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Palin Preps on Europe’s Debt Crisis

November 19th, 2010 at 10:24 am David Frum | 45 Comments |

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From today’s Real Clear Politics, a story based on interviews with Palin advisers:

Palin has taken a particular interest in the European debt crisis as of late, and SarahPAC recently hired Joshua Livestro – a Dutch newspaper columnist who has also contributed to the pro-Palin web site Conservatives4Palin.com – to research the topic for Palin on a freelance basis.

Reach to floor, pick up jaw, reinsert in mouth.

The potential collapse of the Euro is one of the most urgent and frightening economic crises on planet Earth. Sarah Palin of course is a likely candidate for president of the United States. As such, she has access to the nation’s and the world’s leading economic minds.

The president of the European Central Bank? Available.  Any of the governors of the Federal Reserve? At her service. The economics faculties of every university in the United States? Ready to take the next flight to Anchorage. Heads of the bonds desks at every American bank and financial firm? That conversation might have to be conducted by telephone rather than in person, but still easily arranged. Prime ministers of Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Greece? Accessible.

Frankly, it’s hard for me to imagine any expert in any subject who wouldn’t feel it an imperative public duty to talk to Gov. Palin if asked. Instead she turns to a journalist with no formal training in economics and no experience in public finance. I mean no disrespect here to Joshua Livestro, who may well be a very able person. (You can read a sampling of his work in English in NRO, Pajamas Media and the Weekly Standard at this link.)

But why is a potential president relying for economic advice on freelance journalists   rather than Nobel Prizewinners? It’s almost as if Gov. Palin finds the idea of expertise – not merely incomprehensible – but actively repugnant.

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45 Comments so far ↓

  • llbroo49

    “But why is a potential president relying for economic advice on freelance journalists rather than Nobel Prizewinners?”

    Because the journalist can put it in to words she thinks she can understand.

  • Joshua Livestro

    Dear David, since no one ever comments on your site I thought I might as well leave a little note to cheer you up. Let me briefly introduce myself. I’m the new Palin adviser on the European credit crisis you’re referring to. My resume in a few short lines: I’m a Cambridge-educated published historian and newspaper columnist for one of Europe’s largest newspapers, the Dutch daily De Telegraaf (circulation 650.000 or thereabouts). I suppose that makes me a freelance journalist of sorts. Before I took up that position, though, I was a personal adviser to the European Commissioner for the Internal Market and, ahem, Financial Services. I know it’s not on a par with a Nobel Prize winner, but to suggest Gov. Palin’s decision to hire me instead is evidence of some anti-expertise attitude is perhaps a tad off the mark -like all of your writing about her.

  • CD-Host

    Nice to have you with us Joshua, welcome! It will be good to have someone from team Palin around to answer questions about her policies and the campaign.

  • Joshua Livestro

    @CD-host: You’re optimistically assuming I’ll be paying regular visits here. Well, ok, I’ll have a think about it. Please note though that I’ll be busy the coming months working to obtain my Nobel Prize (wouldn’t want to disappoint the great David Frum!).

    Oh and by way of PS: a little correction in the post itself, perhaps with an admission that he was a bit quick to judge this one might not be out of place here.

  • elizajane

    Joshua, U bent hier hartelijk welkom!

    Really, I hope you keep commenting when things relate to your, er, expertise!

    I love it when public figures step up, unscripted, and tell the media/public what’s what. Was anybody else here listening to the BBC on that amazing morning in about 1987 when Margaret Thatcher called in to their morning news program to complain that they were misrepresenting some initiative her government had introduced? You could practically hear jaws dropping, but it was the real thing, and she lectured them soundly.

    OT, but Margaret Thatcher was also a fervent advocate for international cooperation to prevent global warming. Made Al Gore look mild on the subject.

  • Joshua Livestro

    @elizajane: no correction in the post itself, then no further visits. One must be strict in these matters.

  • armstp

    Palin is just looking for Obama trashing talking points and sloganeering related to Europe. A far right wing media guy from Europe is actually the perfect person to talk to about this.

    She adds no value to the discussion. She is likely going to make a big thing out of nothing. I can hear it now: “see the communist European system does not work so why is Obama trying to turn us into Europeans” etc. etc. etc.

    However, I am waiting for her good advice and astute observations from her Tweets and Facebook page on how to solve the problems in Europe.

    If you really are Joshua Livestro then what exactly are you qualified to be “advising” Palin on? Why exactly does she need any advising on Europe? You have zero relative experience on the Europeean financial crisis, other than a superficial jouranlist understanding. I guess you will be advising her at the level of a journalist, which is about par for Palin, given she is a sports journalist and never really says anything of any substance.

  • dante

    I, for one, would really like to hear what a half-term governor with a Journalism degree can add to a conversation that’s already filled with “academic elites” and “knowledgeable researchers”. I mean, so those smart people are going to bring facts, figures and decades of knowledge to the equation, but I’d really like to base my opinion on worldwide monetary policy on someone a lot more like me. You know, making decisions based on emotions instead of those pesky “facts.”

    /American public

  • madmadworld

    HA! Joshua, you didn’t mention where you majored in hubris. It’s pretty clear why you were on the top of Ms. Palin’s selection list. You may not be able to see the validity of another perspective and that is your loss. It is significant that many scratch their heads wondering what goes on in the 1/2 Govenor’s cranium. And believe me, we understand the significance of those of the other view.

    If you deign to return, just keep it to the issues. Demonstrate your capabilities in these trying times. Be bigger than the rest of us…

  • CitizenWhig

    I think Joshua is engaged in a bit of puffery with regard to his position as “advisor” to the EU Commissioner. I believe the proper characterization of his position would be “assistant.” This is a meaningful distinction. http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/joshua-livestro/5/532/84a

    I think it would be proper to questions this poster’s identity. He responded to Frum’s post less than hour after it was posted. Certainly not impossible, but it seems unlikely.

  • Cforchange

    “@elizajane: no correction in the post itself, then no further visits. One must be strict in these matters.”
    Dude you are perfect for the Palin enterprise.

  • TAZ

    Please, please, please let this be a sign she is running…………..

  • lolapowers

    I know the asnwer. Palin is afraid to meet real experts because she is afraid that they will see she has really nothing to offer. WHen it comes to economic policy, yes I would like to have a possible presidnetial candidate get some advice from experts, not every day people.

  • easton

    As such, she has access to the nation’s and the world’s leading economic minds.

    I don’t think so. I think a great many would find it too hard not to laugh at her stupidity.

    Joshua Livestro, it is nice you replied but being a Historian does not equate to expertise in the debt crisis. Here is the little that Wikipedia has:

    Joshua Livestro (born 1970, Amersfoort) is a Dutch columnist and political person. He was a former assistant to EU commissioner Frits Bolkestein.

    Livestro read political science at Leiden University and philosophy at the University of Cambridge. Livestro was active in the Edmund Burke Foundation, a conservative think tank. During his studies, Livestro was an active checkers player, and became national students’ champion in 1994. He writes a column about foreign affairs for De Telegraaf.[1]

    Livestro succeeded Ronald Plasterk as a columnist for the Sunday morning television talkshow Buitenhof. Plasterk became an education and culture minister in the fourth Balkenende cabinet. The producers of Buitenhof fired Livestro after just four months, saying that his columns were subpar.[citation needed] Livestro said in a Telegraaf op-ed that he was fired for his “right-wing views,” that the show routinely ignores alternate viewpoints and even censures columnists’ views. He also called one of the broadcaster of Buitenhof, the NPS, a “left-wing funnel,” where a “a DDR mentality reigns.”[2][3][4] In wake of Livestro’s firing, political parties D66 and VVD asked parliamentary questions to the culture minister, Ronald Plasterk, who incidentally was Livestro’s predecessor at Buitenhof.[5] Plasterk answered that there was enough diversity in Dutch public television.[6] Livestro later wrote a longer account his experiences at Buitenhof for Pajamas Media.[1]

    Be honest with yourself, there is nothing remotely special about your resume. You studied Political Science and Philosophy. Where is your degree in economics? As to being an adviser to a European Commissioner, I nearly laughed my ass off. Oh my God, an adviser! To a Commissioner. So you were a flunky to an unelected EU commissioner from a small country. My Uncle was a media adviser and press secretary to a US governor, that didn’t make him equipped to give advice in an area outside of his own expertise.

  • WillyP

    i never post here anymore, because honestly Frum discredits his site enough through his own words.

    he has been proven utterly wrong a thousand times over, about the Republican party, conservatism, tarp, economics, recovery… quite literally everything. he’s the obama of the republicans.

    now frum has taken the laughable posture of demeaning sarah palin and austrian economics. yes, because palin and ludwig von mises are responsible for our economic depression and rapidly diminishing currency/status in the world. truly pathetic, and only fools believe this.

    easton, as usual, is a big, old pervert and a sorry, wrong, and oblivious prognosticator.

    have fun here you bizarre frummies. when you’re tired making fools of yourself you can visit marklevinshow.com and learn what social thought is all about.

  • thijsvn

    Livestro might be right wing for Dutch standards, but that still puts him among the moderates in US politics.

    I really don’t see the point though, for Palin that is. Mastering this topic requires getting to know the special quirks of all the countries involved. By the time she’s capable of speaking a sentence about it without looking on her hand, the crisis might well have taken place already or been averted.

  • CO Independent

    >> The potential collapse of the Euro is one of the most urgent and frightening economic crises on planet Earth.

    Hardly. The Euro is a dead man walking and has been since the day it was launched. If it disappeared tomorrow the world would have a hiccup then get back to business quickly. The only people who would really care would be the bureaucrats in Brussels and the Germans. The Euro will muddle through the PIIGS crises but will collapse when the full extent of Austria’s bank losses in Eastern Europe surface. Then it’s back to national currencies, just like pre-1999.

    >> But why is a potential president relying for economic advice on freelance journalists rather than Nobel Prizewinners?
    Why bother asking Krugman? He’s a one-trick pony: print more money. The Europeans aren’t as stupid as America’s governing elite, or perhaps they are just less compromised.

    This post is a clear win for Palin. Once again, Frum comes off looking like a completely ill-informed elitist jackass, which he is. In Frum’s continuing war against Palin I’d say Palin is up about 10-1. The illiterate, slack-jawed moose hunter from the sticks is kicking the Harvard dough-boy’s arse, and it’s a fun thing to watch.

  • Libdem

    These ad hominem attacks don’t really accomplish anything, though Josh does seem to be a bit of a braggart. At any rate Josh, if you have anything meaningful to say about current right wing economic thinking, based on facts much more than ideology, I’d love to hear it. Until then you can be sure to keep on getting the smack down from the good folks on these forums.

  • WillyP

    “right wing economic thinking”

    what a meaningless term. it’s either state control or free enterprise. apparently “right wing” now means free enterprise and “liberal” now means statist.

    Libdem, it’s people like you who kept Pelosi in her leadership role.

    I’m going to enjoy watching the Democrat party implode over the next 6 months.

  • CD-Host

    I really don’t see the point though, for Palin that is. Mastering this topic requires getting to know the special quirks of all the countries involved.

    Monetary policy isn’t really that hard to get. Its like physics there are only a small number of ideas and they all sort of fit together. I think I can explain to a bright 8th grader in a day, inflation targeting, monetary aggregates, currency boards, interest rates…. Contrast that with something like health policy or tax policy which is incredibly complex. If I were Sarah Palin and had to debate Romney on an economic policy I’d want it to be as theoretically complex and a small number of specifics. Its hard to do much better than monetary policy.

    Now compound that with the fact that she wants to avoid things on which John McCain compromised her, like TARP. How many other good venues are there? Moreover she could advocate something like Bretton Woods with an adjustable currency, fixed exchange rate and low trade volumes that Americans might find very appealing.

  • Rabiner

    WillyP

    “what a meaningless term. it’s either state control or free enterprise. apparently “right wing” now means free enterprise and “liberal” now means statist.”

    Actually right wing economic thinking falls more inline with Austrian economics and left wing economic thinking being Keynesian economics. It has little to do with a ‘state control or free enterprise’ dilemma. Keynesian economics doesn’t advocate state control but rather that government has a role.

  • WillyP

    rabiner,
    name one, *one* GOP politician who advocates a completely laissez-faire policy. just one.

    meh… you guys got your a$$ handed to you. like i said, it’s a very unpopular and fractious agenda you’re driving forward. happy that’s about to come to an end and we can get back to prosperity.

  • Watusie

    Hmmm: will she absorb the fact that the biggest basket case is Ireland? That the right used to hold up Ireland as the model that we should follow? That Ireland got itself into the shitter by lowering taxes?

  • CitizenWhig

    “Monetary policy isn’t really that hard to get . . . I think I can explain to a bright 8th grader in a day.”

    But how long would it take to explain it to Sarah?

  • Carney

    Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and Barack Obama got Nobel Prizes in being Left-Wingers Sure to Annoy George W. Bush.

    The prize doesn’t mean much these days.

  • trigmund freud

    Dear David, since no one ever comments on your site I thought I might as well leave a little note to cheer you up.

    Mr. Livestro has just demonstrated, with break-taking ease, how and why he’s managed a rapport with the Queen of Mean. Unctuous fealty, constantly of allegiance and affection, and a virulently odious strain of nastiness.

  • narcissa

    Mr. Frum misses an important point about Sarah Palin and the Tea Party types (not a mitigating one t0 my mind). It isn’t so much they disapprove of expertise so much as they won’t accept advice from those who are not quite their type.

    To become one of their types, you have to be a member and membership requires an insularity not only of community, but also, of ideas. They refuse to adapt to changing situations, accept new knowledge, or unflattering thoughts.

    Anyone they turn to must be part of their circle because no one else truly exists. As very few, PM’s fed managers or other people at this level can get there and be quite this insular, there are not a lot of experts to choose from. It is very possible Mr. Livestro is the most qualified of their circle, just as Bristol Palin is the best dancer, or Sarah Palin the most obvious choice for President. It is also how “their” country can be ‘stolen’ through a peaceful, democratic election.

    That the poster who purports to be Joshua Livestro is one of her circle is apparent both by the lack of understanding of his own talents in the wider world and his gratuitous nastiness. (Everyone knows that all TPT’s (Tea Party Types) are very, nice people. Ergo they can’t say anything nasty. If they say anything nasty, it is just cute or worst case tough love. They are very, nice people after all.)

    Overall, it is a spooky, spooky world the TPT’s live in, full of ghosts who move things around and speak but have no real substance. No wonder they are scared.

  • armstp

    Carney,

    Maybe Palin will get a Nobel prize for her work on solving the European financial crisis. We will have to see. I am sure she is working hard on it between her books and important TV shows.

  • Rabiner

    WillyP:

    “name one, *one* GOP politician who advocates a completely laissez-faire policy. just one.

    meh… you guys got your a$$ handed to you. like i said, it’s a very unpopular and fractious agenda you’re driving forward. happy that’s about to come to an end and we can get back to prosperity.”

    I fail to care if I can’t name a GOP politician who advocates complete laissez-faire economic policy because such policy is stupid. Just as I can’t name a Democratic politician who advocates for communism, a complete control of the private markets, because that would be just as stupid. But nice straw-man.

  • CentristNYer

    And in related news, Lindsay Lohan has expressed her eagerness to join an advanced medical team developing cancer drugs.

  • PracticalGirl

    “As such, she has access to the nation’s and the world’s leading economic minds.”

    Unfortunately, Miss Wasilla doesn’t want to talk with anybody whose experience may challenge her rhetoric and she particularly wants to avoid anybody with real expertise who may, well, talk. An experienced, learned economist (even one down with the idea of a Tea Party Nation) would easily discover how frighteningly little policy Palin can actually absorb, as her campaign advisors and workers-many on the record now-found out in ’08.

    Can I fault Joshua? While it appears that he pads his resume (as any talented wordsmith might), he’s been tapped for research, not necessarily policy formation. Any good writer with some decent contacts can do this on nearly any subject. And a researcher is somebody who can give Miss Wasilla the talking poins she needs, to write on her hand, just as I’m sure she had people to advise her on “world peace” when she competed for Miss Alaska. As soon as we see “Livestro’s Manifesto” on Sarah’s Twitter account, though-then I’m screaming.

  • Cforchange

    Yes Watusie, just yesterday The Economist details Ireland’s demise noting it started about 2001. Toomey pens a book and releases it in 2009 singing praises of the Celtic Tiger and he’s what we’re calling fresh blood.

    After this election it is clear that we will bounce on the bottom for another decade. To frame this election as a “win” is arrogant and naive. The majority public is demanding results and that’s something that most of our “leadership” has never done. To think that a miracle has been delivered because there was an a$$ kicking is very foolish.

    Even though many didn’t/couldn’t deliver in a previous role in an earlier failing decade – no excuses, it’s time for those DC stars who did an a$$ handing to produce. It’s time to stop disgracing oneself. Produce or man up and quit. I’m expecting a robust economy by August. Then I may resort to yard signs and talk radio.

  • Libdem

    WillyP,
    There’s no need to be rude and disparaging of others, when surely our disagreements are not so large. Anyhow, in my ignorant opinion, both Republicans and Democrats claim to support free enterprise, so by “right wing economic thinking” I mean ideas things like taxes should be lower, and government is too big. The reason why I have trouble taking the Republicans seriously however is that they can never seem to say what exactly the tax rate, or the size of government should actually be. So if you have something meaningful to say about this, I’m all ears.

  • Linda Neufeld

    What of “America by Heart”…….guess not smart enough……..maybe no lame stream media there……
    or just boning up on foreign affairs ! He!HE!

  • pnumi2

    “It’s almost as if Gov. Palin finds the idea of expertise – not merely incomprehensible – but actively repugnant.”

    On the contrary, David Frum.

    What she is saying is that old fashioned expertise — the kind achieved by study, experience, hard work and molded by natural ability is passe.

    The new kind of expertise is by fiat. The kind her followers rejoice in.

    Expertise by self assertion.

  • Fairy Hardcastle

    Two comments.

    First, this is the first time I’ve seen the editor acknowledge the potential for Palin to win the White House. It’s high time.

    Second, I was not aware the editor was so completely acquainted with the Governor’s discussions and thoughts that he knows she has consulted no one else. There are plent of qualified experts who are not your list sir. For example, the director of the Swiss National Bank.

    Third, WillyP good to see again. Have you quite celebrated long enough?

  • Rabiner

    Fairy Hardcastle:

    “First, this is the first time I’ve seen the editor acknowledge the potential for Palin to win the White House. It’s high time.”

    Care to illuminate us with where the editor acknowledges anything more than the potential for Palin to run for President of the United States? Frum does not say she is likely to win or can win.

    “Second, I was not aware the editor was so completely acquainted with the Governor’s discussions and thoughts that he knows she has consulted no one else. There are plent of qualified experts who are not your list sir. For example, the director of the Swiss National Bank. ”

    Simply because he does not name every qualified person does not mean that they don’t exist. Are you implying that she’s been consulted by the director of the Swiss National Bank?

  • CD-Host

    Care to illuminate us with where the editor acknowledges anything more than the potential for Palin to run for President of the United States?

    “But, she couldn’t be elected! She’s so gauche, so uneducated, so declasse!“ Also true, but it suggests an even larger fear – after this year’s Red State blowout, where Palin’s target audience is the strongest and most surefire, with the economy probably still in the dumper in 2012, and deep blue diversity states like California, New York, and Massachusetts all but written off from the get-go — what if Sarah is all too electable? (http://www.frumforum.com/palins-reality-show-campaign)

  • drdredel

    With Fairy and Willy’s return (I haven’t seen their stylings for a while) I am tempted to note that it is telling that there are no partisan scientists. People examine each others’ empirical claims and no one calls anyone else any names. The biggest problem we have today is that people are 100% certain of things that they have no business having anything more than hunches about, and EVERYONE’s a fucking expert because they spent 15 minutes reading a few blogs and listening to a radio show or two.
    It’s really high time for everyone to acknowledge that they know just about nothing about just about everything, and assume a tone commensurate with said level of expertise.
    That’s my 10 cents.

  • TerryF98

    drdredel.

    Bravo, hallelujah, may you continue to have a quiver full of arrows.

  • Rabiner

    CD-Host:

    Considering that wasn’t a post written by David Frum or under the name ‘FrumEditors’ then I’ll say my statement is still true.

  • PatrickQuint

    easton, it would be appreciated if you put excerpts from other posts in quotation marks and attributed them where appropriate. The lack of delineation between quoted remarks and your responses can be confusing.

    CD-Host, well-cited. I find the method of quoting a question and then quoting the answer to be quite classy.

    I find the idea of asking a reporter with some economic experience to do research on an economic matter to be sensible. I wouldn’t ask Paul Krugman to do a survey of his profession’s overall opinion on the debt crisis. He has his own opinion, which will color his presentation of his opponents’ views.

    Getting a survey of the field is a job for an economics reporter, not an economist.

    The vitriol toward Palin is unnecessary. Refute the claims where appropriate, then move on. What is important for the tone of politics is that any refutation be done *politely*. Hatred helps only when preaching to the choir. It rarely convinces the opposition.

  • Rabiner

    PatrickQuint:

    “CD-Host, well-cited. I find the method of quoting a question and then quoting the answer to be quite classy.”

    Except it was done incorrectly since the question refers to the editors saying it and the article quoted was not written by an editor or David Frum.

  • politicalfan

    “The vitriol toward Palin is unnecessary. Refute the claims where appropriate, then move on. What is important for the tone of politics is that any refutation be done *politely*. Hatred helps only when preaching to the choir. It rarely convinces the opposition.” PatrickQuint?

    Best quote that I have read in a long time. However, that should be paraphrased.

    “The pinata bashing of the President must end! Repudiate when appropriate, then get a life. What is important for the sanity of our politics is that it be done with the goal of solving our problems within the next century please. Hatred never helps even when preaching to your narrow base. It only makes the opposition want to use “you” as a pinata!” Send to Palin via twitter signed (note to self).

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