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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

September 10, 2008


About Sarah Palin

The following letter by a Wasilla, Alaska resident who is more than familiar with Governor Sarah Palin was sent to me by more than one reader of this newsletter. However, rather than just re-publishing it in its entirety, I thought it better to point out the highlights and let them speak for themselves. Here are my thoughts about Wasilla's Anne Kilkenny's Email:

About Sarah Palin

KILKENNY: I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992. Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her father was my child's favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the residents of the city.
She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and won't vote for her can't quit smiling when talking about her because she is a "babe".
MADMAN: It would have interesting to see what the politics and attitude of a twenty-eight year old and new mother Sarah Palin was like. Certainly she must have been a charming presence who made every man want her and every woman wish that she was her in the small town of Wasilla with a then-population of some 5,000 people.
From the pictures of Mrs. Palin I've seen, she certainly must have been the bell of the ice-ball. A former Miss Wasilla and runner-up in the Miss Alaska Beauty Pageant, she must have been all smiles parading her twice-convicted DWI husband and new child around the city the size of a regular New York City neighborhood.
Well, at least her parents seem nice.

KILKENNY: It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents for seven months.
MADMAN: Why would the Pro-Life Governor of an ultra-conservative state like Alaska keep her pregnancy and birth of her child a secret anyway? And why would she keep it a secret that the child was born with Down's Syndrome? The only reason I could think of is that there was no political gain to be gotten from it.
Think of it like this: As Governor Palin was being announced as John McCain's running mate not once was new son Trig mentioned as they were showing off their soon-to-be sent to Iraq teenage son. Then all of a sudden the infant is in every picture and being carried onto every stage with Mommy, Daddy and the rest of the Palin clan.
All politics show off their families and there is nothing wrong with that. But continually carting out a sick four-month-old baby for political gain is just plain sick. And as for her new soon-to-be son-in-law who is "volunteering" to marry her pregnant daughter, is it just me or is there something sick and wrong about that?
When Palin said that she and her husband were "proud" that her daughter was going to keep her baby, why is it that a pregnant teenager, without the options Palin's daughter has, becomes the target of those like Palin? Why is it that the "choice" which Palin says her daughter made about her own body is not to be tolerated by the choice some poor inner-city seventeen year old girl might make under the same circumstances?

KILKENNY: (Palin) is savvy. She doesn't take positions; she just "puts things out there" and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.
MADMAN: This, more than anything else, defines the most popular members of the Republican party. Democratic Vice Presidential candidate (then Presidential candidate) Joe Biden pointed out about then-GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, "He knows three words: a verb, a noun and 911." No one took advantage of a bad situation better than Rudy (except for President Bush, of course), and it appears that Palin is cut from that same cloth.

KILKENNY: During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.
MADMAN: Sound familiar? Palin, much like other Republicans before her, can't or won't learn from mistakes. Thinking back to one of the 2004 presidential debate questions to President Bush when he was asked to name one mistake he made during his first term it might be good for us to remember that he had trouble even admitting to one. Certainly Palin is of that same mindset.
One wonders if she feels that her daughter getting pregnant and her failures, by choice, to teach her about sexual education is something which she now considers a "mistake" And if she does consider it to be a mistake, why in the world is she still against teaching sex ed in schools? If a child raised in such a moral household as the Palins' house could make such a "mistake" as getting pregnant, shouldn't Governor Palin want to help the not-so-fortunate among our daughters so much more?

KILKENNY: Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a "fiscal conservative." During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited the rest of the residents.
MADMAN: Much in the same way the new McCain campaign ad blames the Democrats for the greatest deficit in our nation's history, Palin has obviously learned the tricks of the GOP as well as the big boys. When Governor Bush became President Bush there was a huge surplus in our treasury. Through huge tax breaks which helped the rich (a.k.a. the Bush "base of haves and have mores", as the President himself called them); an ill-advised war which costs about $300 billion per year (as opposed to the $1.5 billion the Bush administration said it would cost); and an increase in government jobs (the only monthly increase of jobs in each and every month of the Bush administration's seven-plus years), Bush has made our economy the weakest it has been in decades. And like President Bush, Palin sees that as, somehow, good news.
Taxes are good to Palin and Bush as long as they tax those in the greatest need. Taxing food while giving huge breaks to real estate moguls is par for the course for those in the Republican party poised to make those decisions. Plain is no exception.

KILKENNY: The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren't enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million.
MADMAN: A city of 5,000 and a debt that ballooned from nothing to $22 million is akin to a nation of 290 million (the approximate population of the United States when George W. Bush took over in January 2001) going from a zero deficit to a deficit of $1.276 QUADRILLION DOLLARS. That number is so large that I had to look it up! Governor Palin managed to put each and every Wasilla resident in debt for some $4,400.

KILKENNY: What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn't even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later — to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.
MADMAN: Each and every one of the pet projects Palin chose to borrow for were the kinds of things which a mayor or similar elected official would wish to take a picture in front of. There's nothing that a politician likes better than to build a palace to themselves - their own, personal Taj Mahal.
A sewage treatment plant is sexy and, let's face it, no one wants to have a "fart factory" named after them.
The Sarah Palin Sewage Treatment Facility - sounds about right.

KILKENNY: While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once.
MADMAN: It's simple - to the victors belong the spoils. We've had seven-plus years of that so far.

KILKENNY: As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.
In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today's surplus, borrow for needs
MADMAN: It made more sense to put the needs of her state's infrastructure ahead of small tax breaks but, like President Bush ahead of her, Palin chose pandering over production. When President Clinton had the chance to give the tax breaks he promised during the campaign. Instead he chose to fix the economy. Bush reversed that and put our economy into a tailspin of debt and spending much like the McCain campaign promises challenger Barack Obama will do.
Palin had done the same exact thing in Alaska.

KILKENNY: She's not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff. Ideas weren't evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.
MADMAN: And like her obvious idol, President Bush, Palin doesn't appear to seek out those divergent opinions. It seems as if that this is an inherent characteristic of GOP executives.
Just ask anyone who lived or worked in Rudy Giuliani's New York City.

KILKENNY: While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin's attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.
MADMAN: Modern-day book burning and burning at the stake - that's what this reminds me of.

KILKENNY: Sarah complained about the "old boy's club" when she first ran for Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of "old boys". Palin fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people, creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally grateful and fiercely loyal — loyal to the point of abusing their power to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the case of pressuring the State's top cop.
MADMAN: By now we all know the story of Alaska's top cop being fired because he refused to Palin's state trooper ex-brother-in-law. We also seen this in the Bush administration. It isn't only about disloyalty - it's about blind obedience and it makes for bad government.

KILKENNY: Fear of retribution has kept all of (the people she fired from her Mayoral years) from saying anything publicly about her.
MADMAN: Fear and intimidation - more from the Bush playbook.

KILKENNY: As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the "bridge to nowhere" after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.
MADMAN: And, as it turned out, she not only didn't oppose the "bridge-to-nowhere" but encouraged the influx of pork-barrel cash from the US government. Alaska, per capita, gained more in pork-barrel dollars than any other state in the US.

If McCain gets into the White House this November, Palin will be just a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. The choice McCain made in putting this woman in such a position borders on the reckless. It's bad enough that Palin now has a national name to exploit, and exploit it she will - baby in arms and all.

It's not that we don't need a Sarah Palin in our national spotlight, it's having a Sarah Palin in that light makes the light dim and distorts the real picture.

And that real picture is of a candidate who is simply wrong for us.

-Noah Greenberg

In response to, "The Power of Palin", Denise writes:

Hush with the sexist whining. Her speech was written by someone other than her. It was filled with venom and sick humor and false allegations. She belittled community service which is the heart and soul of America (the people closest to the problems in the community that actually serve the people with actions, not empty
promises like most of the politicians do). No one has treated Ms. Palin with disrespect. She is a candidate that must take the heat just like every other person running for a public office does. If she is a big girl she can handle the fire and give straight answers instead of the current non-answers we are getting now. She deserves to be scrutinized and the more I am finding out about her the less I like and I don't care if she is male or female, I would feel the same way.

In response to the oddsmakers betting on Obama. David W. writes:

Is it possible that the various polls the media is hawking showing McCain ahead of Obama by 4 points are ... at variance with reality? Could it be that that in fact Obama is ahead of McCain but the media is telling us otherwise to better facilitate the 2008 theft of the election?

In response to, "As a feminist, I was stung by the outrageous, over-the-top sexism projected at Hillary Clinton from the media, the Obama campaign and the Republicans. Those attacks still raged through the end of the Democratic Convention in Denver with claims that it was up to Hillary–not the nominee himself–to convince voters to choose Obama, something no male opponent had ever been expected to do," Pat Thompson writes:

That was my sentiment exactly. Through the convention, it was heard from all the talking heads on MSNBC, including the supposedly liberal and lesbian commentator Rachel Madow, that Hillary had to do a lot more, and her speech had to be over the top, and it was up to her, and Bill, to be sure that all of their supporters became staunch Obama supporters. If he lost, it was all her fault. If Obama does lose, it will be because he did not pick Hillary as his running mate, thereby giving McCain the opportunity to pick a woman, and be "different, an agent of change, etc". I do believe that it is wrong for the candidate who gets the most votes to be able to pick whoever he wants for his running mate. The voters should choose, and the person who got the 2nd highest vote tally would automatically be the VP candidate. Obama would have Hillary, and I guess McCain would be stuck with Mitt Romney! That would be a better contest, in my opinion. This new rock star who came out of no where has really upset this election. Here we go again. Now it's not who people would rather have a beer with, it's who they'd like to have a pizza with. She is governor of a state with as many people as Fairfax County Virginia, or Poughkeepsie New York. And she is a religious fundamentalist. Many polls showed that Obama would be less successful against McCain than Hillary would have. The powers that be, who own the media, allowed him to be built up, so they could knock him down. The talking points today on all the right wing radio shows were identical -- Obama in his own words in an interview a couple of years ago stated that he went to a school in Jakarta that taught the Koran, and that the sound of the evening call to prayers in Islam is the most beautiful sound in the world. I heard that a half dozen times today, repeated by the right wing commentators who control talk radio. I think we are going to have to prepare ourselves for another four years, at least, of Bush/McCain, and then who knows? Eight years of Sarah Palin?? This is as disheartening an election as 2000 (which I still haven't recovered from) and 2004 (ditto). I am happy that Noah had a good weekend, and the gamblers are still putting their money on Obama, and I say from their lips to God's ears -- but am preparing myself for another defeat. I have been working in a call center of the Democratic Party in Hunterdon County where I now live, and hundreds of phone calls produce nothing positive from lists of independent registered voters. It doesn't look good from here.

And in response to that very same, "As a feminist, I was stung by the outrageous, over-the-top sexism projected at Hillary Clinton from the media," Pat Thompson adds:

Hillary, at 60 is past the age of being attractive. She is becoming what is called a "crone". She isn't sexually attractive. In fact, many consider her useless. But Sarah Palin is in the prime of womanhood, having just given birth to child #5 four months ago. Even if the fruit of her womb is not perfect, that makes her even more desirable to another group of people who are anti-choice, for any reason. And those with children with learning disabilities and every other kind of problem were told that they would "have a friend in the White House". Not that this "friend" would advocate health insurance for these special needs children, or anyone else. But surely she will pray for them. Amen.

In response to, "A mere 12 hours after the Democratic Convention ended, before anyone was able to gauge the impact of the Democratic Convention on the political landscape, Gov. Sarah Palin entered the national political arena," Pat Thompson writes:

a coincidence, surely. That Democratic Convention looked too good, sounded too good, promised too much. A windfall profits tax on oil companies? Raising taxes on millionaires? We can't have that happen, now can we. Those who are really in power are going into high gear. My only question was how, in the past 30 years, Bill Clinton got elected. We can thank Ross Perot for that, as a third party candidate that siphoned off votes. We may never see another Democrat win the Presidency. I guess I am really feeling shocked, robbed, and like another election is already lost.

In response to, "Palin was the governor of the nation’s largest state, Pat Thompson writes:

In land mass, yes, the largest state. Many areas are totally unpopulated, there are no roads into many areas. In population, California has 60 times more people.

In response to, "McCain’s choice was immediately deemed insulting by the Democratic Party. MoveOn sent out a mass emails asserting McCain’s choice was “dangerous,” minimizing Palin’s credentials and experience and claiming she had no right to the spot “a heartbeat away” from the presidency.

She has served as Governor for 19 months, and is rarely actually in the capital, Juneau," Pat Thompson writes:

The population of less than one million people, compares to a small city, not a state. She has had little or no experience with the myriad complicated issues facing our country. Her standard issues, even when running for Mayor of a small town, was to bring in the "culture war" issues like abortion and gay marriage. She has never mentioned global warming, health insurance, or support for sustainable new energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal, etc.

In response to, "Biden was considered brave for leaving his children and going to Washington," Pat Thompson writes:

He didn't leave their bedsides for weeks, until they were recovering. His sister moved in with him to care for his children.

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-Noah Greenberg