FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Sarah Palin’s Clean Slate

On rare occasions our nation has been lucky when new political leaders were selected from obscurity by circumstance. They weren’t indebted to the party bosses or special interests, but they rendered unusual and historic service in times of need. Washington, Lincoln, the first Roosevelt and Truman come to mind.

Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, has been plucked from obscurity and now shares the stage with three other national leaders vying to head the next government of the United States. Sarah is very much of an Alaskan character. Politicos and pundits will have difficulty handling her as she is being tested in the crucible of media scrutiny over the next nine weeks. My guess is, Americans will relate to her and love her story.

In my mind, that Sarah comes to the national scene as a novice with a clean slate is her main asset. Having a long history of political experience also means a long history of exposure to the political corruption endemic to the process of human governance, with the phony public and private compromises that accompany political experience.

Foreign policy experience? Thank god she has none beyond that of a normal citizen subject to the militarization of our culture over the past 50 years, particularly so in Alaska with its strong military presence. The three other would-be leaders have tons of experience among them. But whether liberal or conservative all three are committed to a policy of American imperialism with the self-appointed role of world policeman. This role of trying to influence the world with our military might sustains bloated defense budgets that profit the few and impoverish the social and economic needs of the many.

The United States spends more on defense than all the rest of the world combined. By comparison, Russia and China—our supposed competitors on the world scene—each spend less that 10% of our budget, preferring to strengthen their economic sectors. Are we not as concerned about the wellbeing of our citizens as Russia’s and China’s leaders are? Do they—or do we—have our budget priorities wrong?

Sarah is no doubt going to be briefed by the “best and the brightest” of the neocon crowd that President Washington warned us about with their foreign entanglements, and the military and corporate leaders that President Eisenhower predicted would destroy our democracy. Will they be able to write her a new slate that is a replica of John McCain’s? Odds are they will. But just maybe she won’t be so easily co-opted by corporate America––she hasn’t thus far. Wow! Isn’t that an interesting possibility?

Close observation of Sarah’s meteoric rise points to that very distant possibility I campaigned door to door in Wasilla where Sarah and her husband Todd grew up. (This was before the community prospered as a result of my securing the Alaska Pipeline.) Wasilla is one of the most conservative communities in Alaska. Little wonder that children reared close to family in that environment become conservative with strong family values, a deep sense of fair play and strong patriotism tinged with jingoism. They are personally independent and self reliant, yet fearful of the unknown and susceptible to narrow biblical religious beliefs.

Sarah is instinctively ambitious and rose above her small-town environment because she has a bright inquiring mind and isn’t afraid to question authority in her quest for answers and solutions. She has confronted the powers-that-be in both the Republican and Democratic parties in campaigns and in the legislature. She has been initially inept in handling legislators, a product of inexperience. But she has made some corrections relying heavily on her persuasive charm.

Governor Palin has an advantage that her three other national contestants can’t begin to match. I’m not talking about the fact that she has technically more executive experience than all three put together, although Obama has exhibited uncommon competence in managing the slickest and most efficient campaign since Mark Hannah got William McKinley elected president. However, like Hannah, who ran afoul of his corporate interests by selecting Teddy Roosevelt for vice president, Obama may have doomed his prospects by not selecting Hillary as his running mate.

Sarah Palin has a sense of personal outrage over political corruption that plays extremely well with the public, something the others have lost long ago. She has demonstrated the personal courage to publicly confront and overcome Republican Party corruption and has successfully taken on the oil industry over taxation and oil leasing issues. She has publicly stood up to Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Don Young on the “Bridge to Nowhere” and the policy of federal earmarks arguing for a public transparency process.

Sarah has literally come to the national scene without owing anything to any party or corporate interest––not even McCain––he needs her more than she needs him. Imagine a person a heart beat away not owned by the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, corporate America or AIPAC. WOW! Can this last? Probably not. But she does have an uncanny sense of political direction and the ability to capitalize on change like putting the public interest above Republican Party interests.

I strongly disagree with her views on abortion, creationism, stem cell research and a host of extreme conservative views that are a product of her environment. We must bear in mind she is running for vice president––a heart beat away––not president. If McCain is as fit as his doctors report, Sarah will have ample time to be the perfect understudy. She will have the opportunity to travel, grow and mature intellectually.

Sarah has issues. What politician doesn’t? Hers are a product of family loyalty and insufficient knowledge of politics and governance. The Troopergate issue will break in her favor politically. Sarah: the next time you get frustrated with personnel laws and union problems, call and commiserate with Michelle Lee, who heads up the Washington, DC dysfunctional public school system. She has fired more than 100 teachers and school principles and closed more than 20 schools. You will find her counsel helpful.

In the interest of full disclosure: I have no intention of voting for McCain. He is too steeped in the use of military power to solve problems and American imperialism—and the wars it creates. At times McCain has been a maverick, but, unfortunately, never that consistently. There are too many temptations in Washington, even for a man born on third base.

McCain did himself proud by flickering back to his gut maverick instincts in throwing a “hail Mary pass” to Sarah Palin. Can she and will she catch it? Wining the election is not the touchdown, it’s her conduct in office a heart beat away. It’s how quickly she learns and grows; what of Wasilla she keeps and what she must discard.

President Kennedy said that the White House is a poor place to make new friends. That’s why his father Joe Kennedy insisted Jack keep Bobby close to him. This would apply to the vice president office. Sarah: keep up the practice of having Todd hang out with you in your official capacities. Insist that he be given a clearance equal to yours, so that you are not excluded from the full depth of his counsel. If push comes to shove, he is the only one you can trust. He must study, read and grow in your office as quickly as you. What you face is more than one person can handle. The two of you must be a political and intellectual team.

One last piece of advice. Governor: you are now in the world of barracudas. It’s no different than Wassila or Juneau; they just pay more for food, clothing and their houses. But they have the same capacity for fear, greed and love. Sarah: if you refuse to sell out––you don’t need to––you have a glorious future ahead of you with your gift of courage, a virtue that permits you to implement all other virtues. Whether you can or will depends on your capacity to constantly re-exam your ideologies and grow politically and intellectually

Good luck…

Mike Gravel served in the senate from Alaska and ran for president in the Democratic Party primaries.

 

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

 

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
George Wuerthner
The Highest Use of Public Forests: Carbon Storage
Ralph Nader
It is Time to Rediscover Print Newspapers
Nick Licata
How SDS Imploded: an Inside Account
Rachel Smolker – Anne Peterman
The GE American Chestnut: Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?
Sam Pizzigati
Can Society Survive Without Empathy?
Manuel E. Yepe
China and Russia in Strategic Alliance
Patrick Walker
Green New Deal “Climate Kids” Should Hijack the Impeachment Conversation
Colin Todhunter
Encouraging Illegal Planting of Bt Brinjal in India
Robert Koehler
The Armed Bureaucracy
David Swanson
Anyone Who’d Rather Not be Shot Should Read this Book
Jonathan Power
To St. Petersburg With Love
Marc Levy
How to Tell a Joke in Combat
Thomas Knapp
Pork is Not the Problem
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming and Solar Minimum: a Response to Renee Parsons
Jill Richardson
Straight People Don’t Need a Parade
B. R. Gowani
The Indian Subcontinent’s Third Partition
Adolf Alzuphar
Diary: The Black Body in LA
Jonah Raskin
‘69 and All That Weird Shit
Michael Doliner
My Surprise Party
Stephen Cooper
The Fullness of Half Pint
Charles R. Larson
Review: Chris Arnade’s “Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America”
David Yearsley
Sword and Sheath Songs
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail