Category Archives: Alaska

Republicans: Who Are The Real RINO’s? by Gregory Hilton

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) do not want to end all funding for Planned Parenthood (PP). They wrote: “The program has successfully reduced the number of unplanned pregnancies, therefore helping to reduce health care costs.” However, they both voted for the GOP budget (HR 1) which cuts off PP. HR 1 contained an amendment of Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) which eliminated the Title X family planning program, which provides contraceptives to low income women. Sens. Jim DeMint (SC) and Rand Paul (KY) both voted against the GOP budget. Continue reading

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The Backlash: Sarah Palin Angers Her Core Supporters by Stacy Slaybaugh Arena


Editorial Note by Gregory Hilton: I seriously doubt former Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) will be a presidential candidate in 2012. She resigned from office, has high negative ratings, and only 24% of Americans say they are comfortable with her. Nevertheless, she has proven to be a major if not decisive factor in several GOP primaries this year.
The article below is by one of my favorite political strategists, Stacy Arena, who was co-founder of the Facebook group “I Support Sarah Palin.” Stacy’s enthusiasm for Palin diminished this year. She resigned from the group and her new page is called “Sarah Palin Stay Out of State Races.”
Stacy says “Having once been a proponent, supporter and defender of Sarah Palin, starting this group is bittersweet for me. As much as I still believe in her message, I question her grasp of the power she holds in today’s political landscape.”
Stacy’s article focuses on South Carolina, but I am far more concerned about “The Palin Factor” resulting in the possible loss of four U.S. Senate seats.
Palin Has Had a Major Impact on the 2010 Campaign
Some of Palin’s endorsements, such as former Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA), have been wise. She angered evangelicals and even Branstad said he was surprised but pleased to receive her backing. The real reason was presidential politics.
The first in the nation presidential precinct caucuses are held in Iowa, and Branstad’s opponent was the 2008 chairman of the Huckabee campaign. Huckabee and Palin could be competing for the support of social conservatives two years from now. Palin joined Mitt Romney with similar endorsements in Iowa, South Carolina and Arizona, where she was willing to oppose factions in her conservative base by enthusiastically backing the re-election of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
The campaigns of Senate candidates Rand Paul (R-KY) and Carly Fiorina (R-CA) both said Palin’s endorsement was a decisive factor. Julie Soderlund, Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager told ABC News: “When we earned her endorsement, we saw support for Carly increase literally overnight.” Support for former Rep. Tom Campbell completely collapsed when Fiorina received Palin’s seal of approval.
Nikki Haley, the GOP gubernatorial nominee in South Carolina, also gives Palin tremendous credit, “Gov. Palin is great because she is a national figure that has gone out and taught people the power of their voice. What we saw while creeping up in the polls was that she absolutely gave us a boost when we needed it.”
Palin Has Been Controversial
The former Governor has made endorsements in primaries where every candidate was a right winger, but the “Constitutional conservatives” she backed are controversial and could be defeated in a general election. The GOP Senate candidates in this category are Rand Paul (KY), Joe Miller (AK) and Clint Didier (WA). Sharron Angle (R-NV) was endorsed by the Tea Party Express, and is often referred as “The Sarah Palin of Nevada.”
While she is ahead of the Senate Majority Leader, Angle is still running 15% behind the GOP gubernatorial candidate. Many of these candidates are isolationists and protectionists.
They want America to pull out of the United Nations, and they are enthusiastically backed by libertarians. In thanking Palin for her support, Nikki Haley said “The truth is we had a movement in South Carolina. The movement was not about being Republican. It is about being conservative.”
Haley’s three primary opponents were in strong disagreement. They all proclaimed themselves to be solid conservatives, and unlike Haley, they had track records going back decades to prove it.
We will not know until after the November election if Palin has had a positive or negative impact on the 2010 campaign. She has increased her stature with many tea party members and advocates of “Constitutional conservatism”, but at the same time she has angered many of her most stalwart supporters from the 2008 campaign.

The Backlash: Sarah Palin Angers Her Core Supporters by Stacy Slaybaugh Arena

I no longer support Sarah Palin. My new group is not an attempt to bash the former Governor. I hope it will lead to a serious discussion of “‘The Palin Factor” in state races, and how her endorsements are leading to a decline in GOP prospects this November.
Palin needs to understand that “With great power comes great responsibility.” She has been inserting herself into a wide variety of state races. Her core supporters do not understand her vetting process. They also do not understand why she has been endorsing and promoting candidates which are in clear opposition to the conservative cause.
Many conservatives see Palin’s actions as arrogant and disrespectful to voters of states she is visiting. She cannot know each states unique issues, and most importantly, she doesn’t have to live with the consequences of her actions.
From personal experience, I know Palin’s endorsement of Nikki Haley in the South Carolina gubernatorial primary trumped all discussion of the issues. Because of Palin, Haley received tremendous media attention. Journalists started to call it “The Palin Factor.”
Haley was not the most conservative candidate in the primary, but after the Palin factor, she was certainly portrayed in that manner. Haley won the primary in a landslide. South Carolina is a very red state and 2010 is an excellent Republican year.
The national media attention has moved on, but they could be back again in November if Haley loses. Haley was not the best Republican candidate for a general election, and now an upset is possible. Nikki Haley is an inexperienced moderate who claims to be a conservative.
The Democratic nominee is State Sen. Vincent Sheehan, a former prosecutor who has already been endorsed by the powerful Chamber of Commerce. They refused to back Haley in the primary, and many Republicans feel the same way. A “Republicans for Sheheen” organization has already been formed. The Palin Factor has torn the state GOP apart.
The former Governor has clearly demonstrated her power and appeal, but the result of the Palin factor is that many primary voters stopped doing their own vetting. South Carolina is just one of several states in which Palin’s endorsements are wreaking havoc. Right now Palin appears to be a king maker, but her political judgement may be reassessed after the November election.

We Are Still Suffering Because of Sarah Palin’s Mistake by Gregory Hilton

Sarah Palin has had a big impact this year, but sometimes it has been in the wrong direction. Her endorsement in the Kentucky Senate primary was decisive, and it has terrible implications for the GOP.
She is probably not familiar with Adam Kokesh and the Iraq Veterans Against the War. If they were Democrats, I would not pay any attention to them. They always want to blame America first and they are to the left of Speaker Pelosi. Kokesh is a Republican and a close associate of Senate candidate Rand Paul (R-KY). Kokesh and Paul have done a video interview about “their movement” to take back the Republican Party, and the libertarian heart throb says he is being urged to emulate Kokesh. Plenty of information about Kokesh is available in the link below. Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: “Going Rogue: An American Life” by Sarah Palin, 432 pages, published by Harper Collins. Reviewed by Gregory Hilton

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has the highest negative rating of any potential GOP presidential candidate, but she certainly is popular with the Republican base. Palin has 1.2 million Facebook fans, and her book, “Going Rogue,” has been a huge publishing success. This $29 book has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for the past 10 weeks, and for six weeks it was number one.
As of this month, sales have topped 2.8 million, and the book is now the 4th best selling political memoir of all time. The three authors above her are Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and Palin is not far behind them. These four political memoirs are the only ones which have sold more than one million copies. Palin has far outsold the memoirs of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Bill Frist, John Ashcroft, Mike Huckabee and Joe Biden.
The book has put Palin right back on the political radar, and Oprah Winfrey calls it “A fascinating read.” Rush Limbaugh says it is “One of the most substantive policy books I’ve read in a long time.”
“Going Rogue” is entertaining and the book talks about her gay college room mate, how she had to pay her way through school, the pregnancy of her 17 year old daughter, her baby that was born with Down’s syndrome, and the $150,000 wardrobe which was lent to her during the campaign by the Republican Party. Her populist streak is appealing and upon becoming Governor she sold the executive jet which was purchased by her predecessor and fired the chef in the Governor’s mansion. She deserves credit for acknowledging her poor performance in the CBS-TV interview with Katie Couric. Palin said she “let the team down” with that interview.
I especially enjoyed the inside stories of the 2008 campaign, but too many attacks were focused on McCain staffers rather than the Obama/Biden ticket. I would not describe this as a substantive work. It is more of a personal memoir rather a political account. Over half of the book is devoted to her life prior to the 2008 campaign. I really wish she had spent more time discussing political issues, and the book does not reveal much about her core political beliefs.
This 432 page book was largely assembled by Christian conservative ghost writer Lynn Vincent in less than four months. Palin kept her promise to those who had pre-ordered copies and it was ready before Christmas. Because of the former Governor’s emphasis on pre-orders, sales hit the one million mark after just two weeks.
The first chapter is the best and it appears to reflect Palin’s down-to-earth style. My guess is that the former Governor wrote the first chapter, but her involvement was only sporadic in the rest of the book.
The section on the origin of species was almost certainly written by Lynn Vincent. Some of the material on Palin’s gubernatorial years appears to have been copied form the State of Alaska website. Vincent is not allowed to discuss her role because of a confidentiality agreement.
Palin could have devoted a year or more to writing a truly substantive account of her life, but she probably made the right choice to enter the market place when her name was so visible. Her prominence was demonstrated when the AP assigned a team of 11 reporters to “fact-check” the book, and of course they found a number of errors.
Part of Palin’s appeal to a conservative audience is that the former Governor is often the number one target of liberal activists. On the day Palin’s book was released last November, the liberal magazine “The Nation” produced a counter publication called “Going Rouge: Sarah Palin, An American Nightmare.” It was a collection of anti-Palin essays with a similar cover.
Palin received an advance of $1.25 million from the Harper Collins publishing firm, and based on the current strong sales she will be able to expect an additional payout of at least $2.5 million and probably closer to $5 million.
Palin is now writing a second book and this will probably be a more substantive review of current issues. Palin will be visiting Arizona on March 26th to campaign for her former running mate. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) faces a difficult GOP primary with former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) and one of the reasons could be because of conservatives who were riled up over the treatment Palin received from top McCain staffers.
The Palin book is also not in the same category as Hillary Clinton’s “Living History,” John McCain’s “Faith of our Fathers,” or Dwight Eisenhower’s last memoir, “At Ease: Stories I Tell To Friends” which was a lively collection of colorful anecdotes which drew a great portrait of the late President. (Hillary Clinton’s 1996 best seller, “It Takes a Village,” was ghost written by Barbara Feinman Todd.)
In my opinion the best memoir from a politician was written by U.S. Grant. His book took the nation by storm, and he finished it just days before his death. It is loaded with thoughtful reflections concerning the Civil War years.
The former Governor’s accomplishments in Alaska were impressive. She appears to well versed on the energy policies which are so crucial to her state’s economy. If she had not resigned, the record she established could have been the basis for a national campaign. Perhaps the book I really want to see will be the one Palin is working on now.
She should review the Obama, Clinton and McCain memoirs for ideas. They all reflect the vision of potential future leaders. “Going Rouge” is Palin’s personal story, and we are still waiting for an explanation of her core beliefs as well as her outlook for America. If Palin is planning a presidential candidacy, the second book should be one of her top priorities. “Going Rouge” does not tell us about Palin’s political future, but as her father once noted, “She’s not retreating, she’s reloading!”