By Danny R. Johnson
Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP VP candidate and former governor of Alaska, managed to pull a couple of rabbits out of the hat with a few wins in the June 8, 2010 primaries. Palin boasted on Facebook that her endorsements of South Carolina governor candidate, Niki Haley, California U.S. Senate candidate, Carly Fiorina, California gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman, and Nevada Tea Party U.S. Senate candidate, Sharron Angle, is proof that American voters are fed up with the traditional business as usual politics in Washington.
The woman who likes to see herself as a mover and shaker in the Republican Party, Palin, will be something close to it if what she calls her “mama grizzlies” win in the November 2, 2010 general election. In reality, Palin is the “mama grizzly” and the rest of the women are her cubs. The question is can these baby cubs Palin is purportedly nurturing win in respective statewide general elections. Palin and her band of cubs have been roaming the country, the airwaves, and the Internet with a conservative brand of Republicanism that is at odd with some of the candidates own political philosophies and of the Republican Party as a whole. Take for instance the fact that Meg Whitman is a moderate Republican who has over the years contributed to Democrats. How does that fit in with the conservative Republican brand?
Palin, who has been very successful lately in riding the public’s anger over what she calls President Barack Obama’s preoccupation with those confidents around him, made this statement concerning President Obama on the June 9, 2010 Fox News – Hannity broadcast: “…he should kind of broaden his inner circle of confidants because right now it sounds like the inner circle that he has are some Chicago thugs.”
In the mostly predictable world of stump talk, there is nothing quite like Palin’s messianic oration. She describes a nation beset by too much big government, a do nothing Democratic Congress, and the need for more “Drill, Baby, Drill.” Never mind the unprecedented degradation that is taking place in the Gulf Coast which will take a decade or more to adjudicate. Palin, and her band of cubs, believe that America needs less regulations and more oil and gas exploration and expansion in the most sensitive wildlife sanctuaries.
Do the cubs have the same beliefs as mama grizzly?
As voters fear the future, which looks to them like the present writ large: more concern about the economy, more economic pressure on their families, more of that unnerving sound of something eating away at the edges of their lives. What they loathe is Washington, which is doing too much or not doing enough, and either way doing it badly. In this roiling situation, Palin, may emerge as Washington’s most influential Republican if all her cubs win in November.
Since she first came on the national scene in 2008 as Senator John McCain’s VP pick, Palin has been preaching and practicing a strategy of confrontation intended to break the Democratic hold on Congress by fracturing the place itself. By hammering away at its gentlemanly arrangements, its perks and, above all, its Democratic majority, Palin aimed to focus enough anger on Washington that voters would finally throw the rascals out. Among the newcomers who would rise in their place, she reasoned, Tea Party Republicans would at last be the majority again.
But what happens when the guerrilla fighter actually has to govern? Well, that opportunity was taken away when Barack Obama was elected the nation’s 44th president. And Palin has never let President Obama forget how disappointed she was at losing the biggest prize of a lifetime. Just think-all of her political life, she was perfecting her ability to disrupt the majority and move the opposition into an increasingly radical position on the right.
But now that Palin has arrived, what does “mama grizzly” want? Her record as a consensus builder in Alaska is shaky at best, and her grand vision is mostly implicit. When Palin was governor she rallied big oil and gas to her state at a ferocious rate. She also is a stellar and consistent supporter of the timber industry, which she openly supported while in office. According to a January 15, 2008 State of the State Address, Palin strongly supported and advocated more timber, mining, drilling and gas exploration especially in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges.
THE FACTS: Palin characterized the pipeline deal the same way before an Associated Press investigation found her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited a company with ties to her administration, TransCanada Corp. Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders during the process, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada.
PALIN: Criticizes her predecessor [for a "revolving door" on oil deals]. Palin asserts her administration ended all such arrangements, shoving a wedge in the revolving door between special interests and the state capital.
THE FACTS: Palin ignored her own “revolving door” issue in office; the leader of her own pipeline team was a former lobbyist for a subsidiary of TransCanada.
Are the voters of California willing to elect Whitman and Fiorina with the mandate to push for drilling on public land and on sensitive wildlife refuges? Are the voters willing to grant South Carolina Governor hopeful, Niki Haley, the authority to drill off the South Carolina coast if she is elected in November? Interesting questions. Voters will need to find answers because these candidates are being supported by Palin and the Republican establishment whose platform believe in less regulation, non-competitive deal making and the expansion of big business.
Palin resigned as governor – will her cubs do the same if elected
Palin was elected governor by Alaskan voters in December 2006 and she resigned in July 2009 with less than 18 months left before her term was to expire. She was reported to have resigned her post as governor due to the costs and distractions of battling the ethics investigations launched against her, describing as “insane” the amount of time and money that both she and the state had expended. At one point, she said the State of Alaska had spent $2 million and she and her husband Todd would be spending “more than half a million dollars in legal bills in order to set the record straight.” The Anchorage Daily News reported that much of the $1.9 million cost cited by Palin consisted of the regular salaries of state employees who would have to be paid whether or not there were ethics complaints against Palin. Other media sources suggested that Palin herself incurred serious financial debts defending against the ethics charges.
On the June 9, 2010 Hannity show, the host, Sean Hannity, made this statement before introducing his special guest, Sarah Palin: “…Well, perhaps it is no coincidence that in some of the major elections since former Governor Palin became a household name many Republican women are now following in her footsteps.” Does this mean that all of Palin’s cubs if elected will do as she did and resign and abdicate their respective state or Federal Constitutional duties when the heat and pressure gets too unbearable? The American voters will need to think long and hard and with an independent streak before voting for one of Palin’s cubs.
Palin did one thing right when she walked off the job in Alaska – she took the advice of her political mentor who stated: “Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed, there are many rewards; if you disgrace yourself, you can always write a book.” — Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the USA.
Danny R. Johnson is a Freelance Investigative Journalist based in Washington, D.C.