Saturday, November 20, 2010

Reviewing Mrs. Palin's Qualifications for Office

It may indeed be nobler to stop exposing Mrs. (quitter) Todd Palin for the fraud she is, and stop exposing her cult-like followers for the fools they seem to be, and this thought nags at me frequently. But the laws of physics, insofar as they apply to the media-physical world, require that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Would that Mrs. Palin herself, for a time at least, cease and desist. Yet she persists, be it via Twitter, Facebook, Fox, or whatever other unassailable outlet behind which she can hide (think TLC or Harper Collins).

There would then be no need to provide a counter to her inanity, or the slavish ramblings of her bots, either, and I could go on cleaning house and planning Thanksgiving dinner for my family with only thoughts in my head of turkey and whether I have enough matching silverware for the table.

I took a rare cruise over to the C4P site and discovered a post that attempts to answer the question, "Is Sarah Palin Qualified to Be President?" They declare,
The opinion leaders sincerely want to know whether Governor Sarah Palin is "qualified" to run for president. Why else would they keep asking the question, right? So ... let's examine a few of Palin's populist credentials that stack up surprisingly well against the more conventional resumes of five recent presidents. In the second part of this series, we'll explore five additional qualifications Palin brings beyond her elected offices, appointments and volunteer work -- the real-life experience that could be pivotal in a presidential run and successful presidency. Stay tuned.
(New York Magazine has a great story on this burning question, in which they detail the three ways that fellow Republicans evade the question.  Number 1 - Avoid answering it altogether. Number 2 - Compare her experience with President Obama's. Number 3 - Answer in only the technical sense: age 35, US citizen, sure.)

The C4P post lists the top five reasons she is qualified.  Here they are, in order:
  1. Ten Years in Municipal Government
  2. Ten Years volunteer work in the Parent-Teacher-Association
  3. Two years pro-life advocacy
  4. One year as an oil and gas commissioner
  5. Two and a half years governing the largest state in America
Don't all laugh at once, please. We should take a look at each of these in turn, and in so doing, revisit information we all know already but probably bears repeating.

Ten Years in Municipal Government

This refers to 4 years as a city council member and 6 years as a Mayor. Let's keep in mind that the population of Wasilla at the time was a little more than 5,000.

Time's headline read, Mayor Palin: A Rough Record.
Palin was a highly polarizing political figure who brought partisan politics and hot-button social issues like abortion and gun control into a mayoral race that had traditionally been contested like a friendly intramural contest among neighbors.
Palin limited her duties further by hiring a deputy administrator to handle much of the town's day-to-day management. Her top achievement as mayor was the construction of an ice rink, a project that landed in the courts and cost the city more than expected.
The Washington Post's headline was, As Mayor of Wasilla, Palin Cut Own Duties, Left Trail of Bad Blood.

Politico remarked,
Palin, who portrays herself as a fiscal conservative, racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla — that amounts to $3,000 per resident.
And the Washington Independent informed us about Mrs. Palin's delight at having scored Federal earmarks for the tiny town:
Wasilla City Council Informational Memorandum 99-62, prepared on June 14, 1999... outlines some of the state-funded projects that Wasilla City secured that year, including $1.2 million for storm water treatment and $605,000 for pedestrian pathways.

Then, slapped in the margin, former Mayor Sarah Palin — reformer extraordinaire — scribbled the following message: "FYI This does not include our nearly one million Dollars from the Feds for our Airport Paving Project."
In summary, Mrs. Palin made enemies, left the little city in significant debt, and actually enlisted a lobbyist to secure earmarks from the "Feds."  The picture we have is of a polarizing figure who was fiscally irresponsible, and who had to hire a city administrator to do her job, too!  Not exactly a glowing resume item.  But let's move on to the next.

Ten years volunteer work in the Parent-Teacher-Association

I am not sure where the C4P author comes up with this item or why it counts for anything, although he/she does reference the oft-proved-false "Going Rogue" as a part source. Mrs. Palin's PTA claims were checked out by Politifact at length.  They published this:
After tracking down paper records going back more than a decade, he said, they were able to confirm that Palin was a member of the Iditarod PTA for two years, during the time she served as the mayor of Wasilla.
How being a member of the PTA for any length of time is a qualification for US President still boggles my mind. Hundreds of thousands of women and men could put this on their resume, but they normally don't even if they were an officer or a pro at fundraising or event-organizing, none of which seems to be the case with Mrs. Palin.

Two years of pro-life advocacy

Yes, Mrs. Palin is unapologetically anti-choice, and bases her belief in Christian dogma - the supreme wisdom of her God who only bestows pregnancy on those who can handle it. Rape or incest? No worry. Women should not be allowed to make a choice in these situations because God knows best. Advocating a religious belief has never, in my life anyway, served to qualify someone for political office. What if a Muslim candidate listed, as a qualification, that they'd advocated for prayer rugs in the workplace for two years?  Would that boost their appeal? Or perhaps, a Mormon who advocated for polygamy? Or what about advocating for refusing blood transfusions, as Jehovah's Witnesses believe?

One year as an oil and gas commissioner

In truth, Mrs. Palin served for less than a year and quit this job in protest when the Alaska Department of Law ruled that she could not engage in any discussion about whether or not then (and now) AK Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich was under investigation for ethic violations. According to Alaska Daily News at the time, Mrs. Palin said,
the experience was taking the "oomph" out of her passion for government service and she decided to quit rather than becoming bitter.
Many have speculated that the job was too taxing because she didn't want to learn what was needed to do it, she didn't like commuting to the job, and that she used this incident as a way to bow out. Use the Google to verify.

Two and a half years governing the largest state in America

This item is so funny on its face.  First of all, Alaska may have the largest land mass of any state but it is 48th out of 50 states in population, with North Dakota and tiny Vermont filling in the last two slots, so touting Alaska as the "largest state in America" is a clear resume-padding statement. Alaska has a population roughly equivalent to Memphis or Boston. Its population suffers from a myriad of problems including domestic abuse, rape, alcoholism, and other substance abuse. Use the Google, there are too many reports to link.

The other aspect that is so funny is Mrs. Palin is only one of three governors in the history of the US who quit, mid-term.  The other two were Eliot Spitzer (sex scandal) and Jim McGreevy (came out of the closet). Her final words were a quote from General MacArthur,
"We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction."
I strongly recommend viewing (if you have not before and if you have the stomach for it) her speech on YouTube.  HuffingtonPost has the video and the transcription here.


If these are the top five reasons to support a Mrs. Palin run for the Presidency, all I can say is, "Good damn luck." Republicans (and major media outlets) are already back-pedaling on support and continue to do so. Democrats already know what a no-nothing piece of scolding fluff she is.  Independents are watching and waiting and probably laughing. Maybe the second part of C4P's Palin resume will have something worth bragging about.

I'm not holding my breath, and meantime I wish you all a fine Thanksgiving. May all beings be well and happy, friends.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Final Thoughts Election 2010

The Rally4Sanity was apolitical, darnit!  But also, BRAVA!!! I did not make it there, mostly because due to the fact that I honestly can't walk more than a few blocks without having one knee succumb to arthritis.  But by all that could be holy, what a fantastic gathering of you, me, and everyone who realistically is our neighbor!  I know what Keith Olbermann took issue with Jon's seemingly even-handed disparagement of cable reporting/opinion in general.  What dear Keith doesn't take into account is that he (and even my beloved Rachel Maddow) only exist thanks to the channel who deserves the "Extreme Distortion Award," Faux Nooz.

All I can think of tonight is how horrid it will be for my good friends in Nevada if Sharon Angle manages to pull off a win.  Some of them say that Harry Reid is corrupt.  You know, I think he had pressure, but not in the way some said.  For example, the previous administration grossly lied and acted on those lies, and has as of yet, to be called on those lies in a public forum.  I am only mad at Harry Reid for failing to instigate investigations and grand juries into the constitutional slaps-in-the-face that former (doofus) President Bush and his administration perpetrated.  The list is too long to note.

I've called or SMS'd all my relatives and friends about voting.  Even though I tried my best to stick a fork in their sides about voting, I still have my own doubts.  I KNOW that the 2000 election was subject to election fraud (NOT voter fraud, election fraud - those are different). So as I vote now, and prod my loved ones into the same, I have no particular confidence that the person(s) I vote for will actually have my action recorded for them.  That's abysmal. But it is what it is.  If you don't believe me, just try -- just try asking your local poll worker what exactly happens with your choices!  And then try to see if they can provide you with an uninterrupted chain of command for your vote. Anything you can verify.

Meantime, happy November 2, all.