Sunday, September 14, 2008

More Bad and Frightening News About Palin

by Norman Markowitz

There is a long article on Sarah Palin in the New York Times today, a first-rate piece of investigative journalism, which shows her to be a petty, mean spirited provincial politician, someone who clearly represents the worst of old-fashioned small town clique politics, where friends and relatives got political jobs while those unfortunate enough to cross the local clique got fired from jobs, sometimes harassed by local police, sometimes literally driven out of town. Someone with this kind of record, even if she were on the issues a progressive, which she of course in no way is, has no business being near the presidency. John McCain, if he were a responsible national politician, even a conservative politician with some respect for the country, would promptly remove her from the ticket and choose someone else. In 1972, George McGovern removed Thomas Eagleton from the ticket because it was discovered that he had had shock treatment for depression and this produced a great public furor. Palin has not had any psychiatriccounseling of any kind, although the New York Times article , along with other exposes of her actions, suggest that she might need it.

The article states, among other things, that Palin appointed a high school friend to head the State Division of Agriculture. The friend, a real estate agent, stated her "love of cows" as her only qualification to deal with agriculture At least four other high school friends received state jobs at salaries "far exceeding" what they were earning. Palin engaged in widespread budget cutting in her first budget (nothing new, unfortunately) But, unlike pretty much all other governors, she didn't even talk with the local mayors, county leaders, but pushed through the budget the way dictators do, consulting only her budget director and her husband (someone with no experience in fiscal matters of this kind) She has also lied about events in Alaska, for example a scientific study of the effects of global warming on polar bears(she said falsely that there was no negative effect) and then sought to keep journalists from looking at records that would show the truth. She and her husband have also intervened with Republican leaders not to hire or to fire individuals for the pettiest personal reasons. As Mayor of the small town of Wasilla, she raised funds to expand basic and needed services through bond issues, but also raised the local sales tax and fired a variety of local public employees, including the directorof the local museum, who saw her act as political, which was clearly true of other acts. In 1997, she fired the city attorney who put a "stop work" order on a home being built by a developer and political supporter. She also ordered city employees not to talk to the press, and supported her religious right friends in their campaign to remove books from the local library.

The article also shows that Palin was as much a public spirited "Hockey mom" in Alaska as Richard Nixon was a concerned citizen in California. Like Nixon, Palin spent years trying to advance her political career, running unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor, trying to become a U.S. Senator, fighting with the Republican leadership of the state when they did not give her what she wanted (which became the basis for her reputation as a "reformer"). Nixon also resented the "Washington elite" and a large part of the establishment of his own party, because they didn't give him what he wanted when he wanted it.

Like so many other petty tyrants, Sarah Palin should have been stopped a long time ago before she had the chance to become a big tyrant, which John McCain has now given her. This is a record, as I see it, which would call for impeachment as a mayor and a governor. While there are many big reasons to organize and defeat the McCain ticket which all progressives know, McCain's choice of Palin has added one new and important one.