If you're the kind of person who enjoys a good political debate, then you have to be rooting that some day... some time... Sarah Palin will debate Gov. Jerry Brown.
Because on Saturday night, Palin made it pretty clear what she thinks of Brown's home turf.
"When I think about the direction our country is rapidly drifting in, I can't help but look at California as a cautionary tale," the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate writes on her Facebook page.
Make no mistake, it's a posting that's mostly critical of President Barack Obama and mildly enthusiastic about Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, as his running mate.
But even though the Golden State is only a jumping off point, Palin sinks her teeth in deep. Several times over, in fact.
"Obama's vision for America will make the rest of the country look like California, minus the beautiful scenery and warm weather," she writes.
A paraphrasing of her Saturday night California massacre doesn't do it justice: high-speed rail, water, unemployment, business regulations, taxes, real estate, state government spending, public employee pensions, municipal bankruptcies, good-for-nothing Democrats.
And that's all in one sentence.
Partisans will read her critique based on their own worldview: conservatives will pat her on the back, liberals will say she's way off base.
Palin's California criticisms are familiar jabs and based on real problems that state leaders have yet to resolve. Even so, the former national party nominee takes it to a new level. While California has major fiscal problems, calling it "permanent high unemployment" seems a stretch; California job growth in May and June represented half of all new jobs in the nation. Also a stretch is Palin's assertion that the state's "endless" budget shortfalls are due to pension costs (which are real, but only a fraction of what California spends on either education or social services unless one seeks to pay off all of the unfunded debts early).
The former veep nominee twice quotes a Wall Street Journal online assistant editor (and recent Stanford grad) who made headlines in 2010 for calling California the "Lindsay Lohan of states." Palin then describes California in almost obituary-like terms:
"The Golden State once boasted the entrepreneurial innovation of Silicon Valley, the American creative engine of the arts, economically powerful and beautiful cities from San Francisco to San Diego, and fertile farmlands that helped feed the nation."
Sure, the cities she cites may no longer be as "economically powerful" as they once were (and one is led by a Republican), but everything else in that above sentence still seems to best be seen in the present tense: Silicon Valley is still innovating (some will say it could do more), Hollywood is still creative (critics say it could be more), the cities are still beautiful, and the farmlands of the Central Valley remain the breadbasket of the nation.
Palin has clawed at California before. In 2009, she clashed with then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over climate change policy; in 2010, she ridiculed those who criticized her $75,000 plus expenses appearance at CSU Stanislaus in Turlock.
The jabs she took Saturday night cap off a week of California bashing in GOP circles -- after Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, cracked on Wednesday that Greece and California share common economic problems.
Which gets us back to Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown is without question the biggest cheerleader of California, deriding the state's critics as "declinists" even though sometimes the bragging gets slightly askew of the facts. Brown has also proved himself to be a pretty good surrogate for the President on the handful of times he's agreed to do the Sunday morning national TV circuit.
Palin is also quick on her feet and seems to enjoy a good debate. So how about it? A Brown-Palin debate on the national economy? Broadcast from right here in California?
I can think of a guy who'd be happy to moderate...