Sunday, January 30, 2011

Governor Palin--Retail Politician

With the potential for a presidential run for Governor Palin in the future and with her huge superstar appeal, pundits and politicians have on occasion discussed her ability to engage in retail politics. When Governor Palin spoke at a GOP fundraiser in Iowa last fall, people questioned her desire to engage in retail politics, an arguably necessary part of the primary process in that state. As time has crept into 2011, people are still questioning this very thing. Former Iowa Lt. Governor Betty Judge, a Democrat, doesn't think that Governor Palin will be able to do well with the electoral setup and necessary strategy needed to win the Iowa caucus:

I do not believe that Sarah Palin can win in Iowa. I don’t think she will play well to the kind of retail politics that politicians at all levels have to do in Iowa,” Judge said. “Her biggest problem in Iowa is I don’t think she could do the retail politics, the walking down Main Street and shaking hands, the sitting down at the coffee shop, just hearing a lot of the stuff that maybe she doesn’t want to hear and answering it as best she can – I don’t see her doing that. I don’t think her personality fits that and that’s always a problem for people who have some celebrity.”

No one is in the position to make accurate assumptions about the campaign strategy Governor Palin or any other potential 2012 presidential candidate may employ. However, often in politics, the past can indicate how a candidate may act in the present and in future. If Governor Palin's previous political campaigns are any indication, she excels at retail politics.
In Going Rogue, Governor Palin spoke at length of her 2006 gubernatorial campaign. This campaign included driving herself 12 hours round trip from Wasilla and Valdez with her kids in tow to meet with potential future constituents, a larger scale version of her campaigns in Wasilla when she would pull her children in a wagon while meeting with future constituents. Governor Palin writes, " I wanted to shake every hand on the trail. I wanted to meet the people who would be my bosses". She spoke about attending dozens of candidate forums, debates, interviews, and events throughout both the primary and general election. Wouldn't one think that if a woman could run a successful, grassroots campaign with a focus on engaging every potential constituent in a state twice the geographical size of Texas, she could do the same in a state the size of Iowa?

This attitude of engaging the electorate on an individual level was something that Governor Palin carried with her on the 2008 campaign trail speaking wth reporters in Colorado:
"If I called all the shots, and if I could wave a magic wand," Palin said, "I would be sitting at a kitchen table with more and more Americans, talking to them about our plan to get the economy back on track and winning the war, and not having to rely on the old conventional ways of campaigning..."

In Going Rogue, Governor Palin spoke of her desire to spend as much time on the rope lines at campaign events as possible in 2008. She didn't want the McCain campaign to pull of Michigan because, as she said in Going Rogue, "every single person and every single vote mattered". Governor Palin shows consistency in her campaign approach at both the state and national levels-the entire electorate matters. Whether it is spending more time on the rope lines, small town GOP chili suppers, or sitting down face-to-face with constituents, this is the kind of campaign Governor Palin is comfortable engaging in. It's true she is able to draw huge crowds to her speeches and sell out venues in a matter of hours. She is a huge ratings draw on national cable channels for both her political insight on Fox News and her travelogue show on TLC. People line up in the cold hours and hours before one of her book signings just for the opportunity to speak with her for a brief moment. That is Sarah Palin the political superstar. Sarah Palin, the campaigning politician, although not a different person has a different focus--meeting as many potential constituents as possible and listening to what they want from their government.
Regarding Iowa specifically, what separates Governor Palin from other potential GOP presidential candidates is that she is focused on the task at hand. She doesn't act solely out of what may be politically expedient in her future. When she spoke in Iowa last fall to raise money for the Iowa GOP, her focus was the 2010 election, not the 2012 election. Her intention at the time was to do all she could to help bring conservative victory in the 2010. She made this clear, and she was successful. This past summer, we saw other potential candidates exercise disingenuous coyness about their political plans for 2012 while chomping on corn dogs at the Iowa state fair. We've seen a potential candidate touting government subsidies for junk energy science solely for the sake of pandering to certain Iowa voters. This is what separates Governor Palin from other politicians. She is forthcoming, upfront, and focused. She isn't going to be two faced regarding her actions and her intentions. If this kind of focus and sincerity regarding her intentions care over to a potential 2012 campaign, there is no doubt Governor Palin will be successful if and when she makes her intentions known.

With Iowa's position on the primary schedule and its caucus format, voters come to expect certain things from candidates, and candidates are required to visit every part of the Hawkeye state to gain needed support from Republicans. Candidates also see success in Iowa as a momentum builder for the remainder of their primary campaign. While Governor Palin has become a political superstar in many respects when she isn't a candidate, as a candidate throughout her political career at the city, state, and national levels, she has proved to be an excellent retail politician. Her political opponents and naysayers can keep on misrepresenting her and underestimating her, but they do so at their own peril. Another conservative, political superstar used his opponents' underestimation of him quite effectively--Ronald Reagan.

H/T Janne Myrdal

Related: Mel Bryant wrote a good piece this past fall at C4P highlighting more of Governor Palin's affinity for retail politics as she writes about in Going Rogue.

Crossposted here, here, here, and here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A View of America from the Driver's Seat

Last Sunday, I watched the Packers-Bears game on TV. Usually I don't pay too close attention to the commercials, but there were two car commercials that caught my eye during back-to-back commercial breaks. One for the Nissan Leaf, a new electric car:

The other commercial was for the Dodge Challenger:

You may ask, what do car commercials have to do with politics? Generally nothing, but those two commercials represented to me two very different views of America today. The first commercial for the electric Nissan Leaf seemed to indicate that all Americans who do not drive electric cars must hate animals--especially polar bears whose homes are melting because of that wretched "global warming"! What the commercial conveniently leaves out is that electric cars do need to be charged in order to run. A lot of the energy that powers America's homes come from coal or natural gas--fossil fuels-- that cause "global warming". That natural gas may have even come from Alaska where that polar bear lives! It's Sarah Palin's fault! What the environmentalists seem to overlook is the amount of energy that it takes to make more energy efficient cars. The various components are made all over the world, so the amount of energy to transport the parts and assemble is staggering. Also, at least in hybrid cars, they still haven't exactly determined a way to dispose of the battery once its no longer functional. It can't just be thrown away because it's too harmful for the environment. Also, environmental regulations that have forced companies to make fuel efficient cars have led to producers making less safe cars. In order to make cars more fuel efficient, lighter bodies and frames are used in production, which are also less safe. Environmentalists try to exploit stories of pollution leading to deaths, but there are likely more deaths caused by less safe vehicles than directly by pollution. But, never fear, if such a death occurs to someone you care about, you may get consoled by a polar bear because of your environmentally friendly car choice!

The second commercial, on the other hand, seemed to embrace what is right about America. America still is the most free country in the world. Although, due to industry and governmental mismanagement and the heavy handedness of unions, American car companies aren't what they once were, they have achieved a great deal of industrial achievements and innovations. Henry Ford perfected the assembly line process to get the Model T Ford into the possession of many Americans, and it revolutionized the way Americans travel. However, what that Dodge Challenger commercial indicated was that America has done freedom right. It's true. That's what our Founders toiled and died for. It's what our men and women in uniform still fight for today. It's embedded with in the charters of our nation--the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

I'm no advertising expert by any means. I never took one advertising or business class in college, but simply as a consumer, I'm more influenced by an ad that embraces what's right about America rather than attempting to make me feel guilty for what the progressives think is wrong with America.

Crossposted here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

High Speed Rail or High Speed Fail?

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama spoke of high speed rail as a means of stimulating nearby business, increasing construction jobs, and providing travel alternatives:
We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, constructed the Interstate Highway System. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down track or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.

So over the last two years, we’ve begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. And tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble those efforts.

We’ll put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We’ll make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based [on] what’s best for the economy, not politicians.

Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying –- without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

One of those routes in the Midwest goes between Chicago and St. Louis running through Springfield, Illinois. Eight billion dollars of stimulus money, supposedly aimed at jump starting the economy two years ago, has gone to high speed rail projects, and this particular project has not even broken ground and will not be completed until 2014, part way through Sarah Palin's first term as president. As a resident of Springfield, I can say that such a project does not instill a great deal of enthusiasm among residents. When the state of Illinois first received the $4 billion dollars in federal funding, even former Democratic mayor Tim Davlin and the county board discussed suing over the plans because the location of the high speed rail project would devastate downtown business and halt plans for rail consolidation elsewhere where it would be less congested and less of a problem for downtown businesses. The Illinois Policy Institute reports:
High-speed rail boosters have shown little regard for the devastating impact it could have on nearby homes and businesses. Writing in the State-Journal Register, Environmental Law and Policy Center head Howard Learner admonished readers to “not permit controversies over particular stations, routes or speeds stand in the way of a united front and overall progress.”

Note to the families who’d see their homes seized to make way for ramps and to the businesses who’d lose customer traffic as shoppers avoided a sliced up downtown: your concerns are trumped by the need for “overall progress.”

“Progress” would also build a hulking overpass on the street adjacent to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dana Thomas House. It would entomb the home’s renowned fa├žade. Concrete would block out much of the sun that sparkles through its famous art glass windows.

Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin, a Democrat, has stated that if the plan goes through “the whole city would look like crap.”

Would negatively affecting current businesses and homes cause new businesses to locate near the track, as President Obama suggests? No, it wouldn't. It would actually cause greater problems, which caused the local Chamber of Commerce to oppose the project along with the mayor and county board. Of course Governor Quinn, who pushed for this project, may have a better understanding of this if he spent more time in the capital city rather than in Chicago (the train would run just blocks from the Governor's mansion).
The Illinois Department of Transportation and the railroad company reached an agreement last month that is paving the way for the federal grant money to be given to Illinois this month. However, the funding will not cover the maintenance of this project that no one wants. That will be left to the railroad companies. It's not only that Springfield residents do not want it for aesthetic and business purposes, they will not likely not utilize the service. Estimates show that Illinois residents would ride high speed rail once every 8.7 years. If the Left understood supply-and-demand, they would realize this is not an efficient project. President Obama's claims that high speed rail would cut travel times in half. The project press release indicated that the trip between Chicago and St. Louis by high speed rail would take 4 hours and 32 minutes, a reduction of 30% compared to traveling by car. An improvement, yes, but nowhere cutting travel times in half.

So not only did President Obama show how out of touch he is by attempting to joke about "pat downs", he also showed that he is not in touch with the state he once represented as Senator, nor the city he worked in as a state senator. While he asserts that high speed rail is the travel of the future, it really shows how out of touch he is with the present.

Crossposted here.

25 Years Later: Remembering the Challenger Space Shuttle Mission

Every American has embedded in their minds one of those historic moments in which they think, " I remember where I was when such and such happened". For some, it was the bombing of Pearl Harbor, others the assassination of President Kennedy, others the tragedies of 9/11. For others, though, it was the the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle 25 years ago today. This was the 25th mission of NASA's space shuttle program and the 10th mission of the Challenger shuttle. It was to be the first time a civilian was to be in space-- a teacher named Christa McAuliffe. This particular mission was in part focused on studying Hailey's Comet, and McAuliffe was to give several lessons from space, but tragically, less than a minute and a half after liftoff, the shuttle exploded.

After the tragedy, President Reagan shared a message with Americans, quoting from a poem by fighter pilot John G. MaGee, a man who fought in the Royal Canadian Air Force but had a British mother and an American father. He wrote this poem in September of 1941 and died just months later during a training mission:
"High Flight"

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,-and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of-wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew-
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God

The space program has in many ways come to represent American exceptionalism. While space exploration, as with any bold endeavor, does have its horrific moments, it has shown the ingenuity and brilliance of the human mind and has invoked the wonder of millions who are willing to let their curiosity extend beyond this world. This kind of bold exploration and search for innovation has been woven throughout America's history from our founding. Benjamin Franklin discovered the power of electricity with nothing but a kite and a key. Lewis and Clark braved the rivers to make their way west and discover more of what we call America. The innovation of Americans has brought forth the invention of the light bulb and liquid propelled rocket and millions of other inventions. We can look to these men and women whose intrepid spirits and intelligence have helped make America exceptional, and we can choose to embrace the sense of wonder that challenges us to look at all our Creator has made with the wonder of the children that Christa McAuliffe taught.

Crossposted here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Governor Palin on the Issues: Energy Regulation

A piece published in Kiplinger earlier this month discussed how, under the Obama administration, energy production is down to a trickle in the Gulf in particular. While the Obama administration lifted the deep water drilling moratorium in October, no leases for drilling in water deeper than 500 feet have been issued. If this continues, estimates state that it would result in lost production of 400,000 barrels a day (equivalent to 7% of the domestic production). The moratoriums and regulations that President Obama have placed on drilling and the subsequent effect these measures have on energy independence show how interlinked energy independence and energy regulation are. Recently, I discussed Governor Palin's stance on energy independence. The next issue I'd like to address is Governor Palin stance on energy regulation.

Governor Palin's experience has made her an authority on this subject. Following her time as mayor of Wasilla, she served as Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) chairman from 2003-2004. In her book, Going Rogue, she discusses the role of this Commission:
AOGCC functions include maximizing oil and gas recovery, minimizing waste, approving oil pool development rules, and maintaining state production records. The commission also lends a hand in protecting the environment from contamination during drilling and also ensures environmental compliance in production, metering, and well abandonment acitivities, so federal agencies like the EPA as well as private interests and environmental groups have key interests in the commission's activities. In my view, the nation deserved an agency that was a fair, impartial body with the best interests of Alaskans and the country in mind.
In short, Governor Palin's experience has given her the expertise to know how best energy development must be overseen to optimize production with environmental protection within the framework of the state and federal government. This framework is something that she would later appropriately challenge as Governor when she sued the federal government for unnecessarily placing a healthy polar bear and beluga whale populations and on the endangered species list which prevented oil and gas development from taking place in those areas. She also has, of course, been a strong proponent of opening up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to development arguing that its small carbon footprint would do little to affect the environment as a whole nor the animal population. Excessive and misplaced environmental regulations prevent energy exploration which in turn makes America more dependent on foreign sources of energy. She also set up a Petroleum Integrity Office to oversee oil companies and keep them accountable.

What you'll find in Governor Palin's approach to responsible energy development is a 180 degrees different than President Obama. President Obama focuses on over-regulation while Governor Palin focuses on oversight. This is seen most clearly in the way that both approached last year's Gulf oil spill.

She pointed out in a Facebook post last summer following the spill that President Obama took nine days to deploy Dept. of Defense equipment to assist in stopping the leak, 3 weeks for Energy Secretary Chu to bring together experts to discuss how to deal with the spill, and more than a month for approval of sand barriers to help protect the Louisiana coastline at the request of Governor Jindal. So as the President dithered, as he often does with tough decisions, Governor Palin offers the a solution based on what the federal government put in place following the largest oil disaster previous to this one, the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska:
The 1990 Oil Pollution Act was drafted in response to the Exxon-Valdez spill in my home state. It created new procedures for offshore cleanups, specifically putting the federal government in charge of such operations. The President should have used the authority granted by the OPA – immediately – to take control of the situation. That is a big part of what the OPA is for – to designate who is in charge so finger-pointing won’t disrupt efforts to just “plug the d#*! hole.”
In a previous Facebook post, Governor Palin offered another solution for how she would deal with such a disaster especially as it pertains to the involvement of oil companies (emphasis mine):
In the meantime, let me make a constructive suggestion to help the White House out of its current impasse. They should reach out to the best oil and gas team in the nation and tap into its expertise. I know just the team: Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, led by Commissioner Tom Irwin. Having worked with Tom and his DNR team as Governor, I can vouch for their expertise and their integrity in dealing with Big Oil and overseeing its developments.

This team’s (and Alaska’s PSIO team’s) expertise on oil spill issues is particularly relevant. We all lived and worked through the Exxon oil spill, and we all committed to the principle that this would never happen again in Alaska’s waters, at least not on our watch. That’s why we created the Petroleum Systems Integrity Office (PSIO) when we saw proof of improper maintenance of oil infrastructure in our state. And that’s why we instituted new oversight and held BP and other oil companies financially accountable for poor maintenance practices. And that’s why we cracked down on unethical and unsound practices by oil companies and their contractors that operate in Alaska. And that’s why I filed a Friend-of-the-Court brief against Exxon’s interests for its decades-old responsibility to compensate victims adversely affected by the Exxon-Valdez oil spill. None of these actions made us popular with oil company management. (In fact, Commissioner Irwin received a message from a North Slope oil company employee that summed up their view of our efforts well: the message told him to “go to hell, but resign first.”) Our relationship with Big Oil may have been perceived as contentious because we always put the interests of Alaskans first.
One thing that stands out about Governor Palin approach to regulation is that it is not regulation, but instead, oversight. For Governor Palin, it is not about heavy handed regulation or government putting "their boot on the throat" of an oil company. It is about ensuring that an oil company or a company in any industry is accountable for their actions and accountable to the consumer. It is indicative of Governor Palin's philosophy of government. In Going Rogue, Governor Palin wrote, " the role of government is to protect us, not to perfect us". This is quite the opposite of what President Obama is doing. Following the spill, he decided to suspend drilling in the Arctic and canceled leases in the Gulf and off the coast of Virginia; some of this has continued to this day. This is an example of the government trying to perfect. If no drilling is allowed, there is no chance for spills or environmental problems. There is "perfection"-- the absence of accidents. However, as Governor Palin, suggests government has a role of oversight and insurance of accountability as she has suggested with the federal law and the Alaskan office. The occurrence of car and plane accidents have not stopped people from driving or flying, nor should the occurrence of a drilling accident cause the halt of drilling. As Governor Palin also suggested, drilling must continue, and safer opportunities exist--like ANWR:
Please, Mr. President, hear me on this, if nothing else: if it’s your administration’s decision to suspend the leases of new oil field developments off the coast of Alaska in response to the Gulf’s deepwater spill, and you still remain committed to locking up ANWR and other oil-rich lands, please know you are making a mistake. Unless we continue to drill here and drill now, we risk digging ourselves deeper into the hole created by our continued dependence on foreign energy – which often comes from regimes that care nothing for our prosperity or security, and even less for global environmental safety.

We need affordable, reliable, secure, environmentally-sound, and domestically-produced energy, but this administration continues to lock up federal land filled with huge energy reserves. If there is to be a moratorium on offshore development, then it’s time we stop ignoring our safest options for domestic development – places like ANWR and NPR-A in my home state of Alaska.
It also must be pointed out that suspending a large portion of drilling and continual over-regulation does not only make America more dependent on foreign sources of energy, it also affects our economy and American jobs--the very focus of President Obama's State of the Union address earlier this week. Over-regulation and agenda driven economic policies, rather than consumer driven policies, hurt the economy and kill jobs. This has not stopped President Obama from implementing burdensome legislation and EPA administered policies.

Governor Palin has stood for energy oversight, rather than regulation, that protects the environment and hold energy producers accountable while providing both energy and physical security to America. Energy producers are accountable directly to the American people, who are their consumers, and indirectly to the American people via the government, elected by the American people. The Obama administration does not hold oil companies accountable as evidenced by the BP oil spill when the rig that caused the disaster received a regulatory pass just 10 days prior in addition to a waiver the previous year.

Proper oversight by state level agencies like AOGCC and PSIO in addition to appropriate federal regulations can ensure environmental, economic, physical, and energy security for America while ensuring ethical practices of these producers. Burdensome over-regulation accompanied by insufficient accountability leads to an economic and energy environment where America becomes dependent upon foreign sources of fuels,as the Kiplinger piece mentions. Such policies also have a negative affect on the economy and American jobs. Governor Palin promotes oversight that allows for energy industry to remain accountable and America to be secure and independent in every sense of the word.

Crossposted here, here, here, and here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Governor Palin's Pro Life Witness

Today is the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade SCOTUS decision that ruled laws banning abortion were unconstitutional as a violation of privacy. President Obama defended this decision in a statement today:
“Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters."

And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams"
It seems President Obama now thinks that it is now at his paygrade to make statements about life. His words are heart wrenching and hypocritical. His policies have done nothing but intrude on privacy. To promote abortion as a way to ensure that " our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams" is both deeply saddening and false. How can one ensure equal rights, freedoms, and opportunities if he advocates for policies that allow for fewer daughters to be born? How can one make sure that children have the opportunity to "fulfill their dreams" when he feels that children born in less than ideal circumstances are deemed punishments? On the other hand, such words can be expected from whom Governor Palin calls "the most pro-abortion President to occupy the White House".

While President Obama makes these statements, abortion has been discussed a great deal in recent weeks. Michelle Malkin has highlighted the sickening and deeply disturbing actions of a Philadelphia abortion doctor who has been charged with murdering multiple babies and performing horrendous procedures on mothers and babies. Many of the procedures he performed are illegal and much of his horrific behavior went completely unchecked. You can read more about this here,but please be warned that the descriptions in Malkin's piece are heart breaking, vile, and sickening. Various members of Congress are promoting bills that would defund Planned Parenthood and other agencies that provide abortion services. One such bill would codify the Hyde Amendment which would block all federal funding for abortion, a concept to which President Obama paid lip service, but despite his words, did not support in action. Defunding abortion services was one of the points of the GOP's Pledge to America that they are striving to uphold. This Congress, due in part to Governor Palin's endorsements, is the most pro-life Congress in history.

Governor Palin has been a strong defender of the rights of the unborn and the pro-life movement. She speaks the pro-life message, giving speeches at "Right to Life" events and discussing pro-life issues in both of her books. So often though, actions speak louder than words. Governor Palin lives the pro-life message on a daily basis. In Going Rogue, she recounts giving life to her youngest son, Trig, born with Down Syndrome when 90% of babies known to have Down Syndrome are aborted. She even begins this book by recounting a pro life booth at the Alaska state fair where Piper served as "poster child" for their efforts. In America by Heart, Governor Palin spends significant ink on the pro-life message, a point highlighted by Kathryn Jean Lopez in her review of the book:
Palin has always been good at highlighting good things that might not otherwise get national attention, and she certainly does that in this book. She praises “unsung heroes” like the Catholic women religious Sisters of Life, “whose members not only pray for the protection of human life but do the hard, selfless work of caring for human life. They help mothers have and raise their children, and they counsel and comfort those who have made decisions they regret.”

Speaking of regret, she also mentions, “a safe, nonjudgemental place for women and men who are troubled after their own abortions or those of someone close to them. It’s beyond politics or proselytizing, place that honors the legacy of feminists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony by helping women heal."
While serving as Governor, the Anchorage Archdiocese shared this statement:
In welcoming Trig into the world, the Palin family once again serves as an incredible witness by embracing all life as a blessing -- even the challenges.

The governor proves again that she not only talks the talk about pro-life issues, she also walks the walk. She is a shining example and steward of life as a politician, unfortunately one of the few entrusted with public office.
An incredible witness indeed. It is one she has lived out both in her personal and political life. As Governor, she advocated for parental consent in abortion, and when the legislature did not support that, she supported parental notification. She does not support embryonic stem cell research. She opposes Obama's overturn of the Mexico City policy that allows federal funding for international organizations that may perform abortions as part of their services. She signed a "safe haven" bill which allowed birth parents who felt ill equipped to fulfill their role as parents an opportunity to give their child to the state. In her press release, Governor Palin shared:
“All children deserve to begin their lives in a loving, protective family,” Governor Palin said. “When that fails, it is our job as a state to make sure that children are protected"
Governor Palin's message is not just protection, but opportunity, rights, and freedoms, all of the things that President Obama claims to support, yet does not. Governor Palin believes that every life is sacred and every child should be given a chance to have life. It's not above her paygrade, nor is a child a "punishment", but a blessing. Quite possibly Governor Palin's most moving speech is her speech at the Vandenberg Right to Life event in Evansville, Indiana nearly two years ago. As she so often says, "you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk". We can thank God that she has done just that.

Crossposted here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

President Obama and Governor Palin on China's Human Rights Abuses

Yesterday, President Obama hosted Chinese President Hu (or as the White House website stated, "President Chu") for a state dinner. Earlier in the day, the two leaders met and held a joint press conference. During the press conference, China's human rights abuses became the focus of discussion. CNS News reports:
“And I want to suggest that there has been an evolution in China over the last 30 years since the first normalization of relations between the United States and China,” Obama said. “And my expectation is that 30 years from now we will have seen further evolution and further change.”

Obama did not specify any specific areas where he believed China has progressed in expanding freedom for its people.
While President Obama states that he has been "very candid" with President Hu about China's human rights abuses in private, his public remarks about China's human rights abuses were non-substantive and non-specific:
“China has a different political system than we do,” Obama said. “China is at a different stage of development than we are. We come from very different cultures with very different histories. But, as I’ve said before and I repeated to President Hu, we have some core views as Americans about the universality of certain rights--freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly--that we think are very important and that transcend cultures.”
Additionally, while he states that there has been "evolution" in how China handles human rights, his own state department reports evidence to the contrary. The most recent U.S. State Department report released last spring says in part (emphasis mine):
The government's human rights record remained poor and worsened in some areas. During the year the government increased the severe cultural and religious repression of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR).Tibetan areas remained under tight government controls. The detention and harassment of human rights activists increased, and public interest lawyers and law firms that took on cases deemed sensitive by the government faced harassment, disbarment and closure. The government limited freedom of speech and controlled the Internet and Internet access. Abuses peaked around high-profile events, such as the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising, the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising, and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
While President Obama has chosen to not speak out strongly against China's human rights' abuses, Governor Palin has been bold in her defense of the abused and persecuted in China. Even speaking in the Chinese region of Hong Kong in August of 2009, Governor Palin was bold, yet diplomatic in her criticism of the action of the Chinese government (emphasis mine):
Think about it. How many books and articles have been written about the dangers of India’s rise? Almost as large as China – and soon to be more populous – virtually no one worries about the security implications of India becoming a great power – just as a century ago the then-preeminent power, Great Britain, worried little about the rise of America to great power status. My point is that the more politically open and just China is, the more Chinese citizens of every ethnicity will settle disputes in courts rather than on the streets. The more open it is, the less we will be concerned about its military build-up and intentions. The more transparent China is, the more likely it is they we will find a true and lasting friendship based on shared values as well as interests.

I am not talking about some U.S.-led “democracy crusade.” We cannot impose our values on other counties. Nor should we seek to. But the ideas of freedom, liberty and respect for human rights are not U.S. ideas, they are much more than that. They are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many other international covenants and treaties. They apply to citizens in Shanghai as much as they do to citizens in Johannesburg or Jakarta. And demands for liberty in China are Chinese, not American, demands. Just last year, many brave Chinese signed Charter 08, a Chinese document modeled on the great Czech statesman Vlacav Havel’s Charter 77. Charter 08 would not be unfamiliar to our Founding Fathers and was endorsed by Havel himself. No, we need not convince the Chinese people that they have inalienable rights. They are calling for those rights themselves. But we do have to worry about a China where the government suppresses the liberties its people hold dear.
While both President Obama and Governor Palin recognize the universality of freedom, Governor Palin is the one who is willing to call out the suppression of the Chinese government, even while in China. President Obama, on the other hand, couched his language as to be conciliatory to a government who Governor Palin would later point out engages in " population controls (including forced abortions), censorship, and arbitrary detentions?" This current passive acceptance of China's actions is further supported by assertive action as well. During this past summer, Governor Palin had strong criticism for the Obama administration actively seeking to China's approval in the federal government's opposition to Arizona's border security laws:
The absolute low point of this campaign came last Friday, when a U.S. State Department delegation met with Chinese negotiators to discuss human rights. Apparently, our State Department felt it necessary to make their Chinese guests feel less bad about their own record of human rights abuses by repeatedly atoning for American “sins” – including, it seems, the Arizona immigration/pro-border security law. Asked if Arizona came up at all during the meeting, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner answered:

“We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session, and as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination, and that these are issues very much being debated in our own society.”

Note that he said “We brought it up” – not the Chinese, but the U.S. State Department’s own delegation. Instead of grilling the Chinese about their appalling record on human rights, the State Department continued the unbelievable apology tour by raising “early and often” Arizona’s decision to secure our border.
Governor Palin pointedly highlighted the horrible, hypocritical actions of the Obama administration. Not only did the Obama administration's State Department not appropriately address China's human rights' abuse, they also willingly insulted one of their own states for defending its border and accused them of being discriminatory. Governor Palin goes on to say:
Arizona’s law, which just mirrors the federal law, simply allows the police to ask those whom they have already stopped for some form of identification like a driver’s license. By what absurd stretch of the imagination is that the moral equivalent of China’s lack of freedoms, population controls (including forced abortions), censorship, and arbitrary detentions?
There is no comparison between the human rights violations in China and the language of the Arizona border security bill that originally allowed police to ask for identification if an individual had already been stopped for other reasons. Governor Palin was right to point out yet another stop on President Obama's perpetual apology tour. She was also right to diplomatically address China's human rights abuses. President Obama has chosen to engage in hollow rhetoric rather than diplomatic criticism. So yet another contrast between President Obama and Governor Palin is further revealed. America is a superpower (yes, whether the President likes it or not), and with that, the President has the opportunity to encourage and challenge other nations to treat their citizens with respect and to allow them to maintain their inalienable right of liberty. As Governor Palin said this is not a "U.S. led democracy crusade" or imposing American values, it is simply encouraging the spread of freedom. President Obama would do well to emulate Governor Palin's message.

Crossposted here, here, here, and here.

Is Governor Palin Checking Out Iowa?

Some exciting news has emerged from the Hawkeye state. Real Clear Politics is reporting that SarahPAC has been quietly gauging grassroots support in Iowa for a possible Presidential run. While this is the first news of specific 2012 Presidential possibilities, Governor Palin is no stranger to Iowa as she has made three stops in Iowa in the past four months. She made two stops in Iowa during her most recent book tour earlier this winter. One stop was in the capital city of Des Moines in late November, and one stop was in the northern town of Spirit Lake in early December. Governor Palin also spoke at the Iowa Republican Reagan day dinner this past September. During the 2010 Midterm election, Governor Palin endorsed newly inaugurated Governor Terry Branstad. She also endorsed Attorney General candidate, Brenna Findley, who lost her bid to unseat seven term AG Tom Miller.

Without further ado, here's the exciting news:
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has tasked her aides with quietly gauging her level of support for a potential presidential campaign by making inquiries to a select pool of likely allies and grassroots activists in Iowa, RealClearPolitics has learned.

Key Republican officials and operatives in the nation's first voting state had begun to assume that Palin would not run for president in 2012 since most of them have not heard a word from her or from her small circle of aides, even as other likely candidates have begun jockeying more forcefully behind the scenes. But a Palin adviser confirmed that although the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee's footprint has not been as heavy as that of other possible candidates, her political action committee has indeed been taking discreet steps in Iowa that would help her build a credible campaign here if she decided to launch one.

"The idea that we're not in Iowa is inaccurate," SarahPAC adviser Andy Davis told RealClearPolitics.

A top official in the Iowa Tea Party who insisted on anonymity to avoid betraying Palin's trust told RealClearPolitics that a friend of SarahPAC met with him in person in Des Moines late last year and prodded him for suggestions on how Palin might mount a grassroots campaign in the state.

Earlier this month, the same Iowa Tea Party official began preliminary work on scheduling a potential invitation to Palin for a fundraiser in Iowa. RealClearPolitics independently confirmed that the Tea Party official has been in contact with Palin allies.

Even as speculation has ramped up in media and campaign circles that Palin has become increasingly unlikely to mount a presidential campaign, her aides have been strategizing on how they would organize their infrastructure in Iowa and have continued to reach out gently to close confidantes in the state.

"I know of three of four people in Iowa who have had contact with Palin's aides," the Iowa Tea Party official said.

Read more here.

Crossposted here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Governor Palin on the Issues: Energy Independence

As Doug mentioned last week, Governor Palin has been right on the rising cost of energy due in part to inflation. Couple that with the Obama administration's constant overregulation including an EPA revocation of a mining permit in West Virginia and oil prices climbing closer and closer to the triple digits, the importance of American energy independence and how government is involved in the energy sector becomes more and more apparent. There is no other politician who understands the need for energy independence better than Governor Palin. Because her comments on energy have been so extensive and the issue so complex, energy independence and energy regulation (particularly with regards to cap and trade and the effects of last year's oil spill) will be addressed in separate "Governor Palin on the Issues" posts. This post will focus on energy independence which provides affordable energy, jobs, and security to America.

Her record as Governor has spoken volumes about her knowledge of energy development. From 2003-2004, she served as an oil and gas commissioner. During her time as governor, when she also served as chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, she accomplished a great deal to increase energy development and help America become more energy independent. Contrary to what the likes of Dan Fagan, Craig Medred of the Alaska Dispatch, and Matt Zencey of the Huffington Post spout, the Alaska Clear and Equitable Shares legislation increased the number of oil wells drilled, provided tax credits that proved beneficial for both small and large oil companies, and brought oil company jobs to a record high. The Alaska Gasline Inducement Act that she championed is the largest private sector infrastructure project in North America history. Additionally, another one of her pieces of cornerstone legislation was the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA) which has brought greater progress to a transcontinental natural gas pipeline than the administration's of the previous thirty years This past summer, BP-Conoco Phillips joined with Trans-Canada (the pipeline company) and ExxonMobil on the project, and the project received multiple bids to be shippers. These two key events continue to help the project continue on a more rapid trajectory than her predecessor had achieved through any projects or legislation they championed. In addition to development of fossil fuels, Governor Palin supported development of renewable energy sources as well, developing a plan to have 50% of Alaska's energy to be produced from renewable sources by the year 2025. Her gubernatorial accomplishments with regards to energy regulation will be addressed in a subsequent post.

Governor Palin has shown her keen understanding of how energy independence is an important component of protecting the American dollar as the global reserve currency and helping curb rising commodity prices:
The British newspaper The Independent reported today that Gulf oil producers were negotiating with Russia, China, Japan and France to replace the dollar in pricing oil with a basket of currencies.[1] According to the Wall Street Journal, Arab oil officials have denied the story, but even the possibility of such a talk weakens the dollar and renews fears about its continued viability as an international reserve currency.[2] In fact, today a United Nations official called for a new global reserve currency to replace the dollar and end our “privilege” to run up huge deficits.[3] We can see the effect of this in the price of gold, which hit a record high today in response to fears about the weakened dollar.[4]

All of this is a result of our out-of-control debt. This is why we need to rein in spending, and this is also why we need energy independence. A weakened dollar means higher commodity prices. This will make it more difficult to pay our bills – including the bill to import oil.

Governor Palin has famously been a staunch advocate for opening up drilling in ANWR on land, but she has been critical of the Obama administration's slothfulness in administering offshore drilling that would provide jobs and revenue in places like Virginia. She has also criticized bans to offshore drilling in Alaskan waters, the Gulf, and the Atlantic when other countries are ramping up development. While President Obama has ignored the implications of such bans, Governor Palin recognizes that increased development and energy independence will increase security, jobs, and revenue:
Today the president said he’ll “consider potential areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic.” As the former governor of one of America’s largest energy-producing states, a state oil and gas commissioner, and chair of the nation’s Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, I’ve seen plenty of such studies. What we need is action — action that results in the job growth and revenue that a robust drilling policy could provide. And let’s not forget that while Interior Department bureaucrats continue to hold up actual offshore drilling from taking place, Russia is moving full steam ahead on Arctic drilling, and China, Russia, and Venezuela are buying leases off the coast of Cuba.

As an Alaskan, I’m especially disheartened by the new ban on drilling in parts of the 49th state and the cancellation of lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. These areas contain rich oil and gas reserves whose development is key to our country’s energy security. As I told Secretary Salazar last April, “Arctic exploration and development is a slow, demanding process. Delays or major restrictions in accessing these resources for environmentally responsible development are not in the national interest or the interests of the State of Alaska.”

Additionally, she has warned that energy independence is needed to curb the dependence on energy provided by nations with ties to terrorism, such as Venezuela who has a cozy relationship with Iran. For the sake of both America's energy and physical securities, greater energy independence is necessary. Dependence upon foreign sources provides other nations with leverage in their dealing with the the United States:
Although the Left chooses to mock the mantra of “drill, baby, drill,” and they ignorantly argue against the facts pertaining to the need for America to responsibly develop her domestic supply of natural resources, surely they can’t argue the national security implications of relying on foreign countries to extract supplies that America desperately needs for industry, jobs, and security. Some of the countries we’re now reliant upon and will soon be beholden to can easily use energy and mineral supplies as a weapon against us.

As Governor Palin stated on the campaign trail in 2008 and continues to say today, she advocates for an "all of the above"approach to energy independence which includes solar, wind, nuclear, and clean coal in addition to the more traditional oil, gas, and coal. Beyond these sources, Governor Palin has shown prescience on new energy sources that are becoming more and more necessary with today's technology--rare earths--which are used in compact fluorescent light bulbs, hybrid cars, and other newer technologies. Governor Palin mentioned rare earths in an October Facebook post linking this article discussing rare earth mining in China and how the U.S. is behind the curve in domestic development of these resources. Domestic development of these rare earths will become increasingly important as China has decided to slash exports of rare earths 35% in the first half of 2011.

While the Obama administration's mantra seems to be "Ban, baby, ban", Governor Palin continues to advocate for drilling and domestic energy development of all available resources for the monetary, economic, energy, and physical security of America.

Previous "Governor Palin on the Issues" Posts:

Monetary Policy

Entitlement Programs

Top 10 Political and Policy Statements of 2010

Crossposted here, here, here, and here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Character of Governor Palin

The Tennessean has an excellent piece highlighting how Governor Palin's character has shone brightly through adversity:
Though few admit it, Sarah Palin has shaken up both parties. Character and ideas have consequences. It has not been lost on the political professionals that, after two years of observation, the American people show a greater affinity to the constitutional attitude of the hockey mom than to that of the "constitutional scholar.''

Political professionals never rest, and the worst of them never let a crisis go to waste. That is why a tragic, but local, event that men of integrity would have faced with dutiful strength and perspective has instead been whipped into a national spectacle of character assassination and cheap self-advertisement.

You can read the whole piece here.

The shooting in Arizona was indeed a tragic event--the loss of life and the injury--all perpetrated solely by a madman who had no particular political party leanings. The actions of the media during the aftermath of the shooting proved to be saddening on a different level. However, in this week following the shooting, the true character of many has been illuminated. For the media, the pundits, and the Left (yes, perhaps I'm being redundant), their reporting during the week following the shooting showed a continued reporting not based upon facts, but based upon a political agenda. This, of course, is nothing new, but that does not make it any more excusable. With any tragedy, emotions run high, and people seek to apportion blame. Blame can only be attributed when facts are known. However,as the fact became known and a character sketch of the shooter yielded not even a tangential connection to Governor Palin, blame was still wrongly placed upon her. When Governor Palin make a articulate, heart felt statement, they criticized her use of the phrase "blood libel", ignoring the numerous times they themselves had attributed that phrase to the falsely accused. They criticized the timing of her video posting, as if it were akin to the opposing party giving their response before the President gives a State of the Union address. Whatever Governor Palin had done, it would have been wrong. Had she not said anything, she would have been wrong. When she did respond, she was accused of inserting politics into the Arizona shooting story, even after the media complained she hadn't responded to the tragedy yet. Had she spoken after President Obama's memorial rally speech, she would have been criticized for trying to take the spotlight from the President's address. She chose to share a message earlier in the day, and she was criticized. This past week has continued to reveal the media has a purveyor of a political agenda, rather than a source of unbiased news.

The Left's character, or lack thereof, also was illuminated. Last Sunday, Senator Dick Durbin accused Governor Palin of using "toxic rhetoric" while ignoring his own past usage of toxic rhetoric, including comparing American soldiers to Nazis. For the Left supposedly being the ideology that best supports women, Congressman James Clyburn called Governor Palin attractive, only to state she was intellectually incapable of understanding what happened in Arizona. Yesterday, J. Eric Fuller was arrested for issuing a death threat against a Tea Party leader in Arizona. Fuller, one of the victims of the Arizona shooting and a supporter of Congresswoman Giffords, blamed the shooting on the rhetoric of Governor Palin, Glenn Beck, and others, only to later be arrested for verbally threatening someone else. While no one should have to face the emotional and physical trauma of being shot, this is not an excuse for engaging in the same type of behavior that one speculates that caused the shooting. These men certainly did not heed the call for civility that their friends in the media proposed, nor did they use words that heal instead of wound that their Democratic counterpart President Obama called for later in the week.

Character is not only revealed in words; it is also revealed in the silence. Despite the character assassination attempt on Governor Palin, outside of Talk Radio and the blogosphere, Republicans and conservatives stayed relatively quiet in their defense. Those who did speak did not do so in pure defense of a party counterpart who had been severely attacked. Governor Pawlenty stated he felt Governor Palin was being wrongly accused, but offered caveats to his support of her campaign messaging. Governor Christie criticized Governor Palin's "scripted" response, rather than supporting and defending her against baseless allegations. This event and the fallout showed that the character of these men was more concerned with their political expediency rather than doing what was right.

The past week has also shown that Governor Palin's character is principled and consistent. The past few years of Governor Palin's life has yielded a steady stream of challenge and adversity. On a personal level, she faced an unexpected pregnancy knowing that the child would be born with Down Syndrome. Her teenager daughter also was faced with an unexpected pregnancy. Her oldest child was sent to face the dangers of war in Iraq. Politically, she was placed on the national stage as a vice presidential candidate only to face a media in the tank for her political opponent and to work with campaign staffers who were more concerned with their next campaign job and own personal agendas than they were with supporting her as their candidate. She faced a barrage of baseless ethics complaints following her return from the campaign trail aimed at derailing her political career. Almost immediately following her return, her church was burned in a case of arson. Over these past more than two years, she has faced unfounded criticism and attacks from the press, Democrats, and some Republicans who have questioned her intelligence, her motives, and her integrity. During this past week with the media attack reaching new levels of vileness and falsehoods, Governor Palin has received an unprecedented level of death threats, which sheds further light on the lack of character of those who oppose her politically. What has been Governor Palin's response to all of this? A consistent display of strong character. When others falsely accused her and millions of Americans to being accessories to murder,Governor Palin condemned the spread of false accusations, but praised and encouraged debate:
America must be stronger than the evil we saw displayed last week. We are better than the mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy. We will come out of this stronger and more united in our desire to peacefully engage in the great debates of our time, to respectfully embrace our differences in a positive manner, and to unite in the knowledge that, though our ideas may be different, we must all strive for a better future for our country. May God bless America.

For Governor Palin, those are not just empty words, they are how she lives her life. Her response was one of grief for the victims, prayers for those affected, and an embrace for the fundamental freedoms that are America's greatest strength. This is character. While others are choosing silence when someone is being unfairly criticized, Governor Palin has chosen to defend such people, including defending both Laura Schlessinger and Juan Williams, both of whom have had harsh words for her in the past. She has embraced differences in a positive manner, as she spoke of last week. In a world where ideological agendas trump truth, double standards are the norms, and integrity is sacrificed for the sake of political expediency, Governor Palin's character shines brightly.

H/T ErinMC

Crossposted here and here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dick Durbin and the Democrats' Double Standard

Illinois Senator and SenateD Majority Whip Dick Durbin appeared on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday to discuss the shooting in Arizona. He used this opportunity to blame Governor Palin for what he deems "toxic rhetoric":

We live in a world of violent images and violent words, but those of us in public life and the journalists who cover us, should be thoughtful in response to this and try to bring down the rhetoric, which I’m afraid has become pervasive in our discussion of political issues. The phrase ‘don’t retreat, reload’ – putting crosshairs on congressional districts as targets – these sorts of things I think invite the kind of toxic rhetoric that can lead unstable people to believe this is an acceptable response.

As you can see in this video clip above, CNN's Candy Crowley takes it upon herself to clarify that Durbin wasn't implying that Governor Palin was culpable in the shootings, further evidence of the Shame and Hypocrisy of America's "most trusted name in news". Thankfully, Senator Alexander defends Governor Palin and the media's insinuating rhetoric, but I digress.

Since Senator Durbin is opposed to "toxic rhetoric", he should hold to that standard himself. He has not. In 2007, he compared US troops to Nazis, Soviet gulags, and the Cambodian Communist dictator, Pol Pot:

In 2010, following an Education hearing, Durbin insulted a student (and war veteran) who was wearing an Illinois Institute of Art, Schaumburg (IIAS) shirt and was protesting outside. This educational institution was a for profit institution, and Durbin,like most liberals, felt the need to demonize any segment of any industry that seeks to make a profit. Durbin's response to the student?: "I don't give a tick s--- about ILIS". How's that for non-toxic rhetoric?

What about putting symbols on maps? Immediately following the 2004 election, the Democratic Leadership Council put targets on 9 states that President Bush won by single digits. As you can see in the caption, it says, " behind enemy lines" and in the heading, it says, "Targeting Strategy".

Durbin was about to begin his third term as Senator and less than a month after this map was released, Durbin became part of the Democratic leadership as the minority whip. Did he show leadership and denounce such "toxic rhetoric" or "violent images"? Of course not.

Durbin just goes to prove, as so many others have, that if it weren't for double standards, most liberals wouldn't have standards.

Crossposted here and here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We Owe Each Other a Better Discourse than This: Updated

With the atrocities of the numerous people killed and injured in the Arizona shooting on Saturday, I've seen vitriol thrown from all across the political spectrum. The Left and much of the media are grossly and improperly placing the blame for the shooting on Governor Palin, Glenn Beck, conservatives and the Tea Party. The Right is using today to point out the hypocrisy of the Left. While there is a time to determine motive and influence in such a tragic shooting and hypocrisy does need to be brought to light, now is not the time. By all accounts, the shooter was very disturbed, and judging by his statements on his Youtube account, some of his reading choices, and other evidence, it is quite obvious that he is not at all influenced by Governor Palin, Glenn Beck, or the conservative movement. It is ridiculous to place the personal decisions of one person on another person. We are all responsible for our own individual actions. Personal responsibility is one of the values of the 912 project that we seek to implement in our lives. Hypocrisy does need to be pointed out. However, now is not the time to place blame or reveal hypocrisy. Now is the time to clasp hands in prayer, not point fingers in blame.

When the members of the House read the Constitution earlier this week, Congresswoman Giffords, one of those shot, read the first amendment (see starting at the 2:25 mark):

We have the right to the freedom the speech, as Congresswoman Giffords read, but how do we use that freedom? There is a time to criticize, to call out hypocrisy, and to determine who may have been an influence on such a disturbed person. However, now is not that time. Instead, it is a time to practice another freedom found in the first amendment--freedom of religion. We have such an opportunity to pray right now for the soul of the disturbed young man who perpetrated this awful act, to pray for those injured, to pray for the comfort of the friends and families of the injured and killed, to pray for our nation. One of these victims was man who was murdered in this senseless act in protection of his wife. Ones of the victims was a child born on September 11, 2001. One was a federal judge who had served for many years. Others passed away, and still many others were injured. We can pray for all of these people and their families.

There will be a time for the perpetrator to be brought to justice. There will be time to highlight hypocrisy. However, at this time and always, we owe each other a better discourse than pointed fingers, heated rhetoric, and misplaced blame.

Cross posted here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Death Panels, End of Life Counseling and the Media's Continual Misrepresentation

It has been nearly a year and a half since Governor Palin wrote her now famous "death panel" Facebook post in which she spoke out against the rationing that would inevitably be a part of the Democrat's health care reform. In part, she wrote:
The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
After all, one of President Obama's health care advisers is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel who once published an academic paper in the reputable medical journal Lancet on the "complete lives system" that stated the following(emphasis mine):
The complete lives system also considers prognosis, since its aim is to achieve complete lives. A young person with a poor prognosis has had few life-years but lacks the potential to live a complete life. Considering prognosis forestalls the concern that disproportionately large amounts of resources will be directed to young people with poor prognoses.42 When the worst-off can benefit only slightly while better-off people could benefit greatly,allocating to the better-off is often justifiable. (emphasis mine)
Sounds like rationing based upon "level of productivity in society" doesn't it?

Shortly following this post from Governor Palin, Medicare funded end-of-life counseling was removed from the Senate version of the health care bill in August of 2009. While Governor Palin's Facebook no doubt had an impact on the removal of that section of legislation, it was not specifically what she first opposed, which was rationing of care based upon decisions of government bureaucrats. Governor Palin has continued to oppose "death panels" including most recently expressing opposition to Medicare's Independent Payments Advisory Board in her op-ed support Congressman Ryan's Roadmap.

It must be noted, however, that in the Fall of 2009 following the removal of the end of life counseling provision in the bill, Governor Palin did express opposition to such government funded counseling, even providing a written statement to the New York Senate Aging Committee which in part said:
I have been vocal in my opposition to Section 1233 of H.R.3200, entitled “Advance Care Planning Consultation.”[1] Proponents of the bill have described this section as an entirely voluntary provision that simply increases the information offered to Medicare recipients. That is misleading. The issue is the context in which that information is provided and the coercive effect these consultations will have in that context.

To understand this provision fully, it must be read in context. These consultations are authorized whenever a Medicare recipient’s health changes significantly or when they enter a nursing home, and they are part of a bill whose stated purpose is “to reduce the growth in health care spending.”[4] Is it any wonder that senior citizens might view such consultations as attempts to convince them to help reduce health care costs by accepting minimal end-of-life care? As one commentator has noted, Section 1233 “addresses compassionate goals in disconcerting proximity to fiscal ones…. If it’s all about obviating suffering, emotional or physical, what’s it doing in a measure to ‘bend the curve’ on health-care costs?”[5]

Essentially what such legislation would do is provides physicians with a potential financial incentive to initiate end of life counseling discussions with patients. The argument against this counseling is if patients were to opt not to seek certain treatments at the end of their life, it would save Medicare money. This would be due to potential coercion rather than autonomous or solely family influenced decision making.

Fast forward to January 2011, as a likely part of the Obama administration's plan to maximize the power of the executive branch, the Obama administration implemented a regulation that would enable Medicare funded end of life counseling starting January 1st. Just a few days later, the administration dropped end of life counseling from the Medicare regulation, as Ian already mentioned. In that New York Times article reporting this, the author makes an incorrect assertion:
During debate on the legislation, Democrats dropped a somewhat similar proposal to encourage end-of-life planning after it touched off a political storm. Republicans said inaccurately that the House version of the bill allowed a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare.
He then went on to cite Governor Palin's and Congressman Boehner's opposition to such provisions and also noted that decision was more political than ideological, essentially conceding that the Obama administration still approved of the regulation even though they weren't implementing it. The end of life provision in the House bill that Governor Palin expressed opposition to in her written statement to the New York Senate was dropped from the bill, and she has not claim that it was still present in the bill later signed by President Obama. The Medicare advisory board that she referenced in her op-ed supporting Ryan's Roadmap was in the final legislation, and she expressed opposition to that. In a piece entitled, "Sarah Palin Proves Lying Can Be Effective", the Washington Post parroted the misrepresentation from the New York Times.

Governor Palin was right in her opposition to both rationing via "death panels" or Medicare funded end-of-life counseling, and the media continues to fail to understand her opposition, nor the truth that lies in it. Her initial opposition and continued opposition is against undue influence by government who willingly admit that rationing is desired at the expense of quantity of care.
However, her influence and truthful statements proved to have an impact on end of life counseling regulation and continues to be at forefront of everyone's mind when health care reform and rationing are discussed.

Crossposted here.

Forty-Three Candidates Endorsed by Governor Palin to be Sworn in Today!

In addition to Speaker Pelosi relinquishing her gavel and becoming simply Congresswoman Pelosi again, 37 Congressional candidates and 6 Senatorial candidates endorsed by Governor Palin will be sworn in today. Joining these endorsees are 7 Governors, 2 Attorney Generals, and 1 Secretary of State endorsed by Governor Palin who have taken office or will soon take office at the state level.

Among the Palin endorsed House members are two re-elected women--Washington representative, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Minnesota representative and Tea Party caucus leader, Michele Bachmann. Eighteen "Take Back the 20" candidates will take the seats formerly occupied by their Obamacare supporting opponents. Wisconsinite Sean Duffy will fill the seat once held by the author of the stimulus bill, David Obey, and Michigander Dan Benishek will take the seat once held by Obamacare traitor Bart Stupak. Tea Party favorites Allen West of Florida and Renee Ellmers of North Carolina will also take the oath of office. Four of Governor Palin's endorsees, Adam Kinzinger, Tim Scott, Cory Gardner and Martha Roby, have been part of the Republican transition team that has helped Republican House members re-implement themselves as the majority.

Among the Palin endorsed new Senators are libertarian Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky and Pat Toomey who replaces Arlen Specter as a Pennsylvania Senator. Tea Party favorite, Marco Rubio, will fill Florida's junior Senator seat after handily defeating Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meeks. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, John Boozman of Arkansas, and John McCain of Arizona will also take the oath of the office.

Due to the verbal support of Governor Palin, the financial support of SarahPAC and conservatives across the country, these House members and Senators will affirm to uphold and defend the Constitution. Shortly following these electoral victories, Governor Palin both encouraged and challenged these newly elected legislators by writing an open letter the Congressional Freshmen which in part said:
Welcome to all Republican Freshmen and congratulations!

Congratulations to all of you for your contribution to this historic election, and for the contributions I am certain you will make to our country in the next two years. Your victory was hard fought, and the success belongs entirely to you and the staff and volunteers who spent countless hours working for this chance to put government back on the side of the people. Now you will come to Washington to serve your nation and leave your mark on history by reining in government spending, preserving our freedoms at home, and restoring America’s leadership abroad. Some of you have asked for my thoughts on how best to proceed in the weeks and months ahead and how best to advance an agenda that can move our country forward. I have a simple answer: stick to the principles that propelled your campaigns. When you take your oath to support and defend our Constitution and to faithfully discharge the duties of your office, remember that present and future generations of “We the People” are counting on you to stand by that oath. Never forget the people who sent you to Washington. Never forget the trust they placed in you to do the right thing.

The task before you is daunting because so much damage has been done in the last two years, but I believe you have the chance to achieve great things.

You can watch the livestream of the first session of the 112th Congress here starting at noon EST.

Crossposted here, here, and here.