With the election season now in full swing and Sarah Palin still being assaulted in the media and even by the Women’s Center on Lehigh’s campus, I thought it would be time to set the record straight on just who Sarah Palin is and what she stands for. Hopefully, I will also put to rest some myths along the way.
Sarah Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, in 1964. Her family moved to Alaska shortly thereafter. She attended Wasilla High School, where she was head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and point guard of the school’s state championship basketball team. In 1984, she finished third in the Miss Alaska pageant and won Miss Congeniality. She also won a college scholarship. In 1987, she graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in communications-journalism. She married Todd Palin the next year. Todd works in the oil industry on the North Slope and owns a small commercial fishing business.
Sarah entered politics in 1992 with a run for Wasilla City Council. She says she decided to run because she was afraid the new sales tax revenue would not be spent wisely. She won the race and immediately killed a measure to close Wasilla’s bars two hours earlier. She did this even though she was a member of a church that was against the drinking of alcohol. After winning a reelection bid in 1995, Sarah decided to run for mayor in 1996. She defeated a three-term incumbent mayor on a platform of cutting wasteful spending and lowering taxes. One of her first acts as mayor was to cut her own salary. She cut property taxes in the city by 75%, and made many city improvements while cutting unneeded spending. In 1999, she defeated the same opponent with a whopping 74% of the vote and was subsequently elected president of Alaska’s Conference of Mayors.
In 2002, Sarah sought the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, but lost. Governor Frank Murkowski appointed Palin the chairperson of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Committee. She resigned from the committee in 2004, citing a lack of ethics among fellow Republican members. She filed formal complaints against two fellow Republicans, one of whom was the state party chair. The governor did not take her complaints seriously, so in 2006 she decided to run against him. She defeated the incumbent governor from her own party in the primary and then beat a former governor in the general election. Both of the men against whom Palin filed the original complaint were found guilty and subsequently fined. She became the first female and youngest governor in Alaska’s history. She is also the first Alaskan governor to be born after Alaska became a state. Governor Palin’s first legislative action was to push through a bipartisan ethics reform bill. She put the state jet on eBay and later sold it privately because she did not need it. She championed the oil and natural gas pipeline and secured the funding and permissions required to link the pipeline through Canada to the lower 48 states. In two submitted budgets, Governor Palin has cut $523 million in spending from the Alaska construction budget alone. In 2008, revenues to the state of Alaska doubled to $10 billion and there is no state sales tax or income tax. Also, citizens of the state of Alaska each received $1200 last year as a share of oil revenues from the state.
Governor Palin is a reformer, traditionalist, and conservative. She is committed to doing what she believes to be right, and does so regardless of who she angers along the way. She has stepped on the toes of Democrats and Republicans alike in Alaska, to the benefit of the people she represents. However, not everyone likes her. This month, her approval rating fell to 82%, which happens to be only four times as high as the approval rating for Congress. She stands for lower taxes, less spending, and energy independence. Who would know more about energy policy than the governor of the state that produces 20% of our energy? She is the most qualified person in public office today to talk about how to solve our energy crisis. Sarah Palin supports the surge; her oldest son deployed to Iraq just last week. She is solidly pro-life, having chosen to give birth to a child she knew would have Down syndrome.
At least now we know where the Women’s Center’s priorities lie. They lie not with the advancement of women, but with the advancement of liberalism. If a venue like the Women’s Center cannot support a woman with as impressive a resume as Palin’s, I question the need for their existence. Obviously, Governor Palin should be judged on the issues just like every other candidate. If that was happening, then I would still question the need for the Women’s Center, as their goals will have been accomplished. It is ironic that it took a chauvinistic Republican male (sense the sarcasm) to defend the female vice-Presidential nominee from attacks incurred at the Women’s Center. It took a sexist conservative to defend the only woman in the race based on her merits, qualifications, and views on the issues. Maybe I should run the Women’s Center; women would get a fairer shake.
Myths about Sarah Palin
Myth #1: Sarah Palin tried to censor books in the public library.
Answer: There was never any request made to remove any books from the library, it was a simple inquiry by then-mayor Palin to the librarian.
Myth #2: Sarah Palin improperly took a $58 per diem allowance while she lived at home.
Answer: While the legislature is not in session; Governor Palin works from her office in Anchorage. Instead of taking the allowance for hotels as well, she drives 50 miles to her home in Wasilla. She is well within her rights to take the travel allowance. Her gubernatorial expenses are only 80% of those of the previous governor.
Myth #3: Sarah Palin actually did support the “bridge to nowhere”.
Answer: While Governor Palin did run for governor supporting the bridge, she was responsible for killing the bridge once she became governor. An anti-Ted Stevens, Democratic website actually credits Palin with stopping Stevens’ pork project.
Myth #4: Governor Palin is too inexperienced, and therefore unqualified to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.
Answer: Sarah Palin held elected office five years before Barack Obama. She has more executive experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined. In fact, she has more executive experience than Barack Obama has legislative experience. She has run a town, a state energy commission, a state with a $10 billion budget, and a small business with her husband. Barack Obama has run for President for two years. It’s quite sad that the Republicans’ vice-Presidential nominee is more qualified than the Democrats’ Presidential nominee. True, she does not have foreign policy experience. Of course, neither did Presidents Roosevelt, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, or Bush, to name a few. Since foreign policy is John McCain’s strong suit, and he is the one who will be President, I am not too worried about the lack of foreign experience.