Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29, 2008--The Day the Ship Left the Harbor

Three years ago today marks what many would consider a political shockwave, in the announcement of Governor Palin as Senator McCain’s 2008 vice presidential running mate. While the political pundits were anticipating that Senator McCain would choose the likes of a Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty or maybe even a Joe Liebermann, the Arizona Senator chose instead a relatively little known governor from the state of Alaska. There were some, though, with far more political clairvoyance than the rest of the country, C4P’s own Adam Brickley was among those who had such foresight, and he spearheaded a “draft Palin for VP” effort. He and others watched through the night to learn that indeed a plane from Alaska was traveling to Ohio, as Senator McCain was poised to make such a historic announcement.

As Governor Palin walked onto that stage with her family in Dayton, Ohio, America saw a woman who was the antithesis of the status quo. She was a woman who realized that motherhood and political life were not mutually exclusive. She was a woman who rejected traditional feminism, but embraced life and empowerment of women. She was a woman of faith who realized that being a light to the world means neither blinding people, nor hiding that light, but letting it shine. She was a woman who disproved the false choice between ignorance and intellectualism by exhibiting intelligence, wisdom and common sense. She was a leader who made decisions based on what was best for her state, not her political career. She was a politician who realized you could govern without losing your integrity, as she fought corruption and reformed ethics. On August 29, 2008, we were introduced to this woman:

In her introductory speech, Governor Palin spoke of a ship in harbor being safe, but such safety was not why the ship was built. Political leadership is not about making safe choices or calculated decisions; it is about taking measured risks and making principled decisions. Many eagerly anticipate that Governor Palin will leave the proverbial harbor for another electoral voyage in the 2012 presidential election. Meanwhile, the same political pundits who were predicting a “safe” Vice Presidential candidate in 2008 are criticizing Governor Palin for not launching her ship on their timetable and for not hiring the “right” contractors and boat manufacturers to build the ship. It would serve the punditocracy well to remember that amateurs built the Ark, but professionals built the Titanic. Two ships. Two destinations. Two very different outcomes.

Governor Palin has been studying the nautical maps, checking the weather and is prepared to conquer any sea squall. As one of her recent Facebook notes indicates, she seems to be planning her route accordingly:
We hope to see many of you there as we gather to discuss the direction of our country and the way forward with our fundamental restoration of all that is good and strong and free in America
Governor Palin will launch her ship for this voyage in her own time, and as any fisherwoman can tell you, the North Star is a pretty good guide.

P.S. A very happy 23rd anniversary to Todd and Governor Palin!

Crossposted here and here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Governor Palin and the Return of Jacksonian Foreign Policy

In May, Governor Palin gave a speech at a “Tribute to the Troops” event at Colorado Christian University. As part of this speech, Governor Palin outlined a clear vision of American military policy, which has now become known as the Palin doctrine by many:

There’s a lesson here then for the effective use of force, as opposed to sending our troops on missions that are ill-defined. And it can be argued that our involvement elsewhere, say in Libya, is an example of a lack of clarity. See, these are deadly serious questions that we must ask ourselves when we contemplate sending Americans into harm’s way. Our men and women in uniform deserve a clear understanding of U.S. positions on such a crucial decision. I believe our criteria before we send our young men and women—America’s finest—into harm’s way should be spelled out clearly when it comes to the use of our military force. I can tell you what I believe that criteria should be in five points.

First, we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake. Period.

Second, if we have to fight, we fight to win. To do that, we use overwhelming force. We only send our troops into war with the objective to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible. We do not stretch out our military with open-ended and ill-defined missions. Nation building is a nice idea in theory, but it is not the main purpose of our armed forces. We use our military to win wars.

Third, we must have clearly defined goals and objectives before sending troops into harm’s way. If you can’t explain the mission to the American people clearly and concisely, then our sons and daughters should not be sent into battle. Period.

Fourth, American soldiers must never be put under foreign command. We will fight side by side with our allies, but American soldiers must remain under the care and the command of American officers.

Fifth, sending in our armed forces should be the last resort. We don’t go looking for dragons to slay. However, we will encourage the forces of freedom around the world who are sincerely fighting for the empowerment of the individual. When it makes sense, when it’s appropriate, we will provide them with material support to help them win their own freedom.
Today, in her Facebook post, Governor Palin offered her thoughts on the recent activity in Libya, evaluating the situation realistically and cautiously and highlighting how the “Palin Doctrine” would be applied in practice. She cautioned against “triumphalism” and warned of co-opting of Libyan liberation and the future Libyan government by radical Muslim groups like Islamic Libyan Fighting Group and al Qaeda, as is being done in Syria. Much in the same way, she had warned against the takeover of Egyptian government by the Muslim Brotherhood after the ousting of President Mubarak in February. She also warned against committing troops to being involved in missions in Libya that would not be in America’s best interest, much in the same way that she blasted President Obama in April when she questioned President Obama’s lack of clarity on Libya and his decision to place US troops under foreign command. Her statement today was a weaving of multiple points of her military doctrine into a clear vision of what America’s role should be in Libya following the defeat of Gaddafi.

This once again allows Governor Palin to create a contrast between herself and the declared presidential candidates. Governor Romney made a short statement calling for the new Libyan government to allow extradition of the Lockerbie bomber to the US to bring about justice for the Pan Am terrorism from 1986. To be sure, justice is a worthy and necessary goal, but Romney’s vision is myopic. He does not offer any solutions for the larger problem of the instability in Libya. Governors Perry and Huntsman recognized the need for cautious celebration, but do not seem to grasp the gravity of the threats of who may occupy the new Libyan government. Congresswoman Bachmann continued to express her non-support for Libyan involvement and hoped for a speedy removal of US troops, but did not offer solutions for how this should be done. Leadership, though, is not about vague statements or solutions with no game plan. Governor Palin clearly outlined the problems and warnings while providing specificity, not lip service to foreign policy solutions.

This post allowed for further expansion of Governor Palin’s Jacksonian approach to foreign policy. Too often, pundits create a false dichotomy between neoconservatism and isolationism, but Governor Palin espouses neither. Her foreign policy vision is along the lines of Presidents Jackson and Reagan—“robust internationalism” as Caroline Glick characterized it in a piece at Real Clear Politics last week. Glick’s piece provides concise and clear distinctions between neoconservatism, isolationism and robust internationalism. Neoconservatives,as Glick notes, have too often (and wrongly) lumped those who take a more Jacksonian view of foreign policy with isolationists:
Neoconservative writers have castigated opponents of US military involvement in Libya as isolationists. In so doing, they placed Republican politicians like presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in the same pile as presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan.

The very notion that robust internationalists like Bachmann and Palin could be thrown in with ardent isolationists like Paul and Buchanan is appalling. But it is of a piece with the prevailing, false notion being argued by dominant voices in neoconservative circles that, "You're either with us or you're with the Buchanaites."
Glick later notes that this foreign policy approach is like that first espoused by President Jackson and later by President Reagan, as seen by the way Reagan dealt with the Soviet Union. He did so with great strength—because America’ s interests were at stake. Glick provides a good description of this foreign policy platform, and it is right in line with the “Palin doctrine”:
According to Mead, the Jacksonian foreign policy model involves a few basic ideas. The US is different from the rest of the world and therefore the US should not try to remake the world in its own image by claiming that everyone is basically the same. The US must ensure its honor abroad by abiding by its commitments and standing with its allies. The US must take action to defend its interests. The US must fight to win or not fight at all. The US should only respect those foes that fight by the same rules as the US does.
Glick later notes that America needs a President that espouses this Jacksonian approach to foreign policy and rejects the false choice between isolationism and neoconservatism:
Still, it would be a real tragedy if at the end of the primary season, due to neoconservative intellectual bullying the Republican presidential nominee was forced to choose between neoconservativism and isolationism. A rich, successful and popular American foreign policy tradition of Jacksonianism awaits the right candidate.
Governor Palin is the one who best captures this approach to foreign policy. Although Glick characterizes Congresswoman Bachmann as Jacksonian, Governor Palin offers more specificity and fewer platitudes. She also provides more pointed solutions and a more detailed understanding of the situation in Libya than the responses of Governors Perry and Romney, thus displaying yet again the difference between responsive leadership of Governor Palin and reactionary politics of the rest.

Crossposted here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Governor Palin and the Difference between Responsive Leadership and Reactionary Politics

Vice President Biden has come under fire for awful comments he made regarding the Chinese’s one child policy while in China on Sunday (emphasis added):
“But as I was talking to some of your leaders, you share a similar concern here in China,” he continued. “You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand – I’m not second-guessing – of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”
Vice President Biden condoned the horrific policies of the China government that allow only one child per family which has subsequently resulted in forced abortions, including sex-selective abortions, human rights violations, fines, and loss of jobs. These comments have engendered responses from the declared Presidential candidates. Governor Romney called China’s policy “gruesome and barbaric” while asserting that Biden acquiesced. Governor Perry criticized Biden for “moral indifference”.

This “one child” policy is decades old, and the Obama administration is more than two and a half years old. Where were these men on human rights abuses and the Obama administration indifference prior to this presidential election, when their comments could score political points? As we highlighted during the Chinese President’s visit to the US in January, Governor Palin has been at the forefront of highlighting international human rights and the Obama administration’s negligence in addressing these abuses, not because it would score her political points, but because of her principled support for human dignity and the sanctity of life. In September of 2009, during her a speech in the Chinese region of Hong Kong, Governor Palin boldly, yet diplomatically, criticized China for their injustices and disrespect for human liberties (emphasis added):
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.

In May of 2010, Governor Palin hammered the Obama administration’s State Department for essentially apologizing to the Chinese for Arizona’s immigration law, when it was China who was one engaged in true human rights violations, including their population control measures (emphasis added):
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.

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?

This is not the only time that Governor Palin has made principled policy statements that were later echoed by announced, campaigning presidential candidates. Last week during an interview with Lou Dobbs, Governor Palin was asked about Governor Perry’s comments on the Federal Reserve, to which Governor Palin replied (emphasis added):
[Perry] called it like he saw it and I always respect people for doing so.What Governor Perry is voicing concern about is something I wrote about on Facebook pages about ten months ago, this quantitative easing or monetizing our debt, essentially printing money out of thin air, which will eventually devalue our dollar and, I think, lead to inflation, in order to make it look like our debt isn’t as bad as it really is, and Governor Perry was voicing great concerns that many of us share. He just used some more candid terms, I think, than some of us would have used.

Again, Governor Palin was principled and politically prescient enough to speak on the effects of quantitative easing as early as November of 2010, long before Governor Perry made such comments during the nascence of his presidential campaign. She made statements on Facebook and during a speech in Arizona warning of the inflationary impact of quantitative easing because it was important for our country to be aware, not because it had potential to score political points or provide red meat for potential supporters.

Governor Palin’s prescience and principled stances are not only a matter of rhetoric, but of record. During her time as Governor, she cut spending 9.5% and vetoed hundreds of millions of dollars in spending, not because times were tough, but because she wanted to keep government small and solvent. She reformed Alaska’s pension system and used surplus dollars to help pay down underfunded pensions, which reduced Alaska’s liabilities by 34.6 % to help provide analysts at Moody’s with enough confidence to later upgrade Alaska’s credit rating to AAA. This were not politically expedient decisions (she actually came under fire from lawmakers and unions for these decisions), nor were they done because of fiscal emergency, they were done because they were the right things to do for the short and long term fiscal health of Alaska. These are the kinds of rhetoric and record that distinguish a responsive leader like Governor Palin from the reactionary politicians like Governors Perry and Romney.

Crossposted here and here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Governor Palin Used Her Executive Authority to Make Government Smaller and More Ethical

Executive experience is often seen as a needed criterion when looking for potential presidential nominees, especially among Republicans. It has been more than 130 years since the GOP nominated an eventual winner for President who only had legislative experience (Note: President Eisenhower’s military experience easily qualifies as executive experience). It goes beyond the simple dichotomy of legislative versus executive experience, however. What is even more important is how one used the executive experience that he or she has. Did he or she use such experience to make government smaller or bigger? Did he or she use their executive experience to create personal mandates or to expand individual freedom? Did he or she use their executive to perpetuate or get rid of cronyism.

The office of Alaskan governor is known for being a very powerful office—2nd most powerful state executive in the country. What makes the Alaska governor’s office so powerful include line item veto power that can only be overridden by three-fourths majority in the legislature and the ability to appoint all statewide executive department heads and various board members positions and the like. The only two statewide elected officials are the governor and the lt. governor; other positions, such as attorney general, are appointed by the governor. In many ways, the proverbial buck indeed stopped with Governor Palin. During Governor Palin’s tenure, she used her executive power to make government smaller and more ethical and transparent.

As Governor, Sarah Palin vetoed nearly $500 million in spending during her tenure including vetoing nearly a quarter billion in 2007 alone. Such vetoes enabled her to cut Alaska’s budget 9.5% over her predecessor’s budget. She also vetoed $268 million in the FY2009 capital budget. Despite legislative outcry over these vetoes, they did not even take up a vote to attempt to override her veto. Earlier that year, Governor Palin vetoed nearly $58 million for funding various projects in a supplemental bill. She did not use her line item veto indiscriminately though. Some of the projects proposed by legislators were projects Governor Palin had vetoed the year prior. She gave legislators the opportunity to justify why such projects should be funded:
She said if lawmakers didn't want her to simply veto the projects again, they could make an appointment to come to her office and explain why the projects were worthy of funding. Palin personally attended more than a dozen meetings with lawmakers, and even opened them to the media.
On Thursday, members of her staff hand-delivered the results to lawmakers.

Of the $70 million in projects at issue, Palin accepted 52 projects totaling $12.4 million, chopped 16 worth $22.3 million, and put 155 projects worth $35.4 million in what she designated the "move" category.

In 2009, Governor Palin vetoed nearly $30 million in federal stimulus aimed at energy efficiency because it required federal building codes to be implemented. Her veto was later overridden by the legislature. Governor Palin was concerned with the sustainability of projects funded by the federal government when the funding would later dry out saying,” [i]f the legislature wants to add funds to grow government, then I also want to hear how we will get out of the fiscal hole we'll be in just two years from now when those temporary stimulus funds are gone". She could have used her pen to simply sign into law any spending project handed to her, but she did not. She exercised fiscal restraint, even to the dislike of the legislature, because she wanted to ensure government remained small and that all projects approved were truly worthy of state funding. Governor Palin used the power given to her by the Alaska constitution, but she did so to shrink spending, make state government smaller, and make Alaska less dependent on the federal government.

Governor Palin used her executive power to appoint individuals to cabinet type positions, councils, and the like who were of the same mindset when it came to making government smaller and reduce bureaucratic red tape. This can be seen in her creation of the Alaska Health Strategies Planning Council to address Alaska’s healthcare issues early in her term. This council was comprised of Department of Health and Social Services and individuals from various levels of government, the business community, the healthcare industry, and faith based organizations, and they were all appointed by the Governor. The recommendations from this council provided the basis for a healthcare proposal from the Governor, the Alaska Health Care Transparency Act, which would increase patient choice and remove bureaucratic red tape for providers—essentially making government smaller. One thing this act proposed was removing the Certificate of Need (CON) requirement for building new healthcare facilities:
STATE CON LAWS originated, like so many bad health care ideas, with a mandate from the federal government. In 1974, states were effectively told by Washington that no new medical facilities could be built unless a “public need” had been demonstrated. The idea was to reduce costs, but the only measurable effect of this federal decree was a morass of bureaucratic red tape that stifled competition in the health care market. In 1987, the federal statute was finally repealed, but many states inexplicably kept their CON processes in place. Alaska was one of them and, as Governor Palin put it in an editorial for the Anchorage Daily News, “Under our present Certificate of Need process, costs and needs don’t drive health-care choices — bureaucracy does. Our system is broken and expensive.”

This bill ultimately was rejected by the legislature, but it indicates-- both through her personal policy convictions and that of those whom she appointed-- smaller, less bureaucratic government was the goal.

Through her appointments, Governor Palin showed how she desired to use her executive power to make government void of crony capitalism and more transparent. This was seen in the seven individuals she brought in to work with oil and gas issues, who had become known as the Magnificent Seven. One of these individuals, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner, Tom Irwin, was fired by Governor Murkowski, Palin’s predecessor, due to his questioning of the legality Murkowski’s pipeline deal. Six other DNR employees quit in protest of Irwin’s firing. Governor Palin brought these individuals back to work for her administration appointing Tom Irwin as her DNR commissioner. These individuals were instrumental in both the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA)—her natural gas pipeline project—and Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES)—the oil tax structure. AGIA was negotiated in a transparent manner and allowed all potential pipeline companies and energy development companies to compete for the opportunity to participate in the project and also allowed Alaskans to view these proposals in a transparent manner. No special treatment was shown to any particular companies because neither Governor Palin, her commissioners, nor her DNR staff had industry cronies. The same could be said of ACES. Previously, PPT, the oil tax structure signed in to law by Governor Murkowski, was done in secret and was favorable to Murkowski’s cronies, which led to the indictment and arrest of Murkowski’s chief of staff, some legislators, and industry personnel from the pipeline company, VECO. ACES was not influenced by only certain oil companies, but instead provided incentives for any companies willing to engage in oil exploration. Governor Palin’s appointments helped rid Alaska of the crony capitalism and lack of government transparency.

Much of Governor Palin’s efforts to shrink government and make it more ethical are a direct contrast to the supposed GOP executive frontrunners in the race for the 2012 nominations. Both Governor Romney and Governor Perry grew government obligations. They both increased state debt at a far greater pace than Governor Palin, while Governor Palin actually reduced state liabilities for pensions and the like when Governors Romney and Perry increased state liabilities. Governor Romney’s infamous universal healthcare/individual mandate plan, which he defends on the basis of federalism, is very heavily funded, not by state monies, but by federal Medicaid and Medicare dollars and continues to run way over budget. Governor Perry once issued an executive order (thankfully later overturned by the Texas legislature)that mandated young girls to get a HPV vaccine manufactured by a company that gave substantially to Perry’s campaign. On the other hand, Governor Palin proposed a plan that gave more individual choices, not mandates, in healthcare. Governor Romney has a history of receiving campaign funds from entities that he once did business with and also had a history of engaging in and supporting corporatism through various subsidies. Governor Perry, too, has a history of crony capitalism by awarding business related grants to those who have donated to his gubernatorial campaigns. Governor Palin’s natural gas pipeline and her oil tax structure were aimed at removing cronyism, and her ethics reform bill sought to remove the influence of political favors for campaign funds.

Executives at any level of government could use their power to grow government spending and power and to reward cronies or those who donated to their campaign. Governor Palin is the only one who has a proven record of using her power to make the government smaller and less powerful. Governor Palin used her power to reduce government spending and state reliance on the federal funding. She desired to increase individual choice, not create individual mandates. She used her executive authority to make government more ethical and transparent while removing cronyism rather than perpetuating it. The differences could not be clearer.

Crossposted here and here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Busy Upcoming Oil Exploration Season Proves the Success of ACES

The Anchorage Daily News shares some good news for oil and gas development in Alaska, due in large part to Governor Palin’s oil tax legislation, ACES (emphasis added):
As Southcentral Alaska prepares for an increase in oil and gas exploration and development in the Cook Inlet basin, operators on the North Slope and nearshore Beaufort Sea are preparing for what promises to be one of the busiest exploration seasons since 1969, when 33 exploration wells were drilled after the discovery of the Prudhoe Bay oil field.

If all goes as planned, as many as 28 exploration wells could be drilled between October 2011 and mid-2012. It's a longer-than-normal North Slope exploration season because one company's wells can be drilled from old gravel sites along the Dalton Highway and therefore are not subject to off-road tundra travel restrictions.

Much of the stepped-up activity appears to be partly due to the exploration incentives offered by the state of Alaska, and partly because Alaska's governor is committed to fixing provisions in the state's production tax that could make development of any oil discoveries noncompetitive for investment capital with projects in other oil provinces.
The exploratory incentives are a key part of the oil tax legislation championed by Governor Palin, as the legislation included tax credits for companies to both encourage new development and to reinvest in the existing infrastructure of older development. As Governor Palin noted upon signing ACES into law in December of 2007, “[w]ith the signing of this bill, we can turn the page and look forward to a new era of stability and investment opportunities developing Alaska’s resources, creating new jobs and a strong economy for years to come”.

This is exactly what has happened since the passage of ACES. It has given Alaska a strong economy. During her tenure, Governor Palin had the 2nd best job growth record in the country. Every year of her administration yielded a record high number of oil industry jobs in Alaska. This news of a very busy exploration season indicates that indeed ACES has ushered in a “new era of stability and investment opportunities for developing Alaska’s resources”.

The companies that are involved in drilling these new exploratory wells are mainly independent Alaskan companies and foreign companies. Governor Palin’s ACES oil tax structure replaced Governor Murkowski’s corruption tainted PPT oil tax structure which favored Murkowski’s cronies in the oil industry. Governor Palin’s legislation on the other hand provides opportunity for all companies to be engaged in resource development. This kind of policy is what led to, as of January, a doubling in the number of companies filing taxes returns with Alaska since the passage of ACES, indicating that more companies see Alaska as a great place to invest in oil development. In addition to the incentives for development that ACES provides, it also was negotiated and passed in a transparent manner without undue influence from lobbyists or only certain oil companies.

One of the foreign companies is the Spanish company Repsol, who announced in March that they would be devoting more than three-quarters of a billion dollars for development on the North Slope (emphasis added):
“This deal is a perfect fit in our efforts to balance our exploration portfolio with a lower risk, onshore oil opportunities in a stable environment,” Repsol CEO Antonio Brufau said in a statement.
ACES has provided a stable environment for Repsol to engage in exploratory drilling that includes 5 rigs and up to 15 wells. This speaks well of the state level policies that Governor Palin implemented. Additionally, though, the fact that a Spanish company is seeking to engage in oil development in America may be a result of what Governor Palin warned about at the India Today Conclave speech in April where she discussed the effects of a “green” economy (emphasis added):
So as government locks up land & we lose good jobs in the 'Conventional Resource' arena, you may hear that "green jobs" will be the saviour! But look around the world & try telling that to the thousands of English & Scottish workers who've lost jobs as a result of government investments in "green energy" projects. A recent UK study shows that for every "green job" created, nearly four jobs were lost elsewhere in the economy due to lack of affordable energy! Same story in Spain - investment in "green jobs" brought massive debt, skyrocketing energy costs & 20% unemployment.
Spain has proven oil reserves of about 150 million barrels. While this is nothing compared to the vast resources available in Alaska, it is certainly worth noting. Between 2005 and 2009, Spain’s oil production volume has decreased by nearly eight percent. Has a focus on “green” energy (leading to reduced oil production) also caused Spanish oil companies to seek development opportunities elsewhere because these areas are a “stable environment” as Repsol said of Alaska? Should not Spain’s example serve as an economic warning to America as Governor Palin indicated? Will an aversion to traditional fossil fuels development lead American oil companies to explore more profitable options elsewhere?

It has become increasingly evident that Governor Palin’s ACES legislation has done just what she intended it to do—spur economic growth, create jobs, and provide stability and continued oil development. It has not only provided opportunities for development by the likes of ExxonMobil or Shell, but it has also provided independent companies and foreign companies to invest in exploration. As our current administration seeks to create a “green” economy, the successes of Governor Palin’s administration should cause America to look north to the future in order to truly win the future.

Crossposted here and here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Governor Palin, George Washington, and the Battle for Our Country

On April 18th, Governor Palin gave a rousing speech in Madison Wisconsin in the midst of one of the fiercest state budget battles in recent history. In that speech, Governor Palin noted the importance of this battle and recognized the courage and tenacity of Wisconsin conservatives in supporting their legislature and governor in their efforts to restore fiscal sanity and ensure that the pressures of union bosses did not mean that teachers’ union members would lose their jobs. She noted (emphasis added):
Hello, Madison, Wisconsin! You look good. I feel like I’m at home. This is beautiful. Madison, I am proud to get to be with you today. Madison, these are the frontlines in the battle for the future of our country. This is where the line has been drawn in the sand. And I am proud to stand with you today in solidarity.


Well, I am in Madison today because this is where real courage and real integrity can be found. Courage is your governor and your legislators standing strong in the face of death threats and thug tactics. Courage is you all standing strong with them! You saw the forces aligned against fiscal reform. You saw the obstruction and the destruction. You saw these violent rent-a-mobs trash your capital and vandalize businesses.


And Madison, you defended the 2010 electoral mandate. You are heroes, you are patriots, and when the history of this Tea Party Movement is written, what you accomplished here will not be forgotten.

Your historic stand brought down the curtain on the last election. And the 2012 election begins here.


It starts here! It starts now! What better place than the state that hosts the Super Bowl champs to call out the liberal left and let them know: Mr. President, game on!

Governor Palin’s prescience shone through once again in recognizing the importance of the political battle in Wisconsin as the “frontlines in the battle for the future of our country”. Earlier this week, recall elections were held for six Wisconsin state senate seats that the unions hoped would flip to break up the Republican's legislative majority. Despite the fact that recall supporting groups spent at least $30 million for these elections, the Republicans still maintained their majority. These victories come on the heels of other victories for Wisconsin: the re-election of Justice Prosser, a WI supreme court judge (whom Governor Palin endorsed) and the budgetary victory passed by the WI legislature signed into law by Governor Walker, which Governor Palin spoke of in her speech. These recent political victories may prove to be a precursor to the 2012 elections.

Governor Palin’s speech in a fierce physical and political climate during a heated period of politics is just one example of Governor Palin’s participation in the battle for the future of our country. In the Spring of 2010 during the impassioned debate over Arizona’s immigration law, Governor Palin stood with Governor Jan Brewer in support of her effort to secure Arizona’s southern border. When the Tea Party was accused of essentially being an accomplice to murder after the horrific action of a madman in Tucson, Arizona, Governor Palin stood side-by-side with the Tea Party while others felt they “didn’t want to get in the middle of [it]”.Several days following the Tucson shooting, Governor Palin released a video where she said, in part:
President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

Most recently during the debt ceiling debates, after some felt it necessary to pejoratively refer to the Tea Party as “hobbits”, Governor Palin challenged Congressional freshman to “remember the ‘little people’” who elected them. She has stood for and fought with the Tea Party every step of the way.

In short, Governor Palin has been on the front lines of the battle for the future of our country. She has been the leader of the Tea Party, not because she deemed herself the leader, but simply because she has acted as the leader. Whether it was standing with conservatives in Wisconsin or Arizona, supporting Tea Party candidates in the 2010 elections, giving speeches at Tea Parties around the country, or defending the Tea Party against scurrilous accusations and derogatory rhetoric, Governor Palin has been the one leading the fight and battling in the trenches.

Flash back to another time when people felt they were misrepresented and overtaxed and when they felt their God given freedoms were threatened. Who was fighting with them? George Washington. Our current fight may solely be a battle of ideology, principles, and integrity where victories are counted by elections and legislation, not where victories and losses are counted by cities captured or soldiers dead. However, the comparison still rings true. George Washington fought with the Continental Army. A few years later, following the drafting and ratification of a constitution, George Washington was elected as America’s first president. While it was largely an understood formality that the electors would choose Washington, why was he chosen over some of the others? Why was not Patrick Henry, James Madison, or Thomas Jefferson chosen as the first president of the United States? When it was all said and done, it was George Washington, not these men, who fought for and with the people those electors were representing. As we face the upcoming 2012 election, we have politicians who are analogous to the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Patrick Henry, who are great writers, thinkers or orators, but there’s only one who has fought with and for the American people—Governor Sarah Palin.

Crossposted here and here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Governor Palin--Leading the Fight on Debt and Liabilities

This week has yielded several rather disappointing pieces of news when it comes to America’s long term fiscal health. A disappointing debt ceiling compromise was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President earlier this week. As Governor Palin put it on Hannity earlier this week, “ [w]hat they have just done to this country, Sean, is hand the most liberal president we’ll probably ever see in our lifetime an opportunity to spend even more money that we don’t have. To create more debt thinking that’s going to get us out of debt?” The debt ceiling deal was “supposed “ to quash economic fears and provide stability, but it has done nothing of the sort. Yesterday, the Dow fell 513 points yesterday. Tonight, a report was just released stating that Standard and Poor’s is going to downgrade America’s credit rating. News also came out today that the deficit for this fiscal year has surpassed $1 trillion with two months still to go. With all of this sobering financial news and with an election horizon, would it not behoove the American people to elect an executive who is willing to make tough choices with the budget and address the debt and liabilities that America holds?

Governor Palin was a frugal budgeter as the Governor of Alaska. During her tenure, she cut spending 9.5% while also vetoing nearly half a billion dollars in spending. She did this during strong economic times. It should be noted that in addition to the traditional budget and capital budget that states are responsible for implementing, state governors are also responsible for managing their state debts and liabilities. These are often tied to bonds (both state and municipal) and state worker pensions and the like. Stacy has addressed this before, but Pennsylvanians4Palin has a great post that expands upon this topic by comparing and contrasting the records of Governors Palin, Perry, Pawlenty, Romney, and Huntsman in dealing with state debt and liabilities. Compared to all other candidates and potential candidates, Governor Palin increased the debt at a much slower rate and reduced total liabilities at a much higher rate than any of her fellow governors. Pennsylvanians4Palin shares:
Of the five governorships examined, Alaska under Palin saw the smallest increase in total debt outstanding (12.7% cumulatively, 4.2% per year). Texas under Perry performed worst, with total debt increasing 20.5% annually, almost tripling during his term (a cumulative increase of 184.2%).

On a per capita basis, only Utah under Huntsman performed slightly better than Alaska under Palin. Utah experienced a cumulative increase of 6.8%, versus 7.4% for Alaska (1.4% per year for Utah, versus 2.5% per year for Alaska). Again, Texas under Perry ranks last, with an astonishing cumulative increase in debt per capita of 140.4% (15.6% on an annual basis).
Cumulative Change in Debt Outstanding During Governorship

Average Annual Change in Debt Outstanding During Governorship

Total Liabilities

Alaska under Palin was the only state to see a reduction in total liabilities (34.6% overall, 11.5% per year), due in large part to the Governor’s insistence that the State’s surplus be used to pay down unfunded pension obligations and forward-fund education. All other states experienced cumulative increases in total liabilities, ranging from 19.5% for Massachusetts under Romney to 60.6% for Texas under Perry. On an annualized basis, other states showed increases ranging from 4.9% for Massachusetts under Romney to 8.2% for Utah under Huntsman.

Under Palin, Alaska’s total liabilities per capita fell 37.7% (12.6% per year). All other states experienced cumulative increases, ranging between 18.7% (Massachusetts) and 34.3% (Minnesota), and annual increases, averaging between 4.0% (Texas) and 4.9% (Minnesota and Utah).


During the fiscal years for which Sarah Palin exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Alaska (FY08 through FY10)

• Debt outstanding increased 12.7%, or 4.2% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 7.4%, or 2.5% per year

• Total liabilities decreased 34.6%, or 11.5% per year

• Total liabilities per capita decreased 37.7%, or 12.6% per year

During the fiscal years for which Jon Huntsman exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Utah (FY06 through FY10)

• Debt outstanding increased 21.0%, or 4.2% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 6.8%, or 1.4% per year

• Total liabilities increased 41.1%, or 8.2% per year

• Total liabilities per capita increased 24.5%, or 4.9% per year

During the fiscal years for which Tim Pawlenty exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Minnesota (FY04 through FY10)

• Debt outstanding increased 66.0%, or 9.4% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 58.5%, or 8.4% per year

• Total liabilities increased 40.7%, or 5.8% per year

• Total liabilities per capita increased 34.3%, or 4.9% per year

During the fiscal years for which Mitt Romney exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Massachusetts (FY04 through FY07)

• Debt outstanding increased 44.3%, or 11.1% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 43.3%, or 10.8% per year

• Total liabilities increased 19.5%, or 4.9% per year

• Total liabilities per capita increased 18.7%, or 4.7% per year

During the fiscal years for which Rick Perry exercised budgetary authority as Governor of Texas (FY02 through FY10)

• Debt outstanding increased 184.2%, or 20.5% per year

• Per capita debt outstanding increased 140.4%, or 15.6% per year

• Total liabilities increased 60.6%, or 6.7% per year

• Total liabilities per capita increased 35.8%, or 4.0% per year

Please read the whole post (which includes more tables and graphs) from Pennsylvanians4Palin here.

As Pennsylvanians4Palin mentioned in their post, Governor Palin reduced Alaska’s liabilities in part by addressing their pension system. Governor Palin wrote in a Facebook post in December of 2010:
My home state made the switch from defined benefits to a defined contribution system, and as governor, I introduced a number of measures to build on that successful transition, while also addressing the issue of the remaining funding shortfall by prioritizing budgets to wrap our financial arms around this too-long ignored debt problem. When my state ran a surplus because we incentivized businesses, I didn’t spend it on fun and glamorous pet projects for lawmakers – though that would have made me quite popular with the earmark crowd. In fact, I vetoed more excessive spending than any governor in our state’s history, and I used the state’s surplus to bring our financial house in order by paying down our unfunded pension plans that some other governors wanted to ignore. This fiscal prudence didn’t make me popular with the state legislature. In addition to vetoing hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending, I put billions of dollars into savings accounts for future rainy days, much like most American families do in responsibly planning for the future. I also enacted a hiring freeze and brought the education budget under control through a commitment to forward-funding. I returned much of the surplus back to the people (it was their money to start with!) through tax relief and energy rebates. I had proven as the mayor of the fastest growing city in the state that tax cuts incentivize business growth, and though the state legislature overrode some of my veto cuts and thwarted an additional tax relief request of mine, the public was supportive of efforts to rein in its government.

It’s one thing to veto spending and reduce the size of government when your state is broke. I did it when my state was flush with revenue from a surplus – though I had to fight politicians who wanted to spend like there was no tomorrow. It’s not easy to tell people no and make them act fiscally responsible and cut spending when the money is rolling in and your state is only 50 years shy of being a territory and everyone is yelling at you to spend while the money is there to build. My point is, if I could fight this fight in Alaska at a time of surplus, then other governors can and should be able to do the same at a time when their states are facing bankruptcy and postponing this fight is no longer an option.

Governor Palin had courage enough to take on pension reform and reduce spending when times were good. Now, with the economy circling the drain, America is in need of a leader who is willing to do the same…again. That is why she has spoken of the need to reform entitlements. That is why she called out President Obama for his hypocrisy and inability to prioritize spending during the debt ceiling debate. That is why she criticized Governor Romney for weighing in on the debt ceiling only after a deal had been reached. Now is not the time for hypocrisy, incompetent leadership, or retrospective armchair governing. Now is the time for a President who already has “womaned up” and led on a state level and is ready to do the same on a federal level.

Cross posted here and here.