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A Great Opening for Sarah Palin

Thursday, 2 Oct 2008 | 1:01 PM ET

I sure hope Sarah Palin talks at some length about drilling in tonight’s debate with Sen. Joe Biden. Palin is an energy expert. And if she is unleashed she can score major points against her opponent, who has opposed every expansion of oil, gas, and nuclear down through the years.

Does anybody doubt that our over-regulated energy sector and high energy prices are linked? Can there be any doubt that recessionary times are in large part a function of our terrible energy policies? Even the tax-extenders in the Senate bailout bill voted on last night include a $40 billion tax increase on oil and gas companies. Nobody talked about it. I can hardly believe it. Could there be anything dumber? Tax energy more and you’ll get less of it. Huh? Is this what we need? Whatever happened to drill, drill, drill?

And here’s one: A new Rasmussen poll shows that Americans favor across-the-board tax cuts just as much as the financial rescue plan. Lower marginal tax rates should be put on the table as an antidote to the economic slump. Revive the animal spirits. Strengthen incentives to work, invest, and take new risks.

So the McCain-Palin ticket should be emphasizing across-the-board tax cuts. Sometimes Big Mac refers to congressman Paul Ryan’s idea of a modified flat tax with two low rates of 10 and 25 percent. That plus slashing the corporate tax would be a great economic recovery program, especially if combined with drill, drill, drill and King Dollar.

Gov. Palin has a great opportunity tonight to slam Sen. Biden on all these points. Even on spending cuts and the elimination of pork-barrel earmarks. Didn’t both Obama and Biden vote for the farm bill -- a $300 billion package of pork -- during a period when the farm sector was absolutely booming from high commodity prices?

McCain didn’t mention this in his debate with Obama last Friday, but I sure hope Sarah goes there tonight. Isn’t the Obama-Biden ticket really too liberal for America? Aren’t they tax-and-spenders? Aren’t they totally beholden to the enviromaniacs? Isn’t Sarah Palin the exactly right person to make this case?

Sure, we’re in a recession and a credit crunch and an oil shock. But there is a way out. Pro-growth policies in all these areas will do the trick just as they have in past slumps. Bush cut taxes during the recession at the beginning of this decade. So did Reagan almost thirty years ago. So did Kennedy almost fifty years ago. There’s a great opening for Gov. Palin. Let us hope she seizes it tonight.

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  • Lawrence Kudlow is a CNBC senior contributor. Previously, Kudlow was anchor of CNBC's prime-time program "The Kudlow Report"