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September 14, 2008

Devastating Sarah Palin expose

The New York Times takes a devastatingly thorough look at Sarah Palin's executive experience. Reporters Jo Becker, Peter S. Goodman and Michael Powell outdid themselves.

Here's a digest of the allegations against Palin:

-Appointed her high school buddy to run the state's Division of Agriculture.
"A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency." (Governor)

-About four months ago, Palin's assistant phoned Wasilla blogger Sherry Whitstine to order her to stop blogging. (Governor)

-Engineered the firing of the Wasilla City Attorney because he put a stop work order on a campaign contributor's construction project and replaced him with the general counsel of the Alaska GOP. (Mayor)

-Falsely claimed that state biologists denied that global warming threatened polar bears, when in fact they had said the exact opposite. (Governor)

-Fired Alaska's well-regarded public safety commissioner because he didn't yield to pressure from Palin and her husband to fire Palin's ex brother-in-law. (Governor)

-Launched a mini culture war on the Wasilla city museum, an institution she regarded as an unwelcome progressive stronghold. (Mayor)

-Approached a town librarian as a city council member to complain about the children's book "Daddy's Roommate", which she hadn't read, but believed to be inappropriate. (City Council)

-Earned a reputation as a reformer for blowing the whistle on a state employee who was doing Republican campaign work on government time, then proceeded to do the same thing herself. (Mayor/gubernatorial candidate)

-Preemptively accused a columnist of smearing her after he confronted her with proof that she'd been working on her gubernatorial campaign on city hall time--ironically, the columnist had already killed the story. (Mayor)

-Appointed her high school clique to run the state, reinforced by members of her church. (Governor)

-Culled private emails from a state database to send out spam promoting one of her policy initiatives. (Governor)

-Used private email accounts for state business on the advice of her attorneys, who claimed these accounts would be more resistant to subpoenas. (Governor)

-Missed so many days in her short stint as governor that legislators started wearing "Where's Sarah?" pins.  Palin spent 312 nights of her governorship 600 miles away from the state capitol. Local political leaders were dismayed when she couldn't meet with them, or when she parked her husband at meetings they expected to be private. (Governor)

This story presents overwhelming evidence that Palin is unqualified and unethical. She has a history of abusing government power to settle personal scores. This is not a person who should have the keys to the NSA's domestic spying program.  Sarah Palin should never be heartbeat away from the presidency.


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Palin is indeed unfit for public office, and choosing her as running mate is a sign either of McCain's intellectual decline, so far as he remained ignorant of her unfitness, or of his moral decline, so far as he knew any of these details and chose her anyway -- or more probably, some mix of the two. The Republican who once denounced "agents of intolerance" has outdone himself in backsliding grovelling contortion by putting one such agent on his ticket, and he still tries to sell himself as a maverick.

I'm thinking while I read the NYT article: Cheney with lipstick.

The part about her spending 312 nights at her home in Wasilla particularly sticks in my craw. 312 nights she charged the state per diem for a total of $17059, by the way. I just finished five months traveling & working in the field, sleeping in crappy little dump motels. I kept track of all my hours and kept all my receipts. I didn’t bill the government a single god damned penny more than I was entitled to, even though I could easily have done so. In addition to being a vicious weasel, an arrogant ignoramus, and a religious zealot, she’s also a thief.

Cheney w/ lipstick is pretty accurate.

The more I learn, the scarier she is to me.The bit about her choosing her high school clique seems so fitting to me.Sarah Palin reminds me so much of those backstabbing,vindictive girls I went to school with...the ones who were popular and always ended up class president because they played the right games to get there.


I feel embarrassed and self-conscious in saying, "What is this country coming to?"

Cheney with lipstick? I think not. She isn't qualified to do anything significant.

Should McCain get to the White House, they'll give her a Michael Brown type job and hope she doesn't screw up. It's ridiculous to compare her to the long experienced, long and well connected power ego of Dick Cheney. She couldn't compare to Cheney. She doesn't have a scintilla of his political smarts or friends.

Sadly, comparing her to George Bush 43 is more apt, though I think Palin is more intentional, spiteful, and vindictive than 43. Should she ever wind up in the oval office, we'll have another ignorant, uninformed, detached, puppet who lacks a world vision, lacks a world view of history, and lacks of world view of politics. If that should happen, I will never forgive the voters who believed we need a president who loves the lord and will be guided God's counsel, which is sure to come to the oval office when needed.

I cringe when I read Paulsen's account of 43 as detached and incurious. Palin, I believe, would be engaged and reckless. It almost makes you want to believe in God so you could ask for Divine guidance.

Well, it's also true that McCain is unprincipled, confused, and ill tempered, and that he shouldn't be a heartbeat away from the Presidency either. Hard to say which of them would be worse.

The vindictiveness makes her sound like Nixon in lipstick.

Or, frankly, a politician from here in Cook County, Illinois.

Perfect Republican candidate. Amazing.

Great. The rise of the Mat-Su Valley Machiavelli.

The more things change . . .

It's ridiculous to compare her to the long experienced, long and well connected power ego of Dick Cheney. She couldn't compare to Cheney. She doesn't have a scintilla of his political smarts or friends.

True, she doesn’t have Cheney’s rolodex, nor does she have his decades of insider knowledge. She does apparently have excellent political instincts, she’s ruthless, excessively ambitious, a smooth talker, utterly tireless, she’s absolutely convinced God is right behind her, she’s ignorant enough to be breathtakingly reckless and audacious, she evidently never doubts her ability or questions her goals, can rationalize anything that suits her ambitions, and she has a cadre of fanatics willing to go to hell and back for her. She also now has a good chance of coming out of nowhere to conquer an enormous empire. Perhaps she’d be better described as Cortez or Pizarro with lipstick.

Pray for McCain’s good health.

Of course, this NYT investigative reporting will be condemned as "disrespectful," "sexist," and a demonstration of how the liberal media is doing the Obama campaign's bidding.

You're really sure you'd rather have McCain as President than Palin? I think either of them would be a disaster. Palin is a committed theocrat, and McCain is someone with no discernable principles when it comes to domestic policy (he's a wonderful illustration of the difference between being disinterested and being uninterested), representing a party that has outsourced big chunks of domestic policy to theocrats. In practice, I think this is a distinction without a difference.

On the foreign policy front: McCain has more experience than Palin, but what he's experienced at is being wrong. The one consistent thing he stands for is militarism. If you think the main problem with the Bush Administration is that it has been too moderate, too accommodating, too eager to turn to diplomacy instead of war, then McCain is your guy. Me, I'd say that an inexperienced small town mayor who's never thought about foreign policy, and who's so incurious about the world beyond the border that she never even bothered getting a passport until she was past 40, would probably be an improvement.

McCain or Palin? A Morton's fork choice if there ever was one. Please tell me this is just a nightmare.

a sign either of McCain's intellectual decline ... or of his moral decline

How about early signs and symptoms of dementia. His politically convenient bouts of "I don't recall" resemble short-term memory loss. Even more scary.

There's some beginning of a good news anyway: some polls seem to indicate that Palin's positive ratings are going downwards at an accelerating pace.

That would mean people are not as stupid as McCain assumed when he picked the moose-shooter. Hopefully that we'll be confirmed on the coming days.

Sarah Palin implied at the Republican Convention that people in small towns are better than the rest of us.

She quoted an anti-semite in making her case:
"We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity," she said, drawing from a once-powerful, now forgotten mid-century conservative columnist named Westbrook Pegler.

It's an odd source because Pegler, who moved further right as his career went on, ended up very, very far out. Frank notes that he talked hopefully of the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt.

He was also known for what Philip Roth described as his "casual distaste for Jews," which had become so evident by the end that he was bounced from the journal of the John Birch Society in 1964 for alleged anti-semitism. According to his obituary, he'd advanced the theory that American Jews of Eastern European descent were "instinctively sympathetic to Communism, however outwardly respectable they appeared."

It's unlikely that Palin wrote the speech or dug up the quote, though it's possible. The line does come from a strand of conservative populism that isn't particularly native to McCain or his usual rhetoric: The only other source for that Pegler easily available online is a 1990 book by Patrick Buchanan.

I don't know if Sarah Palin knew she was quoting an anti-semite.

But since her convention speech is presented as an achievement of someone who has held a major public office for less than two years, it's significant that the more her speech is examined, the more dubious it's shown to be.

There's some beginning of a good news anyway: some polls seem to indicate that Palin's positive ratings are going downwards at an accelerating pace.

And here's the bad news: people vote the top of the ticket, and Gallup's analysis of McCain's post-convention bounce suggests Palin had nothing to do with it.

The Democrats should focus on a) attacking McCain and b) articulating a positive message, not on attacking Palin. They're starting to do a) by attacking McCain's misleading ads, but they're not doing it well. For instance, Rove said McCain's ad was misleading; the Obama response was that McCain was obviously running "the sleaziest campaign in history" because Rove, "the previous record-holder," was criticizing it. That plays to Daily Kos readers, not swing voters. A better way to say it would be to lay off the shrill phrases and say something like "McCain's ads are so obviously false that they've been criticized by virtually every reporter, and now by Karl Rove, who's spent the last year praising the Republicans and McCain at every opportunity."

For an example of a positive message, the Democrats still enjoy an advantage on Iraq, and Obama should keep hammering on his getting it right at the beginning and on the fact that his position on a pullout is the same as this of the Iraqis and of most Generals. So far, he's missing even the obvious shots. For example, at Columbia's Service Nation forum, he was asked why enlistments were going down. Instead of saying "Three little words: the Iraq war," he mumbled something about service.

Obama's only 2 points down, and he's winning the Electoral College (though in New Mexico Obama's lead comes from pre-RNC data). He needs to be comfortably up; even a tie is bad, because McCain's going to kill him in the debate and pull ahead.

Alon, why do 7you think McCain is going to kill Obama in the debate?

I suspect Obama will do very well against McCain in the debates. The outcome unfortunately will hinge on one or other of the candidates making some soundbite-worthy gaffe that will be played over and over on the networks. The substantive issues are pretty well known and the high information voters have already made their choices. This election will hinge on the low information voters who are easily swayed by stupid crap.

Obama avoided the town hall debates, as he is more comfortable with reading from a teleprompter.

I think McCain will do very well in the debates.

Obama avoided the town hall debates, as he is more comfortable with reading from a teleprompter.

Of course that must be the reason. There couldn't possibly be any other explanation. Why, it just defies common sense that Obama's well-funded campaign would turn down the chance to skip delivering his message in dramatic venues to tens of thousands of excited new voters.

Yes, the well funded campaign that went back on a promise to abide by public financing.

Some of those monster rallies won't help and may hurt. The last time a charismatic guy attracted big crowds in Berlin, things didn't work out so well.

The last time a charismatic guy attracted big crowds in Berlin, things didn't work out so well.

You mean JFK?

The Phantom writes:

"The last time a charismatic guy attracted big crowds in Berlin, things didn't work out so well."

Are you referring to Hitler or Ronald Reagan?

When hitler/obama wins the election, I am sure that the first thing he's gonna do is set up reeducation/concentration camps for the right wing lunatics just like you.

It's time for your golden shower!~

Alon, why do 7you think McCain is going to kill Obama in the debate?

McCain seems better in spontaneous settings. I didn't watch the aforementioned Service Nation forum, but other people I trust have, and they confirm that. Obama couldn't articulate coherent policy plans beyond promises of change and reform; McCain could.

In the primaries, Obama's debate strengths were personal ("reject and denounce"), not policy-based. For example, take his proposal to remove the FICA cap. As policy, it's good, and it's what finally made me drop Clinton and support him. But he didn't defend it well. Clinton talked about teachers and firefighters who lifting the cap would hurt; instead of say something like, "Only a completely out-of-touch insider would think teachers and firefighters make more than $100,000 a year," he backtracked and talked about lifting it only on people making over $250,000 a year. Later he backtracked again and said he'd only lift part of the cap, so the tax level would be 4-5%, rather than the 12.4% people making under $100,000 pay.

Overall, Obama lets people railroad him a lot. It was true with Clinton and Service Nation, and it was true with Bill O'Reilly.

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