As (hopefully) everybody in America knows, McCain picked Alaskan governor Sarah Palin as his Vice President nominee.
I really did not think this was coming. Word had been skewed about the political lair for a while, and over two months ago I wrote a response to a comment about why Palin would not be a very successful VP pick. Which I stand by.
People asked me how I felt about Biden. Excited I was not, but neither was I disappointed. He is a safe pick, one that will help Obama in a general election in several ways, and who won’t convince any Obama supporters to defect to McCain. I was going to write a post about the man, but didn’t. Work has been busy lately, and they expect me to keep up at the expense of my blog. Horrible.
But I am very excited about Governor Palin. She’s given us more dirt in the last week than McCain and Obama have all summer. As an Obama supporter, it’s hard to imagine a better McCain Veep pick to help achieve the goal of an Obama Presidency.
After watching highlights of the Democrat and Republican Conventions (the Cubs have been playing a lot of night games lately), I’m certain of two things.
- If I hear the term “red meat” one more time I’m going to start systematically incorporating pundit carcass into the actual material.
- Palin is a liar.
I don’t want to rehash on stuff that’s been said for a week. So I won’t get into the vetting process that didn’t, or the irony of Palin’s pregnant daughter, or the ethics investigation which could conceivable recommend her impeachment less than a week before the election.
Though I have to point out that Palin named her children Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig. Can you really trust this person’s judgment??
There’s not much material to pick through, as Palin has only had one real speech enter the national conscience, and that was Wednesday night. But she spent a considerable amount of her time speaking of her grand accomplishments enacting fiscal responsibility in Alaska, which should work well in the party of fiscal responsibility. Even though the U.S. Government reports Republican administrations seem to be the only ones which increase the national deficit, Bush’s tax “cuts” didn’t do anything for most people but were targeted towards the wealthiest individuals (linked figure taken from this story), and Obama intends to decrease taxes for most Americans.
And even though Palin wasn’t nearly so responsible.
First, she has talked in great lengths about killing the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere.” Sounds good – it was turned into a symbol of government waste and McCain has used it on more than one occasion to show how bad earmarks are.
Problem is Palin was not only hesitant to cancel it, she supported it in the first place. In a questionnaire by The Anchorage Times she said she supported using state funds to build the Gavina Island bridge. Tonight she said she told the nation “I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere.” But a year ago she said, “Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it’s clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island.” And she didn’t exactly tell the government “no thanks” on the money they were willing to spend, anyway, but rather spent half of it on other road projects before officially axing the bridge project.
In related news, it turns out that the pipe line she droned on about her Governorship created hasn’t actually been created yet. It’s still in the planning stages. And by “planning stages” I mean still awaiting approval from the people who are actually going to build the thing. But if she works real hard, it’s estimated to come online sometime around the year 2020. So worry not; McCain/Palin has energy assistance on the way – you just have to wait about twelve years. No big deal.
She also got things a little fuzzy when she said she enacted massive budget cuts which brought the Alaskan budget to more responsible levels while creating a budget surplus. This is not exactly accurate – Alaska had a budget surplus in 2006 (she was elected in November 2006 so you do the math). The reason for the surplus? Not budget cuts, but oil. Oil taxes, royalties, and fees account for at least 80% of the state’s revenue. This makes sense, since it’s the leading oil producer in the nation and its next best export is tundra. Of course, it should be noted that gas prices in Alaska are the highest in the country, which could say something about McCain’s plan to drill to lower gas prices.
Oh, the surplus was also due to federal government spending, since Palin asked for more federal money to Alaska in earmarks per capita than any other state in the union. Of course, Palin claims to be against these earmarks. She just doesn’t mind asking for them, spending all the money before saying “no thanks,” and then taking credit for the surpluses they helped achieve.
And not only was Alaska’s surplus not due to Palin’s budget cuts, but Alaska’s 2007 capital budget was one of the largest in the state’s history, and the $6.6 billion operations budget escaped veto-free as the largest Alaska had ever had – despite a promise to cut $150 million from it. But she had a good excuse; there’s not enough time between her becoming Governor and the passage of the budget. So let me get this straight: when she’s in Alaska she didn’t have enough time to adequately cut the budget, but when she’s in Minnesota she’s a shining example of how to do so?
Though to be fair, she did cut money from the capital budget in 2007 and 2008. Programs that were cut included housing for homeless and runaway youths, grants to schools and nonprofit organizations, a learning center, a library, and a government transparency program (seems kind of counter to McCain’s government transparency arguments). She also cut spending on youth sports, but allowed full funding for sport fishing hatcheries. Probably because sport fishing brings money into the state, but youth sports only bring money into individual schools.
My two favorite program cuts? A 20% cut in funding to help support teenage moms, and a 62% cut in special needs education funding.
So she may not be completely honest, but she seems to be winning major points for hypocrisy.