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The Sarah Palin FAQ


By Derek Thompson

Posted Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008, at 5:39 PM ET

Read our complete coverage of the GOP Convention and Sarah Palin.


Sarah Palin

She flies while giving birth! She can field-dress a moose! She said “Thanks but no thanks” to the “Bridge to Nowhere”! Or did she? As she debuts on the national stage, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has inspired a heap of questions, but she remains a mystery to both the press and the public. To help speed along the getting-to-know-you process, Slate has compiled dozens of questions—and taken our best shot at the answers—about the woman who could be our vice president. Have a Palin question that we didn’t answer? Send an email to sarahpalinfaq@gmail.com with your question in the subject line. We will update the page as new questions (or new answers) come to light.


How long has Palin known John McCain?

They were first introduced in February at the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C. The first time they spoke about the possibility of her becoming the GOP vice presidential nominee was Aug. 24, five days before the official announcement.




Did Palin tell the McCain campaign that her daughter Bristol was pregnant before she was picked as the vice-presidential nominee?

Many news sources have speculated that the pregnancy announcement caught the campaign by surprise. McCain spokesman Steve Schmidt told reporters that they learned of the pregnancy during the vetting process.

Did she recite her speech at the Republican National Convention from memory after the teleprompter broke?

Despite Internet rumors that Palin delivered much of her speech in front of a faulty teleprompter, GOP officials have confirmed that the teleprompter worked flawlessly throughout Palin’s address.


Did she oppose the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere”?

When she was running for governor in 2006, Palin said she supported a $223 million federal earmark for the Gravina Island Bridge. Congress eventually killed the earmark after it became a symbol of pork-barrel spending, but Alaska was given the same amount of money to spend on other projects. Last year, Palin put a halt to state support of the project, saying, “We will continue to look for options for Ketchikan to allow better access to the island.” The reversal was hailed by budget hawks, but it irked local politicians like Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein, who said, “[S]he pandered to us by saying, ‘I’m for this.’ “

What is her relationship with indicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens?

They’ve worked together since at least 2003, when Palin was a director on Stevens’ independent fundraising group, Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service Inc. In her unsuccessful campaign for lieutenant governor in 2002, she received about $4,500 in campaign donations from an oil firm involved in the Stevens scandal. Palin also filmed a commercial with Stevens in 2006 to demonstrate the senator’s support of her gubernatorial campaign. New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks wrote that Palin has since made “mortal enemies” of Alaska’s senators, and Palin has kept her distance from Stevens since his indictment on felony charges of accepting illegal payments from an oil company.

What command experience does Palin have as head of the Alaska National Guard?

The Alaska governor has no command role with National Guard troops engaged in combat operations or with the 49th Missile Defense Battalion, which is stationed in Alaska. She does command the National Guard when it comes to natural disasters and homeland security. These issues are handled by a member of her cabinet, Maj. Gen. Craig, the adjutant general for Alaska, who also handles veterans’ affairs. Palin has called up the guard only once, in 2007, to fight wildfires. They were on standby for a 2007 whaling conference during which they expected protesters but were never summoned.

Cindy McCain and others have asserted that Alaska’s proximity to Russia has contributed to Palin’s foreign-policy knowledge. What dealings has she had with Russia?

The campaign has not come up with any. Palin has never been to Russia.

Did Palin fire a public official because he wouldn’t fire her brother-in-law?

Sarah Palin fired former Alaska Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, who said the governor pressured him to fire an Alaska state trooper who happened to be getting divorced from Palin’s sister. Palin has denied these allegations. Alaska’s state legislature voted in July to get an independent investigator to look into the firing.

Was she ever a member of the Alaskan Independence Party?

Officials from the AIP, the state’s third-largest political party, have claimed that Sarah Palin attended the 1994 party convention with her husband. Public records indicate, however, that Palin has been a lifelong Republican since she first registered to vote in Alaska. Her husband Todd Palin did register as a member of the AIP—which supports holding a vote on Alaskan secession from the United States—in 1995 before reregistering as “undeclared” in 2002. According to the New York Times, Gov. Palin recorded a video segment for the party’s convention this year, wishing the AIP “good luck on a successful and inspiring convention.”

Was there a recall attempt against Palin when she was mayor of Wasilla?

No. The city council considered it after she fired longtime police chief Irl Stambaugh, who brought a lawsuit alleging that Palin fired him because campaign contributors and the NRA were angered by his opposition to a concealed-gun law. A federal judge ruled that city law permitted the mayor to the fire Stambaugh for any reason.

Did she want to ban books from the public library as mayor of Wasilla?

Yes, at least according to John Stein, the town’s former mayor. Stein says Palin asked the Wasilla library “how she could go about banning books” with offensive language. It’s not clear whether any book was ever banned.


What was her position on the surge?

Somewhere between McCain’s and Obama’s: She conditioned her support on an exit strategy. In her words: “I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe.”



What’s Palin’s record on environmental issues?

The environmental Web site Grist.org has reported that she objected to listing polar bears or beluga whales as endangered in Alaska, fearing it might affect Alaskan drilling projects. She also voted against a proposition to limit mining where runoff would threaten salmon populations. She is outspoken about opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other offshore locations for oil drilling. The Sierra Club has condemned her advocacy for wolf hunting and her eagerness to drill throughout the state.

Does she oppose federal earmarks?

Alaska has long been the recipient of astounding amounts of federal funding. While Palin slashed pork requests in half during her tenure, the state still requested $550 million in Palin’s first year in office. This year she has requested about $198 million—$295 per person—which is still the highest amount per-capita in the country, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense. And when she was the mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired an Anchorage-based firm to secure $27 million in federal earmarks for the town.




Did she really stand up to big oil?

Palin’s strategy in Alaska has been to expand oil production and to use the royalties to pay dividends for the state’s citizens. Palin, whose husband worked for BP, endorsed Barack Obama’s call for a windfall tax for oil companies. (John McCain says he opposes such a measure.) Her relationship with American oil firms like Exxon is less than cuddly, however. After a long negotiation process in 2006, she brokered a deal to build a pipeline between Alaska and the lower 48 with TransCanada, a Canadian company.

What is her record on ethics reform?

As governor, Palin signed ethics legislation limiting lobbyists’ access to government officials and calling for more transparency in their dealings with Alaskan pols. As ethics commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, she accused a fellow Republican of illegally taking money from energy firms. (He later paid a large fine for his transgressions.) She has also reduced the perks of positions she’s held personally: She put the governor’s private jet up for sale on eBay and laid off her personal chef. As mayor of Wasilla, she cut her own salary.


Does she believe in evolution?

Palin said in a 2006 debate that she supports teaching creationism alongside evolution in public schools on the grounds that “healthy debate is so important.” She did not insist that creationism become a part of the curriculum. In the same debate, she said she believed in a creator and avoided an up-or-down stance on evolution.

What are Palin’s views on abortion?

Palin has said she is “as pro-life as any candidate can be” and called abortion “an atrocity.” She has supported mandatory parental consent, and while she is pro-contraception, has also indicated her preference for abstinence education over “explicit sex-ed programs.” She would permit abortion in cases where the mother’s life was endangered, but not in the case of rape or incest.

Does she believe in climate change?

Yes, but in an interview with Newsmax.com, she expressed doubts that human activity is to blame.

Is Palin’s church anti-Semitic?

Palin belongs to the Wasilla Bible Church, a conservative evangelical congregation. Politico’s Ben Smith recently uncovered a guest sermon from a Jews for Jesus representative who said attacks against Israel are proof that God judges those who deny Jesus as their savior. Smith also reported that Palin is friends with an Alaska rabbi who considers her “a friend of the Jews.”


Did Palin ask her daughter Bristol to get married before news broke that she was pregnant?

The National Enquirer seems to think so, but no other news organization has verified the claim. The McCain campaign has flatly denied the reports, and McCain spokesman Steve Schmidt has threatened legal action against the magazine.

Did Palin elope with her husband while pregnant with her first child?

It’s possible, but we don’t know for certain. Fox News’ Alan Colmes reported that Palin’s first-born son, Track, was born on April 20, 1989, almost eight months to the day after she eloped and married her husband, Todd, on August 29, 1988.

Did she fly all the way from Texas to Alaska this April after her water broke?

A Wall Street Journal profile reports that she first felt contractions before speaking at an energy summit in Dallas. Her doctor in Alaska told her to rest, but Palin carried on with the speech, rushed to the airport, got on a jet to Alaska, landed in Anchorage, then gave birth after driving 45 miles to a hospital in Palmer, Alaska.

Palin competed in beauty pageants in the early 1980s. What was her talent?

She played the flute.

What’s her workout secret?

Running. Palin claims she likes to jog between seven and 10 miles every day; since giving birth to her fifth child in April, she’s already worked her way up to three-mile runs. Her diet is “heavy in wild Alaskan seafood, moose, caribou and fresh fruit.”


October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Cindy McCain’s $300,000 Outfit


One of the persistent memes in the Republican line of attack against Barack Obama is the notion that he is an elitist, whereas the G.O.P. represent real working Americans like Levi “F-in’ Redneck” Johnston.

It caught our attention, then, when First Lady Laura Bush and would-be First Lady Cindy McCain took the stage Tuesday night wearing some rather fancy designer clothes. So we asked our fashion department to price out their outfits.

Laura Bush
Oscar de la Renta suit: $2,500
Stuart Weitzman heels: $325
Pearl stud earrings: $600–$1,500
Total: Between $3,425 and $4,325

Cindy McCain
Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500
Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000–$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600
Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100

Wow! No wonder McCain has so many houses: his wife has the price of a Scottsdale split-level hanging from her ears.

(All prices except Laura’s shoes and Cindy’s watch are estimates, and the jewelry prices are based on the assumption that the pieces are real.)

9/6/08 UPDATE: How Much Is Cindy McCain’s $300,000 Outfit Really Worth?


October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Democrats Post Big Gains In Voter Registration

CLAIRTON, Pa. — Five days a week, Linda Graham trolls tattered neighborhoods of this once thriving steel city outside Pittsburgh for unregistered voters she can sign up as Democrats _ one of thousands of unknown volunteers whose work outside the limelight has already altered the basic arithmetic of the November election.

The epic nomination battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton helped put millions more Democrats on the voter rolls while Republican registration declined. Now Graham, 45, has taken three months of unpaid leave from her job at Pittsburgh’s Central Blood Bank in the hope of adding to those gains before the presidential vote.

She’s encouraged by the response here. “They’re all feeling the crunch” of lost jobs and a sagging economy, Graham said. “But people are feeling empowered. They’re feeling like, you know what, I hold a little bit of power in this.”

Read the whole story. 

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | Leave a comment

Rendell: If I Was Palin You’d Be Calling For My Impeachment

Gov. Ed Rendell decried a double standard in the treatment of Sarah Palin on Monday, saying that if it was he who was at the center of the “troopergate” investigation, the press would be calling for his head.

“She [claims to be] a reformer,” said the Pennsylvania Democrat. “And yet she is being investigated on the charge that she used her power as governor to fire someone who was going through a messy divorce with a relative of hers. Could you imagine if I was doing the same thing in Pennsylvania? You would be calling for my impeachment.”

The remarks came at the end of a long list of criticisms that Rendell, one of the foremost supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, launched against the Republican vice presidential nominee. Ignoring the directive of the Obama campaign to focus attentions on McCain, Rendell called out Palin on everything from ethics to earmarks.

Read the whole story here. 

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Commentary: Is McCain out of his mind?

(CNN) — John McCain needs what Kinky Friedman calls “a checkup from the neck up.”

In choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, he is not thinking “outside the box,” as some have said. More like out of his mind.

Palin a first-term governor of a state with more reindeer than people, will have to put on a few pounds just to be a lightweight. Her personal story is impressive: former fisherman, mother of five. But that hardly qualifies her to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

For a man who is 72 years old and has had four bouts with cancer to have chosen someone so completely unqualified to become president is shockingly irresponsible. Suddenly, McCain’s age and health become central issues in the campaign, as does his judgment.

In choosing this featherweight, McCain passed over Tom Ridge, a decorated combat hero, a Cabinet secretary and the former two-term governor of the large, complex state of Pennsylvania. iReport.com: ‘McCain pick might be a gimmick’

Read the whole story here. 

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Palin’s Church May Have Shaped Controversial Worldview


Three months before she was thrust into the national political spotlight, Gov. Sarah Palin was asked to handle a much smaller task: addressing the graduating class of commission students at her one-time church, Wasilla Assembly of God.

Her speech in June provides as much insight into her policy leanings as anything uncovered since she was asked to be John McCain’s running mate.

Speaking before the Pentecostal church, Palin painted the current war in Iraq as a messianic affair in which the United States could act out the will of the Lord.

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God,” she exhorted the congregants. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

Read the whole story here.

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

We need Obama, not 4 more years of George Bush

AMERICA is on the brink of a long, harsh and bitterly cold winter, with a looming recession that the GOP won’t even admit to.The policies of the current White House have brutalized our economy, yet the wealthiest think that everything is fine.

Rich Republicans just don’t understand that millions are suffering. But many of their working class do, and they’re beginning to abandon their own party.

When lifelong Republican Barney Smith told the Democratic convention that he’d vote for Barack Obama for president, he gave pause to even the most conservative members of his party.

Smith, like many disgruntled working-class Republicans, is ready to turn his back on his party because he’s having such a hard time providing for his family. Like others, Smith fell victim to the loss of 3.2 million American jobs as factories closed or their work was outsourced to cheap labor markets overseas.

Poet Langston Hughes once wrote, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly, Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams go, life is a barren field, frozen with snow.”

Read the whole story here. 

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Palin Slashed Funding for Teen Moms

ST. PAUL — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee who revealed Monday that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, earlier this year used her line-item veto to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.

After the legislature passed a spending bill in April, Palin went through the measure reducing and eliminating funds for programs she opposed. Inking her initials on the legislation — “SP” — Palin reduced funding for Covenant House Alaska by more than 20 percent, cutting funds from $5 million to $3.9 million. Covenant House is a mix of programs and shelters for troubled youths, including Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers.

Read whole story here.

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

CNN debunks false report about Obama

JAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) — Allegations that Sen. Barack Obama was educated in a radical Muslim school known as a “madrassa” are not accurate, according to CNN reporting.

Insight Magazine, which is owned by the same company as The Washington Times, reported on its Web site last week that associates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, had unearthed information the Illinois Democrat and likely presidential candidate attended a Muslim religious school known for teaching the most fundamentalist form of Islam.

Obama lived in Indonesia as a child, from 1967 to 1971, with his mother and stepfather and has acknowledged attending a Muslim school, but an aide said it was not a madrassa. (Watch video of Obama’s school Video)

Insight attributed the information in its article to an unnamed source, who said it was discovered by “researchers connected to Senator Clinton.” A spokesman for Clinton, who is also weighing a White House bid, denied that the campaign was the source of the Obama claim.

Read whole story here.

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Palin’s speech to nowhere


Sarah Palin delivered a great speech tonight — for her party, for John McCain, for herself, for what she set out to accomplish. This was America’s  first real glimpse at the Alaska governor, and what we saw was a boffo politician who speaks in a plaintive prairie voice that channels America’s Heartland like a chilling breeze rippling a field of wheat, who knows how to tell a joke, how to bring down the house and bring a tear to a few eyes. She is proud of her family, as she should be, and there is much to admire in her own “personal journey of discovery” (don’t we all have these, by the way?) including her efforts to raise her son Trig. It is indeed nice to think that there would be an advocate for such children inside the corridors of the White House, although I’d surely like to hear what — if anything — she’s done for special needs kids as governor of Alaska.

But…it was a great speech — written for someone else, a male in fact, days before the Palin selection was even a gleam in John McCain’s eye, but a great speech nonetheless. The pundits are fawning over it as I write this — Tom Brokaw said she could not have been “more winning and more engaging” — and in a world that is dominated by horse race journalism I can understand why, because I agree that Palin’s one-of-a-kind story has given her long shot running mate a decent chance now of pulling this one out at the finish line.

It’s a good metaphor, a horse race, because in the end it finishes right near where it started — just as it will be for America if John McCain and Sarah Palin are sworn in on Jan. 20, 2009. Yes, it was a great speech politically, and a great night for her family, but an empty speech for America — and for America’s families. It was defined by its lowest moment, Palin’s shameless lie about “the Bridge to Nowhere.”

This was a Speech to Nowhere.

It was a Speech to Nowhere when Palin said that “I told the Congress ‘Thanks but no thanks’ on that Bridge to Nowhere, because that was a lie, and the worst kind of lie in American politics, a blatant falsehood that showed utter contempt for the American people that Palin pledged to serve, assuming we are too stupid to look up or know that truth, that she pushed for those funds in Congress and while she got great political mileage out of announcing that she was killing the project, she still has not returned the funds to American people.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin also boasted seconds before that other lie of fighting against wasteful earmarks in Congress, even though she pushed for and accepted $27 million of such grants when she was mayor of Wasilla.  

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin said that “we’ve got lots” of oil and gas this country, and while one supposes that all depends upon what you definition of the words “lots” is, the production of oil in the United States has been irrevocably on the decline since 1970, and with her words she showed this nation that she and John McCain will perpetrate the dangerous myths that began with Ronald Reagan at his acceptance speech in 1980, that sunny optimism is the solution to all our energy woes, and not a posture that put energy research on a war footing, or requires moral leadership on conservation, mass transit, or any other common sense answers whatsoever.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin boasted that “I stood up to the special interests, and the lobbyists, and the Big Oil companies,” and the audience cheered — after eight brutal years of the same crowd’s cheering for two oilmen in the White House who fiddled while $4-a-gallon gas burned and while American men and women died in a needless war fought on top of an oilfield, and while lobbyist friends like Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed got rich at the same time.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin had the nerve to talk at length about John McCain’s “torturous interrogations” in the very same speech when she all but condoned the continuation of similar, abhorrent practices that have been directed for eight years by our own U.S. leaders, when she stated that Democrats are “worried that someone won’t read them [terrorism suspects] their rights.”

It was a Speech to Nowhere because Palin belittled “community organizers” — thousands of Americans who work long hours for little pay in some of the toughest neighborhoods, trying to assist the American Dream that even the poorest among us can pull themselves out of the muck with a helping hand. Palin and other GOP speakers have turned a noble job into a dirty word tonight — shame on you! Listen to what CNN’s Roland Martin said after Palin’s speech was over. 

My two parents are sitting home in Houston, Texas and they are both community organizers and the GOP and Sarah Palin might have well have said “being community organizers doesn’t matter” to my parents face.  I’m disgusted. Community organizers keep people in their homes, keep their lights on, keep food in the fridge.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because it made no mention of the men that Sarah Palin and John McCain are running to replace — their names are Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, in case you’ve forgotten this week — and no acknowledgment that as many 80 percent of Americans believe this country is on the wrong track, or that you can’t solve a nation’s problems when you deny they exist.

It was a Speech to Nowhere because…well, I urge everyone to read the text, without Palin’s sharp delivery or her adoring fans in the crowd and in the press box, and tell me where there is any kind of policy at all — except for the short boilerplate passage on energy — or any mention of the issues that concern everyday Americans, including the No. 1 issue of the economy. Show me the part where this “grand slam” of speech touches on how citizens can afford health care or sending their kids to college.

But more than anything else, it was a Speech to Nowhere because for all the acclaim, the great bulk of it was devoted to one thing, and that is the one thing that millions of Americans are talking about in 2008 when we talk about “change” — to the ugliest kind of “pit bull” politics, to use Palin’s words, that tear down the other side with cheap ad hominem attacks, surrounded by a cloud of half-truths (uh, those “Greek columns”…did you actually even watch Obama’s speech? Because there weren’t any) and ridiculous innuendo about “parting the waters” which means nothing but fires up a big hockey rink full of Dittoheads. These kind of vicious attacks — without having the grace to acknowledge that, despite some real differences on issues with Obama, that he has already accomplished something impressive that says something positive about America and the progress we’ve made — were utterly lacking in class. And this is what Tom Brokaw considers “winning” — have we really sunk that low as a nation?. The people of America want and deserve a real debate, now trash talk from the basketball point guard who was once called “Sarah Barracuda.”

I hope America wakes up tomorrow and realizes that Sarah Palin’s words were rousing — and completely empty, that they offered no road map (let alone bridge) for America other than more of the bogus partisan name-calling that has gotten us into the mess that we’re in now.

Actually, let me rephrase that.

I hope America wakes up tomorrow.

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

AP: Attacks, Praise Stretch Truth At GOP Convention

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

Some examples:

PALIN: “I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending … and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress ‘thanks but no thanks’ for that Bridge to Nowhere.”

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a “bridge to nowhere.”

PALIN: “There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform _ not even in the state senate.”

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

Read the whole story here.

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , | Leave a comment

The Republicans Tonight

SEPTEMBER 3, 2008 

As I predicted earlier today, Sarah Palin did just fine. In fact, she delivered a brilliant speech. It was a classic Republican speech–written by Matthew Scully of the Bush speechwriting shop–chock full of conservative populism, a cultural “torpedo” as Chris Mathews is saying as I write this, aimed directly at Barack and Michelle Obama. She was far more effective, using fewer words than the over-the-top Rudy Giuliani, in tearing down the Obama candidacy. There was not much substance–issues don’t matter, remember?–and her description of Obama’s policies, particularly his tax policies, was quite inaccurate.

But that hardly matters. Palin established herself as a major-league performer, a very effective messenger for the perennial Republican themes of low taxes and strong defense. And a new theme–government reform–that changes the terrain of the election and will have to be forcefully countered by the Democrats. Obama will have to be every bit as sharp–and down to earth–as he was in his speech last week as this goes forward.

Last week, when Bill Clinton began to speak, I thought: this turns this lugubrious convention around. I thought the same as Palin spoke tonight. John McCain, not nearly the speaker that Palin seems to be, has a tough act to follow tomorrow night.


October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What is McCain Thinking? One Alaskan’s Perspective.

“Is this a joke?”  That seemed to be the question du jour when my phone started ringing off the hook at 6:45am here in Alaska.  I mean, we’re sort of excited that our humble state has gotten some kind of national ‘nod’….but seriously?  Sarah Palin for Vice President?  Yes, she’s a popular governor.  Her all time high approval rating hovered around 90% at one point.  But bear in mind that the 90% approval rating came from one of the most conservative, and reddest-of-the-red states out there.  And that approval rating came before a series of events that have lead many Alaskans to question the governor’s once pristine image.


October 17, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment