Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 19, 2008

'INCURIOUS ABOUT THE MECHANISM OF GOVERNMENT'.... I find profile stories about Sarah Palin's governing style fascinating, in large part because of how strikingly similar she sounds to George W. Bush.

Today, for example, the Washington Post had a good item about Palin's strengths and weaknesses as a governor -- she's apparently very good at sensing the public's mood, and very bad at actually rolling up her sleeves and working. One anecdote, about the work on Alaska's natural gas pipeline project, was consistent with other recent reports.

...Palin struck some lawmakers as curiously detached from the process. In early March 2007, she invited the state Senate's leaders to her office for a preview of the pipeline legislation. To the astonishment of the five senators and their aides, she barely said a word for the hour. As staff members explained her signature plan, the governor was preoccupied with her two BlackBerries.

"It was so bizarre. We all talked about it afterwards," said a legislative source, one of three participants in the meeting who recounted the governor's silence. "We all said, 'What was that? Was she even paying attention?' "

[Stephen Haycox, a historian at the University of Alaska at Anchorage] summed up a common criticism of Palin: "She seems as if she is incurious about the mechanism of government."

We've been getting a lot of reports lately about how Palin gets bored and detached when it's time to get policy work done. Larry Persily, who worked for Palin's Washington office, noted that some of the governor's problems resulted from the fact that she "underestimated exponentially how much more complex state government is than the city of Wasilla." Persily said Palin is smart but has "never" been "deeply engaged."

Republican state Rep. Mike Hawker added, "[Palin's] administration had the appearance of paying absolutely no attention to any of the rest of the unglamorous side of government."

The Anchorage Daily News' Gregg Erickson had a similar assessment: "[Palin] tends to oversimplify complex issues.... It is clear that she has not paid much attention to the nitty-gritty unglamorous work of government.... She seems to be of the view that politics should be all rather simple."

She's not engaged on federal issues and not engaged on state issues. Great.

Steve Benen 12:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (55)

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Comments

Palin sounds like one of those many of us have had the "pleasure" of working for who takes credit for the work of others while doing nothing herself. No thanks.

Posted by: Hannah on September 19, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, well you better not mess with her sister. She'll definitely engage your ass.

Posted by: Dale on September 19, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

'The Palin Principle?'

Posted by: gussie on September 19, 2008 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

If she's so incurious about the mechanism of government, then how do you explain her interest in learning about how to ban books?

Posted by: Old School on September 19, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

By her own admission, Palin got a D in her college macro-economics class--further illustrating that when it comes to complex ideas, her attention-span isn't much better than a toddler's.

Posted by: CJ on September 19, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Future! Change! 9/11! Celebrity! BLACK!

Posted by: nuttylittlenutnut on September 19, 2008 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, I've been thinking about the similarities of the two as well. Pretty troubling.

Posted by: DanM on September 19, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: Orwell on September 19, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Sarah: "Hard work is boring. Shiny things. Oooh pretty."

Say, didn't some ancient Greek playwright write about a loud mouthed ignorant jackass of a merchant who lusted for the the king's perks and power till he had to sit in his chair with some kind of blade on a thin string held over his head? The Knife of Darrel? The Cutlass of Devon? Just can't remember...

Posted by: Former Dan on September 19, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Its likely why she didnt know what the VP does and needed someone to tell her.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9poCWnGIb8

Detached.

Posted by: Jet on September 19, 2008 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

It's almost creepy how similar she is to Bush.

Does the GOP have some kind of cloning lab? Where do these freaks come from?

Posted by: BombIranForChrist on September 19, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

"She's not engaged on federal issues and not engaged on state issues. Great."

Sounds like a perfect Republicun candidate.

Posted by: CT on September 19, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Palin is melting faster than a snowman in the desert.

Mccain's little gamble didn't pay off the way he thought it would. It bought him a little time, a little fanfare, now it's achingly apparent she is grossly unprepared to be VP, let alone governor.

She's just like Bush; she just wants to rule and she doesn't give a shit about the actual mechanics of government and law and policy.

But she believes in Jesus and is pro-life and likes to shoot guns, so the morons on the right will hold that above anything else.

Posted by: AlRob on September 19, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oh sure, complain about my attention to deeetayl. But leeedership isn't about deeetayl.

Leeedership is about leeeding. Like my Assistant Depity Undersecretaireee of Campayneeeng, Jaahn McCaayyn, is ahlwayz sayeeeng.

Oh yah, I'll hire sum reeeel gud fohks, gud Amerkan fohks, gud Krischun fohk, to haendle the deeetaylz.

Like my huzben Taaad. The "Furst Dooood."

Oh sure.

Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies on September 19, 2008 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone remember Glenn Turner and his "Dare to be great" program ?
In many respects the leadership skills of the Palins, Bushs etc seems to closely resemble his rah-rah style.
Of course he was selling a pyramid scheme and went to prison for fraud. Hmmm ... looks like the Republican ticket(current and hopeful) could say two down, one to go.

Posted by: Patrick DeBurgh on September 19, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

That's not her only similarity with Bush. As Stewart showed a few days ago, the meme about not blinking (aka not thinking) is a staple of Bush's rhetoric. This just highlights the terrific bad faith about the whole "maverick" stance. The GOP faithful pretend to be in raptures about McCain's record of defying the present administration, but, a millimeter below the surface, they're all true believers in Bush's greatness, and they are really hoping for a third term. We now know that McCain's foreign policy advisers are all extreme neocons, while Palin is being groomed for office by the AEI. No doubt, while she is playing with her BlackBerries, they will be running the White House.

Posted by: davidp on September 19, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

At the VP level... it doesn't really matter. She won't be another Cheney at least.

The thing I am worried, obviously is if McCain dies or (more likely) steps down because of "health reasons". Who would be Palin's VP? It's almost guaranteed to be another Cheney.

Posted by: Joshua on September 19, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

sarah palin the anti-cheney.

maybe one day the republicans will get it right.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 19, 2008 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Let's get one for the Gipper.

Posted by: couser on September 19, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Orwell: "Hmmm - the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Can we trust him?"

Reread it, nimrod. That isn't what he said.


Posted by: Bridger on September 19, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

She sure looks interested in eye glasses and fancy smancy skirts and those gaudy oversized flag pins. You all know the old saying: Big flag pins, small...

Posted by: Stevio on September 19, 2008 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

From the WaPo piece: "Yet Palin has been less ideologically pure than the public image she has cultivated. An avowed fiscal conservative, she has increased state spending by about one-fifth since taking office. An ardent opponent of abortion, she did not fight for measures requiring parental consent and banning the procedure opponents call "partial birth" abortion -- bills the legislature ultimately defeated. A proponent of public safety, she has drawn criticism for devoting too little money to the state police and public safety projects."

This stuff is why I think it's a mistake to characterize her as an immovable Christianist or a pure conservative. She is apparently very serious about her religious beliefs and her place in the GOP, but she worships first and foremost at the Church of Sarah. When you look at her record, you find that the only cohesive political philosophy there is what's good for Sarah at any particular moment in time.

She is expert at grabbing the main chance, and her going up against most of the entrenched Alaskan GOP to secure herself an opening in state politics, then wallowing in the same secrecy and corruption for which she nailed them, is only the most obvious example of this. In this sense, she's very like Bush and his administration; the single common thread throughout Bush's agenda is not conservative principles, but the further accumulation of wealth, resourcs and power for his circle.

Posted by: shortstop on September 19, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Her son is going to Iraq, she didn't need to blink before accepting the VP nomination, and yet she isn't interested in the details. Perhaps McCain the maverick and McCain the candidate can have a debate over whether she loves her family or her country more.

Posted by: Danp on September 19, 2008 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Aha! McCain picked her because she bought TWO BLACKBERRIES!

Posted by: jibeaux on September 19, 2008 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

From The Daily Press in Hampton Roads, VA:
(The Shad Plank opinion column by Hugh Lessig & Kimball Payne, 9/7/08)

Palin's steelworkers mention hits close to home

In her stirring acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin dropped a throwaway line that her snowmobiling husband is also a union steelworker.

Palin, John McCain's vice presidential nominee, didn't suggest that she has the union's backing — clearly the steelworkers are going en masse to the Democratic ticket. But it was interesting to bump into a couple of Newport News shipbuilders last week who made it clear — in unprintable terms — that they want Mr. Palin to keep his job in Alaska and not get anywhere near Washington, D.C.

After all, when the Local 8888 gets together down here on the tip of the Peninsula, it's usually a Democrat convention. Last time around, former Gov. Mark R. Warner was there along with both Democrats vying for the governor's office in 2009 — Del. Brian Moran, D-Alexandria, and Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath. The only guy missing was presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The United Steelworkers Union is also taking issue with Palin mentioning steelworkers during her speeches.

Money line:

"Ms. Palin needs to stop trotting out her husband as an exhibit until she explains her positions on workers' issues."

Northrop Grumman's Newport News shipyard got another weird mention last week when there was extreme confusion about a building used in the backdrop of Republican John McCain's acceptance speech. Even the folks over at Fox News weren't sure what it was.

According to one local reporter, former George W. Bush right-hand man and current Fox analyst Karl Rove said the building might be Collis Huntington's mansion. Huntington was the railroad baron and the founder of the local shipyard.

It was unclear late last week exactly why the picture went up — but it eventually disappeared and McCain was instead standing in front of a blue screen. Bloggers said the mystery building looked a lot like Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, Calif. Speculation is that the McCain team meant to show the military hospital, but got the wrong image.

Whoops.

— Kimball Payne

http://www.dailypress.com/news/columnists/dp-local_shadplank_0907sep07,0,1841045.column

Posted by: on September 19, 2008 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

I need somebody to answer, for me, Palin

Pretty much says it all.

Posted by: Jet on September 19, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Palin is melting faster than a snowman in the desert.

Snowman? Sexist! Making fun of women and...mocking Alaskan snow and...and...disrespectful! Where's the deference?

Posted by: shortstop on September 19, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter everyone: Palin's a typical Republican.

Incompetent on day one!

Posted by: Gregory on September 19, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter me: Palin: More of the same!

Posted by: Gregory on September 19, 2008 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Two Blackberries?
Why?
Seriously. Someone explain that one to me.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on September 19, 2008 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

No, she'd definitely be another Cheney, only with no knowledge and no brains.
As Alaska Republican State Senator Lyda Green said, "She's not prepared to be governor; how could she be prepared to be vice-president or president?"

Posted by: karen on September 19, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

She's not just like GWB, she's like too many Americans with simple minds and fascist tendencies.

It's not just incuriousness that affects Palin, Bush and too many other Americans -- its a refusal to acknowledge that there is more to know than what their gut tells them, because to do could undermine their ability to be decisive and self-assured.

Its also the basis of the rift between liberal and conservatives, with their disdain for science, the subtleties of the real world, experts and other forms of intellectual 'elitism'.

Posted by: sam76 on September 19, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Incurious about the nitty-gritty unglamorous work of government"

Of course she is. She signed up to wear a sach and tiara and parade around smiling and waving. And let's not forget using the giant scissors for grand openings.

Posted by: amy on September 19, 2008 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, we can expose Palin as incurious, under-informed, over-confident as much as we want, but we also need to face the central truth of her selection by McCain and the enthusiastic conservative response:

These people don't give a fuck who runs the country, or how, as long as it isn't Democrats, doing anything productive.

Posted by: Chris on September 19, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

anyone notice the blackberry ad at the top of the page?

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 19, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

(that should've been "incurious, under-informed, *and* over-confident")

Posted by: Chris on September 19, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Today's Salon had a good article about how Mayor Palin helped turn Wasilla into a big box and tattoo parlor haven while also destroying one of its lakes. A lake she has a beach front home on. Republicans will soil themselves for a buck, which I believe was the movie The Magic Christian's theme.

Posted by: Brojo on September 19, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's kind of ironic that had any other candidate selected her (i.e one that wasn't so old) they'd probably win going away.

As it stands I suspect ALOT of people are giving her serious attention (read: hold major reservations about her) precisely because McCain is so old. And makes near constant mental mistakes. And has a history of skin cancer.

And yet, they only reason he selected her was precisely because he's so old and out of touch and needed to add excitement to his ticket.

I swear there's an Oliver Stone-style biopick just begging to be made about all of this.


(English grads: Am I right? Is this the *actual* definition of Irony?)

Posted by: neilt on September 19, 2008 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Typical conservative procedure...government sucks, government bad, now elect me so I can prove it.

P.S. Orwell, come visit us in reality sometime.

Posted by: ckelly on September 19, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I've said it before ... we have another mascot.
1st the cheerleader and now a beauty queen.
The right has managed to come out ahead in this respect ... they know in the age of TV ... image and looks are everything and they are milking it for everything they can.

Posted by: Tang on September 19, 2008 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

"[Palin] tends to oversimplify complex issues....

Describes virtually every Republican that I run into that is not politically engaged.

Posted by: Simp on September 19, 2008 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

She's not engaged on federal issues and not engaged on state issues. Great.

Makes her a perfect republican!

Posted by: Blue Girl on September 19, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

"... the governor's problems resulted from the fact that she "underestimated exponentially how much more complex state government is than the city of Wasilla."

it's not surprising that she "underestimated ... how much more complex state government is" -- wasilla hired an adminstrator to do the day-to-day mayoral work for ms. palin.

she apparently doesn't understand that campaigning and photo ops is not the entirety of what elected officials do.

Posted by: karen marie on September 19, 2008 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

I may get jumped on all over for this, BUT - even though I am a middle-aged female and a feminist, I think Sarah Palin looks just like a naughty librarian in a porn film whose going to rip off the glasses, let down the hair, and rip off her clothes. And I think that's part of the attraction out there int he mainstream.

Posted by: ghillie on September 19, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Two BlackBerries? Easy... one for each Yahoo account.

Posted by: Hoyt Pollard on September 19, 2008 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Bush to Palin: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.

Posted by: Stefan on September 19, 2008 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

You mean to tell me that you can't solve all the nations problems with a little shakin' and a-fixin' from a hockey mom?

Posted by: jonp72 on September 19, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Two Blackberries?
Why?
Seriously. Someone explain that one to me."

I know why! One Blackberry for the "incoming" messages and the other one for the "outgoing" ones.LOL!

Posted by: Lukie on September 19, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

When face to face with a cat or squirrel, my little herding dog does not blink. She is hard-wired to chase those critters mercilessly.

Can she be VP?

Posted by: on September 19, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Why should a puppet pay attention to details?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 19, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

I may get jumped on all over for this, BUT - even though I am a middle-aged female and a feminist, I think Sarah Palin looks just like a naughty librarian in a porn film whose going to rip off the glasses, let down the hair, and rip off her clothes.

You may get jumped on, but not by me. She appears to be carefully cultivating the look with such fashion tricks as combining Very Serious attitude glasses and fuck-me pumps on the campaign trail.

Yesterday I had a brief but entertaining conversation with a friend on the topic: "Sarah Palin: Juxtaposition of All Republican Sexual Dysfunctions." Not that librarian fantasies are sick or wrong on their own--I'm a live-and-let-live kind of girl who doesn't make judgments about consenting adults' power exchanges behind closed doors--but there is something about this woman that packages all the shame and embarrassment about sex, simultaneous constant objectification of women and contempt for women's sexuality, and abject fear of their own mothers for which so many of our male Republican friends are justly famed.

Posted by: shortstop on September 19, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

--I'm a live-and-let-live kind of girl who doesn't make judgments about consenting adults' power exchanges behind closed doors--

So, shortstop, doin' anything this weekend?

Posted by: Stefan on September 19, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

where are the trolls? have they all gone to ground? and yes, palin is the gift that keeps on giving to dems. but she probably worth five points to mccain. the fundy/wiseuse/gun nut base is that important, and she's their gal.

Posted by: trrwv on September 19, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

"...she worships first and foremost at the Church of Sarah...", shortstop @ 1:14 PM.
I could have sworn (testified?) that there was some Biblical ruling against idols...

Posted by: on September 19, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Jeffrey Davis FTW.

Posted by: bbbar on September 19, 2008 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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