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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Old media dinosaurs have NOT asked Sarah Palin about her actual accomplishments

If you're a regular reader here, you already knew all about Sarah Palin's accomplishments before John McCain named her as his Veep nominee. But my new guest-post at HughHewitt.com mentions three in particular that the mainstream media seems to be particularly clueless about.


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

In considering Sarah Palin's fitness as a vice presidential nominee, it's absolutely crucial to distinguish between mere tenure in office and actual accomplishments while there. In their televised interviews with her, however, Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric have almost completely ignored Gov. Palin's actual record in office. So, too, have most of the old-media sources who've been writing about her. They'd far rather dig through a dumpster or watch videos of a guest pastor from Kenya speaking at a church Gov. Palin has sometimes attended than talk about Gov. Palin's day job as chief executive of the largest state in America.


(There's yet another important aspect to her candidacy that the mainstream media has ignored almost as resolutely, which is her courage and determination in campaigning as an underdog reformer, taking on deeply entrenched and ethically challenged members of her own party in Alaska. Arguably that's her most important accomplishment of all, given how much of a cesspool Washington has become. But let's set that aside for the moment.)

Gov. Palin is now finishing up her second year as Governor of Alaska. Even added to her years as a city councilman and mayor, or her service as chair and ethics officer of the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, that is not a very long record. But length is only one dimension. How deep is her record?

The answer to that question is critically important. Joe Biden has been a senator, as Gov. Palin points out, since Gov. Palin was in grade school, so of course he has a long record. With that seniority has come committee chair positions, first on the Senate Judiciary Committee, then on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But on closer examination, neither as a committee chairman nor a legislator has Slow Joe Biden particularly distinguished himself. His greatest legislative triumph has been in championing revisions to the bankruptcy code that dramatically changed the slope of the playing field to favor his home-state credit card companies in consumer bankruptcy proceedings — an accomplishment much disdained, in fact, by the Hard Left. So what, by contrast, has Gov. Sarah Palin done in her dramatically shorter tenure as a state chief executive?

If you only know three things that Sarah Palin has accomplished as Governor of Alaska, it should be these three:

  1. Gov. Palin is a proven fiscal conservative who used her line-item veto to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in spending from the state budget. In considering this accomplishment, keep in mind that the Alaska Legislature is controlled by the GOP, meaning that the funding she cut had already been approved by legislators of her own party. Nevertheless, she made her vetoes stick. Consider, too, that because of the current high price of crude oil, Alaska is enjoying record budget surpluses. It's harder to practice restraint in times of plenty. And look at her entire record over time (more than as revealed by her position on a single bridge): Although Alaska has traditionally been more dependent than other states on federal funding (since the federal government owns such a large portion of the state's property and resources), even the often-critical Anchorage Daily News admits that Gov. Palin has "increasingly distanced herself from earmarking" since 2000, and that her having done so over the past year has been "the leading source of tension between Palin and the state's three-member congressional delegation." Actually exercising fiscal discipline in a time of plenty, at both state and federal levels and against the will of the members of her own party, is a better predictor for how she would actually govern on a national level than ten thousand campaign promises.

  2. Gov. Palin kept her campaign promise to revamp the state's pre-existing severance tax on oil & gas production, replacing a structure negotiated behind closed doors by ethically challenged predecessors and the big energy companies with one negotiated in full public view — and then rebated part of the resulting surplus directly to tax-payers. Severance taxes are a kind of property tax charged on a one-time basis, at the time of production, on subsurface assets (like oil, gas & minerals) which can't be quantified and taxed through regular property taxes. There was widespread resentment and distrust over the version negotiated by Gov. Palin's predecessor with the three big energy companies who've traditionally ruled the roost in Alaska (ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and BP). The new version negotiated and passed with Gov. Palin's support was thoroughly disinfected by the sunshine of public scrutiny. Although it's not a "windfall profits tax" — indeed, the base rate only went from 22.5% to 25% — it did permit the Alaskan people to share in a larger portion of the current high prices for oil by raising the additional, progressive portion of the tax from 0.25% to 0.40% on revenues between $32.50 and $90/bbl. Above that, however, the new law actually cut taxes by dropping the rate on revenues above $90/bbl to 0.1%. With the resulting budget surplus, after contributing to the state's fund for that future day when its oil & gas wealth is exhausted, she pressed for and got legislation to rebate a healthy chunk directly to tax-payers on a per capita basis, trusting them to spend the proceeds from this sale of the state's commonly-owned resources rather than trusting government to spend it for them.

  3. Gov. Palin broke a multi-year stalemate over the financing and construction of a $40  billion cross-state gas pipeline that will deliver cleaner, cheaper natural gas to Alaska's own population centers (Alaskans themselves pay some of the nation's highest energy prices), while also delivering gas to the energy-hungry Lower 48. To do this, she had to break the monopoly power of the big energy companies by opening the project to competitive international bidding. Not only has a development contract with a Canadian company now been signed on better terms than had previously been discussed, but the former monopolists — finally spurred by competition — are cranking up their own plan that would not require any taxpayer investment. How precisely this will shake out remains to be seen, but Gov. Palin's vigorous action — calling special sessions of the state legislature and injecting herself directly and vigorously into the process — has ended the deadlock in ways that seem certain to benefit consumers. By this accomplishment, Gov. Palin has done more to advance the cause of American energy independence than any other politician — of any party, and at any level of state or federal government — in this century. But the national media have generally ignored this accomplishment.

It's no accident that Gov. Palin remains immensely popular in her home state, notwithstanding the widespread derision of the national elites. Her actual accomplishments in office are vastly disproportionate to her time spent in office, but her constituents value the results she's gotten.

And isn't that what we want? Should we want politicians who have been in office a long time without getting anything done? Should we want the kind of "wisdom" shown by Slow Joe Biden, who opposed the nominations of both Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, and who proposed that we subdivide Iraq into three parts (each to be dominated by a different foreign interest)? Should we prefer someone like Barack Obama in the top job as POTUS, even though he has no longer tenure than Gov. Palin and conspicuously fewer actual accomplishments?

Will Gwen Ifill ask any meaningful question of either Gov. Palin or Sen. Biden about their actual accomplishments in office tomorrow? Will she ask Biden about the bankruptcy law changes? Will she acknowledge Gov. Palin as a demonstrated fiscal conservative and crusader for energy independence?

I'm not holding my breath. But if the media won't help educate Americans about Gov. Palin's accomplishments in office, then each of us should!

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 01:15 PM in 2008 Election, Mainstream Media, McCain, Obama, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Old media dinosaurs have NOT asked Sarah Palin about her actual accomplishments and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) Quiet_Dave made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 1:35:25 PM | Permalink


Just wanted to thank-you for an excellant article. You brought up points that I had only a vague knowledge of and zeroed in on their true importance. Sarah, has done more excutive work in her short years than both the Presidential and Vice-presidential canidates for the Democratic Party.

(2) griefer made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 4:11:53 PM | Permalink

O Beldar.
There are none so blind that will not see.
Poor Palin is simply a test of our Constitution and the protections willed to us by the Founders.
Palin is what the Founders would have described as a demagogue, their greatest fear.
A populist candidate reccommended only by their stature with the electorate.
I am quite grievously disappointed in you, Beldar, that you seem to have to bought into the parlor tricks of an aging carny shill so desperate to achieve the High Office that he would throw not only the Hope the Republican Party, but the welfare of our great country under the wheels of the straight-talk-express.

Simply no one can say poor Palin is fit for the High Office right now. Could she be ready in 4 years? Possibly.
But if you are saying it, then i must call you a liar.
And that saddens me greatly.

(3) jbenson2 made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 4:56:00 PM | Permalink

The Old media dinosaurs have tried to ask Barack Obama about his actual accomplishments, (cue the chirping crickets), but the Messiah just turned the other cheek.

(4) jbenson2 made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 4:57:32 PM | Permalink

Before you dismiss that Commander of the Alaska National Guard stuff about Governor Palin, consider this:

Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that protects the entire nation from ballistic missile attacks. It's on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

As governor of Alaska, Palin is briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Her exposure to classified material may rival even Biden's.

She's also the commander in chief of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF), a federally recognized militia incorporated into Homeland Security's counterterrorism plans.

Palin is privy to military and intelligence secrets that are vital to the entire country's defense. Given Alaska's proximity to Russia, she may have security clearances we don't even know about.

According to the Washington Post, she first met with McCain in February, but nobody ever found out. This is a woman used to keeping secrets.

She can be entrusted with our national security, because she already is.

(5) griefer made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 6:29:43 PM | Permalink


Sarah palin Endorses Hamas

See? Not that hard. Unless you don't:

a) Know what happened in Gaza;
b) Know where Gaza is;
c) Know who rules Gaza today;
d) Care.

I want to wait and see Palin on Thursday night in her debate with Joe Biden; perhaps her performance in the Couric interview was abnormally bad. But I have a terrible feeling that John McCain has placed this country - and, of lesser importance, his campaign - in an untenable position.

(6) griefer made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 6:32:30 PM | Permalink

btw..i have several compartment clearances.
I simply cannot believe that Palin has a single one.

(7) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 6:39:41 PM | Permalink

Griefer, Sarah Palin did not endorse Hamas, and both you and Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic can only claim that by distorting what she actually said. Quit being dishonest. In context, she clearly said that despite results like the election of Hamas (note the critical word "though" in the beginning of her response), we still need to support democracy (which was the correct answer to the actual question Couric asked).

You're becoming more disgusting with each comment, sir.

(8) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 8:08:46 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: I'd like to read griefer's notions on Senator Biden's versions of history, e.g. FDR's going on TV in 1929 when the stock market crashed to explain what had happened, and why such mangling isn't troubling to him. No, I won't hold my breath.

One other accomplishment that hasn't got much mention is that Palin has had to prepare budgets, and then argue for them after they are presented to the Legislature. Budget-making invariably means having to say "No" to proposals, not only from your adversaries, but also your allies, even projects that are worthy, but don't fit into the amount of dough available, or the Governor/Mayor's vision of how things should be. However small Wasilla's budget is, it beats any budgeting The One or Senator Biden has had to do. Finally: Sarah Palin has exactly the same time of gubernatorial experience Woodrow Wilson had when he ran for Prez in 1912. Anyone want to argue that the Alaska of 2006-08 is easier to govern than the New Jersey of 1910-12? Didn't think so.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(9) New Jerseay made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 8:30:37 PM | Permalink

Sure Greg, happy to argue that. Governing Alaksa means deciding just how much $$ to disburse to the citizenry, thanks to sitting atop a pile of oil. Oh so difficult.

Also, let's not forget Palin's signature accomplishments of putting her little town $20M in the red and violating the Violence Against Women Act (and the conscience of any moral individual) by hiring a police chief who thought it appropriate to charge women for rape kits.

(10) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 8:42:51 PM | Permalink

Griefer will be commenting elsewhere from now on, having gone overboard in a flurry of additional comments. (While I'll pay for bandwidth for people to disagree with me on, I won't pay for bandwidth for people to insult me on.) In one since-deleted comment, Griefer said I was mistaken in my guess as to gender, and accordingly, I apologize for referring to her as "sir." As for the rest, it's a big internet, and she can find another part of it to disagree with me on.

(11) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 8:45:58 PM | Permalink

New Jerseay, the debt you're referencing is long-term bond debt used for capital improvements. It's servicing itself and not in default. That she was able to sell the bonds is the result of the expansion of the town's economic base. No one was ever charged for a rape kit in Wasilla; that's another canard that was floated but has since been abandoned by anyone on the Left who has an ounce of integrity.

At best, you know nothing of government and are repeating anti-Palin talking points written by others who do but don't care about lying. Go away, please. I'm becoming grumpy, even though I actually like New Jersey.

(12) Dai Alanye made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 10:21:44 PM | Permalink

There is no doubt that Palin’s accomplishments in government are amazing, especially considering the brief period she has been governor. Anyone who thinks otherwise has no conception of real-life government or administration in any venue.

I admit, though--one day before the Great Debate--that her general knowledge seems deficient, and her ability to deflect pop quiz questions seems surprisingly weak. How easy it would have been for an experienced politician to say to Katie Couric, “Shouldn’t you be asking John McCain about his record rather than me? Why don’t you ask about *my* record?” And, “In regard to Supreme Court decisions, why don’t you bring up a specific judgment?”

Perhaps we’ll learn more tomorrow.

With regard to Obama’s accomplishments, there just doesn’t seem to be anything significant. In addition he has regularly enhanced his background.

Consider his story about leaving a high-paying Wall Street position to become a community organizer. Co-workers at that company, including one who backs him, have pointed out gross exaggerations. The job was low-paid drudgery, putting together newsletters from the reports of others. He was, in effect, a copy editor. Contrary to Obama's tale in his first book, there were no suits and ties, no secretary, no conferences with Japanese financiers.

As a community organizer he himself admitted that his efforts were ineffective, bringing about his choice to go into law and politics.

Despite the common claim that he was a Constitutional law professor, he was actually a part-time lecturer, not even on tenure track.

In the Illinois Senate he accomplished little, being given credit by Emil Jones, the majority leader, for bills conceived and shepherded through by others. And as we all know, he has accomplished nothing of note in the U S Senate.

You have here the case of a man who has created a *legend* of great doings. He's still about it, attempting to take credit for the bailout bill (should it ever pass) by claiming to be in continuous communication with the Treasury Secretary, as if that would mean anything even if it were true.

Even in terms of policies, Obama has no record of experience or interest which would lead one to conclude that it is he rather that some set of advisers who has created any of the policies he promotes. I suggest that, aside from recent cramming, he has no knowledge of the economy or financial system, in addition to his ignorance of foreign and military affairs.

Palin, though, has an actual record of accomplishment. Indeed, find another governor who has achieved so many momentous things in as short a period--I know of none.

(13) Beldar made the following comment | Oct 1, 2008 11:00:28 PM | Permalink

New Jersey: Re rape kits, see this post for more recent links exploding this load of crap.

Bad manners of the sort you displayed in your two just-deleted comments aren't welcome here. Posting under multiple names isn't either, as I don't condone sock-puppetry. Nor do I intend to pay for bandwidth for people like you to continue to spread demonstrable lies. Find other places on the internet to spew your nonsense. You aren't welcome here. Begone, troll!

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