With “Reformers” Like This, Who Needs the Status Quo?

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

 

 

It’s getting more and more difficult to buy the narrative that Sarah Palin courageously risked her own career to take on Alaska’s GOP establishment.  Indeed, it’s looking like she was part and parcel of the state’s federal money grab right up until the time it became politically expedient, at which point she abruptly did an about-face.

The photo above (via Ben Smith) certainly shows Palin’s spunk, but it shows her being defiant in the face of critics of the "Bridge to Nowhere."  Palin political nemesis Andrew Halcro explains that as late as September of 2006, Palin was a vocal defender of the bridge, adding she was insulted by the insinuation that it led to "nowhere."

It wasn’t until last summer, six weeks after the FBI raided the offices of Sen. Ted Stevens, that Palin announced her opposition to the bridge (before taking the money anyway, and using it for other projects).  By that time, Alaska’s lone congressman, Rep. Don Young, was also already under federal investigation.  Opposing Stevens and Young as of late last summer wasn’t a much of a political risk at all—just a little hypocritical, given Palin’s own proven deftness at the earmark game.

We also learn today that John McCain has at least three times singled out for criticism earmarks procured by Palin when she was mayor of Wasilla.  And the AP is reporting that as governor this year, Palin requested that indicted Sen. Ted Stevens procure some $200 million in federal earmarks for the state.  That’s $300 for every resident.  That’s more than any other state, and about nine times the average of the other 49 states.

All of which not only severely undercuts Palin’s image as a reformer, it also puts the lie to the McCain camp’s claims that Palin was thoroughly vetted.  It would be one thing if Palin had been nominated for, say, her foreign policy expertise, and the earmark stuff was merely a shortcoming.  But McCain says he selected Palin in large part because of her fight against earmarks and government waste.  She’s been on the right side of this issue for all of about a year.

Which means that Palin either wasn’t vetted at all, or McCain’s staff did vet her and didn’t see a problem with any of this.

Neither scenario inspires much confidence in McCain or his staff.

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27 Responses to “With “Reformers” Like This, Who Needs the Status Quo?”

  1. #1 |  Nick T | 

    This campaign is awesome.

    I can see history looking back on this election as the one with a disasterous VP selection by the losing ticket. Obviously it will take more than this stuff here, but I can imagine it continuing.

  2. #2 |  Leah | 

    The only thing that bugs me is that the bridge didn’t technically lead to nowhere. It was going to connect Ketchikan with their airport. I don’t think they need it, personally, their ferry does a perfectly good job considering the population they have – I’ve never had a problem catching a plane (though I’ve only used it 4 times total). But I can see why someone from there would be irritated that no one seems to notice the airport thing. Especially in a part of the state with no access to anywhere else except by plane or boat.

    Otherwise I still think that McCain was going to lose anyway, and his pick of Palin was probably the best option to keep interest in his campaign. I think he’ll still lose and I don’t know if she’ll help or hurt, but I still don’t think there’s any way he would have won with a different VP pick.

  3. #3 |  Mike | 

    I’m curious to know what’s with the Superman logo on the soda can. Something definitely strange going on there…

  4. #4 |  David | 

    The picture was taken in 2006, right? It was probably a Superman Returns promo.

  5. #5 |  nobahdi | 

    …and his pick of Palin was probably the best option to keep interest in his campaign.

    Yes, “interesting” is a good way to describe how his campaign is going.

  6. #6 |  jwh | 

    C’mon, Radley…..enlighten us all on how the mayor of a town of 9,000 was able to add earmarks to legislation in Washington. The only people who can do that are elected representatives and senators.

    ….or are you suggesting that she was the power behind Stevens, and the rest of the Alaska delegation to Washington.

    Give me a break.

  7. #7 |  SusanK | 

    “She’s been on the right side of this issue for all of about a year”

    Wouldn’t that be the bulk of her political career?

  8. #8 |  Big Boy | 

    Andrew Halcro is simply a sore loser.

  9. #9 |  David | 

    C’mon, Radley…..enlighten us all on how the mayor of a town of 9,000 was able to add earmarks to legislation in Washington. The only people who can do that are elected representatives and senators.

    ….or are you suggesting that she was the power behind Stevens, and the rest of the Alaska delegation to Washington.

    She hired a professional lobbyist. One of the same ones employed by Jack Abramoff, as coincidence has it.

  10. #10 |  Radley Balko | 

    C’mon, Radley…..enlighten us all on how the mayor of a town of 9,000 was able to add earmarks to legislation in Washington.

    How about by using city funds to hire a high-power lobbying firm with close ties to Young and Stevens (and Jack Abramoff–and that employed Stevens’ son for a time) for the sole purpose of procuring federal earmarks for Wasilla?

    Sound like the actions of a lifelong crusader against earmarks to you?

  11. #11 |  claude | 

    Looks like its even getting worse for the kid too. Drinking photos r out now.

  12. #12 |  bobzbob | 

    jwh- Palin had been picked by GoPac for bigger and better things. Part of that deal was to puff up her resume by delivering a pile of earmarks for her little town to make her look good. $27 million of taxpayer money later and viola out pops a freshly minted GOP compliant governor of alaska.

  13. #13 |  Les | 

    I’m starting to think there’s really no point in rebutting jwh. He posts his reflexive, GOP talking-points nonsense (like, for instance, that there were no innocent people at Gitmo), and when you point out that he’s factually incorrect and exactly why, he never comes back to admit that he was mistaken or even to stubbornly press his point. He just pops up in another thread and lobs another baseless, knee-jerk opinion. He’s like the wind. An annoying, silly wind.

  14. #14 |  Bill | 

    Yeah, it wasn’t anything to beat a sitting governor. Look how badly Stevens was beaten in the primary–oh yeah he won.

  15. #15 |  ktc2 | 

    She’s a token fundy loon. Proof? The fact that she states that the Iraq war was a task assigned by god:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080903/ap_on_el_pr/cvn_palin_iraq_war

    Also, anyone who wants to ban or burn because they find “offensive” is a fundy loon.

    In addition, she’s a female to help with those disgruntled Hillary supporters McSame hopes to win over. Of course, they’d have to be totally moronic and vote based solely on matching genitalia without examining any of their positions (which are very opposite).

  16. #16 |  ktc2 | 

    Ugh, meant to say ban or burn books. Typo. But hey where they start burning books soon they’ll burn people.

  17. #17 |  Kwix | 

    I am not fully informed of Palin’s reasons for her actions but I am pretty certain that the Ketchikan-Gravina bridge was not high on her list of “must haves”. However, the Anchorage-Knik bridge, which would have connected the largest city in Alaska with the largely unsettled area near her “hometown” probably was. Since they were being offered as a “package deal” by Stevens and Young, she played the politically smart move of supporting them both.

  18. #18 |  jmf | 

    well well well…what have we here?
    Another right wing religious freak on the Republican ticket?
    this is just what the McCain Campain needs in order to win.
    dont forget this is how Bush2 won!
    the more of a lunatic she is, the better off the candidate will be in order to secure the white house.

  19. #19 |  xyz123 | 

    further proof the pain pick was genius: as seen above, the lefties are absolutely **terrified** of her. when – before palin – when did a VP pick cause this kind of terror? passion? slobbering fulminations and snide attacks on the minor child from the pseudolibertarians?

    when obama grossly violated his stated hopeychangey principles by picking the arrogant, obnoxious, unapologetic mendacious plagiarist biden – a none-too-bright 35-year senator famous mostly for his hair plugs and lemminglike obedience to party dictats – everyone just kinda shrugged. balko made only one post. “i’m really disappointed, but – meh, BFD. who cares about a VP?”

    looks like folks care *now*, huh?

  20. #20 |  Below The Beltway » Blog Archive » Fact Checking Sarah Palin | 

    [...] Heck, she even proudly campaigned as an advocate of the project: [...]

  21. #21 |  Les | 

    xyz123,

    You really ought not to use quotation marks unless you’re quoting people or giving a reasonably realistic representation of someone’s positions.

  22. #22 |  xyz123 | 

    les,

    you *really ought to* eschew the notion that somehow you are the arbiter of posting wonderfulness. the quotations in question were what we non-anal non-types of you call “paraphrasing”. in this case, paraphrasing balko’s post in re the biden nomination. if you have a problem with that, TS.

    if you wish to reign over a peaceful and magical land in which all punctuation and grammatical guidelines are set by you; in which all commentary adheres to your laughably fussy little guidelines, i’d suggest you go write your own blog. otherwise, you *really ought to* save the cliff claven routine for someone who’s buying it.

  23. #23 |  David | 

    “further proof the pain pick was genius: as seen above, the lefties are absolutely **terrified** of her.”

    Terrified? No, I just find it completely hilarious. I honestly expected to react like you said – “Meh, it’s the vice president, who gives a crap” – but the stupid just keeps coming. Lightweight credentials, attempted book-banning, bumming around with modern-day secessionists, outright lying about her “anti-pork” credentials, the $20 million debt she left Wassila…the sheer volume of embarrassing details has me hooked.

  24. #24 |  Les | 

    xyz123,

    You are hardcore.

    “Paraphrasing,” huh? Interesting. Hey, let me try to “paraphrase” you!

    “You naive idiots don’t know the first thing about politics because I haven’t been here long enough to teach you! You’re so stupid, you make comments I would never make and you worry about stupid stuff. Stupids!”

    You know what? That IS cool! I feel…I don’t know…better than other people!

    Like I said, man: hardcore.

    Thanks for setting us straight.

  25. #25 |  scott | 

    I didn’t know what a troll was until I saw Les’s postings.

  26. #26 |  xyz123 | 

    so you’re saying, les, you’re saying that snippy, catty little posts in which you take other commenters to task (“that’s not writing, that’s just *typing*!”) for not living up to your eerily fussy – dare we say ‘capote-ish’? – rules of commentary DOESN’T make you feel “better than other people”?

    then why do you do it so often, girlfrien’? are you bored, laying there in wait under your bridge, hoping billy goat gruff will come along soon?

  27. #27 |  Noli Irritare Leones » Blog Archive » Monday morning election links | 

    [...] With “Reformers” Like This, Who Needs the Status Quo? [...]

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