30 aug. 2008

Getting to Know Sarah Palin

To show what a Republican is worth in current politics, it is a pleasure to take the measures of Sarah Palin, who is, according to Republican standards, the most qualified after McCain to be President of the United States of America.
Pointer presents a series of aspects, selected from the media, to see what and how long this image can endure, a count down. This dossier of articles is labeled The Palin COUNT DOWN and you can select the articles apart from the others by selecting that label.
Fairbanks Paper Hits Palin Veep Pick
Editor & Publisher Staff August 29, 2008
NEW YORK Since, even as her leading backers admit, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska is unknown nationally -- until today, when she was picked by John McCain as his running mate -- E&P will provide a number of pieces in coming days about her, taken strictly from Alaska newspapers and reporters for same.
The first one comes from the Daily News-Miner in Fairbanks, Alaska. Surprisingly, considering she is now the highest profile political figure to ever come from Alaska, the newspaper in an editorial posted on its site today declared her flatly not qualified for the office of vice president.
It also brought up an intriguing fact. Palin in her speech on Friday -- also a point used by McCain surrogates -- is that she refused to go along with the plan to build the so-called "bridge to nowhere" in her state, wanting to halt wasteful spending. But the Fairbanks editorial points out that the state still kept the money for the project.

Here is an excerpt from the editorial.

Sen. John McCain’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate was a stunning decision that should make Alaskans proud, even while we wonder about the actual merits of the choice....

Alaskans and Americans must ask, though, whether she should become vice president and, more importantly, be placed first in line to become president.

In fact, as the governor herself acknowledged in her acceptance speech, she never set out to be involved in public affairs. She has never publicly demonstrated the kind of interest, much less expertise, in federal issues and foreign affairs that should mark a candidate for the second-highest office in the land. Republicans rightfully have criticized the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, for his lack of experience, but Palin is a neophyte in comparison; how will Republicans reconcile the criticism of Obama with the obligatory cheering for Palin?
Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation’s when he created the possibility that she might fill it.
It’s clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance. She’s a woman. She has fought corruption. She has fought the oil companies. She’s married to a union member. These are portrayals for campaign speeches; they are not policy positions.
There was also some pandering right from the start. “I told Congress `Thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere,’ ” Palin reported to the crowd in Dayton, Ohio. “If our state wanted a bridge, I said, we’d build it ourselves.”
But the state kept the bridge money. That’s because Alaskans pay federal gas taxes and they expect a good share to come back, just like people do in every other state. We build very little by ourselves, and any governor who would turn that tax money down likely would be turned out of office.

Anchorage Reporter Expresses Strong Doubts About Palin
NEW YORK As related in a previous article today, E&P over the next few days will be presenting how Alaska newspapers and reporters view their Gov. Sarah Palin -- now John McCain's pick for his running mate. She has been a near-unknown nationally so it seems to makes sense to go to the people who know her best locally. See our Part I today, on a surprising editorial in the Fairbanks daily.

Also today, Gregg Erickson, columnist and reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, took part in an online chat at www.washingtonpost.com. He expressed some rather mixed views about his governor. Here are a few excerpts.

Baltimore, Md.: What are Governor Palin's three greatest strengths? What are her three greatest weaknesses?
Gregg Erickson: She is smart, vivacious and energetic; she tends to oversimplify complex issues, has had difficulty delegating authority, and clearly has some difficulty distinguishing the line between her public responsibilities and private wishes.
She is under legislative investigation regarding the last issue, the so-called "troopergate," in which she is said to have used improper influence to try to get her sister's ex-husband fired from the state troopers.

Eagle River, Ak.: Morning, Gregg! I've suddenly being hearing a number of pundits credit Gov. Palin with stopping the "bridge to nowhere." This isn't how I remember it, though -- in fact, I seem to recall that she was initially in favor of the bridge. Could you clarify? Thanks!
Gregg Erickson: She did curtail state support of the "bridge to nowhere" connecting Ketchikan with its island airport. But contrary to her statement today in Dayton, OH, she didn't send the federal money back. It's available for use in other projects elsewhere.

Los Angeles, Calif.: It's clear from your responses that you don't particularly like her (I'm not speaking personally, but politically.) How do you explain her high approval ratings?
Gregg Erickson: I think she did a great job in taking on the oil industry, that has had a lock on Alaska politics since 1981 She is also stood up against the corruption in Alaska politics long before it was fashionable to do so. I think those things resonate with many Alaskans beside myself.
Her approval ratings are high--65 percent, or so--but down from 80 percent earlier in her term. Most Alaskan's haven't watched her as closely as most reporters or legislators. If you took a poll of reporters and legislators I expect her approval rating would be down in the teens or twenties.

Washington, D.C.: Why don't reporters and legislators have a high opinion of the governor?
Gregg Erickson: It is clear that she has not paid much attention to the nitty-gritty unglamorous work of government, of gaining consensus, and making difficult compromises. She seems to be of the view that politics should be all rather simple. That often appeals to the wider public, but frustrates those who see themselves as laboring in the less glamorous parts of the vineyard.

Washington, D.C.;: You wrote: "If you took a poll of reporters and legislators I expect her approval rating would be down in the teens or twenties." What do they know about her that the general population does not?
Gregg Erickson: One example: The Republican chair of the Alaska State House Finance budget subcommittee on Heath and Medicaid says he can't find anyone in Palin's executive office who cares about helping bring that budget under control. He is furious with her about that.

Wheaton, Md.: Why is she experienced enough to lead our nation as president if McCain were unable to do so?
Gregg Erickson: I have a hard time seeing how her qualifications stack up against the duties and responsibilities of being president.

Washington, D.C.: What should we expect from her during the VP debates?
Gregg Erickson: I expect her to stick with simple truths. When asked about continued American troop presence in Iraq she said she knows only one thing about that (I paraphrase): no one has attacked the American homeland since George Bush took the war to Iraq.

Germantown, Md.: Is it true that Gov. Palin is skeptical about global warming?
Gregg Erickson: Yes. Although she has not been outspoken about that. Alaska's national politicians have been allied with Sen. Imhoff, but have had to reverse course rather dramatically on that as the effects of climate change began to show up so dramatically in Alaska.

Palin Ad Starring Ted Stevens Already Scrubbed From Palin's Campaign Website
By Greg Sargent - August 29, 2008, 1:58PM
That was quick. This morning, an ad from Sarah Palin's 2006 gubernatorial campaign featuring an endorsement from scandal-plagued Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was available on Palin's campaign Web site. We were able to access it ourselves by clicking on the link:
...but now the Stevens ad has already been scrubbed. The link is no longer on her campaign site.
Luckily, the ad featuring Stevens and Palin is still available for your viewing pleasure!
Ah, the miracles of YouTube...
Senator Ted Stevens is under investigation about nothing less but corruption.