Sarah Palin on Principles & Values
Republican Governor (AK); ; nominee for Vice President
I definitely wasn't driven toward any particular goal, like power or wealth or fame. So what was it? I prayed that if I was to resign myself to what felt like a public service career cut short, that I'd embrace being home full-time. I asked that the fire in my belly, an whatever was feeding it, would simmer down.
I thought of a passage from the book of Jeremiah 29:11-13: "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord." It irked me that too often women are made to feel guilty for seeking the next open door.
I wasn't sure what I was to do next, yet. I resolved to seek confirming signs along the way--the open door--to show me the right road.
In winter 2005 I decided to toss my hat in the ring to replace Frank Murkowski as governor.
Naturally enough, I had assumed that after the election everything would go back to the way it was before. But what a difference ten weeks can make.
Pundits seemed to assume that I was thinking only of my future on the national stage. And no matter how many times and in how many ways I repeated that Alaska came first, the opposition interpreted every position I took through the prism of my supposed "national ambitions."
Nationally, pundits and reporters would criticize me for focusing on Alaska; locally, the opposition would criticize me for focusing on national issues--as if I needed to think of Alaska's issues as irrelevant to the nation.
THE FACTS: Few politicians own up to wanting high office for the power and prestige of it, and in this respect, Palin fits the conventional mold. But "Going Rogue" has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto, the requisite autobiography of the future candidate.
McCain ticked off a list of credentials: "...knows what it's like to worry about mortgage payments and health care and the cost of gasoline and groceries. A concerned citizen who became a member of the PTA, then a city council member, and then a mayor, and now a governor."
McCain continued, "I am especially proud to say as we celebrate the anniversary of women's suffrage..." By then everyone in the arena knew what was going to happen. McCain the maverick was about to announce a woman as his choice for vice president. McCain completed the line with a smile, "... a devoted wife and a mother of five." The crowd roared its approval.
PALIN: There have been times where, as mayor and governor, we have passed budgets that I did not veto and that I think could be considered as something that I quasi-caved in, if you will, but knowing that it was the right thing to do in order to progress the agenda for that year & to work with the legislative body, that body that actually holds the purse strings. So there were times when I wanted to zero-base budget, and to cut taxes even more, and I didn’t have enough support in order to accomplish that. But on the major principle things, no, there hasn’t been something that I’ve had to compromise on, because we’ve always seemed to find a way to work together. Up there in Alaska, what we have done, with bipartisan efforts, is work together and, again, not caring who gets the credit for what, as we accomplish things up there.
A: It would have to be, just a candidate, and that would have to have been Geraldine Ferraro, of course. That’s an easy one for me because she’s the one who first shattered part of that glass ceiling.
Q: What about as an actual vice president?
A: I think those who have gone on to the presidency, George Bush Sr., having kind of learned the ropes in his position as VP and then movin’ on up.
A: I love those old sports movies, like Hoosiers, and Rudy; those that show that the underdog can make it and it’s all about tenacity and work ethic and determination, and just doing the right thing. So it would probably be one of those two old sports movies.
Q: Do you have a favorite scene from either of them?
A: At the very end, the victories! Yeah! Rudy, where he gets to run out on the field and makes a difference. And then in Hoosiers, when they win.
PALIN: But even more important is that world view that I share with John McCain. That world view that says that America is a nation of exceptionalism. And we are to be that shining city on a hill, as President Reagan so beautifully said, that we are a beacon of hope. We are not perfect as a nation. But together, we represent a perfect ideal. And that is democracy and tolerance and freedom and equal rights. Those things that we stand for that can be put to good use as a force for good in this world.
BIDEN: I will place my record and Barack’s record against John McCain’s or anyone else in terms of fundamental accomplishments. Wrote the crime bill, put 100,000 cops on the street, wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which John McCain voted against both of them, was the catalyst to change the circumstance in Bosnia, led by President Clinton, obviously.
A: No. The president should have a broader world view and have experience on the national/international levels. No one in Alaska knows of anyone that was talked to. There is no evidence that she was vetted in Alaska.
A: Well, I just recognized that it doesn’t matter which party it is that is just kind of creating the good-old-boy network and the cronyism and allowing obsessive partisanship to get in the way of just doing what’s right for the people who are to be served. And I just recognized that it’s not just the other party. Sometimes it’s our own party that just starts taking advantage of the people. And I felt compelled to do something about it, decided to run for office, got in there and with that mandate that I believe the people had just given me, via their vote, they expected the changes to take place, that reform. And we’re living up to that. And as we do, we are ruffling feathers.
A: I believe that Republicans in Washington have got to understand that the people of America are not fully satisfied with all the dealings within the party. Same applies though for the other party, also. Americans are just getting sick and tired of politics as usual, that embracing of the status quo, going with the flow and just assuming that the people of America are not noticing that we have opportunities for good change. We have opportunity for a healthier, safer, more prosperous and energy-independent nation at this time. People are getting tired of a process that’s not allowing that progress to be ushered in.
A: My love of this country. I’m one of those people, you know, I see a soldier walk through the airport and, you know, my heart does a little double-take. And I hear the Pledge of Allegiance or our National Anthem and I get a lump in my throat. And know that that’s the majority of Americans. Also, I am so proud, have been so proud of our country, every step of the way. We’ve made mistakes. We learn from our mistakes.
A: I’m thankful that I came of age politically in the era of Ronald Reagan, in high school and in college. He is my inspiration. His vision of America and of the exceptional-ism of our country. I think about him every day. I think about what that Great Communicator has left our country and the rest of the world.
So he and then his partner on a lot of the good things that went on in the world at that time, Margaret Thatcher--just over the water. She too--she was underestimated as she came into office and proved herself with her abilities, her determination. She is another one.
Further back in history, Abraham Lincoln. Coming into office in a time of such turmoil. What Lincoln was able to do was marshal talents from disgruntled opponents even and adversaries and have everybody work together in order to fulfill the mission of unifying the nation and winning the war.
A: You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.
Q: Exact words.
A: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln’s words. I would never presume to know God’s will. What Abraham Lincoln had said was: Let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side. That’s what that comment was al about.
Q: I take your point about Lincoln’s words, but you went on & said, “There is a plan and it is God’s plan.”
A: I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given, and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That, in my world view, is the grand plan.
"One of her strengths is being able to hold her tongue when she's been unfairly attacked," said [Sarah's brother] Chuck Jr. "By staying true to her beliefs, things always seem to fall into place for her."
Not that Sarah's journey to the governor's office was easy. From the moment she began making her mark in the politics, she was criticized for being too young, too inexperienced, and too na‹ve. Yet, time after time over the years, underestimating Sarah always proved to be a big mistake.
But mostly, he chose her because she’s a woman. He’s banking on Palin’s appeal to all those scorned Hillary Clinton voters. And ever the competitor, McCain wasn’t about to give Barack Obama an advantage in the diversity category of the presidential campaign.
With Palin, McCain can have his cake and eat it, too. He shores up his conservative credentials while still boosting his bonafides as a maverick.
That goes to show that the first and last rule of being vice president is that it’s never really about you. No matter how much attention we pay to the running mates right now, folks don’t vote for president based on their vice presidential pick and they don’t remember them once they do.
Face it, the single role of Palin and Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate, is to be a live body to take the place of the president when he is no more. The job is so marginal some presidents didn’t have them--Truman and Lyndon Johnson spent their first terms without.
Some argue the vice president’s role has grown under the past two presidents. Al Gore was Bill Clinton’s go-to man on the environment and technology; Dick Cheney is believed to be the most influential VP in history.
But who will help a presidential candidate win the election and who will help him govern are two different things. Palin is no Cheney. You won’t see her running the country while McCain is flying around in Air Force 1 evading terrorists.
Palin began her courtship of that constituency Friday, invoking the legacy of Geraldine Ferraro, who, as the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984, became the first woman to run on a national major-party ticket. Palin also pledged to finish Clinton’s work and “shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.”
We have a state that needs new management. [Palin & Parnell] represent a new generation. And they represent a new vision, new energy. They represent the kind of people that ought to come along and take our places.
And it needs a new agenda for all of use to get behind. Think of this -- when you go to vote, don’t go to vote alone, and you’ll help Sarah become the next governor of Alaska, which we all want to see.
The executive director of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association said his group believes Knowles mismanaged spawning runs, culminating years later in this season’s poor Inlet sockeye harvest. “The reason we went with Sarah was, she believes in managing these fisheries for the highest abundance on average that we can get,” the director said. That’s good, he said, for all kinds of fishermen including commercial gillnetters, sport anglers and dipnetters.
A handicap for Knowles is his eight-year record of engaging tough fish policy questions and crises, creating baggage that doesn’t burden Palin, said Terry Gardiner, speaker of the Alaska House in 1979-80. “It’s simple: He has a record. It’s a record versus no involvement,” he said, adding: “The way to be popular with fishermen is do nothing, because you don’t make enemies.”
A: Governor Palin is very charismatic and personable. If you meet her on the street, she will greet you by name, mention your children’s names, and ask a relevant question about your family. She’s organized, a multi-tasker, she’s a “super woman” who has it all. She has tapped into an anti-intellectual strain in America. Her greatest strength is her confidence--the “not blinking” rhetoric. However,“not blinking” leaves her vulnerable--she doesn’t even know what she doesn’t know, and she’s not open to anyone who wants to tell her what she doesn’t know.
Q: What is she like to work with?
A: I attended multiple City Council meetings when Sarah Palin was mayor of Wasilla, and Sarah had a very informal style. The meetings were not run professionally--Sarah tended to be very lax with Robert’s Rules of Order, for instance. In addition, many government meetings were kicked off with a prayer.
A: As mayor, Palin questioned the librarian about the process and feasibility of banning books. Although Palin asserted her questions were “rhetorical,” the librarian asserted that they were posed in a threatening rather than a rhetorical way. Second, as mayor, Palin embraced the idea of a “City of Character,” which is a religious program, and third, during her tenure, city employees primarily identified themselves by their religious affiliations. If there were a vacancy on the Supreme Court, [I feel that] Sarah Palin would attempt to influence the pick to be someone who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
She already had challenged the state Republican Party’s chairman, accusing him of abusing his role on a state oil and gas commission to do political work. And by the summer of 2006, Ms. Palin was taking on the governor, Frank H. Murkowski, a Republican lion of Alaska politics whose bluster and closed-door dealing had finally worn thin in the state.
Ms. Palin, youthful and sympathetic with voters but bluntly critical of her party’s leadership, said state government was broken, that it needed to be transparent and responsive. Stunningly, she won in a landslide, trouncing Mr. Murkowski by more than 30 points in the Republican primary that summer and rolling through the general election.
In 1969, the Heaths moved to south central Alaska, living for a short time with friends in Anchorage, then for two years in Eagle River before finally settling in Wasilla. The family lived frugally. To help make ends meet, Chuck Heath moonlighted as a hunting and fishing guide and as a bartender. Sally worked as a school secretary and ran their busy household.
"I remember asking Sarah why she would enter a beauty pageant when that seemed so prissy to the rest of us," Chuck Jr. said. "She told me matter o factly, 'It's going to help pay my way through college.' " Her family makes a point of saying Sarah was never the beauty pageant type. Even though the scholarship she won did help pay for college, years later Sarah seemed chagrined by the pageant experience.
"They made us line up in bathing suits and turn our backs so the male judges could look at our butts," she said in a 2008 interview with Vogue magazine. "I couldn't believe it!"
Sarah's other trait is what her father calls an unbending, unapologetic streak of stubbornness. "The rest of the kids, I could force them to do something," Chuck Sr. said. "But with Sarah, there was no way. From a young age she had a mind of her own. Once she made up her mind, she didn't change it."
Sarah preferred nonfiction to the Nancy Drew books that her classmates were reading. In junior high school, Heather--a year older in school--often enlisted Sarah's help with book reports. "She was such a bookworm. Whenever I was assigned to read a book, she'd already read it," Heather said.
Sarah's thirst for knowledge was nurtured in a household that emphasized the importance of education. There was never any question that all the Heath kids would go to college. With her love for newspapers and current events, Sarah majored in journalism and minored in political science.
In college, Palin competed in the Miss Wasilla beauty pageant in 1984 while working toward the communications degree she received at the University of Idaho in 1987. She won her hometown’s competition and was named Miss Congeniality in the statewide event.
Raised in a religious household, her faith apparently emerged at a young age: a photo of her from a high school yearbook carries a Biblical caption: “He is the light and the light is the life.” While in high school she headed her high school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
The governor met her husband in high school, and she was late voted “Miss Wasilla” in a local beauty contest. In 1987, she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho. A year later, she and Mr. Palin eloped.
The governor said that she “never really set out to be involved in public affairs, much less to run for this office,“ referring to the vice presidency, but she rose quickly once she entered political life. ”A PTA mom who got involved,“ is how the current mayor of Wasilla described Palin.
She was elected to the Wasilla City Council in 1992, then ran for mayor in 1996, she has said, because she was concerned that revenue from a new sales tax would not be spent wisely. She served two terms, through 2002.
A: Morning person. Yup. We don’t sleep much. Too much to do. What I’ve had to do, though, is in the middle of the night, put down the BlackBerries and pick up the breast pump. Do a couple of things different and still get it all done.
Q: As a new mom, how are you going to juggle all this?
A: I am thankful to be married to a man who loves being a dad as much as I love being a mom, so he is my strength. And practically speaking, we have a great network of help with lots of grandparents and aunties and uncles all around us. We have a lot of help.
Q: So will your husband be on leave now indefinitely to be Mr. Mom?
A: I would say so, yes.
SARAH: I was grateful to have all those months to prepare. I can’t imagine the moms that are surprised at the end. I think they have it a lot harder.
Q: Mr. Palin, you have this tiny baby with special needs. Do you worry that people may wonder if she’ll be giving short shrift to her family?
TODD: She’s heard that her whole life--the challenges of being a female and mother in the work force. I remember the first time she ran for mayor one of her fellow council members told her you can’t run because you’ve got three negatives: Track, Bristol and Willow. Those are the three kids we had at the time. So when you tell her that kind of stuff, she just gets fired up. We’re an Alaska family that adapts.
A: I studied journalism in college and always had an interest in the newsroom, which was of course so often focused on politics and government. But even earlier than that, my dad was an elementary school teacher, so often our dinner-table conversations were about current events and about those things that an elementary school teacher teaches students--much about government and much about our nation, and so I had ingrained in me an interest in our government, how things worked. And then from there I just became more interested in more practical steps that I could take. I started off running for city council when I was very young in Wasilla, where I had grown up, and was elected to two terms on the city council. And then I realized to be really able to make a difference--not just being one of six of a body but to make a difference--I would have to run for the top dog position, and so I ran for mayor and was elected mayor for two terms.
A: Her values are those of her church: evangelical Christian fundamentalism. In Alaska, social life in small towns revolves around church membership: it’s too cold usually to hang out in the back yard with neighbors; many people work for very small family businesses; so the church is the main source of social life and is also a replacement for extended family--many people in Alaska are from somewhere else. As a result, the teachings of a church are reinforced repeatedly throughout the week. And people socialize with fellow congregants. So, the values of one’s particular church typically shape the values of the person and the individual’s social circle. However, like all successful politicians, she is willing to set aside her core values in order to further her political ambition. As governor, Sarah Palin set aside her personal objections to abortion, to homosexuality, etc., and did not take action to get creationism taught in the schools.
A: Well, you know, I’m one of those people. So I think that we just have great respect for a candidate who would not speak about us, middle class Americans, in one part of the country and then turn around and say something different about middle class America in another part of the country. The assurance that I can give Americans is that the candidate whom I am running with, he is the same man--no matter where he is, no matter who is listening. He is a man who is so proud of America and is very much in touch with middle class Americans and wants to be hired by Americans so that he can work for them and put government on their side.
A: You know, I don’t know. I knew early on that the smartest thing for me to do was to work hard, do the best that I can, make wise decisions based on good information in front of me. And then get myself on a path that could be dedicated to God and ask Him what I should next. That will be the position I will be in as long as I’m on earth--that is, seeking the right path that God would have laid out for me.
Q: What’s your religion?
Q: Any particular...?
A: No. Bible-believing Christian.
Q: What church do you attend?
A: A non-denominational Bible church. I was baptized Catholic as a newborn and then my family started going to non-denominational churches throughout our life.
KNOWLES: Freedom of speech. I don’t mind what is said from the pulpit.
PALIN: A pastor, a priest, a rabbi, certainly they have the freedom to say whatever they want to say. And you know, thank the lord that we do have that freedom of speech. Faith is very important to so many of us here in America, and I would never support any government effort to stifle our freedom of religion or freedom of expression or freedom of speech. I would just caution a pastor to be very careful if they’re in front of a congregation and they decide to endorse one candidate over another. There may be some frustration with that candidacy endorsement being made manifest by fewer dollars in the offering plate. But, no, I’ll tell you, freedom of speech is so precious and it’s worth defending and of course freedom of religion and freedom of expression will be things that I will fight for.
A: One of her big campaign themes was open and transparent government, and we’re finding out that she’s conducted most government business through personal email accounts so she won’t have to produce records.
Second, she campaigned on a platform of fiscal conservatism, but she’s been collecting per diem for living in her own house.
Third, “Trooper-Gate” has also been an issue here in Alaska. Alaskans think that friends and relatives of the governor should not get special benefits nor should they be singled out for strident punishment. They should be treated like any other employee.
Fourth, as governor, she has line item veto power, and her first year in office, she used it to veto a lot of projects that had community support. Unfortunately, the national press, rather than the Alaska press, discovered some of these things such as the per diem issue and the private email account used to conduct state business.
A: Well, my ex-brother-in-law is an Alaskan state trooper and he’s never been fired. He’s still an Alaska state trooper. We have two different issues going on here. One is, a cabinet member, my commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, who had some strengths in some areas, insubordinate in some other areas, I asked him to transfer into another position. And he chose not to be transferred. So, he left the service. That’s one issue.
A: And on your brother-in-law: he admitted to Tasering a 10 year old child.
A: He did. This trooper Tasered my nephew. And he Tasered--well, that was--it’s all on the record. It’s all there. His threats against the first family, the threat against my dad. All that is in the record. And if the opposition researchers are choosing to forget that side of the story, they’re not doing their job.
The former commissioner, Walt Monegan, has said he felt pressure from Palin’s administration, & her husband, Todd, to fire a state trooper, Mike Wooten, who was going through a bitter divorce with the governor’s sister The trooper was not fired.
Monegan told The Anchorage Daily News that Palin had showed him some of the findings of a private investigator the family had hired and accused the trooper of a variety of misdeeds, including drunken driving & child abuse.
Palin told the newspaper he feared for his wife’s safety and said Trooper Wooten had made threats against her and her family. The governor has acknowledged inquiries by her staff to the Public Safety Department but said she played no role in them.
State lawmakers have launched a $100,000 investigation to determine if Palin dismissed Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan last month because Monegan wouldn’t fire a state trooper involved in a messy custody battle with her sister.
Palin denied her safety commissioner’s dismissal had anything to do with her former brother-in-law. The investigation launched by state lawmakers is expected to take at least three months.
One state legislator said Palin’s candidacy does not change the investigation. “I think it raises its profile. I don’t think it changes the steps you go through. You have to find out what happened,” he said. The investigator hired by lawmakers two days ago [began scheduling] Palin’s deposition.
A: Oh, a couple of lawmakers who are pretty angry with me [complained about my removing an] at-will political appointment who was serving in my Cabinet, which every governor does. A couple of lawmakers who weren’t happy with that decision certainly are looking at me as kind of a target right now and wanting to probe and find out why I did replace this Cabinet member. And it’s cool. I want them to ask me the questions. I don’t have anything to hide and didn’t do anything wrong there. It is a governor’s prerogative, a right to fill that Cabinet with members whom she or he believes will do best for the people whom we are serving. So I have nothing to hide.
A: I’m glad that you’re asking because I never tried to fire a former brother-in-law whose been divorced from my sister for quite some time. No, it was the commissioner, that we were seeking more results, more action to fill vacant trooper positions to deal with bootlegging and alcohol abuse problems in our rural villages especially. Just needed some new direction, a lot of new energy in that position. That is why the replacement took place there of the commissioner of public safety. It had nothing to do with an estranged former brother-in-law, a divorce that had happened some years ago.
“To allege that I, or any member of my family, requested, received or released confidential personnel information on an Alaska State Trooper, or directed disciplinary action be taken against any employee of the Department of Public Safety, is, quite simply, outrageous. Any information regarding personnel records came from the trooper himself. I question the timing of these false allegations. It is unfortunate, as we seek to address a growing energy crisis in this state, that this matter has been raised now.“
”I do not interfere with the day-to-day operations of any department. I have and will continue to support our line troopers. They have my utmost respect. Since taking office, I have proposed to the legislature millions of dollars in budget increases for more troopers, equipment and training.“
|Other candidates on Principles & Values:||Sarah Palin on other issues:|
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader