Monday, September 15, 2008

If McCain wants a Sarah Palin stand-in...

...he knows who to ask.

One of the best SNL sketches in years.

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  • Aaaahahaha, awesome.

    "I don't know what that is."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:25 p.m.  

  • It's not a joke. Palin's interview with ABC was scary enough. But this ...

    Palin promoted friends and secrecy, targeted critics

    By Jo Becker, Peter S. Goodman and Michael Powell

    The New York Times

    WASILLA, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.

    So when there was a vacancy for director of the state Division of Agriculture, she appointed high-school classmate Franci Havemeister to the $95,000-a-year job. The former real-estate agent, one of at least five high-school classmates hired by the governor, cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification.

    When Palin had to cut the 2007 state budget, she avoided legislators and mayors. She huddled with her budget director and husband Todd, an oil-field worker who is not a state employee, and vetoed millions of dollars of legislative projects.

    And last May, Wasilla blogger Sherry Whitstine, who chronicles Palin's career with an astringent eye, answered her phone and an assistant to the governor was on the line, she said.

    "You should be ashamed!" Ivy Frye, the assistant, told her. "Stop blogging. Stop blogging right now."

    Palin, 44, walks the national stage as a small-town foe of "good old boys" politics and a champion for ethics reform.

    But an examination of the charismatic governor's swift rise and record finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls opponents "haters" — contrasts with her public image.

    She has pursued vendettas, fired those who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

    Still, the governor has many supporters. She has pushed through higher taxes on oil companies that dominate one-third of Alaska's economy. She stirs deep emotions. Many Wasilla residents display unflagging affection, cheering "our Sarah" and hissing at critics.

    "She is bright and has unfailing political instincts," said Steve Haycox, a University of Alaska history professor. "She taps very directly into anxieties about the economic future."

    "But," he added, "her governing style raises a lot of hard questions."

    Palin declined to be interviewed, and she did not respond to written questions. The McCain-Palin campaign responded to some questions, while referring others to the governor's spokespeople, who did not respond.

    Interviews show Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mails show that staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent public-records subpoenas.

    Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought e-mails of state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears. (Palin said the scientists had found no ill effects, and she has sued the federal government to block listing the bears as endangered.) An administration official told Steiner that it would cost $468,784 to process his request.

    When Steiner obtained the e-mails — through a federal records request — he discovered that state scientists in fact had agreed that the bears were in trouble, records show.

    "Their secrecy is off the charts," Steiner said.

    State legislators now are investigating accusations that Palin and her husband pressured officials to fire a state trooper who had gone through a messy divorce with her sister, which she denies. But interviews make clear that the Palins draw few distinctions between the personal and the political.

    Last summer, state House Speaker John Harris, a Republican, picked up his phone and heard Todd Palin's voice. The governor's husband wanted to know why Harris had hired John Bitney, a high-school classmate of the Palins, as his chief of staff. Gov. Palin had fired him as an aide after learning that he had fallen in love with another longtime friend.

    "I understood from the call that Todd wasn't happy with me hiring John and he'd like to see him not there," Harris said. "The Palin family gets upset at personal issues. And at our level, they want to strike back."

    Help for her friends

    Palin took office less than two years ago and took up the reformer's sword.

    As she assembled her Cabinet and made other state appointments, those with insider credentials were on the outs. She surrounded herself with figures drawn from her personal life — former high-school classmates, people she had known since grade school and fellow churchgoers. Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican, praised Palin's appointments. "The people she hires are competent, qualified, top-notch people," he said.

    She tapped a Wasilla assemblyman, Talis Colberg, as her attorney general, supervising 600 people. The move provoked from Alaska's legal world a bewildered question: "Who?"

    "I called him and asked, 'Do you know how to supervise people?' " said a family friend, Kathy Wells. "He said, 'No, but I think I'll get some help.' "

    The Wasilla High School yearbook archive now doubles as a veritable directory of state government. Palin appointed Bitney, a former junior-high bandmate, as her legislative director and tapped another classmate, Joe Austerman, to manage the office of economic development for $82,908 per year.

    When a board recommended closing a state-owned dairy that had served a handful of farms in the Matanuska Valley, Palin responded to farmers' protests by ousting board members and installing her real-estate agent, Kristan Cole, as chairman.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 7:16 p.m.  

  • For sure that was the best SNL I've seen in a while - I wish it was always this good...

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 8:20 p.m.  

  • the resemblance is uncanny

    and jimtan...

    These Alaska "Watch out for Sarah Palin because we found the 4 people in the state who dont like her to give us quotes" stories are getting kinda silly...

    The New York "I called Americans stupid 3 times in 2 days" Times went to Alaska, got all the people who didnt like Sarah Palin to comment, and in their blind rage at the woman, realized that NOBODY REALLY CARES.

    They like Palin's story the way it was told to them the first time.

    She isnt teflon palin. People just dont care. Cuz the voters who actually care about "experience" as a main issue, are already not voting for Obama...

    This is the new "who would you rather have a beer with". It is "who would you rather dress a moose with" and Barack Obama eats his moose with Brie and Chablis (<--sarcasm)...

    By Blogger Anthony, at 9:36 p.m.  

  • Well, I do not really imagine it is likely to have effect.

    By Anonymous, at 3:37 a.m.  

  • By Blogger dewatampan, at 7:07 p.m.  

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