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Sandra Day O'Palin?

Still absorbing her speech last night, I'm trying to understand how Sarah Palin could be so apparently unfazed by her current situation: She's in charge of a state government, just gave birth to a Down syndrome baby, has a pregnant teenage daughter and now it's "Gotta run, John McCain wants me to be vice president." But she's not only coping with the slings and arrows; she has fired back with gusto. It must be more than just religious faith, ambition or ideology.

She reminds me of another prominent Republican woman from the West: former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. O'Connor was much more moderate ideologically than Palin. With two degrees from Stanford, she had high-level intellectual training, which Palin lacks. But in personal terms, there are a lot of parallels.

O'Connor grew up on a remote desert ranch where self-sufficiency was the name of the game. It was the kind of place where all the kids had chores as soon as they were out of diapers. Her playmates were cowboys, and she tamed a bobcat for a housepet. As a mother of three in the Phoenix of the 1960s (a place a lot smaller than it is now), O'Connor was an irrepressible joiner of charities and causes, which led to local politics. She was nervous when Ronald Reagan plucked her from the obscurity of a state appellate court -- talk about not experienced enough for the job! -- but never let it show.

O'Connor's folksy demeanor cloaked a sharp pair of elbows and a spine of steel. Being a centrist, her former law clerks often told me, was not the same as being indecisive. While I was covering the Supreme Court many people who knew her attested privately to the fact that it was not wise to cross Sandra Day O'Connor on any matter, large or small. Many an unprepared attorney found that out at oral argument; I did, too, once when I tried to ask her a question that she did not particularly feel like answering. If looks could kill. ... No one ever called her Sandra Barracuda, but it would not have been unfitting. By the time she got done with two decades' worth of outflanking both liberals and conservatives on the court, she was the most powerful woman in America.

Maybe there's something about growing up in a challenging, male-dominated physical environment (desert, tundra), in a family where everyone's expected to get his or her job done (and there's no time for drama, fuss or introspection), that turns certain girls into very confident women -- women who love to play against the big boys, and love to win.

By Charles Lane  | September 4, 2008; 12:55 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
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Next: Cribbing From John Edwards


What a ridiculous spin. It's amusing to see all the pundit try and make Palin seem like a perfect candidate, just because McCain picked her. If you think Obama's inexperienced, you can blame the voters for deciding differently. But McCain's pick not only would be dangerous for the country should he expire, it reflects incredibly poorly on his own ability to judge, given that he only met her twice and didn't vet her half as well as he should have.

And having 5 children and a grandchild on the way doesn't impress me. Lots of people pop out little humans. It's NOT hard. What's hard is raising your children so that they know things like safe sex. Oh, and I guess it must be hard to not give them classic redneck/stripper names like 'willow'.

Posted by: ep thorn | September 4, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

epthorn is just one example of the kind of people supporting Barack Obama.

Posted by: dcp | September 4, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

These idiotic uppity people like the one commented above are the problem in this country. They think they know everything and about everybody as if these idiots were there during the vetting process. If you are not from Harvard or from a city, you are no good or unless you are named Edwards or Kerry. For all these folks, get a life and there is more out there than your tunnel vision.

Posted by: Paul | September 4, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I should be president.


I am good-looking (sans ears).


I can read a teleprompter like nobody's business. (I can't wing it like some ole governor if the teleprompter ain't working, though).


I am for you people in Scranton (before I am against you in San Franscisco).


I gotta come clean on something --- I don't what cave he's in, either.

Posted by: Community Organizer | September 4, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

There's many examples of the type of people supporting Obama as opposed to cranky old white men and bitter women desperate to vote for a uterus.

That market is locked up tight!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I am a female Westerner, born and raised in the male-dominated world of cattle ranching (Like former Justice Day-O'Connor). Mr. Lane has it exactly right. It does turn girls into confident women.

But what Mr. Lane missed in his analysis of Justice Day-O'Connor and Sarah Palin is that Westerners (as opposed to people of the West) understand the value of working together to create solutions and build communities is the true American dream. Justice Day-O'Connor and I saw that in the ranching communities where people came together and helped each other out for big jobs and small ones and making sure that all members of a community got the help they needed. It's not the "rugged individual" crap that Ronald Reagan popularized and Palin now embraces.

Palin may be a woman of the West, but she's no Westerner.

Posted by: A female Westerner | September 4, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

On a poignant note, Sandra Day O'Connor was not "done" with her work. She resigned a job she loved and excelled at, in order to care for her ailing husband, whose mental condition was deteriorating. He needed her, would wait patiently in her office every day for her to finish work and take him home, not really understanding anymore, but wanting to be with her. Eventually, she decided out of love for him that his needs came first. A man might well have done the same for his wife, or for his special-needs child. When it happens, he's praised, while she's just expected to do it, but that doesn't change what it is that is the right thing to do. Just because we are harsher on women than on men when they neglect their helpless loved ones -- or enlist their young daughters but not their sons as nannies -- doesn't make it right.

Posted by: Anne S. | September 4, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps, with "high-level intellectual training," Palin might have avoided the glaring contradictions in her speech. For example, Alaska doesn't need the federal government to build bridges, thanks to its hardy self sufficiency -- but the families of special needs children "have a friend in Washington." Whoa, Nelly. Any hockey mom worth her salt ought to be able to dress a moose (presumably not in Jimmy Choo) with one hand while taking care of that special needs child with the other. Special needs parents are the sole exception to "we need less government"?

Will the media ever, ever look at the substance of what the Republicans are saying? No, too afraid of being called sexist. (I was a Hillary supporter. She could take the heat. If Palin can't, let's not put her in the kitchen.)

Posted by: Jmls4 | September 4, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

She doesn't have to pay for medical and home care of her Down's baby - it's we taxpayers that pay for it - both in Alaska (where 75 percent of state revenue is federal tax dollars stolen from the hard working blue states to subsidize the welfare queen red states) and then in DC if she becomes VP.


Not words.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | September 4, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I mean, sure, the dig on the daughter's name was snarky, but everything else seems pretty fair. McCain doesn't even agree with most of the positions she holds--he just wants her because she appeals to a lot of insecure people who vote Republican (like many of the commenters above). In other words, McCain is saying, I don't care about what happens after me, I just want to get elected. That is cynical.

Palin is an abysmal choice. She wants to criminalize abortion even in cases of rape and incest. She is still an advocate for abstinence only sex-ed! She wants to drill in Alaska, despite the fact this will provide no oil surplus for at least 10 years, if not longer. She thinks that Iraq was a message from God to the American people. Does she have any foreign policy positions, other than that recognizing Russia is right across the way? Does she have any policy initiatives in the United States other than lower taxes (which is what everyone is, sadly and confusedly, saying)?

And her speech was incredibly disrespectful to Obama. I guess that's a sign of how much he threatens the right. But her basic strength is her admitted "pitbull" behavior. If that is what we want for a President, why not just elect Cheney.

Posted by: Come On | September 4, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

What? Palin is like O'Connor because they both grew up in the middle of nowhere?

In the words of the Sarah Silverman character in "School of Rock" - "Oh my God, he's an idi0t!"

Posted by: OMG | September 4, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

yeah- Sandra Day O'Connor, she's not. and it's kind of an insult to that extraordinary woman to act as though she is.

Rather than comparing their backgrounds while growing up- come on, that applies to a giantic chunk of the country- maybe you could pay attention to their substance.

When O'Connor wrote and spoke it was generally thoughtful, insightful, and substantive to the argument at hand- whether or not I agreed with it. I didn't hear Palin say anything last night other than a promise to help special needs children that wasn't an emotional ploy or a snide remark.

Posted by: jms | September 4, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Look buddy, you don't want to go there.

Sandra Day O'Connor and her ex-boyfriend William Rehnquist made their bones in the Republican party via racist, mean-spirited programs like "Operation Eagle Eye." (People can google that.)

Rehnquist, O'Connor, Goldwater, Marley, McCain... history will judge them based on a true account of their deeds. And it won't be pretty. Just wait. The arc of moral justice is long, and it leads to the truth.

Posted by: Deep Blue | September 4, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

She has children, and a busy job;
so now she should, what?
meditate into the compassionate
nature of beings not destined
to repeat the mistake,
of judging others,
as something less then human?
Oh, wait, she is getting a
very good lesson from you,
and still seems to have time
to change the world.
while you sit in your small
world and see yourselves
as so big.

Posted by: usa3 | September 4, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The speech was written weeks before the female governor was picked. press accounts admit that the speech was written with a man in mind. If the much touted VP candidates were really being considered were neither western or endowed with this spirit of independence that is now seen in the person delivering the speech. All seems quite contrived to me.

Posted by: Stormie71742 | September 4, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh, this article you have just written is a lot of BS, and I'm being polite! I can't believe the Washington Post actually pays guys like you to force feed BS like this.

Oh, the American Dream! Buy me a new Cadillac!

Posted by: sanity | September 4, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

ep thorn is an idiot and I hope not representative of the Obama voter.

It is insane not to give Palin the credit for being an amazing woman. She obviously is. The criticism I have of Palin is her positions.

Most Americans would love her family. She has been married for over 20 years and has five kids. Yes one made a mistake but her family is taking her and her future husband in and making them a part of the family. Not a bad example for others who would cast their children out for all kinds of mistakes and even becuase a child may be gay. Her husband is obviously totally involved in the family and again not something everyone can claim.

Again her views are the problem and I would focus on them. I want sex education taught in the schools, I want woman to have choice, I want gays and lesbians to have all the civil and human rights of every other citizen, i want states to have the right to drill but not make that our main energy source, I want the federal government to be more involved and pay more for public education, I want us to bring our troops home sooner rather than later.

If we fight on the issues we as Democrats may win. If we attack Sarah Palin's family and claim as a woman she can't do it all we may well lose.

Posted by: peter | September 4, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Why must everybody have a precedent? And in this case, b/c she's a woman, must have a female precedent? I've also heard her compared to Margaret Thatcher. She is nothing like either Thatcher or O'Connor.

Posted by: mypitts2 | September 4, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

It has been reported that Ms. Palin sought to ban a long list of books from the local library. The librarian quit in disgust. The list included the Harry Potter books; Huckleberry Finn; Tom Sawyer; Leaves of Grass; Little Red Riding Hood; To Kill a Mockingbird and many, many others. Little Red Riding Hood, for God's sake! I doubt Justice O'Conner would have advocated this. To paraphrase Sen. Bentson: "I have known [about] Sandra Day O'Connor, and Sarah Palin is no Sandra Day O'Connor."

Posted by: Zehda | September 4, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Palin is so much unfazed as besotted with the idea of being vice President. In neither instance does clear thinking play a part. In that respect she and John McCain are identical.

It's a different country these days. We've learned some very hard lessons along the way- lessons the republicans have yet to acknowledge or absorb and the main one is we aren't happy with the direction this country has gone. We have bigger, more important things to be concerned with than Palin's imperfect family life. And not only do we not need another 4 years of the same old same old, we don't need, or want a female Karl Rove.

Her speech was a classic example of the political and visionary bankruptcy of the republican Party. When you haven't got substance, give slogans, attack like a pit bull (in NYC that's no compliment), or outright lie, cheat and steal the office.

Without attacking her daughter for becoming pregant, you still can't overlook the incredible hypocrisy of the party of "family values." From teaching only sexual abstinence to cutting funds for poor, unwed mothers to moralizing about sin and values- Yet suddenly they're so understanding, as if the rest of the country who has had to suck up the hardships the republicans have forced on them is all oh, just no never mind. Palin's own values have to be called into question. If people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, Palin's ceiling is bound to be filled with cracks- and not the kind Hillary meant.

Posted by: nyc sparrow | September 4, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

A better comparison would be to Clarence Thomas.

Posted by: crunch | September 4, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Good GOD! Justice O'Conner and that little trailer trash loud mouth PAlin?

You were, weren't you, trying to be silly?
Make a point about Palin's bit mouth, or something?

Posted by: joking | September 4, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

This post is silly. Sandra Day O'Connor's court opinions had substance, and they weren't riddled with lies, vitriol, and invective. Sarah Palin is more like Antonin Scalia without substance.

It is as stupid for Lane to overhype Palin now as it was for him to underestimate her before. Lesson: He's not a reliable political obesrver and just sways with the bloviator breeze du jour.

Posted by: Steve | September 4, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Breathingly stupid column.

Sandra Day O'conner, of wit and grace and towering intellect...

and this pushy hustler? Who is this Lane, anyway?

Posted by: stupid | September 4, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The sad part is that all four of the choices for the highest offices in this great country provide sad choices for the voters.

A bright new , but in experienced young black man. A bright new but inexperinced young women An true war hero but 72 years old and a history of health problems. A old line washington insider with the same old tired politics. No really good choices. I and I think many voters will have a hard time feeling comfortable with our final selection.

All the name calling and fighting about who is the best will more likely boil down to who will do the least damage to the average Americans security, pocketbook and overall well being.

Posted by: reasoned | September 4, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Lets see we arent supposed to talk about her family yet she parades them out on stage.hmmmm can you say hypocrisy, oh im sorry that is the GOP Mantra, Hypocrisy at its best. These from the same folks who got their underwear in a bunch when a fictional TV character had a child out of wedlock. Say goodbye to the GOP............

Posted by: Pot calling Kettle | September 4, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"no time for drama, fuss or introspection"
we wouldn't want introspective leaders, now would we?

Posted by: vofreas | September 4, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

That's it? They both grew up tough because they lived in deserts/tundras? I mean, I know this is only week one for the press investigation of Palin, but I think we've gone beyond this.

Posted by: Brian | September 4, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

This is absurd. O'Connor is known for being a brilliant writer and thinker. Palin is a slick political operator who has published practically nothing except one op-ed in the New York Times asking to keep the polar bear off the endangered species list. But they're both women that grew up in sparsely populated areas, I guess for Lane that makes them the same. How'd Lane get this job?

Posted by: renu1 | September 4, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

All that book learnin and ranch raisin didn't keep SDO'C from joining the majority in Bush v Gore and stealing the 2000 election.

Posted by: Bartolo | September 4, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

While I'm concerned about Palin, I have to also say that I can't believe how childish the criticism is... it's like some of you have never spoken to a woman before and can't form a sentence... so you resort to schoolyard talk.

Look... there is plenty to explore and criticize about a person who is second in line to a possible President. For me, she opened the door wide on her hiring of lobbyists and support for the likes of Ted Stevens--- because she forcefully made her opposition to that behavior a piece of her biography.

She's just as open to the criticism around experience... because the truth is that she simply doesn't have much. Period. And we've got a short time to assess her.

Her social positions are very open to criticism because, from my perspective, they aren't mainstream and I'm concerned how she would govern. Do we want more of Bush style government where evangelicals are consulted over governing decisions?

Lastly and most importantly. You can and should question John McCain about his pick. It is his responsibility to put the best person in the #2 slot. If you believe she was picked to fire up the base with a secondary regard for her abilities (a valid question), then the risk is not John McCain's... it is ours.

Best of luck in adult debating.

Posted by: Rick | September 4, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

How did you manage to write for the WaPo? do you think this article will get you fired?

WaPo editors have been pro-Obama from the beginning. They got the staff trashing Hillary every chance they could make. The WaPo editors and most of the staff are obviously male chauvinists. They could not stand the thought of a woman becoming president, and they were totally intoxicated on Obama's snake oil.

Shortly, I expect the editors to start the staff to trashing Sarah. Facts don't matter, smack her boys and girls.

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

I am amazed once again of the adoration for this woman! There are many of us that struggle every day with the travails of life and very few of us are qualified for the second highest office in the country. If being a 'normal person' consists of hunting, four-wheeling, and hockey, then I must be out of the mainstream. Where I come from, I expect for people to have the skill and knowledge to lead. I expect that is a 'normal' view, but based on the criteria seen, I am no longer sure.

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

How refreshing and unusual. A fair and accurate opinion piece by a journalist!

Palin was outstanding. The complaints that she was too sarcastic and tough never would have been leveled, and have not,at a man. Her job is to be the attacker of the opposition party candidates and she performed excellently ( even though she is not a member of the cultural elite and did not attend an elite eastern college).

The progressive ( radical left ) and liberal Democrats, bloggers and media attacked her and her family viciously and relentessly, since she was annouced as the choice fo VP and she did not cry or ask to belong to the in crowd.

Posted by: rljmsilver | September 4, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Cry Obamanuts cry! you poor babies know your second coming is going to tank, so you're all upset.

Maybe your mommie can find your pacifier for you.

Posted by: William | September 4, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

In terms of jurisprudence, Sandra Day O'Connor held the middle. She was more conservative than I would've cared for, but she was in no way an ideologue or a foul-mouthed bully. I've never been offended by her on a personal level, as she was a person of grace who "preached" through quiet example. Her absence from the Supreme Court is greatly missed.

Now, who is this "Sarah" person you're comparing her to?

Posted by: John Paul Stevens | September 4, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Here is a prediction, McCain has lost more moderate Republicans than he has gained Right Wingers. Just listen to the callers on C-Span. They are the same comments I've heard from coworkers. None of them liked what happened last night and are now voting for Obama or staying home.

Middle America doesn't like in your face sarcasm, it's not tolerated at work, at home, or amongst friends. Palin may appeal to the Right and the Limbaugh/Hannity/O'Reilly crowd but the middle has been turned off. We like jokes just as much as the next guy but last night wasn't billed as a Comedy Roast, it was supposed to be a serious convention about serious issues.

Now I heard Rudy Guilianni saying that they were having fun? Perhaps they should've warned us first because I know some of their buddies who aren't laughing today. And they were very impressed by the One last Thursday. I never had to say a word to persuade them. It looks like someone else is going to have the last laugh.

Posted by: AverageJane | September 4, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

How ridiculous. Sandra Day O'Connor had a more-or-less world-class education. Sarah Palin, bless her heart, was educated to read the sports news on the television.

Posted by: David in Toledo | September 4, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

She was nervous when Ronald Reagan plucked her from the obscurity of a state appellate court -- talk about not experienced enough for the job!
You mean Sandra Day O'Connor has a law degree. A world of difference there mister.

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

A "liberal" Supreme Court!?!?!?!

What a load of hog wash––the conventioneers have no one to blame but their own party––there have been only TWO Democratic appointees to the Court in the past FORTY YEARS.

And bless her heart, Sarah Palin is an intellectual feather weight compared to O'Connor.

Alaska First!
USA Second!

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | September 4, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

What an absolute insult to Justice O'Connor.

There's no comparison between O'Connor and the "hockey mom". Good lord - enough of this hooey already. She did a good job reading her speech, but cripes - she's not mother theresa and ghandi rolled into one. She's an unqualified hayseed governor from alaska whos under and ethics investigation! Man are you folks easy to fool.

Posted by: Not fooled | September 4, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Most of you guys MUST be working with the Post or be indoctrinated by its liberal agenda. Geeze. I've never seen so much bitterness and hate in my life.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't recall Justice O'Connor sneering at community activists or using divisive wedge issues for cheap political advantage.

Posted by: Hillman | September 4, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Mister Lane, I understand you did a stint as the Post's Supreme Court reporter. However, do not assume that your experience on that beat is relevant to 2008 Presidential candidates. As many posters have noted, Sarah Palin's words sound much more like public utterances that would come fro Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia than from Sandra day O'Connor.

I suggest you look for your analogies elsewhere.

Posted by: Sasquatch | September 4, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I’m appalled that many here consider matriculating from an elite school and having a law degree is a prerequisite for leadership.

Can somebody tell me where Abraham Lincoln graduated from college at all?

Can somebody tell me where GEN Patton graduated in his West Point Class?

I dare any of you to compare your leadership abilities to any Marine or Army Sergeant who is responsible for more lives than most of you will ever be in your life.

I’ll follow the proven Leadership.

Posted by: Concerned Middle | September 4, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I am a moderate Republican, and have supported McCain for president since 1999. I have never voted straight-ticket for any party and don't plan to now. While I was initially shocked at his choice of Sarah Palin, that's just how McCain does things. Within 5 minutes of the announcement, I came around to liking Palin. While I disagree with her on several issues, I'm not any less likely to vote for McCain than I was before. Don't think for one minute that moderates will be deterred from the polls by the viscious rhetoric of Obama supporters against Palin.

Posted by: Chris | September 4, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry but this was not a one-eight degree parallel.

1). Sandra Day O'Connor was a college graduate of Stanford University with a major in economics and a law degree as well as served on the law review staff at the school. She was not a mom with soccer mom experience. She even dated the honorable Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist.

2). Justice O'Connor voted many times on the "left" which the right found abdominal. Especially on women's issues.

Miss Wasilla Pageant winner and second place as Miss Alaska does not have the intelligence and experience as Justice O'Connor and should not even be in the same paragraph or picture next to the Supreme Court Justice. This is an abomination story.

Posted by: jerry rubin | September 4, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

An apropos comparison as to background. O'Connor turned out to be a very practical and brilliant justice. We don't know about Palin, especially since she's not a lawyer, but her record is, apparently, a lot more moderate than her personal beliefs would indicate. I like the fact that, reportedly, she vetoed a same-sex marriage bill because the Alaska supreme court had ruled on constitutionality of such legislation. She suggested that this would require a constitutional amendment. Her personal beliefs did not interfere with reality and the law. Good on you, Sarah.

Posted by: Jackson | September 4, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Concerned Middle:

last time i checked, most people (not all, i'll certainly grant you) people who attended an ivy league school are smart. that would be why it's a factor that carries weight. I would definitely look at the school someone went to on any other job application. Seeing Harvard on there might not be the deciding factor, but it would certainly tell me *something* about the person's potential abilities. Just like going to West Point would tell me something- even if you graduate last in your class. it's tantamount to ivy league.

Secondly- can we stop with the comparisons to Lincoln? frankly, if he were alive today I'm sure he would have gotten a full scholarship to an excellent school. you're comparing apples to oranges.

and no- i didn't go to an ivy league one myself.

Posted by: jms | September 4, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

If a young girl was raped, and had an illegal abortion, would Palin send her to prison? Really, if abortion was illegal, shouldn't this hypothetical girl go to jail. . .in Palin's perfect world?

Think about it.

Posted by: Concerned Republican Mom | September 4, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Democrats, stop beating on Republican die-hards. PLEASE!!!

Keep in mind that party-loyal Republican lifeforms are blindly obedient. They do whatever they're told to do. And vote for whomever they're told to vote.

That's because CRITICAL THINKING goes beyond the abilities of these single-celled organisms. Being unicellular, they self-destruct once the use of that cell goes beyond breathing and feeding.

Posted by: UnabashedlyDemocrat | September 4, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

So one gets "real" knowledge by working the farm, and gutting moose, and being hockey moms, and participating in your local government. Right? And going to Harvard or Yale is elitest and unrealistic.

Didn't Chairman Mao say something similar when he closed China's universities and started the Cultural Revolution?

Posted by: No McCain/Palin 4 Me | September 4, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

This is what’s wrong with our politics. At the Republican convention, speaker after speaker just flat-out lied, and our news media isn’t calling them on any of it. YOU CAN’T GET THE STORY FROM THE PUNDITS.

They smeared Barack Obama repeatedly and told lies big and small.

Here’s just a few of them:

- Sarah Palin and John McCain claim that Barack Obama wants to raise our taxes, but the vast majority of families are way better off under Barack Obama’s plan. JOHN MCCAIN ACTUALLY WANTS TO TAX OUR HEALTH BENEFITS!!! Barack Obama’s plan only raises taxes on people with individual incomes over a quarter-million dollars.

- Sarah Palin and John McCain lie and claim that their plan is better for people like us. They don’t cut taxes for us hardly at all, and wipe out that cut with their plan to tax our health benefits!!!! Barack Obama actually cuts middle class taxes to try to restore fairness that was lost under Bush.

- Sarah Palin lied when she said Barack Obama had authored “no major law, not even in the state senate.” This is just a bald-faced lie. In fact, just in the US Senate, Barack Obama passed the most sweeping reform package since Watergate, and reached across party lines to pass, with Senator Lugar, legislation to help keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists and, with Senator Coburn, legislation to create a revolutionary database that makes government more transparent and accountable.

- Sarah Palin and John McCain continue to lie about Barack Obama’s energy plans. They keep pushing more drilling as the main answer to our problems, when it won’t do anything to lower the price of gas. And then they claim Barack Obama, in the words of Palin, “is against producing [more energy]. Barack Obama is for producing more clean energy and ending our addiction to oil. He has the most comprehensive energy plan of any Presidential candidate in history.

- The Republicans keep attacking Barack Obama’s plans for Iraq, even though the Iraqi government AND THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION just signed an agreement that follows the plan Barack Obama has been advocating for months.

- It’s the same thing on negotiations and diplomacy. Sarah Palin attacked Barack Obama for holding the position that the Bush Administration has belatedly been forced to adopt: holding direct talks with Iran. We’re too strong a country to be afraid of talking to Iraq.

It goes on and on. I’m tired of the lies. AND I’M TIRED OF THE MEDIA NOT TELLING US THE TRUTH ABOUT THEM!

Posted by: Proof of the LIES | September 4, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

The writer of this post is dead right. Sarah may be a good, genuine, woman, but we are talking about a woman that has no real experience or credentials! If Barack is inexperienced, what is she? Does she have what it takes to run a country? No way, she's got a lot of other responsibilities (along with her husband) to take care of with America aside.

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

How can you compare Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to a shrill, sophomoric empty dress? This is a Presidential election after all, not an episode of Queen for a Day. When I think of all the capable women on both sides of the aisle, this year's Republican pick is not one of them.

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

Democrats, stop beating on Republican die-hards. PLEASE!!!

Keep in mind that party-loyal Republican lifeforms are blindly obedient. They do whatever they're told to do. And vote for whomever they're told to vote.

That's because CRITICAL THINKING goes beyond the abilities of these single-celled organisms. Being unicellular, they self-destruct once the use of that cell goes beyond breathing and feeding.

Posted by: UnabashedlyDemocrat | September 4, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin quote in her acceptance speech V.P.:

"As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes, and whoever is listening, John McCain is the same man. I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment.
And I've learned quickly, these past few days, that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone."

"But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people."

"The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it."

"But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart."

"I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States. This was the spirit that brought me to the governor's office, when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau ... when I stood up to the special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies, and the good-ol' boys network."

"Sudden and relentless reform never sits well with entrenched interests and power brokers. That's why true reform is so hard to achieve."

"But with the support of the citizens of Alaska, we shook things up. And in short order we put the government of our state back on the side of the people."

"I came to office promising major ethics reform, to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is the law"

The question for both McCain and Palin is that if they are "Marvicks" and against the status quo and for ethic reform and win the White House, will they pursue Karl Rove and the Bush Administration, who are the Washington elite, in the corruption of the Justice Department, Valeri Plame, Jack Abramoff and the Don Segalman cases?

Posted by: the Monk | September 4, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

This country truly is divided, perhaps to the point of no return. Having read the comments above, it is hard to reconcile the vitrol and nastiness in the posts here with what I have been hearing all day at work. I have yet to hear at my office a negative comment regarding Sara Palin's speech last night, as it was intended to fire up the party and prepare it to contest the Presidency. Gee, what a surprise, it did!

Perhaps the issue is such that there is so much "Bush hatred" on the left that they cannot focus on anything else, good or bad. It is manifestly obvious, to anyone whose mind is not completely closed, that Barack Obama has absolutely no experience at anything other than running for office. He has not governed or managed anything, he has not produced any legislation, he has authored no programs or policies, and has lead nothing other than a campaign organization. And this is the man who is more "qualified" to be President than Sara Palin (who is NOT running for President!)? Say what you will, neither has as much experience as one might like, but honestly, isn't someone who actually has run a State, for at least some time, more "qualified" than a book-writing Harvard Lawyer? I mean, really....

Stop hating Bush and look at reality!

Posted by: Disheartened In the MidWest | September 4, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

She is unfazed because she knows--like our troops--she is "on a task from God." Yep, Sarah is fighting a holy war. I think some call it a jihad. But, um, I'll have to look that up. PS, Sarah, as someone on mudflats observed, Jesus was a community organizer, Pontious Pilate was a governor.

Posted by: travs | September 4, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Reading the comments on this page, it seems like you are either an "uppity elitist" or a redneck. Palin's speech only served to further entrench people into those categories. One thing I admire about Obama is that he addresses the middle ground: the person like me who is neither uppity nor elite, and who doesn't know how to field dress a moose. I just want a candidate who doesn't think the "American people" are a bunch of idiots, and who doesn't pander to their desire for a good personal story or a narrative. Yes, people are connecting with Palin in a meaningful way, and that's great. But I'd rather see them connect with Palin as a host of the The View than as vice president.

Posted by: Christina | September 4, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Palin is like Sandra Day O'Connor?! One finished second in her class at Stanford, fought actual discrimination, and rose to the top by her actual intellect, which is on display in thousands of pages of legal decisions. One of them finished at the university of Idaho then spent a couple years taping her boobs together for beauty pageants.

Posted by: dmw | September 4, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane:

This is the 2nd piece I have read by you today, and the 2nd piece I have (knowingly) read by you ever. So far you are batting 1000.

Yes, it is interesting to note both the similarities and the differences betwen Palin and O'Conner -- and to appreciate both.

One suspects that speech givers at the Republican convention would not generally extoll the virtue of graduate education, such as O'Conner achieved, just as speech givers at the Democratic convention don't feature a lot of non-anecdotal stories about people who take care of horses every morning.

But don't both types of experience make our country rich -- and our leaders better?

Please keep up the good work.

Posted by: John | September 4, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"I intend to give this campaign all that I have to give," she said. "And I look forward to these 60-plus days on the trail. My family looks forward to this, we're up for it, we're excited about it."

She did not take questions from reporters.

End of story...Still in lockdown.

Posted by: w | September 4, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Now you know THIS is how it really went down!!!

Meet John McCain--Sarah Palin's BEEATCH!

Posted by: KC | September 4, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Disheartened in the Midwest--you really ought to do your own homework and not take your lines from the Palin speech. Obama has authored a number of bi-partisan pieces of legislation and was instrumental in passing the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate. He worked across the aisle to secure nuclear waste and keep it out of the hands of terrorists, and the list goes on and on--you really ought to check it out. Palin, on the other hand, as a "reformer" hired a Washington lobbyist to secure $27million of your tax dollars for her little town of less than 7,000; running for governor she campaigned to secure those earmarks for the bridge to nowhere and as governor took the money for that bridge--she just didn't build it. She took the money and used it for her state--she didn't say "no thanks" as she claims. Then there is that little ethics probe...... Her experience and reform really are on the bridge to nowhere

Posted by: USneedsObama | September 4, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

So when is Hillary going to open her mouth and say Palin is not like her at all and no one should vote for Palin/McCain?

Posted by: SusieQ | September 4, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I suppose it's not too bold to think that John McCain, when he was told of Miss Palin's predicament, directed the marriage of Sarah's daughter to the tardy lover. The miscreant, suddenly realizing he had hit the jackpot, quickly agreed. Yet if the jackpot fails to materialize at the beginning of November , he can still go his own way, having lost nothing for the try. I find it hard to be critical of the young man, after all, opportunity knocks but once. I do wonder about John McCain, and his political instincts when they conflict with his morality.

Posted by: Dusty D.S. | September 4, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

I agree with EP Thorn.Palin gets a pass like McCain gets a pass because they're White.These are the very White Supremacists and Racists who claim Barack Obama is not fit to lead because he's Black(though they mask it in all kinda' codespeak).They replayed some of the comments that these same kinds of Racists and White Supremacists made when Britney Lynn Spears got pregnant at 17. Of course her parents were irresponsible and had too much on their plate and priorities all out of order and bad morals etc.But let one of the Racists who's Pro Guns(killing the Moose from the air) and Pro-Life(unless it comes to killing Black men with the Death Penalty) then they are HERO's for promoting teenage pregnancy.They're hypocrits and even professional commentators who you would think have some sense are duped by em'. Sarah Palin and John McCain and their Conservative Cult are exactly what we as Nation are trying to get away from and shame on any of us who aren't willing to speak on it.


Posted by: Realbrother | September 4, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what SDO former Scotus member and brilliant legal mind would have to say bieng compared to a tv journalist turned politican who tacitly endorse's a politclal party that main objective is seccison from the United States. As a veteran of many overseas deployment Sarah Palins views on the Alaska Independence Party are startling and worrisome to say the least. From a Arizona family who served, uncles and father served in combat during WW2 I find Sarah Palin to be shallow,I wonder though how my father find would a woman who seems to accept a seccoinst movement as competion.

Posted by: Pete | September 4, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

To: USneedsObama - Well, actually, I did do my homework, as I am from Illinios, and Senator Obama is, at least in name, my Senator. And he has been notably absent from any controvercial issue what-so-ever during his 4 year campaign for the Presidency, er, 4 year representation of our State in the Senate. If you mean by your remarks that he decided to cosponsor a bill that had 30+ cosponsors, ie "lets keep the nuclear waste out of the hands of terrorist" bill, Gee that took some political guts. I wonder how many folks were NOT sponsors.

You did not even contest my point that he is manifestly unqualified for the job, since there is no record of accomplishment or evidence that he can "reach across the aisle" for anything. Is the ethics bill called O'Bama-Feingold?? No, I guess not. At least he didn't vote "present" which is what he did in the Illinois state senate!

Senator Obama is a gifted speaker. He seems to be a good person, as some of his comments about families being off limits to reporters would certainly indicate. But he is also a wholely-owned subsidiary of the Chicago machine and the radical left of the Democratic party. (Name a single position where he disagrees with those two groups. There aren't any!) And regardless of your politics, you cannot say that the United States is a left of center country.

You need to stop reading the Obama press releases that consider actually voting for a bill in the Senate as "leadership"! Open your eyes! If the Democrats wanted a leader of acomplishment, they should have chosen Hillary. Instead, they have chosen a wonderful orator with no credentials and a far left wing agenda, and that is not what the country needs now.

Hey, here's an idea! Let's vote for a man who ACTUALLY served his country for his entire adult life! What a concept!

Posted by: DisHeartened in the MidWest | September 4, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

It frustrates me to no end that the Racists and White Supremacists continue to suggest that because Barack Obama is Black and no Black has been President that he can't be President and has no experience and has never Governed. It reminds me of the old days before Blacks played Quarterback and Point Gaurd in the NBA and before Tiger Woods. Its one thing to really lack the experience and ability to do a job, its quite another if 450 years of Racism, Slavery, Oppression and Discrimination has prevented Blacks from holding the highest Elected Office. At some point and time America has to develop enough sense to look at the experience of Obama in the context of 450 years of White Supremacy and realize that the experience LIE wouldn't be a factor if he were White.


Posted by: Realbrother | September 4, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Just a couple of critical differences between Palin and O'Connor that REALLY need to be reinforced and I quote:

"With two degrees from Stanford, she had high-level intellectual training, which Palin lacks." Not what I would call a minor difference...since one of those degrees was in Law!

"She was nervous when Ronald Reagan plucked her from the obscurity of a state appellate court -- talk about not experienced enough for the job!"

With all due respect, sitting on an appellate court, even at the state level, requires an understanding of both statutory and constitutional law - not that it's not a big step up, but it is not the same stretch in terms of the range responsibilities as moving from a small state with so much oil money that you can return it, to dealing with a huge federal government and foreign policy issues.

Posted by: Balletmom | September 4, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Real Brother here.

DisHeartened, you just did what I was saying was so frustrating for people who support Obama.You are taking the life experiences of White Racists, Supremacists and Black man hating lesbians and using that as a litmus test for Barack Obama and its unfair. Barack Obama's father and grandfather could have NEVER been Admerials in the US Navy during WWI and II. Barack could have NEVER graduated at the bottom five of his class and yet allowed to be a Fighter Pilot in Vietnam. He would have NEVER been able to dump his first wife and marry Cindy McCain and all her millions. Barack Obama could have NEVER been married to Bill Clinton thus gaining White House experience and facing sniper fire in Bosnia.All of this BEACUSE he's a BLACK MAN!!

Barack Obama could have NEVER become the Mayor of Wasilla or the Gov. of Alaska because he's a BLACK MAN. The fact is you guys have created a White Litmus test for a BLACK Presidential Candidate and its simply LAME. Micheal Jordan, Tiger Woods and Barack Obama may have different "experience" then White Racists or Supremacists(Black man hating lesbians) but that does not and should not preclude them from competing with the lesser qualified Idiots who are where they are for the most part because they are White.


Posted by: Realbrother | September 4, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

"Obama has authored a number of bi-partisan pieces of legislation and was instrumental in passing the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate."

Now who is swilling the koolaid and repeating lies here? John McCain is the unchallenged king of working across party lines on major legislation. Obama is nothing but the candidate of narcisism. You are not the we we have been waiting for!

Posted by: colorado kool aid | September 4, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Only an idiot - & a male idiot - would say that Palin reminds him of O'Connor. The two women could not be more different. Their life stories could not be more different - Stanford law for O'Connor, five iffy colleges in six year for Palin; long distinguished career in Arizona v. short hack work in Alaska; O'Connor was truthful, Palin is a liar, especially on federal welfare i.e. "earmarks" for Alaska; etc.
The only thing they have in common is that they each have a vagina, but I guess that makes them similar to some men.

Posted by: Freddie Mick | September 4, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Real Brother. Appreciate your comment. It makes sense to me.

Posted by: Jackie | September 4, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

You bismirch the name of Sandra Day O'Connor by having her picture on the same page with the mention of Palin. Get a brain!

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | September 4, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I loved reading and hearing the fear in the left wing Obama-loving media, bolgs. Even Obama and Howard Dean were frantic.
Sarah Palin is "everywoman." She is authentic, real and down to earth.
Her family has endured more scurrilous, unscrupulous media bashing in 6 days than Obama "the annointed one" has gone through it for 19 months- and none of the liberal media has asked him any hard questions about his background.
Tony Rezko funnelling 14 Million into BO's coffers
Rev. "G.D. America" Wright
Weakening our military.
Approving infantacide.
This socialist, elitist empty suit is a joke.
Hope Bill O'Reilly rips him a new one tonight on The Factor!

Posted by: Cunning Linguist | September 4, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Governor Palin, is from a rich state, and McCain likes to pick people (especially spouses) who 'have rich' somewhere; he hates anything to do with 'poor', dumps it right away, and takes full responsibility; for example, rich woman, rich friend, rich state, rich voter, etc., etc.

This election is about McCain (the 'hankey-pankey' about Supreme Court justices and who they remind you of is a no-no) and his supreme 'survival instinct', but only for himself; and therefore it is useless to talk about an obscure sexy politician (remember, as the entertainment industry will tell you, sex sells) thrown in your face at five minutes to twelve, because everyone has just been 'blinded' by that supreme survival instinct.

However, this is now serious, he is old and spent and traumatized, he is not a young old, and the juices don't flow no more in the right direction, meaning that there will be many more 'knee jerk' decisions, etc., and the US will feel the pain from those reactions (war, poverty, destruction, etc.), but Americans won't care, it was a good show (they like him), afterwhich they will go home on a bicycle to their mobile home. However, McCain won't like them, because he only likes anything having to do with rich.

Posted by: bobbiejoe | September 4, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Great article ... the obamacons are just resisting facing up to the truth that they voted for American Idol when they should have been voting for president ... there is a lot of truth in the similarities of these two outstanding women.

Posted by: Francisco Cardenas | September 4, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

It is really funny to read the praise that some of these bloggers have for Sandra Day O'Connor. Persons of their same ilk attacked her and tried everything in the book to stop her nomination to the US Supreme Court because Sandra Day O'Connor was " a right wing extremist".

Since the progressives (radical leftists) and liberal media, bloggers and Democrats have mostly not lived in a rural area, they cannot be expected to understand the values of small town America. Those values are integrity, honesty,dignity, love of America, service to their country before themselves, not playing victim and hating anyone different.

Posted by: rljmsilver | September 4, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

This comparison makes me queasy. Justice Day O'Connor is a great intellect and a person capable of any job in government. Ma Palin, described by somebody in a blog today as Rove in a Gidget costume, is ready perhaps for Mayor of Portland... maybe. Gidget is corrupt and a wacko, someone who favors Stone Age myth over science and unshakable faith over reason as a solution to problems. Thanks, but no thanks. Send Gidget back to the woods with a tube of vanishing cream.

Posted by: PJTramdack | September 4, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin isn't qualified to carry Sandra Day O'Connor's bra strap. I wish you national media idiots would stop drooling over this looney. Do you really want to sell this wacko to the public and have to live through four more years of misrule? Jeez, you guys are so incredibly stupid.

Posted by: Chuck | September 4, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Just repeating something I read elsewhere (oh don't I wish I had said it first): Jesus Christ was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a Governor.

Posted by: Worth a Repeat | September 4, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Chuck: You're right on! Not only will we get 4 more horrendous years, but also a Theocracy that will start the day Palin starts if they get elected. This woman is not only unqualified but also dangerous in the sense that she will do anything to advance the divisive agenda of the religious right. Her interests in censorship is already a matter of record and factual.

Posted by: sanity | September 4, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

My high school age son had an interesting comment when I forced him to watch it last night - "So, I have to pay taxes to provide medical insurance for her Down's baby? What's up with that?"

He's got a good point.

Speaking of which, it must be nice to be governor of a state that gets 75 percent of their budget from federal taxes taken from us hard working middle class Blue state taxpayers ...

Posted by: Will in Seattle | September 4, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Governor Palin pales to the intellect of Sandra Day O'Connor. At least the country was able to get to know Justice O'Connor through her Senate confirmation hearings. The GOP is planning on sequestering Palin so nobody can find out what she knows or doesn't know.

Posted by: Shari | September 4, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

This is from a Wasilla native who is not afraid to tell the real truth about Sarah Palin. Here is is:


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 initiative 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.


*"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 unconstitutional) .
*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.


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.


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.

Posted by: Lorna | September 4, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Sandra Day O'Connor would give you an even more withering look after this piece. Sandra Day O'Connor had two things that Sarah Palin has yet to demonstrate -- solid intellectual grounding in her positions and an understanding that ours is not a country of extreme positions. What is interesting is that you highlight these differences then glide over them. So far, Sarah Palin is no Sandra Day O'Connor. I'd like to see her show me that she is, but her recital of last night's speech shows only a great flair for playing the friendly crowd.

Posted by: Joe | September 4, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Hi Charles Lane

Stumbled across your most recent article in the Washington Post. No harshness intended but I don't know who you are but obviously a lot of other people do and they needed to respond. That's good.

Frankly, I watched Sarah Palin's speech from Canada until I couldn't stand the suspense of when she was going to break out her pom poms and go into backflips congratulating herself. Is she for real? Vice President of the United States of America? Is anybody at home there?

She's a pretty pathetic political candidate from an international viewpoint and we are watching with incredulity as to the gullibility of Americans. I know Americans couldn't care less about that, but then obviously they care even less about who's in the White House.

With sympathy.

Posted by: Linda Jamieson | September 4, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Lane you're an Idiot! The only thing Palin and Judge Sandra Day O'Connor have in common are they are both female. How long did it take you to figure that one out. Lane, the jury might still be out on this but I hear Palin is a lot like Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra and Susan B Anthony too!

Posted by: dre7861 | September 4, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Sarah is going to force Barry to call upon the Clintons to run a virtual campaign for not only the VP slot, but even the presidency. The best way to fight Sarah and crew (especially after a potentially catastrophic VP debate) , is the make the voter feel that a vote for Barry is a vote for Hillary. Somehow we need the Clintons to campaign like it is their election.
Barry will be on Fox tonight, the exact time of McCain's speech. Cool! The man knows how to rub it in their face. And it should also detract from the amount of viewers watching the RNC speech. Its that Chicago Southside coming out.

Posted by: fly | September 4, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I saw this on youtube and I thought it was interesting. I never knew that Palin wants Alaska to be separated from the US?

Is that why she wanted to give birth to Trig in Alaska?

This is in the jed report:-

In March, 2008, Sarah Palin recorded a video welcoming the convention of the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), saying "we have a great promise to be a self-sufficient state, made up of the hardest working, most grateful Americans in our nation."

In October, 2007, Dexter Clark, the AIP's vice chairman, was recorded on video saying that Palin had been a registered member of the AIP before switching to the GOP to be viable.

In the same video, Clark says "the Federal goverment is just plain a monster" and "we don't say we are Americans, we say we are Alaskans."

Clark's comments were delivered at "The Second North American Secessionist Convention" in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

AIP's motto is "Alaska First. Alaska Always."

John McCain's 'Alaska First' Problem

Alaska Independence Party - Part 1

Alaska Independence Party - Part 2

Posted by: Scared Republican | September 4, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

.... seriously?

um, i respectfully disagree with Mr. Lane.

Posted by: incredulous. | September 4, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

To Real Brother: Your point is complete nonsense. There is no litmus test here, other than one you created in your own mind. If you were correct, there could be no Colin Powells, no Condolezza Rices, and no other black men and women of distinction. Colin Powell has somehow made a lifetime of service to the country without the "advantages" you claim are the "litmus test".

Why on earth can we not actually "judge a man on the strength of his character rather than the color of his skin?" Why is it that YOU must judge a person by their race rather than what they have or have not accomplished?

As I said, Senator Obama seems to be a genuinely good person. He lacks, in my judgement, any realistic experience or accomplishments to be President. There are MANY people of color who would be qualified, two of whom are listed above. Get over it, and stop assuming that everyone makes their decisions based on race as you obviously do.

Posted by: DisHeartened in the Midwest | September 4, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree that this point of view is just ridiculous spin - and what an insult to the accomplishments of Sandra Day O'Connor. To put them in the same league is just amazing.

I grew up in midwestern Oklahoma in the middle of nowhere and it didn't make me tough. What made me tough was getting a quality education and being exposed to diverse points of view.

If you ask me, a better explanation is that Sarah Palin is bipolar.

Posted by: Linda | September 5, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe I have found a reasonable voice in this God Forsaken Place.
Thank you for speaking with intelligence instead of liberal bias. That is something sorely missing at WAPO. Liberal bias seems to be the norm with a healthy dose of stupidity added for good measure.

Posted by: RED | September 5, 2008 1:48 AM | Report abuse

So are you saying that McCain should have picked Sandra Day O'Connor as a running mate, or that Sarah Palin should be nominated to the Supreme Court? I'd bet the latter, after all O'Connor uses both her last name and her husband's - a sure sign of a liberal.

Posted by: Jess Whitlaw | September 5, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I'm not convinced that either McCain and Palin are capable of positive real change in this country. To begin with, and with all due respect for McCain's military background, neither of them represents Americans of today. Neither one of them are in touch with the realities of the problems this country truly faces. And they are incapable of intelligently discussing these issues.

The choice of Palin by McCain displays his ineptness. She has no meaningful experience worth a hoot regardless of the spin doctors. And I could deliver a speech just as well if Mr. Gerson or the actual speechwriter wrote one for me to deliver.
After all, she was well coached. She did a good job of it, there's no denying that, but delivering a speech does not qualify you to be Vice President or more likely President.

McCains health is a major issue also here.
After eight disastrous, wasteful years of Bush do we as patriotic Americans want not only more of the same, but additional devestating agendas from the Supreme Court and the religious right? I think not!

Posted by: sanity | September 5, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

That is the stupidest analogy I've ever seen.

Posted by: nicekid | September 5, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

(Late to this post, but...) This analogy dissolves even more quickly than Capehart's Eve Harrington effort. The differences Lane cites between Palin & O'Connor--SDO "much more moderate," "a centrist," "high-level intellectual training"--which he dismisses as 'aside from that', are actually qualities one would consider, er, critical to SDO's admirable execution of her job on the Court. If what Palin and O'Connor have in common just boils down to the Western personal story & character, sharp elbows, and spines of steel, Lane hasn't made much of an argument for Palin's suitability for the job she's been offered. Unless personality traits are primarily what voters should consider. As for me, especially at this time in American & global history, I'd like a candidate to bring at least VP-worthy "beef" to the position -- as O'Connor brought Court-worthy beef to hers.

Posted by: kanneca | September 5, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

With apologies to Justice O'Connor, I would never compare her to candidate Palin.

Justice O'Connor would never be described as a pit bull in lipstick. I never heard her trash talk her competition. She is one of the most reasonable conservatives ever appointed to the court and as the voice of reason, was often a swing vote on a divided court.

I don't envision candidate Palin ever compromising for the good of anyone except herself!

Posted by: DaveinStLouis | September 5, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is so interested in her own future, she is willing to throw her pregnant 17-year old daughter to the wolves to get there. If she was really worth our vote, she would have turned down McCain's offer saying that the timing is not right. She needs to put her family first. Instead, she is out there announcing to the world that her 17 year-old daughter is pregnant. Is she going to throw us to the wolves the first opportunity she gets if it means she will get ahead. Also, if she is so tough, why is everyone unwilling to attack her the way we would attack any other candidate. McCain said we couldn't go after her, and so Obama and the media are handling her with kid gloves...if she is so tough, put on the boxing gloves and go after her to the American people as she really is - someone who uses her office, no matter which one she holds, to get whatever she wants, no matter who she has to step on to get there.

Posted by: Angry Mother in Oregon | September 5, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

My question after reading this and the last column from this so-called pundit:

Has Michael Lane always been stupid? Or has he cracked under the pressures of writing drivel on deadline?

I think Mr. Lane needs a long rest.

Posted by: Another Incredulous | September 6, 2008 1:54 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious that you and your far left leaning elitist friends are desperate. Your idiocy is unbearable. In 1984 your paper gagged us with so many glowing articles in support of the painfully inexperienced, 3 term congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro VP nomination, it was obnoxious. Apparently, things haven't changed since extremely bias bloviating is still alive and well at the Post.
I often wonder how sleaze peddlers passing themselves as journalist, like yourself sleep at night. Obviously you are frightened that the hoi polio as finally begun to wake up to the fact that Obama's far-left blame America first policy platform is not in their interest. By the way, did you condemn Ms Pelosi, for running for the Senate while 1 of her 5 children was still in high school?

Posted by: cris | September 6, 2008 5:10 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious that you and your far left leaning elitist friends are desperate. Your idiocy is unbearable. In 1984 your paper gagged us with so many glowing articles in support of the painfully inexperienced, 3 term congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro VP nomination, it was obnoxious. Apparently, things haven't changed since extremely bias bloviating is still alive and well at the Post.
I often wonder how sleaze peddlers passing themselves as journalist, like yourself sleep at night. Obviously you are frightened that the hoi polio as finally begun to wake up to the fact that Obama's far-left blame America first policy platform is not in their interest. By the way, did you condemn Ms Pelosi, for running for the Senate while 1 of her 5 children was still in high school?

Posted by: cris | September 6, 2008 5:11 AM | Report abuse

Let's see the Republicans gave us some Pit Bulls called Cheney and Rumsfeld. Now McCane halls out Sarah, who claims to be a Pit Bull with lipstick. Now isn't that special! Just what this country needs to crawl out of the dumpster the last 8 years has put us in. Some Bowwows

Posted by: zabsad2 | September 9, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

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