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At Long Last, Thompson's Moment to Shine

By Dan Balz
ST. PAUL -- Let's put aside questions about Sarah Palin for a few hours and talk about Fred Thompson. After Tuesday's program at the Republican convention, it's clear just how much John McCain owes the former Tennessee senator and actor.

Had the Fred Thompson who delivered that stemwinder of a speech on Tuesday night shown up during the contest for the Republican nomination, McCain might be watching this week's convention from the sidelines. Where was that Fred when it mattered?

It was a year ago this week that I ran into McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis in the Manchester, N.H., airport. He had just arrived for a Republican debate at the University of New Hampshire, scheduled for later that night. Before we went our separate ways, we grabbed a cup of coffee at the airport and spent some time talking about the campaign.

At that point, Thompson was the hot ticket in the Republican race. While the rest of the Republican field was preparing for the evening's encounter, Thompson was in Los Angeles getting ready to announce his long-anticipated presidential candidacy on Jay Leno's show. People thought that was awfully clever.

McCain at the time was still considered a dead man walking by the political cognoscenti. This was only about two months after McCain's campaign had imploded, his campaign manager and his chief strategist had quit, his communications team had walked away and his closest confidant was struggling with his own role or commitment.

The contrast was stunning. Thompson, even with obvious start-up problems, was still seen as a potentially big figure -- a new Reagan! -- about to shake up the Republican race. McCain was flying coach on Southwest Airlines, carrying his own bag and trying to drum up any crowd. Few reporters were paying attention to a candidate whose accessibility had always drawn a hefty press contingent.

I expected Davis to be downbeat about the state of things. Instead I found him unexpectedly hopeful. McCain was about to launch his "No Surrender" tour and use September to double down on his support for the surge strategy in Iraq. He knew that Army Gen. David Petraeus was soon to testify on Capitol Hill, that the report likely would be more upbeat that had appeared a few months earlier and was looking to capitalize on those hearings to barnstorm through several states to revive his candidacy.

But McCain needed plenty of help -- and first of all from Thompson. The actor had enjoyed a wonderful summer of glowing media attention full of speculation about his potential to reshape a Republican race in which no candidate had emerged to take command. McCain was struggling. Rudy Giuliani had good poll numbers but was at odds with the base. Mitt Romney had won the Iowa straw poll but was suspect to many conservatives. Mike Huckabee was only beginning to emerge in Iowa.

The campaign was Fred Thompson's to take by the throat and turn his way. But the Thompson who showed up on the stump was nothing like the Hollywood images that had accompanied the build up about his candidacy.

Thompson was a woefully bad candidate. He had told my colleague David Broder that he planned to run a campaign with a message of taking on hard challenges in Washington and putting country over party to pull together bipartisan coalitions to make changes. His advisers talked about running a very internet-savvy campaign and made it sound as if they had found a way to short-circuit the old-fashioned hard work of running for president.

They were so mistaken. Once on the campaign trail, all the pre-game hype left Thompson. He had no energy. He had no particular message. He had no drive. He didn't stand out in debates. He didn't campaign hard. He disappointed his staff and supporters.

Friends of Thompson, some of them already working in other campaigns, weren't surprised. For all their affection toward him, they knew the real Fred Thompson, knew that Thompson wasn't built for the rigors of a real presidential campaign. He sputtered and sputtered and sputtered.

Had he not, he might have filled a vacuum that eventually McCain seized. He could have had credibility as a conservative, though perhaps not as conservative as some people wanted. Certainly he had more credibility than Romney.

He had the celebrity appeal of a nationally known television actor to compete with Giuliani's celebrity status, without the social issue positions that cost the former New York mayor so much with conservatives. He could have headed off Huckabee in Iowa had he figured out a real strategy -- and done the work to implement it.

Instead, Thompson flamed out, running a lethargic campaign. He became, in the end, one more potential hurdle for McCain that never materialized.

So imagine the reaction of Republicans here on Tuesday night when Thompson got up on stage and let loose. He was animated, he was funny, he was sharp-tongued. He knew how to hit Barack Obama and he knew how to hit the media over Palin. He knew, because he was one of McCain's closest friends when they were in the Senate together, how to promote the Arizona senator both to the base and to potential swing voters.

For one night, he was everything people thought they were getting a year ago this week. McCain can only be grateful he waited so long.

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 3, 2008; 3:09 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Conventions , Dan Balz's Take , Fred Thompson , John McCain , Republican Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Republican Women Turn to the Gender Card
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Comments

independent too,

What in particular do you find superior about Obama's economic plans? Clinton's bloated and falsified 90's growth is what led into the malaise this decade. By the time Clinton left office, the wheels were already starting to come off the dotcom boom, and in retrospect, much of that "wealth" was nothing more than cooked books on the parts of start-up companies and behemoths like Worldcom and Enron. Do you really think that the stock market would have sizzled without the sexy earnings reports?

And all the while, Clinton did nothing to enforce accounting rules, regulate, or put the breaks on anything that was happening. Why should he have? The boom lasted until he just about left office. Let the next president suffer.

And I don't see substantially how what Obama proposes is anything different from the policies of the 90s. And since monetary policy in the 90s was set by Greenspan, a Reagan appointee, Clinton's only real credit was in reappointing Greenspan. Just like Clinton did, Obama talks about cutting taxes for the poor, never mind that the poor don't pay any federal income taxes in the first place! Saying that you cut taxes for people who don't pay any taxes is merely a symbolic ploy. What specifically from Obama do you see as benefiting the lower classes?

Posted by: blert | September 6, 2008 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener | September 5, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

.

@independent:

Yeah I'm an independent too. As much as I appreciate the appealing personality and charismatic charming and persuasive PERSONAL celebrity-type qualities of Sarah Palin -- McCain Palin obviously represents 4 more years of the last 8 years (more if you include how long the republicans have been in control of the congress and their other terms as president for the past 28 years). They have destroyed the social, political, economic contract of the "American Dream" for regular working people and their families. All their policies favor their rich cronies and powerful friends. They don't care about working people (or christians for that matter) EXCEPT to use them for their VOTES!

Both parties have crap issues but..... I have to agree, (i've been researching and comparing) the Obama-Biden economic policies (including health care, building the infrastructure, etc) ARE FAR SUPERIOR and much better for families and working / middle class people.

Yeah, I'm voting Obama-Biden too. You'll never find perfection. McBush-Cheney-Palin-Rove would be continuing economic DISASTER for regular people and families and the nation!

.

Posted by: Independent too! | September 5, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Are there any independents here?

I am but I am starting to go for Obama as he seems to have actual policy rather than just attacks on the other sides personality. I don't agree with him on everything though.

Any other independents thinking about going to either of the candidates?

Posted by: independent | September 4, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

I used to respect John McCain, even if I didn't agree with his politics. But no more. He has sold his soul for ambition, and I am saddened and shocked.

Couldn't John McCain find ANYONE better than this creature? She is a venom-spewing, book burning, liar. She lied about her stance against the Bridge to Nowhere. And do you know that Alaska never gave back that $223 million. She is a queen of pork and she knows it. I cannot believe John McCain would pick someone who sits on a state crammed to the top with pork barrel projects.

And to her personally. How can she have so little regard for her 17 year old pregnant daughter (nice job humiliating her on the international stage) and her 4 month old child (Down's syndrome children often have suppressed respiratory systems and she is dragging him all over the country exposing him to all kinds of germs). If she treats her own family this way, what would she do to the American public?

Posted by: Ann | September 4, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"Ahm ta-ired...I think Ah wanna go to bed now...." Freddie Thompson

Posted by: Nun | September 4, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, "celebrities" in the republican party can't win a primary hey Fred. Where was all that at the beginning of your dead on arrival campaign.

Posted by: 2pacolypse | September 3, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Bottom Line... McCain has lost control of his campaign. This is not a good interview for the highest office in the developed world. Whether right or wrong, accurate or false, he is blaming his current troubles on sexism, the media, a hurricane, and lack of privacy by the general public. As president of the United States you don't have the opportunity of blame when you've put yourself in a bad situation, you only have repercussions. While bad, and possibly unjustified things have been happening to the MCain campaign over the last week or so, he hasn't been making it any better through his actions. This is sink or swim, McCain HANDLE IT! because it's not going to be any easier if and when when you and Sarah step into the real world.

Posted by: mbee | September 3, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Fred Thompson's speech was a knock out ... what a punch he gave Obama ... he was on the mark from the first word to the last!
McCain-Palin '08
Hillary 2012!!

Note: A "community organizer" is someone who gets paid by the government while attending an anti-white, anti-America church run by a foul-mouth Pastor!

Posted by: Francisco Cardenas | September 3, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

So Fred's moment to shineand he lies?

Or was it a bad script?

"He was offered medical care for his injuries if he would give up military information in return. John McCain said, 'No.' " - Fred Thompson on 2 Sep.- Republican National Convention.

Yet in McCain's best-selling autobiography, Faith of My Fathers, he says:

"Desperate, I tried to bargain with him. 'Take me to the hospital and I'll give you the information you want.' I didn't intend to keep my word, reasoning that after my injuries had been treated, I would be strong enough to deal with the consequences of not holding up my end of the bargain," McCain wrote.

As for never cooperating with Vietnamese, McCain also admits he eventually gave up information about his ship and Navy squadron. "I regret very much having done so," he wrote.

A minor point - certainly. But please do not trot out falsehoods, with the intent to curry favor.


Posted by: Republican VN ERA Vet | September 3, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me or did anyone else notice that the RNC resembles an episode of 'Leave it to Beaver'?!

I didn't realize America was 98% white with an average age of around 65! Republicans are a dead party walking...

Thompson is a good case in point.

What planet is this goofball Dan Balz from anyway? Yeah, Thompson was a real fireball wasn't he?? I think I heard him clearing his throat more than talking...LOL

Posted by: Dara2 | September 3, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is no reformer.
Here is a link to an AP article that discusses the issues of her tenure in Alaska with no reference to the family trash.

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jrhFOsVwX9jtDyUhy3zKCBVms8tgD92USVF01

Posted by: M. Tobias | September 3, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Okay Dan Balz. We need a reporter that tells it like is, someone with real b..ls, and that is not you. Thompson is not only over the hill, he spoke like he was 6 feet under the hill. Give us a break and give credit where credit is due and not some bs writer hype.

Posted by: mzbond | September 3, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Susan Eisenhower: Barack is the best choice (CNN Interview)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1Kmsv8-Jzk&feature=related

When Dwight Eisenhower's granddaughter Susan said "Yes we can!" over 84,000 supporters at the Democrat Convention cheered her on and yelled "Yes we can!"

My Favorite Eisenhower Story From Wikipedia. Dwight could have been a Professional Football player?

At West Point, Eisenhower made the football team. He started as a varsity running back and linebacker in 1912. In a bit of a fabled match-up, he even tackled the legendary Jim Thorpe in a 1912 game.

Obamacans for Obama/Biden '08

Posted by: Republican Football Fan | September 3, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Outside the Box:

When Joe Biden tragically lost his wife and infant daughter in a car wreck in 1972, not a single colleague, friend or competitor advised him to quit his newly won Senate seat to raise his two little surviving sons.

Rather, he was sworn into office from the injured boys' bedside, and took to commuting an hour and a half each way from Delaware to Washington. And when Biden's second wife gave birth to a daughter, no one thought to ask him to step aside and stay home.

Palin to Introduce Herself to GOP

McCain: No More Questions on Palin's Vetting

Get TOTAL RNC Coverage

They all do it. John Kennedy did it; so did Barack Obama: Men run for office and serve in elected positions while creating small children without ever being patronized as "super dads" or "multi-taskers."

Nor are they penalized, ridiculed or dismissed for ignoring their kids. They're good dads.

If Sarah Palin, tapped as John McCain's running mate, were a man, it's unlikely we'd even be having this conversation. (A man, or a Democrat.)

Palin is a mother five times over. She also hunts, fishes, coaches hockey, has a day job as the governor of the state of Alaska - and is known to commute home from the state capital of Juneau daily during session. Just like Biden.

And, until at least four months ago, Palin also had the ability to bear a child, which we've just learned is a talent she shares with her 17-year-old daughter.

But women on the left, who fought long and hard for the ability to raise children simultaneously with election cash, are in spasms. (Some have simply kept silent. Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton - where are you?)

The same lefty media that studiously ignored the adolescence of Chelsea Clinton can't wait to dig into Bristol Palin.

The Diary section of Daily Kos Web site had a curious way to make Palin's daughter into a campaign issue: "Considering Palin was chosen solely for her religious right family values cred, Bristol's shotgun marriage and pregnancy are very fair game. They are the direct result of this lunatic abstinence-only garbage, and should be highlighted as such."

The stupendously sexist New York Times printed a front-page article noting that some unnamed women argue over "whether there are enough hours in the day for her to take on the vice presidency, and whether she is right to try."

Which left the field weirdly clear for Phyllis Schlafly, who helped defeat the Equal Right Amendment - and also ran for Congress while raising six children - to tell the Times, "People who don't have children, or who have only one or two, are kind of overwhelmed at the notion of five children."

http://www.nypost.com/seven/09032008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/a_time_warped_sexist_assault_127183.htm

Posted by: JakeD | September 3, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

let talk palin [sic]:

I'm still voting for McCain ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 3, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

what i know about Palin:

bans books and threatens to fire the librarian (just made the NY times - no trash tabloid there!)

requires loyalty oaths

says NO to global warming - it simply is not a problem we have to address

mayor of SMALL town (folks i am a hick and my town was 5 times bigger!) now $27 MILLION in debt

KEPT and SPENT the bridge to nowhere money - pure hypocracy - NOT maverick

better than Bush in ignoring the environment

NO Foreign POlicy experience - oh wait she lives close to russia (thanks cindy mcsame)

member of AIP that wants to leave the US

vetos alternative energy plans - yes that is right in line w/ mcbush/mssame

been out of the country ONCE

few weeks ago did not know what the VP did for crying out loud

laughs out loud w/ radio host6 while he calls another woman a "bi--h" and cancer when the woman is a cancer survivor! very very compassionate there


mcsame melanoma 4 times wants this a heart beat away - not for this woman!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbxD4J524Ek

Posted by: let talk palin | September 3, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Nice acting, Jack. I'm sure the paycheck was worth it!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 3, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

A letter from someone who has known Sarah Palin since 1992

Anne is from Wasilla, Alaska.

I found this on the Washington Post comment board and have posted it exactly as I found it.

Amazing Letter From a Local Wasillian Who Knows Sarah Palin Well.

From: http://www.washingtonindependent.com/3671/the-reform-candidate
Submitted by Michael Wrightson on Sept 1, 2008

A note to all by {the Author}

Dear friends,

So many people have asked me about what I know about Sarah Palin in the
last 2 days that I decided to write something up . . .

Basically, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have only 2 things in
common: their gender and their good looks.

You have my permission to forward this to your friends/email contacts
with my name and email address attached, but please do not post it on
any websites, as there are too many kooks out there . . .

[ This was already posted on Washington Independent comments area,
with a controllable hotmail account, and was obviously meant by the
author to be read. ]

Thanks,

Anne

ABOUT SARAH PALIN

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992.
Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a
first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her
father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more
City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the
residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular
girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and
won’t vote for her can’t quit smiling when talking about her because
she is a “babe”.

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She
kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents
for seven months.

She is “pro-life”. She recently gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby.
There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “puts things out
there” and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a
champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly
sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his
work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or
so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their
major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything
like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She’s smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000
(at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about
670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running
this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been
pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had
given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6
years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over
33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the
City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation
(1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a
regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she
promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration
weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed
money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it
with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage
the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said
she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a
new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a
multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece
of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was
still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers
involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the
community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it
would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that
could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office
redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus
in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will
make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she
proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she
recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while
she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s
surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas
or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by
her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the
basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected
City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from
the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents
rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the
Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for
Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin
fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally
grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power
to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated”
her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top
cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure
and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that
an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t
fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation
for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen
contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she
later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to
replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded
for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew
her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in
help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town
introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything
publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got
the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one
of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no
background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great
job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the
high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the
structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this
Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party)
engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some
undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all
her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and
garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a
gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from
Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel
politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to
nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget
guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing
projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative
action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply
because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant
she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party
leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated
them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a
fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.
They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and
predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly
stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made
point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah’s
mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and
experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package
of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march
to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to
global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state
initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from
pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the
state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s
lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar
bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a
heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more
knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it.

CLAIM VS FACT
•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary
school, not since
•“NRA supporter”: absolutely true
•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill
that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to
promote it.
•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby
BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life
legislation
•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has
residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska.
No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on
supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city
administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•gutsy: absolutely!
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at
explaining actions.
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores
and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city
without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built
streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on
residents
•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city
government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union
doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim
that she is pro-labor/pro-union.

WHY AM I WRITING THIS?

First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed
voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting
programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny +
Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local
government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I’ve always operated in the belief that “Bad things happen
when good people stay silent”. Few people know as much as I do because
few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don’t have a job she can bump me out
of. I don’t belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no
fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will
cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100
or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah’s
attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to
say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

CAVEATS
I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in
spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor)
from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of
Wasilla, and I can’t recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust
for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible
for a private person to get any info out of City Hall–they are
swamped. So I can’t verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the
population of Wasilla, ranging from my “about 5,000″, up to 9,000. The
day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the
current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was
5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to
2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.


August 31, 2008

Posted by: Outside the Box | September 3, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous:

Not sure where you got "Obama is great" by me watching C-SPAN or pointing out that Thompson was a Senator longer than Obama.

Posted by: JakeD | September 3, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

i cant see how a former mayor and current gov has the experience that a community organizer has for being pres v pres.by the way what is a community organizer ????

Posted by: billy hill | September 3, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener | September 3, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

In a small convention center full of empty seats, surrounded by national guardsman, an old man raises his voice to the assembled kool-aid drinking Party loyalists and reads his dog-eared speech claiming that everything is going great in America, despite what those "angry liberals" (why do they hate America??) say.

Boring! Thompson will put you to sleep! But he IS a celebrity!

Posted by: thebob.bob | September 3, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Jake D,

so your telling me Obama is great! So what else is new! Obama is great! It's good to see you've finally come to your senses and decided to vote for Obama! Good for you little buddy!

OBAMA/Biden '08

Posted by: Anonymous | September 3, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I don't watch much of GOP's conventions anymore. These usually turn into the uglist political event of election year. They were subdued for a few days because of the hurricane. Now they are moving into full throttle attack mode, one sledgehammer attack after another. No thanks.

Posted by: bgjd1979 | September 3, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Ted Danson:

Thompson was a United States Senator LONGER than Obama.

bgjd1979:

I watched both ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 3, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Thompson has never led a major labor organization, never served as governor, and never been considered one of the leaders of the conservative movement in this country.

So why was he appearing at the RNC?

Republicans live in their own paradox.

Posted by: Thompson should stick to acting not politics | September 3, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Thompson is an actor, and he also plays one on TV!

Posted by: Ted Danson | September 3, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Does Thompson have Down's Syndrome? That guy can't speak without choking on his tongue. And he was running for President?!

The RNC 2008 is looking more like a funeral wake than a rally.

Posted by: Thompson is an old windbag | September 3, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Jake, watch C-Span, no talking heads.

Posted by: bgjd1979 | September 3, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Very funny, Balz. Of course, Brian Williams and Tom Brokaw were talking over most of Thompson's speech, so he didn't even get to shine on NBC.

Posted by: JakeD | September 3, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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