Sarah Palin is a Socialist, and She Can’t Buy My Vote.

30 10 2008

Oh, how quickly they forget. While watching John McCain, and Sarah Palin decrying Obama for his “socialist” tendencies, I have found myself becoming increasingly amused. One of the things that defined Sarah Palin’s pre-VP candidate career in Alaska was the fact that nobody seemed to know what to make of her. I refer you to my comments on this, back in the beginning of June, 2008 titled “McCain’s a Greenie. Palin’s a Socialist. Hillary’s the President.”

I’m holding my sides laughing about the Newsweek article that has Alaskan’s all a-twitter, comparing Sarah Palin to Hugo Chavez. Having claimed my staunch neutrality about Sarah Palin, I’m enjoying standing in the middle of the swirling tornado that has become the Palin phenomenon and enjoying my popcorn. Is she a crazy creationist wingnut? A big business-hating, free-gas-doling socialist? A maverick hockey mom? The next Vice President? No one seems to know.

Obviously to regular readers, my “staunch neutrality” about Palin has gone the way of the Steller’s Sea Cow. (For you non-Alaskans; it’s extinct). I did not vote for Palin, but was willing to give her a shot. I like to think I’m open-minded. So, knowing what I know, and  all the recent “socialist talk” made me look up this old post, and I was amused.

I got my $1200 energy rebate check from Sarah Palin a couple weeks ago, and so did every other human being in Alaska.  This money, which came from the wealth of oil companies doing business in Alaska, got spread around by the Governor to help Alaskans defray the rising costs of energy that made the oil companies profitable enough to provide Alaska with the money for the rebate check that defrays the cost of energy…..(you get the circular idea).

At the Alaska Women Reject Palin rally here in Anchorage, a woman drove by as I was returning to my car. She leaned out of her window and said, “Are you going to get a $1200 check this year?” “You mean the rebate check? Yes,” I said. “So how can you hate Sarah Palin!?!” she quipped, looking angry and smug at the same time. “Are you going to SPEND it???” she spat. I said the first thing that came to mind, “Yes, I’ll probably donate it to the Obama campaign.” She screeched away. And I didn’t tell her the whole truth. I’ve actually spread my wealth around to lots of good progressive candidates, both in Alaska and outside.

It was an interesting exchange, though, and I’ve thought about it many times. I’ve heard other people use this logic, although not quite as directly. The basic question is “How can you vote against someone who hands you cash?” It’s really very startling. It presupposes not only that cash-in-hand is the ultimate goal we humans seek, but also that I am not making good on my end of this deal. I’ve been paid for my services, and now I’m not willing to deliver. Does this make anyone in Alaska who votes for Obama, a political prostitute who gets paid in advance, and then takes off with the cash without delivering the vote, thereby breaking some kind of implied, perverse, money-for-votes pact?  To the woman in the red car, apparently it does.

I’ve seen a few references in the mainstream media to Palin’s socialist tendencies, which is good. The fact that in a society that has public education, fire departments, public libraries, police service, Medicaire, and Social Security,  it seems odd to be having the conversation at all. But if Sarah Palin is going to use the term to cut down Barack Obama, she needs to be reminded that 12 weeks ago, she was being compared to Hugo Chavez by her own party, in her own state. And anyone in Alaska who IS voting for Palin because of that $1200 for every man, woman and child in the state, needs to come to terms and make peace with their “inner Socialist.”

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Alaska AG Says None Will Testify in Troopergate Probe.

16 09 2008

Well, if anyone had any doubt about how dirty this would get, wonder no more. The Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg (3rd in line for the Governor’s throne should Palin win the VP slot, and Lt. Governor Sean Parnell win the House seat) has announced that none of the 13 people state employees who were issued subpoenas in Palin’s ethics investigation into the “Troopergate” scandal will testify, unless there is a unanimous vote from the full Senate or the entire Legislature.

In other words, the Attorney General has stated that nobody who is subpoenaed will show up.

Either the AG and the McCain campaign are genuinely afraid of what this investigation will uproot, or they are just trying once and for all to illustrate that the guy at the anti-Palin rally in Anchorage on Saturday who held aloft a sign reading “Bush in a Skirt” was right. My money is on the former.

Oh, and five private citizens from the Fairbanks area today filed suit to halt the investigation on the grounds that the entire thing is unconstitutional. And of course Palin herself has folded her arms, crinkled her nose and said she will no longer be cooperating in this investigation that she “welcomed” just a few short weeks before she was assimilated into the world of Republican politics on the national scale.

I keep searching for the appropriate Alaskan metaphor for overkill. Swatting a mosquito with a sledge hammer? Shooting a moose with a cruise missile? Whatever metaphor you choose, the message is the same. There’s a whole lot of legal muscle, big league strategy, and nasty DC Rovian politics descending on our poor little town in the Last Frontier. Makes you wonder what exactly there is to find, and how desperate they are to make it go away.

And, of course, there always has to be an official reason given for the stonewalling. And it’s usually a good laugh line, so here it is, from AG Talis Colberg:

“This is an untenable position for our clients because the governor has so strongly stated that the subpoenas issued by your committee are of questionable validity.”

Ahh. It would be uncomfortable to testify because the governor doesn’t want them to. Now, I get it.

The silver lining in all this? The more paper they throw, the more tantrums they throw, the guiltier they look. Long ago, Rep. Les Gara suggested to Palin that she confess to a bad judgment call, and hire Monegan back. She didn’t listen. And now the act of firing Monegan, which has gone so far to illustrate her temperament, her decision making ability, and her judgment, has come back to haunt her, with help from the McCain campaign.

There is a growing sense in the blogosphere, in local and national media, and among people I know, that the bloom is off the Palin rose.





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





Palin is Lawyered Up and Ready to Joust.

2 09 2008

Take a few hours off, and see what happens? Apparently it’s not possible to blink these days without missing the latest bit of Palin drama. While I was out snapping photos of the governor’s home town of Wasilla and its environs, the state of Alaska was busy running an errand for Sarah – finding her a lawyer. Yes, she’s lawyered up. And the sparks are flying already.

It all goes back to Troopergate. If you need to consult the Troopergate Primer, go HERE. We’ll wait….

Now, we’d like to welcome our newest player to the growing cast of characters in our little drama – Thomas Van Flein. Mr. Van Flein (don’t you just have to say that with an accent?!) has been hired to represent Palin in the upcoming legislative investigation into the firing of Commissioner Walt Monegan.

“But wait!” you may be asking, “What about the state Attorney General? Why can’t he handle this?” Why not AG Talis Colberg? Well, he’s the one that Palin sent out to do a pre-emptive sleuthing campaign to see what the Legislature was going to find out when they investigated her. Just so she’d have a heads up. So now Colberg, who has already been talking to everybody and his uncle about the Trooper, including Walt Monegan, has now opened himself up to being called as a witness! So he’s out. (And incidentally, he’s also going to take over the role of Governor of Alaska should Palin end up as the VP, and her Lt. Governor Sean Parnell win his bid for Alaska’s sole House seat. My head hurts).

Now that John McCain has gotten his mits into this mess, the McCain/Palin campaign has put together a four-page statement saying that her husband Todd Palin and members of her administration had simply inquired “about the appropriate Department of Public Safety procedures for dealing with someone they considered a dangerous person and rogue trooper.” No pressure, just simple friendly inquiries. BUT, they say, keep in mind that Sarah Palin herself only became aware of her husband’s and all those other people’s ‘inquiries’ very recently, long after they were made. Because married people don’t talk about things like exacting vengeance on dastardly ex-brothers-in-law (on whom they’ve filed dozens of complaints) with each other. Todd did it all on his own. That rogue!

Here’s where the gloves come off. Van Flein, Palin’s new lawyer, says that the state legislature shouldn’t be handling the investigation at all. It would be much better, he says, if the state Personnel Board (a three person board appointed by Sarah Palin herself) did the investigation. And Van Flein also asked for all witness statements, documents and other materials collected in the course of the legislature’s investigation.

Hollis French, the state senator, and former state prosecutor who is heading up the investigation said, “No.” and “No.” French reminded Van Flein that Palin has been saying she has nothing to hide all along, and is Palin aware that Van Flein seems to be questioning the legislature’s legitimacy? (That was the first No.) Then he said that Palin had sent the Attorney General out to do the dirty work of talking to all the witnesses first anyway, so go get the information from him. And he told Stephen Branchflower, the real investigator, not to give any info to Van Flein. (Second No.)

Palin and Van Flein vs. French and Branchflower. Doesn’t that sound like some kind of epic medieval jousting match? Good analogy.

Van Flein saddles up. He says, “Our concern is that Hollis French turns into Ken Starr and uses public money to pursue a political vendetta rather than truly pursue an honest inquiry into an alleged ethics issue.”

OHHHHH. Name calling metamorphosis imagery and conservative hot button issue! FOUL for Van Flein!

And now French galloping at full speed…. “How does Van Flein explain the unanimous vote (to pursue the investigation of Palin) by the Republican-dominated Legislative Council?” OUCH! Van Flein is off the horse. Boy that had to hurt.

OK, now Branchflower is ready to take on Palin for some questioning. But…where is Palin? Is Palin in the house? (looking around) Ohh that’s right…busy with that Vice Presidential thing.

Van Flein, dusting himself off, pipes up: The investigation is “bad timing” in the middle of a presidential campaign!

Methinks the presidential campaign is “bad timing” in the middle of an investigation. But that’s just me.

BREAKING NEWS 9/2/08 4:35 LOCAL TIME:

Palin has just released documentation indicating that she will attempt to scuttle the investigation by the Legislature and steer it to the control of the State Personnel Board, a 3-member board that Palin herself appointed.  The stall tactics begin.  The McCain campaign does NOT want a Legislative investigation, and they don’t want the results of that investigation to come 5 days before the election as it is scheduled now.  More shenanigans to come, I’m sure.





Breaking News: Palin Says Teen Daughter is Pregnant

1 09 2008

The story has broken and we now know which version of “Babygate” is true.  Palin’s unwed 17-year old daughter is pregnant. 

Palin, who arrived in St. Paul today to accept the Republican nomination for vice president, sent out a joint statement with her husband, Todd.

“Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned,” they said. “We’re proud of Bristol’s decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.

“Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi’s privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates,” the Palin family statement concluded.

This confirms three very important things:

  1. Trig is Palin’s baby, and the strange strange circumstances of his birth (delivering a speech in Texas while in labor, and taking the prolonged two-pronged commercial airline flight during a high-risk pregnancy without notifying the flight crew, then driving past two hospitals in Anchorage to deliver in a facility an hour drive away with no neonatal ICU) are apparently true.  Todd Palin’s reason for making those potentially life and death decisions about his wife and unborn son?  “You can’t have a fish-picker from Texas.” 
  2. The fact that Palin had a 16-year old who got pregnant out of wedlock was presumably unknown by the McCain people.  After all, he only met her twice, and probably never met any of her children.  And it was obviously too much of a bother to vet the candidate and at the very least know in advance what kind of sensational and unwanted headlines might follow.  AND, Palin didn’t volunteer this information.
  3. Our Republican Vice Presidential candidate is a person of questionable judgment. I don’t think there are many out there who would disagree with this statement at this point.

So, in the first three days, she’s lied about saying “Thanks but no thanks” on the bridge to nowhere, and withheld information from the campaign she’s supposedly trying to help, that could be devastating to McCain.  At the very least, it sure doesn’t help.  What’s next?

As I said before, this may be the tip of our Alaskan iceberg.  There are ‘gates’ a-plenty out there that are just waiting for some pretty basic investigation to reveal their secrets.