For those who hoped that Sarah Palin might make herself into a serious political figure -- and I count myself among them -- perhaps nothing has been more disappointing than seeing her turn her "mock-first-ask-questions-later" attitude toward the environment.
Last night, in her speech at the Young America's Foundation celebration of Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday (in which, incidentally, she maintained her silence on events in Egypt), Palin said that Reagan, were he alive today, would be howling in agony at what has happened to California. Her specific example was parroted from FOX News and talk radio, where delta smelt protections have been an eye-roll-inducing example of lefty idiocy for a couple of years now.
According to Palin, some "faceless dem government bureaucrat" has destroyed hard-working farmers' lives "in order to protect a two-inch fish. Now, where I come from, we call that 'bait.' And there is no need to destroy people’s lives over that bait."
Now, it's one thing for that kind of simplistic pap to come out of the mouth of Sean Hannity. But Sarah Palin, as she has said herself, is "not only a champion for Alaska’s fishing industry, but a part of it."
So, Palin surely knows that the reason the smelt is good "bait" is because big fish like to eat them. In the case of the endangered delta smelt, a whole bunch of big fish, most notably salmon, upon which California's fisheries and fishermen greatly depend.
Palin knows intimately about commercial salmon fishing. But apparently she's willing to throw the whole family industry under the bus for a cheap shot playing to her base's hatred of big-government liberals.