Monday, September 8, 2008

Don't Stop Believin': McCain & Palin's Journey of Personal Discovery - Part 2

In the last post I chronicled John McCain's journey of personal discovery from moderate Republican to right-wing panderer. Now let's look at Sarah Palin. Of course, her journey is much shorter. A complete unknown on the national scene and Governor for less than two years, she probably has a lot of discovering to do -- like where she stands on major issues.

Since we don't know much about her positions, let's take a look at her early days in politics. Sarah's journey began in the tiny hamlet of Wasilla where, according to the
Wall Street Journal, the biggest project she undertook was to build a $15 million indoor sports complex funded by (GASP) a SALES TAX INCREASE and $14.7 million bond. In her haste to provide Wasilla with a spiffy new sports center, Palin neglected to make sure the city had unchallenged title to the land before building roads and utilities for the project. Oops!

According to the Wall Street Journal:

"The misstep led to years of litigation and at least $1.3 million in extra costs for a small municipality with a small budget. What was to be Ms. Palin's legacy has turned into a financial mess that continues to plague Wasilla."

Along with the debt from the botched sports complex project, when Palin left office in 2002, Wasilla had “racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt,” or roughly $3,000 of debt per resident.

Palin dedicated part of her acceptance speech to stoking fears that Obama will grow the size of government. Turns out she knows something about that topic, having grown the budget of Wasilla (population 5,469 in 2000) by nearly $2 million. According to the Anchorage Daily News, “apart from capital projects and debt, (the budget) rose from $3.9 million in fiscal 1996
to $5.8 million.”

Something Palin better discover pretty soon is her true position on energy alternatives. During her acceptance speech she (falsely) accused Obama of not supporting energy independence (despite his pledge to make the U.S. energy independent in 10 years). She also boldly proclaimed:

"Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines ... build more new-clear plants ... create jobs with clean coal ... and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources."

Glad she's flipped her position on energy alternatives because as governor, Palin vetoed wind power and clean coal projects, including a 50-megawatt wind farm on Fire Island and a clean coal facility in Healy, Alaska.

Now let's turn to the (never-ending) war in Iraq since McCain has staked his entire political career on it. For Palin, a bit more discovery on the topic is needed. Here's what she said about the war:

“I’ve been so focused on state government, 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.” [Alaska Business Monthly, 3/1/07]

Since McCain says the U.S. might be in Iraq for 100 years, Palin will have to wait a long time for that exit plan if he is elected.

And unlike McCain, who insists the war was necessary to protect the U.S. from imaginary weapons of mass destruction and to fight the terrorists abroad instead of at home, Palin believes the Iraq war was fought over oil. She said:

"We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources,” [BusinessWeek, 8/29/08]

Surge or no surge, she thinks stepping up energy production (in ANWR perhaps?) will help end the war. Here's what she said:

"We don't know what the plan is to ever end the war. Ramping up domestic supplies of energy is the only way to become energy independent, the only way that we are going to become a more secure nation. And I say this, of course, knowing the situation we are in right now--at war, not knowing what the plan is to ever end the war we are engaged in, understanding that Americans are seeking solutions and are seeking resolution in this war effort. So energy supplies and being able to produce and supply domestically is going to be a big part of that." Source: Q&A with Time Magazine's Jay Newton Small Aug 14, 2008

Although Palin thinks the Iraq war was fought over oil, she also believes God has a hand in it. Speaking at the Wasilla Assembly of God church in June, Palin said that “our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.”

That may explain why she also thinks God has a direct hand in Alaska's energy issues, calling her plan for a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in Alaska, "
God's will".

So to summarize, it seems Palin's journey of personal discovery on route to being the VP nominee is clouded with discrepancies about what she wants us to believe about her versus what she has actually done. There also seems to be an undercurrent of spiritual journey that is unsettling for anyone who believes in the First Amendent - Separation of Church and State.


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