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September 03, 2008

Palinmania Breaking Out in Unexpected Places

Christopher Orr shouldn't be at TNR, and I mean that as a compliment. He's one of the few movie reviewers who seems to know his ass from his elbow.

He has a post up called "The Case Against the Case Against Palin." (No, not a typo, read it carefully.)

I'm not done reading this yet because I want to get it up quick but let me just be a hypocrite and say read the whole thing, even though I haven't, yet.

This is actually his friend's testimony-- "one of the smartest" people Orr knows. Orr himself takes Palin lightly, he admits. His friend counsels against that.

At the end of 2005, a close friend called to say that he begun writing speeches and talking points for a certain gubernatorial candidate.

"Remind me," I asked. "Who is Sarah Palin?"

I was dismayed at my friend’s choice of political entree. Why was he wasting his time on a relative nobody, trying to beat an incumbent governor (and former three term senator) in the Republican primary? It was utter folly. "Wait until the big money starts coming in for Murkowski," I said. "Wait until the party machinery goes to work on Palin. They will eat her for lunch."

Murkowski, for his part, expressed a similar view. "If I decide to," he said, "I will run and I will win. It's that simple."

The folly, of course, turned out to be my own (and Murkowski's), as Palin slaughtered the incumbent in the primary--posting a 30 point margin of victory--and went on to win the general (over a former Democratic governor) without seeming to break a sweat. She then quickly fulfilled an implicit campaign promise by slapping down ExxonMobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips in negotiations over a proposed Alaska natural gas pipeline, even though they, too, by all accounts, were well prepared to dine on her tender little frame. Not bad for a lightweight.

Listening to the Democratic leadership respond to John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, one hears echoes of the Alaska Republican leadership from just a few years ago. Barack Obama’s spokesman, Bill Burton, put it this way: "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency." Former mayor? If you're going to skip over her job as governor and, before that, her job heading the commission that oversees production of the largest petroleum reserves in America, why not "former high school student"? Bah, what does it matter: She's just a small town mayor, just a hockey mom, just a beauty pageant queen. Palin has never shunned these belittling monikers, in part, I imagine, because the camouflage has served her so well. Soothed by the litany, her opponents tend to sleep too late, sneer too much, and forget who it is that hires them.

Watching Palin operate over the past few years has been like witnessing a dramatic reading of All the King’s Men. In 2002, Murkowski had interviewed but passed over Palin in selecting a replacement for the senate seat he vacated to become governor. In a grand act of nepotism, he chose his own daughter instead. Palin was tossed a bone: She chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which oversees the production of petroleum in Alaska. When she reported conflicts of interest and other ethical violations by another commissioner, she was ignored by Murkowski’s chief of staff and ultimately resigned in frustration. One can imagine how the quick double dose of corruption--insiders having their way with the polity and its resources--sickened the young Palin. It also fired a savage competitiveness that is not, perhaps, apparent at first glance.

And the Good Time Charlies at Reason seem to reach out for someone to slam Palin, and fail rather spectacularly.

This guy is a Democrat... but loves her.

Let me tell you all the nice things about Sarah Palin: Sarah Palin has been a pretty freaking awesome governor. She came in saying that the entire system was corrupt, and that Republicans were evil, and she was going to just mix everything up and get us a gas pipeline and end of story. And she got to power, she was elected overwhelmingly by independents, beat Tony Knowles, who had been governor before.

The Republicans hate her. If you go and talk to the Alaska delegation here, they despise her.

Q: Really?

A: Hate her. Oh my god! This whole thing about her retarded son really being her daughter's was started by Lyda Green, who is president of the senate, a Republican. [...]

She gave a two-finger salute to Conoco Phllips and Exxon Mobile, raised their taxes on their oil, put in place a transparent way to bid for the seed money and the licenses to finally, finally, put in a natural gas pipeline in Alaska. And it was won by a Canadian company. And she went to the mat and made it happen. She has been systematically pulling the drilling licenses of Conoco Phillips and Exxon Mobile for areas that they haven't touched. I mean, they've been hoarding reserves, and she says, you know, use it or lose it, and she has been sending the attorney general time after time to revoke these things. It's absolutely fascinating.

Now, this guy seems to think there's going to be some huge scandal that will take her off the ticket. I rather doubt that. Palin is the ticket at this point.

But note his joy over her leaving the ticket. It's not for the reason you might guess:

[M]y personal prediction is that I give her two weeks... And look -- I love her so much that I'm really looking forward to having her back in 63 days. [...]

She is what McCain would like to be: She really is a maverick. In two years she stuck it to the two largest oil corporations in the United States of America. That's pretty fucking impressive, you know, that she has antagonized her party to the point that they despise her. And her ratings are still in the 80s.

She's against the Real ID act, which is something I simply do not get but I understand, of course, it's part of mainstream (or mainstreamish) Republican/libertarian/paranoid-survivalist-off-the-grid-Mad-Max thinking.

I don't know much about the socking it to the oil companies, except that their demand to build their own pipeline which they'd control was pure ass, and she said "Fuck you next question" and negotiated a proper deal to build a shorter pipe just to connect to Canada's already-existing network. Whether it was right to slap a windfall profits tax on them I don't know (she may have figured, as Alaska is leasing them their land, the state had a right to capture some of those unanticipated windfall profits), but I do know that's going to play well with the public.

I retract... My previous suggestion that she should only briefly tout her accomplishments. As her experience is being challenged, and she seems to have picked a lot of big fights with big players and won walking away, she should talk about that a lot

Hey, Barry: How many state political parties and gigantic oil companies have you challenged and whooped up on? How many international multibillion dollar pipeline deals have you negotiated?

Jesus, Barry: You can't even stand up to your own fucking pastor.

The Eagleton Scenario: Um, the trouble with that theory is that Eagleton was a sissy.

Not a Windfall Profits Tax at All: I'll leave it to Beldar to explain it properly, but apparently this isn't a tax per se but actually simply a charge for the state's oil and gas, which they sell to the oil companies. It's a "fee," really, paid for the gas and oil, but it's called a "tax."

The state gets paid for its property via "a tax," called a "severance tax" or "production tax," but it seems really to simply be an agreement as to what fee the state will charge for its oil and gas.

The scenario seems to be that the oil companies negotiated an overly-advantageous "tax" for themselves with the corrupt ruling class of Alaska (not a hard thing to manage, I'm guessing). Palin stepped in and said that previous deal wasn't fair to Alaskans, and negotiated a more favorable deal.


That little old gas pipeline that Sarahcuda finally got done is the largest infrastructure project in the nation's history, and it is going to create a ton of jobs. So she has actually created jobs, unlike Barry "Oh"bama or Joe Hairplugs. I bet she mentions this tomorrow. This job of hers is a big fucking deal, and there aren't a handful of politicians in the country that could hve done what she has done.

Maybe, maybe not. But I know two politicians who coudn't, one named "Barack" and one named "Joe."

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posted by Ace at 12:13 AM

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