Mrs Palin is widely attacked on by those on the left. We’ve heard over and over how Mr Obama’s experience is far more applicable to serving in their respective offices. As well, various criticisms of interviews and tidbits from her past which cast here in a unfriendly light have dominated the press. At the Hugh Hewitt blog, I’d like to highlight two posts from last week which I think might elicit comment. I’ve asked in the past, in regards to her overwhelming negative portrayal in the press how she comes to be our most popular governor (when the Senate from which the other candidates derive their past has a collective approval rate in the low teens).

Bill Dyer remarks here:

If you only know three things that Sarah Palin has accomplished as Governor of Alaska, it should be these three:

  1. Gov. Palin is a proven fiscal conservative who used her line-item veto to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in spending from the state budget. In considering this accomplishment, keep in mind that the Alaska Legislature is controlled by the GOP, meaning that the funding she cut had already been approved by legislators of her own party. Nevertheless, she made her vetoes stick. Consider, too, that because of the current high price of crude oil, Alaska is enjoying record budget surpluses. It’s harder to practice restraint in times of plenty. And look at her entire record over time (more than as revealed by her position on a single bridge): Although Alaska has traditionally been more dependent than other states on federal funding (since the federal government owns such a large portion of the state’s property and resources), even the often-critical Anchorage Daily News admits that Gov. Palin has “increasingly distanced herself from earmarking” since 2000, and that her having done so over the past year has been “the leading source of tension between Palin and the state’s three-member congressional delegation.” Actually exercising fiscal discipline in a time of plenty, at both state and federal levels and against the will of the members of her own party, is a better predictor for how she would actually govern on a national level than ten thousand campaign promises.
  2. Gov. Palin kept her campaign promise to revamp the state’s pre-existing severance tax on oil & gas production, replacing a structure negotiated behind closed doors by ethically challenged predecessors and the big energy companies with one negotiated in full public view — and then rebated part of the resulting surplus directly to tax-payers. Severance taxes are a kind of property tax charged on a one-time basis, at the time of production, on subsurface assets (like oil, gas & minerals) which can’t be quantified and taxed through regular property taxes. There was widespread resentment and distrust over the version negotiated by Gov. Palin’s predecessor with the three big energy companies who’ve traditionally ruled the roost in Alaska (ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and BP). The new version negotiated and passed with Gov. Palin’s support was thoroughly disinfected by the sunshine of public scrutiny. Although it’s not a “windfall profits tax” — indeed, the base rate only went from 22.5% to 25% — it did permit the Alaskan people to share in a larger portion of the current high prices for oil by raising the additional, progressive portion of the tax from 0.25% to 0.40% on revenues between $32.50 and $90/bbl. Above that, however, the new law actually cut taxes by dropping the rate on revenues above $90/bbl to 0.1%. With the resulting budget surplus, after contributing to the state’s fund for that future day when its oil & gas wealth is exhausted, she pressed for and got legislation to rebate a healthy chunk directly to tax-payers on a per capita basis, trusting them to spend the proceeds from this sale of the state’s commonly-owned resources rather than trusting government to spend it for them.
  3. Gov. Palin broke a multi-year stalemate over the financing and construction of a $40 billion cross-state gas pipeline that will deliver cleaner, cheaper natural gas to Alaska’s own population centers (Alaskans themselves pay some of the nation’s highest energy prices), while also delivering gas to the energy-hungry Lower 48. To do this, she had to break the monopoly power of the big energy companies by opening the project to competitive international bidding. Not only has a development contract with a Canadian company now been signed on better terms than had previously been discussed, but the former monopolists — finally spurred by competition — are cranking up their own plan that would not require any taxpayer investment. How precisely this will shake out remains to be seen, but Gov. Palin’s vigorous action — calling special sessions of the state legislature and injecting herself directly and vigorously into the process — has ended the deadlock in ways that seem certain to benefit consumers. By this accomplishment, Gov. Palin has done more to advance the cause of American energy independence than any other politician — of any party, and at any level of state or federal government — in this century. But the national media have generally ignored this accomplishment.

It’s no accident that Gov. Palin remains immensely popular in her home state, notwithstanding the widespread derision of the national elites. Her actual accomplishments in office are vastly disproportionate to her time spent in office, but her constituents value the results she’s gotten.

A second piece quoted is

But [Palin’s dad] Chuck has seen his daughter handle herself in other perilous situations and come out all right. A few years ago, he watched her pilot husband Todd Palin’s commercial fishing boat in a storm. Todd was working at his oil-field job on the North Slope, and Palin and her father had been fishing on Bristol Bay. “It was the toughest work I’ve ever done, and it wasn’t only hard, it was dangerous,” Chuck says. At the end of the run, they had to get the boat on a trailer amid crashing surf. As cold, metallic-sheened waves tossed the trawler around, Chuck quailed.

“I’m not doing that,” he said.

“Get out of the way,” Palin said. “I’ll do it.”

She did.

My question is … did you know this? How much deeper are such stories than negative stories you’ve heard? If not, do you imagine that your view of Mrs Palin is slanted by your political bias? As much as Mr Obama and the left play the race card, is not judging a person with such a bias exactly what those racial theorists on the left decry as a fundamental part of the problem, which is also the sort of thing they are guilty of here?

A second question. It a piece of dogma on the left that Mrs Palin is intellectually incurious, stemming among other things from her lack of knowledge of current foreign affairs and from her inability to name “which” newspapers she reads. That is an interesting metric for intellectual curiosity. A great many mathematicians and leading scientists would could also be termed “intellectually incurious” based on that criteria. In fact, until about 4-5 years ago, the newspapers I did read I read mostly for the comics and sports pages. I was not at all curious or current on foreign affairs for the majority of my life. Does that make me “intellectually incurious”? That canard is unsubstantiated and in fact is pretty much an insult which is one cannot defend easily … especially if one has a past which is somewhat blue collar.

Filed under: Mark O.Politics

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