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Archive for February 7th, 2009

Bristol Palin Welcomes a Son

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 7, 2009

Bristol Palin Welcomes a Son
By Lorenzo Benet

Originally posted Monday December 29, 2008 06:05 PM EST
Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin

Photo by: huck Kennedy / MCT / Landov
Bristol Palin, the 18-year-old daughter of former Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, gave birth on Saturday to a healthy 7 lb., 7 oz., baby boy in Palmer, Alaska.

“We think it’s wonderful,” said Colleen Jones, the sister of Bristol’s grandmother Sally Heath, who confirmed the news. “The baby is fine and Bristol is doing well. Everyone is excited.”

The baby’s name is Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston and he was born at 5:30 a.m., according to Jones.

Baby Tripp takes his surname from his dad, Levi Johnston, an apprentice electrician and former Wasilla High School hockey player who has been dating Bristol for three years.

Bristol Palin is currently residing in Wasilla and completing her high-school diploma through correspondence courses.

Johnston is studying to become an electrician. He told the Associated Press in October that he and fiancée Bristol plan to wed in 2009 and raise the child together.

Pregnancy Made News
Bristol, the eldest of Sarah and Todd Palin’s three daughters (the couple also have two sons), made headlines with her pregnancy last summer, shortly after Republican presidential candidate John McCain picked the Alaska governor to be his running mate on his party’s ticket.

In a statement at the time, Bristol’s parents said their daughter “came to us with news that we as parents knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned.” They added, Bristol “has our unconditional love and support.”

On Monday, Bill McAllister, a spokesman for Gov. Palin said, “This office will not be issuing any statements on [Bristol’s baby]. We’re here to talk about state government and that matter falls outside of that.”,,20245389,00.html

Posted in Family | Comments Off on Bristol Palin Welcomes a Son

Army of Sarahs? (How Palin’s Legacy Might Be Future Female Stars)

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 7, 2009

Army of Sarahs? (How Palin’s Legacy Might Be Future Female Stars)
By Matt Lewis
Jan 16th 2009 11:33AM
Filed Under:eRepublicans, Featured Stories

Whether you loved here or hated her, Sarah Palin’s vice presidential candidacy may have fundamentally changed the political scene for years to come.

And though her candidacy ultimately ended in defeat, Palin’s greatest legacy may be that she paved the way for a new wave of young, dynamic, conservative women to succeed in the national political scene.

Even some admitted Sarah-skeptics are now taking a second look at her — and the impact she may have had on women.

One of them is Ericka Andersen, a conservative writer for Culture 11. Though she was admittedly, “not a fan,” during the election, Anderson recently penned a blog asking, “Where are the Palins of 2009?”

In a follow-up interview, Andersen told me: “I think Sarah Palin made women realize the impact they can have simply by standing on their principles … even in the face of very harsh criticism.” She added that Palin, “exhibited a lot of strength during her VP run…

But while Palin continues to sway former skeptics, her greatest contribution may ultimately be realized by the growing number of up-and-coming conservative female leaders on the horizon. At present time, there are several on the horizon, poised to begin moving up the ranks.

I recently pointed out the mounting speculation that Ohio State Auditor Mary Taylor could make a run for George Voinovich’s Senate seat, but she not the only up-and-comer waiting to pounce.

Another big race in 2012 2010 will be the battle to succeed Senator Kit Bond in Missouri, and one candidate drawing speculation is another Sarah.

Sarah Steelman (pictured above) became a darling of reform-minded conservatives when she ran for Governor in 2008, because, like Palin, she has a record of taking-on waste and corruption in both parties.

Kimberly Stassel of The Wall Street Journal described her exploits this way:

Ms. Steelman’s Republican colleagues were livid with her attempt to strip them of comfy pensions, annoyed with her “sunshine law” requiring them to be more open in their dealings, furious at her attacks on their ethanol boondoggles, appalled that she criticized GOP state Speaker Rod Jetton for moonlighting as a paid political consultant”.

Unfortunately, she lost a close gubernatorial primary to Rep. Kenny Hulshof, who (not surprisingly) won the endorsement the state’s entire Republican establishment.
That was before Palin the hit the big time. And one strength both Steelman and Taylor have is their professional and academic backgrounds, outside of politics. One conservative insider described Steelman as, “Sarah Palin with a Degree in Economics.” Mary Taylor, likewise, is a CPA.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, another special-needs mother from the Pacific Northeast appears to be on the rise. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (who has a young son with Downs Syndrome) is entering her third term representing Washington’s 5th District, so she’s not exactly a post-Palin candidate. Still, the comparisons are a little too obvious to ignore, and her big break may have come just after the election. In November, her colleagues elected her Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference – making here the 5th ranking Republican in the entire House. That’s a pretty nice feather in her cap, especially when one considers that she is only 39 years old.

And Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) is another up-and-coming star to watch who was in office prior to Palin’s candidacy, but may still benefit from her run.

Whether or not the “Palin Effect” had anything to do with their elevation, Rodgers and Bachmann are definitely leaders we will hear from in the future.

Another factor to consider is that these ladies will now have infrastructure to support them. New organizations to cultivate Palinesque conservative leaders are also appearing, led by the burgeoning web community. Such efforts have long been orchestrated by liberal groups, such as EMILY’s List.

One such effort is Team Sarah. Though the brainchild of the Susan B. Anthony List, the group has definitely taken on a life of its own…driven more by its 65,000 members than anything else. And even if Sarah Palin’s career fades (not likely), “Team Sarah’s” infrastructure will still be there to cultivate her legacy (and probably to ensure here voice on the national scene).

Maybe it’s too early to tell, and maybe we’re just entering an era where politics will be more gender-balanced, but it seems apparent that several young conservative female leaders are on the cusp of becoming national political players.. It could be just a coincidence, but my guess is that – if I may use an Internet analogy — the Palin prototype is going viral.

Regardless, whether or not Sarah Palin goes on to become president herself, or not, my guess is she may be looked on as someone who helped pave the way for future conservative women to succeed.

And my bet is that she may have even inspired a few of today’s young girls to get involved in politics when they grow up, too…

Posted in Woman | Comments Off on Army of Sarahs? (How Palin’s Legacy Might Be Future Female Stars)

Alaska’s gorgeous governor a vice president?

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 7, 2009

Alaska’s gorgeous governor a vice president?
Posted: August 15, 2007
1:00 am Eastern

By Les Kinsolving


Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s state website photograph

Washington’s “Weekly Standard” magazine’s two-page feature article on Gov. Sarah Palin has a photograph of her – that would stop traffic.

With a smile that could melt all the tundra of the Arctic Circle – as well as absolutely astounding political success and integrity – Gov. Palin ought really to be seriously considered by whomever wins the Republican Presidential nomination, as an absolutely glorious running mate.

Even though Alaska has very few electoral votes, Sarah Palin would be an absolutely devastating addition to the GOP ticket – particularly if the Democrats nominate Hillary.

There is infinitely more to Mrs. Palin than the radiant beauty which won her the Miss Wasilla beauty contest, from which she went on to compete in the Miss Alaska pageant.

(Column continues below)

Editor Fred Barnes of “The Weekly Standard” reported from Juneau that she is known to inevitable critics by the wonderfully stimulating nickname: “Sarah Barracuda” (!) (Politics in the Great North State are never dull.)

Barnes described her as “a politician of eye-popping integrity … now the most popular governor in America with an approval rating in the 90s, and probably the most popular public official in any state.”

(And, let me add, just wonderfully equipped to counter if the Democrats presidentially nominate another – if older – pretty lady.)

Barnes also reports:

“Her rise is a great (and rare) story of how adherence to principle – especially to transparency and accountability in government can produce political success.”

“Palin is a conservative who, only last month, vetoed 13 percent of the state’s proposed budget for capital projects which the ‘Anchorage Daily News’ said: ‘may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history.'”

In the cause of justice, she has been unafraid to take on what she believed were unethical practices by Republicans – like Randy Ruedrich, Alaska Oil and Gas Commissioner, who was also GOP state chairman. He eventually paid a $12,000 fine for breaking state ethics laws. “She became a hero in the eyes of the public and the press – and the bane of Republican leaders.”

In 2005, she joined Democrat Eric Croft in lodging an ethics complaint against state Attorney General Gregg Renkes – a long-time adviser and campaign manager for Gov. Frank Murkowski – who reprimanded Renkes – who resigned. “Palin was again hailed as a hero.”

In 2006, she ran against Murkowski, who was seeking re-election – and won, decisively in an overwhelmingly Democrat year …. “Political analysts in Alaska refer to the bodycount of Palin’s rivals.”

One of her first acts as governor was to fire the Alaska Board of Agriculture – whose replacements stopped the state Creamery Board – which marketed the products of Alaska dairy farmers for 71 years and wanted to close down. “You don’t just close down and walk away,” commented Gov. Barracuda.
I suggest this gorgeous and thoroughly gutsy governor would be a great Veep nominee. She has a husband named Todd. He was her high school sweetheart, who works for BP on the North Slope. He is rugged enough to be a 3-time winner of the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snowmobile race from Wasilla to Nome, to Fairbanks.

She grew up attending nondenominational Bible churches and told editor Barnes:

“I believe everything happens for a purpose. In my own personal life, if I dedicated back to my Creator what I’m trying to create for the good, everything will turn out fine.”

In my having covered eight of the last nine Republican National Conventions, I can remember how usually last-minute – and so-far-from-the-top – has been the selection of a nominee for Vice President ( a number of whom, like Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt, went on to very distinguished presidencies).

2008, in Minneapolis, could be vice-presidentially electrifying – if they choose Alaska’s gorgeous and gutsy governor.

Sadly, however, I am obliged to report – and it is on the record – that at the White House daily news briefing July 16th, Presidential Press Secretary Tony Snow gave Gov. Palin what I recall – in both tone of voice as well as brevity – was distinctly short shrift.

I asked Tony Snow:

Q: Washington’s ‘Weekly Standard’ reports from Juneau, Alaska, that the new Republican Governor, Sarah Palin, has an approval rating of 90 percent in the polls; that’s 9-0. What is the president’s reaction to this and her future?

MR. SNOW (very quickly) “He’s happy for her.”

That’s it. Nothing more.

Which seems to me to be very sad.

Posted in Governor Sarah Palin | Comments Off on Alaska’s gorgeous governor a vice president?

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 7, 2009

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Palin weighs in on stimulus package (she’s opposed) – The Miami Herald
Feb. 05, 2009 | 12:56PM
Political bench??? – Boston Herald
Feb. 06, 2009 | 6:05PM
Heart’s brush with politics – Las Vegas Sun
Feb. 06, 2009 | 10:04AM
Legislator calls out Palin administration for rural help – KTUU
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Alaska lawmakers question Sarah Palin’s focus – The Associated Press
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Sarah PalinTable of contents
1. Why She Matters
2. At a Glance
3. Path to Power
3.1. Gubernatorial Race
3.2. In Her Own Words
4. The Issues
4.1. Three E’s
4.2. Feminism and Family
5. The Network
5.1. Footnotes
Current Position: Alaska Governor (since January 2007)
Why She Matters
Palin, a relative unknown before the 2008 election, managed to do what no GOP presidential candidate could do for their party throughout the Republican primary: energize the conservative base. And the political future of the Alaska governor is being fiercely debated even after her bid as the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee failed.

For a brief period, Palin unified fractured, demoralized Republicans uninspired by their presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain1 (R-Ariz.), a man who called himself a maverick because he opposed his party on some key issues.

Palin, who also describes herself as a maverick, represented something different. Most notably, she is the first woman to appear on a Republican presidential ticket, but that fact seemed to be almost an afterthought in the fervor of the election. The vivacious former PTA mother of five and one-term Alaska governor who knows how to wield both a shotgun and a fishing pole instantly captured the hearts of the party faithful.

Throughout her meteoric political career, Palin has positioned herself as an outsider, which wasn’t hard considering she’s never been a hands-on favorite to win any of her elected positions. She earned her political chops exposing the GOP elite’s corrupt dealings with Alaska’s vibrant oil industry, which caused the Republican establishment in her state to abandon her during her 2006 bid for the governorship.

Despite the odds, Palin won that race and has governed with an eye towards fiscal responsibility, transparency and ethics reform. During her first year in office she vetoed $231 million from the proposed state budget, placed expenses online for everyone to see and listed her Republican predecessor’s $2.69 million private jet on eBay.(1)

These kinds of unapologetic, take-charge actions, coupled with Palin’s positions on social issues, have caused even the most hard-line members of the conservative base to become infatuated with Palin during her vice presidential run. Shortly after Palin was announced as McCain2’s vice presidential choice, talk-radio titan Rush Limbaugh declared during one of his programs, “Sarah Palin: Babies, guns and Jesus. Hot damn!”(2)

In post-election interviews, Palin has been careful to keep options open for her political future. “I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door,” she has said.(3)
At a Glance
Current Position: Alaska Governor (since January 2007)

Career History: GOP vice presidential nominee (2008); Wasilla Mayor (1996 to 2002); Chairwoman Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (2003 to 2004); Wasilla City Council member (1992 to 1996); Television sports reporter (1987 to 1989); Co-owner commercial fishing operation (1988 to 2007); Owner, snow machine, watercraft, and al-terrain vehicle business (1994 to 1997)

Birthday: Feb. 11, 1964

Hometown: Wasilla, Alaska

Alma Mater: University of Idaho, B.S. in communications-journalism, 1987

Spouse: Todd Palin


State Office:
P.O. Box 110001
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0001
(907) 465-3500


Web site3
Path to Power
Palin often credits days playing basketball in high school for giving her an edge in the political arena. She helped clinch the state title for her team in 1984 with a free-throw in the final minutes of the championship game. “This really sounds hokey, but that was a turning point in my life” she told the Anchorage Daily News after winning Wasilla’s mayoral race in 1996. “We were supposed to be the underdogs big time. You see firsthand anything is possible and learn it takes tenacity, hard work and guts.”(4)

Born in Idaho, but raised in Alaska, Palin had something of a tomboy’s upbringing. Her father, Chuck, is an avid sportsman who taught his daughter to hunt, fish and trap game. Palin later parlayed her love of the outdoors into several business ventures, working alongside her husband, Todd, for a time as a commercial fish operator. She also made periodic appearances as a television sports anchor on KTUU, Anchorage’s NBC affiliate.

Palin’s first elected position was to the Wasilla City Council in 1992. Four years later she ran for mayor against a three-term incumbent on a tax-cutting platform and won an upset victory. In 2002, she embarked on a longshot race to become lieutenant governor and lost. She did, however, run an impressive campaign that caught the attention of incumbent Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski.

This led to a short-lived appointment to the Alaskan Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which was created to protect the public interest in exploration and development of oil and gas resources. Palin resigned from her post in protest as part of whistle-blowing efforts against fellow Republican Commissioner Randy Ruedrich, who was also chairman of the state party and very close to Gov. Murkowski. Palin believed Ruedrich, and others, hadn’t acted ethically during deals the state had negotiated with ExxonMobil, Conoco Philips and British Petroleum for development along Alaska’s North Slope.

After Palin resigned from the commission, she embarked on a campaign to unseat Gov. Murkowski, promising to open the North Slope to competitive bidding. Ruedrich eventually resigned from the commission and was fined $12,000 for ethics violations in 2004.(5)

Gubernatorial Race
When Palin ran against Murkowski in the 2006 GOP primary, she was forced to rely on grassroots support to advance her candidacy. This was largely because Ruedrich, a loyal Murkowski supporter, remained state GOP chairman and controlled party resources, keeping them out of her reach. Palin was such an outcast from the state party that she even considered running as an Independent. At the time she vented to a local talk-radio host, “One of the challenges is being up against those who run our party.”(6) But Palin was also helped by the fact Alaskans were feeling hostile towards members of the GOP establishment, like Ruedrich, who had become too cozy with the oil industry.

After winning the GOP primary, Palin gained a comfortable lead over former Democratic Governor Tony Knowles, who after losing a campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2006, sought to reclaim his position as governor. Palin won by double-digits and became Alaska’s first female governor at the age of 42.

A little more than a year after being sworn-in, Palin met GOP presidential candidate John McCain4 at a Republican governor’s meeting. “We just talked about earmark reform and how it’s going to happen,” Palin said at the time.(7)

After McCain5 won the Republican nomination for president, he unexpectedly tapped Palin to become his vice presidential candidate. Although the McCain-Palin ticket did not win in 2008, the campaign introduced Palin to the nation and she is now one of the most popular figures within the Republican Party.
In Her Own Words
In post-election interviews, Palin has been careful to keep options open for her political future. “I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door,” she has said.The Issues
Three E’s
Palin’s top policy issues could be boiled down to three E’s: energy, environment and ethics. All three of these subjects have been closely intertwined throughout Palin’s career and are at the forefront of her political agenda.

As governor, Palin has challenged non-competitive oil contracts and environmentalists alike in her efforts to increase exploration in Alaska. Her centerpiece legislation, the Alaskan Gas Inducement Act, authorized the construction of a 1,715-mile natural gas pipeline to TransCanada Alaska, a project significantly larger than the 800-mile Alaskan pipeline.

She is an assertive advocate for developing natural resources, arguing it should be within her state’s right to drill, even in prohibited places like the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. She’s similarly fought efforts to list the polar bear as an endangered species. “We’ve got other places in the world once again telling us Alaskans how to live and whether we can develop,” she told Investors Business Daily in 2008. ‘We’ve coexisted with bears for decades to no detrimental effect. Our bear population is thriving. The listing is nothing but interference from outsiders who insist on keeping Alaska from developing resources responsibly.”(8)

Feminism and Family
A spate of pro-Palin groups has cropped up in the wake of the governor’s vice presidential candidacy.(9) Palin enjoys strong support among Republican women. Many of them were compelled to unite behind Palin in 2008 due to the drubbing she was subjected to throughout the presidential election for campaigning for vice president while mothering an infant.

Palin’s decision to accept the vice presidential slot so soon after having her fifth child was openly debated in the media. The questioning reached such an intense clamor that former 2008 GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani directly addressed the chattering classes during the Republican National Convention. There, he issued a passionately feminist defense. “How dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president,” he said. “When do they ever ask a man that question?”(10)

Palin has avoided most discussions about the historic nature of her candidacy due to her gender. She has, however, criticized the media’s discussion of her children and anonymous bloggers who drove salacious rumors about her family on several occasions.(11)
The Network
In some ways it’s easier to count those who aren’t in Palin’s inner circle than those who are. Before appearing on the GOP presidential ticket, Palin often relied mainly on grassroots support to propel her political efforts.

Murkowski, her 2006 gubernatorial primary opponent, consumed most of the political talent in Alaska. And the fact Murkowski appointed his daughter, Lisa, to the U.S. Senate didn’t help Palin, either. In 2004, Palin considered challenging Lisa Murkowski. In the end, she decided to sit out and endorsed Sen. Murkowski’s other Republican challenger Mike Miller.(12)

Palin’s campaign manager for her gubernatorial race was one of her hometown friends, Kris Perry. Other people playing lead roles in the campaign included middle-school friends and work acquaintances.(13)

GOP consultant Becki Donatelli, chair of Campaign Solutions, was hired to manage SarahPAC in January 2008, indicating Palin is expanding her circle to a competitive, national level.(14)

Amanda Carpenter, “What a Vice President Palin Agenda Could Look Like,” Townhall Magazine, October 2008.
Rush Limbaugh, The Rush Limbaugh Show6, August 29, 2008
Greta Van Susteren, Sarah Palin interview7, Fox News’s On the Record, November 11, 2008, Fox News
S.J. Komarnitsky, “New Mayor, Sharp Knife,” Anchorage Daily News, October 3, 1996.
Richard Mauer, “GOP chief settles, is fined; Randy Ruedrich: Party Chairman admits violations, to pay $12,000.” Anchorage Daily News, June 23, 2004.
Tom Kizza, “PALIN: Her reputations as a crusader had perfect timing,” Anchorage Daily News, October 24, 2006
Erika Bolstad, “Palin for earmarks before she was against them,8” McClatchy Newspapers, September 4, 2008
Sarah Palin interview, “Alaska ‘Frustrated’ Governor Palin on Our ‘Nonsensical’ Energy Policy,9” Investor’s Business Daily, July 11, 2008
Bumiller, Elisabeth and Cooper, Michael, “Palin Assails Critics and Electrifies Party,11” The New York Times, Sept. 4, 2008
Ryan D’Agostino, Sarah Palin interview, “What I’ve Learned,12” Esquire Magazine, January 13, 2009,
Richard Mauer, “Palin to back Miller for U.S. Senate,” Anchorage Daily News, April 24, 2004.
Tom Kizza, “PALIN: Her reputations as a crusader had perfect timing,” Anchorage Daily News, October 24, 2006.
Chris Cillizza, “White House Cheat Sheet: Bantering over Bipartisanship,13” Washington Post, January 30, 2008




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4.2. Feminism and Family
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Alaskan Foreign Policy (The American Spectator)

Posted by Sarah Palin Web Brigade on February 7, 2009

2. oktober 2008, 05:08:25 | James P. Lucier
It’s true that Alaskans look at foreign policy from a different perspective. They know the world is a globe. They look at their neighbors from the polar projection, while the lower 48 are still thinking east and west along the old Mercator projection maps, maps devised for the navigation of sailing vessels in the 16th century, and published by the Flat Earth Society. The Mercator projection is perfect for backward-looking pols such as Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Thus a governor of Alaska has to be more cosmopolitan in world outlook than her insular colleagues in the lower 48. Surrounded as Alaska is by the seven Arctic nations (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden) Alaska has a truly strategic location, unmatched by any other U.S. state. It has a contiguous boundary with Canada of 1,538 miles, but none with the lower 48.

It is also closer to the Russian Federation than any other U.S. state. There are no international waters between Russia and Alaska. The boundary in the Bering Strait splits the two-mile difference between Big Diomede and Little Diomede Islands, two bleak rocky islets that may have been part of the prehistoric landbridge crossed by Todd Palin’s people eons ago. One hundred forty-six Inuit-Americans still live on a 3,000-year-old village site on Little Diomede, so if Sarah Palin lived there she sure could see Russia from her front porch.

If you are curled up that close to the Russian bear, you want to be sure that he is sleeping quietly. You are very attentive if he moves to make sure that he is not going to roll over on you. You have a sixth sense about Russian fighters and bombers intruding into your territory, or daring to come as close as possible. You are relieved when U.S. military planes scramble from Elmendorf Air Force Base to escort them back. Meanwhile, you make nice. You invite the Russians on trade missions, and you invite them to international conferences.

On August 12, Governor Sarah Palin addressed the 8th Annual Conference of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region held in Fairbanks, hosted by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and sponsored by the University of Alaska. The Russian parliamentarians were included along with the Canadian, Danish, Finish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish legislators. They focused on human health in the region, particularly among the indigenous peoples common to all the nations. They talked about preserving renewable, non-renewable and alternative resources. Governor Palin reported on Alaska’s progress with the new gas pipeline and with alternative energy.

Alaska is a busy place. Its international airport is on the great circle route, the shortest distance between Washington, D.C., and the Orient. It happens to be the last gas station open until midnight (figuratively speaking) before the long hop over the Pacific to Tokyo. This contrasts with, say Delaware, which is a drive-through patch on the road to Jersey.

Despite having a population of only 670,000, Alaska exports $3.9 billion a year, mostly to China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and other Pacific Ocean nations, as well as to Canada Russia, Finland, Norway and a raft of other European nations. Investment comes from abroad too. Canada has invested over $3 billion, and that was before the contract agreement with TransCanada Alaska on the new gas pipeline. Governor Palin and Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie renewed the Alaska-Yukon Intergovernmental accord in March.

UNTIL JOE BIDEN was nominated by the Democratic National Convention to be Vice President of the United States, it had never occurred to anyone that the chief qualification of a vice president was to be an expert on foreign policy. It was a drastic step but necessary when the Democrats saw they had a problem. Clearly, Barack Obama’s much-touted advisory board of 300 foreign policy experts was inadequate. They had to shore up a nominee whose only foreign policy experience to date had been to interfere in the elections in Kenya on behalf of his cousin, Raila Odinga. They realized he needed one more expert, the 301st , to give the nominee that gravitas necessary to wow the foreign policy establishment.

Thus the nomination of Joe Biden was inevitable. After all, how could you trump a man who was not only the third most liberal Senator in the world’s greatest deliberative body, but also Chairman of the august Senate Foreign Relations Committee? Suddenly, it was a game-changer. The vice-presidency was all about foreign policy, and when Sarah Palin was nominated by the Republicans she was held to the new standard. With Palin’s inexperience, how could she compete with Biden’s 36 years of inexperience, of being wrong year after year on every issue? Of a man so used to reaching out to other nations that he plagiarized his speeches word for word from a British socialist, Neil Kinnock, the leader of the British Labour Party? Of a man who has been around so long that he remembers watching FDR go on television in 1929 and rally the nation when the Great Depression hit? (Those who were unaware that television existed in 1929 should recall that it was invented in 1928 by Al Gore, before he invented the Internet.)

Gone are the days when Teddy Roosevelt, annoyed in pre-air conditioning days by the constant tinkling of the crystal chandelier in his White House office sent it over to the Capitol office of his vice-president, Charles Fairbanks (surely you remember Charles Fairbanks, don’t you?), with the statement, “Take that thing over to the vice-president’s office. He has nothing to do. Maybe it will keep him awake.” And the chandelier hangs there today, the somnolent Fairbanks long departed.

No one asked whether Harry Truman, the gutsy guy from the Prendergast gang, knew beans about foreign policy. Yet he ended World War II by bombing Hiroshima, set up the United Nations, formulated the Marshall Plan, and executed the Truman Doctrine that stopped Communist expansion in Europe dead in its tracks.

Nor were Alben Barkley, Lyndon Johnson, Spiro Agnew, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, Dan Quayle or Al Gore chosen to fill the foreign policy gap. The only exception was Dick Cheney. The critics said he knew too much about foreign policy.

So we find that Charles Gibson and Katie Couric have raised the bar. Their interviews with Governor Palin were all about foreign policy, at least the part they put on the air. It took a journalist from Montana, Frank Miele, to go to the transcripts of the whole interviews to show that 70 percent of what she said was left, metaphorically, on the cutting room floor. As Miele wrote, “You will see two Sarah Palins. The one sitting across from Charlie Gibson was nuanced, insistent and thoughtful, but the one that Gibson cut-and-pasted in the editing room was a cross between Ma Kettle and Dr. Strangelove.” Gibson ridiculed her for suggesting that that the Russian invasion of Georgia was unprovoked (just as Obama had called upon both sides “to use restraint”– both Georgia whose territory had been invaded and Russia whose ruthless assault had been long-planned). Gibson seemed incredulous when she suggested that Alaska’s border with Russia gave her some understanding of Russia’s actions.

Katie Couric also left the best parts of Palin’s interview on the cutting room floor. With her beady eyes focused, she moved in to gimlet the governor on the question of proximity to Russia, “as part of your foreign policy experience,” which Palin had never claimed. It’s too bad that Palin got flustered at that moment, after having been burned so badly by Gibson’s treachery on the issue. “As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska,” she said without getting her syntax in gear. That made it a must-go sound-byte in the editing room.

Of course Senator McCain got the same treatment. In the McCain-Obama debate, six times the name “Ahmadinejad” rolled smoothly off McCain’s tongue, but one time momentarily it seemed to get caught in his throat. Anyone want to guess which one of the seven Ahmadinejads got featured on the network reporting the next day?

A MORE COMPREHENSIVE answer from Palin might have pointed out that Russian fighters routinely violate U.S. air space over Alaskan waters, and U.S. military planes based in Alaska scramble to escort them out. She could also have pointed out that Russian submarines and icebreakers enter Canadian waters without a by-your-leave, and in the Arctic Ocean they have staked Russian claims to ownership of the North Pole, and the 8 billion tons of oil and gas that lie underneath. This is the kind of stuff on which Palin was briefed as commander of the Alaska National Guard. If Palin was a bit thrown off her stride, it may have been because she was unsure of the fuzzy line between classified and unclassified intelligence in her first incursions into network TV.

Amazingly, neither Biden as chairman of the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee, nor Obama as chairman of the subcommittee on Europe have ever held hearings on the matter of Putin rearing his head. In fact, Obama is already such an expert that he feels no need to hold any hearings at all in his subcommittee. With a revanchist Russia laying claim to Georgia, perhaps Putin is beginning to think of Alaska as part of what the Russians call the Near Abroad. Perhaps, in some of his revanchist moods, he covets Seward’s Icebox as Russian territory which the Czar disposed of too quickly. Is it possible that he is seeking abrogation of the 1867 Seward-Stoeckl Treaty? Probably not; he is just acting that way. But it would be a good idea for Biden and Obama to take a day off from campaigning and hold a hearing on Russia’s designs in the Arctic. They might learn something if they call as their first expert witness the Governor of Alaska.

Some of the hoity-toity conservatives in the National Review crowd were shocked and appalled at the Palin interviews. Wrinkling their noses at the smell of mooseburgers cooking on the grill, they could hardly eat their pheasant under glass, stuffed with pate de foie gras and truffles. They called for Palin to be thrown under the harpsichord.

Well, we shall see. At least the Palin-Biden debate will be broadcast in full and not be cut up by those who have knives out against her. Can the indomitable Palin hold her own once Biden fires up his gaffe-o-matic? There’s just a chance, maybe a good chance that she can knock off the old geezer and field-dress him on the spot.

Posted in Alaskan Foreign Policy | Comments Off on Alaskan Foreign Policy (The American Spectator)

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