Yet months after the book came out—as tea party activists were decrying Republicans who had backed the bailout—Palin began changing her tune. During a February 6, 2010 speech at a national tea party convention, she compared the bailout to "crony capitalism," noting, "it's becoming a slush fund for the Treasury Department's favorite big players, just as we had been warned about." (She had mentioned no such warnings while supporting the program at the time of its creation.) Palin added,
While people on Main Street look for jobs, people on Wall Street, they're collecting billions and billions in your bailout bonuses. Among the top 17 companies that received your bailout money, 92 percent of the senior officers and directors, they still have their good jobs, and every day Americans are wondering, where are the consequences for they—helping to get us into this worst economic situation since the Great Depression? Where are the consequences?
The following day on Fox News Sunday, she denounced the bailout as an insult to conservativism:
Millions of jobs have been lost because…what's coming from the White House is just a fundamental difference from a lot of conservatives in our belief that government is not the answer. The bailouts, the takeovers of the private sector—that's not the answer. That is not what built this great country into the most prosperous, healthiest, safest country on earth.
Without acknowledging it, Palin had completely reversed course. She had once backed the Wall Street bailout as necessary to deal with a crisis; now she was decrying it as an assault on free enterprise.
Palin went further this summer, when she contended that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's support for the bailout was grounds for voting against her. Palin was backing Joe Miller in the GOP primary against Murkowski. In an endorsement message for Miller posted on her Facebook page in August, Palin, bashing Murkowski as a faux Republican, declared,
Alaska deserves a senator who will not talk one way in the Last Frontier and then vote the opposite way in the Beltway. It’s time for Alaskans who are concerned about endless bailouts, ever increasing debt and deficits, and the government take-over of health care (all planks Lisa Murkowski has walked) to get behind Joe Miller.
Palin added, "We know Joe won’t support more bailouts, but we know Lisa already has."
In less than two years, Palin had gone from endorsing the bailout to using it as ammo to slam a fellow Republican who had also supported TARP. (This was to little avail. Murkowski, running as a write-in, has defeated Miller.)
These days, Palin, as a political celebrity, draws plenty of attention—for whom she endorses, for her cable show appearances, for her 2012 presidential aspirations, and for her daughter's gig on Dancing with the Stars. Her policy ideas don't attract much scrutiny. And Palin has complained that her record is not taken seriously:
I know that a hurdle I would have to cross, that some other potential candidates wouldn’t have to cross right out of the chute, is proving my record. That’s the most frustrating thing for me—the warped and perverted description of my record and what I’ve accomplished over the last two decades. It's been much more perplexing to me than where the lamestream media has wanted to go about my personal life. And other candidates haven’t faced these criticisms the way I have.
Here's one piece of her record that's open to easy media examination. Perhaps the next time Palin goes on Fox News (as a paid contributor), someone can ask her to explain her acrobatic reversal on this key economic matter. If no one presses her on this, it will indeed prove her point that the media is more interested in her personal life than her record. In this case, though, that's to Palin's advantage.