Tuesday

Response to New Yorker's "The State of Palin"


There's an article in the New Yorker this month that paints a flattering portrait of the next President (oops! did I slip? She did say Palin/McCain ticket didn't she? Just like the Cheney/Bush White House!) of the US, the Hockey Mom from The Great White North. I won't waste the amount of air time Phil Gourevitch does on here, other than to point out the silliness of his writing.

Last year, the F.B.I. hit the home of Ted Stevens, Alaska’s six-term senator, and he became a favorite figure of ridicule on “The Daily Show”: an angry little man, with an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Magoo, who had once made himself seem even older than his eighty-plus years by describing the Internet as “a series of tubes”; Jon Stewart called him a “coot,” and portrayed him as a bully and a crook. As I travelled around Alaska in mid-August, Alaskans wanted me to understand that, sadly, he might well be all of that—and a very good thing for the state, too.

So, to follow this logic, if someone brings pork to the state, then it's okay if they also break the law and abuse their power. Follow that argument, and the Chinese have every right to imprison Tibetans because the Chinese have taken the time to build roads for the lowly Tibetans. They can't complain. Hey, Mussolini made the trains run on time. So what if he looked like a toad in a jumpsuit. "He's our toad."

On the day I stopped by Palin’s office in Juneau, she did not seem bothered that Alaska’s newspapers were filled with stories about Troopergate. Palin had just called a press conference to discuss the latest twist—a tape-recorded phone call from Frank Bailey, one of her closest aides, who could be heard trying to influence an officer to sack Trooper Wooten.

Sure, last June she'd talk to anyone who could help her. She didn't have the weight of the nation on her shoulders, or was training for the "don't blink" method when McCain, after meeting her ONCE (this article makes it seem like she was on everyone radar - what nonsense. McCain is still figuring out the blackberry let along how to use radar) decided to cynically make her his choice. If he wins, Karl Rove will once again prove he's worth every grimy nickel they pay him. However, Ted Stevens is on his way into the political graveyard, and when it becomes convenient, the rest of Alaska will boot him all the way there, and supply the shovels.

She said that one of her goals had been to combat alcohol abuse in rural Alaska, and she blamed Commissioner Monegan for failing to address the problem. That, she said, was a big reason that she’d let him go—only, by her account, she didn’t fire him, exactly. Rather, she asked him to drop everything else and single-mindedly take on the state’s drinking problem, as the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. “It was a job that was open, commensurate in salary pretty much—ten thousand dollars less”—but, she added, Monegan hadn’t wanted the job, so he left state service; he quit.

Riiiight. She has a history of going after those who disagree with her. This writer chose to ignore the many reports of her high handed behavior while Mayor of Wasilla.. What are we talking about here? Mayor of small town takes on the big wigs and changes Washington? It is a bad Disney movie! Either way, she's been painted by her associates as vindictive, a bully and relentless with people who disagree with her. Hmm. Dick Cheney anyone?

Palin’s style of governing was unorthodox and at times impulsive. Although she boasts of a record as a fiscal conservative, she raised the sales tax while she was in office. She left the town saddled with millions of dollars in debt from the building of a new sports complex, and with legal fees, because she had failed to secure title to the land on which the complex was built. Casting herself in the Ted Stevens mold, however, she had proved herself skilled at collecting federal earmarks for Wasilla, bringing in twenty-seven million dollars for her small town in three years.

And really adept at lying. She's been lying about her support for earmarks, lying about her experience with international relations (Claiming she'd been to Ireland, when her plane landed on the runway and she never got off it!), lying whenever she needs to. It's nauseating, and puts McCain in the worst possible light, for the worst possible choice as a running mate.

A few weeks earlier, when I telephoned Palin’s office in Juneau and asked for a press officer, I was invited to meet the Governor the next day. The state legislature was in recess at the time, and I found Palin sitting sidesaddle on her receptionist’s desk, studying the receptionist’s family photographs. She wore slacks and a belted sweater-jacket, and her hair was piled and pinned atop her head in her trademark upsweep. She kept up the family chitchat as she led me to her office. Her press person had told me that I could have twenty minutes of the Governor’s time, but, once we were alone, she was in no hurry. We talked for about an hour before an aide poked her head in to announce that someone else was waiting.

Trademark upsweep. Oy. Are you kidding me? She makes one speech at the Republican convention - well done by the way - and she has trademarks? Oooh, they talked for an hour! Was it about her tanning salon? Or the hours she's billed the state for her work from home? Or the hundreds of emails she's been sending for state business from her Yahoo account because she wants to be above/outside/around the law?

“It’s not aerial hunting,” she claimed. “What the state has been engaged in for the past four to six years—and I support—is predator control.” Shoot the wolves, she said, and moose and caribou herds will increase, providing more food for Alaskans. That was the argument: “Let the people who live off those herds not buy and import meat.”

Okay, this is a waste of energy. Wolves have nothing to do with Moose. They don't eat Moose. They never have. It's a program based on fake science, just like her disbelief in global warming. She will continue the Bush/Cheney order of things, and keep McCain in line. She's in predator control mode right now. And we're the prey. The office is what she wants, and will do anything to get it. All I can say is to quote Randi Rhodes of Air America when she heard the quote of Sarah Palin talking about the Palin/McCain administration:

"OOOH. JOHN MCCAIN NEEDS A FOOD TASTER."

my two cents.

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