Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Disturbing Facts and Impressions

Top Ten Most Disturbing Facts and Impressions of Sarah Palin

AlterNet Staff:

Sarah Palin was named John McCain's vice presidential nominee just three days ago, yet it seems that weeks have passed in terms of the mountains of controversy it has stirred up. An overwhelming amount of negative publicity and sometimes shocking information has come out about her and her relatively short political career.

Choosing Palin has been called alternately a brilliant stroke that reinforces McCain's maverick image and a desperate, irresponsible "Hail Mary" pass in the face of an almost sure defeat in November. The fundamental question being raised: Why Palin? True, her personal narrative has lots of color: former fisherman, NRA hunter, mother of five, small-town mayor, short-term governor of a state with a small population, etc. But that does not qualify her to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

George Lakoff, in an accompanying article, lists some of the issues swirling around Palin:

She is inexperienced, knowing little or nothing about foreign policy or national issues; she is really an anti-feminist, wanting the government to enter women's lives to block abortion, but not wanting the government to guarantee equal pay for equal work, or provide adequate child health coverage, or child care, or early childhood education; she shills for the oil and gas industry on drilling; she denies the scientific truths of global warming and evolution; she misuses her political authority; she opposes sex education and her daughter is pregnant; and, rather than being a maverick, she is on the whole a radical right-wing ideologue.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, working with the AARP, did some focus groups of "undecided" voters and found some bad news for John McCain:

They don't like his choice of Sarah Palin for vice president. Only one person said Palin made him more likely to vote for McCain; about half the 25-member group raised their hands when asked if Palin made them less likely to vote for McCain. They had a negative impression of Palin by a 2-1 margin ... a fact that was reinforced when they were given hand-dials and asked to react to Palin's speech at her first appearance with McCain on Friday -- the dials remained totally neutral as Palin went through her heart-warming(?) biography, and only blipped upward when she said she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere -- which wasn't quite the truth, as we now know.

Greg Mitchell, the editor of Editor & Publisher, checked out the Alaska newspapers to see how they felt about their governor. He found that they were nervous to say the least:

The pages and Web sites of the two leading papers up there have raised all sorts of issues surrounding Palin, from her ethics problems to general lack of readiness for this big step up. Right now the top story on the Anchorage Daily News Web site looks at new info in what it calls "troopergate" and opens: "Alaska's former commissioner of public safety says Gov. Sarah Palin, John McCain's pick to be vice president, personally talked to him on two occasions about a state trooper who was locked in a bitter custody battle with the governor's sister."

AlterNet editors have collected a list some of the major issues that are bubbling up about Palin. Here are our top 10 most disturbing facts, rumors and impressions of Sarah Palin, gathered in the past two days:

1: Palin supports gunning down wolves from planes

2: Palin doesn't believe global warming is man-made

3: Palin is the candidate of powerful far right-wing cabal; her nomination seals their support for the little-wanted McCain

4: Palin staunchly opposes abortion, even in cases of rape and incest

5: Palin takes unnecessary risks with the health of her own child, supports failed abstinence-only programs

6: Palin is under investigation for allegedly abusing her power as governor to help her sister in a messy divorce

7: Palin lied about her plans for the "Bridge to Nowhere"

8: A so-called political reformer, Palin has big money ties to Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who has been indicted for political corruption

9: Palin exploits her son's Iraq service for political gain

10: During her time as mayor, Palin drove a town deep into debt

Sarah Palin's Trouble with the Police

Robert Parry, Consortium News:

You have to admire the Republican chutzpah. Still confronting a national scandal about packing the Justice Department with “loyal Bushies,” they pick a vice presidential candidate who – in her two executive jobs in Alaska – ousted top law-enforcement officials because they were insufficiently loyal or not malleable enough.

One of those firings has put Gov. Sarah Palin at the center of an ongoing legislative investigation that presumably will require her to testify about whether she was behind efforts by her husband and senior staff to pressure the state’s public safety commissioner to fire her ex-brother-in-law from the state troopers.

When the commissioner, former Anchorage police chief Walter Monegan, refused to go along, he was summarily ousted by Palin without much explanation.

Unless the Republicans can figure out a way to block Palin’s sworn deposition, she will have to either admit that she used her political influence to wage a family vendetta or she must face the risk that her continued denials of involvement will be contradicted by her own staff or by some other evidence.

However, if Palin admits that she did use her government office to punish a personal enemy – or that she fired the public safety commissioner because he refused to join in her family feud – the Republicans may have trouble continuing to sell Palin as a reform-minded governor.

Instead, Palin would appear to fit more neatly with Bush administration operatives who engineered the firing of nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 and who employed ideological litmus tests in deciding who to hire for career jobs at the Justice Department. [snip]

Now it appears that Sarah Palin shares the Bush administration's view about putting cronies in key law-enforcement jobs, making hers act like “loyal Palinistas.” As mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla and as governor of Alaska, she fired two top law-enforcement officials when they didn’t show sufficient loyalty or obedience to her.

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