. Korn is correct to highlight Governor Palin's emphasis on a stable dollar through appropriate monetary policy. A broad-based economic recovery is impossible without a sound currency, and any gains that may realized by deliberately weakening the currency via QE2 and similar schemes will be temporary and illusory, points I made here and here. This makes Irwin Stelzer's claim in the Weekly Standard all the more confusing:

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s QE2 might, just might, give the flagging recovery a needed shot in the arm. Initially derided at home as a precursor of rapid inflation, and abroad as a method of driving the dollar down, QE2 is now seen by some of its initial critics as appropriate to an economy with lots of idle capacity and core inflation at its lowest level in 50 years and facing the danger of deflation. Increased approval of Bernanke’s move is due in part to the vigorous defense mounted by several key Fed officials last week, and in part to the fact that Sarah Palin publicly derided it.

So, according to Stelzer, the majority of economists who correctly feared that Bernanke's gambit to print another $600 to as much as $900 billion in new dollars without a corresponding increase in production will result in a return to 1970s style stagflation suddenly changed their minds. Really? While I occasionally agree with Stelzer's writings, every once in a while he goes off the deep end. For example, citing Adam Smith to support his (Stelzer's) advocacy of the death tax was, at best, surreal.

Saturday's implication that economists are suddenly reconsidering QE2 because Governor Palin has criticized it is equally bizarre. Not only is there no evidence to support this implication, there is no evidence to support the notion that economists are changing their mind on QE2 for any reason. Quite the opposite, in fact. When you add this to another recent attack on Governor Palin in the Weekly Standard, it's increasingly difficult to take them seriously as advocates of conservative ideals.

(h/t John Glube)

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