A quick news alert for those who are still holding out: Sarah Palin will never, ever be president. She may be able to work a mic, bring in big crowds at rallies, draw some massive Tea Party donors to large dollar events, and even throw wrenches into GOP races with her intense hatred of “moderate” Republicans. Despite all of that, the likelihood that she will ever hold a major office again, much less be the leader of the free world, is slim to none.
Frankly, a lot of people should be okay with that.
The former Alaska governor turned Vice Presidential candidate turned Tea Party figurehead and reality television star is continuing to do the one thing she has always been best at: creating headlines with ridiculous, often offensive statements regarding public policy. Her latest? National debt is really a lot like slavery.
Speaking in Iowa at a fundraiser for the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a gathering of far right social conservatives usually prepping for the first in the nation Iowa caucuses, Palin plugged her new book about the “war on Christmas,” but also dropped a few choice words about the country’s debt issues.
“Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children and borrowing from China,” she said, according to the Des Moines Register. “When that money comes due — and this isn’t racist, but it’ll be like slavery when that note is due. We are going to beholden to the foreign master.”
Nothing solidifies how racist a comment is than when a speaker has to stop in mid-sentence and state that it is not in fact racist.
As the Daily Beast discusses, for the GOP “slavery” has turned into a ready shorthand for “thing I think is pretty horrible and I don’t like at all.” Gun control is slavery. Abortion is like slavery. Public schools are like slavery. Welfare is like slavery.
“It’s not hard to understand why anyone would use slavery or any other evil–like the Holocaust–to attack policies they oppose. Among co-partisans, it’s an easy way to claim the moral high ground. To everyone else, however, it’s foolish,” writes Jamelle Bouie. “If you oppose something, you should argue against it on its own terms. To compare everything you don’t like to evil is to do a disservice to yourself, and–in a small way–minimize the reality of suffering.”
There are, of course, other ways to make points about the national debt if you truly believe it is an issue. Iowa Rep. Steve King did so recently, when he used his own newborn grandson as a staged photo-op to oppose it. “New grandson, Wallace King (5:21 am today:-) Priceless miracle & gift from God. National debt share $54,310,” the Iowa Republican announced on Twitter.
Whether one sees the national debt as an albatross that must be discarded, or an inevitable cost of addressing the myriad of needs of our country, from social safety nets to public education, to caring for our poor and elderly and preparing for our future (and, don’t forget the massive, massive amounts dedicated solely to our military endeavors, a line item the GOP shows no interest in cutting), the fact is if it is to be debated it must be done so respectfully and honestly. As part of that honesty, it should be recognized that the deficit has actually decreased since President Obama took office, despite the repeated reaching of the debt ceiling during his time in the White House.
Can we talk about our policy disagreements without using incendiary, hurtful and in this case dismissively racial rhetoric? Yes. But probably not with Sarah Palin, which is the clearest sign that she will never, ever be President.
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