Sarah Palin was a small town mayor until less than two years ago. What we don't know about her could fill a book. Here are a few things we're learning about Palin.
Sarah Palin left the finances of her town Wasilla in tatters when she moved on in 2002 (h/t xgz). She wanted a legacy as mayor, it seems, and pushed hard for the town to build a hyper-expensive sports complex. But Palin screwed the process up badly. Instead of buying the land for the complex when it was offered, her administration allowed a developer named Gary Lundgren to snap it up. Then Wasilla tried to seize the land from Lundgren through eminent domain. In the end, what with court costs Wasilla paid at least $ 1.7 million for land it could have bought for less than one tenth that sum - if the purchase had been handled properly. For this incompetence, Wasilla is still paying a steep price: higher taxes and cutbacks in services. In other words Palin is about as efficient as Michael Brown, onetime head of FEMA.
Diarist loyalson, a resident of Wasilla, has more to say about the damage Palin did to his town while she was mayor.
On the single most debated issue of our times, the Iraq war, Sarah Palin similarly was out to lunch until as recently as last spring. Shortly after becoming governor, she was asked her views on the surge (h/t LizzyPop):
Alaska Business Monthly: We've lost a lot of Alaska's military members to the war in Iraq. How do you feel about sending more troops into battle, as President Bush is suggesting?
Palin: I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place; I want assurances that we are doing all we can to keep our troops safe. Every life lost is such a tragedy.
John McCain would have us believe that Iraq is the central battle in the war on terror, and yet he selects as his running mate somebody who was paying almost no attention to the Iraq war for 4 long years after the invasion.
So what was Palin focused on?
Alaska Business Monthly: It's extremely early to ask this, but when your tenure as governor is over, what would you like to have accomplished? How would you like to be remembered?
Palin: I want people to remember me as having always conducted the state's business in an upright and honest manner. I want them to understand that I put Alaska first in every decision I made.
Try to square that with the troopergate scandal, in which Palin allegedly misused her power as governor by bringing inappropriate pressure for two employees to be fired. What's perhaps most interesting is that Palin appears to have begun misusing power almost as soon as she got any real power.
Speaking of inconsistencies, earlier this month Palin praised Barack Obama's energy plan (h/t Excelscior1). Here is the cached version of the press release that had been posted at the Governor's website. The original document has been scrubbed sometime during the last day (since Aug. 28). I wonder if that could have anything to do with McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate?
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