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How to get to know a governor

By Daniel M. Ryan
web posted June 13, 2011

After many people have raked through the Sarah Palin E-mails, they've become the Internet answer to the Al Capone's Vault fiasco for Palin-haters. Nothing incriminating was found. No covered-up scandals, no hidden corruption, not even a particularly foul-mouthed keyboard. Those who were hoping to get the "goods" on Governor Palin walked away empty-handed. Palin-haters had to cling to little more than she privately calling the then-Speaker of the House John Harris "stupid" because he publicly disparaged her ethics reform package and education-funding plan. Or, she going out of her way to curry favour with BP's former Chairman Tony Hayward in the hopes BP would get on board with a major pipeline project. The Guardian made something out of that latter item, but an American who knows the political game would find it harder to do so. Governors curry favour with major employers and taxpayers in their respective States all the time. Many of them bend the tax rules to big companies' favour in exchange for major investments in their States: think of how many breaks major-league sports franchises have gotten over the years. Sarah Palin didn't bend the rules for BP; she confined herself to sending invites.  

True Palin-haters won't change their opinion of her one whit, but people who are more open-minded are finding a picture of a hard-working Governor that's somewhat moderate when in office. Even Palin-haters didn't make much mention of her complaints about Alaska blogger John Halcro, who she said told lies about her Administration. Given the pasting she's received from the mainstream media, her take on the man is at least credible.

Like many public figures, Governor Palin received death threats. What makes those threats noteworthy is the fact that she was made the scapegoat of Jared Lee Loughner's shooting rampage last January. For those who were really concerned about the incident, as opposed to those trying to capitalize on a gruesome tragedy for political gain, Loughner has been ruled to be unfit to stand trial. Those who kept their head at the time and said that Laughner was mentally ill, like Charles Krauthammer and myself, have been vindicated. I note that the revelation of those death threats by unhinged leftists have come as a surprise because Governor Palin didn't make anything of them. Had she been a drama queen, she would have; she's not, so she didn't.

Another tidbit in the E-mails was the fact that Alaska Representative Don Young had a legal defence fund authorized on his behalf when facing ethics complaints. Something was made of Governor Palin herself being authorized one when the frivolous complaints started surrounding her, but the Young case shows it was standard for the course in Alaska. She merely got what other elected officials are entitled to. Frivolous lawsuits were already a tactic used by the Left even before Governor Palin was scourged: this two-page E-mail makes mention of them in relation to a bill about wolf and bear control. Again, Sarah Palin's take on events is credible.

It's been widely claimed that she lobbied hard for the VP's slot. That claim is put into doubt by a January 31st, 2008 E-mail that says her supporters were lobbying for her to get the nod. She herself was not lobbying for the slot at first. Her prior E-mails relating to the national Republican convention imply that she was being courted for her endorsement, and what was on her mind was who to endorse.

Governor Palin was, and is, a supporter of drilling for oil in a very small section of the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve. John McCain wasn't in the 2008 campaign, a fact she knew at the end of January or before she was picked to be McCain's running mate. Still, she accepted his offer for the VP slot and even showed loyalty to him afterwards when he was running in the primary for the 2010 election; at that point, she didn't have to. This moderation, her willingness to partner up with people whose views differ from her own, is consistent with what her E-mails show: she governed more pragmatically than liberals would have you believe. She did increase the state oil tax in 2007, and the University of Alaska was satisfied with her performance as Governor. Anti-education, she ain't. If there were any cause that was close to her heart, it was supporting veterans. That was clear even when she was Governor, and her E-mails confirm it. Her recent Rolling Thunder motorcycle trip was far more than she hitching a ride with veterans for publicity's sake.

If anything her record as governor shows a pragmatism, and a heartfelt patriotism, that's reminiscent of Ronald Reagan when he was in office. Her real record, as revealed in those heretofore private E-mails, makes the mainstream media-fueled smearing of her as an extremist even more puzzling…or telling. ESR

Daniel M. Ryan is an occasional contributor to The Gold Standard Now, and currently watching the gold market. He can be reached at danielmryan@primus.ca.


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