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Van Susteren Helps Palin Play A Haiti Expert On TV

Reported by Ellen - December 24, 2010 -

Only on Greta Van Susteren’s On The Record would Sarah Palin be presented as a serious commenter on the situation in Haiti. But even with all the help that Fox News could offer, Palin still came out looking like a lightweight with no real understanding of the country.

Palin recently visited the country with Franklin Graham – over a weekend. Somehow, BFF Van Susteren was on hand, too, and after a lot of touring around, Palin offered her special brand of analysis into what she had seen. It was just a few months after Van Susteren’s trip to ANWR with Palin in which she (Van Susteren) helped Palin promote drilling and her energy cred.

“It’s such a condensed area of tragedy,” Palin told Van Susteren after giving the Fox News audience a tour of some of the devastation. “There’s still is so much danger and there’s so much damage. And when it comes to the danger and the need for security, it is not the Haitian government that’s going to be able to fix the problems here. These problems look insurmountable. It’s going to take the humanitarian aid, the voluntary generosity of charitable organizations, faith-based community to get in here and help clean it up while the corruption in the government is being dealt with because it’s not the Haitian government that’s gonna fix these problems.”

I question whether even Van Susteren thinks Palin has any insights into Haiti because she asked no follow up questions about how to deal with the corruption in government or the progress of those faith-based organizations Palin touted.

Instead, Van Susteren asked a softball, “What do you think of the flyover, the destruction?”

Palin answered, “It was overwhelming. I had no idea it looked like that… It’s total devastation in that downtown area… Unless something drastically changes, there will continue to be many, many, many lives lost, unnecessarily in the unsanitary and unsafe conditions.”

You think?

As Van Susteren showed a crack in the airport building, Palin asked, “Is there any effort even to fix this? No. It doesn’t look like there’s effort to rebuild.” Not that she bothered to actually, you know, find out.

It was Van Susteren who added, “In order to rebuild, you have to have an infrastructure of some sort. You have to have a government of some sort.”

Palin added, “And you have to have an economy and you have to have people…” She seemed to have been about to say “want to work” before she caught herself. “Well, you know? The hope here… people want to work. They want to be able to contribute to rebuilding this country, not having the opportunity, though, because of what government is doing with corruption within the government, with contracts that are met where who knows where the money actually ends up but it’s not getting to the people and the infrastructure that needs fixing.”

You don’t say!

Rather than ask for any specific solutions, Van Susteren gave Palin an opening to attack a Democrat. “Governor, what do you think about – at least Senator Leahy says we should stop, the Americans should stop sending money to Haiti until we get things a little bit more sorted out here.”

What Leahy said is not that Americans should stop sending money to Haiti but that the U.S. should suspend “direct aid to the central government” of Haiti.

Not that Palin seemed to notice. After condemning the corrupt government and calling for private aid, herself, she was suddenly a champion of public aid for Haiti – by way of attacking Sen. Leahy. “Oh, this is coming from a Senator who has voted for bloated budgets where I think priorities have been kind of skewed where dollars go to build, like, in Tallahassee, a turtle tunnel to save the turtles in Florida! To go to, um, the California Academy of Science, millions of dollars to study ants in East Africa. And yet there’s the desire on his part to pull aid that could actually help save a baby’s life here in Haiti… Though I don’t rely on government to solve the problems here, I would like to see a message sent, at least from the U.S. government, that Haiti does need help, and that it is really the charitable organizations, faith-based community, um, those, uh, with the means to voluntarily help and um, assist in a country like this. It doesn’t have to just be government. But I disagree with where his priorities would be if he thinks that aid to save a baby’s life should be pulled and dollars spent elsewhere – U.S. tax dollars – that I think are frivolous and useless.”

Palin never mentioned what kind of private donations she has made and/or will continue to make to Haiti. You can tweet her at @sarahpalinusa and ask.