Today, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) sat down with CNN for the first time. During the interview, CNN reporter Drew Griffin noted that “socialism” has “come up on the campaign trail.” But when Griffin asked, “is Barack Obama a socialist,” Palin dodged and deferred to “Joe the plumber“:
PALIN: I’m not going to call him a socialist but as Joe the plumber has suggested, in fact, he came right out and said it, it sounds like socialism to him and he speaks for so many Americans who are quite concerned now after hearing finally what Barack Obama’s true intentions are with his tax and economic plan.
Palin is trying to have it both ways — trying to take the high road in saying she won’t call Obama a “socialist” and at the same time, calling his policies “socialism,” all while hiding behind “Joe the plumber.” Indeed, just hours before her CNN interview, Palin told Glenn Beck, referring to Obama’s tax policy, “We cannot flirt with this and now is not the time to experiment with, as Joe the plumber calls it, socialism.”
In fact, by definition, a “socialist” is “one who advocates or practices socialism,” which is exactly what Palin has been accusing Obama of for the last week:
— October 17: “Sen. Obama said that he wants to spread the wealth and he wants government to take your money and decide how to best to redistribute it according to his priorities…Joe [the plumber] suggested that sounded a little bit like socialism.”
— October 19: “Friends, now is no time to experiment with socialism. To me our opponent’s plan sounds more like big government, which is the problem.”
— October 20: “There are socialist principles to [Obama’s tax plan], yes.”
Perhaps Palin is also trying to distance herself from the right wing’s common talking point that Obama is a Marxist. But it seems that she has at least one mainstream media figure fooled. Time’s Mark Halperin said of Palin’s CNN interview: “Palin declines to call Obama ‘socialist.'”