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Palin's Embrace of Earmarks

POSTED: 12:10 PM ET, 09/ 2/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, selected by Sen. John McCain as his running mate, has largely burnished her reformer image by repudiating wasteful spending.

But as a small-town mayor and a governor Palin did not hesitate to embrace the federal earmark process, according to a Washington Post report by Paul Kane that shows Palin helped secure almost $27 million in projects for her tiny hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.

Among the spending projects Palin helped obtain through the earmark process: $500,000 for a youth shelter, $1.9 million for a transportation hub, $900,000 for sewer repairs and $15 million for a rail project, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan watchdog group, Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Palin, who was mayor of Wasilla from 1996 to 2002, directed the town (which then had a population under 7,000) to hire the Anchorage-based lobbying firm of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh (The New York Times notes that earmarks are "close to sacrosanct" in Alaska).

(Note: The Times put a number for Palin's earmarks for Wasilla at "more than $8 million.")

And during Palin's tenure as governor, Alaska requested 31 earmarks worth $197.8 million in next year's federal budget, The Los Angeles Times reports, citing the Web site of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A McCain campaign spokeswoman, referring only to Palin's record as governor, told The Times that "she took the lead in slashing wasteful spending." According to The Anchorage Daily News, Palin said she routinely met with Washington officials to discuss the budget and earmarks process.

"It was about being face-to-face with those who were actually writing the budget," she told the newspaper in 2006.

But, as the Republican National Convention began this week, the McCain campaign appeared to dismiss many of the reports of Palin's earmark prowess.

"When she got more involved in what these programs were, she has taken a strong and consistent stand against them and she's actually exercised what they estimate to be the largest line-item veto in Alaska state history," McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer told CNN. "I think what all that shows is that when you get in the governor's seat, where you have to do trade-offs."

See an excerpt from the CNN interview here:

By Derek Kravitz |  September 2, 2008; 12:10 PM ET
Previous: The Daily Read | Next: Palin Coverage Focused on Daughter and 'Troopergate'


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Sounds like a conservative to me.

Posted by: bernie | September 2, 2008 1:01 PM

Alaska is a welfare state. Palin is the executive welfare mom. And now she even has the unmarried mom thing goin' on. I can't wait to hear the Republicans talk about what a fine young man the Baby-Daddy is.

McCain's first executive decision was a bad one. Palin defends abstinence-only sex education because of ideological principles. Even in the face of the fact that it (and her own family-based teaching) failed to prevent the pregnancy of her own daughter, she still argues ideology instead of facts.

We've had two terms of an anti-fact, anti-science, ideological administration. We can't afford another.

Bush/Cheney/McCain. No More Years!

Posted by: thebob.bob | September 2, 2008 1:23 PM

John McCain has criticized Barack Obama for not having the experience needed to be President. And then John McCain, a 72-year old with a history of health problems—INCLUDING CANCER!—picks Sarah Palin as his running mate, to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Let’s compare Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. Ask yourself how the responsibilities each shouldered compared. And then ask yourself who has the REAL experience needed to be President.

Sarah Palin:

4 years on the city council of Wasila, Alaska (1992-1996)
4 years as mayor of Wasilla (1996-2002)
2 years as Governor of Alaska, 2006-2008

Barack Obama:

7 years in the Illinois Senate (1997-2004)
4 years as US Senator from Illinois (2004-2008)

Total time spent holding elected office:

Sarah Palin: 10
Barack Obama: 11

Now, let’s compare Illinois and Alaska (along with beautiful Wasilla) to get a feel of the responsibilities Sarah Palin and Barack Obama faced comparing the two states and how they stand nationally:


Illinois: No. 5 with 12.85 million people
Alaska: No. 47 with 683,000 people
Wasilla, Alaska: 6715 people

Illinois has 18.8 times the population of Alaska.
Illinois has 1914 times the population of Wasilla.

State budgets:

Illinois: $65 billion
Alaska: $5.5 billion
Wasilla, Alaska: $12 million ($0.012 billion)

Illinois has 11.8 times the budget of Alaska.
Illinois has 5417 times the budget of Wasila.

Gross Domestic Product:

Illinois: $560 billion, no. 5 nationally
Alaska: $39 billion, no. 45 nationally

Illinois contributes 14.4 times as much to the national gross domestic product as does Alaska.

Now, let’s look at how Illinois and Alaska govern themselves. Which state is more addicted to federal aid, which state has more bureaucrats, and which state sucks up more revenue from its citizens:

Federal aid per capita:

Alaska: No. 1 at $3699 per person. WE’RE NUMBER ONE! WE GET THE MOST FEDERAL WELFARE!
Illinois: No. 40 at $1176 per person

Alaska receives 3.15 times as much federal aid per person as Illinois! And this does not include the Bridge to Nowhere. It’s gone nowhere so far, but who knows what might happen if we had a President from Alaska who supported the Bridge to Nowhere before it became politically unfashionable.

State governmental full-time employment per 10,000 residents:

Illlinois: 104, no. 50--DEAD LAST nationally in the relative size of its government!
Alaska: 370, no. 2! Second in the nation in the size of its government! Oh, no, we’re not number 1! But we’re close!

Alaska has 3.56 times as many government employees per capita as Illinois!

State government revenue per capita:

Alaska: $13,446 per person. Number 1 nationally. WE’RE NUMBER 1! WE HAVE THE BIGGEST STATE GOVERNMENT!
Illinois: $4819, no. 37 nationally.

Alaska extracts 2.78 times as much revenue from its citizens as Illinois!

Traffic fatalities per 100 million miles driven:

Alaska: 2.02, no. 10 nationally
Illinois: 1.24, no. 37 nationally

Alaskans kill themselves in traffic accidents almost twice as often as residents of Illinois. Maybe Alaskans are worrying more than Illini about their governor taxing them, increasing the number of state bureaucrats, and milking the American taxpayer for federal welfare. And maybe they’re worrying about a President Palin!

Something to think about!

Posted by: Garak | September 2, 2008 1:29 PM

If every mayor in the US had been as successful at lobbying for earmarks as Palin was for her 7,000 constituents during her years as mayor of Wasilla, US cities and towns would have averaged over $200 billion a year in pork barrel money. Perhaps McCain is counting on Palin to help him find that $100 in federal budget cuts he keeps telling us he can find "tomorrow" but never gets around to specifying.

Posted by: FGNY | September 2, 2008 1:50 PM

Garak, just a fact check you double counted Obama in 2004. He was elected Senator in the fall of 2004. He began serving in 2005.

So it is 7 years in Illinois State Senate ans 3 years as US Senator from Illinois.
That brings you back to 10 years.

Also, for his 3 years a US Senator, you would have to divide Chicago by 2, since he is Senator. Although most State statistics you indicate really fall under the Governors responsibility.

And for the 7 years in State Senate, there are approximately 60 state senators, so you would need to divide by 60, or count his 13th district numbers specifically. Which, I assume would be the better number as he was probably from a higher populated Urban district.

Posted by: Sean | September 2, 2008 2:02 PM

"Posted by: thebob.bob | September 2, 2008 1:23 PM "

Thanks for your post. Hope this gets wide WWW coverage.

Posted by: Sam | September 2, 2008 2:03 PM

Obama couldn't shine Palin's shoes!

Posted by: Nobama | September 2, 2008 2:03 PM

Garak, I guess we know why you chose Alaska. All the welfare.

Posted by: Becky | September 2, 2008 2:04 PM

McCain used bad judgement when he oicked Palin. Hope she does not have more surprises. mcCain was impulse on his pick, he gambled we do not need a gambler for president

Posted by: Bev | September 2, 2008 2:08 PM

Where's the investigation into Biden's earmarks? And Obama's?

And Biden's son's lobbying efforts?

Will that make it onto WAPO?

Probably not.

Posted by: RightPOV | September 2, 2008 2:13 PM

Yawn, no surprises here...I guess this is what a "maverick" does...Say one thing and do another, I will not be voting GOP. More of the same...

Posted by: Lola | September 2, 2008 2:18 PM

To BobBob, picking on someones personal and family values that is a Republican thing you as a liberal left democrate, to pick on a 17 year old girl and the father of her child who is willing to take responciblity for there actions is discusting, you should leave that territory alone, Garak you can quote all the stats that you like about Barak but you lost me when you said Sarah Palin was Mayor for 4 years, 1996-2002 is 6 years. If you subtract 1996 from 2002 and get 4 then the rest of your stats meen nothing. Guess you went to a touchy feely left leaning school where if you try that is the main thing getting the answer right doesnt meen a thing.

Posted by: John | September 2, 2008 2:19 PM

Posted by: jtool | September 2, 2008 2:22 PM


Here's another comparison:

Close associations with known domestic terrorists, racist preachers, black muslim radicals, slumlords, admitted use of illegal drugs, flip-flopping on ever issue addressed and lying:
Obama-google it up

Posted by: viejo1 | September 2, 2008 2:22 PM

Garak, as I read your stats on Alaska and particularly the fatalilties in highway accidents, I couldn't help but remember that most of the population lives in towns that are on islands or perched on cliffs overlooking open water. There are very few connected by highways. Since much of the travel in Alaska is done by small planes, boats, and dogsleds, did you included these in your figures? Anyway, there is no comparable experience between Illinois and Alaska. Thanks for the data. It seems clear that the Obama/Biden ticket will meet the needs of the nation so much more effectively than McSame even with his outlandish choice for a running mate.

Posted by: mzdrjune | September 2, 2008 2:23 PM

Am important but most often neglected measure of capability to govern is one'a ability to involve thinkers and doers of various backgrounds, views, and talents, and then weigh these critically in reaching a decision. Obama's history reflects just this critical measure of capability to govern. Counting years in office is important but I believe even more important is access to talent, an ability to use that talent, and years of practice thinking critically about the major problems that our world now faces. Obama's years as President of Harvard Law Review, as a professor at the University of Chicago, an organizer and in the Senate of IL and the US give him that talent in abundance as his colleagues in those forums so readily attest. Palin may be feisty but her almost non-existent links to the critical issues of the day and the ongoing experience of talking, reading about them and struggling to reach answers are profoundly troubling in this very difficult world we now live in.

Posted by: Martha Holstein | September 2, 2008 2:30 PM

Maybe there is really a God and He makes the republicans pay for all they have done in His name

Posted by: Lulubou | September 2, 2008 2:36 PM

Just for fun--here's what Karl Rove said on Face the Nation awhile ago about his expectations for how Obama would pick his running mate.

"I think he's going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice," Rove said. "He's going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he's going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He's not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president."

Rove singled out Virginia governor Tim Kaine, also a Face The Nation guest, as an example of such a pick.

"With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years, he's been able but undistinguished," Rove said. "I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America."

Rove continued: "So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I'm really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States? What I'm concerned about is, can he bring me the electoral votes of the state of Virginia, the 13 electoral votes in Virginia?'"

Sad, sad, sad...Republican political establishment is worthless.

Posted by: teh internets | September 2, 2008 2:38 PM

"Is the McCain campaign afraid of an 'October surprise' involving vice-presidential pick Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska?

The Alaska state senator running an investigation of Gov. Palin says the McCain campaign is using stall tactics to prevent him from releasing his final report by Oct. 31, four days before the November election.

"It's likely to be damaging to the Governor," said Senator Hollis French, a Democrat, appointed the project manager for a bi-partisan State Senate Legislative Counsel Committee investigation of claims that Palin abused her office to get the Alaska public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, fired."

Posted by: Lame McSame | September 2, 2008 2:44 PM

RightPOV: The Wash. Post already wrote a story about Obama's earmarks months ago -- that is unless you just started learning to read this week.

Posted by: David, Des Moines | September 2, 2008 2:47 PM

Didn't mention Palin's lie about the
'bridge to nowhere'.

She said Saturday that she nixed it and noted "if we wanted a bridge, we'd built it ourselves."

Not so...she didn't say that until it had been eliminated by the feds here.

She has made a fool of McCain not telling the truth about her daughter, too. DOES ANYBODY THINK evangeslists would've okayed her if they'd known?

This is getting so silly. Truth, reason and
any sense of reality gone gone gone.

Posted by: silly | September 2, 2008 2:54 PM

Palin's Lobbyist Has Abramoff Ties

"...But Silver appears to have additional ties that could further undercut Palin's image as a squeaky-clean reformer. According to Senate lobbying disclosure reports examined by TPMmuckraker, from 2002 to 2004 Silver listed as a client Jack Abramoff's lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig. On Greenberg's behalf, Silver lobbied the federal government on "issues relating to Indian/Native American policy," "exploration for oil and gas" and "legislation relating to gaming issues" -- the very issues that Abramoff headed up for Greenberg at the time. In other words, Silver appears to have been a part of "Team Abramoff."..."

Posted by: Steviemo in MN | September 2, 2008 2:54 PM

Head of State

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

"No Surprises From Palin, McCain Team Says"-Washington Post

Senior McCain officials described themselves as "unsurprised" today as huge storms of locusts flew from Wasilla, Alaska and descended upon McCain campaign headquarters. "Locusts were vetted. Locusts were vetted in the vet" said one campaign official, who spoke without attribution out of concern that he would be devoured by a verminous flying cloud. The campaign also said that they were nonplussed by reports that the rivers were running black with ashes, that family pets were begin to speak in human voices, declaiming "Release Sarah!", and that a huge spreading stain was beginning to blot out the Northern sun. "Vetted", said the campaign.

"There are exciting new studies that show that locusts can be used as a source of biodegradable fuel" said Newt Gingrich, as he hunkered down to avoid the black marble obelisks falling from the sky around him. "Palin, if she can be said to have played a role in bringing about these new biofuel resources, should be praised for her innovative role in the solution to our future energy demands".

"These events firmly demonstrate Palin's deep connection to traditional modes of traditional expression, in traditional forms, traditionally." said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard. "Experience, in the face of these more traditional events, is overrated..." continued Kristol, before ending the interview to wrap himself head-to-toe in mosquito netting and swallowing a bitter tasting anti-malarial drug, the taste of which, as his lips contorted, he noted to be "surprisingly refreshing."

Palin's schedule in the upcoming days of the Republican National Convention has been cut short due to, as one McCain communications aide reported, a desire not to "let the magic out of the bottle too quickly." "Sarah is a precious resource, who each moment brings a new vitality and energy to every worker on the campaign" said the aide, while fighting to remove the nest of serpents which had suddenly materialized on the floor beneath him, and were now slowly ascending his legs. "Do these bite, or just slink?" asked the aide, who spoke on conditions of anonymity so as not to provoke or otherwise alienate the reptiles.

Meanwhile, as the heavens darkened, the seas began to boil, and a deep voice tore through the clouds shouting, in stentorian tones to one and all: "It was a Mistake!", campaign offices described themselves as "unperturbed". "Serpents materializing, house pets suddenly called to vocal advocacy, Celestial callings to revise and repent...Vetted" said the spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was turning into a pillar of salt. "Everything that was vetted was vetted in the vet."

Head of State:

Posted by: Robert Hewson | September 2, 2008 2:55 PM

WHY do we dismiss the fact that Obama was a professor of constiutional law,

the president of the HARVARD Law Review?

While this ditz was graduating far down her class (just like McCain, both not that bright..) with a minor in poli sci at
a small state school.

THANK GOD I no longer have to spout republican talking points anywhere. The spouters look like idiots or worse. Worse.

Posted by: Mandy | September 2, 2008 2:56 PM


All those earmarks, the quick inexplicable rise from city council to governor?

Stinks...doesn't happen in real life.


And that fact that the life long Letch McCain chose her so fast...she must exude some kind of sexual murmer? All those children...and the 17 year old too...

Posted by: Rasia | September 2, 2008 2:59 PM

"Palin family.. just like average Americans."

No they are not. Most 17-old American girls do not get pregnant while in high school. I am tired of this "Average' crap.

We need our leader are intellectually and morally better than the average Joe/Jane. Let us not dumb-down our leaders.

Posted by: Sam | September 2, 2008 3:07 PM

1996-2002 is 6 years, not 4. Just FYI, Garak. If your facts aren't right from the beginning, you are just full of hot air.

Posted by: Mike | September 2, 2008 3:17 PM

This is Getting very SNL. found more fun and laughs.
— Palin didn’t back McCain in the primary. She stayed neutral in Alaska’s January primary — perhaps on account of McCain’s opposition to drilling in ANWR. “A lot of us are sitting back and waiting to see if there will be new players in there," she said in 2007. "That’s probably why that box that says ‘none of the above’ is so popular right now."

— Mayoral performance. Palin, who portrays herself as a fiscal conservative, racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla — that amounts to $3,000 per resident. She argues that the debt was needed to fund improvements.

— Stevens and Young, redux. Palin has distanced herself from the state’s two most popular politicians, but both appeared at Palin fundraisers during her 2006 gubernatorial bid.

— The environment. As governor, Palin vetoed wind power and clean coal projects, including a 50-megawatt wind farm on Fire Island and a clean coal facility in Healy that had been mired in a dispute between local and state governments.

— And, maybe, censorship. According to the Frontiersman newspaper, Wasilla’s library director, Mary Ellen Emmons, said that Palin asked her outright if she "could live with censorship of library books.” Palin later dismissed the conversation as a “rhetorical” exercise.

Posted by: WOW Nelly | September 2, 2008 3:17 PM

— Palin didn’t back McCain in the primary. She stayed neutral in Alaska’s January primary — perhaps on account of McCain’s opposition to drilling in ANWR. “A lot of us are sitting back and waiting to see if there will be new players in there," she said in 2007. "That’s probably why that box that says ‘none of the above’ is so popular right now."
— Mayoral performance. Palin, who portrays herself as a fiscal conservative, racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla — that amounts to $3,000 per resident. She argues that the debt was needed to fund improvements.
— Stevens and Young, redux. Palin has distanced herself from the state’s two most popular politicians, but both appeared at Palin fundraisers during her 2006 gubernatorial bid.
— The environment. As governor, Palin vetoed wind power and clean coal projects, including a 50-megawatt wind farm on Fire Island and a clean coal facility in Healy that had been mired in a dispute between local and state governments.

Posted by: Ooo.. Nelly | September 2, 2008 3:17 PM

1996-2002 is 6 years, not 4. Just FYI, Garak. If your facts aren't right from the beginning, you are just full of hot air.

Posted by: Mike | September 2, 2008 3:17 PM

You can put crap in a pretty bag or a plain bag, apink bag or a blue bag, a big bag or a little bag, but it's still a bag of crap.

Posted by: This just in | September 2, 2008 3:18 PM

nice to see she's old school politician.Learned well from the king of earmarks, Ted Stevens with his over 5 billion taken home to Alaska.

Posted by: pinkydink53 | September 2, 2008 3:29 PM

I assume these earmarks were voted on by Senate dinosaur Biden, ( but not Obama, who found Senate duties a distraction from his Presidential ambitions.)Apparently, Alaska should have bagged the earmarks which the beltway media believes should have gone to their locales.

Posted by: Mensa Dude | September 2, 2008 3:32 PM

Mandy, you raise a critically overlooked point. We have the rare opportunity who elect a president who has actually READ, STUDIED, AND UNDERSTANDS THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. That's what the guy is about.

Don't Americans care about that anymore?

Posted by: whoputsamericafirst? | September 2, 2008 3:35 PM

"Close associations with known domestic terrorists, ..."

What would you call a group that advocates secession from the United States and whose founder says "I have no love for American or her damn institutions"?

Sarah Palin wanted Alaska to secede and nominally joined the Republican't party as part of the AIC's plan to infiltrate both the Republican't and Democratic parties in furtherance of their goal of secession.

She's the Manchurian Candidate in this bunch.

Posted by: No Way No How No McCain | September 2, 2008 3:46 PM

Hockey moms are swell and all....but I don't know a single one of them fit to be VP of the US. I'm confident that over 90% of hockey moms would agree as well.

Who hires a VP after only meeting them once anyways? What kind of judgment does that show? (answer is very poor judgment)......

Posted by: Hockey mom's ain't VP material... | September 2, 2008 3:48 PM

To John: To quote you: "Guess you went to a touchy feely left leaning school where if you try that is the main thing getting the answer right doesnt meen a thing."
At least he went to school! If you accuse someone of making errors, DON'T MAKE ANY YOURSELF!!! You know, the whole "living in glass houses" thing. Your comment is so rife with spelling, punctuation, grammar, and usage errors as to be virtually unreadable. Try "getting the answer right" yourself for a change.
I would have been ashamed to have written your "essay" when I was in the third grade.
Typical wing-nut stuff--slinging mud while not noticing the (excessive) dirt sticking to yourself.

Posted by: DonH. | September 2, 2008 3:53 PM

"Didn't mention Palin's lie about the
'bridge to nowhere'.

She said Saturday that she nixed it and noted "if we wanted a bridge, we'd built it ourselves.""

Yeah, and she could use the federal money earmarked for the bridge because the money wasn't eliminated. All that was eliminated with the necessity that it be used for the bridge.

Look it up, folks. The earmark for Alaska stayed, only the reference to the bridge was eliminated.

Posted by: No Way, No How, No McCain | September 2, 2008 3:54 PM

So much for "The audacity of hope." Obama and his crew have initiated the most vile personal smear campaign in modern political history. I guess Obama is no longer concerned about "distractions" from the "real issues." I still can't believe what I'm seeing. How low will they go? When are we going to get a thorough review of Obama's shady dealing in Chicago? When are we going to review Joe Biden's plagiarism problem? CNN and Wash Post are a total joke nowadays. John Edwards' love child, which he repeatedly and brazenly lied about, was beneath their journalistic standards to report.

Posted by: Dave | September 2, 2008 3:56 PM

Ms. Palin appears to be a liar.

Posted by: LTC US Army | September 2, 2008 4:02 PM

Palin wasn't vetted (at least not well).

The McCain campaign is poorly run. Period. Says something about McCain's ability to run the country.

Obama and Biden have vision and leadership to move America forward.

Obama-Biden 2008
Obama-Biden 2008
Obama-Biden 2008
Obama-Biden 2008
Obama-Biden 2008
Obama-Biden 2008
Obama-Biden 2008
Obama-Biden 2008

Posted by: Chris Stewart | September 2, 2008 4:08 PM

McCain's judgment and Palin's judgment are both in question, and the answer so far has been "unqualified for office."

For those comparing Palin's resume to Obama's... Palin has recieved a few thousand votes in her elected career. Obama over 20 million. Obama has energized an entire nation. Palin has inspired right wingers and dirty old men. Obama makes people weep wiuth his vision. Palin makes me feel like I'm at a Sunday school class.

McCain is a 72-year old cancer survivor who would be 80 by the end of a second term. And he thinks a newbie hockey mom whose never been abroad to lead the free world. That's unbelievable.

Posted by: Weezer | September 2, 2008 4:10 PM

Men will vote for Sarah Palin in droves.

Posted by: Palin Fan | September 2, 2008 4:20 PM

There is a lot of spinning that Biden has "his work cut out for him in debating Palin" implying the "kid glove" nature of this debate.

Let me ask a simple question, would PUTIN kid glove PALIN????

Too much is at stake for our country to be pandering to some made up standard on sensibilities... Turn up the heat!!

The road to righteousness always narrows... to the point of corruption.

Posted by: Kid Glove | September 2, 2008 4:24 PM

The most important quality I see in Obama is his ability to THINK. As George W. Bush has shown (by negative example), thinking is very important in a President. Obama has gone through the crucible of rigorous training in how to think logically. He graduated from Harvard Law School. CUM LAUDE. He was on the Harvard Law Review. You have to be extremely bright to be on ANY Law Review. Furthermore, he was EDITOR of the Harvard Law Review. What's Palin got?

Some may say that going to the nation's finest school is a bad thing. They sneer that it's "elitist." But an "elitist" is someone who believes they should get special treatment because of some status symbol they have. Obama has worked for everything he's ever gotten. He hasn't asked for special treatment, like McCain did when Warner helped him get into the Naval War College. And a Harvard education is more than a mere symbol of status. It is a high achievement. Anyone who calls Obama an "elitist" doesn't understand the word.

Posted by: Netgk | September 2, 2008 4:27 PM

Why has the media not stopped and asked, "If Palin were a man or an African American woman, would McCain have still selected him/her?" This selection clearly shows that McCain only cares about his own political ambitions. If you have read his memoir, then you too would get an explanation on some of his flip-flopping, which he clearly stated in his own words was out of political ambition. With that aside, Palin's experience make's Barack Obama look like another Jefferson. It is disgusting and insulting to the intelligence of woman that Palin is being used as a pawn to attract the Clinton base and other woman on the basis that we all share the same anatomy. This is the type of thing that woman & feminist organizations having been trying to stand up to for years. I hope voters, wake up, open their eyes and see that the good old red, white, and blue is not the first priority in John McCain's mind, it is his own political ambition and agenda. One more thing to think about is why does McCain never include his adopted daughter from India in all of the photo-ops with Cindy and there daughter? I find this strange. Is she not really part of the family? Is it because she is brown and it may be a bad image for the campaign? All of Palin's children are present, why aren't all of McCain's? Reagan included his adopted son in photo ops. Again a blatant show that McCain's political ambition comes before all else, including his family.

Posted by: Rebecca | September 2, 2008 4:42 PM

There is a great deal of information about Palin which will come out. The McCain campaign will accuse everyone of picking on the socker mom. Palin isn't the first to hide behind a cloak of righteousness. If I remember correctly George W. Bush did exactly the same thing. Has anyone, yet, called her on her view of creationism versus evolution? Bush will love this lady, she says one thing and does another, she talks about not being into earmarks while accepting them, she is proud of what we did to Iraq while advocating democracy. She is a very, very dangerous person. The lady is seeped in hypocrisy and deformed by her lust for power (which she abuses). If we treat Palin like a lady, we'll inherit the devil.

Posted by: robinszcz | September 2, 2008 4:44 PM

The pregnant teen should be off limits. As far as the alleged smears about Palin, Obama's campaign is entitled to point out negative info because you bet that McCain would do it if something juicy came up about Obama. I do not think that Obama HAS to push the "smears" because the press is doing it all on their own, in fact, I don't doubt that the McCain campaign put the "smears" out their themselves so they can accuse Obama of smearing them, and making him look bad when he hasn't said anything that wasn't already put out there by the press. Obama should continue the high ground on the daughter's pregnancy and hit Palin for her policy views, her potential abuse of power problem and he lack of experience. If she can't take the heat, how's she supposed to handle PUTIN?

Posted by: Jacquie | September 2, 2008 5:10 PM

what a spin they put on the earmarks.

first she was for them before she was against them.

Posted by: Bill J | September 2, 2008 5:13 PM


Posted by: orlando | September 2, 2008 5:14 PM

I have been a staunch Republican for many years now, (having never voted Democrat in the past), however, I have an uneasy feeling in my gut about Sarah Palin. I've always admired McCain's maverick stance on certain issues because I too have more of a 'moderate' view in terms of politics. I was really hopeful that McCain would get it right with his VP selection, but he didn't and my every instinct leads me toward not supporting him this time around because our country has way too much to lose. I'm really leaning toward Obama... Unless something drastically changes in the McCain camp between now and 11/4/08

Posted by: Melody | September 2, 2008 5:19 PM

There are three important issues about the Palin daughter’s story that you are missing.

1. It was Sarah Palin’s personal ambition to run for VP that trumped her responsibility to protect her daughter’s delicate condition from the harsh spotlight of national politics. She had to know the story would come out sooner or later. Palin, and no one else, is responsible for thrusting her daughter’s life into the scrutiny of the tabloid and major media, regardless of how rumor mongers like the Daily Kos choose to frame or cover the story. If Palin truly cared more for her daughter and family, she would have declined the nomination or at least have found a more honest way of divulging her daughter’s pregnancy.

2. Palin has run on the conservative mantra of abstinence-only sex education and the other Christian conservative platforms like teaching creationism as a scientific alternative to evolution and no stem cell research. It appears her daughter’s result from such a sex education choice or philosophy either marks Palin as a hypocrite or exposes the fallacies underlying that choice of preventing teenage pregnancies. While it is admirable that Palin and her daughter have made the “choice” to keep both of their babies, by contrast Palin is an extreme advocate of denying that right to choose an alternate choice for all other American women. Palin’s public stance on such issues are legitimate fodder for the campaign.

3. That this story got out of control was due to McCain’s bungling of his first major decision, the choice of his VP, putting his desire to be president before the potential security of his country should his unqualified choice for VP have to ascend to the presidency. Aside from being a risky, “maverick” choice, it appears he and his staff did not do a through vetting or at least prepare for the firestorm that could have easily been predicted by the strong contrast between the conservative Christian values Palin preaches and what she seems to practice in her own family. In the end, this all says more about McCain’s competency to lead than it does about the Daily Kos’ ethics.

Posted by: Kansas | September 2, 2008 5:28 PM

The pregnancy of Bristol Palin brings forth an array of issues. To start with, it's nice that Bristol will keep the baby and supposedly marry the father. But consider this for a second, there would be some pregnant teens who would NOT want to go forward with the pregnancy. Sarah, what do you say to those teens? Put them in jails after you become VP as you and McCain will likely over-turn Row V Wade? What about the fact that other religions, like Islam, preaches that you bear child only if you can afford to take full care of them. So abortion, in this context, is fully vetted by the newest of biblical religion. What about the fact that, my wife being a very protective parent, does not want me to buy a handgun? She is afraid that it might fall in their hands at the wrong time in their life and they might act stupid. What about the fact, that a father myself, I would want my daughter to be safe and practice safety before anything in life. Abstinence will definitely be taught and strongly urged, but in those "what if" moment, will I be able to excuse myself if my daughter is in the same situation as Bristol? What if Bristol became HIV positive after having sex with the other teen? Could you have excused yourself, Sarah?

Posted by: Guy From LA | September 2, 2008 5:31 PM

The argument is not pro-choice or pro-life.
The argument is pro-choice or no-choice.

With Sarah Palin we will usher in a government era of dictating to people how they can and how they cannot live their lives. A very dangerous, irresponsible decision to place a candidate with so little international and economic experience a heartbeat away from the presidency.


Posted by: buddy1 | September 2, 2008 5:32 PM


Give Barack the double-digit lead we have been waiting for all summer long.

Posted by: ;-) | September 2, 2008 5:37 PM

The RNC can spin and deny the earmarks by throwing up unsubstantiated comments but the fat remains that during Palin's tenure as governor, Alaska requested 31 earmarks worth $197.8 million in next year's federal budget.

She also outsourced a $40 billion or more pipeline to a Canadian firm.

She is being investigated for unethical behavior in troopergate.

She was a member of a secessionists party.

State her daughter is going to marry the father when the father wants nothing to do with marriage and doesn't want any kids on his myspace profile.

She constantly has flip flop, made misleading and untruthful statements while running on the ticket for integrity in public office!

Give me a break!

Posted by: Dan | September 2, 2008 5:49 PM

I used to be a Democrat, but now I'm going to vote for McCain/Palin. I can't believe Obama and the Democrats are acting in such a boorish manner. Do the Democrats have a problem with women in positions of power? It sure seems like it.

Posted by: Disillusioned Democrat | September 2, 2008 5:52 PM

Obama's spent 740 million dollars in earmarks and you're slamming Palin!? Shame on you!

Posted by: Mercutio | September 2, 2008 5:54 PM


Here is what kills me..

The parents are PROUD their 17 yr old daughter is pregnant and getting married?

Yeah right!
I got swamp land in Africa for sale as well.

Posted by: Vance C. McDaniel | September 2, 2008 6:24 PM

Secessionist party member, FAR right wing views, ethics investigation and cronyism, support of out of control lobbying, pork and Ted Stevens, no published views, let alone experience, on national issues or foreign policy!

Stop the ridiculousness! When is someone with a brain going to emerge from the Republican to say how dangerous a VP like this could be for our country? I just can't take the spin on this one...reformer, mother, family values, whatever - she is a terrible pick and McCain picked her just to kiss up to religious nut jobs

Posted by: Have we lost our minds? | September 2, 2008 6:31 PM

Would anyone like a potatoe with their moose meat stew?

According to a Reuters story - - not only was Governor Palin for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it, even after she was against it, she didn't exactly say "thanks, but no thanks." The State of Alaska never returned the money for the earmark, they are still sitting on it. (Really all she said was "Thanks!")

Between that and the earmark money she lobbied for on behalf of Wasila, Governor Palin seems more like an earmark maven than a maverick.

Posted by: AOS1 | September 2, 2008 6:37 PM

Exposing the truth about someone who has not been vetted is not a 'smear' campaign. A smear campaign is making up or exaggerating stuff that is not true (oh, I don't know, like certain people being Muslims). What is there that is a smear about her past performance in office, her being in charge of Ted Steven's PAC, her participation in a secessionist party, her lying about the bridge to nowhere, her being under ethics investigation, her daughter's pregnancy, and the fact that SHE WAS NOT VETTED for the #2 job in the land? This is what the media is supposed to do - find out and report facts, espcially for someone who the American people HAVE NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE LAST WEEK. Give me a break.

Posted by: Reality | September 2, 2008 6:43 PM

So left wingers, Sarah Palin is "trailer trash" and "rural white trash?" I thought you Democrats were "the party of the people." I thought you were the champions of the working class. Keep it up. Expose yourselves for the elitist metrosexual snobs that you are. Sarah Palin is is going to run rings around you once she gets going.

Posted by: Dude | September 2, 2008 6:47 PM

To Dude: Yeah, elite is bad, ain't it? I shore wouldn't want to be one of the elite! I likes ignorunt people like me. We gets to sneer at elite people, like Harvard grads, the Navy Seals, and other highly-trained and educated people. We know that real smarts comes from our gut! Thar goes another smarts!

Posted by: Netgk | September 2, 2008 7:17 PM

(It was supposed to read "BELCH! Thar goes another smarts!)

Posted by: Netgk | September 2, 2008 7:24 PM

What is McClain thinking???? Many of the foreign governments that we need to be negotiating with do not have such liberal views about pregnancies outside of wedlock. In many of these foreign cultures Americans are already demonized as being immoral and degenerative for all kinds of reasons--must we give them more ammunition to enlist more aggression towards us? Sarah Palin needs to go home and get her own house in order. I have always voted my conscience and right now I wouldn't vote for a Republican dog catcher!

Posted by: commoner | September 2, 2008 8:02 PM

Some of you are really letting your partisanship overcome even a feeble attempt at logic.

Ever hear the phrase "hoist by your own petard"? The Republicans have run on a strictly "Christian" moral values platform, skewering others who do not follow their narrow interpretation, including attacking teenage pregnancy as a result of the "moral decay" of a liberal society and its tolerance for pre-marital sex. So yes, if you take the supposed moral high ground, you expose yourself to being measured by it, under your own standards.

Do you think if Barack Obama had a 17-year-old pregnant daughter, this would not be used as "evidence" of the failure of his "liberal" failure? Of course it would. We all know such an occurrence would have effectively ended his campaign. Just as John Edwards' and Gary Hart's infidelities ruined their political careers, while John McCain, who admittedly met his young mega-rich trade-up while cheating on his wife, is not subject to this kind of outrage.

The double standard is endless, no more evident than in the speeches at the Republican convention, where one after another, the speakers savaged Obama for lacking the proper experience to understand, much less do, the job of the Presidency. Yet, often in adjacent paragraphs, they lauded Palin as a "breath of fresh air", giving her effusive praise and imparting "change-agent" bona fides based on her having even less of the commodity that they just accused Obama of lacking. And all without even the slightest recognition of the inherent irony.

But who am I kidding? I'm not the target audience. I guess one cannot over-estimate the critical thinking skills of the people this choice is supposed to excite. People who not only believe that the core knowledge of the world ended with the words of unenlightened scribes who penned their manifestos in utter ignorance of such basic facts that the world is round, but believe these heavily debunked fables trump everything else in today's world, including their own economic well-being, access to health care, and the safety and education of their own children.

I am interested to see how many working-class women, who supported Hillary Clinton, can be convinced that a woman who repudiates virtually everything Clinton stands for is a good substitute for the candidate and party that continues to embrace most, if not all, of Clinton's core values.

Posted by: Tim | September 3, 2008 3:18 PM

Sorry Dave, you are so wrong (Obama and his crew have initiated the most vile personal smear campaign in modern political history). Obama has taken the high road that has been absent for so long in our country we can't even recognize it when we see it.

BTW - it was Rove/Bush/Cheney that initiated the most vile personal smear campaign in modern political history - against McCain - and McCain sold his soul to them to get his chance to run again. Now he's selling the country down the river with this cheap trick of putting such an inexperienced woman on the ticket - for the excitement, the women's vote and the evangelical vote. No substance - all wedge issues (again!) NO THANKS. Obama '08

Posted by: Irene | September 3, 2008 4:53 PM

i will say google is extremely accurate... only from a source so intractably flawless could u find sources calling obama a muslim for being the son of a nigerian, mccain a racist for using the terms gook and wetback and voting against the creation of MLK day and palin a radical devoted to the secession of Alaska...

c'mon ppl... let's take a timeout on the partisan stupidity and pick up some book and periodicals and use the brain that god has given you to decipher your world...

stop being lead by the biggest banner or most salacious headline and THINK for just a day ... or maybe two... thanks

Posted by: thegoogleppl | September 3, 2008 7:18 PM

Thanks for reporting this. Please keep hammering away. The Rebpublicants are making an end run at the presidency by pandering to their base and lying or misrepresenting to the rest of us. By the "rest of us" I mean a constitutional majority of the population.

Posted by: future_primitive | September 4, 2008 12:48 PM

Let's see - I just spent the last 7 years watching the effects of a so called "maverick" president and his PARTY, who liked to go his (their) own way in the world and shoot from the hip on our economy and security.

Now I see that John McCain is also a gut reactor and likes to shoot from the hip. Making hasty politically motivated gambles. No thanks - more of the same, disguised as a new beginning.

According to McCain and the RNC - the White House and Washington are broken. Americans are suffering... okay - which PARTY broke the government? Which Party helped make the decisions that have driven our economy to such a low Point? The Republican party - which, need I remind people - held control of Congress during the present administration. Which Party is now trying to hang on to its power and protect those benefitted at the expense of the rest of us? The Republican party.

"Country First" - what does that mean? It means quit your whining and suffer quietly. It means accept your poverty and your hardships while the wealthy Republican power base continues to abuse their privileges. Did the Republicans put the country first over the last 7 years?... No.

Even if you aren't sure about Obama - the record of the Republican party speaks for itself. We cannot afford another 4 years of Republican politics. It's time to give the other team a chance to prove its mettle.

McCain and Palin as Reformers? Think about it - They aren't reformers - they are rebels. But since they aren't dictators - they can't just make change happen without the approval of the balance of the trilateral government we have. Meaning of course, the legislative branch and the Judicial branch. What we need in the White House is an educated / reasoned / rational thinking person / who can negotiate and swim the politically turbulent waters of Washington's politics.

If you want politics as usual - Put McCain and Palin in there to butt heads blindly and wildly with a democratic Congress. Give me a Washington insider over an outsider any day. But Please, give me one that can work with - not against the other branches of government.

Any claim that Obama lacks the experience of his rivals is mitigated by the fact that he has far better judgement, education and smarts than what I've seen so far on the Republican ticket.

For me - the choice is clear - I can't afford to watch the party that is driving this country to its knees, get another four years to exploit their ill gotten gains. I'll take a chance on the younger, smarter guy.



Posted by: JD | September 4, 2008 1:12 PM

Palin made McCain's "pork list" of biggest abusers of earmarks 3x.
oh wait.. "poof" she is now the Great Reformer.

Posted by: AJ | September 5, 2008 3:30 PM

Children who have sex early, with or without protection, is sad.

For boys, the urge to purge is one reason, but for girls, the absence of love and a close home environment could be another.

That said, why not see this situation as having nothing to do with working mothers or fathers who don't have a clue on how to parent. I had an absent father and my mother worked, but I knew better than to let any boy persuade me to do something I wasn't prepared for at a young age.

Palin's daughter has enough information, as does her boyfriend. to make a decision about having sex, for whatever reason. To place blame on parents is ridiculous. Now, for the marrying side of this relationship, it isn't anyone's business if the young man or the young woman wants to or not. It's their business and the family's. The public should think more about what they want in their leader where the issues are national, the economy, terrorists, education, the environment, etc. The next leader will have to focus on these and other national/international issues in their term - that is what is more important to us - as a nation and a people. Not why can't Johnny keep his hands to himself?

Posted by: Jeannette | September 6, 2008 5:39 PM

earmarks? is Palin still playing that card?

its funny because Palin and McCain are straight lying to their republican followers, who are eating their lies up like free pizza.

All McCain has been really saying is that he's going to reduce government spending even though he constantly says that if it takes a hundred years to win Iraq we will stay the full hundred.

It currently costs the US about 125 billion dollars a year to fight in Iraq, over that 100 year span?

12360 Billion. Isn't that about 12 trillion dollars?

Its not like the country's schools need money right?

So don't be fooled by McCain/Palin saying they want to cut Gov. spending, because they are straight lying to you.

Hell, they keep talking about off shore drilling, how many millions in gov. funds do you think its gonna cost to build those oil rigs? Not to mention the fact that these proposed rigs would only fill about 3% of our needs. We're saved!

or not.

Posted by: a real maverick | September 9, 2008 2:54 PM

As an independent, I've been looking at basic comparisons. There is plenty wrong with both sides.

I have voted Anderson, Reagan, HW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, Gore, and Perot. Bush Sr. was the only one I voted for twice.

Earmarks for Senator Biden: $$$$MANY BILLIONS over 30 whatever years. Would probably pay for a war by itself. People, he's been there since before Reagan.

Earmarks for Senator Obama: $750 million plus over a few years.

Earmarks for Governor Palin: $$Millions(too many) over a few years. As Governor, she did make many attacks against earmarks. Sorta cancels out.

Earmarks for McCain: $0,000,000- that's correct. Zero earmarks over 30 whatever years in House and Senate.

These things don't count in the budget. This is where a huge amount of our money is disappearing to. DISAPPEARING to. That and the oil thing. morons.

Who has a direct family stake in Iraq and war on terror, therefore presumably a personal interest in its outcome, as opposed to a career choice:

Senator Biden: 1 son

Governor Palen: 1 son, and a responsibility to maintain the military readiness of Alaska's National Guard, an oil-rich land bordering Russia. Kind of like Georgia the country.

John McCain: 2 sons, a family military tradition, and an entire career as a naval officer. Oh, yeah. He's actually been in a war, and seen it up close.

Senator Obama: ? Considered military service, decided not to join, during the Iran crisis.

I realize nobody cares about this anymore, but as a combat veteran of 11 years Army service, it matters to ME that somebody is watching out for the soldiers, sailors and airmen, when war decisions are made. And stop calling them, "troops".

How many Russian Naval and fishing vessels port, trade, and negotiate with Senator Biden's state of Delaware(where he is NOT Governor)? How large of a problem is there with illegal immigrants, smugglers, and their criminal trafficking in Delaware? Like constituents in Arizona face.

Is there a huge tidal wave of Canadians coming over the border into Illinois? Are there many Russian Navy vessels parked on Lake Erie?

Community Organizing:

In 2006, Obama Requested $2.2 Million For The Center For Neighborhood Technology's Information For Communities Project. (Obama For America Website,, Accessed 6/3/08)

In 2005, Obama Requested $1 Million And Secured $400,000 For The Center For Neighborhood Technology's I-Go Car Sharing Program. (Obama For America Website,, Accessed 6/3/08)

In 2005, When The Center For Neighborhood Technology Saw A Deficit Of About $830,000, It Spent At Least $1.4 Million Of Its $1.7 Million In Revenues On Compensation For High-Level Employees. (Center For Neighborhood Technology, IRS Form 990, 2005)

I'm sure these are worthy projects, that's not the issue. But, if it's not in the budget, don't spend it. Period. Just like your house and mine. This is what's breaking us all. Bailouts are wrong, whatever you want to call them. All I have to do is grow my company big, do whatever I want with it, then skip out with millions while the government steps in and puts the screws to the taxpayer.

Chrysler, Harley, Detroit automakers, finance, airlines etc. SHOULD go under, they are obsolete and failing to remain relevant. Yes, it would throw us into a depression. A real big one. It would also stop China, Russia, and Iran in their tracks, without our massive oil and merchandise purchasing to fund their machines anymore.

My wife's factory closes next week. I have lost many acres of land, which was extremely undervalued by the takers, grabbed by over-developing cities, that now have neighborhoods sitting empty on them. Spec buyers looking to flip. I am fairly certain we may be on the street before much longer. Congress owes me NOTHING for this. My family, my house, my income are MY responsibility. There is NO RIGHT TO A JOB, or a house. Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness, along with the first 10 amendments, is ALL you get. If pursuing a job makes you happy, you have the right to pursue it. But not actually to be hired for it, or to stay hired. Or for me to pay for your house, or for incompetent corporate practices, when responsible people ignored the math and the changing world.

Senator Obama is a rubber stamp, not a candidate. This is about total control by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. If Obama or some Dems grow a conscience, and things get tight, the VP, Joseph Biden, will serve as President of the Senate, and render the tie-breaker. Puppetmasters, Puppet, and their enforcer.

As an independent, I find it interesting that the Democrats are running their Presidential candidate against the Republican Vice Presidential candidate. It's not working for me. I get the argument that McCain can drop dead at any second. That's true.

Nobody wants to say it, but we all know it's possible, that some kind of whack job could take a shot at Senator Obama. So these are both unknowns. Does anybody really believe that Senator Biden, of all people, is going to continue a reform agenda if Senator Obama is gone?

For me, in the end, the troublesome spectre of a figurehead President with a Triumvirate in Congress, the lack of any personal stake in the war by Senator Obama,
along with not a lot of life experience, I find troubling. McCain it is.


Posted by: Michael Bailey | September 9, 2008 6:32 PM

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