Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sarah Palin's Weird WTF “Sputnik” Story

On Wednesday night, Sarah Palin attacked the “Sputnik Moment” line from President Obama's second State of the Union address.

Sarah went on to say, “That was another one of those WTF Moments, when he so often repeated this Sputnik moment that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space, yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.”

Sarah Palin in her Tea Party’s counter point rant, wildly misconstrued the president's argument, which was not about emulating the Soviets in the 1950's but instead about the Americans who responded to early Soviet success in space exploration by educating themselves and out-innovating the Soviets. I am seriously doubtful that Sarah could comprehend or more to the fact that did she even listen to the speech?

But let's pretend that wasn't Obama's point. The Soviets didn't have an empire-draining debt problem until some 30 years after Sputnik passed over America. And when they did, it was in large part a result of massive overinvestment in heavy industry, which supported Soviet military pretensions (Much like Bush and Cheney did). None of this is to argue that the Soviet economy is anything we should emulate. But let's at least get the basic facts right when we criticize it.

It's a fair guess that Palin thought she was borrowing her "insight" from the mythology of Ronald Reagan, who massively increased America's spending (Which took the U.S. from being the largest Creditor Nation to the largest Debtor Nation running up the largest record U.S. debt at that time. A fact the many self proclaiming Conservatives conveniently forget.) to spur the sort of competitive expenditure that contributed to the ballooning of Soviet debt in the 1980's. According to many conservatives, this was a crucial factor that catalyzed the Soviet collapse.

But in claiming that the Soviets incurred their consequential debts long before Reagan was president, Palin ends up arguing that the Gipper wasn't nearly that responsible for the USSR spending itself to death. If a reverence for Reagan's anti-Soviet spending inspired her narrative in the first place, then this is incoherent. If she's just making this all up, then she's really also claiming that the “Reagan Brought Down The USSR” narrative is overstated.

Palin appears to be lazily checking a lot of Fox News boxes. She wants to criticize Obama's State of the Union address, so she grabs hold of the Sputnik line. She wants to make a point about debt, so she invents a history in which the USSR had a debt crisis decades before this inference could have made much sense. Even better -- her argument sounds like an implicit vindication of Reagan, but that really just makes it either self-contradictory or hostile to Reagan's legacy.

Even worse, it seems that Palin planned her rhetorical disaster; as she goes on to discuss the "Spudnut Shop," a bakery in Washington State that's succeeding without government support.

Sarah Palin’s latest demonstration of her personal lacking qualities are yet more evidence that her judgment in both what she says and who she has vetted, is pathetic. It's not even cleverly manipulative. It is just sad and speaks volumes of those Tea Party members who follow her!!


  1. Engineer, just more of the same if the facts don't support my position then change them so they do. It is either that the ones that do this are really dumb as a stick or they think so little of their constituants that they feel lieing to them is fine because thier voters are too stupid to know the difference. A sad commentary.

  2. Great piece, Engineer of Knowledge, which I enjoyed up until the picture of that smug little asshole at the very end. HOW CAN ANYONE BE AS STUPID OR IGNORANT AS SARAH PALIN???

  3. You must be refering to the queen of the DENSA movement.

    I can remember when Sputnik went up, I can remember my parents and others being pretty aghast. I can remember the new emphasis on math and science that followed. I can still remember being glued to the tv with each manned space launch and I can remember right where I was and who I was with when we landed on the moon. Unfortunatly we now have politicians that can't remember what they had for lunch yesterday and a media that seems to think they are worth air time.

  4. I'm glad I am sort of out of the loop on US politics, but this woman is showing her ignorance. The military machine was far more of a drain on the soviet economy than the space race. The other issue was the Soviet trade gap with the rest of the world

    Likewise, isn't the US National debt mostly spend on the "military-industrial" complex that Eisenhower warned about? And isn't there a US trade gap as well?

    Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.

  5. Laci,
    You are SO right on all counts! Today our own military/industrial complex is the one driving US to bankruptcy, along with the very corrupt plutocracy in place that is rapidly consolidating all the wealth for itself. I fear we are destined to end up like Soviet Russia did: a huge, broken-down super power with no money...

  6. I just looked up Sarah Palin in the dictionary. It said: "see douchebag."

    Remarkable the depth of stupidity of this woman. You;d think she'd have someone she could bounce stuff off of before she goes public and demonstartes how dumb she is... someone who has an IQ in triple digits.

  7. She bounces stuff off of husband Todd, but his IQ is only double digits...

  8. Hello All,
    I want to thank all for the great comments that add to this posting.

    Mainer, loved the “Queen of the DENSA Moment” comment.

    Laci, spot on with the Eisenhower "military-industrial" complex warning….a fact that our current leaders did not take mind to and Jack’s addition that our own military/industrial complex is the one driving US to bankruptcy.

    Of course my good friend Hump looking up Sarah Palin in the dictionary and noting that it said: "see douchebag!!” sums it all perfectly and we still have Jack’s question, “HOW CAN ANYONE BE AS STUPID OR IGNORANT AS SARAH PALIN???” On this I am at a loss to comprehend.

  9. Engineer that is indeed a grand question. One of our state humorists has a running set of gags about his schtick son Hubert. Now to hear Tim Sample tell it this Hubert is so danged dumb he not only doesn't know any thing he doesn't even suspect any thing. I think that would pretty much explain Ms. Sarah as well.

    But lets look beyond that shall we? 4 supposed conservative women have occupied way to much press coverage and even though I come from a state that still produces gobs of news print and appreciates the work we are wasting way to many trees covering the continuing antics of the four mares of ignorance Angle, O'Donnell, Bachmann and Palin. I get a bad case of the shudders every time I think about the 4 of them collectively reaping a total of some 30+ million dollars in donations from what has to be the dumbest electorate on the face of the earth.And that was just in 2010.

    One of my heros shall always be Sen. Margaret Chase Smith a very small woman that had the courage to stand up to and dress down one Joe McCarthy with her speech A declaration of Conscience (I would invite any and all to pull it up and read it as there is too much in it that is still relevant today). Our own state has too fine Republican women in congress in Olympia Snow and Susan Collins. Both have given great service to our state and our nation and neither one has any future in Republican poliics. Folks like Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Kelly Ayotte or Susanna Martines or Nicki Haley or even Lisa Murkowski are all conservative and intelligent but who gets trotted out as the female voice of conservatism? Why none other than th 4 queens of the sound bite, the maverns of the bumper sticker slogan, the run from the press, I'm not bright enough to read a teleprompter, don't need no stinking facts belles of the bawling teapers........sorry about that but I am just O'Donnelled and Palined and Bachmanned and Angled out of my freaking skull. Dr. Seuss could include the four of them in a book and it would have to be called the really grim ferry tales. Ok my glass is empty sorry for the rant........I'm rally not but I'm new here and trying to create a better impression than I do most places.

  10. Hello Mainer,
    I want to pass on that I have a very good high school friend and an old Navy buddy now living in up state Maine and I have a niece living there too. I have driven up the coast and want to say what a very beautiful state you live in.

    When you say, “Ok my glass is empty sorry for the rant........I'm really not but I'm new here and trying to create a better impression than I do most places.”

    I want you to voice yourself as you see the need to here on my site. Being a Mason, I am of the mind that our time here on earth should be one of a self journey of enlightenment….and as we grow, educate, and seek illumination…..truths, facts, and logic will reveal themselves. No one needs to apologize for the corrections along the way.

    By the way, being an engineer we have a saying, “You can see the glass as being half full or half empty…..but engineers have a third version… is the fact that maybe you have twice as much glass than what you need.” :-)

    Now back on topic:
    I was talking with a good friend of mine and I posed the question of how so many people think that Sarah Palin is the one the Tea Party feels the need to rally around when it is so obvious to the rest of us how unworldly and uneducated of what I see as being basic information knowledge. Examples of knowing who the Allied Countries verses Axis Countries during WWII. Not knowing that North Korea and South Korea were two separate countries and how they came about….and knowing which one was our ally, etc.

    His reply was that those Tea Party members who think that Sarah Palin and those like her, have the answers to the problems of our current issues in this country…….are no smarter than Sarah herself. They themselves have no idea of these same “Basic Knowledge Information” that the rest of us just take for granted and who recognize the con that is the Tea Party.

    So I guess I could summarize that this group having the commonality of “Lacking Knowledge” thinking they have the answers…..don’t really even understand the questions at hand. Simple answers brought forth by simple minds.

    Many of the Tea Party members massaging their own hubris insist on referring to themselves as “Patriots.” With this thought I like to add a quote passed on by Samuel Clemmons defining a Patriot: “The person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.”

  11. Engineer no deep meaning to my glass being empty it was just indeed empty of several inches of fine Canadian blended and it was neigh on to being time to just stop every thing.

    Large segments of the population being ignorant is nothing new, having a few locals that are both ignorant and vocal at meetings is nothing new, what is new is that the internet has allowed the disparite individuals mentioned above to find each other and fester as a group. And with Fake the News Network and some elements of the Republican Party encouraging them they are now empowered and rampant paranoia and victemhood now has been given deep throated voice.

    It will take many more quiet ernest minded thinking citizens to off set this as we have seen many instances where a couple ignorant loudmouths can destroy the combined efforts of many mnay times that number trying to quietly and respectfully negotiate a sollution to a problem.

    I'm afraid we are stuck with the now empowered loudmouths and their idiot mascots but it does not mean we have to listen to them or feel we have to follow them. Lets face it had Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmana been Sacagawea we would quite possible still wonder what was on the other side of the Mississippi.