SARAH PALIN IN A NUT SHELL: GOING ROGUE: GOVERNOR: INITIAL YEARS.
THE VEXATIOUS ONE IN THE CHINA SHOP
WORKING IN THE VINTAGE WHERE THE GRAPES OF POLARIZATION ARE STORED
Sarah Palin’s book is as much or more about her parenting experience than her political journey. While the two are obviously intertwined she is not the first woman nor will she be the last, to be a political figure so the anecdotal emphasis on her parenting and family life is more for filler than substance in this book and, to many, not that impressive.
She held the Alaska Governor’s office from December 4, 2006 until July 26 2009 when she voluntarily resigned. Although she took the oath of office on December 4, she did not move to the Capital, Juneau, until January 7, 2007 with her four children, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Track.
With its pristine vistas of mountains and sea, the Juneau mansion was a comfortable home although old. The first order of business was cost cutting and she reduced the staff at the mansion including the chef. Of course she sold the plane the preceding Governor had purchased. Much publicity and fanfare accompanied her cost cutting campaign taken on so shortly after she became Governor. One wonders about the wisdom of selling the State plane for 2.1 million in 2007 which was purchased by the prior Murkowski Administration for 2.7 million in 2005. This in a State she describes as one fifth the size of the entire continental United States.
As it turns out she lived in Juneau when the legislature was in session and in Wasilla the rest of the year governing from her office in Anchorage.
She notes that she fired the chef at the Juneau residence preferring for her and Bristol, born 10/18/90, to cook for the family and to use outside catering for official engagements.
She was often visited by Republican stalwarts while on “tourist cruises” and mentions Bill Kristol, the neoconservative Editor of the Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes, also an editor of the Weekly Standard and a Fox news commentator and Dick Morris a political consultant and commentator on Fox News.
She says her best dish is Moose Chili. One wonders if she served the Chili to these Washington power brokers. However she does say once the chef was fired the children were not happy to eat Moose Chili several times a week. One must surmise that if Kristol and Barnes took the time to visit her they must have given her a subscription to the Weekly Standard. Why she would not tell that to Katie Couric when asked what she read provides an interesting insight as to her character.
All this brings into question whether it was wise or even practical for a Governor with four young children and whose husband was 1300 miles away at his production job to fire her chef and take on the duties herself. This sounds as if it would be detrimental to her duties as Governor and the State would be impacted by the absence of a Governor who was at home cooking for her children. Perhaps this is an exaggeration as it seems more than likely she had help in the mansion although she doesn’t mention this in her book except to say sixteen year old Bristol, helped.
On the same subject the sale of the State plane at a loss seems like a less than practical move in a State the size of Alaska where a Governor and her staff might not want to depend on scheduled airlines to get to meetings and conferences around the State. Also a private plane would have facilities for working with her aides and resting while on her journeys as Governor. So both these cuts she brags about have negative side effects and may have made her a less efficient Governor ultimately costing the State more.
She became the subject of an ethics investigation regarding her per diem travel claims incurred to meet her many speaking invitations around the State while she was Governor. The entities requiring her presence also asked her to” bring the children along .“ She might have avoided this if she used a State plane
She states her main objective was not to clean up government and cut costs although these were certainly high on her list of things to do but to get a natural gas pipeline built to the Lower Forty Eight. While in office she proposed an inducement act to provide seed money to a firm that wanted to build a land line through Canada. The opposing plans would build an “All Alaska” gas line from Prudhoe Bay to a Valdez terminal for shipment as Liquefied Natural Gas to the Lower Forty Eight. It would also supply the energy source to Anchorage and Fairbanks, the State’s population centers.
She settled in to Juneau which she describes as an environmentally beautiful place but with an “Animal House” like culture because of the many parties and drinking involving lobbyists and legislators. All this led to FBI investigations of conflicts of interest and illegalities.
Early on as Governor she solidified her credentials with the National Rifle Association describing her opposition to “Hollywood liberals” attempt to circumscribe wolf kills designed to prevent them from decimating the Moose and Caribou herds which many Alaskans depend on to supplement their diets. She says one of the animal rights groups presented their case through a “perky, pretty celebrity” to attack Alaska’s scientifically controlled, state-managed wolf control program. The issue involved the number of wolves to be killed and the use of helicopters. Pretty and perky seem to be one of her many attributes also as well as being a spokes person for the far right. Its was like the kettle calling the pot black bottom.
However her initial years as Governor were basically uneventful, she wasn’t cleaning up government as promised in her campaign, she was firing little people and making a less than astute decision to sell the State plane at a loss. Also not much new drilling was accomplished.
In other words she was like a bull in a china shop.
She tells us she created a group of advisers to define her gas pipe plan while in her Anchorage office the month before she arrived in Juneau. This doesn’t sound like a plan to engage the legislature in developing a plan that everyone could support.
After she arrived in Juneau she assembled another group of advisers. This sounds like the “insiders “she so roundly criticized the other side and the legislature for having in the election.
Thus she created the grounds for polarization before and after she arrived in the Capital instead of building political alliances to get things done with people in government who had the power she needed to realize her goals.