Earlier today, I asked former Wasilla resident Fred James to write about the Ron Paul counter-convention in Minneapolis, that has drawn more "delegates" than the Potemkinesque "real" GOP convention unravelling nearby. Fred is working on it, but he sent this instead.
Fred has had scores of encounters with Sarah Palin. He can speak about her "executive experience," and does.
Fred's essay speaks from his long-standing commitment to the Libertarian ideals.
Guest post by Fred James:
Sarah Palin as Political Intellect
I know Sarah Palin well both philosophically and her record as Mayor of Wasilla.
The bottom line is that she is a typical Republican in many ways. She is conflicted with a contradictory mindset that both openly values freedom and rejects it .
I can think of many examples.
The very best thing she ever said was that the government should be minimized and “...if my father (Step father?) has to lose his job in the process that's too bad.” In context this means that she believes in the Republican line of "Limited government" and her father who was a high mucky muck in the state bureaucracy at the time, might have to lose his job.
However talk is cheap. As mayor of Wasilla she presided over a very fat income from the taxpayers who were forced to pay a 2% local tax to start up a police department which Wasilla did not have in 1993. The police department was started and she was an early and vocal backer of the department and the tax to pay for it. When we objected that it would be abused and the tax would then be used for all sorts of government additions, she and others denied this.
Under her mayorship our objection happened! The City of Wasilla had so much EXTRA money beyond the cost of the Police Department that Sarah and others created a Wasilla Sports Complex with taxpayer money! To do this they INCREASED the sales tax from 2 to 2 1/2 %. That means that her desire to see her kids play hockey all year around trumped other tax payers who wanted to mind their own business!
When Sarah ran for governor a friend of mine who knows better told me he was going to vote for her. I was incredulous! Why I asked. He said all the others are too corrupt and she is so new at this political game that we will probably have at least four years before Juneau corrupts her! He had a point!
Sarah was a soccer mom for years. She has two political points in her favor, at least in Alaska. She is very photogenic and knows how to use the cameras to her advantage. And she is a genuine backer of the Second Amendment.
On the other hand she knows next to nothing about economics. I once went to her office when she was mayor and showed her a very thick book called "Unintended Consequences" by John Ross. This book is an exciting novel about what would happen in America if the Middle Class started shooting back against government goons from the various agencies that regularly conduct raids against innocent people for minor infractions of bureaucratic rules. When it first came out people were comparing it to "Atlas Shrugged" in importance to understanding freedom and how precarious it is in America right now. It's 811 pages of guns, sex, philosophy and one author's view of why we are in the present situation of where our rights are being withdrawn by the government itself, mostly true believing Republican NEO-CONS. Sarah bought the book from me. But I sensed that she did so only to get rid of me and my enthusiasm for the book. I never saw any evidence that she ever read it.
Finally, whether or not she ACTUALLY believes it or not, she is a very active Christian and uses THAT card openly to draw in the Far Right Religious crowd to vote for her. She does prayer Breakfasts. It worked.
I believe she won the governorship not because she had any great knowledge or experience with politics. She was a mayor of a very small town near Anchorage with a nice figure and face and looks on the naive side. Her opponents were known crooks. She was classic example of the lesser of two evils. Oddly, she ran for governor on a program of CHANGE! WE NEED CHANGE! Like Obama now who is also using this word, she never informed us of what CHANGE she had in mind!
Since she has been governor of Alaska, she did good: She immediately sold the former governor's expensive jet, getting it off the books and the backs of taxpayers. And she did BAD: She backed the passage of new taxes on the oil industry on the North Slope as if that would help them create new oil at lower prices!!! And she backed a bill that would create a government financed or backed Gas Pipeline from the North Slope to Markets. We advised her to back off this kind of state management or ownership of large industrial plants giving her many many examples of super government programs that were economic disasters and cost Alaska taxpayers literally billions of dollars.
Sarah rolled her eyes at this advice and forged ahead. She does not fully understand the horrible results of government ownership and control of parts of the economy! She would SAY she is not a socialist but she DOES socialist programs as governor.
She has not been caught yet in any government corruption. But $100,000 has been set aside to investigate “the governor’s office for possible abuse of power.”
Give her time. Give her billions of dollars to play with that she does not own but CONTROLS. The temptations of power are hugely seductive. Lacking a truly well understood integration of how human liberty, private ownership and the free market are all NECESSARY to each other, how one stands on the other, she blunders from one ill-conceived government plan to another. Her advisors are second rate and can do no better than she.
In a way she is a true example of America and its MIXED economy, part free market and part government. She is a modern Republican who has all but abandoned most of the libertarian elements of being a Republican even as little as 60 years ago. Lacking the necessary philosophical ideas in her head to guide her in action, she will be a very malleable, young and ATTRACTIVE side kick for John McCain. Good for him, BAD for us.
But should they win! And should McCain die, we would have a political child as President of the US. She would do much as the very symbol of the Nanny State to ratchet our few remaining freedoms away in the name of security.
I believe this is not an exaggeration but backed by what she has said and done as Mayor of Wasilla, and as Governor of Alaska.
image - Ron Paul with article author Fred James