Sunday, May 29, 2011

George Will Plays Political Genetics and Endocrinology Professor on ABC's "This Week"

Today on ABC's "This Week", George Will, as is common for him, chose to provide unsubstantiated and disparaging remarks on Governor Palin's potential presidential run. When asked if she is going to run for President, Will first replied:
Two things are infinite. One is the expanding universe, and the other is media attention to Sarah Palin, who's a genius at manipulating it. She has several political problems, the first of which is there's no undecided vote in this country anymore about Sarah Palin, surely.
Governor Palin manipulates the media attention? Really? To be sure, the media is fixated on every move Governor Palin makes, but to assert that Governor Palin manipulates media coverage is a false. Unlike with other potential candidates, the media has become fixed on the minutiae of Governor Palin's life and their own created "nontroversies", not the substance of her policies stances or her record. When Governor Palin made a humanitarian trip to Haiti, the media made the trip about the fact that she had a "hair stylist" (aka Bristol Palin)when she was there.When Governor Palin chose to attend today's Rolling Thunder rally in Washington D.C. at the request of a retired Rolling Thunder board member, the media asserted that she had not been invited. When she laid out a serious 5 point "Palin Doctrine" about the proper use of military force, the media focused on her reference to President Obama as "our president", rather than calling using his last name in her reference. Governor Palin does not manipulate the media; the media misrepresents her.

Will also asserts that Governor Palin has "several political problems", but he only chooses to list one--a rather weak one at that. Will asserts that too many people have already made their mind up about Governor Palin, and there is no changing it. Well, that settles that! Governor Palin and all other candidates and potential candidates can fly home.There's no need to waste time over the next year to visit states, meet voters, and give speeches! George Will has spoken. No debates are needed for candidates juxtapose their positions and records against one another. People will not change their mind about Tina Fey Governor Palin. That's just it. That is what campaigns are for to help the undecideds make up their minds and to hopefully change the minds of those in disagreement.With Governor Palin, so many people have made their decision based upon a media caricature of her. So few know that she cut spending in Alaska by more than 9% and that Alaska has a $12 billiion surplus now due in large part to her policies, but people think that she can see Russia from her house. Correcting the misconceptions, setting the record straight, and controlling the message on one's own terms is what a political campaign is all about. In Iowa next month and throughout the country in the coming months, a film depicting the truth about Governor Palin's record and resignation will premiere, providing her with a opportunity to address the caricature, lies, and misrepresentations.

Should she chose to make an official campaign, she will control her own message, something she could not do as part of the McCain campaign, and will be able to juxtapose her record and stances against that of the other candidates. Will conveniently leaves out the fact that Governor Palin is within the margin of error as the front runner for the GOP nomination for President, and more than one in five GOP voters do not have an opinion yet on who should be the nominee for President. That kind of blows a hole in Will's assertion, does it not?

Will's most egregious claim comes in his next statement:
Second, the threshold question. It's not usually asked, but it's in everyone's mind in a presidential election. Should we give this person nuclear weapons? And the answer is -- answers itself there. That doesn't mean she can't be without political consequence.
George Will's hollow argument becomes that Governor Palin--that capricious, empty headed woman-- is simply incapable of handling military power responsibly. By his assertion, that question is so obvious that it answers itself. As usual, there is nothing to back it up. Why does Will think Governor Palin is incapable? Because her highest office was at the state level as governor? Surely not, as that would render Governors Romney, Pawlenty, Johnson, and Roemer incapable too. It must be noted that in addition to serving as the commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard, Governor Palin also served as the official commander of the Alaska State Defense Force (also known as the 49th Readiness Brigade).This is a group of volunteers, often retired military personnel, who supplement the National Guard's work, which sometimes involves assisting in homeland security and FBI activities. Only 24 states have such defense forces, and Minnesota, New Mexico and Mississippi are among those who do not, meaning someone like Governor Pawlenty has less "experience" than Governor Palin. It also means that someone like Bill Clinton also had less "experience" along those lines than Governor Palin had.

Will's assertion likely lies in something more along the lines of Governor Palin's genetic makeup, rather than her political experience. That's right. People who have a pair of X chromosomes, instead of a X and a Y chromosome can simply not be trusted with such information, in his mind. That extra X chromosome, or estrogen, must give female politicians some uncontrollable urge to press the proverbial red button without consultation or hesitation, according to professor of political genetics and endocrinology, George Will. This has been a common assertion American politics.When Geraldine Ferraro ran for Vice President in 1984, it was asserted that there might be a time when she may have to push the proverbial button to fire missiles, but she might not be able to if she's just done her nails. Of course, in 2008 as well, sexism was used as a political weapon against both then candidate Hillary Clinton and Governor Palin especially when it came to foreign policy. George Will gives no reasoning as to why he feels that Governor Palin is not to be trusted with the responsibility of the America's nuclear arsenal. There is no reason whatsoever to think that Governor Palin would make a flippant decision about America's nuclear arms--whether in deploying them, converting them, or destroying them.Meanwhile, we have a president who signed a treaty with Russia that allows them to move nuclear weapons closer to America's NATO allies and does not allow America to convert nuclear systems to conventional systems and who seems to not be serious about addressing Iran's nuclear program. Those are both issues of great concern that Governor Palin has addressed. Governor Palin would not handle America's nuclear weaponry with carelessness, but she would address the potential of enemies' nuclear arsenal with seriousness, unlike President Obama.

George Will was, however, magnanimous enough to say that Governor Palin still is of political consequence. How generous! Perhaps she can become a Republican cheerleader when it comes to nuclear and national defense. It would give whole new meaning to the "D-E-F-E-N-S-E" cheer often shouted at sporting events, would it not? However, as Nicole and myself have written, Governor Palin is a point guard, and you do not ask a point guard to become a cheerleader. Governor Palin has often noted that such criticisms and underestimations only give fuel to the fire in her belly. Governor Palin will choose her political path; it will not be chosen for her by the ostrich-like pundocracy. Needless to say, it is the "We the People's" Will not George Will that will ultimately determine the results of the upcoming primary and general elections.

H/T to multiple C4P contributors

Update: Josh Painter has a good post up on George Will, "the Republagogue", here.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The AP’s Sins of Omission and Commission on Bailey’s “Tell-All” Book on Governor Palin

A chapter in one of my graduate school textbooks opened with a quote from Aaron Levenstein that says, "[s]tatistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. " Research involving statistics and journalism are supposed to be similar. Both are supposed to collect the data and report objectively on those data. Neither are supposed to conceal facts or results that run counter to their hypotheses or their own personal opinions. However, it seems that Associated Press reporter Becky Bohrer has neglected the journalistic tenet of objectivity in her piece on Frank Bailey's "tell all" book about Governor Palin. Her piece is rife with omissions. This is nothing new for Bohrer. As Stacy wrote earlier this month, Boehrer showed glaring omissions in an AP story about the most recent frivolous suit against Governor Palin by serial lawsuit filer, Chip Thoma. In this most recent piece, Bohrer is guilty of both omission and commission.

The first glaring omission from Bohrer in this piece is in that she does not even once mention Frank Bailey's ethical lapses. One of the frivolous ethics complaints filed against Governor Palin and her staff exonerated her, but required Bailey to take ethics training. Comments made by SarahPAC staff corroborate with this:
“Frank Bailey was the only member of the Palin administration to be found to have acted unethically – twice,” Crawford said. “He is currently under investigation again by the state attorney general. Then, as the administrator of certain email accounts, he acted unethically by appropriating account information he was entrusted to protect.”
This would seem a pertinent detail, but is omitted by Bohrer. This omission allows readers unfamiliar with Bailey's unethical behavior to assume that because Bailey once worked for the Governor, he may seem a credible source. His ethical lapse tells a different story, however.

Additionally,while Bohrer does discuss the attorney general's investigation of Bailey's use of emails, she is not entirely forthcoming:
The Alaska attorney general's office has said it's investigating Bailey's use of the emails. Executive ethics laws bar former public officials from using information acquired during their work for personal gain if the information hasn't been publicly disseminated.
This is not an investigatory effort started by the attorney general's office on their own accord. This is effort is due to the filing of a complaint by serial ethics complaint filer, Andree McLeod. McLeod is no friend of Governor Palin and, in fact, is responsible for many of the frivolous ethics complaints filed against Palin in the last few years, yet Bailey's use of emails against Governor Palin for his own gain have spawned complaint from McLeod. If another person who seems to have an agenda against Governor Palin is even questioning the ethics of Bailey in writing this book. would that not give people pause with regards to Bailey's credibility? Would not the complete facts behind the attorney general's investigation be pertinent to the story?

Thirdly, Bohrer neglects to identify Bailey's co-authors in his book. She writes:
In February, the book project also made headlines when a draft manuscript was leaked. An attorney for Bailey and his co-writers accused author Joe McGinniss, who has his own Palin book coming out this year. McGinniss' attorney acknowledged McGinniss selectively shared the manuscript, but said the manuscript included no request for confidentiality.
Who might those unnamed co-authors be? None other than Jeanne Devon and Ken Morris--bloggers from the anti-Palin blog Mudflats. Even the biased Politico was honest enough to report the names of the co-authors. Again, does not the mention of co-authors further reveal the potential intentions and credibility of Bailey's book? Bohrer quotes Bailey as saying that he has nothing against Governor Palin, but wouldn't his selection of such individuals as co-authors tell a different story? However, Boehrer does not bother her readers with such details.

In addition to these glaring omissions, Bohrer tops off her piece by building a strawman argument regarding Bailey's suggestion of unethical behavior by Governor Palin and the Republican Governors Association in the production of an ad. Boehrer writes:
At that time, there was a one-year statute of limitations on complaints, and the Alaska Public Offices Commission did not receive any complaints related to Palin and the association during that period. However, the RGA was fined - unrelated to Palin - for late reporting, according to the commission's executive director, Paul Dauphinais.
Bohrer is right to say that no complaints were filed regarding the RGA and Governor Palin. Ian has written about this false claim already. However, why would Boehrer mention a missed deadline by the RGA unrelated to Governor Palin unless she was trying to implicate Governor Palin in some kind of wrongdoing? It is a false argument with no reason for inclusion except to misrepresent Governor Palin.

Bohrer's piece shows several sins of omission. What the media choose to report is important, but what they omit is equally vital. Journalists' sins of commissions and omissions in attempts to reveal a "scathing" story about Governor Palin only leave their bias exposed.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Governor Palin's Consistent Fight against Corruption and Crony Capitalism

There is a saying from Larry Hardiman that says the word, politics, comes from a derivation from the word "poly" meaning many and "ticks" meaning blood sucking parasites. This may be a tongue-in-cheek saying, but I think it rings true for those who are tired of the dishonesty and tone deafness of politicians. Politicians who campaign with soaring rhetoric and lofty promises, yet fail to deliver when they get to their state capitals or to Washington D.C.. Politicians who try to set themselves apart as women and men of character, yet fail prey to the temptations of pay-to-play politics and back room dealings when they are elected. Politicians who campaign on reform of government, but give in to the temptations of corruption and seize the opportunities to grasp the power of picking winners and losers. This is why the citizen candidate has become so attractive to many. Many Americans wish to see a man or woman who is unadulterated by the influence of political power and unaffiliated with governmental cronyism. It is very rare to find someone who has defied the normal outcomes of political life by taking on corruption, making transparency a cornerstone of his or her agenda, and calling out the crony capitalism and crony corporatism that is so pervasive in today's politics by actually fighting all of these ills from the inside. However, it seems that Governor Palin is who has indeed done that--both in word and in deed.

Although Governor Palin currently holds no political office, she has made a point on multiple occasions to call Washington D.C. out on their corruption. In April of 2010, during the discussions of a financial reform bill, Governor Palin highlighted how lobbyists from the financial industry flocked to D.C. and discussed how such reform would allow regulators to pick winners and losers:
Moreover, the financial reform bill gives regulators the power to pick winners and losers, institutionalizing their ability to decide “which firms to rescue or close, and which creditors to reward and how.” Does anyone doubt that firms with the most lobbyists and the biggest campaign donations will be the ones who get seats in the lifeboat? The president is trying to convince us that he’s taking on the Wall Street “fat cats,” but firms like Goldman Sachs are happy with federal regulation because, as one of their lobbyists recently stated, “We partner with regulators.”

They seem to have a nice relationship with the White House too. Goldman showered nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions on candidate Obama. In fact, J.P. Freire notes that President Obama received about seven times more money from Goldman than President Bush received from Enron. Of course, it’s not just the donations; it’s the revolving door. You’ll find the name Goldman Sachs on many an Obama administration résumé, including Rahm Emanuel’s and Tim Geithner’s chiefs of staff.
More recently, Governor Palin has challenged the Obama administration and Congress for the revelation that 20% of Obamacare waivers given out in April were given to Congresswoman Pelosi's district calling such distribution of waivers "corrupt" and calling anyone who supports the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda of centralized government takeovers and crony capitalism as "complicit". In her appearance on Eric Bolling's show, Hannity, On the Record, and Judge Janine's show last week, she reiterated her stance on this issue, also highlighting that Senator Reid's state of Nevada also received a waiver as did AARP, who lobbied very hard for the passage of Obamacare. Governor Palin also challenged Congressman Issa and others in Congress to investigate the suspect selectiveness of these waivers. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services has only released information on those who received waivers, not those who were denied waivers. So much for the most transparent administration ever.

Governor Palin's strong stance against crony capitalism, bureaucrats picking winners and losers, and a lack of transparency is not just words; it's action. In her comments about last year's financial reform bill, Governor Palin highlighted several key points of her administration:
We need to be on our guard against such crony capitalism. We fought against distortion of the market in Alaska when we confronted “Big Oil,” or more specifically some of the players in the industry and in political office, who were taking the 49th state for a ride. My administration challenged lax rules that seemed to allow corruption, and we even challenged the largest corporation in the world at the time for not abiding by provisions in contracts it held with the state. When it came time to craft a plan for a natural gas pipeline, we insisted on transparency and a level playing field to ensure fair competition. Our reforms helped reduce politicians’ ability to play favorites and helped clean up corruption. We set up stricter oversight offices and ushered through a bi-partisan ethics reform bill. Far from being against necessary reform, I embrace it.
One of the key pieces of her gubernatorial legacy was ACES--an oil tax structure that replaced the corruption tainted tax structure of the previous administration-- was inline with the state constitution, and provided tax breaks for oil companies engaging in capital improvements. As I wrote in a post in March, this legislation was passed in a transparent manner:
Governor Palin released a draft of the bill 17 days before the Special Session to enable both the legislature and the public to read the proposal prior to its discussion in the legislature. Her oil and gas team also held a series of briefings throughout the state prior to its discussion in the Special Session to allow the people of Alaska to be informed about the proposal. The bill was passed very easily in both the House and the Senate with bipartisan support before Governor Palin signed it in December of 2007. In signing this bill, Governor Palin removed the taint of corruption from taxation negotiation process and submitted a strong piece of legislation ensuring that the people of Alaska received their “clear and equitable share” as shareholders in the resources of the state.
Additionally, the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA), her transcontinental gasline project, was negotiated in a transparent manner as well. In fact, her administration made gasline proposals available for public consumption, which was a 180 degree difference from the back room dealing of the previous administration. One of her gubernatorial campaign pledges was to put the state's checkbook online so that constituents could see how state monies were being spent, and this is something she fulfilled. Governor Palin's mention of challenging one of the world's largest corporation referred to her administration challenge of ExxonMobil for sitting on their drilling leases and not fulfilling their contracts with the state. This firm stance also brought drilling to Point Thomson by ExxonMobil for the first time in more than 25 years. Additionally, as Governor Palin mentions, she signed bipartisan ethics reform into law as well.

Citizen candidates do indeed bring a fresh perspective to a campaign and even to public office. However, there is something to be said for someone who took on corruption while in elected office. Such an individual has governed or legislated in an atmosphere of corruption, back room deals, and cronyism and has not only weathered such an atmosphere, but has effected change for the better. It is one thing to act as a citizen watchdog; it is another to make sure that legislation and projects are transparent and are void of back room deals and crony capitalism. Governor Palin is such a person.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Governor Palin's Prescience Proven on the Effect of a Weakened Dollar on Energy Prices

Governor Palin has been very outspoken about the need to become energy independence by opening up drilling both on and offshore in Alaska and through the country. Energy independence is interrelated with multiple levels of security. Producing more of our own energy helps protect us from the threats of dangerous regimes who are also energy producers and helps shields us from higher prices of oil when their is instability in those countries. Energy independence also produces American jobs providing economic security. Additionally, there is an interrelatedness between energy independence and monetary security. This is yet another issue that Governor Palin has been prescient on. On October 9, 2009, Governor Palin wrote a Facebook post in response to discussion that an international currency should replace the American dollar as the global currency. She discussed how the devalued dollar, energy independence, and the national debt are all connected:
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.

In his book Architects of Ruin, Peter Schweizer points out that the Obama administration is focusing primarily on “green energy," while ignoring our need to develop our domestic conventional energy resources.[5] We’re ignoring the looming crisis caused by our dependence on foreign oil. Because we’re dependent on foreign nations for our oil, we’re also at their mercy if they decide to dump the dollar as their trade currency. We can’t allow ourselves to be so vulnerable to the whims of foreign nations. That’s why we must develop our own domestic supplies of oil and gas.
Governor Palin recognized that there is a relationship between a devalued dollar and higher energy prices. At the time that note was posted, oil was around $70 a barrel and gas prices were at about $2.46 a gallon nationwide. More than a year later, in November of 2010, following the Fed's decision to engage in a second round of quantitative easing by essentially printing hundreds of billions of dollars, Governor Palin shared these words to a trade association meeting in Arizona (emphasis mine):
The Fed hopes doing this may buy us a little temporary economic growth by supplying banks with extra cash which they could then lend out to businesses. But it’s far from certain this will even work. After all, the problem isn’t that banks don’t have enough cash on hand – it’s that they don’t want to lend it out, because they don’t trust the current economic climate.

And if it doesn’t work, what do we do then? Print even more money? What’s the end game here? Where will all this money printing on an unprecedented scale take us? Do we have any guarantees that QE2 won’t be followed by QE3, 4, and 5, until eventually – inevitably – no one will want to buy our debt anymore? What happens if the Fed becomes not just the buyer of last resort, but the buyer of only resort?

All this pump priming will come at a serious price. And I mean that literally: everyone who ever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so. Pump priming would push them even higher. And it’s not just groceries. Oil recently hit a six month high, at more than $87 a barrel. The weak dollar – a direct result of the Fed’s decision to dump more dollars onto the market – is pushing oil prices upwards. That’s like an extra tax on earnings. And the worst part of it: because the Obama White House refuses to open up our offshore and onshore oil reserves for exploration, most of that money will go directly to foreign regimes who don’t have America’s best interests at heart.
Again, Governor Palin saw the effect of a weakened dollar on energy prices. Now the price of a barrel of oil is just below $100 a barrel and nationwide gas prices are hovering at about $4 a gallon. A study just released by the Congressional Joint Economic Commission, a bipartisan and bicameral committee, shows that the devalued dollar has added $17.04 dollars to the price of a barrel of oil and 56.5 cents to the price of a gallon of gas.The Weekly Standard reports:
The weakening of the dollar since 2008 has added 56.5 cents to the price of gasoline, the congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC) has found. The average price of gasoline would be $3.40 per gallon, instead of the current average price nationally of nearly $4, if the dollar hadn’t declined.


When the Federal Reserve uses loose money to boost the economy in the short-term, consumers pay the price,” the study said. Because oil is traded in dollars, oil prices increase to compensate for the falling value of the dollar. And the price of gasoline at the pump also increases.

“Since the Fed launched its program of quantitative easing in late November 2008, the value (trade-weighted) of the U.S. dollar has declined 14 percent,” the study calculated. “The declining value of the U.S. dollar has added $17.04 per barrel to the price of oil (Brent Crude),” thus driving up the price of gasoline.

“Arguably there are other factors affecting the price of gasoline than just the price of oil,” according to the study. “[G]iven that oil is the primary input to gasoline and the close correlation [between oil and gasoline prices],” JEC Republicans said it is possible “to determine how much of the current price of gasoline is attributable to the declining value of the dollar.
Suffice it to say, Governor Palin was right again, and she saw it nineteen months before everyone else did--the value of the dollar effects energy commodity prices which can affect prices throughout the economy. Printing hundreds of billions of dollars is no solution for an economic boost, and in fact, it has done just the opposite. This brings us full circle, as Governor Palin said in November, the money the Fed has printed essentially is re-directed towards foreign countries for their oil, when we have the opportunity to drill for it here to provide security on multiple levels. Addressing America's energy problem requires a strong energy policy and a prudent monetary policy, just as Governor Palin has promoted.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Governor Palin and Forward Focused Leadership--Part II

Last weekend, I wrote a post on how Governor Palin has exhibited forward focused leadership on energy--both with oil and natural gas developments. Just as it takes forward focused leadership to make decisions to lead a state and nation down a path of energy independence and security, it also takes forward focused leadership (and courage) to make serious steps to approach budgeting with frugality and to address needed entitlement reforms and the immoral national debt. Discussions on whether or not the debt ceiling should be raised have been swirling throughout the country over the last several weeks. The debt ceiling is a level that Congress sets stating how much money they can legally borrow, somewhat like a level of credit on your credit card. The ceiling was first set in 1917 and has been raised 74 times since 1962.It is argued that debt ceiling must be raised in order to avoid defaulting on payments on our debt or that draconian tax increases or spending cuts must occur in order for this to be dealt with appropriately. However, the debt ceiling, budgets, and entitlement reform can't be placed into fiscal silos and separately addressed. They are interrelated. Smart and frugal decision making today regarding all of these issues will help stave off major financial problems in the future.

Governor Palin has been very clear on her thoughts on raising the debt ceiling. Hells no! She has instead offered some alternatives to address the debt ceiling and concurrently the budget. She has suggested servicing the debt first using the revenue the government already takes in and concentrating spending only on the nation's highest priorities and allowing states to make decisions on funding lower priority projects. Governor Palin has also suggested that not raising the debt ceiling will show America's lenders and the international financial markets that the nation is serious about addressing the debt problem, a viewpoint right inline with many conservative investors and economists.

Looking beyond solely the debt ceiling, Governor Palin has made very strong statements about federal spending by challenging both Democrats and Republicans. In a letter to Congressional freshmen last November, she urged them to cap spending at 2008 levels, yet the FY2011 budget that was finally settled on was $778 billion more than the 2008 budget. Governor Palin asserted that this budget deal reached last month was not what America needed as spending was just increased nearly 30% to be cut by less than 1%.She has suggested that President Obama's only vision for America's future is only securing his re-election and that his most recent budget is only a "political document", saying further:
Let’s look at the numbers. We have a $1.5 trillion deficit this year. We’re paying $200 billion a year on our interest alone. That’s half a billion dollars per day on interest. And our $1.5 trillion deficit means that we’re borrowing $4 billion per day just to keep afloat. So, we pat ourselves on the back if we cut a billion dollars here or a billion there in discretionary spending, as we borrow $4 billion a day and pay half a billion a day in interest. The deficit for the month of February alone was the highest in our history at $223 billion. That’s more than the entire deficit for the year 2007. And there’s no end in sight. We’re not heading towards the iceberg. We’ve already hit it. Now we’re taking on water. We must find a way to get back to harbor to repair our ship of state before it’s too late.


Real leadership means leading by example. It means showing an “all-in” commitment to tackling complex issues and putting in the time and effort to educate the American public. Right now the American people have not been educated about this major challenge we face. Keep in mind that perception often becomes reality, and the perception President Obama has repeatedly given off is that he can’t be bothered to deal with our debt crisis.
Governor Palin also realizes that addressing America's debt problem not only involves the year-to-year budget battles. It means seriously taking a look at entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. Both of those programs have shown to be in an even greater mess than previously thought with monies to fully fund Medicare drying up in 2024 and funds for Social Security running short in 2036, earlier than previously estimated which also, according to and Investors' Business Daily article re-tweeted by Governor Palin yesterday, will add $5 trillion to the debt. This supports even further that the reforms proposed by Congressman Paul Ryan and supported by Governor Palin are needed.

In an interview with Time Magazine in mid December 2010, Governor Palin said:
I’d also look for entitlement reform, as well as a system-wide audit of government spending with a goal to move us toward zero-based budgeting practices and ultimately a balanced budget. We need to start really living within our means. As any mother or father will tell you, you don’t spend what you don’t have. And if the argument against this is that the government is too big and unruly to even consider such an audit, then I say that that alone is all the proof you need that our government has grown completely out of control and desperately needs to be reined in.

Later that month, Congressman Paul Ryan released a roadmap that seriously addressed spending and entitlements which Governor Palin supported. In her op-ed supporting this plan, Governor Palin highlighted the needs for these reforms:
On Social Security, as with Medicare, the Roadmap honors our commitments to those who are already receiving benefits by guaranteeing all existing rights to people over the age of 55. Those below that age are offered a choice: They can remain in the traditional government-run system or direct a portion of their payroll taxes to personal accounts, owned by them, managed by the Social Security Administration and guaranteed by the federal government. Under the Roadmap’s proposals, they can pass these savings onto their heirs. The current Medicaid system, the majority of which is paid for by the federal government but administered by the states, would be replaced by a block-grant system that would reward economizing states.

Together these reforms help to secure our entitlement programs for the 21st century. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Roadmap would lead to lower deficits and a much lower federal debt. The CBO estimates that under current spending plans, our federal debt would rise to 87% of GDP by 2020, to 223% by 2040, and to 433% by 2060. Under Rep. Ryan’s Roadmap, the CBO estimates that debt would rise much more slowly, peaking at 99% in 2040 and then dropping back to 77% by 2060.

Governor Palin realizes that leadership must be forward focused. Leadership is not raising the debt ceiling, then kicking the can further down the road for others to deal with. It's not ignoring the problems with programs like Medicare and Social Security. Leadership is taking a strong stance on spending and debt, and it is honoring commitments to those who are already recipients of Medicare and Social Security, while reforming the programs so that America and the programs themselves can remain solvent.

In a Facebook post that I referenced earlier, Governor Palin stated that real leadership means leading by example.This is precisely what she has done. Her statements on budgeting and addressing governmental commitments while making need reforms are right in line with what she achieved and stood for as Governor. As Governor, she recognized that budgeting must be future focused. When oil revenues were high, the Alaska state coffers were filled to the brim. The temptation for many would be to spend, spend, spend, but this was not Governor Palin's strategy. She addressed fiscal priorities and put money into savings:
Most importantly, Alaska enjoys a $12 billion surplus thanks to ACES and the sound fiscal policies of my administration. I put billions of dollars aside in savings accounts (though I could have easily spent those billions and made a lot of friends with big-spending legislators on both sides of the aisle), and I continued to veto excess spending and Obama stimulus funds, and chopped earmarks by 86% – much to the chagrin of liberal legislators who were used as “sources” in the article. It’s kind of amusing to see state legislators claim credit for the surplus when they didn’t vote for ACES, and they cried to high heaven when I vetoed their wasteful spending on their special interest projects.

Of course, I could have made a lot more friends in Juneau if I had spent the surplus. But I chose to put billions in savings for a rainy day and return a portion to the people of Alaska. (It was their money after all.) I paid down hundreds of millions of dollars into our under-funded state pension plans, then set aside another billion for forward-funding education. I fought the union’s demands for more benefits, engaged in hiring freezes, and cut frivolous state expenditures – again, much to the chagrin of those who spend other people’s money recklessly. That’s sound fiscal policy. I’m proud of it, and Alaska is stronger today because of it.

Governor Palin's record is one of forward focused leadership. She used a budgetary surplus to address education and pensions, but she also vetoed spending projects--vetoing nearly a quarter billion dollars in 2007 alone. She also put billions in savings--saving for a time when the financial outlook was not as sunny. She not only cut earmarks by 86%, she cut overall spending by 9.5% during her time as governor. Many governmental executives are praised if they merely slow the rate of spending, but Governor Palin instituted real cuts. Our national debt stands at more than $14 trillion currently. Forward focused leadership is needed, not fiscal myopia focused solely on political expediency. Governor Palin enacted such a vision in Alaska. She cut spending and put money into savings during good financial times, and she realizes that when times are not good cutting spending and addressing entitlements is needed to help keep America from driving off a fiscal cliff. To address the fiscal problems of this nation, we don't need a politician; we need a leader.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Governor Palin and Forward Focused Leadership--Part I

President Reagan once said, " to grasp and hold a vision--that is the very essence of successful leadership". One of the keys to leadership is being forward focused. This involves seeing beyond the next release of one's polling data, seeing beyond the next budget, and beyond the next election. It involves seeing the possible barriers and knowing how to address them based upon the successes of the past while also seeking for ways to address problems in the future. However, so often politicians make decisions based upon their own selfish myopic vision or a vision based upon yet to be proven ideas. True leadership involves making decisions in light of what's best for both the present and the future. When we look in particular at energy, we can certainly see that Governor Palin has exhibited forward focused leadership.

We aren't energy independent, and energy prices are high because politicians have not had the political will to drill in America, which would both make us more independent and help increase the worldwide oil supply so that it is not so dependent on unstable countries. A forward focused politician like Governor Palin understand this very well. To address an energy price crisis, you must prepared for the crisis. You can't be floundering looking for companies and speculators to demonize, nor be unable to offer true solutions. One major way to combat a potential crisis is essentially to prevent it and/or mitigate its effects. It is simple supply and demand economics, as Governor Palin discussed last night. If supplies are decreased and demand is held steady or increased, prices are going to go up. Unrest in oil rich countries like Libya have decreased supplies, which has influenced President Obama to call for the Saudis to ramp up their production. Additionally, he has praised and funded drilling in Brazil in hopes of helping America to be one of Brazil's "best customers". Neither of those supposed solutions bring America any closer to energy independence, nor are they the result of a forward focused plan.

Of course, the better option is to have been drilling here in America which would add to the supply of oil internationally in addition to adding to the economic, monetary, and the national security strength nationally. Governor Palin, of course, has been a strong and longtime proponent of drilling in places like ANWR. In 1996, President Clinton vetoed a bill that would have allowed drilling in ANWR. Liberals often poo poo such notions as drilling because it would supposedly take ten years for oil to be produced. Of course, it has now been fifteen years since President Clinton's veto. Oil producers in Alaska could have been developing for at least five years by now, which recent estimated would result in oil production at a minimum of around a half million barrels per day.

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary since President Obama put a moratorium on offshore drilling following the Gulf oil spill. Although he has lifted the moratorium, he has been very slow in issuing permits, and the EPA, an additional regulatory arm of the Obama administration, has been antagonistic to offshore drilling. Governor Palin also has been very critical of President Obama's offshore drilling moratorium. In fact, in response to a question on what she would do to help ease oil prices, she mentioned that she would not have instituted the drilling moratorium:
I never would have done what President Obama did and that’s engage in that moratorium after the tragedy in the Gulf with the spill. He should have been more sensible in figuring out what the problem was, what the solution was to the gulf spill but not take it out on the rest of the country and prohibit drilling onshore and offshore is what he did. 97% of our offshore area locked up after that and there still is a quasi-moratorium because the EPA is making it virtually impossible for drillers to be out there extracting responsibly the God-given resources that we have domestically.


Now the President is engaged now in what he wants to get to the bottom of with whether it be collusion, or price fixing, or speculators, what else is driving up the cost. Well he can look at other states like Alaska. We already did a study to find out was it collusion? Was it speculators? What was driving up the last big spike in gas prices? And we found that no, more than anything it is a supply-and-demand, a very basic economic principle, supply-and-demand.

These are not the words of a woman who is merely engaging in armchair politicking. Governor Palin was forward focused during her tenure a Governor. In addition to being a strong proponent of expanding energy development to help make America more energy independent through drilling for oil, she also acted to move development of natural gas forward through the development of a pipeline that would bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48. As Governor, she moved a natural gas pipeline project further than any of her predecessors. A New York Times hit piece in March tried to attack AGIA, but all of the evidence points to AGIA as being right on target:
The New York Times also questions the progress of Governor Palin’s natural gas pipeline project–the Alaska’s Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA)–which will bring natural gas from the North Slope of Alaska through Canada to the Lower 48 as an additional means of achieving energy independence. Governor Palin’s pipeline project was done in a transparent free-market friendly manner with proposals available for public consumption-- a far cry from the behind-closed-doors pipeline discussion with oil companies that were commonplace and unsuccessful in previous administrations. The New York Times argues that neither gas suppliers nor federal permits had been obtained for the project.

However, at the end of the first open season for bidding by gas suppliers this past summer, there were “several major players” who had submitted bids. Additionally, the pipeline company TransCanada and oil company ExxonMobil, both partners on AGIA-backed pipeline project, have had discussions with BP-ConocoPhilips to work together on the project. Additionally, the permitting process with both American and Canadian regulatory agencies has made “significant progress,” and the progress is right on track with time projections.

Following one of the early successes of this project nearly two years ago, Governor Palin was interviewed by Matt Lauer, where he questioned the need for the pipeline as natural gas prices were low at the time.Governor Palin called such an idea "short sighted" (see especially at the 2:15 mark and following):

Governor Palin is right about the need to make America energy independent when it comes to both oil and natural gas. She also was right to note the short sighted nature of evaluating future energy development entirely upon current prices. The most recent natural gas futures were at $4.58 per MMBtu (million British thermal units). When Governor Palin was interviewed in June of 2009, natural gas futures were at $3.56 per MMbtu. Prices have increased. Governor Palin was right to note that it would have been short sighted not to proceed when natural gas prices were low. As you can see in this chart here, natural gas prices are volatile, just as oil prices are. What is the best way to deal with both? Ensure that there are sufficient supplies produced in the United States. Increased domestic supplies soften the blow when instability in other energy producing nations affect the world energy market. Additionally, such efforts would provide jobs and protect America's national security.

Critics may claim that someone who is forward focused on energy would be looking to green energy initiatives as President Obama has focused on green energy in his last three weekly addresses and in much of attempt to deal with the current high energy prices. Governor Palin has been rightly critical on the overemphasis of such initiatives, pointing to the failure of green energy in Spain that has crippled employment and contributed to their massive debt problem. Meanwhile, President Obama is pushing for electric cars that have proven to have major problems and are mostly re-charged on energy derived from fossil fuels like coal. Governor Palin recognizes that in the desire for energy independence, knowing what doesn't work is just as important as knowing what does.

Part of leadership involves solving problems, but another part of leadership involves having the foresight to both prevent problems from happening in the first place and mitigate the effects when there are problems. This is why Governor Palin warned that not seeking energy independence would result in the federal government being tempted to tap into our strategic petroleum reserves. That is why Governor Palin has been a very vocal proponent for expanding offshore drilling and drilling on land in the United States. That is why she championed the natural gas pipeline to bring Alaska's abundant natural gas to the Lower 48. That is why she has the justified skepticism with the social engineering disguised as "green energy" focus of the Obama administration. Governor Palin has shown that she has the leadership skills to be both a problem solver and a problem preventer.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jennifer Rubin's Wrong Turn on Governor Palin's Foreign Policy

Last November, the Washington Post hired Jennifer Rubin to replace journolister, Dave Weigel, as their "conservative" blogger. Yes, those quotation marks are needed. Many, including Newsbusters, saw this hire as a step in the right direction for the Washington Post, as Rubin replaced the unscrupulous Weigel and had a great tenure writing for the neoconservative outlet Commentary. In fact, prior to her departure from Commentary, Rubin wrote at least four lengthy pieces supporting and defending Governor Palin. Rubin wrote articles supporting Governor Palin's non-elitism, highlighting her as a strong Tea Party voice, offering high praise for Governor Palin's political instincts, and defending Governor Palin against those who criticized her Restoring Honor rally speech.

What a difference a new employment contract makes! Rubin was announced as a new conservative commentator for the Washington Post on November 23, 2010 writing a blog called "Right Turn" and eight days later, wrote her first anti Palin screed arguing that Governor Palin was not a front runner for the GOP presidential nomination and poo pooing Governor Palin's use of the term "death panel"--a phrase that Rubin was supportive of in her articles at Commentary. Rubin's criticisms have become commonplace ever since as Ian, Stacy, and Doug have addressed in recent months.

Fast forward to today where Governor Palin's new foreign policy hire and the news of a clear cut "Palin doctrine", if you will, unveiled last night, and neoconservatives throughout the Beltway, like Rubin, have their proverbial panties in a wad, and for no good reason. In her latest piece today, Rubin charges that Governor Palin's recent comments about Libya and her speech last night have Governor Palin "sounding like Obama's liberal critics". Then she states that this supposed shift in policy and worldview is something that " careful observers of Palin" have picked up on.

First, Rubin charges that Governor Palin's latest Facebook post on President Obama's mishandling of Libya was "incoherent"and claimed that she couldn't ascertain whether Governor Palin supported action in Libya or not. If Rubin were truly a "careful observer" of Governor Palin, as she claims, she would have remembered that Governor Palin was the first high profile political voice to call for a no fly zone in Libya in February, three weeks before President Obama went along with a UN decision to institute a no fly zone. In the supposedly incoherent post that Rubin references, Governor Palin made it very clear she supported a no fly zone, but questioned the real incoherency regarding Libya--President Obama's actions. Governor Palin writes (emphasis mine):
Please make up your mind, Mr. President. You can’t vacillate when spending America’s human and fiscal resources in yet another foreign country without good reason. You said that Libyan leader Gaddafi has got to go. Many of us heard that as your call to action and agreed, “Okay, you’re right. He’s an evil dictator who kills his own innocent people, so enforce a no-fly zone so he can’t continue an aerial slaughter.” But then you said our mission in Libya isn’t to oust Gaddafi after all. (Or vice versa on the order or your statements. Between you and your advisers the public has been given so many conflicting statements on why we’re intervening in Libya that I apologize if I can’t keep up with the timing and rationale of your murky foreign policy positions.)
Governor Palin was quite clear that she believes that Gaddafi needs to go, which she has consistently said in interviews. What is truly incoherent is President Obama's mission in Libya, as Governor Palin said.

Rubin then goes on to refer to Governor Palin's speech yesterday in support of the troops in Colorado. In doing so, she relies heavily on the account of another supposed "careful observer" of Governor Palin, Politico's Andy Barr. Politico is indeed an incessant observer of Governor Palin, but to characterize them as careful is far from the truth--biased is more like it. Barr spent so much of his piece focusing on the venue of the speech that he grossly misquoted Governor Palin's statements claiming Governor Palin said, "we can't undo every justice in the world" when she clearly referred to the injustice in the world.

Rubin goes on to claim that Governor Palin had an about face in her foreign policy stance, yet doesn't articulate what those change are, other than parroting Bill Kristol in his wrong headed opposition to Governor Palin. Kristol's rant, which Rubin heavily quotes, touts the success of the surge in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere and then infers that Governor Palin thinks that America, in her strength and leadership, needs to "back off". This, of course, is categorically false, which Rubin would be aware of if she viewed, listened to, or read an account of the speech for herself. Governor Palin both praised the efforts in Afghanistan that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, and America's strength in her speech (emphasis mine):
God bless all the brave men and women in our military and our intelligence services who carried out the successful mission to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice and all those who had laid the groundwork over the years to make that victory possible. The historic action that was announced last night was the result of the diligence, hard work, and character of countless American warriors who know that those who spread evil, those with murderous intentions must be contained. Those who would kill in the name of religion must be stopped.


We are not indifferent to the cause of human rights or the desire for freedom. We are always on the side of both. But we can’t fight every war. We can’t undo every injustice around the world. But with strength and clarity in those five points, we’ll make for a safer, more prosperous, more peaceful world because as the U.S. leads by example, as we support freedom across the globe, we’re going to prove that free and healthy countries don’t wage war on other free and healthy countries. The stronger we are, the stronger and more peaceful the world will be under our example.
There is nothing in those statements or anywhere in Governor Palin' s speech where she indicates that she has walked back her support for the surge in Afghanistan and Iraq, or believes in any kind of wet noodle spined foreign policy or "Obama lite" foreign policy as Kristol and Rubin laughably claim.

Rubin' s last "careful" observation is that Governor Palin is a now Paulian isolationist. Another wrong assertion that Rubin would not have claimed had she actually listened to Governor Palin's speech herself. Governor Palin very clearly both denounced isolationism and called America to be a global leader in her speech (emphasis mine):
I believe that America must never retreat into isolation. The world would be less safe and less free without our leadership. And we must never forget that America has a responsibility to lead. “To whom much is given, much is expected.” We cannot be the world’s policeman granted, or the world’s ATM. But we can lead by example. By our words and, when necessary, by our actions, we must and we will remain the world’s abiding beacon of freedom.
Jennifer Rubin has proven to be an observer of Governor Palin, but a careful one she is not. As mentioned earlier, following Governor Palin's Restoring Honor Rally speech, Rubin wrote a piece defending Governor Palin against supposed "feminists" and praising her foreign policy stances in response to a opinion piece in the New York Times. She closed that piece with this statement:
But I give the Times gals credit — they know they are losing the battle to discredit Palin. Now they need to figure out what to do about it. They might start with examining whether their agenda has as much sell as hers.
I give the Post girl credit, in her short time at the Washington Post, Rubin may not yet realize that her about face in intellectual honesty has her in a losing battle to discredit Governor Palin. She needs to figure out what to do about it. She might start with examining whether her now Palin bashing agenda has as much sell as Governor Palin's consistent foreign policy.

Jerry Wilson has a good piece on Rubin's article here (H/T JimR)

Updated: On a related note, HotAir has a great piece outlining Governor Palin's foreign policy doctrine and describing the differences between that policy, the current actions in Libya, and what many have described as neoconservative actions in the past few decades.

Crossposted here, here, and here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Reaction from Presidents 43-45 and Some Baseball

A round up of thoughts on the courageous actions of US Navy Seals in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice from Presidents 43, 44, and Lord willing, 45.

Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.

President Obama, in part:
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.

We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda -- an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.

Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.


Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.

Governor Palin:
Thank you, American men and women in uniform. You are America's finest and we are all so proud. Thank you for fighting against terrorism.

As a big baseball fan, I cannot help but remember President Bush, wearing a New York Fire Department jacket,throwing out the first pitch at the first Yankees' game following the attacks on September 11, 2001:

Here is the reaction of fans at a Mets'/Phillies' game upon hearing the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death:

May God bless America.


Governor Palin posted this on her Facebook page:
Americans tonight are united in celebration and gratitude. God bless all the brave men and women in our military and our intelligence services who contributed to carrying out the successful mission to bring bin Laden to justice and who laid the groundwork over the years to make this victory possible. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of these brave Americans who relentlessly hunted down our enemy.

This is a victory for the American people, for the victims who were heartlessly murdered on September 11 and in Al Qaeda’s other numerous attacks, and for all the peace-loving people of the world.

May God bless our troops and our intelligence services, and God bless America!

- Sarah Palin