Entries tagged as ‘alaska’

Alaskans Want a Focused Governor

December 6, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Check out this letter posted on December 6th in the Fairbanks Daily News * Miner (www.newsminer.com) from John E. Zimmerman of Fairbanks:

Dec. 4, 2008

To the editor:

In my September letter to the editor, I predicted the Republicans would lose the presidential election and the selection of Gov. Palin as Sen. McCain’s running mate, however entertaining, was a serious mistake in judgment. I say entertaining, but entertainment was not what I voted for, neither was it for the rest of the country.

More accurately stated, the Republican Party never had a chance, no matter who became its choice for the White House or for vice president. The die of this failed election was cast eight years ago and remains with us today, waiting change.

The Bush administration managed to create an overwhelming sense of distrust from the war in Iraq to a multitude of failed policies and economic problems at home. Unfortunately, it all happened on his watch with little wiggle room for meaningful justification. It would be exceedingly difficult to find any major accomplishments aimed at “for the good of the people” to feel good about.

Gov. Palin’s personal obsession for political exposure could be recognized as a work in progress and nothing more. She spared no effort selling herself and at the same time spared no effort attacking her opponents throughout the national election. Not the best way to win friends or influence people, especially voters.

While our state faces budgetary and other internal problems, Gov. Palin’s secondary focus seemed to have been a self-appointed senatorial position should Sen. Stevens win the election and be voted out by his peers. She called on Sen. Stevens to step down, guaranteeing herself the job. We now know a Democrat won this election while preserving the dignity and honor of Sen. Stevens. Sen. Stevens may not ask President Bush for a pardon, but someone should.

I hope Gov. Palin will now concentrate on being the best governor for our state. How she governs could determine her future political possibilities. Nothing trumps good judgment and experience with a little Emily Post mixed in. 2012 would not be the right time for any Republican presidential comeback. Try 2020.

Categories: Palin · Palintology
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Palin Comes Clean on Undisclosed Paid Trips

December 3, 2008 · Leave a Comment

In what can now only be viewed as a pattern of a failure to comply with Alaskan requirements to reveal third-party gifts in the form of travel expenses for Palin and her family, the Governor recently retroactively filed the disclosures on November 17th.

Please note the date – well after the completion of the Presidential campaign.

The trips occurred in April and May of 2007, and State law requires disclosures be filed within 30 days.  The State government has said it does not intend to apply sanctions.

The total value of the trips, hotels and other gifts (like cowboy boots) for Palin and her family, including Todd’s travel to the Republican Governor’s convention was $8,000 – presumably just the price of one good DNC-paid suit from Neiman Marcus.

Palin blamed the failure on “staff oversight.”

Read about it in the AP story “Palin files late disclosure for free trips.”

Categories: Palin · Palintology
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Palin Loses Chance to Replace Stevens in Senate

November 19, 2008 · Leave a Comment

The announcement on Wednesday that Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich won the Alaskan Senate race over Ted Stevens means that Palin doesn’t have a shot at replacing him, at least in the short-term.

Had Stevens been declared the winner, despite his conviction on felony charges for lying on his disclosure forms to the Senate over gifts made to him in the construction work done on his house, it was clear that there was widespread support in the Senate from both Republicans and Democrats to oust him for ethics violations.  It was slightly ridiculous, and highly embarrassing for Alaskans, that Stevens got enough votes that his reelection was even a possibility.  Had he been elected and then expelled, however, the Governor (Palin) would have appointed a successor.  While unprecedented, it was not entirely implausible that a self-appointment or other political machination would have made it possible for Palin to become the replacement Alaskan Senator, and then avoid the new difficulties which now face her in Alaska.  A position in the Senate would also have given her a greater national platform to continue her quest to become a major national political power.

In addition, the election of Begich puts the Democrats closer to the 60 Senator “super-majority” (the number of Senators able to invoke cloture, or the ability to stop a filibuster), which by Senate tradition can be used by a minority to forestall a vote and either kill a piece of legislation or get compromises from the majority.

There seems to be an increasing weariness of Palin’s high visibility in the media, with many calling for her to get out of the spotlight and declaring her 15 minutes of fame over.  At least for now.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Politics
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Palin a Multi-Millionaire, Faces Cold Alaska

November 18, 2008 · Leave a Comment

Sarah Palin appears close to getting a $7 million to $11 million book deal after her unsuccessful run for Vice-President and emergence as the poster-girl for the Religious Right.  Based on her popularity with her base, there seems to be a built-in market for the book.  Personally I’d prefer that she just dictate the book and have it transcribed, along with a Palin-to-English dictionary, so that we’d get some real insight into her thought processes.  My guess is that a ghost writer will shoulder most of the writing burden.

Unfortunately for Palin she has to go back to Alaska and deal with a reality on the cold frozen ground that is very different than it was in August.

  1. Diminished standing of the “Sarah Palin Brand.” All of the national attention certainly brought out home-state pride, but it also highlighted Palin’s inexperience.  Many in Alaska were frankly embarrassed by her performance and the resulting negative image spillover onto Alaska.  Her approval ratings in Alaska have plummeted from their stratospheric heights.
  2. Troopergate fallout. There are many in Alaskan government bitter at the way that Palin and the McCain-Palin campaign handled the Troopergate inquiry.  They may even investigate whether individuals urged witnesses to not appear; something that would constitute witness tampering under Alaska law.  The findings of the independent investigator highlighted a Palin administration that did not follow proper disclosure policies (private e-mail for public business) and seemed obsessed by a personal vendetta.
  3. Questionable Billings to the State. Palin’s claims for per diem payments for time spent at home and her reimbursements from Alaska for family travel (and failing to report those payments as income) could come under new scrutiny.  The legislature is likely to create rules to make clear that these practices are unacceptable.
  4. State Budget. Alaska depends on taxes and fees on oil companies for the vast majority of its budget (no state income tax or property tax exists).  With the price of oil dropping, Alaska’s revenue faces a dramatic decrease.  Palin had governed in a time of easy money; the new economic realities will prove to be a significant hurdle for the Governor.
  5. The Pipeline. Palin trumpeted the natural gas pipeline deal with TransCanada with as her crowning achievement, but it has not been built and may never be built.  She led the effort to spend $500 million by the State to plan for the pipeline, but no other private or public money has been committed for the multi-billion dollar construction of the pipeline, and there is no guarantee that it will be built.

Categories: McCain · Palin · Palintology · Troopergate
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Palin's Pal Ted Stevens a Convicted Felon

October 27, 2008 · 4 Comments

So much for Sarah Palin’s maverick anti-establishment credentials.  Now that Ted Stevens has been found guilty on seven charges of failing to report gifts on his Senate disclosure forms, will Sarah Palin call on him to resign?

Stevens had extensive work done on his home and didn’t pay for it. Stevens tried to fob off responsibility on to his wife, saying that he didn’t know about the expenses. Turns out Palin is much cozier with Stevens than you might think, given how much of a “throw-em-out” reformer she claims to be. You might even say she has been “palling around” with a now-convicted criminal

Watch what she had to say just this summer – July 2008 – about their relationship:

And so the storied Senator Stevens ends his long and contentious career in the U.S. Senate with ignominy.

UPDATE:  Both McCain and Palin have now called for Senator Ted Stevens to resign, something he is unlikely to do.  This may just be posturing by McCain-Palin, but it’s a step in the right direction.  If Stevens were to resign the likelihood of a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate (60) increases significantly.  Read about it in the New York Times:  McCain Says Alaska Senator Should Resign.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Politics
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Alaska's Biggest Newspaper Endorses… Obama?

October 27, 2008 · 1 Comment

Poor Sarah Palin.  She has gone from approval ratings as Governor that once soared like an eagle.  Now they’ve plummeted as if she’d been shot from a helicopter.

And now this.  The Alaska newspaper with the biggest circulation, the Anchorage Daily News, has looked past Palin’s ticket to endorse Obama-Biden.

Sarah’s popularity in her own state has been hurt by the negative style of campaigning of the McCain-Palin ticket, the concern that she looks foolish and unprepared in the harsh glare of the national spotlight, worry that she reflects badly on Alaska, and the revelations of petty vindictiveness from the Troopergate scandal.

Republican pundits like Ed Rollins believe that after a presumed McCain-Palin loss that Sarah Palin will work the national rubber chicken circuit to raise money for Republican candidates, and gain some seasoning that could position her for a run again in 2012 at the top of the ticket.

Personally I think there’s little chance of that.  I still think that the Republicans will bundle her off back to Alaska.  I’m sure she’d continue to play well to the Christian Right, but that the establishment wing of the party will see her only as a reminder of one of the main reasons that the party lost the White House.

But I’m willing to concede that I may have (in the words of George HW Bush) misunderestimated her.  For the sake of more material about which to write and continued interest in this site, I almost hope she sticks around for a while.

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Palintology · Politics
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Sarah Still Unclear on Role of Vice President

October 23, 2008 · 2 Comments

Oh Sarah.  You’ve got to stop giving me so much material.

Stumped by a third grader?  Lying to a third grader?  Unclear on the concept?  You take your pick.

Palin famously stated on camera prior to her announcement as McCain’s VP pick:  “Someone has to tell me what, exactly, the Vice President does.”

Apparently in the whirl of shopping, being sequestered from the press, and memorizing the outrageous claim of the day (Obama pals around with terrorists, Cities are un-American, Obama would raise your taxes) she hasn’t had the time to learn what the role of the Vice President is.

In response to a question from a third-grader on the job of the Vice President, she claimed that she would be “in charge of” the Senate.  Um, no, Sarah, no.

Here is her response more fully:

A vice president has a really great job because not only are they there to support the president’s agenda, they’re there like the team member, the teammate to the president.  But also, they’re in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it’s a great job and I look forward to having that job.

Oh Sarah, even “the base” is starting to be embarrassed by you and your raw ambition.  I hear Alaska is mighty cold after November 4th.

Categories: Palin · Palintology · Politics
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