In her closing remarks at the vice-presidential debate Thursday night, Ms. Palin referred earnestly, if loosely, to a quote from Ronald Reagan. He had warned that if Americans weren’t vigilant in protecting their freedom, they would find themselves spending their “sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like in America when men were free.”
What Ms. Palin didn’t say was that the menace to freedom that Reagan was talking about was Medicare. As the historian Robert Dallek has pointed out, Reagan “saw Medicare as the advance wave of socialism, which would ‘invade every area of freedom in this country.’ ”She quoted the Gipper more than once. Reagan remains the patron saint that conservatives evoke, citing mythology as a panacea. Yet Reagan is the one who started all this mess.
Where is the evidence that Governor Palin even understands these complex and enormously challenging problems? During the debate she twice referred to General McKiernan as “McClellan.” Neither Ms. Ifill nor Senator Biden corrected her.