Archive for the ‘Sarah Palin’ Category

Gosh – if they’d sent her to “TLC’s What Not to Wear” it would have only cost them $5,000!

From The NY Times

Published: October 22, 2008

Sarah Palin’s wardrobe joined the ranks of symbolic political excess on Wednesday, alongside John McCain’s multiple houses and John Edwards’s $400 haircut, as Republicans expressed fear that weeks of tailoring Ms. Palin as an average “hockey mom” would fray amid revelations that the Republican Party outfitted her with expensive clothing from high-end stores.

Cable television, talk radio and even shows like “Access Hollywood” seemed gripped with sartorial fever after campaign finance reports confirmed that the Republican National Committee spent $75,062 at Neiman Marcus and $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue in September for Ms. Palin and her family.

Advisers to Ms. Palin said on Wednesday that the purchases — which totaled about $150,000 and were classified as “campaign accessories” — were made on the fly after Ms. Palin, the governor of Alaska, was chosen as the Republican vice-presidential candidate on Aug. 29 and needed new clothes to match climates across the 50 states. They emphasized, too, that Ms. Palin did not spend time on the shopping, and that other people made the decision to buy such an array of clothes.

Yet Republicans expressed consternation publicly and privately that the shopping sprees on her behalf, which were first reported by Politico, would compromise Ms. Palin’s standing as Senator McCain’s chief emissary to working-class voters whose salvos at the so-called cultural elite often delight audiences at Republican rallies.

That possibility was brought to life, for instance, on “The View” on ABC, as Joy Behar, a co-host, noted the McCain campaign’s outreach to blue-collar workers — like an Ohio plumber who recently chided Senator Barack Obama over taxes — after another co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, defended the expenditures.

“I don’t think Joe the Plumber wears Manolo Blahniks,” Ms. Behar said.

Advisers to Mr. Obama — as well as those of his rival in the Democratic primaries, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton — said that campaign money was never spent on personal clothing but that potentially embarrassing purchases could be blended into advertising budgets.

Mr. Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, however, listed two $400 haircuts as a campaign expense, and after they were detected he struggled to shake an elitist image in his failed Democratic presidential bid.

Such an image is unhelpful at this late stage of the general election, Republicans said, especially when many families are experiencing economic pain, and when the image applies to a candidate, like Ms. Palin, who has run for office in part on her appeal as an outdoors enthusiast and former small-town mayor who scorns pretensions.

“It looks like nobody with a political antenna was working on this,” said Ed Rollins, a Republican political consultant who ran President Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign in 1984. “It just undercuts Palin’s whole image as a hockey mom, a ‘one-of-us’ kind of candidate.”

Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, have been described as elitist by both Republicans and Democrats at times, and so much was made when she appeared on “The View” in June in a black-and-white patterned dress. Turns out it sold for $148 at an off-the-rack store.

Few Republican operatives or politicians, even those critical of the McCain-Palin campaign, were publicly criticizing the ticket on Wednesday over the clothing purchases. Some said privately that doing so would be akin to kicking a campaign while it was down.

Others said the issue was tainted with sexism, given that male politicians often spend thousands of dollars on suits.

“She had a legitimate need to purchase clothing to get her through three months of grueling campaigning in the constant spotlight of television cameras,” said William F. B. O’Reilly, a Republican consultant in New York. “No one would blink if this was a male candidate buying Brooks Brothers suits.”

Other Republicans said the focus on Ms. Palin’s clothing did not fairly reflect the challenge she faced: Neither she nor her Republican allies expected that she would be tapped as Mr. McCain’s running mate until the last minute, when she was elevated from her comfort zone in Alaska and presented to the nation as the first female Republican vice-presidential nominee.

“If they hadn’t done this, ‘Saturday Night Live’ would be doing jokes where Governor Palin would be dressed in elk skin,” said Rich Galen, a Republican consultant not associated with the McCain campaign.

Party officials, who said they had discussed the matter with McCain and Palin advisers, said all concerned wanted Ms. Palin to present herself as a fashionable-but-sensible on-the-go working mother — a multilayered sartorial strategy, in other words, that has yielded an array of well-cut jackets and skirts, suitable for the different seasons and state climates.

More than $130,000 of the charges used to outfit Ms. Palin and her family were initially footed by Jeff Larson, a prominent Republican consultant in St. Paul whose firm has been tied to the onslaught of negative robocalls about Mr. Obama from Mr. McCain’s campaign. Mr. Larson was also the chief executive of the local host committee for the Republican National Convention, in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Federal Election Commission records showed Mr. Larson was reimbursed by the Republican National Committee for charges at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Barneys New York and Atelier New York, a men’s clothing store.

Other purchases by the R.N.C. included $98 from Pacifier, a children’s boutique in Minneapolis.

Hours before Ms. Palin was to speak at the convention on Sept. 3, a woman burst into the store, said Jon Witthuhn, an owner. After she said she needed something for a 6-month-old boy and was doing shopping related to the convention, it began to dawn on him that he might be outfitting Trig Palin, Ms. Palin’s youngest.

The woman paid for a blue striped convertible romper, a matching monkey-ear hat and socks. Trig Palin appeared on television that night wearing the outfit — without the hat.

Republican officials said all the clothes would be given to charity after the campaign is over. If Ms. Palin kept the clothes, the $150,000 would have to be taxed as income, tax experts said.

Had the purchases been made by the McCain campaign, it would be a conversion of campaign money into personal use, which is prohibited. The same rule does not apply to money from party committees.

“The R.N.C. cleverly used the party committee’s money to avoid the liability that would have occurred if campaigns funds were used,” said Kenneth Gross, a lawyer who is an expert in campaign finance.

Under disclosure requirements of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Ms. Palin would need to report any gifts valued at over $250 from a single giver.

Elisabeth Bumiller and Leslie Wayne contributed reporting.

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Your Right to Choose

I write to you today with an open heart and a genuine concern for the future of our children. At a time when the presidential race could be seen as a pissing match between adults looking to take power, there are deeper issues — shadow issues — that are wanting and needing to be explored. I share my perspective with you today not so that you can align with me but so that you can dwell deeply in the issues facing our world and find the courage to speak up for what you believe even if it’s unpopular to do so. I am speaking up even after someone recently wrote to me asking me to refrain from talking about politics. For me, that is like asking me to not talk about life. So today, I assert my right to free speech under the First Amendment, even if that speech is socially or politically incorrect, and I want to talk about Sarah Palin, the Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party.

As I’ve watched the Sarah Palin phenomenon unleash itself on our national airwaves, I’ve been thinking a lot about her, searching to find what parts of my light and what parts of my darkness she holds. The questions I always ask myself in that search are, “What are the qualities that I am seeing in this person?”, “Where am I that?” and “How can I take responsibility for the parts of me that I am seeing in her?” With Sarah Palin, I find myself drawn to her — her ability to command attention, her sheer determination to get to the top, and her sexy womanish facade that shows us we don’t have to give up our sexiness to be powerful and strong in the world. On the other hand, I also find myself sickened by the thought that this woman might have the right to represent me and influence my, my family’s, my community’s and my country’s choices. And most of all, I am appalled that that today, on September 11th, a day when we should all be in mourning and have our attention on those who died in the most horrific terrorist act in American history, our attention instead is turned to the governor of Alaska who until now has kept herself sequestered from the press and chooses to use this most opportune day for her own self-interest. I thought about what kind of person would do that — smart or manipulative. Either way, I thought I’d give her the attention she is seeking.

You may not know this, but when I was 17, I found out that I was pregnant. I was devastated and scared to death. I was having sex and doing drugs out of my need to find a way to relieve my emotional pain, and I was just a lost and confused young girl. The news of my pregnancy sent me in a downward spiral. How could I have a baby when I couldn’t even take care of myself? Looking back, I can only imagine how my life would have changed if I had been forced to give birth to a child I didn’t want, how humiliated and embarrassed I would have felt going to school each day, how much pain I would have inflicted on a child whom I resented having in the first place. But this didn’t have to happen, because fortunately, I had a mother and a country that gave me the right to CHOOSE.

Should I have had to suffer the consequences of having sex without protection? I did. Even after I had the abortion, I paid for it in my dreams and in the grief in my heart that I carried for years. I chose to have an abortion. It was a tough choice but it was the right one for me, and I feel great about having made that choice. I look back and feel proud to be an American who could go out to a safe place and be cared for in a loving and kind manner while going through a heartbreaking experience. Because of my decision more than 30 years ago, I have become the woman I am today. I sit here after publishing six books and leading tens of thousands of people through transformational processes that have empowered them to make better choices and live lives they love. Who would I be if I had been forced to have a child? Would I have ever been able to follow my soul’s path? Who would that child be and what pain would they have gone through if I was forced to bring them into this world?

Every day, I deal with people who grew up in homes with mothers who didn’t love them, mothers who didn’t want them, mothers who resented them, and mothers who left them early. I deal with the heartache and the wretched pain that someone feels when their mother had to have them. This is a reality. I’m here to tell you that, for most people who weren’t wanted, the pain that they go through feels like it’s not worth the life they were given. Some work their entire lifetime to overcome this great obstacle. So I ask you, Who are we to ever tell somebody how they should live their life and what choices they should make? Make no mistake. There is a huge cost to forcing people to make choices against their will.

I am very much a woman for women. And at a time when I would love to see a woman in power because women know how to love, nurture and care for all of their children, the cosmic paradox is that we have a woman on the ticket who wants women to go backwards in time. The issue of choice is a huge one for me because I believe this is a microcosm of who Sarah Palin is. Here is a woman who is proudly and publicly sharing that it is her family’s choice to keep her daughter’s baby. Yet at the same time, she is campaigning that we shouldn’t have any choice. This is how the shadow works. This is where we all need to come out of the dark. Even though we’re looking at one issue of this campaign, this issue is birthed out of a whole set of beliefs and a paradigm from the 20th century and before. And I think we’re all aware that we’re not there anymore. By looking at Sarah Palin and how her views could influence our lives and our nation, we can see into what the future could hold for us. We get to make a choice. The future is in our hands.

Denying women the right to choose is as off to me as hearing someone say that there shouldn’t be gay marriage, that gay couples don’t have the same rights as heterosexuals. Are we not in the 21st century? Why would we say that anymore? We used to say it out of ignorance, out of not understanding, out of denial, out of self-righteousness, but today we know that people are born with a desire to cohabitate with the same sex. We know this is not a flawed human being but a new evolution of human beings. We are changing. Have you noticed? This is the real change.

Right now, it’s politically incorrect to talk about Sarah Palin’s parenting, but why are they trying to mute us? It’s imperative to look at the shadow here. We know that when somebody is forcing an issue or a righteous position on us, it’s usually a projection of their own unconscious thoughts and feelings. On the issue of family and choices, it’s clear that Sarah Palin has family issues of her own. Will she be around to care for her special needs baby? Is her daughter’s teen pregnancy a cry, as it often is, for attention, care, and support? Instead of Sarah Palin forcing her family issues on all of us, maybe she should turn that attention and take care of her own family.

And as far as being a pitbull with lipstick, aren’t pitbulls known for killing babies? And isn’t that an interesting shadow metaphor?

Finally, for those of you who think this is just more Democratic Party rhetoric, I want you to know that I am a registered Independent and I’ve voted Republican more times than I care to admit right now. Although I’m voting for a Democrat in this election, I don’t agree with the entire Democratic Party platform and I would consider myself a centrist. I also think, by the way, that we are having too many abortions in our country. We need radical reform and education in the area of abortion. I don’t think we should just leave it as it is. The number of abortions is horrific. But I certainly don’t believe we should deny women the right to choose. The irony is that John McCain and the GOP platform he represents say children should be taught that abstinence until marriage is the only safe way to avoid pregnancy and disease. You’ve got to be kidding. If the daughter of the great state of Alaska’s governor can’t practice abstinence, one of her mother’s core family values, how are all the other kids going to do it? Are we really not going to talk about sex, protection and sexually transmitted diseases with our kids?

In this critical time, I invite us all to look not just at Sarah Palin but all our political figures, to find the light that we might have projected, to find our own darkness, and to use what we see not to beat them up but to find a bigger voice, a voice for true change, a voice for moving forward instead of backward, a voice that respects women, all women, and all their choices.

With love and blessings,

Debbie Ford

Second Entry

Is She a Hometown Girl or a Seductress?

After my first and only political Shadow Blog, I received more mail from my readers than I’ve received in my entire career. Thank you for your overwhelming response. Obviously, my message gave voice to what many of you were already feeling. I apologize once again to those of you I’ve offended. (If you were offended by the last one, don’t be a masochist. Close this one now as you’re certainly going to be offended by this one as well.) Even at the risk of losing more of my readers, I feel compelled to continue to share my views on the upcoming election because we’ve got one of the best shadow figures — literally — that we’ve seen in a long time. And being a shadow lover, I just can’t pass it up. We’re all very lucky that this election gives us an unprecedented opportunity to see the shadow in all its disguises and all its glory. I would be remiss to ignore it.
This week, like most of you, I sat glued to my TV watching the Vice Presidential debate. Within three minutes and after the first wink, I became fascinated once again with Sarah Palin. I asked myself, “What is the deal with this woman? Why is she winking at me? Is she flirting with me?” I had to take a deep breath because I noticed this queasy feeling growing in the pit of my stomach.
Then it flashed before me. I recognized her. I had met her before, in many forms, and here she was again. All of the sudden, it dawned on me that the reason I was having this reaction is because Sarah Palin is the living expression of The Seductress, one of the 20 masks, the faces of the wounded ego, that I outline in my latest book. Of course I felt disturbed — she was working me right through my HDTV!
In Why Good People Do Bad Things, I suggest that those who don the mask of The Seductress are after one thing and one thing only: to make themselves feel better about who they are by getting whatever they might be after. Birthed out of the fear that they are not good enough, loved enough, or smart enough, they search until they find suitable targets to trap in their energetic webs — in the case of Sarah Palin, first the citizens of the great state of Alaska and now the entire country.
I consider The Seductress a predator because her main goal is to feed on the self-esteem of others in order to soothe her own emotional wounds. The Seductress literally throws out an energetic hook by being kind, loving, interested, sexual and, in this case, folksy — luring her victims closer, all the while planning her next move. She spends her time thinking about how she looks, how others will perceive her, how she can win, and how she can get more of what she’s after. The Seductress’ “catch” enhances her inner perception of herself and covers, at least for the moment, the enormous pain and self-loathing that are stored in her psyche.
In my book, “dangerous, poisonous, and venomous” are the qualities I use to describe The Seductress because her main attack is disguised in love and, in this instance, service. Her signal broadcasts in all directions, sometimes loudly and at other times as a soft whisper: “I will give you some love and take care of you if you give me your power. I am going to make you feel better about yourself if you give me some control. I am going to tell you everything you ever wanted to hear if you just make me the next Vice President of the United States of America.”
Can we as a nation afford to fall under the spell of Sarah Palin and give her what she wants? I would suggest that the cost is too high for all of us. No amount of twisting (“Oh Joe you’re going backwards again,” she croons) will be able to distract us from who she is, what she believes, what she’s really after, and what it would cost us if she and McCain are elected. This is not a beauty or a personality contest. This is not a time to pick someone because of their smile, their style, their charisma, their down-home cloak, or their biting tongue. Instead, this is a time to dissect who Sarah Palin is — her views, her experience (or in this case her inexperience), and how she lives her life. She will, if elected the next Vice President, be a role model for our daughters, sons and future generations. We must look at her carefully, behind her smiling, cute, winking persona. We must take off her very hip glasses (not her clothes, gentlemen!) to see what’s hidden there. We must ask ourselves, “Does this woman have the ability to govern the greatest nation in the world?”
Although many will argue that we must stop focusing on Palin, it’s vital that we take a closer look because she is a microcosm of the narrow, outdated views of the Republican Party. I’m not even going to talk about her choice to drag her four-month-old special needs child around the country to big events to prove that she’s a good mother except to ask if she had a healthy baby, would she be dragging it around all night? You do have to wonder since most of us mothers know that their child shouldn’t be in big public places with tens of thousands of people at 10:00 at night.
Instead, let’s look at her choice to use her sexuality to lure innocent voters and hearts into her web. Rather than choosing to reflect the brilliance, the smarts, the power, or the merit she must obviously possess (even if hidden from view from some of us), she winks and flirts, reinforcing all the things for which women are mocked and not taken seriously in the political arena. Can you even imagine powerful female leaders like Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, or Margaret Thatcher winking at an audience? Here’s what I’d like to say to Sarah Palin right now, from one pretty woman to another: Stop it! I know you want to take away our right to choose but do you really have to minimize our equality just to get votes? (And for those who of you who are now mad at me and projecting on me, for the record, I have never winked at an audience, although maybe I should try it since she’s getting 15,000 people at her events.)
The choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate tells us loud and clear what kind of man “the maverick” John McCain is. Is he someone who diligently seeks to find the best person to take his place in the unfortunate circumstance of his death? Is he the kind of man that surrounds himself with brilliant thinkers of tomorrow who promise to take us out of the dark age of war, hate, and economic disaster? Or is he the kind of hungry politician who would sell his and his nation’s soul just to win? We should all take a big exhale because John McCain’s shadow has been exposed. He has proven not to be the hero of our time but instead an egocentric opportunist in search of the ultimate power. In one of the most important decisions of his political career, he picked an inexperienced woman because he believed that she could help him win over the Hillary Clinton voters. We all know this. Does he really think American women are that stupid? That we can’t see the motives behind this irresponsible choice?
And on a final note, if you’re not convinced that she would not be the best choice, Sarah Palin told us all loud and clear Thursday night, looking straight into the camera, that the only thing that matters is that we win this war. Not that we bring our troops home safely. Not that we heal the hatred that permeates our world. She didn’t speak of justice, fairness or the good of all people. Because she is a good Seductress, all she wants is to win.
My friends, we must join together to pull off the blinders for those who are sucked into the trance of this now very famous and potentially very dangerous Seductress. If you’re not registered to vote, register today and make it your duty to find just one unregistered person to invite into this most important election.
With love, respect, and blessings,

Debbie Ford

PALIN: Said of Democratic presidential candidate Obama: “94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction.”

THE FACTS: The dubious count includes repetitive votes as well as votes to cut taxes for the middle class while raising them on the rich. An analysis by factcheck.org found that 23 of the votes were for measures that would have produced no tax increase at all, seven were in favor of measures that would have lowered taxes for many, 11 would have increased taxes on only those making more than $1 million a year.

BIDEN: Complained about “economic policies of the last eight years” that led to “excessive deregulation.”

THE FACTS: Biden voted for 1999 deregulation that liberal groups are blaming for part of the financial crisis today. The law allowed Wall Street investment banks to create the kind of mortgage-related securities at the core of the problem now. The law was widely backed by Republicans as well as by Democratic President Clinton, who argues it has stopped the crisis today from being worse.

PALIN: Criticized Obama’s “plan to mandate health care coverage and have universal government run program” for health care, and added: “I don’t think it’s going to be real pleasing for Americans to consider health care being taken over by the Feds.”

THE FACTS:
Wrong on several counts. Obama’s plan does not provide for universal coverage, only mandates insurance for children and doesn’t turn the system over to the government. Most people would still get private insurance through their work. Obama proposes that the government subsidize the cost of health coverage for millions who have trouble affording it and he’d set up an exchange to negotiate prices and benefits with private insurers — with one option being a government-run plan.

BIDEN: Warned that Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s $5,000 tax credit to help families buy health coverage “will go straight to the insurance company.”

THE FACTS: That’s not surprising – the money is meant to pay for health insurance.

PALIN: “Two years ago, remember, it was John McCain who pushed so hard with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform measures. He sounded that warning bell.”

THE FACTS:
Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska led an effort in 2005 to tighten regulation on the mortgage underwriters — McCain joined as a co-sponsor a year later. The legislation was never taken up by the full Senate, then under Republican control.

BIDEN: Said McCain supports tax breaks for oil companies, and “wants to give them another $4 billion tax cut.”

THE FACTS: Biden is repeating a favorite saw of the Obama campaign, and it’s misleading. McCain supports a cut in income taxes for all corporations, and doesn’t single out any one industry for that benefit.

PALIN: Said the United States has reduced its troop level in Iraq to a number below where it was when the troop increase began in early 2007.

THE FACTS: Not correct. The Pentagon says there are currently 152,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, about 17,000 more than there were before the 2007 military buildup began.

BIDEN: “As a matter of fact, John recently wrote an article in a major magazine saying that he wants to do for the health care industry — deregulate it and let the free market move — like he did for the banking industry.”

THE FACTS:
Biden and Obama have been perpetuating this distortion of what McCain wrote in an article for the American Academy of Actuaries. McCain, laying out his health plan, only referred to deregulation when saying people should be allowed to buy health insurance across state lines. In that context, he wrote: “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.”

PALIN: Said Alaska is “building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline, which is North America’s largest and most expensive infrastructure project ever to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets.”

THE FACTS:
Not quite. Construction is at least six years away. So far the state has only awarded a license to Trans Canada Corp., that comes with $500 million in seed money in exchange for commitments toward a lengthy and costly process to getting a federal certificate. At an August news conference after the state Legislature approved the license, Palin said, “It’s not a done deal.”

PALIN: “Barack Obama even supported increasing taxes as late as last year for those families making only $42,000 a year.”

BIDEN: “The charge is absolutely not true. Barack Obama did not vote to raise taxes.”

THE FACTS:
The vote was on a nonbinding budget resolution that assumed that President Bush’s tax cuts would expire, as scheduled, in 2011. If that actually happened, it could mean higher taxes for people making as little as about $42,000. But Obama is proposing tax increases only on the wealthy, and would cut taxes for most others.

PALIN: Said a McCain-Palin administration “will support Israel,” including “building our embassy … in Jerusalem.”

THE FACTS: Moving the U.S. Embassy from its present location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a perennial promise of presidential candidates courting the Jewish-American vote. In fact, moving the embassy is actually required by U.S. law. But successive administrations of both parties, including George W. Bush’s, have made the same pledge only to find that the realities of Middle East peacemaking have forced them to invoke a waiver to delay it. Jerusalem is claimed as a capital by both Israel and the Palestinians and Israel’s occupation of east Jerusalem is not internationally recognized. The city’s status is one of the key issues of disagreement in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

5 FRIENDS – UNCENSORED (You’ve been warned.)

Dan Quayle – what will we be watching on YouTube tomorrow?

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.

CLAIM VS FACT

o “Hockey mom”: true for a few years
o “PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary school, not since
p “NRA supporter”: absolutely true
o 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).
o pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to promote it.
o “Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life legislation.
o “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.
o political maverick: not at all
o gutsy: absolutely!
o open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at explaining actions.
o has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
o “a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
o fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
o 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.
o pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on residents.
o pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history.
o 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.

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?

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.

CAVEATS

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
August 31, 2008

In Alaska at the weekend, a Welcome Home rally for Mrs Palin was dwarfed by a demonstration organised by Alaska Women Reject Palin, which was held on the lawn of a downtown Anchorage library. [From The Independent – U.K.]

14 09 2008 

I attended the Welcome Home rally for Sarah Palin this morning. Hooo. It was an experience. About a thousand (maybe) hard-core Palin supporters showed up to hear her speak at the new Dena’ina Convention Center in downtown Anchorage.


After shaking it off with a good double shot of espresso, and a brisk walk back to my car, it was time to head to the Alaska Women Reject Palin rally. It was to be held outside on the lawn in front of the Loussac Library in midtown Anchorage. Home made signs were encouraged, and the idea was to make a statement that Sarah Palin does not speak for all Alaska women, or men. I had no idea what to expect.

The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. It’s probably an impressive list. These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets. One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host. Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally “a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots”, and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought. The women, of course, received many nasty, harassing and threatening messages.


So, as I jettisoned myself from the jaws of the ‘Drill Baby Drill’ crowd and toward the mystery rally at the library, I felt a bit apprehensive. I’d been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, in Anchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it’s a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren’t sent by Eddie Burke, we’ll be doing good. A real statement will have been made.  I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing “socialist baby-killing maggot” haters.
It’s a good thing I wasn’t tailgating when I saw the crowd in front of the library or I would have ended up in somebody’s trunk. When I got there, about 20 minutes early, the line of sign wavers stretched the full length of the library grounds, along the edge of the road, 6 or 7 people deep! I could hardly find a place to park. I nabbed one of the last spots in the library lot, and as I got out of the car and started walking, people seemed to join in from every direction, carrying signs.


Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn’t honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn’t happen here.


Then, the infamous Eddie Burke showed up. He tried to talk to the media, and was instantly surrounded by a group of 20 people who started shouting O-BA-MA so loud he couldn’t be heard. Then passing cars started honking in a rhythmic pattern of 3, like the Obama chant, while the crowd cheered, hooted and waved their signs high.

So, if you’ve been doing the math…  Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin’s rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy the photo gallery.  Feel free to spread the pictures around (links are appreciated) to anyone who needs to know that Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans.  The citizens of Alaska, who know her best, have things to say.