Here's Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, as quoted by the Financial Times, responding to Sarah Palin's warning about the weakness of the dollar: "there may be a legitimate debate to be had over the dollar's reserve status, but Sarah Palin is not qualified to participate in it." One may like or dislike Governor Palin, but since when are there qualifying rules on participating in debate in America? This is America, after all. The whole point of a participatory democracy is that everyone gets to participate in the debate. That's what universal suffrage and the First Amendment and a bunch of other bedrock American civic concepts are all about. Ms. Palin, who was elected as a mayor and a governor and selected as the vice presidential nominee of one of America's two major political parties, has at least as much standing to discuss the dollar as anyone else. The suggestion that she lacks such standing is the sort of thing that leads some people to support her almost just out of spite for the press and Washington establishment insiders who have such contempt for her. Update: Mr. Ornstein emails back in response to my query: "that was a snide comment on my part, and I regret saying it. It was part of a larger conversation not simply about the dollar's strength or weakness, but about the larger complexities, including trade balances, populism, the implications in foreign and economic terms of adversarial nations having massive reserves of dollars, and so on. I had not known that Palin had simply raised the question in a simple form in a comment, and I said something I should not have, with wrong-headed implications."