Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pro-Palin Mainstream Media Article!

As I read this, I could barely believe it.

Granted, the Telegraph isn't in the US, but I'm still counting it as part of the "mainstream media" in general.

This article hits on all the facts about Palin I learned about her during my year pulling for her to be the VP candidate, but which US media outlets don't bother mentioning. This is all the stuff they should have covered upon her formal entrance onto the national stage, when the media instead decided to focus exclusively on Bristol Palin's pregnancy and if Sarah Palin could be a mother and the Vice President.

Highlights (which is actually most the article, because it's that good):

It is clear that few in America, let alone Britain, have any idea what to make of Sarah Palin. The Republicans' vice-presidential candidate confounds the commentators because they don't understand the forces that shaped her in the remote state of Alaska.

Thus, most coverage dwells on exotica - the moose shooting, her Eskimo husband - combined with befuddlement at how a woman can go from being mayor of a town of 9,000, to governor, to prospective VP within the space of a few years.

But, having worked with Alaskans, I know something of the challenge she has faced, and why - contrary to what Democrats think - it could make her a powerful figure in the White House.

The first myth to slay is that she is a political neophyte who has come from nowhere. In fact, she and her husband have, for decades, run a company in the highly politicised commercial fishing industry, where holding on to a licence requires considerable nous and networking skills.

Her rise from parent-teacher association to city council gave her a natural political base in her home town of Wasilla. Going on to become mayor was a natural progression. Wasilla's population of 9,000 would be a small town in Britain, and even in most American states.

But Wasilla is the fifth-largest city in Alaska, which meant that Palin was an important player in state politics.


Palin quickly realised that Alaska had the potential to become a much bigger player in global energy politics, a conviction that grew as the price of oil rose. ...

Her first target was an absurd bureaucratic tangle that for 30 years had kept the state from exporting its gas to the other 48 states. She set an agenda that centred on three mutually supportive objectives: cleaning up state politics, building a new gas pipeline, and increasing the state's share of energy revenues.

This agenda, pursued throughout Palin's commission tenure, culminated in her run for governor in 2006. By this time, she had already begun rooting out corruption and making enemies, but also establishing her bona fides as a reformer.

With this base, she surprised many by steamrollering first the Republican incumbent governor, and second, the Democratic former governor, in the election.

Far from being a reprise of Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Palin was a clear-eyed politician who, from the day she took office, knew exactly what she had to do and whose toes she would step on to do it.

The surprise is not that she has been in office for such a short time but that she has succeeded in each of her objectives. She has exposed corruption; given the state a bigger share in Alaska's energy wealth; and negotiated a deal involving big corporate players, the US and Canadian governments, Canadian provincial governments, and native tribes - the result of which was a £13 billion deal to launch the pipeline and increase the amount of domestic energy available to consumers. This deal makes the charge of having "no international experience" particularly absurd.

At least there is one outlet out there that's not in the tank (even if it isn't located in the US).


Anonymous said...

The year you spent pulling for her
to be the VP candidate?
Was she concidered for that long?
I pay relatively alot of attention to politics, and to me, she did, in fact, come out of nowhere.
Am I so wrong? She was vying for the spot for a year????

kazoolist said...


To most people following politics, even closely, Palin was probably an unknown until at least somewhat recently.

It might be fair to say she started to enter the national scene in August 2007 when Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard wrote a piece about her and the possibility of her as a VP candidate.

By May she had placed second in an online bracket for VP at and was prominent enough to make the MSNBC "Republican Veepstakes" bracket (see here).