Anyone searching the internet for information about the suddenly famous governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, won’t take long to stumble across the letter written by Anne Kilkenny, resident of Palin’s home town of Wasilla, Alaska. Kilkenny wrote the letter, exposing the not-so-pretty side of Sarah Palin to family and friends the day after Palin’s surprise VP nomination. It went instantly viral.
She said she worked and reworked the letter to add things as people have asked more questions, deleted things that sounded too much like speculation and tried to keep it balanced with both positive and negative information.
“It’s not to make her look bad. It’s not to make her look good. It’s just to make her what she is,” she said.
In the letter, she lauds the former mayor as smart, hardworking and savvy. But, she says, far from being a fiscal conservative, Palin left Wasilla in debt, was intolerant of “divergent opinions” and “has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in help.”
Much of what Kilkenny states has been pointed out by others in news stories. Palin, on the national pulpit, has lauded herself as a fiscal conservative who cut government budgets. But as mayor and governor she presided over growing budgets. Some of her information has received less attention.
As mayor, as Kilkenny notes, Palin benefited enormously from a sales tax passed by the previous mayor John Stein, whom she defeated in a bitter campaign in which she derided him as a “good ole boy.” That sales tax, passed to fund the police force, left the city flush with so much cash Palin was able to cut property taxes and still have revenues increase.
The letter is everywhere. Picked up by the Atlantic Monthly, the Anchorage Daily News, Daily Kos, this blog and too many others to list. Google it, and be amazed. Kilkenny has talked to the New York Times and National Public Radio, and is being hounded by the flock of press that has descended on our usually sleepy ‘little’ state.
With some notable exceptions, reaction to her letter has been positive, especially by those who are seeking the ‘real’ story of Sarah Palin from someone who knew her long before her meteoric rise to political stardom.
“How’s anyone to know if the people who do know don’t say anything,” she said.
As the McCain-Palin ticket promises to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington D.C., Kilkenny has begun that process in Wasilla.