It's been a frenetic few days here in America, with hurricanes and conventions and a Veep candidate imploding, so let's take a moment to stand back and see where we are-
To begin, it may seem to some people, especially those reading from other countries, that bloggers and the press are piling onto S. Palin, Republican candidate for Vice President. I don't really think that's what's going on- nobody I've heard or read has anything against S. Palin personally, and I'm sure we all would wish S. Palin well in all S. Palin's future endeavors, were S. Palin not a current candidate to be the nation's Vice President.
However, S. Palin is a candidate, and so needs to be looked at critically, and we also need to look at S. Palin in the context of the fact that John McCain, who wants to be our President, chose S. Palin as a running mate. We need to know more about S. Palin so we can better understand how good John McCain's judgment is, since he wants to be in charge of the country.
S. Palin was, quite literally, completely unknown to a good 95% of Americans before being introduced last Friday. Since then we have been able to ascertain the following facts concerning S. Palin's political career, and we can use them to decide whether John McCain has shown good judgment in picking S. Palin to be Vice President of the United States-
- In 1994, before getting into politics as a candidate, S. Palin joined a fringe Alaskan political party called The Alaskan Independence Party, whose declared purpose is to hold a vote among Alaskan citizens to declare independence from the United States and to seize Federal lands in Alaska and hand them out to private citizens in Alaska. In the 1970s Joe Vogler, the party's founder, declared, "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." S. Palin attended at least one party convention and remained a member for two years.
- In 1996, S. Palin left the AIP and joined the Republican party, and ran for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population about 7,000.
- Upon being elected mayor, S. Palin fired the Chief of Police and Library Director over personal disputes. The firing sparked a citizen's recall petition, and the library Director was re-instated.
- Although S. Palin has a self-styled reputation for being a fiscal conservative, and a champion of small government, during S. Palin's 6-year term as mayor, S. Palin hired a lobbying firm which brought $27 million dollars in Federal "earmark" funds to Wasilla, a rural Alaskan town of about 7,000 people.
- Despite having brought in $27 Million in Federal earmark funds, S. Palin, who had inherited a balanced budget from the previous mayor, left the town with a $12 Million dollar deficit at the end of S. Palin's term.
- When S. Palin ran for Governor of Alaska, and when S. Palin was Governor of Alaska, S. Palin supported the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere". S. Palin congratulated the state's Congressional delegation for getting the money earmarked by the Federal government for the project. When Congress voted to kill the project, a deal was worked out to let the Alaskan government keep the money that had already been paid out, which was about half the total amount.
- Despite the record being quite to the contrary, last Friday S. Palin declared, regarding the bridge, "I told Congress, thanks but no thanks! If we want a bridge we'll build it ourselves!"
I in 2000, S. Palin was an ardent supporter, and fundraiser, for Pat Buchanan, an ex-Republican, Hitler-admiring Holocaust-denier seeking the American Presidency.
- As a mayor and Governor, S. Palin has compiled a fairly lengthy record of firing government employees for personal reasons, including the already-mentioned Library Director and Chief of Police, her liaison with the Alaska Legislature who had started to date her husband's best friend's ex-wife, and the Alaska State Public Safety Commissioner for not firing a state trooper who was in the middle of a child-custody battle with S. Palin's sister.
- In 2007 S. Palin fired the entire Alaska Board of Agriculture after it had voted to close a state-run dairy. S. Palin then appointed a new Board of Agriculture which included many well-connected Alaskans who all had strong financial ties to the dairy or its suppliers and had a vested financial interest in keeping it operating. Unsurprisingly, they voted to keep the dairy open.
In 2008 S. Palin once again became involved with the the Alaskan Independence Party, addressing them at their annual convention via video, and telling them to "keep up the good work".
And so it goes.