McCain Campaign Rewrites Alaska History.

30 09 2008


Every once in a while we hear tha sound of hoofbeats on the Mudflats….  Hark!   Is that…..a horse?  Why yes, it’s our trusty white knight Representative Les Gara galloping up to deliver his latest opinion piece on the Palin debacle.  He unfurls his scroll and reads…


Over the past few weeks we Alaskans have been scratching our heads over the interesting claims the McCain campaign has made about our Governor.  A lot of them have been news to us.  Governor Palin’s nomination to the McCain ticket has created unusual common ground for Alaskans.  Whether we support her or not, we’ve been furrowing our eyebrows a lot lately as we watch the McCain campaign re-write Alaska history.   


            As a legislator who’s both agreed and disagreed with Governor Palin, I know some of her positions are difficult to sell.  Some are not.  But to avoid that whole messy thing of explaining controversial positions, the spin doctors running the McCain campaign are doing what got George Bush elected.  Many campaigns spin in the gray areas, where the truth isn’t clear.  But the McCain campaign’s taken a page from Karl Rove, and decided to spin past the margins.  They’re pitching the verifiably false as true.


            During the August Republican National Convention, Alaskans heard for the first time that our Governor opposed a national symbol of federal pork, what folks in the Lower 48 call the “Bridges to Nowhere.”   We didn’t know that.  In her 2006 Governor’s campaign, when her opponents took the risk of telling boomers these two bridges might be too expensive – candidate Palin said she supported them – and said she’d work to get more Congressional money for them.


            Now the campaign has a new line, that Governor Palin “told Congress thanks, but no thanks” for this money.  That’s a problem.  See, she never could have said that.  Congress debated our Alaska’s request for $400 million in bridge money in 2004 and 2005, before Palin was elected Governor.   A national outcry against these projects, at a time when a Republican Congress was pushing pork over effective relief for Hurricane Katrina’s victims, forced Congress to re-write this earmark.  Alaska ultimately got the money in 2005, but the Congressional language requiring that we spend it on these bridges was deleted.  We said thank you.  Governor Palin never opposed this funding.  She never offered to return it when she took office in 2007. 


            Then there’s the claim by Senator McCain that our Governor has been a “maverick” fighting federal earmarks.  We didn’t know that either.  Alaska takes more federal earmarks per capita than any state in the country.  Governor Palin asks for them.  She, like her predecessors, happily accepts them.  Alaska’s budget contains hundreds of millions in earmark dollars.  Alaska politicians love earmarks, and campaign on their ability to get them.


            We also heard at the Convention that Governor Palin’s been a budget cutter.  But in Governor Palin’s two years as Governor state spending has gone up by 20%.  She did veto projects, and I supported those vetoes.  But after vetoes, there’s still been a 20% budget hike.   Depending on your views, a 20% spending increase might be defensible.  It’s not defensible to make people believe you cut the budget when you didn’t. 


            Here’s what else I know about my state.  We have the third worst children’s health insurance program in the nation.  The Governor wouldn’t support cost-effective measures to extend insurance to the 10,000 children of Alaskan working parents who cannot afford coverage.  She campaigned against a recent proposal to prevent large strip mines from spilling toxic chemicals into Alaska’s salmon waters – something that’s raised the ire of fishermen and Alaska Natives in remote Southwest Alaska communities.  Thirty-five to forty percent of our kids don’t graduate from high school, and we can’t convince Governor Palin to join the 41 other states that have accepted the science showing statewide pre-k education helps kids succeed when they don’t have other good options at home. 


            There are a lot of important issues to discuss this campaign.  They should be debated honestly.  So far, as Senator McCain’s joined Barack Obama’s call for change, he’s only succeeded at changing the truth.


We now return you to the McCain-Palin campaign already in progress.

I Forgive the New Yorker.

30 09 2008

OK…I was really peeved at the New Yorker after that horrible cover of Barack and Michelle Obama doing the “terrorist fist bump” by the warmth of a burning flag, and a portrait of Osama bin Laden. This was supposed to be how “uneducated people” felt about Obama…you know…satire…hahaha.

When you have to tell people it’s supposed to be funny, it isn’t.

I’ve been harboring a grudge since July.

Then, a few weeks ago, they linked to Mudflats. That softened me up a little, I admit.

Now, I’m calling it even. It feels good to forgive.


Disaster Relief – Open Thread

30 09 2008

Well, our new server is down again.  So, until the ship rights itself, we can hang out here.  Sorry to all for the inconvenience.

McCain Clamps Hand Over Palin’s Mouth. Again.

29 09 2008

“Sen. John McCain retracted Sarah Palin’s stance on Pakistan Sunday morning, after the Alaska governor appeared to back Sen. Barack Obama’s support for unilateral strikes inside Pakistan against terrorists“She would not…she understands and has stated repeatedly that we’re not going to do anything except in America’s national security interest,” McCain told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos of Palin. “In all due respect, people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that’s—that’s a person’s position… This is a free country, but I don’t think most Americans think that that’s a definitve policy statement made by Governor Palin.”

So, people sticking microphones into conversations, shouldn’t count? Hmmm…I seem to remember something about people clinging to guns and religion into a microphone…

So what was this wishy washy comment that wasn’t really what she meant?

“Saturday night, while on a stop for cheesesteaks in South Philadelphia, Palin was questioned by a Temple graduate student about whether the U.S. should cross the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

“If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should,” Palin said.

During Friday night’s presidential debate in Mississippi, Obama took a similar stance and condemned the Bush administration for failing to act on the possibility terrorists are in Pakistan.

“Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan,” Obama said after McCain accused the Illinois senator of wanting to announce an invasion. “If the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.”

So, any guesses about the debate in 3 days? Is it going to happen? Will she be wearing her hair down (i.e. concealing a wire)? Is she going to make it to the election? Discuss.

Brutus Speaks! Palin’s Reaction to Alaskans for Truth Rally.

29 09 2008


Sunday, organizers and rally-goers were basking in the afterglow of the “Hold Palin Accountable” rally. The rally got front page coverage in the Anchorage Daily News, and was featured on local and national broadcast news. It was also picked up by newspapers across the country. This was a big step up from the coverage of the last anti-Palin rally. We are being heard.

Shortly after the rally, we heard the official response from Sarah Palin, via Meg Stapleton. For a little background, Stapleton was a former news anchor at KTUU, Alaska’s most widely viewed news station. She has at various times also been Palin’s press secretery , and special assistant. She was offered and accepted a position as mouthpiece for the McCain-Palin campaign in August. People used to like Meg Stapleton, the way you do news anchors and assistants to popular governors.

Since Stapleton’s faustian bargain with the McCain campaign, she has been the smirking, smearing, condescending, fib-telling face of the “Truth Squad.” The very name of the Squad is Orwellian, and so is Stapleton. She keeps saying, “2+2=5”, and expecting the world to believe it. Not only has the Truth Squad been dishonest, but they have systematically and surgically attacked well-respected public servants, for doing their jobs with integrity and the best interest of Alaskans at heart.

Here’s a good summary from The Anchorage Press (9/25/08)

“Today, we reiterate and emphasize the ongoing cooperation in the truly independent investigation involving the only legal forum in the state for the Monegan inquiry,” Stapleton said Monday. “As you know, that is the Personnel Board.”

Except that we don’t know that. And that was never asserted prior to Palin’s August 29 selection by McCain as his running mate.

And that’s not the least of the inaccuracies and inconsistencies being peddled by Stapleton and O’Callaghan.

When Stapleton alleged that Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage) decided not to subpoena Palin’s former chief of staff Mike Tibbles, KTUU’s Jason Moore pointed out that it was actually Fairbanks Republican Representative Jay Ramras that requested Tibbles not be subpoenaed. Following that report on KTUU, according to, Stapleton called Moore’s wife and told her that Moore was calling Stapleton and O’Callaghan liars, then followed up by calling KTUU news director Steve Mac Donald to complain.

In trying to paint Commissioner Monegan as a rogue, the Truthers alleged that Monegan had sought to go to Washington, D.C. in July to seek federal funds to fight sexual violence in Alaska without the administration’s approval (the campaign called this “the final straw”). However, ABC News unearthed the travel authorization—signed by Palin’s chief of staff Mike Nizich—authorizing Monegan to go to Washington to attend a meeting with Senator Lisa Murkowski.”

OK, now we’re ready for the official response from Meg Stapleton about the rally that saw more than 1500 people converge in a downtown Anchorage Park. It is conveniently color coded for you in a lovely shade of muck…just to beat the point to death.

“Clearly this was an Obama rally and nothing else. The rally proves the point of partisanship which the Governor has been trying to remove from the investigation in an effort to get a fair and just result.

The Governor remains an open book and is fully cooperating with the non-partisan Personnel Board and its independent investigator, which are statutorily authorized to conduct an investigation.

As you no doubt noticed the personal attacks at this rally, it is unfortunate that while we discuss the Governor and her record, the Obama campaign is resorting to personally attacking those who will continue to stand with the Governor and Alaskans and against personal smears.”

Now you know why several people at the rally had signs directed squarely at Meg Stapleton. When Alaskans start quoting Julius Caesar’s “Et tu, Brute?” (Even you Brutus?) you realize the extent to which she is seen as the ultimate betrayer.

Strangely, the last time Meg Stapleton got national media attention was during her days at KTUU when a story she was filming made it to Jay Leno. While she was reporting a human interest story, at Christmas time, she knelt down by one of Santa’s reindeer. It got spooked and literally ran her over. Sometimes animals have pretty amazing instincts.

Dad Tries to Get Mrs. Couric to Change Sarah’s Grade.

28 09 2008

It happened again. This time Katie Couric managed not only to make Sarah Palin look bad, but John McCain look worse! What was her diabolical secret? She used that secret weapon – asking questions. In this one-on-two interview, John McCain showed up to sit with Sarah to make sure she didn’t screw up too badly, and tried to keep that big bad journalist on a short leash. Saturday night in Philadelphia, Palin was questioned by a Temple graduate student about whether the U.S. military should cross the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan. She answered, “If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should,” Palin said.

That was the subject of Katie Couric’s first question. Palin basically repeated what Barack Obama had said during the Presidential debate, when John McCain scoffed at him and patronizingly admonished him by saying, “You don’t say that out loud.” (subtext: you naive little idiot!)

McCain, in this joint interview, is obviously under stress. He squirms and blinks. You look at him and listen to the tone of his voice, and you know he’s a man on edge. He’s a pressure cooker who’s keeping the lid on with all his might. Palin, comes across as cool and confident (except for that nervous lip lick she does, and the occasional clenched jaw), but with Palin, it’s the transcript that is fascinating. You really have to read the “blizzard of words” to fully appreciate the extent to which she isn’t saying anything.KC: Over the weekend, Governor Palin, you said the US should “absolutely” launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan to Pakistan to “stop the terrorists from coming any further in” now that’s almost the exact position that Barack Obama has taken and you, Senator McCain, have criticizes as something you do not say out loud. So, Governor Palin, are you two on the same page on this?SP: We had a great discussion with President Zardari as we talked about what it is that America can and should be doing together, to make sure that the terrorists do not cross borders, and do not ultimately put themselves in the position of attacking America again, or her allies. And we will do what we have to do to secure the United States of America and her allies. KC: Is that something you shouldn’t say out loud Senator McCain?JM: Of course not. But look, I understand this day and age “gotcha journalism”. Was that a pizza place? In a conversation with someone who…you didn’t hear the question very well…you don’t know the context of the conversation…grab a phrase. Uh, Governor Palin and I agree you don’t announce that you’re going to attack another country.KC: Are you sorry you said it, Governor?JM: Now wait a minute! Before you say is she sorry she said it, this was a gotcha sound bite.

KC: It wasn’t a gotcha. She was talking to a voter.

JM: She was in a conversation. She was in a conversation with a group of people, and talking back and forth…and I…I don’t…I’ll let Governor Palin speak for herself.

SP: In fact you’re absolutely right on. In the context, this was a voter…a constituents hollerin’ out a question from across an area asking, “What are you gonna do about Pakistan? You better have an answer to Pakistan.” I said, “We’re going to do what we have to do to protect the United States of America.”

KC: You were pretty specific about what you wanted to do – cross border…

SP: (interrupting) As Senator McCain is suggesting here also, never would our administration get out there and show our cards to, uh, terrorists, in this case to enemies, and let them know what the game plan was, not when that could ultimately adversely affect a plan to keep America secure.

KC: What did you learn from that experience?

SP: That this IS all about gotcha journalism. A lot of it is! But that’s OK too.

KC: Governor Palin, since our last interview, you’ve gotten a lot of flack. Some Republicans have said you’re not prepared, you’re not ready for prime time. People have questioned your readiness since that interview, and I’m curious to hear your reaction.

SP: Well, not only am I ready, but willing and able to serve as Vice President with Senator McCain if Americans so bless us and privilege us with the opportunity of serving them. Ready with my executive experience as a city mayor and manager, as a governor, as a commissioner, a regulator of oil and gas.

JM: This is not the first time I’ve seen a governor questioned by some…quote “expert.” I remember that Ronald Reagan was a cowboy. President Clinton was the governor of a very small state that had no experience either. I remember how easy it was going to be for Bush 1 to defeat him. I still recall…whoops…that one. But the point is uh, I’ve seen uh, underestimation before. I’m very proud of the excitement that Gov. Palin has ignited with our party around this country. It is a level of excitement and enthusiasm frankly that I’ haven’t seen before and I’d like to attribute it to me, but the fact is that she has done an incredible job and I’m so proud of the work that she’s doing.

Now, I’m not the one who brought up Bill Clinton, and I wouldn’t have if I were John McCain. BUT….since he did, I thought it would be fun to look at this other governor of a “very small state that had no experience either.” First of all, notice that McCain said “either,” so he is pretty much admitting that Palin has no experience. But lets compare “very small states.”

Alaska: population 626,932. 1.1 people per square mile. Borders a whole lot of empty space in Canada.

Arkansas: population 2,673,400. 51.1 people per square mile. Borders six states.

So John McCain is comparing these two states to justify Palin’s abilities. Arkansas has almost 5 times the population, and 50 times the population density than Alaska. And it has neighbors.

But we won’t quibble. This isn’t a “who’s the smallest” contest. Let’s get to the real meat of McCain’s argument. Let’s compare Bill Clinton’s no experience, with Palin’s “no experience either.”

Clinton: After attending Georgetown on scholarships, he received a B.S. in Foreign Service. After graduation he received a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford where he studied government. He attended and graduated Yale Law School. He was a professor at the University of Arkansas. He was the Attorney General of the State of Arkansas. He was the governor of Arkansas for 10 years. He was the Chair of the National Governor’s Association. He also worked on state and national campaigns.

Palin: One semester at Hawaii Pacific University, two semesters at North Idaho College as a general studies major, two semesters at the University of Idaho, one semester at the Matanuska-Susitna College in Alaska, and three semesters at the Univeristy of Idaho, graduating with a B.S. in communications-journalism. She worked briefly as a sportscaster for an Alaskan TV station and as a sportswriter for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman newspaper. She spent several years as a homemaker, and four years on the Wasilla city council. She served two terms as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (pop. 7000), and twenty months as Governor of the aforementioned state with a little over half a million people in it.

So McCain’s argument is that if Bill Clinton could be a successful president, than surely Sarah Palin could. At least that’s what he’s trying to convince the teacher in this weirdly awkward parent-teacher converence. We all know that Sarah’s been trying really hared, but somehow I don’t think Mrs. Couric is going to change her grade.

To watch the clip from the interview, click HERE.

McCain-Palin – How Low Will They Go?

28 09 2008

With every day bringing new cringe-worthy gaffes, inadequacies, and (R)evelations (Biblical and otherwise), the McCain campaign is getting desperate. They’ve tried just about everything to postpone, or lessen the carnage of the looming bloodbath that will be the Vice Presidential debate this Thursday night.Plan A – Change the rules of the debate. Give the candidates less time to talk, and less time to talk TO each other. If Palin has 25% less time to talk, she will embarrass herself and her party…..25% less. That’s the theory anyway. Plan A has been implemented.Plan B – Economic meltdown. Play it so that John McCain is “the only one” who can solve the crisis, and suspend the campaign so he can. Push for the Presidential debate to be moved forward to take the place of…..wait for it…..the Vice Presidential debate! This allows for the VP debate to be postponed indefinitely! It’s so crazy, it just might work… Except it didn’t. Barack Obama called McCain’s bluff, showed for the debate and forced McCain to participate or risk being upstaged by a nationally televised Obama Town Hall meeting. (McCain campaign lifting collective fist to the sky…”Noooooooo!”)Plan C – While looking for another way to stall the debate, giving Palin more time to memorize those index cards of talking points, create a diversion for the press. Because right now, the press is not a friend to the McCain campaign. The Couric interview was an epic disaster. Obama won the first Presidential debate, according to most Americans. McCain is looking dangerously physically run-down. Even Alaskans have had it with their governor, and were out in droves Saturday, protesting the stonewalling of her ethics investigation. Op-ed pieces from the left and from the right have been unflattering to say the least. Hmmm….how to divert all this negative press coverage….*lightbulb*

In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

Because, as we all know, that’s the definition of a “fantastic” wedding.


Awwww…..Don’t they just look so in love….freaked out and miserable? And there’s something about a tattooed engagement ring…

So, if Plan C is indeed a shotgun wedding, what does this mean? Will the press, as the McCain campaign hopes, make this the Alaskan hillbilly version of the Prince Charles/Lady Diana nuptials? Will they have to suspend the campaign so the parents of the bride can participate? Will that shotgun fit under Todd’s tuxedo without looking conspicuous?

But more importantly, if the press does turn its lascivious, million-eyed focus on the young lovers, will this actually be a good thing for McCain and Palin? Or, will the nation have its head held, and be forced to watch as these two young people, who never asked for this kind of attention, become a sideshow attraction as they are paraded in front of cameras, and become political pawns in a chess game they don’t want to play? This plan may backfire.

How does the proud papa-to-be, Levi Johnston, feel about the situation?

The ice-hockey player wrote on his MySpace page he was a “f***ing redneck” and stated, “I don’t want kids.” But a McCain insider predicted he would marry Bristol whenever his future mother-in-law wanted. “It’s a shotgun wedding. She kills things,” the source joked.

Ha ha. Let the marital bliss begin.

Although several sources are already reporting on this, no one has speculated yet about where this wedding might take place. We all recall how Sarah, wile pregnant and in labor with her infant son Trig, admitted that she hopped two commercial airline flights, and bypassed hospitals in Dallas, Seattle, and even in Anchorage, so she could deliver the high-risk baby in her home town of Wasilla, Alaska. “First Dude” Todd Palin explained jeapordizing his wife and unborn child’s safety by stating, “You can’t have a fish-picker from Texas.”

So where do we suppose the wedding will be? Todd? Can you have a shotgun wedding in D.C.? Can we Alaskans expect yet another media circus for the “Bristol ‘n Levi” wedding? Join me as we spiral our way down into further depths of the painfully tacky, brutally opportunistic, Machiavellian nausea that is the McCain campaign.

*h/t to Crooks and Liars for the photo.