Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sarah Palin and Washington "insiders"

In an article titled "The Insiders," published October 27, 2008 in The New Yorker, Jane Mayer shreds Palin's contention she is an "outsider," unconnected to the "elite" in Washington, D.C.

You may recall Palin's smartass comment at the Republican Convention:

"Here's a little news flash. I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I've learned quickly these past few days that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone..."

Somewhat later, she told FOX News, "I'm certainly a Washington outsider, and I'm proud of that, because I think that is what we need."

But this is the best one. When interviewed by Charles Gibson of ABC, she was questioned as to her foreign policy experience. She said, "We've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual, and somebody's big fat resume, maybe, that shows decades and decades in the Washington establishment . . . Americans are getting sick and tired of that self-dealing, and kind of that closed-door, good-ol'-boy network that has been the Washington elite."

Ask yourself - which well-known person, recently on the campaign trail, fits quite neatly into Palin's characterization? Which politician who gives speeches to what he calls his "friends" has a "big fat resume" showing "decades and decades in the Washington establishment"?

Why the hell didn't someone pick up on this? Here's the vice presidential candidate bashing the presidential candidate! And more importantly, why didn't the McCain campaign put her on a snowmobile and send her back to Wasilla?

But there's more to this story. Palin is well-connected to the Washington establishment, that elite group she disparages at every turn.

When she wanted media attention paid to her efforts to promote a natural-gas pipeline, "the state hired a public-relations firm with strong East Coast connections. Marcia Brier, head of MCB Communications, in Needham, Massachusetts, was the publicist on the project. The contract was for $37,000.

In Wasilla, Palin as mayor hired a Washington-area lobbyist, Steven Silver, to represent the town's interests in Washington. (Silver, Ted Stevens' chief of staff, "was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts and is now standing trial). The Washington Post reported that Silver helped Palin obtain $27 million in federal earmarks for Wasilla, which at the time had 6700 residents.

Ms. Mayer provides a number of other scintillating details regarding Ms. Palin's "insider" status, essentially proving that was far from the case. You'll enjoy reading about her fawning over "well-connected Washington conservative thinkers" who came to Alaska. You'll also find new insight as to how and why this relatively unknown pol from that northern outpost ended up on the McCain ticket.

Read it all right here!

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