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McCain VP Pick Has History of Clashes

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2008
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist


      McCain VP Pick Has History of Clashes
      By Jason Leopold
      August 30, 2008

      The political career of Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain's vice
      presidential pick, has been marked by conflicts, score-settling and
      her own claim that she faces "enemies – powerful enemies."

      But the 44-year-old first-term Alaska governor is a favorite of
      right-wing Christian groups and was hailed Friday by one
      organization as "a true Christian" who is "pro-life and pro-
      marriage." She also has favored the teaching of creationism in
      Alaska's schools.

      After the surprise announcement Friday, the McCain campaign tried to
      frame Palin as a reformer who has taken on corruption in Alaska.
      However, an examination of her career as a small-town mayor and
      inexperienced governor reveals an official prone to petty squabbles
      and personal retaliation.

      In 1996, after winning the election to be mayor of Wasilla, then a
      town with a population of 5,000, Palin sought to oust six department
      heads because they had signed a letter supporting the previous
      mayor, their old boss.

      Palin ultimately fired two of them, the police chief and the museum
      director, and pushed two others into quitting.

      In 1997, some residents considered her actions so high-handed that
      they tried to initiate a recall election.

      "Four months of turmoil have followed in which almost every move by
      Palin has been questioned," the Associated Press reported in a Feb.
      11, 1997 dispatch. "Critics argue the [Palin] decisions are
      politically motivated."

      Wasilla's ousted police chief, Irl Stambaugh, sued Palin that year
      for alleged contract violation, wrongful termination and gender
      discrimination The police chief claimed Palin fired him not for
      cause but for being disloyal and because he was a man whose size – 6
      feet and 200 pounds – intimidated her.

      However, the recall election never got off the ground, and a federal
      judge rejected Stambaugh's lawsuit.

      Now, as Alaska's governor, Palin is under investigation for
      allegedly ousting Alaska public safety commissioner Walt Monegan
      because he refused to fire a state trooper entangled in a divorce
      and custody battle with Palin's sister.

      That probe also is examining whether Palin's extended family,
      including her husband, and members of her staff tried to pressure
      Monegan to fire state trooper Mike Wooten because of the divorce.

      Monegan told the Anchorage Daily News that the governor's husband,
      Todd Palin, showed him the work of a private investigator, who had
      been hired by the family to dig into Wooten's life and who was
      accusing the trooper of various misdeeds, such as drunk driving and
      child abuse.

      In early August 2008, the state legislature agreed to investigate
      the circumstances surrounding Gov. Palin's firing of Monegan. She
      initially welcomed the probe and denied that she had put pressure on

      Later, however, Palin acknowledged that there had been more than two
      dozen inquiries from her staff to the public safety department
      regarding trooper Wooten, though Palin still insisted she had no
      role in them.

      Gov. Palin also released an audio recording of her director of state
      boards and commissions, Frank Bailey, pressing police Lt. Rodney
      Dial in February 2008 about why no action had been taken against


      Besides the prospect of more embarrassing disclosures about Palin's
      thin government record, McCain's VP choice also undercuts his
      campaign's theme that Barack Obama lacks the foreign-policy
      experience to be Commander in Chief, since Palin is a virtual
      unknown on the international stage.

      However, as the first woman on a Republican national ticket, she
      potentially appeals to angry Hillary Clinton supporters and to so-
      called values voters who pushed McCain to choose a running mate who
      is against abortion and gay marriage.

      "John McCain is to be commended on his choice of Sarah Palin, a true
      Christian for Vice President," said Dr. Gary Cass, Chairman and CEO
      of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

      "Palin, an evangelical who is pro-life and pro-marriage, meets all
      the criterion that CADC set forth for a VP pick. Unfortunately,
      Obama chose Joe Biden, a liberal Catholic, who is not in compliance
      with Christian moral teaching on abortion or homosexuality."

      Cass was particularly relieved that McCain did not tap former
      Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Mormon, or Sen. Joe Lieberman, a

      "Will [McCain] pick a pro-choice Republican or perhaps a moderate
      Mormon or a liberal Jew?" Cass said in an earlier statement of
      concern that was echoed by other conservative Christian
      organizations nationwide.

      "Unless McCain picks a true Christian for Vice President, real
      conservative Christians are being disenfranchised from this
      presidential election," Cass warned. "Obama missed a great chance to
      reach out to Christians. Now we will see if McCain will let
      conservative Christians have someone we can vote for, not just vote

      On Friday, other conservative Christian groups also celebrated
      Palin's selection.

      "The country now has a clear choice," said Darla St. Martin, Co-
      Executive Director of the National Right to Life Committee, "between
      an avowed pro-abortion ticket that would continue to push for
      unrestricted abortion on demand, and a strongly pro-life ticket that
      will bring us closer to a society that embraces the value and
      dignity of human life."

      Palin is staunchly opposed to both same-sex marriage and granting
      benefits to same-sex partners. When a state court ruled last year
      that civil unions are to be permitted for same-sex couples, Palin
      balked, and called for the state constitution to be amended to in an
      attempt to upend the ruling.

      She also has favored the teaching of creationism in schools along
      with evolution. "Teach both," Palin said in 2006. "Healthy debate is
      so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent
      of teaching both."


      Still, many political observers wondered if Palin's limited – and
      checkered – career as an official in a lightly populated state like
      Alaska might prove to be a liability for McCain.

      Following her two terms as mayor of Wasilla, Palin made an
      unsuccessful bid for the Republican lieutenant governor nomination
      in 2002.

      Then, as chairwoman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation
      Commission, she fell into a public spat with fellow commissioner
      Randy Ruedrich, the state's GOP chairman.

      In 2003, she reported Ruedrich to Gov. Frank Murkowski's
      administration, saying she suspected him of an ethics breach in
      conducting work for the state GOP on government time.

      To obtain evidence of Ruedrich's alleged malfeasance, Palin hacked
      into his computer, an ethical lapse in its own right. She resigned
      from the commission in January 2004.

      But Palin's ethics complaint against Ruedrich gave her a reputation
      as an anti-establishment reformer at a time when the Alaskan
      Republican hierarchy was coming under scrutiny for corruption.

      For two years, she stayed out of politics, acquiring a business
      license for a marketing and consulting company named Rogue Cou, "a
      classy way of saying redneck," Palin told the Anchorage Daily News
      in a June 2005 interview.

      Palin also faced questions about hypocrisy in the vendetta that she
      waged against Ruedrich when it turned out that, as mayor of Wasilla,
      she had used her office computer for political purposes.

      "We wondered how her using a city computer to run for lieutenant
      governor in 2002 was different than Republican Party chief Randy
      Ruedrich using Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission computers
      for party business, for which he was fined and resigned under
      pressure. She said it was different," the Anchorage Daily News wrote
      in a July 14, 2006, editorial.

      "In a release [Palin] fired off to everyone she could think of after
      the questions, she huffed about a `smear' campaign organized by
      her `enemies -- powerful enemies.' Later, there were references on
      various radio talk shows to whispering campaigns and other
      craziness, but we wrote that off as the vapors and a touch of

      The editorial continued: "She characterized as `innocuous' her
      political e-mails sent on a city computer to the Alaska Outdoor
      Council and another complaining about the Right to Life folks not
      choosing her as their candidate in the 2002 race.

      "That was bad enough, indicating she just does not get it, but then
      she had this to say: `We've had lots of people come forward with
      dirt on (gubernatorial candidate John) Binkley . . . as well as dirt
      on (Gov. Frank) Murkowski. We've told them to bury it. I'm not
      running that type of campaign.'

      "Apparently, that is exactly the kind of vicious campaign the former
      two-term Wasilla mayor is running. In our view, that kind of
      backdoor character assassination is the most scurrilous type of
      attack." the Anchorage Daily News wrote. "Oh, I have dirt, Palin
      says smugly, yes, indeedy; but I'll not give the details because
      that would be wrong. She is right. It is very wrong. It is very much
      the hallmark of lightweight politicians in over their heads."

      Now, however, John McCain has proposed putting Palin in a position
      within a proverbial heartbeat of the presidency.

      Jason Leopold has launched a new Web site, The Public Record, at
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