A spectre is haunting Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and the other Republican candidates for president — the spectre of Sarah Palin running for president.
Most of all, a Palin candidacy may haunt an increasingly vulnerable President Obama. All his rhetoric about green jobs, ObamaCare and all the other talking points of the left aren’t distracting Americans from the economy’s prolonged slump. Obama appears to have belatedly woken up to this inconvenient truth.
Palin spoke yesterday in Indianola, Iowa, and while she didn’t declare, she sure sounded like a candidate, with strong and detailed criticism of Obama’s record and a prescription for reviving the economy.
While that gives her potential rivals headaches, it’s great news for Republicans, who if Palin runs would have one more attractive choice, light-years ahead of Obama in economic savvy. Perry, for example, can point to Texas’ amazing record of job-creation throughout the recession and the anemic recovery.
Small business, representing the entrepreneurship of millions of average Americans, is the core of Palin’s economic vision. Not Obama’s unholy alliance of big business and big government, which is leaving a lengthening trail of catastrophe. Palin called him out on his bungled ventures:
“He wants to “Win The Future” by “investing” more of your hard-earned money in some harebrained ideas like more solar panels and really fast trains. These are things that venture capitalists will tell you are non-starters, yet he wants to do more of them. We’re flat broke, but he thinks these solar panels and really fast trains are going to magically save us. He’s shouting “all aboard Obama’s bullet train to bankruptcy.”
Palin’s reference to solar panels was timely, because this week the Fremont-based solar power company Solyndra imploded yet again, perhaps for the last time.. The company, run by Democratic party insiders and hyped as a source of politically desirable “green jobs,” received a $535 million loan from the Obama Administration in 2009. Solyndra was supposed to produce jobs in the Bay Area while producing solar panels to boost energy independence.
But surprise! It’s cheaper to make solar panels in China. Even with the massive loan, its business model was doomed. Last week it ran out of money and filed for bankruptcy reorganization.
In January, the Obama Administration tried to encourage new private investment in faltering Solyndra by subordinating $385 million of the taxpayers’ money to new investors. It now looks doubtful that the U.S. will get back any significant portion of that half-billion Obama squandered.
The “fast trains” debacle is still in progress. It just won’t work, if for no other reason than that we don’t have the vast sums of money required. California’s catastrophic High Speed Rail Authority, a model for what Obama wants nationwide, has already spent $630 million in three years, and it hasn’t even broken ground. It will require tens of billions more than first estimated. And at that price, it’s not going to be the low-cost competitor to air carriers like Southwest Airlines that supporters envisioned. Unless — ticket prices are heavily subsidized with billions more from the state, which doesn’t have that kind of money.
(DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion, not necessarily that of my employer, the North County Times).