Patterico's Pontifications


ZOMG!!!!1!! Palin Commits First Gaffe!!!two!!!

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 11:16 pm

Well, not really. Just another smear to slam down.

HuffPo contributor Sam Stein:

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.” The companies, as McClatchy reported, “aren’t taxpayer funded but operate as private companies. The takeover may result in a taxpayer bailout during reorganization.”

What a lightweight! Except, she’s getting defended! By some wingnut blogger? Not so much; rather, her defender is Peter Viles, a blogger at the notorious neocon publication the Los Angeles Times:

My take: The Palin comment is well within the margin of error on the campaign trail. There is no “gaffe” here. Congress earlier this summer — in the housing bill that both John McCain and Barack Obama supported but didn’t bother to vote on — gave Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson a blank check* to invest in Fannie or Freddie. It OK’d a big bailout. Perhaps in your book a blank check freshly signed by Congress is not “too expensive.” Perhaps you trust the government not to spend a blank check. Perhaps pigs have wings. Palin was right: The very existence of a blank check means that Fannie and Freddie are too expensive to taxpayers.

*In a comforting bedtime story that several members of Congress actually believed, Paulson said the blank check was so big and powerful (a bazooka of cash!) he would never have to use it. By the time Palin spoke, it was clear that Paulson’s attempt at “verbal intervention” had failed and that real taxpayer money will be spent to prop up Fannie and Freddie. No one knows how much, but the Treasury has signed contracts to invest up to $100 billion in each company. Oh, and loan them money too. Oh, and buy their mortgage-backed securities. Do you really want to argue that she made a mistake by saying the two companies are “too big and too expensive to the taxpayers”?

Give her time, and a few one-on-one interviews. I’m certain she’s as capable of the other three of a real screwup. This is not it.

Even HuffPo heavy breather Stein himself acknowledges at the tail end of his post that, well, Palin is technically correct — but certainly, she can’t have been aware of it!

There are varying explanations that could be offered for Palin’s defense. As O’Driscoll noted, both Fannie and Freddie “were hybrid institutions because they had private ownership but… an implicit government guarantee which people thought at the end of the day was explicit.” Meanwhile, as [Dean] Baker [co-director of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research] noted, as of July the two lenders were being offered low market interest rates by the fed again, theoretically, at the taxpayer’s expense. But, he added, “I kind of doubt she had any sense of that.”

What with her being a woman and all.

19 Responses to “ZOMG!!!!1!! Palin Commits First Gaffe!!!two!!!”

  1. Freddie Mac affects me personally. I am a taxpayer, and my nanny government is stepping in because they are trying to protect me.

    Whether or not I agree with that action or Palin on this issue, it’s pretty obvious this is what she meant when she said this was too expensive for the citizens (called taxpayers).

    This is a sign of things to come. Whether Palin gets an answer right or wrong, she will be piled on for gaffes that aren’t. This is actually a good thing for her. Any gaffes she does make will be covered by hundreds of BS attacks. I expect half the things she says and does to have ‘-gate’ tagged on the end and appear above the fold, only to be debunked soon after. Obama may be ten points behind now, but I think this stuff will send him even further down.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  2. Well it seems she was right. The federal govt. just took them both over on Sunday.

    peedoffamerican (389cf6)

  3. jharp, read Patterico’s post all the way through at least 20 times, and then STFU about it.

    Icy Truth (a7ead4)

  4. Stein’s quote from Cato (which is libertarian, btw, and not conservative as he falsely characterizes it, backs up Palin:

    “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…”

    Taxpayer guarantee? Then taxpayers were on the hook after all, which is what Palin was getting at.

    Bradley J. Fikes (0ea407)

  5. The Fed put the taxpayers on the hook by making the implicit guarantee of solvency explicit. Because Fannie and Freddie are such huge players in the secondary market, anything less would have basically shut down mortgage lending by all institutions except portfolio lenders, as the secondary market would have ceased to exist.

    But by making that guarantee explicit, the Fed had to look to have a more direct hand in management of both. What happened over the weekend was nothing more than a vote of no confidence in the management of Fannie Mac.

    wls (969303)

  6. Taxpayer guarantee? Then taxpayers were on the hook after all, which is what Palin was getting at.

    And who is responsible for the Freddie and Fannie debacle? They always had the protection of the government to cover their loses, but the reckless deregulation and greed and BS of the mortgage industry drunk on it’s own lobbying abilities allowed it to create financial products that were unsound. So, the Republican’s created this debacle and Palin complains about it, although she is and would continue to be completely part of the problem. So, what exactly is she saying?? If she didn’t make a gaffe then she’s an even bigger idiot then if she did.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  7. What happened over the weekend was nothing more than a vote of no confidence in the management of Fannie Mac.

    And the deregulation policies of the Bush administration and the Republican rubber stamp Congress they had for six years.

    McCain and Palin cannot continue to speak out of both sides of their mouths on this. Is Palin saying Freddie and Fannie shouldn’t be bailed out? It’s such a screwed up situation. Private finance shouldn’t be allowed to take gross risks because they think they’ll get a hand out from the government. Yet, if they’re not bailed out it would shut down mortgage lending to a level that would kill the already ailing housing market. It’s sorta like Iraq really, a quagmire that screws the country coming and going. And these are the failures of the GOP.

    And the bums need to be voted out.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  8. What kind of dolt would think that there was even a hint of a gaffe here?

    xerocky (cf0c5e)

  9. Doesn’t sound like a GAFFE at all. I would like to see Biden say Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae are costing Taxpayers nothing. Lets see how that plays out..

    Dennis D (ae900a)

  10. What kind of dolt would think that there was even a hint of a gaffe here?

    You think we have that kinda time, that we can list them?

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  11. So Palin knows more about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than jharp does. Quelle surprise.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  12. Funny how the HuffPo didn’t consider Barry making his 57 states statement a gaffe.

    William Teach (2f3de1)

  13. Let’s hope they keep beclowing themselves daily as the campaign evolves – the MSM is sounding much like a scorned lover/stalker at this point.

    Dmac (e639cc)

  14. Pres. Bush was given a blank check to engage in the Iraq war too, but she hasnt said that it was getting to expensive for taxpayers. This was a gaffe, she apparently doesnt know how the two companies are financed.

    awe (80e33b)

  15. This was a gaffe, she apparently doesnt know how the two companies are financed.

    Really? Tell me exactly how they are financed…

    Especially now, genius…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  16. Dmac – Beclowning evokes images that I am phobic of. Let’s call it beshitting.

    I am in awe of how many lies “awe” told in the course of 40 words, if you count a, and, and the.

    JD (3f9019)

  17. I am still in awe.

    JD (3f9019)

  18. Apologies in advance for quibbling. I agree that this was no gaffe. I agree that Stein’s assumptions are insulting, bigoted, smug, and unconvincing.

    It’s possible that his assumptions are the product of sexism. But without more, this is not one of the attacks on Gov. Palin to which I would apply that label.

    The difficulty here, as with most attacks on Gov. Palin, comes from the fact that Gov. Palin’s gender is part of what makes her especially threatening to people like Stein, because they fear, correctly, that it will add to her electoral appeal for at least some voters.

    But it’s a leap to assert that Stein thinks that no woman could understand the details that make Gov. Palin’s statements correct, or even that most women would not understand them, or that the reason Gov. Palin in particular doesn’t understand them (as he posits the facts) is that she’s a woman.

    Although some clearly are, in general, attacks on Gov. Palin are no more universally sexist than attacks on Sen. Obama are universally racist. I think we need to be cautious in characterizing attacks as sexist. Usually, as here, there are straight-forward responses which don’t require us to invoke that particular label in our defenses or even counter-attacks.

    Here, I’d guess that the particular bigotry is more likely against Republican politicians in general, and against small-state non-“elite” Republican politicians in particular — albeit ramped up in intensity because of fear, which indirectly relates back to gender, but only indirectly.

    Beldar (8a23eb)

  19. Beldar, your opinions don’t mean much. follow the lnks

    Menzie Chinn
    Nouriel Roubini
    Calculated Risk.

    whatever (6b0755)

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