Sarah Palin, the real post-partisan reformer

posted at 9:20 am on September 12, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Democrats and their allies in the media have done their level best to paint Sarah Palin as a radical conservative, a woman looking to impose her religious values on the nation.  Unfortunately, as USA Today reports in a front-page analysis of her record, they have missed the mark by a mile.  Palin has run Alaska in an inclusive, bipartisan manner while limiting her interventions on social issues.  She has focused on government reform, not religious revival, which explains her astronomical approval ratings in a famously individualistic state:

Weeks after taking office as Alaska’s governor in December 2006, Sarah Palin vetoed a bill that sought to ban benefits for the same-sex partners of state workers. It was unconstitutional, she said.

This year, she rebuffed religious conservatives who wanted her to add two abortion restriction measures to a special legislative session on oil and gas policy, even though she supported the bills. Former aide Larry Persily said she didn’t want to risk offending Democrats, whose votes she needed on energy legislation.

Since Republican presidential candidate John McCain picked Palin as his running mate, much attention has been focused on her deeply conservative social views — including her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and her attendance at a church that promotes the “transformation” of homosexuals through prayer.

But in her 21 months as governor, Palin has taken few steps to advance culturally conservative causes. Instead, after she knocked off an incumbent amid an influence-peddling scandal linked to the oil industry, Palin pursued a populist agenda that toughened ethics rules and raised taxes on oil and gas companies.

That doesn’t sound much like the portrait painted of Palin in the media for the last two weeks.  We actually reported on the increased taxes at Hot Air a month ago, when reporters apparently were too sold on their own cleverness to consider Palin a viable candidate for John McCain’s running mate.  Her efforts to reform government and to ensure that Alaskans got their share of their mineral wealth may not meet with conservative approval — I think it was a mistake — but she clearly had to curb the influence of the oil companies in government.  The Ted Stevens-Veco scandal proved at least that much.

Michael Reagan compared Palin to his father, and one can see at least some parallels with Ronald Reagan’s stewardship of California and of the nation here.  Reagan fought a larger war for conservatism but didn’t mind allying himself across the aisle when he could reduce governmental power.  He also gave tremendous personal support to religious values, but tended to shy away from government policies to impose them.

Now that the surprise of the Palin announcement has faded and journalists have recovered from being proven so hopelessly wrong on the veepstakes, we’re starting to see more balanced analysis of Palin’s track record.  Unlike her opponents in this race, Palin has worked hard to create a “post-partisan” government model in Alaska, based on truly shared interests in reform.  She has projected her values without radicalizing government to prove them.

Palin isn’t the frightening spectre her critics have claimed … and that makes her even more dangerous to them.


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Don’t they call that separation of church and state.

singlemalt_18 on September 12, 2008 at 9:23 AM

She has something Obama doesn’t have, a proven record.

jencab on September 12, 2008 at 9:27 AM

From: “Meet Sarah Palin”
By Dimitri Vassilaros
July 16, 2007, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/columnists/vassilaros/s_585718.html

Excerpt: [As a teenage flautist trying to win a scholarship, she was second runner-up in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant. Looking back, she now thinks she was livestock in a swimsuit being eyed by the male judges. "Degrading" she calls it now. Talk with her for awhile, as I did (on July 12, 2007), and try to count the number of references to her state Constitution. During that phone call, she cited it more than 12 times -- not once gratuitously. "It's my bible in governing," Palin says. "I try to keep it so simple by reading the thing and believing in it and living it. It's providential. Some of the crafters of the Constitution are still alive. They're my mentors, my advisers. I get to meet with these folks and ask, 'What did you mean by this?' And it makes so much sense."]

RBMN on September 12, 2008 at 9:27 AM

They also call it class. Sarah has deeply held beliefs she considers a personal matter. I think “scarnaton” is gonna try to overreach and get his hand slapped by her asking “can you show me where I have codified my beliefs Joe?”

sven10077 on September 12, 2008 at 9:27 AM

This year, she rebuffed religious conservatives who wanted her to add two abortion restriction measures to a special legislative session on oil and gas policy, even though she supported the bills.

Good for her (and us). I hate the tactic of adding amendments to bills that have nothing to do with the bill in order to sneak through legislation. I hate abortion, but don’t limit it by adding an amendment to an energy bill.

It’s another demonstration of McCain/Palin actually reforming while Obama/Biden talk about it, but have zero substance. This is going to be harder and harder for the MSM to ignore.

Ordinary1 on September 12, 2008 at 9:29 AM

Her efforts to reform government and to ensure that Alaskans got their share of their mineral wealth may not meet with conservative approval — I think it was a mistake — but she clearly had to curb the influence of the oil companies in government.

Why?

Spirit of 1776 on September 12, 2008 at 9:30 AM

you. go. girl.

bloggless on September 12, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Just look at all of the opportunities we’re actually able to talk about Palin’s record and government achievements, and it should be instantly obvious that she’s more qualified for VP than Obama is for Prez. Its pathetic that the media honestly tries to pursue this “unqualified” angle.

jimmy the notable on September 12, 2008 at 9:31 AM

This is perplexing,it seems the Liberals are more threatened
by American Christians in America,then Islamic nut cases!!

So,this means CNN should be rolling out more Christian
bashing and a religious hit piece on Governor Sarah Palin!

canopfor on September 12, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Its pathetic that the media honestly tries to pursue this “unqualified” angle.

jimmy the notable on September 12, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Yep. What’s cool about it though is the more they try, the more obvious the truth is! They are dragging Obama down when they try to bash Sarahcuda!

Ordinary1 on September 12, 2008 at 9:33 AM

Peggy Noonan is working hard to redeem herself. This is from today’s WSJ:

Books will be written about this, but because it’s so recent, and so known, we’re almost not absorbing how huge it was, and is. Here was the central liberal mistake: They used the atom bomb just a few days in. They used it so brutally, and yet so ineptly, in a way so oblivious to the true contours of the field, that the radiation blew back over their own lines. They used it without preliminary diplomatic talks, multilateral meetings or Security Council debate. They just went boom. And it boomeranged.

The atom bomb was personal and sexual perfidy, backwoods knuckle-draggin’ ma and pa saying, Tell the neighbors the baby’s ours. Then the ritual abuse of the 17-year-old girl. Then the rest of it—bad mother, religious weirdo. (On this latter it must be noted that Mrs. Palin never told a church that the Iraq war was God’s will; she asked them to pray that it was God’s will. It wasn’t the sound of Republican hubris, it was the sound of Christian humility: We can’t know the mind of God, we can only pray we are in accord with it.)

All of this was unacceptable to normal Americans. They experienced it as the town gossip spreading rumor and slander before the new neighbor even got to put down her bags. It offended the American sense of fairness. And—it still lives!—gallantry.

ManlyRash on September 12, 2008 at 9:34 AM

So,this means CNN should be rolling out more Christian
bashing and a religious hit piece on Governor Sarah Palin!

canopfor on September 12, 2008 at 9:31 AM

Awesome. Another argument that will backfire! Newt was on Hannity and Colmes last night and made some excellent points about how FDR actually PRAYED with the nation on national radio. How JFK talked about God’s will. The MSM is lobbing bombs on themselves!

Ordinary1 on September 12, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Remember,the Liberal MSM were concerned about
Huckabee as a Christian,and Mitt Romney as a
Mormon!!!

The left have a real problem with certain religions,
but not with forced down your throat or die Islamic
religion!!

canopfor on September 12, 2008 at 9:36 AM

What, we don’t get to burn witches? Now what am I going to do with all these torches.

Kind of interesting how all the attention is on the Republican VP candidate.

rbj on September 12, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Peggy’s narrative does not interest me – it is not authentic.

Fuquay Steve on September 12, 2008 at 9:40 AM

It is really too much that the left keep bringing up Palin’s religion when Obama’s religion is Socialism and Black Liberation Theology with associations like Jerry Wright, Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko.

brtex on September 12, 2008 at 9:41 AM

I’ve been thinking about this for several days. Most of us were immediately in love with Palin. When McCain brought her on stage in Dayton that day, it was like a rocket that ignited, and I’ve never seen anything like that. And honestly, most of us didn’t know that much about her, of course some more than others.

I think she has something that few politicians do: Genuiness.

I’m reminded of Limbaugh as he tries to explain his ratings and popularity, how he cannot be anything other than himself because the audience will detect the phony quickly, and he would lose that audience.

I think, on the whole, even through the filter of TV and other media, people can still detect when someone is “genuine” or if they are faking a stance or position for expediency. With some, it takes longer than others, such as in the case with Sen. Obama; many are fascinated with him and/or his biography. But even Obama can not hold that fascination long enough to prove his is what he claims to be, because he is not.

Palin, on the other hand, from all I’ve seen thus far, appears to be exactly what she appears to be, no apologies, no nuance, she is what she is. And I think that is one of the biggest attractions to her, agree with her or not.

JamesLee on September 12, 2008 at 9:44 AM

Buzz this story por favor. USAT is read by a lot of people and most normal people probably regard it more highly than the WaPo or Gray Lady.

eyedoc on September 12, 2008 at 9:44 AM

Peggy Noonan is working hard to redeem herself.

Peggy blew it with MSNBC. She has long had the gift of being able to pedal down the center of the aisle, which is a great asset. The problem now is that you can’t really trust that she means what she’s writing. Her punditry is pretty meaningless if there’s no integrity to base it on.

BigD on September 12, 2008 at 9:45 AM

How about that… separation of church and state… strong religious convictions and respect for the constitution all in the same person. What will someone think of next?

CC

CapedConservative on September 12, 2008 at 9:49 AM

ManlyRash on September 12, 2008 at 9:34 A

Poor Peggy has a lot more than an open mike to make up for. Her articles seem all over the map to me.

How did they eye thing go? Are you happy with the results?

Cindy Munford on September 12, 2008 at 9:50 AM

can someone explain to me why she raised taxes on oil comps in Alaska? That’s the one part of her record I’m blank on

blatantblue on September 12, 2008 at 9:51 AM

Remember,the Liberal MSM were concerned about
Huckabee as a Christian,and Mitt Romney as a
Mormon!!!

The left have a real problem with certain religions,
but not with forced down your throat or die Islamic
religion!!

canopfor on September 12, 2008 at 9:36 AM

they have more issue with her praying we are on God’s side than they do with Rev. GODDAMN AMERICA! draw your own conclusions.

sven10077 on September 12, 2008 at 9:52 AM

can someone explain to me why she raised taxes on oil comps in Alaska? That’s the one part of her record I’m blank on

blatantblue on September 12, 2008 at 9:51 AM

she did not “raise taxes” she instituted a sliding scale.. When prices are low the taxes are gone, but when the prices get past a certain point they are high. The oil literally belongs to Alaska, and she has a duty to get a good deal for Alaska.

The genius of the system they put in is they incentivize production when the price is low, and profit when it is high.

It keeps the local roughnecks working and we’d be well served instituting it on a national scale.

sven10077 on September 12, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Wow Rasmussen has McCain up by 3

red131 on September 12, 2008 at 9:54 AM

they have…

sven10077 on Sept 12,2008 at 9:52AM.

sven10077: Your G.D… right!!haha:)

Now I hope I don’t get smited
for that comment,or stoned! A hem!:)

canopfor on September 12, 2008 at 9:57 AM

Peggy Noonan is working hard to redeem herself.

Noonan and many of the “elites” both right and left are going to have to do far more than try.

As one of those “little people” who is fed up with their constant insults I want them to put some sweat into their efforts.

/not holding my breath

Cody1991 on September 12, 2008 at 9:59 AM

can someone explain to me why she raised taxes on oil comps in Alaska? That’s the one part of her record I’m blank on

blatantblue on September 12, 2008 at 9:51 AM

Because the Alaska state constitution says the resources of Alaska belong to Alaskans. Basically the state of Alaska acts as negotiator for its citizens to get the best deal with companies who want the right to extract and sell those resources.

That’s hardly the same thing as arbitrarily penalizing American businesses for making money for their shareholders.

Typhoon on September 12, 2008 at 10:00 AM

Is it too soon to start saying “Palin Revolution”?

Tony737 on September 12, 2008 at 10:01 AM

JamesLee on September 12, 2008 at 9:44 AM

I think you are on the money here. I have mentioned an incident in other posts so I hope I don’t come off as a one trick pony but it just said so much to me. It was a group of pictures of some big function in Alaska, it may have been her inauguration but the whole family was there, dressed to the nines. And there was little Piper wearing a tiara. That may not mean much to some folks but it says a bunch to me. She cared more about Piper having a share in the moment then being chastised by those who would say it was inappropriate. And if you don’t think people would have complained go back and read the whining about the fact that John Roberts’ kids acted like kids when he was sworn in.

Cindy Munford on September 12, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Obama’s religion is Socialism and Black Liberation Theology

These are acceptable religions of the Left. Mainline Christianity is decidedly not.

JonPrichard on September 12, 2008 at 10:03 AM

sven10077 on September 12, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Sounds brilliant to me.

Cindy Munford on September 12, 2008 at 10:03 AM

sven10077 on September 12, 2008 at 9:27 AM

As usual, I have to go with sven on this who manages to say it better than I can: Palin has class, something which is badly lacking in Obama.

I read this very article today down at my favorite coffee shop (Joe’s Diner, believe it or not) and was mildly surprised not to find an article which painted Palin as a backcountry religious hysteric.

Is the tide finally starting to turn a bit on Palin coverage or will this be a one-off type thing and back to insulting her eyeglasses next week?

Bishop on September 12, 2008 at 10:05 AM

The tax rate was from previous administrations and heavily favored the oil companies. She championed a tax plan that got more from the oil cos in good times and the rate goes down in bad. The oil cos wanted a set rate for years to come, good times and bad. The taxes are on net and not gross margins. 80-85% of Alaska’s budget is paid for by these taxes.

Tom

marinetbryant on September 12, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Funny as hell: The Red State Update guys weigh in on Palin vs. the Media. Have a look:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpHBPQyoYXQ

ErinF on September 12, 2008 at 10:06 AM

I noted yesterday morning that Palin’s affect on us all involves her huge talent effective messaging. She just sent her son to war that morning, and immediately turned to offer her views to America via Gibson’s interview. That Gibson fell so short the mark of a true journalist will be his bane to bear the rest of his life, as he had his chance to be truly magnificent and all he proved was incompetence.

Last night we first viewed Palin/Gibson on the so-called “Bush Doctrine” that our media have accumulated over time and managed to prop up last night as some sort of bundled official presidential document for Americans to swallow (or gag).

My initial reaction was from first impression involving VIEWING her intensity. The FEELINGS that Palin arouses within the viewer are so very strong. And their affect effects the consciousness, there is no denying it. This morning, simply hearing the clip again on the radio, I was surprised to HEAR her answering Gibson’s questions ever so succinctly.

Palin reaches through energy and emotion into the true intellect. What idea experiences life without energy?

It’s a phenomena I’m not actually accustomed to experiencing as such “in real life”.

As a youth and young adult, I remember being swept up with idealism being so completely committed to bringing about goodness and all. That affect was very different, however, from what I just experienced.

Charismatic leaders hold their sway over their flock by maintaining a fascistic hold over their flock’s MINDS; no liberty of thought allowed.

Therein, Palin is a Liberator of Strife, not a mere charismatic figure.

The audience America (internationals’ are peeping toms) is WELCOME ‘as they are’ to think from their own perspectives about her message. THAT is unlike Obama who forces everyone through his vulgar “O” Marx hole or be damned by his goon squads to eternal torment.

I look forward to hearing Palin. She certainly has the way about her.

maverick muse on September 12, 2008 at 10:10 AM

She has something Obama doesn’t have, a proven record spine.

jencab on September 12, 2008 at 9:27 AM

FIFY

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on September 12, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Everyone forgets that this “raising taxes on oil companies” has a different meaning in Alaska. The oil companies do not own the land. The Alaskan citizens own the land, and any revenue made on that land the Alaskan citizens are entitled to a share of the profit. Therefore, it is an incentive for the Alaskan people to support the oil industry on their land.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on September 12, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Can I also add that this pic here of Palin sets my heart racing? Will I be branded a sexist if I say that she looks pretty damn yum with her hair down?

Bishop on September 12, 2008 at 10:23 AM

How did they eye thing go? Are you happy with the results? -Cindy Munford on September 12, 2008 at 9:50 AM

You remembered! Cindy, you are a sweetheart. The sugery went well and took all of 20 minutes. I’m astonished at the technology today vs just 5 years ago. After the surgery there was some corneal soreness and eye puffing (imagine having shampoo in your eyes for hours on end); I was one of the 2% that this sometimes happens to after surgery. But the soreness faded and the swelling went down.

Before the surgery my vision was 20/400(!) Now I can see clearly without glasses or contacts for the first time in my life. My happiness is indescribable. Of course, my eyesight is not perfect and I may still need OTC reading glasses for close-up stuff. Still, it beats being nearly blind. I recoomend it for those whose vision, like mine, was severely impaired.

ManlyRash on September 12, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Is it too soon to start saying “Palin Revolution”? – Tony737 on September 12, 2008 at 10:01 AM

Yup…by about 50 days or so.

ManlyRash on September 12, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Ed Morrissey:

Palin isn’t the frightening spectre her critics have claimed … and that makes her even more dangerous to them.

And that’s why they are so afraid of her, and why they are throwing everything at her, including the kitchen sink.

Loxodonta on September 12, 2008 at 10:47 AM

Money, Baby…

More than I could hope for out of USA Today !

RocketmanBob on September 12, 2008 at 10:52 AM

ManlyRash on September 12, 2008 at 10:34 AM

I am so glad for you. I have worn glasses for distance my whole life and now that I am getting long in the tooth I would just be trading one pair of glasses for another so I decided not to do it. But I am glad you can see what a beautiful world we have but I think you always saw that anyway.

Cindy Munford on September 12, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Her (Ms. Noonan) punditry is pretty meaningless if there’s no integrity to base it on.

BigD on September 12, 2008 at 9:45 AM

That is why honor and reputation are so hard earned and so easily tarnished.

Ms. Noonan would have to do more (for a long time) to get those back, if ever.

Sir Napsalot on September 12, 2008 at 1:06 PM

they (the media) have more issue with her praying we are on God’s side than they do with Rev. GODDAMN AMERICA! draw your own conclusions.

sven10077 on September 12, 2008 at 9:52 AM

Obama had developed a standard response now – “what can I say?” and “Obama should not be held responsible for what other people did/said”.

Fine, my counter would be:

“But, Sir, you ask us to trust the country into your hands based mainly on your judgement alone. Those allegations illustrated a pattern of bad judgements and a flawed decision making process, does it not?”

Sir Napsalot on September 12, 2008 at 1:12 PM

the main issue is energy. why is it that al gore can lie and get some phony awards for his efforts. Why is it that all people running for office today will not stand up to his lies.

Does global warming exist today? When i talk about about global warming I will always ask what globe! Why is it that most planets and moons are warming at the same rate as the u.s. or even the earth.

TomLawler on September 12, 2008 at 4:09 PM

i suppose that it second hand co2

TomLawler on September 12, 2008 at 4:11 PM

Noonan is sometimes interesting to read, but YES, she doesn’t believe what she writes. She cannot seem to fathom or figure out that she is incubated on Manhattan and has been an elitist all her life and ALWAYS will be an elitist.

I’m not bad-mouthing elitists. It’s when they insult us that I hate elitists which 99% are on the left.

She writes like she has imagination, but really doesn’t have the imagination afterall, the kind that people of faith have.

Sapwolf on September 12, 2008 at 4:58 PM

That oil ‘tax’ is really what is called a “royalty” situation by accountants. The right to get at the oil.

The previous governor/administration in Alaska worked a sleazy deal that WAY favored the oil companies and screwed Alaskans. Sarah called them on it.

Sapwolf on September 12, 2008 at 5:04 PM