Sarah Palin: A False Narrative Destroyed

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Her opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere became immediately inoperative when Bradford Plumer of The New Republic did a simple Lexis-Nexis search and found this in the October 22nd, 2006 edition of the Anchorage Daily News:

[Election 2008]


When Sarah Palin introduced herself to the nation last Friday in a speech in Dayton, Ohio, she highlighted two items that the McCain campaign thought would help them weave a positive narrative. But it's all coming apart. After Palin got done introducing her family, her first bullet item was that she is a crusader for reform:

“I was then appointed ethics commissioner and chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and when I found corruption there, I fought it hard and I held the offenders to account. Along with fellow reformers in the great state of Alaska, as governor, I've stood up to the old politics as usual, to the special interests, to the lobbyists, the Big Oil companies and the ‘good old boy’ network.”

Now, if there is a good old boy network in Alaska, the leader of that network is Sen. Ted Stevens who has been in the Senate since Christmas Eve of 1968. Ted Stevens is currently facing seven felony counts of corruption related to taking kickbacks from Big Oil companies. Therefore, it is a problem that Sarah Palin served as the director of Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.: ...a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.

That doesn't sound like someone who has a record of standing up to the Good Old Boy network. Palin's second bullet point has fared no better.

And her comments: “I signed major ethics reforms, and I appointed both Democrats and independents to serve in my administration. And I've championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress thanks, but no thanks, on that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said, we'd build it ourselves.”

Her opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere became immediately inoperative when Bradford Plumer of The New Republic did a simple Lexis-Nexis search and found this in the October 22nd, 2006 edition of the Anchorage Daily News:

Q: “Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?”
A: “Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now--while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.”

In other words, she was for the bridge before she was against it. As for saying no thanks to Congress, well...not exactly. In September 2007 she announced that the Bridge would not be built because of insufficient earmarks.

And, speaking of earmarks, the Los Angeles Times quickly revealed that Palin was very successful in securing federal earmarks when she was the mayor of Wasilla. How did she do it? The Washington Post explains:

As mayor of Wasilla, however, Palin oversaw the hiring of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh, an Anchorage-based law firm with close ties to Alaska's most senior Republicans: Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, who was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts.

The Wasilla account was handled by the former chief of staff to Stevens, Steven W. Silver, who is a partner in the firm.
Get that? She hired Sen. Ted Stevens' former chief of staff and guess what happened next? Senate records show that Silver's firm began working for Palin in early 2000, just as federal money began flowing.

In fiscal 2000, Wasilla received a $1 million earmark, tucked into a transportation appropriations bill, for a rail and bus project in the town. And in the winter of 2000, Palin appeared before congressional appropriations committees to seek earmarks, according to a report in the Anchorage Daily News.
Palin and the Wasilla City Council increased Silver's fee from $24,000 to $36,000 a year by 2001, Senate records show.

Soon after, the city benefited from additional earmarks: $500,000 for a mental health center, $500,000 for the purchase of federal land and $450,000 to rehabilitate an agricultural processing facility. Then there was the $15 million rail project, intended to connect Wasilla with the town of Girdwood, where Stevens has a house.

So, how does that support her effort to portray herself as an opponent of the Good Old Boy network and earmarks?

When John McCain introduced Sarah Palin in Dayton, he explained his rationale:
“I found someone with an outstanding reputation for standing up to special interests and entrenched bureaucracies; someone who has fought against corruption and the failed policies of the past; someone who stopped government from wasting taxpayers' money on things they don't want or need, and put it back to work for the people; someone with executive experience who has shown great tenacity and skill in tackling tough problems, especially our dangerous dependence on foreign oil; someone who reached across the aisle and asked Republicans, Democrats and independents to serve in government; someone with strong principles, a fighting spirit and deep compassion; someone who grew up in a decent, hard-working middle-class family, whose father was an elementary school teacher and mother was the school's secretary.”

Yet, the record shows that she was in bed with the corrupt Alaska GOP, that she supported things that taxpayers don't need (the Bridge to Nowhere), and her decent hard-working family is now suffering from the shocking revelation that her daughter is pregnant and will be marrying a f - - -in' redneck who doesn't want kids. Fair or unfair, the narrative that McCain and Palin sought to unfurl has become twisted on the pole.

Even the campaign's slogan of “Country First” has been undermined by the fact that Sarah Palin is a former member of an Alaska secessionist movement whose motto is “Alaska First”.
And if McCain wanted to sell her as a moderate who can work across party lines, the fact that she is a former Buchananite and a fan of Ron Paul is going to make that work more difficult.

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