Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sarah Palin's Hong Kong Speech

Back on September 1, I wrote a post entitled Businesses need some "outside the box" thinking. You betcha. The post looked at the announcement that former Alaska Governor and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was going to speak at the CLSA investor conference in Hong Kong. At the time, I speculated on the contents of Palin's speech:

After reading the press release, the invitation to Palin sounds reasonable. As a governor of an energy-rich state, she did influence global markets.

So, was I right? Let's look at the coverage of Palin's speech, starting with Nicole Ferraro's piece in Internet Evolution:

Just last week it was reported that the latest human being to take up a successful evangelizing presence on the site, and become a "Facebook phenom," is none other than the former Alaskan governor, Sarah Palin.

Yes. It's true. Since stepping down as governor because of... uh... some reason, Palin has taken to Facebooking, using her account to spread quality information about things like "death panels." Through Facebook, Palin gets her message out to the American people without having to deal with the hazards of talking to the public via the mainstream media.

(Because, you know, they might ask her a question, like: "Are you out of your mind, per chance?")

And, just in case you think it won't work, it's worth noting that she has nearly 900,000 Facebook "Supporters," which Politico states makes her the second most popular politician on Facebook -- behind that guy President Obama.

OK, Ferraro never discussed the CLSA conference, but then again, she never discussed what Palin was actually SAYING on Facebook either. Because, you see, the idea that someone would actually use social media tools to communicate is anathema to Internet Evolution...oh, wait a minute, it's OK to use social media to communicate - as long as you're not Sarah Palin.

CNBC actually DID cover Palin's speech. Now some in the baby seal clubber realm will note that CNBC is part of the same company that lets Keith Olbermann spew his anti-American views on TV, and the same company that sells America out to Iran. So some people will disregard anything that CNBC says - but then again, some people will disregard anything that Fox says because Rupert Murdoch is a secret Trilateralist or whatever.

So what did Palin say, according to CNBC...

...oh, wait a minute, this is Associated Press coverage, so I can't quote it without paying through the nose. Let's just say that Palin used the following words:

...Main Street...

And to keep the AP off my back, that's all I'll say about that.

Luckily for me, Robert Fisk of the Independent doesn't work for the Associated Press. Unluckily for me, Fisk had an ax (or is it axe?) to grind:

Grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre, unbelievable. Sarah Palin was all of that in Hong Kong yesterday. And more. Dressed in a cutesy virgin-white blouse and black skirt with the infamous bee-hive hairdo, she was a blessing to every predicting spectator.

C'mon, talking about a female politician's attire. They'd never do that to Hillary Clinton. Oh, wait...they did.

So anyways, Fisk did look at some of what Palin said about Main Street:

But Alaska was more than just a fish market. It was "the air-crossroads to the world" where "Main Street, for me, it's a small town tucked between two mountain ranges". It went on and on. Alaska was "the last frontier", a "place where you can still feel that pioneering mountain spirit... It has shaped me."

Even if someone like Hillary Clinton had delivered this speech on the virtues of Alaska, I'm sure that the Hong Kong investors would have been completely mystified. Hong Kong is not necessarily a wonderful bastion of individualism - steeped in Chinese culture, administered as a colony by the United Kingdom, and now part of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, for all its business dynamism, isn't exactly the land of the free and the home of the brave.

It appears that Palin's speech was a business-political speech, emphasizing Palin's belief on the political policies that would lead to a superior business climate.

Sarah quoted Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. She quoted Lincoln. She quoted Thomas Jefferson. History and common sense were not on the side of liberalism and "utopian pipe dreams". But there'd been progress. In the past, we had the "horse and buggy business", she said, then Ford came along with the motor car and the kids sat singing in the back, but now the kids have headsets.

But Fisk noted that Palin said a few things that might anger the dominant forces in her own party. In case you didn't recall, Palin is outside of the Washington establishment. And some of the things she said might cause the Beltway Boys to keel over.

And what happened to the Reagan legacy? "Many Republicans in Washington gambled it away."...

Addressing what was surely the neo-conservative wing of the Republican party, she could not "turn a blind eye" to Chinese policies that created "uncertainty", which supported "questionable regimes" and "made a lot of people nervous". America wasn't going to impose its values on other countries, but America was going to have to "ramp up" its defence spending.

However, despite Palin's popularity, we'll have to see how her future plays out. An argument can be made that the events of September 2008 were almost as significant as the effects of September 2001. In September 2008, the economy went into such a tailspin that even the neo-con's darling, George W. Bush, proposed a massive government intervention into the economy. While there are those who argue that Obama's policies are wrecking the country (while conveniently ignoring the policies purused by a Republican President just before Obama took office), the truth remains that any attempt to adopt a more hands-off attitude to the economy will probably be met with a quick rebuke such as, "Oh? Reinstitute the same policies that started the recession in the first place?"
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