Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah's First "Victory"

A year ago today, I was the guest of John Stein, who was then the City Administrator of Sitka, Alaska. He was the person who advised a very young Sarah Palin to move up from the Wasilla Planning Commission and go for an open seat on the Wasilla City Council. She did. Soon afterward, she ran against John, who was then Mayor of Wasilla, and beat him. By a few votes.

Her campaign consisted of challenging John's wife, the late Karen Marie, of having a different last name from Mr. Stein, and of dissing "government schools," a term Palin had picked up from the now imprisoned ex-Representative, Vic Kohring.

Her campaign accused Stein, a Republican, of not being Republican enough. The campaign, very fungelical, stressed that Karen Marie was a prominent Democrat, and pro-choice (they called her a "baby killer").

Palin promised, in her mayoral campaign, to eliminate the Wasilla sales tax and city police department Stein had struggled to get.

She didn't.

Last August, when I was staying with John, we laughed a lot, as we talked about the many contradictions and periods of luck Sarah's rise has seen.

That run of luck may end this weekend...

image of Alexander Baranof in the Sitka town square


Anonymous said...

We need to hear from more from folks like you who know Sarah Palin and have seen her in action.

She is so clearly out of her league as pick for vp. I found your blog by googling Paln and pathetic.

GB said...

As a casual observer (I own a home in VP pick Sarah Palin's hometown and lived there during her rise to power), I am amazed by the ease by which people like Palin can espouse distrust in government while simultaneously expand its grasp.

Palin was part of a movement that included her, Scott Ogan, Vic Kohring and the gang that told us government is bad, unless it is feeding our pet interests. The movement adopted its own lexicon which made things like public schools (renamed government schools) sound sinister and intruding.

Most importantly, the playbook involved the 'divide and conquer' approach. Government was responsible for all ills of society. The Palinistas were the true believers who would, in their great benevolence, build a great society where anyone who wasn't like 'us' would be penalized.

John McCain seems to have picked up on this divide and conquer approach. His playbook to win the presidency is to appeal to our lesser demons and tell us the cause of all of our problems are the unorthodox (liberal leaning thinkers) among us and that government is what is holding us down. He's recruited our woman Sarah to be his cheerleader in this cause.

She will be a great help to him in this strategy. She is of the 'if you are not for us, you are against us' school and will appeal to the part of our nation that believes we can change society by teaching creationism, ending a woman's right to choose and defining good government as that which promotes the self-interest of a select few.

Anonymous said...

I predict that Sarah's run of luck is not over.

I agree that she has caught a wave and rode it right into the governors mansion.

Her timing was just right and that is what brought her in, not her abilities as a politician.

But that run isn't over...these kinds of things hapen sometimes and we are witnessing it now.

McCains pick was a stroke of genius that will focus the press on his campaign right through until November.

patt said...

As a woman and citizen I am insulted. McCains adds lowered the office of the presidency to the level of Paris Hilton. His choice of VP has lowered the top office to below Bush level. Desperate people do desperate things, we the people could well have to pay the price for this flip flop on "experience and ready on day one" . The white haired dude will now have to change his COUNTRY FIRST slogan to CAMPAIGN FIRST.

babybates said...

Boy, I sure am glad to find these blogs from the people who actually live in Alaska. It is very very frightening.

It isn't that I think women are stupid (I'm a woman), it's just that after 2 terms of GWB, I am so afraid for myself and my country if we get another 4 years of the Republicans.

The truth about your Governor needs to get out there - very quickly!!

clark said...

I found it really strange that we elected someone with such extremist/wingnutty views in the first place. And then that she had an 80 to 90 percent approval rating the first few months. Mystifying.
I've been wondering, will the rest of the country like her as much as we do? And the answer I come up with is "no".

Jean said...

Let's not forget Mark Begich's campaign.

Anonymous said...

Posted by: Scott | August 30, 2008 1:11 AM

Not only all that, but Ms Palin has had virtually no contact with
Jewish people in America. In fact, most Alaskans still use the term
“to jew someone down” as part of their every day vocabulary when
speaking about bargaining at the store….so I guess Ms Palin has a
huge storehouse of inherited antiSemitic fixations based not on hatred
but on ignornace. Ask her what she thinks of Jewish people someone? I
am sure he only knows about 3.

Philip Munger said...


thanks for posting a name. I've only heard that term - jew somebody down - a few times in 35 years in Alaska. During that same time, I've heard it more in other places, outside of Alaska, that I've visited. Anti-Semitism exists in Alaska, but short of fungelical Christianity being inherently anti-Semitic, I couldn't categorize Palin that way.

Teddy said...

She won't be the nominee for Veep by the end of next week.


The money boyz in the GOP are astonished. If McCain sticks with her, they will tell McCain to take a hike.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you have to worry (or you do have to worry) about her appeal amongst the minority of Jews who lean Republican. The guy that runs the Palin for VP blog site is into Zionism, and the convergence of fundies and Christian Zionism is one of the defining ideologies at work here. McCain is big enough of an AIPAC supporter and constantly speaks about Judeo-Christian culture, so they can wrest some of the more right-wing votes from the Democrats who are also strongly pro-Israel. Either way, it's a non-issue here (except on how non even-handed both the Democrats and Republicans are on Israel), except that Palin brings in the evangelical crowd for the fusion vote.

What her views on everyone else though, is a big unknown. Her husband is part Eskimo so she may at least have sensitivity to Native American issues.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ #11 - "eskimo" is as pejorative as the term scott referenced above as having commonly heard in AK.

Anonymous said...

Lets see, so far in three days:

The Rs have raised $7 million primarily based on Palin's announcement.

Zogby polls show McCain already jumped ahead of Obama based on Palin's partnership.

Rasmussen reports an erasing of Obama's convention bump as soon as it happened based on the electricity from Palin. You can look it up on

LinenPhotography said...

Consider this if Palin did all the reforming she has been said to have done then plain and simple she also had a lot of enemies.

I won't trust anything but the known facts ,her record because there are too many people she's upset.

Equal Opportunity Cynic said...

Greg Sargent pointed out today that it wasn't "by a few votes." It was a 200 vote landslide which happened to be a margin of 1/5 of the 1000 votes cast.

That just makes her "executive experience" sound even more pathetic than if she'd won by a "few votes".

Gadfly said...

Anon of Aug. 31, Obama's now polling nearly 10 points ahead, and polling an outright majority.

Palin's sure helping the ticket, eh?

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