Sunday, August 31, 2008

The choice of Palin resembles the 1988 choice of Dan Quayle ...

...except that Dan Quayle had been a Senator for a while and had already proven his ability to find his way to Washington, D.C. on his own. Both are lightweights chosen specifically to cater to the Republican Social Conservatives. Dan quickly became a joke. So will Sarah if McCain by some sick miracle or vote stealing wins the election. She simply adds nothing to the ability of a McCain administration to govern and is scary in the primary function of the Veep - standing ready to step in when the President dies or becomes obviously disabled. The Palin decision reflects bery badly on McCain's judgment.

Sarah Palin's inability to step in and immediately take office as President if something happened to a President McCain in Feb 2009 is obvious. What is less obvious until her record is looked at is how she combines all the worst elements of the Bush administration conservative government. She has a remarkable resemblance to the attitudes of George W. Bush. Here's how her history displays those attitudes.

Mayor Palin's dislike of the hard work of governance and her magical thinking is on display in the fiasco of the Wasilli sports complex. Her penchant for cronyism and use of government to settle personal scores is demonstrated, first by how she fired the Wasilli Chief of Police and head librarian and then by how she fired the Alaska Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, because he would not fire Palin's ex-brother-in-law, state trooper Mike Wooten, just because she had personal problems with Wooten. It is becoming clear that he has also lied about her lack of involvement in firing Monegan. To top it off, she has a George-Bush level of dislike for the hard work of good governance. Like Bush, she is interested in being in the lime-light and enjoying the perks of her job, without working at it. She is also a practitioner of social conservative "Magical Thinking" just as George Bush is. When she wants something she expects to get it just because she ordered her subordinates to deliver it. Cost is irrelevant. She stuck the village of Wasilli with a massive debt and unnecessary overruns for a poorly handled and unprofitable Sports complex and has been bailed out as governor by only raising taxes on the oil companies in Alaska and killing the building of the Bridge to Nowhere while still taking the federal money planned to build it. Here's the evidence.

Josh Marshall has already addressed Palin's Troopergate Scandal.
We rely on elected officials not to use the power of their office to pursue personal agendas or vendettas. It's called an abuse of power. There is ample evidence that Palin used her power as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired. When his boss refused to fire him, she fired him. She first denied Monegan's claims of pressure to fire Wooten and then had to amend her story when evidence proved otherwise. The available evidence now suggests that she 1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms, 2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative, 3) lied to the public about what happened and 4) continues to lie about what happened.

These are, to put it mildly, not the traits or temperament you want in someone who could hold the executive power of the federal government.
An earlier event that occurred when Palin was mayor of Wasilla shows that she fits right in with the Bush method of running government by cronyism. She fired the Chief of police of Wasilli because she felt that they were "... not fully supporting her efforts to govern. " When asked what evidence she had she never offered any.The problem appears to have been that both individuals supported her opponent in the election. The court threw out the Police chief's lawsuit because the contract that he thought protected his job was signed by the previous mayor and was not binding on Palin. The point is, however, that this is another example of her rule using small-town Republican cronyism. That's exactly what Bush and Rove have used to destroy the effectiveness of the Federal Government over the last two years.

Add to this
  • She originally supported the famed Bridge to Nowhere earmark obtained by Ted Stevens, then opposed that use of the federal funds when the Bridge to Nowhere became a nation-wide example of pork barrel spending. She hasn't turned down the money when the restrictions requiring that it be spent on the useless bridge were removed, though. She's an Alaskan politician who feeds at the federal trough just like all the others.
  • Governor Palin has increased Alaska revenues by imposing a massive windfall profits tax on the oil companies. This is an idea which Republicans in Congress killed federally, with the concurrence of John McCain, and an idea that Barack Obama supports federally. Presumably Sarah Palin does not agree with the Republican Party that a windfall profits tax on oil companies will raise gasoline prices and lower the incentive for oil companies to drill for more oil.
  • On Creationism she favors the stealth Creationism of students being exposed to all sides of the evolution argument. This is, of course, teaching religion in the science class instead of teaching science there. The entire discipline of biological science is organized around the concept of Evolution. To "teach the controversy" means to teach against all biological science. Without the concept of Evolution there is no discipline of biological science. You'd think that the daughter of a science teacher would understand that.
  • Like George Bush she has little interest in the nitty-gritty unglamorous work of government, of gaining consensus, and making difficult compromises. Instead she wants to stand in the limelight (Beauty queen, remember?) and offer simplistic bromides about how government should work. This is combined with another characteristic of the Bush administration - that ...
  • ...she and her administration have no interest in the hard work of getting budget under control.
  • As mayor of Wasilla Palin shoved through the construction of an expensive sports complex which has never been profitable, which cost the city a great deal more than it should have if handled competently, and which landed in court in an immanent domain lawsuit that the city lost after Palin left the job of mayor. That badly handled decison has left the village of Wasilli in major debt for a long time. The Anchorage Daily News describes the case and qgz at Daily Kos explains the background of what happened.
So there are some clear lessons from the choice of Sarah Palin by the impulsive shoot-from-the-hip ex-flyboy John McCain.

McCain has chosen her in part because he feels she is very much in tune with his ideas and attitudes. No surprise, then, that what can be determined from her work history shows that Sarah Palin represents the exact same negative characteristics of governance that the Bush/Cheney government has. Like the Bush administration, Sarah Palin represents government by cronyism and simplistic sound bytes conducted by a lazy administrator. The lazy administrator is very much like George Bush. Both Palin and Bush have a clear distaste for government itself and they both immensely dislike the hard work of gaining consensus, making compromises with those who disagree with her, and getting the budget control.

The final part of that - Palin's refusal to work to get the budget under control - reflects the magical thinking of the social conservatives . They enact the government policies they desire regardless of cost and assume that somehow, magically, the costs will be covered even if they refuse to work to pay the price of what they demand. They demand something and expect God or someone to perform a miracle to provide it, since they hate taxes.

The choice of Sarah Palin as the Republican Veep nominee is a reflection of John McCain's impulsivity in decision-making, his lack of seriousness in his campaign for President, and his utter desperation as he sees all chanced of a win on November 4th fading away as election day gets closer. But Sarah Palin herself is a reflection of so many of the many ways in which the conservative movement simply is not competent to run a government.

But Hey! The Frida announcement of McCain's impulsive choice certainly stepped all over any media discussion of Barack Obama's great acceptance speech Thursday night. That was the main reason for having McCain announce his highly flawed and ideocentric decision Friday. The campaign was trying to dominate the weekend news cycle and they succeeded. It's a good thing that 38 million people - more than have ever watched a Presidential acceptance speech before - tuned in to watch the Thursday speech itself.

The resemblance between the current Palin choice and the 1988 Quayle choice will become more obvious over the next few weeks as Mrs. Palin is questioned by reporters.

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