Monday, September 08, 2008

Sarah Palin: A woman of character

Chuck Sr [her father] was the high school cross-country and athletics coach. She ran on his teams and earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" for her fiercely competitive nature on the basketball court. On one memorable occasion she came on with a fractured ankle to score the winning shot for the Wasilla Warriors in the state championship.

"Headstrong" is how her coach, Don Teeguarden, described her: "She knew her own mind and was generally willing to express her opinion. She didn't agree just for the sake of agreement. At the time I thought those were positive attributes and I still do."

She had an unapologetic streak of stubbornness from early childhood. Sarah's siblings were astonished by her resolve in the face of a father whose decisions were the final word in their household. "She never lost an argument and would never, no matter what, back down when she knew she was right," Chuck Jr remembers. "Not just with me or other kids, but with Mom and Dad too." "The rest of the kids, I could force them to do something," Chuck Sr said. "But with Sarah there was no way. From a young age she had a mind of her own. Once she made up her mind she didn't change it."

Later on he would enlist the help of people she respected - especially coaches and teachers - to persuade her to see things his way. Yet he concedes Sarah was persuasive in her arguments and often correct. Later, when his daughter became governor, Chuck found it immensely amusing that acquaintances asked him to sway her on particular issues. He says he lost that leverage before she was two.

Like her siblings, Sarah was baptised in the Catholic church. When her mother discovered what she saw as a more meaningful path to faith, her family followed her to a different church - the Wasilla Assembly of God. Sally Heath bundled up the kids and took them to church every Sunday morning and evening and most Wednesdays, too. As a little girl, Sarah sat through services fidgeting. When she was 12, however, she asked to be baptised. She wanted to make a public statement of faith.

With Alaska's perpetual summer sunshine glittering off the chilly waters of Beaver Lake, Pastor Paul Riley immersed her. Her siblings and her mother were also baptised that day as friends and family watched from the shore. Sarah took the commitment she made to God seriously, becoming the leader of the high school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

She had a boyfriend, Todd Palin, who had come to Wasilla from Dillingham, a remote community in western Alaska where his Yup'ik Eskimo grandmother, Helena "Lena" Andree, was an important influence, teaching him the value of hard work and traditional native ways. He had fished with his grandparents from a young age, eventually taking over their commercial fishing operation. "He had a car and a truck and a job. He was a lot more grown-up than most of my friends," said Sarah. She and Todd lived five miles apart. In the evenings they sat on their porches talking on two-way radios that Todd used on his fishing boat.

After high school, much to her brother's amusement, Sarah entered the Miss Wasilla pageant and won. When he asked her why she would do such a thing: "She told me matter-of-factly, `It's going to help pay my way through college'." In Sarah's home there was an expectation that if you wanted something, you earned it. "We always worked," Heather, her elder sister, said. "We never had anything handed to us. We knew on a teacher's salary that we would all have to pay our own way through college. We knew we'd have to be independent."

At college in Idaho she studied journalism. Newspapers had been a passion since early childhood. During the summers she helped Todd to fish commercially in Bristol bay. They fished from a 26ft skiff with no cabin, a boat that could carry 10,000lb of salmon in eight holding bins below deck. It was the most physically demanding and dangerous work she had ever undertaken. "Sarah has toughed out many a cold night," Todd said. "Even with 100mph winds, you don't want to be the one that turns back just to find out later how good the fishing was." "Todd is a brutal boss," Sarah said. "He shows no mercy to anyone."

Sarah and her father sometimes fished without Todd while he worked at his oilfield job on Alaska's North Slope. Chuck Sr remembers Sarah driving the boat onto the trailer in dangerous surf when no one else was willing to attempt it. When she and Todd married and started a family, they named their first child Track, after the track and field season in which he was born. Sarah's father jokingly asked what they would have named their son if he had been born during the basketball season. Without hesitation Sarah answered: "Hoop."

Their first daughter, born in 1990, was named Bristol after the ocean bay where they fished. Willow was born in 1994, named after willow ptarmigan, Alaska's state bird. Their youngest daughter, Piper Indy, came in 2001. She was named after the Piper Cub that Todd flies and the Polaris Indy snowmobile he drove in the first of his four victories in the Iron Dog snowmobile race, a gruelling 2,000-mile run from Wasilla to Fairbanks.

Between babies, Sarah worked short stints at television stations and at a utility company - and began to take an interest in local politics. The Wasilla of her childhood had grown from about 400 residents to more than 4,000 in 20 years. Many new businesses had appeared in sprawling strip malls along the city's main thoroughfare. At the same time Wasilla was becoming a bedroom community for commuters who worked in Anchorage. A member of Wasilla city council, Nick Carney - the father of one her high school friends - invited her to run for a council seat.

Campaigning as a "new face, new voice", 28-year-old Sarah won easily. But after taking office she was dumbfounded by the inner workings of the city government. Coming from a small community, she knew everyone: the mayor, John Stein, had been in her aerobics class. "Right away I saw that it was a good old boys' network," she said. "Mayor Stein and Nick Carney told me, `You'll learn quick, just listen to us'. Well, they didn't know how I was wired."

She voted against a pay raise for the mayor. Then she crossed Carney. He owned the only garbage removal service in town and had proposed an ordinance requiring all Wasilla residents to pay for garbage to be picked up from their homes. "I said no and I voted no," Sarah said. "People should have the choice about whether or not to haul their garbage to the dump." She grew increasingly impatient with politics as usual. No matter what the issue, the entanglements of political cronyism were a frustration. Too much of government was being run for the benefit of those in office. "By my second term on the council, it was apparent that things weren't going to change unless there was a change in leadership," she said.

Promising fresh ideas, she challenged the mayor in a contentious and heated campaign. Stein felt the sharp edge of Sarah's competitive drive. Wasilla voters sided with her. On October 1, 1996, she defeated him, 651-440. Seizing her mandate for change, Sarah stormed city hall, not realising how hard it would be to make changes, especially in an administration that had become entrenched. "Nick Carney told Sarah to her face that he'd do anything he could to make things difficult," said Judy Patrick, a friend who had been elected to the Wasilla council. "There were some very cantankerous people on that council."

Stein's loss was a bitter one. Many of his supporters viewed the new young mayor as a kid playing a grown-up game. Police Chief Irl Stambaugh - another of her former aerobics classmates - was fired. Department heads were told to reapply for their positions. Jobs were cut.

Watching all this in the wings was Donald Moore, the regional "borough manager" (roughly equivalent to the chief executive of a British county council). Now retired, he observed that there is an "inverse relationship between the size of the community and the ease of management". In other words, a small town can be hell to govern. Everyone knows everyone and lots of people have axes to grind. "Sarah is a very gracious woman," Moore said. "But she does not suffer fools."

More here

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ELSEWHERE

Oprah Winfrey is copping a lot of flak from her listeners for having Obama on her show but refusing to have Governor Palin.

Snide antisemitism coming from Andrew Sullivan -- making the absurd claim that Sarah Palin is "being safely indoctrinated by Joe Lieberman and AIPAC". Ace comments at length. I doubt that ANYONE could "indoctrinate" Sarah Palin.

The astute Caroline Glick says that having the humility to accept his own limitations was behind McCain's choice of Sarah Palin and that he showed himself a master strategist by doing that.

Small-town residents boo the media: "Hundreds of angry people in this small town outside Milwaukee taunted reporters and TV crews traveling with Sen. John McCain on Friday, chanting "Be fair!" and pointing fingers at a pack of journalists as they booed loudly. On the first leg of the "McCain Street USA" tour -- which will take the Republican presidential nominee and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, to small towns across the heartland -- the 30 or so reporters and crew were walking back to their buses to join the McCain motorcade when hundreds of townspeople started yelling. "Stop lying! You are all liars! Tell the truth!" one woman yelled from the front of the pack. The crowd was not menacing or threatening, but was clearly angry. "You're telling lies! Stop the lies!" one man yelled. Asked why the crowd was so angry, Linda J. Green of Mequon, Wisc., said: "I'm thinking the press is very biased"

Zogby Poll: Republicans Hold Small Post-Convention Edge: "Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin left St. Paul, Minnesota, with a smallish bounce overall and some energy in key demographic groups, as the race for the presidency enters a key stage and voters begin to tune in to the contest, the latest Zogby Interactive poll finds. The McCain/Palin ticket wins 49.7% support, compared to 45.9% backing for the Obama/Biden ticket, this latest online survey shows. Another 4.4% either favored someone else or were unsure."

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

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1 comment:

WLindsayWheeler said...

You are exactly right. A "rightist" is a monarchist. The Nazis being egalitarians, hating monarchy and aristocracy, and trying to implement a Novus Ordo is Leftist.

Despite Lawerence Auster at his VFR blog, Konrad Heiden, in Der Fuhrer reports that "They occassionaly referred to their party as a 'party of the Left." (pg 94)