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View Full Version : Int'l Issues Brit Media on Palin. To bad US doesn't have media like this


HonestChieffan
09-09-2008, 10:45 PM
Sarah Palin is not such a small-town girl after all
By James Bennett
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 09/09/2008

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/09/09/do0904.xml


It is clear that few in America, let alone Britain, have any idea what to make of Sarah Palin. The Republicans' vice-presidential candidate confounds the commentators because they don't understand the forces that shaped her in the remote state of Alaska.


John McCain and Sarah Palin
Thus, most coverage dwells on exotica - the moose shooting, her Eskimo husband - combined with befuddlement at how a woman can go from being mayor of a town of 9,000, to governor, to prospective VP within the space of a few years.

But, having worked with Alaskans, I know something of the challenge she has faced, and why - contrary to what Democrats think - it could make her a powerful figure in the White House.

The first myth to slay is that she is a political neophyte who has come from nowhere. In fact, she and her husband have, for decades, run a company in the highly politicised commercial fishing industry, where holding on to a licence requires considerable nous and networking skills.

Her rise from parent-teacher association to city council gave her a natural political base in her home town of Wasilla. Going on to become mayor was a natural progression. Wasilla's population of 9,000 would be a small town in Britain, and even in most American states.

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But Wasilla is the fifth-largest city in Alaska, which meant that Palin was an important player in state politics.

Her husband's status in the Yup'ik Eskimo tribe, of which he is a full, or "enrolled" member, connected her to another influential faction: the large and wealthy (because of their right to oil revenues) native tribes.

All of this gave her a base from which to launch her 2002 campaign for lieutenant (deputy) governor of Alaska.

She lost that, but collected a powerful enough following to be placated with a seat on, and subsequently the chairmanship of, the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which launched her into the politics of Alaska's energy industry.

Palin quickly realised that Alaska had the potential to become a much bigger player in global energy politics, a conviction that grew as the price of oil rose. Alaska had been in hock to oil companies since major production began in the mid-1970s.

As with most poor, distant places that suddenly receive great natural-resource wealth, the first generation of politicians were mesmerised by the magnificence of the crumbs falling from the table. Palin was the first of the next generation to realise that Alaska should have a place at that table.

Her first target was an absurd bureaucratic tangle that for 30 years had kept the state from exporting its gas to the other 48 states. She set an agenda that centred on three mutually supportive objectives: cleaning up state politics, building a new gas pipeline, and increasing the state's share of energy revenues.

This agenda, pursued throughout Palin's commission tenure, culminated in her run for governor in 2006. By this time, she had already begun rooting out corruption and making enemies, but also establishing her bona fides as a reformer.

With this base, she surprised many by steamrollering first the Republican incumbent governor, and second, the Democratic former governor, in the election.

Far from being a reprise of Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Palin was a clear-eyed politician who, from the day she took office, knew exactly what she had to do and whose toes she would step on to do it.

The surprise is not that she has been in office for such a short time but that she has succeeded in each of her objectives. She has exposed corruption; given the state a bigger share in Alaska's energy wealth; and negotiated a deal involving big corporate players, the US and Canadian governments, Canadian provincial governments, and native tribes - the result of which was a 13 billion deal to launch the pipeline and increase the amount of domestic energy available to consumers. This deal makes the charge of having "no international experience" particularly absurd.

In short, far from being a small-town mayor concerned with little more than traffic signs, she has been a major player in state politics for a decade, one who formulated an ambitious agenda and deftly implemented it against great odds.

Her sudden elevation to the vice-presidential slot on the Republican ticket shocked no one more than her enemies in Alaska, who have broken out into a cold sweat at the thought of Palin in Washington, guiding the Justice Department's anti-corruption teams through the labyrinths of Alaska's old-boy network.

It is no surprise that many of the charges laid against her have come from Alaska, as her enemies become more and more desperate to bring her down. John McCain was familiar with this track record and it is no doubt the principal reason that he chose her.

Focusing on the exotic trappings of Alaskan culture may make Palin seem a quaint and inexplicable choice. But understanding the real background of her steady rise in politics suggests that Barack Obama and Joe Biden are underestimating her badly. In this, they join two former Alaskan governors, a large number of cronies, and a trail of enemies extending back over a decade.

James Bennett is the author of 'The Anglosphere Challenge'

SNR
09-09-2008, 11:41 PM
You mean THIS (http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?source=most_commented&story_id=12066224) Brit media?

The woman from nowhere

Sep 4th 2008
From The Economist print edition
John McCain’s choice of running-mate raises serious questions about his judgment

THE most audacious move of the race so far is also, potentially, the most self-destructive. John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running-mate has set the political atmosphere alight with both enthusiasm and dismay.

Mr McCain has based his campaign on the idea that this is a dangerous world—and that Barack Obama is too inexperienced to deal with it. He has also acknowledged that his advanced age—he celebrated his 72nd birthday on August 29th—makes his choice of vice-president unusually important. Now he has chosen as his running mate, on the basis of the most cursory vetting, a first-term governor of Alaska.

The reaction from inside the conservative cocoon was at first ecstatic. Conservatives argued that Mrs Palin embodies the “real America”—a moose-hunting hockey mum, married to an oil-worker, who has risen from the local parent-teacher association to governing the geographically largest state in the Union. They praise her as a McCain-style reformer who has taken on her state’s Republican establishment and has a staunch pro-life record (her fifth child has Down’s syndrome). Who better to harpoon the baby-murdering elitists who run the Democratic Party?


Mrs Palin was greeted like the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan by the delegates, furious at her mauling at the hands of the “liberal media”. And she delivered a tub-thumping speech, underlining her record as a reforming governor and advocate of more oil-drilling, and warning her enemies not to underestimate her (“the difference between a hockey mum and a pitbull—lipstick”). But once the cheering and the chanting had died down, serious questions remained.

The political calculations behind Mr McCain’s choice hardly look robust. Mrs Palin is not quite the pork-busting reformer that her supporters claim. She may have become famous as the governor who finally killed the infamous “bridge to nowhere”—the $220m bridge to the sparsely inhabited island of Gravina, Alaska. But she was in favour of the bridge before she was against it (and told local residents that they weren’t “nowhere to her”). As mayor of Wasilla, a metropolis of 9,000 people, she initiated annual trips to Washington, DC, to ask for more earmarks from the state’s congressional delegation, and employed Washington lobbyists to press for more funds for her town.

Nor is Mrs Palin well placed to win over the moderate and independent voters who hold the keys to the White House. Mr McCain’s main political problem is not energising his base; he enjoys more support among Republicans than Mr Obama does among Democrats. His problem is reaching out to swing voters at a time when the number of self-identified Republicans is up to ten points lower than the number of self-identified Democrats. Mr McCain needs to attract roughly 55% of independents and 15% of Democrats to win the election. But it is hard to see how a woman who supports the teaching of creationism rather than contraception, and who is soon to become a 44-year-old grandmother, helps him with soccer moms in the Philadelphia suburbs. A Rasmussen poll found that the Palin pick made 31% of undecided voters less likely to plump for Mr McCain and only 6% more likely.

The moose in the room, of course, is her lack of experience. When Geraldine Ferraro was picked as Walter Mondale’s running-mate, she had served in the House for three terms. Even the hapless Dan Quayle, George Bush senior’s sidekick, had served in the House and Senate for 12 years. Mrs Palin, who has been the governor of a state with a population of 670,000 for less than two years, is the most inexperienced candidate for a mainstream party in modern history.

Inexperienced and Bush-level incurious. She has no record of interest in foreign policy, let alone expertise. She once told an Alaskan magazine: “I’ve been so focused on state government; I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq.” She obtained an American passport only last summer to visit Alaskan troops in Germany and Kuwait. This not only blunts Mr McCain’s most powerful criticism of Mr Obama. It also raises serious questions about the way he makes decisions.
Vetted for 15 minutes

Mr McCain had met Mrs Palin only once, for a 15-minute chat at the National Governors’ Association meeting, before summoning her to his ranch for her final interview. The New York Times claims that his team arrived in Alaska only on August 28th, a day before the announcement. As a result, his advisers seem to have been gobsmacked by the Palin show that is now playing on the national stage. She has links to the wacky Alaska Independence Party, which wants to secede from the Union. She is on record disagreeing with Mr McCain on global warming, among other issues. The contrast with Mr Obama’s choice of the highly experienced and much-vetted Joe Biden is striking.

Mr McCain’s appointment also raises more general worries about the Republican Party’s fitness for government. Up until the middle of last week Mr McCain was still considering two other candidates whom he has known for decades: Joe Lieberman, a veteran senator, independent Democrat and Iraq war hawk, and Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania (a swing state with 21 Electoral College votes) and the first secretary of homeland security. Mr McCain reluctantly rejected both men because their pro-choice views are anathema to the Christian right.

The Palin appointment is yet more proof of the way that abortion still distorts American politics. This is as true on the left as on the right. But the Republicans seem to have gone furthest in subordinating considerations of competence and merit to pro-life purity. One of the biggest problems with the Bush administration is that it appointed so many incompetents because they were sound on Roe v Wade. Mrs Palin’s elevation suggests that, far from breaking with Mr Bush, Mr McCain is repeating his mistakes.

jAZ
09-10-2008, 12:00 AM
James Bennett
You mean a media that gives Senior Fellow's of Neo-Con think-tanks a platform to champion their causes?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_C._Bennett

James Charles Bennett is an American businessman,... is an Adjunct Senior Fellow of the Hudson Institute, and a contributor to its publications

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Institute

The Hudson Institute is an American, non-profit, neo-conservative think tank founded in 1961

Because we don't have ANY of those media outlets!

:rolleyes: