Sunday, September 14, 2008

Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes

As I noted earlier this morning the press really are starting to turn on Palin and McCain, partly because the lies they are telling are simply too obvious for them to ignore it any longer.

And it appears they have started to do their job not a moment too soon. We all remember Bush's insane decision to place his friend, the former Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association, Michael Brown, in charge of Fema and how well that all worked out as New Orleans drowned and Brown did nothing.

Well, it would appear that Sarah Palin had a similar habit of hiring old chums when she ran things in Alaska.

Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.
So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.
Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages.
The similarities between Palin's style of governing and Bush's simply multiply:

Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records.

Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought the e-mail messages of state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears. (Ms. Palin said the scientists had found no ill effects, and she has sued the federal government to block the listing of the bears as endangered.) An administration official told Mr. Steiner that his request would cost $468,784 to process.

When Mr. Steiner finally obtained the e-mail messages — through a federal records request — he discovered that state scientists had in fact agreed that the bears were in danger, records show.

“Their secrecy is off the charts,” Mr. Steiner said.

So the constant lying that she has employed since McCain named her as his VP choice isn't exactly a new thing for Palin, it's apparently simply what she does.

And anyone who thinks that Trippergate is the only time she has used her public office to pursue personal vendettas has underestimated her hugely:
Last summer State Representative John Harris, the Republican speaker of the House, picked up his phone and heard Mr. Palin’s voice. The governor’s husband sounded edgy. He said he was unhappy that Mr. Harris had hired John Bitney as his chief of staff, the speaker recalled. Mr. Bitney was a high school classmate of the Palins and had worked for Ms. Palin. But she fired Mr. Bitney after learning that he had fallen in love with another longtime friend.
“I understood from the call that Todd wasn’t happy with me hiring John and he’d like to see him not there,” Mr. Harris said.
“The Palin family gets upset at personal issues,” he added. “And at our level, they want to strike back.”
And she is nothing if not ambitious:

Laura Chase, the campaign manager during Ms. Palin’s first run for mayor in 1996, recalled the night the two women chatted about her ambitions.

“I said, ‘You know, Sarah, within 10 years you could be governor,’ ” Ms. Chase recalled. “She replied, ‘I want to be president.’ ”

And, although Palin aides claim that she merely enquired of the librarian as to her right to censor books, the subject of books in the local library was much more contentious than Palin has so far admitted.
The new mayor also tended carefully to her evangelical base. She appointed a pastor to the town planning board. And she began to eye the library. For years, social conservatives had pressed the library director to remove books they considered immoral.
“People would bring books back censored,” recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. “Pages would get marked up or torn out.”
Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.
But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.
“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”
“I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.”
There's much more in the article which you can read by clicking the title.

But The New York Times have done a great job by helping to fill in the gaps as to who Sarah Palin really is. She comes across as small minded, petty and vindictive. And in a similar fashion to the McCain's campaign recent - and vaguely racist - ad, "disrespectful", she not adverse to playing the victim card when someone has her back against the wall.

For example, Palin made her name when she discovered that Randy Ruedrich, a commission member, was conducting party business on state time. When he failed to act on her complaints she quit and went public.

However, she quickly played victim when she was caught out doing the same thing:

In the middle of the primary, a conservative columnist in the state, Paul Jenkins, unearthed e-mail messages showing that Ms. Palin had conducted campaign business from the mayor’s office. Ms. Palin handled the crisis with a street fighter’s guile.

“I told her it looks like she did the same thing that Randy Ruedrich did,” Mr. Jenkins recalled. “And she said, ‘Yeah, what I did was wrong.’ ”

Mr. Jenkins hung up and decided to forgo writing about it. His phone rang soon after.

Mr. Jenkins said a reporter from Fairbanks, reading from a Palin news release, demanded to know why he was “smearing” her. “Now I look at her and think: ‘Man, you’re slick,’ ” he said.

I distrusted her because she simply doesn't know enough about foreign affairs to be the Vice President, but when reporters do their jobs and tell us stuff like this, you realise that there are many, many more reasons why Sarah Palin is simply wrong for the White House.

Click title for full article.

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