Former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich made a couple of rather startling comments on ABC's "This Week" Sunday.
During the Roundtable segment, the devout liberal not only defended former governor Sarah Palin as a "realistic candidate" for president, but also questioned whether or not the government bailout of GM was necessary (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: Let's switch right back to here and economic security. G.M. today this week had success, initial public offering. The bailout worked? The saving G.M. worked?
ROBERT REICH: Well, it worked, Christiane, to the extent that, indeed, G.M. is now worth $50 billion, if you believe the stock market, and before, in the old G.M., was worth $25 billion.
But what happened during the bailout? Actually, it was a -- it -- it was not so much a bailout as it was a reorganization under bankruptcy, and they got rid of $80 billion of debt, they got rid of thousands of jobs, divisions that were not functioning. Wall Streeters came in and reorganized G.M.
Why do we suppose the exact same thing would not have happened under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, reorganization? It's not clear that the $50 billion of taxpayer money was necessary.
A few minutes later as the discussion turned to Palin, most of the panel including George Will didn't see her as being a serious candidate except:
AMANPOUR: Let me -- let me just play devil's advocate. The midterms were characterized by the rise and the power of the Tea Party. Sarah Palin is a big backer, the godmother, the supporter. She -- she made quite a lot of inroads. Many of her candidates, the majority actually won. Why is this so -- so strange that she might win -- run?
REICH: You know, Christiane, I want to support your -- and I think it's actually more than simply raising the question here. Sarah Palin is not only a realistic candidate right now, but given the degree of anger in the electorate, anti-establishment anger, populist anger, she's the only candidate to come along who actually embodies that anger.
This is not the ebullience and hopefulness of Ronald Reagan. This is not "Morning in America." This is the anger of people who feel that they're being screwed by the establishment.
AMANPOUR: And talk about...
REICH: And she is, I think -- look, I'm not going to make any predictions, but I think that she does not have a negligible chance of becoming president.
Makes you not only wonder what got into Reich's Wheaties this morning, but also what his friends in the administration as well as the liberal media are going to think of these comments.