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Gov. Sarah Palin, Democrat

For a moment, enter a parallel universe. How would the news media treat her?

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska. None

Imagine for a moment that Gov. Sarah Palin was a liberal, pro-choice Democrat but that everything else about her life and career was the same. If she was Sen. Barack Obama's nominee for vice president, what would her media coverage be like? Probably something like this ...

Democrats Strike Gold in Alaska

ANCHORAGE — Fresh from her jaunty, popular appearance on Saturday Night Live, the mom from the American Outback, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, continues to inject new life into the country's mainstream as Sen. Barack Obama's vice presidential running mate.

"When I said I wanted a reformer, I meant it," said Obama, who threw caution to the wind with his selection of Palin. The Obama campaign was impressed with the former PTA mom who took on Big Oil and dethroned the old boys' club that ran Alaska politics for more than a generation. "As The New York Times and Washington Post have frequently pointed out, Gov. Palin is the only candidate on either ticket with executive experience," Obama said. "And more importantly, she has experience fighting the powerful on behalf of the people — and winning."

Palin's executive experience is thin — two terms as a small-town mayor and less than two years as governor — but her rapidly growing circle of admirers point out that her accomplishments dwarf those of many veteran governors. And they like the fact that Palin, America's most popular governor at the time she was tapped as Obama's running mate, hails from well outside the unpopular D.C. establishment.

"She's exactly what the Democrats needed," said Party Chairman Howard Dean. "Someone who hunts, fishes, raises a family, and battles Alaska's most powerful interests on behalf of the working class people she grew up with. She connects naturally with the very voters Democrats need to win this election. And she's the only person on either ticket with any business experience. What a 10-strike."

Those battles began when Palin, who had served two terms as the popular mayor of Wasilla, was appointed to Alaska's powerful Oil and Gas Commission. As related in a two-part cover story in Time, Palin resigned her six-figure job on the commission to blow the whistle on a pattern of unethical behavior by other commission members. One was allegedly sharing sensitive commission data with oil lobbyists while seeking contributions to the Republican Party, which he chaired. He eventually received a heavy fine. The state's Republican attorney general, also targeted by Palin, resigned from office.

From there, Palin took aim at Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski, who had made what critics called a sweetheart deal with the oil companies for a natural gas pipeline to the Lower 48. Palin ran against Murkowski, made the pipeline deal the major issue in the race and defeated him by 30 points, becoming one of eight women governors in the country. Upon taking office, she tore up Murkowski's pipeline deal and negotiated a new one that included competitive bidding.

More recently, Palin raised taxes on oil companies earning record profits and used the money to send rebate checks to Alaskans. Her Republican critics complain that she requested $197 million in earmarks, but many media outlets quickly pointed out that her Republican predecessor requested $350 million in earmarked projects. "Sarah Palin is ending Alaska's earmark addiction," said Missouri's Democratic senator, Claire McCaskill. "And during this economic downturn, while most Governors are struggling with rising deficits, Alaska is running a surplus."

That kind of political courage has reassured foreign-policy heavyweights who were intially concerned about Palin's lack of expertise about all things overseas.

"Like Barack Obama, she has little foreign policy experience," said former Secretary of State Colin Powell. "But I once worked for a former governor who was criticized for lacking sophistication about foreign affairs. It turns out that Ronald Reagan's instincts more than made up for his thin resume. Gov. Palin has some of those same instincts."


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Comments:

Posted Wed, Oct 22, 9:30 p.m. Inappropriate

Priceless!

dman

Posted Wed, Oct 22, 10:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Oh, please. What a crock of self-pitying distortion. John, if your implied accusations were on target, then we would be finishing eight years of Democratic dominance of the White House and the popular culture. Howard Dean would be President, because the fawning, liberal-loving media wouldn't have made a big deal about him losing his cool a few times on camera. Or Al Gore would be president, because the slavishly liberal media wouldn't have depicted him as a big old square, with his "lock box" and his "fuzzy numbers." But in fact in 2000 and 2004 your supposedly liberal media were sucking up to George W. Bush, and Al Gore had to wait a few years for his style of reality-based leadership to come back into fashion.

Bush, by the way, has a lot in common with Sarah Palin. She has earned her criticism. She's screwed up a lot, in big and little ways, and she's persuaded a lot of American voters, Republicans as well as Democrats and Independents, that she doesn't really know what she's doing. That's why she's not doing well in the polls. The media loved her--remember?--until her record and her interviews changed the story from "plucky gal reformer goes to Washington" to "George W. Bush in a skirt threatens to bring on another four years of disastrous incompetence and hubris."

Posted Wed, Oct 22, 11:55 p.m. Inappropriate

These conservative republicans lead rich fantasy lives.

Dewams

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 1:05 a.m. Inappropriate

Fun game, John. I wanna play.

Imagine a parallel universe where John McCain had picked Sam Palin, the male governor of the fine state of Alaska to be our prospective vice president. Then they hid him from the media for a month while they "prepped him up" on the issues. Following that they have only had occasional TV interviews and no real press access to Mr. Palin. The answers Sam did give to the media and the public were non-specific, jingoistic, rambling and often flat out wrong. He was involved in several scandals in his home state and consistently revised and falsified expense reports for his family...the media and several key Republicans questioned whether Mr. Palin was up for the job and urged him to step aside...

John, I could go on but you get the picture. Many Americans of all political persuasions simply do not believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. The McCain campaign and many Republicans are sexist and patronizing in their efforts to protect her. I know many women that are smart, well-spoken, experienced, and thoughtful. I would be happy to support anyone who I felt fit that bill if I supported their politics. But I would be distressed if my partisanship led me to support someone to be our prospective President who I didn't feel met those qualifications.

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 4:49 a.m. Inappropriate

On the morning of November 5th, Scott St.Claire will pipe all hands on deck with his bagpipes, and he and Carlson will lead a rousing rendition of "Nearer My God to Thee" as the SS AlaskaDisasta sinks beneath the waves.

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 7:49 a.m. Inappropriate

Hey Reprobate,

I don't much care what you say about me as long as you say it often and - SPELL MY NAME RIGHT!

No "e" on the end - When people spell it like that it buggers the Google searches of my name and confuses my creditors.

And, it's "bagpipe," singular - "Bagpipes" is a band. Furthermore, I don't play "Nearer my God, etc." Maybe the old invitation hymn, "Just As I Am," or something more rousing like "More Rum For the Piper," but not "NMGTT."

Since you're O-fer so far, might as well let you strike out - what makes Sarah Palin, and now Joe the Plumber, so infuriating to the left is their refusal to play the game by your rules.

Palin is every inch a woman who relishes her femininity and her role as wife and mother. Unlike Hillary Clinton who tried to be one and failed, she isn't "one of the boys."

Joe the Plumber wouldn't figuratively kiss the ring of the anointed Crown Prince - he looked him square in the eye and got him to admit that that, at heart, he's a doctrinaire socialist hell bent on redistributing wealth.

Bottom line? Obama may win, but if he does in four years he'll make Jimmy Carter look positively right wing. He'll have botched the international crisis Gaffemeister Joe Biden promised us last week, swilled with a Democrat Congress on the cheap wine of profligate spending, and so thoroughly bollixed up America that, in the political hangover that will be his "legacy," it will be almost unrecognizable.

By then, however, Sarah Palin's stature with the American people will have grown to the point where she, like Abraham Lincoln and Ronaldus Magnus Reaganus who were also regarded disdainfully by the elites and snobs of their day and suffered initial presidential-level defeat only to be vindicated and vaulted to the high seat four years later, will crush him.

What so many of you fail to realize in your regard for Obama as a social change revolutionary is that the first victim of a revolution is the revolutionary - a revolution eats its own children.

That Joe the Plumber tossed back the curtain shielding The Great and Powerful Wizard revealing him as just another Democrat humbug earned him the eternal enmity of the foam-at-the-mouth crowd. He, too, will survive since those now arrayed against him have nothing to offer but bile, bilge, blowhardedness, and bunk.

America has survived the burning of the White House, Millard Fillmore, a Civil War, Woodrow Wilson (terribly overrated and a failure), the Great Depression, Vietnam (a Democrat war), the aforementioned Carter, and, locally, the spendthrift administration of Christine Gregoire, the lickspittle water carrier for public employee unions.

We'll survive a single Obama term, should it come to pass, that would be due to an "...all of the people some of the time..." out-of-their-heads decision of the voters.

Who knows? That disasterous scenario might even see you, Reprobate, scrambling to get a Palin '12 T-shirt since, like all Americans with real jobs (I assume you have one), you will be on the receiving end of a political screwing that will make the financial one from Lehman Bros., AIG, and Barney Frank (who pimped the health of phony Fannie Mae, where he had...uhm..."special interests," and Freddie Mac) look chump-change by comparison.

My friend John and I will keep the light on for you...

The Piper

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 8:20 a.m. Inappropriate

Hey Piper,
I stay at much better places than Motel Six so I won't be slumming with you and John. At my advanced age, work, that four letter word, is but a memory. I wish you much success in your management recruiting business as I appreciate your continuing contributions to the Social Security system.
Rat

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 8:29 a.m. Inappropriate

John, that is very good. Funny and sad.

Thoughts that are related came to my mind during the coverage of Sarah (and Todd)
Palin's attempts to have a state trooper fired. "What if Obama had done that?" I asked myself.... then I wondered if Obama has ever fired anyone? does anybody know? has he ever held a position where he controlled hiring of anyone other than his own personal staff?

kieth

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 8:34 a.m. Inappropriate

Wow, we liberal elites are bad people, aren't we?

We just hate because, I guess, we are hateful. And we live in basements papered with hate-filled Communist pamphlets, from which we crawl out now and then to spew anti-American hate on nice, all-American folks.

Seriously, Mr. St. Clair, show me a competent Republican candidate and I'll show her respect, whether or not she gets my vote. The reason Sarah Palin is dropping fast in the polls among voters of all persuasions is that her *actual* behavior is scaring people, because she seems incompetent and uninformed.

Aren't Republicans in favor anymore of individual responsibility? Ms. Palin is responsible for her own behavior. Stop blaming people for seeing it, when she puts it out there in public view.

The real divide during the Bush years has been not between conservative and liberal beliefs, but between reality-based and fantasy-based politics. There are a lot of fearful fantasies out there about Obama--he's Satan! He's a terrorist! He's a Communist Muslim using African witchcraft against us!--but that's all they are, fantasies. His actual record so far suggests he's a centrist who tends to err on the side of pragmatic prudence. It's true that we don't know how he'll govern, but look at how he's run his campaign so far--centrist, centrist, centrist. And highly competent. His campaign is kicking ass because it's so well run and organized.

Likewise, there are a lot of admiring fantasies about Sarah Palin, and some have a glimmer of truth to them. She *does* have a terrific, personal style, and a talent for connecting with voters, though too often at the expense of some other group. One reason I wouldn't vote for her is that she keeps making it clear to me that she hates and fears people like me and my loved ones, and isn't afraid to whip up public fears and hostilities against "others." I don't admire that kind of demagoguery, whether I find it on the left or right.

But Sarah Palin has a record of fiscal imprudence, bush-league ethics missteps, cronyism and nepotism, and she clearly doesn't follow national and international issues very closely. Why on earth should she be in the White House?

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 8:40 a.m. Inappropriate

Keith, if Obama were being investigated for ethics problems we would all know about it. He's been investigated and vetted, too, and there have been news reports about his past. Go to the New York Times website and search the archives if you don't believe me. There's just not that much dirt that anyone has managed to find on Obama so far.

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 9:33 a.m. Inappropriate

Can you imagine if she were a black Democrat? Can you imagine the accolades that would produce? The left would file daily front page stories about how great their party is for nominating for the first time in history two blacks to lead the country.

Yarrow: If you depend on the New York Times for reporting the truth about anything you must be drinking something that has damaged your brain.

Lainie

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 9:45 a.m. Inappropriate

Yarrow, that was not my point.

"..has he ever held a position where he controlled hiring of anyone other than his own personal staff?"

If you know the answer to this please tell me. This is not a trick question.

kieth

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 10:29 a.m. Inappropriate

If the Republicans had picked:

Elizabeth Dole
Condoleezza Rice
Kathryn Ann Bailey Hutchison
Olympia Snowe

Or any of the other top Republican women with clout, experience, and serious political know-how, McCain would not be trailing in the polls. Poor choices by McCain and a bad economy are far more to blame than the so-called liberal media.

RLJ

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 11:16 a.m. Inappropriate

But, of course, in reality Sarah Palin isn't a Democrat, she's a Republican; and that means that in the eyes of the popular press she is by definition either stupid, evil or both.

dbreneman

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 11:54 a.m. Inappropriate

Thanks John, Beautiful! I am a Democrat who caucused for Jackson in '88, Kucinich in '04, Clinton in '08, a card-carrying Planned Parenthood, ACLU member, but I am voting for McCain-Palin. She is the quintessential woman and that scares a lot of people - including women.

ilya

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 12:13 p.m. Inappropriate

The right wing talk show hosts would rip apart a female liberal Democrat, especially if that Black female was Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee or Cynthia McKinney, folks who don't get too much love or airtime from the mainstream media. Look how the last female VP candidate was treated by the media, especially the right wing press. You're confident that Obama will fail his first White House challenge; you never know how you'll perform unless you're put under pressure; George Bush, with the most experienced team ever assembled in the White House failed miserably on 9/11/2001 and in dealing with hurricane Katrina. McCain claims that he's been tested but he took that test 40 years ago and its clear that given what we've seen in the last eight years, the Vietnam and Cold War defense and foreign policy rules that worked in the 20th century are ineffective today. There's no strategic or defense reasons to maintain an embargo against Cuba but McCain is serious about maintaining the Cold War sanctions against Cuba, whereas Obama would follow Clinton's policy of Détente (bet you haven't heard that word in a long time) toward normalizing relations with Cuba. The first crisis the next president may have to deal with might not be international. Bush I had no clue on how to deal with the Rodney King riot and McCain, and especially Palin, would be just as clueless in dealing with an explosion of the growing racial tensions in this country. Obama's speech on race at least acknowledges the problem is there and resolving those concerns should be a priority. Democrats I know aren't thrilled about Joe the Plumber is because plumber jobs can't be outsourced and most plumbers make very good money, compared to the teacher, secretary or Wal-Mart clerk. Unlike Hillary and other female politicians who have undergone years of scrutiny by the media, Palin expects people to believe her "because I said it's true" but the more reporters look into her background, the more negatives come out. Palin's against "spreading the wealth" but she does that every year by signing off on the average thousand dollar oil royalty check every person in Alaska receives. Since the pipeline wouldn't have been built without federal approval, shouldn't Sarah propose that all Americans, not just Alaskans, receive royalties, or even have Alaskans give up the royalties, with that revenue devoted toward finding new energy resources?

harryo

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 12:55 p.m. Inappropriate

"The Palin story is like a Frank Capra movie..."

'Cept it has a better wardrobe budget.

spice

jimspice

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 1:01 p.m. Inappropriate

I'm not buyin' it (as Palin might say).

Olympia Snowe
Christine Todd Whitman
Elizabeth Dole
And the list could go on and on from there. There are plenty of reasonable, accomplished Republican stateswomen.

Palin was, and remains, a toss of red right-wing meat to the hungry dog ideological voters and their white, rural, blue collar cousins. It's sort of pathetic watching them sniff around the scraps of what little credibility she has left as a national candidate. I can hardly wait for this election to end.

lou5ise

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 3:19 p.m. Inappropriate

So, if Carlson had breasts Knute would be nicer to him?

Anyway, had Palin been a Dem, and taxed big oil more and gave the money to the citizens, being tax payers or not, she might be called a Socialist, rather than a Maverick by Republicans. Had she left her small town swimming in debt due to an arena built on sweetheart contracts, she would called a tax and spend, liberal beholding to cronies, by Republicans.
When Dems in Alaska run against the old Republicans on the same issues, for the same reasons as Palin, they are called whatever boilerplate Republicans usually throw out there. But since it was a Republican she is called a Maverick.
The double standard is in your party Carlson.
Had she done exactly the same things and called her self a Dem she would not be anywhere near where she is today with Republican, and would not have made the cut as a Dem simply on her only meaningful connection to conservitives, and that is on social idiology.

Mr Baker

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 7:15 p.m. Inappropriate

If you really want to know about the types of things Palin was up against in Alaska, read this book. It was written and published by a friend of mine before Palin became governor.

Please pass this to everyone you know before the election...

Sour Rain by Thomas J. Aron

Our country thanks you!

Posted Thu, Oct 23, 11:07 p.m. Inappropriate

Yarrow says Obama is "centrist, centrist, centrist."

Talk about a parallel universe! If Obama's centrist, I'd sure hate to see leftist. Let's see.... Abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, right up to due-date. And if the baby has the audacity (love that word) to emerge alive, "not just limp and dead" (Barack's own tender, compassionate words), then we dump him or her into a soiled-linens closet to die of neglect. Nice guy, this Barack.

Oh, yeah, and centrist.

And then there's his oft-repeated promise that his first act as president will be to sign the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, which would TAKE AWAY doctors' and hospitals' freedom of choice, the freedom to follow their own conscience and choose not to do abortions. To hell with their moral scruples, if they won't do abortions, they can just find some other line of work. So what if they spent a couple hundred thousand dollars on their training, and years and years of their lives in med school and residency and specialization? They can just find some other line of work, maybe drive a taxi or something. And the hospitals? They can just close their doors. Tough shit for all the people who need that hospital. If they're so reactionary that they'd choose to go to a hospital that's (gasp!) pro-life, screw 'em. Let 'em get sicker and die.

Oh, yeah, that Barack, he's some centrist, all right. And just a heck of a nice guy, too. All sweet and cuddly and warm and fuzzy--as long as you toe the line and do exactly what HE wants. God help you if you have a mind of your own.

Posted Fri, Oct 24, 8:41 a.m. Inappropriate

Sounds just like your usual dose of self-serving claptrap, Mr. Carlson. Like a second rate Jonah Goldberg.

Rujax

Posted Fri, Oct 24, 10:22 a.m. Inappropriate

Frankly, Kathy, as someone who enthusiastically voted for Reagan twice but couldn't stand the religious agenda crowd that rode his coattails into power, I'm sick and tired of the abortion debate. It's not an issue I vote on. Roe vs Wade overturned? I don't care. Roe vs Wade reinforced? I don't care. God bless Dino Rossi for consigning abortion to the back burner where it belongs.

dbreneman

Posted Mon, Oct 27, 11:44 p.m. Inappropriate

Hi, John,

I think if Sarah Palin was a Democrat and the VP for the Democrat ticket, the reception she would be getting would be very different. For better or worse, McCain, and Republicans in general, have an uphill battle this election trying to shake Bush from their sleeve. So many Americans are so fed up with President Bush at this point that maybe, in their eyes, electing another Republican is just too big a risk to take again. And perhaps many Americans are just tired of being asked, once again, to believe in a party that they may feel has let them down for too long.

I like Sarah Palin. Of the 4 running on this election's ticket, she appeals to me because she comes across as the most authentic and as Elizabeth Hasselback said on the campaign trail, both McCain and Palin have already fought for the American people, each in their own way.

If the media takes on any of the candidates on issues, that's fair. But what I can't stand is focusing on how she will raise her children if she becomes VP or how much her clothes are. With everything else happening in America, it's absurd that the media is covering her clothes and how much it cost especially when they haven't given equal time in what type of shoes any of the other candidates are wearing, or their suits. Talk about grasping at straws.

Maybe Palin is met with so much hatred because she comes across as "different", from the way she talks to moose stew being her favorite food. For the media to focus on her wink during the debate to making fun of her "gotcha" to "you betcha" makes me wonder if the only way to be given the keys to the elite in our nation's capital is to hold a law degree, or attend a fancy university, or to be a career politician that spends half their life in politics. With Palin, she doesn't fit neatly into any of the cookie cutter political types we've grown accustomed to.

Or maybe it's none of the above. For whatever reason, maybe the media is just headstrong about making sure their favorite person gets elected.

As far as her "inexperience" touted by the media, they must have their blinders on. Somebody shake them by the shoulders and ask them how do you spell D-E-N-I-A-L. Because last time I looked, Palin is not running for the presidential slot and Obama has even less political experience than Palin.

Oh, but I forgot. None of that matters in this election.

Maybe we should all just stay home on election day, party it up, and let the media elect our next president.

Sandraa

Posted Mon, Nov 3, 4:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Dear Mr. Carlson,

Reading the comments to your post, it causes me to wonder: When did peace-loving Democrats become so hateful and 'conservatives' so pig-headedly nihilistic? Even Ronald Reagan wouldn't survive in a political climate in a candidate must rigidly conform to the desires of their base. For a larger and larger number of citizens it seems that 80% agreement isn't enough. 90% agreement isn't enough. How do we work together as a society if we can't look at problems and solutions through the lens of our historical experience and with patient deliberation?

The points you make about a double standard are central to understanding the larger problem that will continue to plague the country as we attempt to get to some kind of 'truth' about our problems and how to best solve them in ways that are in harmony with our values, even if the solutions don't always provide perfect answers for us individually.

The attitude of picking up our ball and going home when things don't go our way is something that our parents were supposed to have disciplined out of us at an early age. Too many chronological adults are comfortable behaving like the spoiled children and the distracting fracas that ensues paradoxically offers the forces each of us rails against to fester and grow.

Where is the Dan Evans of our generation? Where is our Scoop Jackson? What became of our sense of community and national unity? Did they disappear at the same time we stopped being able to count our television channels in the double-digits?

Thank you, John, for an insightful piece of writing.

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