Now that McCain has selected Palin as his running mate it’s important to get out the real dope on her before she becomes one heart beat away from the Oval Office.
First of all take a look at her impressive resume from when she was a candidate for Governor of Alaska.*(see note) What should come to your attention is that she has never held a real job (outside of government). She has always been taken care of by her parents or her husband. She did some volunteer work and was elected mayor of a second class Alaska city. Not much more than a bedroom community of Anchorage. Even in that little fiefdom of hers, there were grumbling about her abuse of the office and misusing public resources for her personal gain.
So why would Alaskans elect such an obviously inexperienced, uneducated and ill-prepared candidate to be Governor you ask? It was a perfect storm of sorts that swept her into office, she didn’t even get the support of the majority of Alaskans.
In 2006 the corruption scandal was just getting public. It seemed like everyone (particularly Republicans) were either under investigation or under suspicion. The incumbent Governor Frank Murkowski had the lowest approval rating of any politician in the state. It would have been a major upset if he won the Republican primary. The ongoing battle with Exxon over the financial settlement for the devastating oil spill in 1989 along with a lack of progress of development of Alaska’s Natural Gas resources left Alaska looking for a fresh face untainted by the Oil Companies. The previous administration had negotiated a deal with the natural gas lease holders “behind closed doors”. A deal that many felt gave too much to the lease holders without requiring commitments from them to build the gas line. Those suspicions were confirmed with the conviction of Murkowski Chief of Staff Jim Clark. So Palin ran on the platform of “open and transparent” government and ethics. Even though throughout the campaign Palin showed a total lack of understanding of the issues, the media basically gave her a free ride. The more other candidates challenged her, the more sympathy she received from the voters. Anyone that was against Palin was characterized as being either in the pocket of “Big Oil” or accused of being a misogynist. Her “shucks, golly gee whiz” persona led to the highest approval rating of any Governor in the country. Alaskans were enamored with the small town girl who made the big time.
However there are cracks in the facade Palin presented to Alaskan voters . She is currently under investigation by the legislature for abuse of power involving the firing of her appointed Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. She’s backing away from her pledge of open and transparent government by saying that the public isn’t entitled to see emails concerning public business. She’s facing an ethics complaint from a former State employee. She has shown poor judgment by selecting a new Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety that had been reprimanded for sexual harassment in his previous position. He was forced to resign after two weeks in the position, but received $10,000.00 in severance pay. She is also well known for her favoritism and cronyism. During her campaign for Governor, Palin said to Alaskans “hold me accountable“, and yet no matter what happens in her administration she is never responsible, it’s always someone or something to blame, but never her.
Let me also dispel the myth that Palin is a fiscal conservative. Under her administration the operating budget has grown 23%. She gained some national press by cutting capital projects that would have put Alaskans to work on much needed community improvement. Looking at the cuts however shows she favored her home district or used the budget to punish or reward certain districts or legislators. While she is cutting community projects, she’s giving 500 million dollars to a Canadian firm to start a gas line to Canada but with no requirement to actually build the gas line. A gas line that will benefit and produce more jobs and industry to Canada than to Alaskans and the remainder of the US. Then to buy off Alaskans she appropriates an additional $1200 dollars to every Alaskan man, woman and child in addition the annual Permanent Fund Dividend.
She is however, a social conservative, which is most likely why McCain chose her. She will appeal to the radical far right Christian fundamentalists that believe the government should have the ability to coerce individuals to treat their bodies according to their closed minded dogma.
The national media should do a much better job of exposing Palin as nothing more than a small town hockey Mom that is in way over her head. The American people should do a better job getting past the phony “golly gee” facade Palin presents. She’s an empty vessel that will shatter when pressed for the hard answers if the media and voters do their jobs.
*Note: The Palin for Governor site that was hosted at http://www.palinforgovernor.com/ was taken down as I was writing this post. This is typical of Palin, the Murkowski documents regarding his gas line proposal was taken down when people started comparing her AGIA with the Murkowski proposal. This is more of what is apparently meant by her empty promise of “open and transparent” Government.
Update: Here is a 12/23/2006 archive of http://www.palinforgovernor.com/aboutSarah.html