Palin Leaves Campaign Trail. Flees North.

4 09 2008

Well this is interesting. Chuck Todd dropped a little bombshell this afternoon.

CHUCK TODD:Well Ron, We’ve been able to see that there are a few folks who are saying [Palin is] actually going to hole up in Alaska for a little, she’s got to see her son off who’s going to be deployed to Iraq, so we may not see her on the campaign trail for a little while.

RON ALLEN: Yes she hasn’t been home for a long time, and she’s obviously got some business to deal with there.

Hole up in Alaska? I was thinking to myself after her polished but snarky performance at the Republican National Convention, “I wonder who will get the first interview?” Because obviously, questions need to happen. Nobody even knows who she is. She read one prepared statement twice in a row, and then gave a speech written by Bush’s speechwriter. Unless you’re on the internet searching compulsively for YouTube videos of obscure Palin moments in churches and assembly meetings, or diving head first in to the blogosphere, you haven’t got a clue.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand the desire to see your child off as he heads to Iraq. So do thousands of other parents who are shipping children off to Iraq. I mean, I hate to be rude, but don’t you have anything else you need to be doing?? You will potentially be one heartbeat away from being commander in chief of the armed forces. Shouldn’t you be out there telling people why you think you can do that job, and earning the trust of the nation that is turning over their own sons and daughters to fight this war? Can’t the hug good-bye happen now??

There are 60 days left before the election. Track ships out on September 11th. That’s one week from now. That’s more than 10% of the available time left, that she’ll be on hiatus “holed up” in Alaska, dealing with “things”. So what’s the real story?

First, and most obviously, fleeing from the media probably sounds pretty good right about now.

Second, remember when Palin told the Alaska State Legislature through her new attorney Thomas Van Flein that she wouldn’t be around to testify because she’d be too busy? And remember when Van Flein said that she shouldn’t even be investigated by the Legislature at all, but rather by a 3-person panel which she herself appointed? And remember when she filed ethics charges against herself to force this plan to happen?

Well…TPM Muckraker talked to former Alaska Attorney General John Havelock (I know him! Good guy.) who said basically that the Legislature can investigate whatever it likes. Van Flein knows this, undoubtedly, but is trying to stall things so the ruling comes after the election on November 4, instead of on the planned date of October 31st. In addition, Frank Bailey (the guy in Palin’s administration who was tape recorded by the Troopers applying pressure to axe the governor’s ex brother-in-law, Mike Wooten) has now refused to testify. So, he will have to be subpoenaed. And now that the governor is back in this neck of the woods, does that mean she will testify? Or will she refuse too, and need to be subpoenaed?

In addition, there are new developments just breaking that the Police Officers Union of Alaska has filed an ethics complaint on behalf of…you guessed it…Trooper Mike Wooten. NBC News says:

The complaint alleges that the governor or her staff may have have improperly disclosed information from Wooten’s personnel records. The complaint alleges “criminal penalties may apply.”

This all has to do with the aforementioned phone call. Bailey, while being recorded talking to Trooper Rodney Dial, dished all kinds of personal information about Wooten – shooting the moose, driving under the influence, etc. Wooten says the only way he could have known this is by accessing his personnel file improperly.

Palin…er…The McCain Palin campaign says that there was nothing illegal here because Wooten had signed a waiver allowing a divorce attorney to look through his records. So the info went down the line from file, to divorce attorney, to Molly McCann (Palin’s sister), to Todd Palin, to Frank Bailey, to Trooper Dial, and then back to Mike Wooten….who is now filing a complaint. And Bailey does say that Todd Palin was the source of the damaging information on Wooten that he passed along. And Sarah Palin knew NOTHING about this. That’s her story and she’s stickin’ with it. Hmph.

So, there you have it. Is it legal? We’ll find out. Criminal penalties may apply.

(And McCain knew all about this, right?)

Now that you’ve slogged through all that, sit back and enjoy this excellent summary of Troopergate (minus the new developments) from ABC News. Hat tip to Gryphen at The Immoral Minority, one of my favorite local blogs, for finding the clip.

UPDATE: Palin and McCain were at a rally in Cedarburg, WI today. No sign of her here yet. I’ll update when I know more.


Live Blogging the RNC…

4 09 2008

OK.  Cracking knuckles, shaking out arms, bouncing on balls of feet.  Breathing in through the nose….out through the mouth.

I’m goin’ in…

Oh…it’s Cindy.  John showers her with unconditional love and support.  You can trust him. (Trust her).  And heeeere’s Sarah!  She’s wearing some kind of low cut silky thing under her blazer.  What’s with that? Moose hunting pistol packing mother of 5…. here we go again.

Invocation of Ronald Reagan.  Her father’s plane was shot down, but he was quiet about that and never talks about it for self gain.  Just like her husband John….  HUH?  She actually just said he doesn’t talk about it.  Wonder how many times we’ll hear him talk about it. (smacks head)

Intro of her kids in the military.  More handmade premade signs they handed out to people.

She keeps talking about her father.  Hard scrabble roots. American Dream.  Becoming a mother….something changed in her.    OK, I’m going to go check my dinner.

Back.  Orphans.  Clearing debris of war.  Rwanda.  Somebody she met in somewhere in Africa.  She’s there in the audience.

Talking about importance of national leadership. (Her emphasis).  (Sarah?)

John speaks the truth always no matter what the cost.  (Pepto Bismol.  Still on the desk from last night.  Ahhhhh.)  Chants of John – Ma – Cain.  Telepromter issues.  She’s done.  Man…how does she walk in those shoes??

Endless recording of Johnny B. Goode.  Bathroom break.

Back.  Lots of audience shots.  There’s Bristol with baby.  Lots of cowboy hats and red white & blue.  The ginormous flag is back.  Kool & the Gang.  Now Sarah has the baby.  A Dems for McCain sign.  I’m glad I know they hand them out at the door.  Red inflatable pig?  What is that?  Pork?  Can’t be.  Maybe at an Alaskan convention, though. 

Someone held up a Palin Power sign and did a fist pump, and the sign fell on his head.   Oh God.  It’s a Drill Baby Drill sign someone wrote with a sharpie on a flattened cardboard box.  This is surreal.  I may not make it.

John McCain slideshow!  P.O.W…..less than 10 seconds in. “Some call him names that can’t be repeated?”  Huh?  His mother just called him a “Mama’s boy.”  I’m confused.

Father ordered carpet bombing of Hanoi while his son was imprisoned there, because for the McCains it was always country first.  Airplanes.  Fires.  134 men burned to death.  Wounds not addressed. Torture, filthy prison, violently ill, survived because of faith.  I don’t like this.  Dinner check.

5 1/2 years of torture could have left him bitter and broken, but he came back to the U.S. with a smile on his face! Sheesh.

Do anything to keep taxes low.  Abhors waste. Outspoken. Honest (there they go again!)  Larger cause. Love for America. Country first.

What a life. What faith. What a family. What good fortune we will choose this leader at this time.  Trumpets.  Second picture of African American family in the slideshow.

Back to the tiny dank cell.  When you’ve lived in a box, the world becomes clear. When you’ve lived in a box….When you’ve lived in a box (repeat)….Country first.

And here he is.   Yellow tie?  U-S-A U-S-A, etc.  Green background?  I thought they weren’t going to do that any more.  Oh, it’s green grass in a slide of a giant stately home.  Wha….  Is it one of his??

AAA!  Someone held up a McCain Votes Against Vets sign!!!!  They must have smuggled it in.  Holy cow.  And another guy in a Vets Against the War t-shirt giving the double peace signs!!!  Man…

Cindy is his inspiration. (but Sarah is his soulmate?)  They’ve got to change that slide.  It’s like the green screen challenge on the Colbert Report where people send in submissions to make him interesting.

No substance yet.  Thank you for your consideration to the undecided voters.  A word to Obama supporters.  A lone boo.  You have my respect and admiration.  8 people clapping.  We are fellow Americans.  That means more to me than anything else.  Applause.

“My friends”.  Everybody drink!

Now it’s a bright blue slide that is scorching my retinas.  What IS that??

CODE PINK IS IN THE HOUSE!!  She’s getting hauled off to shouts of USA USA.  “My friends, please don’t be diverted by the ground noise and the static….heh heh heh.”

Another code pink!  Unbelievable.  More chants of USA.  They didn’t show her this time, though.  Man.  McCain looked ticked off at that one.  His face changed color.

More Sarah Palin.  Executive experience. Cut taxes, energy issues, across the aisle.  Worked with her hands. Small business.  Worried about cost of gas and groceries.  I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington…hehehehe.  Grimace of death.  To the ‘me first, country second crowd – “Change is Coming!”  Applause.

Keeping promises. Strenghth. Backbone. Maverick. Marches to the beat of his own drum…..  Come on, where’s another code pink?

Oh, the blue is sky with a flagpole.  It’s agonizing.

Pork barrel projects will be vetoed when they come across his desk and we will know their names x 2.  I fought union bosses.  Cheers.  I fought trial lawyers.  Fought for more troops when it wasn’t popular. Wild applause.  USA USA USA.  “I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.” Standing ovation.

I fight for this and that.  People who coach little league, teachers, son with autism.  These people matter to him.  I fight for (fill in family name).  Honor the sacrifice of soldiers by keeping country safe.

The man is no orator. I keep thinking of Obama’s speech.  What time is is?  Obama passed corporate welfare bill for oil companies?  I think that’s what he said.

We’re all God’s children and we’re all Americans.  We believe in low taxes, open markets, risk takers, letting people keep the fruits of their labor, strong defense, culture of life, judges who don’t legislate from the bench (unless they’re on our side).  Values of family, neighborhoods and communities.  Government that doesn’t make your choices for you, let’s you make them for yourself (unless it has to do with reproductive rights).

Opponent will raise taxes, raise government spending, will eliminate jobs, will put a  beaurocrat stands between you and your doctor.  Lots of boos.  What time is it?

Teleprompter problem.  Opponent wants to wish away global economy.  More teleprompter problems.  I bet people have tuned out because of the blue background eye torture alone.  Did I say torture?

Need to empower parents with choice about schools. (Just not in family planning).  Get rid of bad teachers.  Standing ovation.  BIG teleprompter problem.  This is ugly.

Obama wants unions and beurocrats in school.  Teleprompter problem.  Stop sending money to foreign countries who don’t like us very much. (What about the foreign countries sending US money that don’t like us very much?)  Drill now!  Drill now!  “Drill Baby Drill” with a shot of “Environmentalists for McCain”.

My friends!  Drink!

He just said “electric auto-mobiles”. (They call them ‘cars’ now)

Ooo.  Wide camera shot with lots of empty seats.

Al Qaeda will strike us again.  Iran is the chief state sponsor of terrorism. On their way to nuclear weapons.  Russia invaded small neighbor to gain control of the world’s oil supply. (Who would do such a thing?!)

I know how the world works.  I know the good and evil in it. I know the leaders, and how to stand up to them.  I know how to secure the peace. (with war?)  He remembers when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Change change change.  Change.  My friends!

I have the scars to prove it (touching chest).  Senator Obama does not.  Transparency, accountability, get things done.  Doesn’t care who gets the credit.

Never a day he hasn’t thanked God for his fortune.  Blessed with misfortune. Gulf of Tonkin.  Here’s the conversion story.  Used to think of himself, crashed into a lake, broken limbs, angry crowd.  Dark cell. Left to die.  Teleprompter problems. Down to 100 pounds. Changed cells. Couldn’t feed himself.  Learned about selfishness. Cellmates saved his life. Solitary confinement. Teleprompter problems. Stayed in prison to let other guys go. Standing ovation.  Guards worked him over. Broke him. Hurt and ashamed. Tapping on wall.  Get back up and fight again for his country. Standing ovation.  Fell in love with his country. “I wasn’t my own man any more. I was my country’s”

I’m not running because I think I’m blessed and because I’m annointed to save country in hour of need (with snark)….ARGH!

My friends!  Call to service – join the army, become a minister, teacher, volunteer, serve a cause greater than self. (Become a community organizer, perhaps?)

Stand up and fight. Fight for America. Fight for Freedom.  We never quit. We never give up. Fight with me! Fight with me! Fight! Fight! Fight! Stand up and fight!

God Bless America.

Hillary’s Mad…This Oughtta Be Good.

4 09 2008

When I heard, on Friday that Hillary Clinton had commented on the Palin nomination, I was ready for it. I’m not sure what I was expecting but when I heard her, I almost choked. I was expecting something forceful, something strong and assertive, something…well…Hillary. Instead was a lukewarm congratulations.


Perhaps Hillary was as much in shock as the rest of us, and needed a little time to regroup. I’ve been drumming my fingers, waiting for the regrouping to be complete, and honestly, I was starting to worry a little. The Clintons have the power to make people nervous. You never know quite what they’re up to. But the New York Times reported that Hillary’s miffed, and miffed big time.

Mrs. Clinton’s friends said she was galled that Ms. Palin might try to capitalize on a movement that Mrs. Clinton, of New York, built among women in the primaries.

Clinton advisers said they expected that a bloc of her female supporters would give Mr. McCain a second look because of Ms. Palin, and that Mrs. Clinton was probably Mr. Obama’s best weapon in response.

So back Hillary goes to the “Rust Belt” states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, presumably to talk some sense into the women who are considering a vote for Palin based upon matching body parts. I’d like to think that women as a collective are way smarter than that, but there’s no harm in bringing out the big gun if she’s willing and able.

Now, if the Republican Convention would hurry up and be over with, we can get on to the real campaigning. Obama/Biden, for the first time broke the 50% barrier in national polling, garnering an 8 point lead over McCain/Palin. The polls were taken over the weekend, so at least initially, the Palin pick showed no bounce. She may see a bouncelet after her acceptance speech last night. She speaks with energy, and sincerity, and as it has been said, “Sarah Palin will look you straight in the eye and tell you black is white.” She dazzled in comparison to the parade of wrinkly old white guys that preceded her, but the effect may not last through the media vetting, and the debate with Joe Biden. And there are many more scandals coming down the pike.

So Hillary, come out, come out, wherever you are!

A Letter About Sarah Palin from Anne Kilkenny

4 09 2008

This letter has been circulating for a couple days now, and I thought I’d post it in full for those who haven’t had a chance to read it. One of the best ways to become informed about local politics is by attending city council/assembly meetings. I know this from mind-numbing, clock-staring, experience. There’s no substitute for butt-in-the-chair observation, no matter how awful it is to sit for hours on end listening to a bunch of bloviating local politicians. But it’s difficult not to show who you are.

This letter is written by someone who knows Sarah Palin, lives in Wasilla, and has city council lurker cred. (There ought to be a badge for that.) I think that babygate is on the way out of the news cycle, and the next aspect of her life to come under scrutiny will be her tenure as mayor. This is a good place to start. And thanks to Anne Kilkenny for speaking out. Wasilla is a small town. It takes a certain amount of conviction and downright bravery to lay it all out there like this. So a hat tip and a big sweeping bow to Anne.

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992.
Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a
first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her
father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more
City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the
residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular
girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and
won’t vote for her can’t quit smiling when talking about her because
she is a “babe”.

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She
kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents
for seven months.

She is “pro-life”. She recently gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby.
There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “puts things out
there” and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a
champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly
sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his
work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or
so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their
major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything
like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She’s smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000
(at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about
670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running
this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been
pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had
given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6
years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over
33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the
City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation
(1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a
regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she
promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration
weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed
money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it
with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage
the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said
she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a
new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a
multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece
of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was
still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers
involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the
community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it
would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that
could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office
redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus
in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will
make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she
proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she
recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while
she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s
surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas
or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by
her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the
basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected
City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from
the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents
rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the
Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for
Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin
fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally
grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power
to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated”
her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top
cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure
and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that
an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t
fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation
for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen
contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she
later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to
replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded
for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew
her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in
help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town
introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything
publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got
the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one
of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no
background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great
job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the
high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the
structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this
Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party)
engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some
undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all
her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and
garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a
gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from
Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel
politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to
nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget
guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing
projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative
action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply
because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant
she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party
leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated
them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a
fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.
They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and
predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly
stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made
point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah’s
mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and
experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package
of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march
to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to
global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state
initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from
pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the
state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s
lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar
bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a
heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more
knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it.

•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary
school, not since
•“NRA supporter”: absolutely true
•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill
that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to
promote it.
•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby
BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life
•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has
residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska.
No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on
supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city
administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•gutsy: absolutely!
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at
explaining actions.
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores
and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city
without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built
streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on
•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city
government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union
doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim
that she is pro-labor/pro-union.


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed
voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting
programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny +
Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local
government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I’ve always operated in the belief that “Bad things happen
when good people stay silent”. Few people know as much as I do because
few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don’t have a job she can bump me out
of. I don’t belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no
fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will
cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100
or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah’s
attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to
say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in
spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor)
from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of
Wasilla, and I can’t recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust
for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible
for a private person to get any info out of City Hall–they are
swamped. So I can’t verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the
population of Wasilla, ranging from my “about 5,000″, up to 9,000. The
day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the
current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was
5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to
2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

Anne Kilkenny

Palin-Palooza Wrap Up.

4 09 2008

Part of me really didn’t want to watch last night. Several of my friends here in Anchorage couldn’t bring themselves to do it, and I understand why. Doubtless there are many others in Alaska who were glued to their sets. I knew Palin would deliver the speech well, considering her sportscasting experience. I knew she’d look good, and have an air of sincerity and straight talk. But I also knew she didn’t actually write the speech, so this was going to be more a test of delivery rather than a thoughtful dissertation full of policy details. But I watched anyway. It was kind of like a personal test of strength. I passed.

The stunner of the speech for me? “I said thanks, but no thanks to that Bridge to Nowhere”. Frankly, I was surprised she said it the first time, shocked she said it the second time, but again? Almost incomprehensible. This must be her test to see if that old George Bush theory that if you say something enough, people will just believe it, is true. No other explanation seems possible. This is easy to fact check. Really easy. Palin decided she didn’t want the bridge when she learned that Alaska would have to pay too much for it. If Stevens and Young had been able to pull it off, we’d be motoring to Gravina Island right now.

The nastiness of the speech surprised me a bit too. I had imagined that she’d be playing the Mom card – sensitive, caring, tough when she had to be, but the feel-good human side of the Republican party. It would have made it much more difficult for Joe Biden to flay her in the debate without looking mean. But time and time again, she stuck it to Obama with relish, and not on policy either. She talked about elitism, lack of ‘executive experience’, did the whole “parting the waters and saving the world” snark, mocked the use of the dreaded columns at Mile High Stadium, and criticized the Obama logo. Are we really reduced to logo bashing? McCain has been on the wrong side of so many issues that matter to people in this election, there’s obviously nothing left. And that’s what gives me comfort.

But the cherry on top was her sneering, snarky comment about how being a mayor was like being a community organizer, only with “actual responsibility”.

A commenter on this blog summed it up so well: (hat tip MH&

“Jesus was a Community Organizer, and Pontias Pilate was a Governor.”

Can we cram that all on to a bumper sticker, or will we only be able to make t-shirts…

The fact that this derision of community organizers was met with rousing applause by the delegates did nothing but cement the fact for many viewers that this is really the opinion, and the spirit of the Republican ‘base’. What did all the good-hearted Republican community organizers out there watching the speech think, not only of the comment, but of the reaction from their own party? Whoever the speech writer was, it became apparent rather quickly they were going for zingers, barbs, and clever one-liners, and not really thinking much about how the non-bloodthirsty segment of the viewing audience would feel about it.

Sarah Palin was the Hail Mary pass of the GOP. The McCain campaign is counting on voters being dazzled by the package, enchanted with the newness, and pumped up by the fightin’ spirit of this unusual political figure. And they are also counting on the fact that most people will go no deeper than that.

Soon the Republican convention will be wrapping up, and we’ll be ready to move to the next phase of the campaign. How will Palin fare in an actual interview? What will happen in the debate with Joe Biden, who just said he would be “unrelenting” in his challenge of Palin? What will Hillary Clinton have to say about this? Stay tuned.

Palin’s Pitbull Problem.

4 09 2008

Hoo. OK. Before I get out the mud boots and shovel my way through the steaming pile of speech that Sarah Palin deposited on the stage of the Republican Convention last night, let me mention one thing that might be lost to most Americans – a telling little footnote.

Believe it or not, despite the unbelievable political news that’s been happening in Alaska lately (indictment of Senator Ted Stevens, investigation of Rep. Don Young, and all of the Palin antics) there’s really not that much else going on here. If you went throught the Anchorage Daily News wtih a pair of scissors, and removed the stories about politics, you’d end up with a quirky assortment of news that most people in the Lower 48 would consider not very newsworthy. The local news covers the high school basketball games.

Just so you get the idea, here are a few headline, front page news stories from the past few weeks:

Electronic scarecrows haze ravens from utility equipment

Orphaned Bear Cub Eludes Fish & Game Agents

Missing Hikers Found in Denali

In a small community, these are the kinds of things that really ARE news.

So last night, as I watched Palin’s debut on the national stage, something struck me. First, of course, she was polished and poised and handling her new found celebrity with confidence. She even pulled off an ad lib that was her greatest laugh line of the night. In response to the homemade “Hockey Moms for Palin” signs that were being held aloft, she said, “I love those hockey moms. You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick!” (thunderous laughter and applause from the crowd)

Now let me share with you another of those headline stories from three weeks ago:

Child Taken Off Life Support After Pit Bull Attack.

This was the big news story in Alaska for several days that week. A child and her babysitter were viciously attacked by the family pet pit bull. The owner surrendered the dog, waited for the girls father to return from his deployment in Iraq, and watched as his six-year-old daughter was taken off life support after she went into an irreversably vegetative state.

I don’t know how other Alaska residents felt about the pit bull joke, and obviously her audience loved it, but most of us here in “small town America” probably didn’t find it particularly funny.

Cross posted on Huffington Post