1. Sarah Palin Supported a Windfall Profits Tax on Oil Companies as Governor
One of Barack Obama’s worst economic policies, from both my perspective and that of most conservatives, is his plan to place a “windfall profit tax” on domestic oil companies, and then use that money to provide a $1,000 “energy rebate” to American families. This plan has, rightly, been mostly derided by economists and by most Republicans on the national stage. However, as governor, Sarah Palin pushed through a plan that looked awfully similar.
Over the opposition of oil companies, Republican Gov. Sarah Palin and Alaska’s Legislature last year approved a major increase in taxes on the oil industry — a step that has generated stunning new wealth for the state as oil prices soared.
Palin’s administration last week gained legislative approval for a special $1,200 payment to every Alaskan to help cope with gas prices, which are among the highest in the country.
This tax has already led to projects proposed by oil companies to be cancelled due to the fact that they are no longer cost-effective–a strange result from a candidate who is enthusiastically in favor of further oil exploration in Alaska.
2. As Mayor, Sarah Palin raised taxes for pet projects.
When Palin was the mayor of Wasilla, she was primarily a tax cutter–something she could afford to be because the town grew by leaps and bounds under her tenure. However, this self-described “hockey mom” did try to raise sales taxes in order to fund one of her pet projects: a new hockey complex for children in the area. Sure, that’s not an uncommon thing for a politician to do, but it is something problematic for a “conservative reformer” to do, isn’t it?
3. Sarah Palin is unfamiliar with American History
This might be construed as a cheap shot, but it’s worth pointing out. During her 2006 gubernatorial race, Sarah Palin completed a questionnaire for Alaska’s Eagle Forum–not exactly a hotbed of liberalism. Of particular interest is her answer to question 11:
11. Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
[Palin]: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.
For those of you keeping score at home, the Pledge of Allegiance was written in the 1890’s, and the words “under God” were not added until the 1950s–well after all of the Founding Father’s were dead and buried. Her answer to the question, then, is either an example of appalling ignorance or a pathetic act of pandering. Either way, that’s not what conservatives want from their politicians, is it?
4. As a professional politician, Sarah Palin has evinced no interest in foreign policy
As far as I can tell on the research I have done, recorded evidence of Sarah Palin’s interest in foreign policy issues is pretty close to non-existent. Even on the Iraq war, the pre-eminent foreign policy issue right now, Palin has shown a rather incredible indifference. Take this interview, for example:
ABM: 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.
Given the importance of foreign policy, this just doesn’t seem like the right choice for a commander-in-chief in waiting, does it?
5. Sarah Palin flat out lied to the American People in her campaign debut
When Sarah Palin accepted the vice-presidential nomination, she gave an acceptance speech that told America a little bit about herself. That speech included this tidbit:
And I’ve championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress thanks, but no thanks, on that “bridge to nowhere.” If our state wanted a bridge, I said, we’d build it ourselves.
That sounds great, right? But here’s the problem–Sarah Palin was, in fact, all for federal funds to build the build the bridge. Indeed, in 2006, Palin actually campaigned for it.
In September, 2006, Palin showed up in Ketchikan on her gubernatorial campaign and said the bridge was essential for the town’s prosperity.
She said she could feel the town’s pain at being derided as a “nowhere” by prominent politicians, noting that her home town, Wasilla, had recently been insulted by the state Senate president, Ben Stevens.
As it turns out, Palin didn’t “pull the plug” on the Bridge until it was clear that the federal funds that were going to be provided wouldn’t be enough to build the bridge without dipping into state coffers, too. It was only at that point that Palin pulled the plug on the bridge project. However, she didn’t pull the plug on the federal funds that came anyway. No, those she used to fund other pork barrel projects. For example, her administration built an access road to the bridge that was not going to be built. Literally, a “road to nowhere,” since the bridge is pretty much dead. Under Palin’s administration, she could have returned the money to the Federal Government. Instead, her administration chose to build a useless road. That’s “reform”? That’s “standing up to Congress”?
But here’s the real thing about this: Palin lied. She did not tell Congress Alaska didn’t want the money. Indeed, Alaska got the money–it just wasn’t enough to build the bridge. So in her speech, in what amounted to her national debut, she told a lie to make her administration look better than it actually was. Does that represent the values that conservatives want our political leaders to have? I doubt it.
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Although Sarah Palin has a lot of things to recommend herself to conservatives and has done some good things in rooting out corruption, the fact of the matter is that a look at her record shows that her governing history hasn’t exemplified conservative values. She’s raised taxes, spent taxpayer dollars on pet projects, has evinced little interest in foreign affairs, and told a rather large self-aggrandizing lie at her first appearance on the national stage. Despite all the enthusiasm that many conservatives have for her, her record doesn’t show her to be much of one herself.
So why do all you Conservative Republicans think she is a good choice?