Skip to main content

       Over the past few weeks we Alaskans have been scratching our heads over the interesting claims the McCain campaign has made about our Governor.  A lot of them have been news to us.  Governor Palin’s nomination to the McCain ticket has created unusual common ground for Alaskans.  Whether we support her or not, we’ve been furrowing our eyebrows a lot lately as we watch the McCain campaign re-write Alaska history.    

As a legislator who’s both agreed and disagreed with Governor Palin, I know some of her positions are difficult to sell.  Some are not.  But to avoid that whole messy thing of explaining controversial positions, the spin doctors running the McCain campaign are doing what got George Bush elected.  Many campaigns spin in the gray areas, where the truth isn’t clear.  But the McCain campaign’s taken a page from Karl Rove, and decided to spin past the margins.  They’re pitching the verifiably false as true.

During the August Republican National Convention, Alaskans heard for the first time that our Governor opposed a national symbol of federal pork, what folks in the Lower 48 call the "Bridges to Nowhere."   We didn’t know that.  In her 2006 Governor’s campaign, when her opponents took the risk of telling boomers these two bridges might be too expensive – candidate Palin said she supported them – and said she’d work to get more Congressional money for them.

Now the campaign has a new line, that Governor Palin "told Congress thanks, but no thanks" for this money.  That’s a problem.  See, she never could have said that.  Congress debated our Alaska’s request for $400 million in bridge money in 2004 and 2005, before Palin was elected Governor.   A national outcry against these projects, at a time when a Republican Congress was pushing pork over effective relief for Hurricane Katrina’s victims, forced Congress to re-write this earmark.  Alaska ultimately got the money in 2005, but the Congressional language requiring that we spend it on these bridges was deleted.  We said thank you.  Governor Palin never opposed this funding.  She never offered to return it when she took office in 2007.  

Then there’s the claim by Senator McCain that our Governor has been a "maverick" fighting federal earmarks.  We didn’t know that either.  Alaska takes more federal earmarks per capita than any state in the country.  Governor Palin asks for them.  She, like her predecessors, happily accepts them.  Alaska’s budget contains hundreds of millions in earmark dollars.  Alaska politicians love earmarks, and campaign on their ability to get them.

We also heard at the Convention that Governor Palin’s been a budget cutter.  But in Governor Palin’s two years as Governor state spending has gone up by 20%.  She did veto projects, and I supported those vetoes.  But after vetoes, there’s still been a 20% budget hike.   Depending on your views, a 20% spending increase might be defensible.  It’s not defensible to make people believe you cut the budget when you didn’t.  

Here’s what else I know about my state.  We have the third worst children’s health insurance program in the nation.  The Governor wouldn’t support cost-effective measures to extend insurance to the 10,000 children of Alaskan working parents who cannot afford coverage.  She campaigned against a recent proposal to prevent large strip mines from spilling toxic chemicals into Alaska’s salmon waters – something that’s raised the ire of fishermen and Alaska Natives in remote Southwest Alaska communities.  Thirty-five to forty percent of our kids don’t graduate from high school, and we can’t convince Governor Palin to join the 41 other states that have accepted the science showing statewide pre-k education helps kids succeed when they don’t have other good options at home.  

There are a lot of important issues to discuss this campaign.  They should be debated honestly.  So far, as Senator McCain’s joined Barack Obama’s call for change, he’s only succeeded at changing the truth.  

  Les Gara is an Alaska State Representative from Anchorage.  He’s a former State Assistant Attorney General, and has been in office since 2003.

Originally posted to lesgara on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:19 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

skybluewater, manish, emptywheel, Deep Dark, N in Seattle, Bob Johnson, Kimberley, Frederick, Mike S, chase, dirigo, elishastephens, nitpicker, claude, Lestatdelc, C S McCrum, Grassroots Mom, Jett, Ed in Montana, MichaelPH, buffalo soldier, ljb, BrooklynBoy, planetniner, easong, dorsano, KeithH, Terri, tmo, Marek, JR, Economaniac, Ducktape, PLS, Yosef 52, gregonthe28th, Trix, Sean Robertson, Cowalker, Chi, catdevotee, Phoenix Woman, mtnbkreric, True North, greghancock, hester, Sally in SF, Buckeye BattleCry, lanshark, Forbes, ogre, dalemac, teacherken, slinkerwink, Bendygirl, Timaeus, Trendar, Better Days, Subterranean, AaronInSanDiego, cedubose, lipris, jneufnyc, greendem, sharronmar, noabsolutes, CA JAY, kiwing, TaraIst, abarefootboy, Delaware Dem, kimg, MarkC, dcdanny, Iowan, flatiron, gaspare, Unstable Isotope, machopicasso, whataboutbob, am, colorado thistle, kainah, BigOkie, mattman, Winger, newjeffct, bosdcla14, Sprinkles, Emerson, cici414, dengre, tommurphy, krwada, TheGreatLeapForward, KumarP, Shockwave, byteb, Fishgrease, MsSpentyouth, LynChi, egoldstein, leberquesgue, donna in evanston, Wintermute, SanJoseLady, Sui Juris, turbonium, Cvstos, democat, hyperstation, ssteuer, Blue Shark, Charles CurtisStanley, belle1, Earwicker23, Selenops, John Campanelli, eeff, Ddeele, frsbdg, Pompatus, polecat, azale, gecko, figdish, zknower, elfling, acuppajo, marjo, blogswarm, theran, sobermom, ilona, lzachary, BenGoshi, bethcf4p, object16, pollyusa, Joe B, zeroooo, mataliandy, RepubAnon, givmeliberty, Poika, vrexford, Gram E, Creosote, Ruth in OR, goObama, strengthANDwisdom, sclminc, JLFinch, Plan9, Bruce The Moose, kissfan, RubDMC, Polarmaker, xtrarich, eyeswideopen, rasbobbo, not4bushwa, Troutnut, tyler93023, concernedamerican, ReneInOregon, PaintyKat, Justina, missLotus, Babsnc, medaka, powerplay40, indybend, pessullivan, DickCheneyBeforeHeDicksYou, Dazy, cskendrick, ashleyGA, Athenian, zoopnfunk, landrew, Karen Wehrstein, parker parrot, Wee Mama, wonkydonkey, ProfessorX, Percheronwoman, Cassandra77, linnie, nyceve, rhp, whenwego, Kraken, philo, ScantronPresident, Gundar Schwartz, nolajazz, Baldwiny, awakentech, Agathena, Morague, CoolOnion, highacidity, weirdscenes, jonah in nyc, sayitaintso, CalNM, stevetat, CalvinV, boadicea, themank, mxwing, toyon toots, Glic, scamp, gayntom, Malixe, mkfarkus, pattisigh, phild1976, greengrrl, Transmission, LickBush, Wayward Son, SaltWaterCroc, Suznyc, farmerhunt, roses, ides, khloemi, nabwilson, JuliaAnn, javelina, peraspera, LondonYank, LIMAMA, nargel, sjb8888, Bronxist, juslikagrzly, CodeTalker, jbeach, bincbom, k2winters, House, bws, superba, DiMe, scotslass, Swordsmith, maven98, jalbert, jjhalpin, csavage, PeteZerria, Tinuviel, thingamabob, Rudyard, Ohiocrat, librarianman, kitebro, marysz, WriterRoss, rioduran, schlock and flaws, nalin, bustacap, navajo, DoctorScience, TheCrank, dmsilev, jted, high uintas, artebella, CocoaLove, sidnora, litigatormom, sele, Georgia Logothetis, Yil, bejammin075, SensibleShoes, wader, revsue, AnneofGreatHope, LawStudent, ChristieKeith, deadinthewater, Staying Left, bigmama, worldwideellen, recontext, JimDev, SneakySnu, mayan, kharma, menodoc, hopesprings, dejavu, Getreal1246, psnyder, Barbara Morrill, Alizaryn, hopewell, au8285, annan, MrSandman, danthrax, TexDem, oldjohnbrown, NYC Sophia, Dallasdoc, xoRfl, coconutjones, nj mom, pointsoflight, MKS, Sycamore, casperr, Andromache, leevank, MA Liberal, mad ramblings of a sane woman, grannyhelen, Rageaholic, TiaRachel, delphine, fuzzy10009, hoolia, ebor, exiledfromTN, jaywillie, Red State Refugee, bloomster, peternight, churchylafemme, Ophelia, bklynarch, pdl ithaca, roselynde1, homo neurotic, Patricia, GN1927, Penny Century, ohiolibrarian, ArcXIX, Scarce, defluxion10, antoinette from NYC, mcfly, nika7k, MmeVoltaire, Twin Planets, kaekee, Catte Nappe, snakelass, Neighbor2, The Zipper, applegal, hartboy, Greg in TN, annetteboardman, raster44, Mrcia, rlharry, lecsmith, lcrp, jmm57, lulu57, Sophie Amrain, carlagirl, Hail Ripley, barbwires, bwintx, Exurban Mom, ChiGirl88, Matt Esler, Electric Slim, Donna in Rome, anneschu, Noisy Democrat, ybruti, lee1954, mungley, smartgo, adamantius, KayCeSF, tomjones, NapaJulie, eco, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, SanDiegoDem, xyz, TexasLefty, haileysnana, bablhous, rebirtha, American in Kathmandu, zannie, eve, AaronBa, rolet, snowbird42, rmx2630, Dave in RI, pat208, bibble, thereisnospoon, rickroks, maggie sarah, mm201, environmentalist, Frank Vyan Walton, wolverinethad, cohe, decitect, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, machiado, tami33, skippythebox, davidkc, libnewsie, luvmovies2000, averageyoungman, tardcat, leolabeth, ddp, davidincleveland, Slgalt, chumley, paige, humphrey, ExStr8, Duke1676, tovan, bloomer 101, historys mysteries, jeau bleau, marina, radarlady, IamtheReason, supak, Treg, Auntie Neo Kawn, j sundman, christineNYC, RaveON, Annie Maim, powwow500, case, DianeNYS, bellevie, Ckntfld, el dorado gal, blueyedace2, Phoebe Tea, Captain Slack, LarisaW, baccaruda, JanetT in MD, seesdifferent, OHDem, subtropolis, dad, rweba, mjd in florida, PBen, Geronimo, alvernon90, Bill Section 147, Osiris, bitter fruit, panicbean, CO, Jibbly, Newton Snookers, Far left coast, DocGonzo, ZappoDave, citizenx, Valtin, paj1, ChemBob, sandrad23, sleeplessinsarasota, stitchmd, Ajax the Greater, stagemom, TigerMom, Brooke In Seattle, cellodon, YucatanMan, tsmonk, Gary Norton, reflectionsv37, Bouwerie Boy, Uranus Hz, maisie, eru, owlbear1, Viceroy, majcmb1, SaraBeth, sallyfallschurch, Pam from Calif, Frank Palmer, truebeliever, jorndorff, jimstaro, EdlinUser, uato carabau, jimreyn, Buffalo Girl, lcbo, aaraujo, GreyHawk, jcitybone, cspivey, Barcelona, Acacia951, Kayakbiker, sheddhead, lotlizard, QuickSilver, Little Lulu, Monabear, Phil S 33, blue jersey mom, babatunde, jane123, demmefatale, bjedward, foxglove, paxpdx, davidslane, illinifan17, Rock Strongo, Yamara, PinHole, exmearden, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, michele2, noemie maxwell, colossus, sundancekid11, collapse, wulidancer, power model, cerulean, shiobhan, Big Nit Attack, kitchen table activist, witchamakallit, neroden, zinger99, sodalis, Silence is Complicity, Lisa Lockwood, sbdenmon, word is bond, churchlady, Clember, distraught, jilikins, Eileen B, Rogneid, biffmush, Shiborg, doe, Ekaterin, ZinZen, hcc in VA, empathy, gazingoffsouthward, jct, Box of Rain, kkjohnson, chiefsjen, Alan Arizona, Land of Enchantment, michigan gal, terjeanderson, kathny, Sister Havana, ChuckInReno, rigger, fhcec, fool me once umm, CJnyc, coffeeinamrica, begone, Mehitabel9, lgmcp, lcork, SSMir, Nowhere Man, Mother Mags, Uthaclena, Doug Goodenough, cre8fire, occams hatchet, mspicata, LeftOverAmerica, kovie, indiophil, lilyvaldem, rkex, Nance, hlee1169, snazzzybird, dsteele2, BachFan, danmac, MissInformation, twoducks, Shep014, blizek, Do Tell, Numinous, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, GeoGrl, PatsBard, myboo, rcbowman, Milly Watt, keeplaughing, Kingsmeg, 417els, Clytemnestra, elsie886, tung sol, BlueInARedState, woofwoof, Themistoclea, hungrycoyote, lbklbk, maren a, Kimball Cross, faster democrat kill kill, Still Thinking, 8ackgr0und N015e, Gorette, victoria2dc, Cathy H, martyc35, Samwoman, smokeymonkey, redstatedemocrat, KenBee, compbear, Loonesta, flygrrl, mrobinson, ccmask, The Wizard, rhetoricus, Shakludanto, Im with Rosey, poichick, Esjaydee, zesty grapher, dangangry, mystery2me, sailmaker, SarekOfVulcan, goodasgold, Blue Wind, RockNAwe, triv33, TalkieToaster, tecampbell, birdbrain64, MJ via Chicago, sorryfromohio, erratic, Ashaman, cRedd, Rachel in Vista, gooderservice, Dissentinator, gatorcog, aldpol, Libby Shaw, Bush Bites, Bob Sackamento, VegasLiberalStevo, pi1304, NC Dem, real world chick, FatPath, JVolvo, WILRO09, CF Perez, plf515, CTLiberal, bleeding heart, justCal, MarciaJ720, gabriella, Seymour Glass, snafubar, myrealname, ER Doc, Juneappal, mangusta, doinaheckuvanutjob, ChapiNation386, Dyana, hrambo16, BlueSue, DemocraticLuntz, profh, fezzik, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, va dare, BB10, Stripe, grokgov, cherryXXX69, RantNRaven, kurt, chapel hill guy, Koleppski, airmarc, AmySmith, imorroy, Arthur Wolf, Bernie68, bstotts, Snarcalita, etrangere, Lurtz, coolsub, expatyank, 73rd virgin, Temmoku, AltruisticSkeptic, christomento, blueintheface, slksfca, AllanTBG, markthshark, sasher, mapman, Pandoras Box, Aaa T Tudeattack, NonnyO, AntKat, Reel Woman, DBunn, gtaylor, eastmt, ammasdarling, old wobbly, Acee, carolinacal, RagingGurrl, Count Belisarius, pgm 01, threesmommy, marykk, timewarp, j1mmyann, YoyogiBear, mattinjersey, gwriter, tigercat, jamesmcyang, Feeling Blue, ibonewits, asilomar, s marie, Timbuk the Second, Cronesense, Fredly, BR Janet, meowmissy, nycguy, hockeyrules, wa ma, uncomfortably numb, Duke S, Haningchadus14, Loudoun County Dem, oklacoma dem, oscarsmom, Tom J, dmh44, desertguy, FWIW, NDakotaDem, Tailspinterry, Kathie McCrimmon, godislove, mamabigdog, ColoTim, jetskreemr, offgrid, UU VIEW, suburi, gtghawaii, Positronicus, vets74, moosely2006, threegoal, Alfonso Nevarez, jds1978, Allogenes, esfamya, edsbrooklyn, power2truth, DvCM, rgjdmls, The Werewolf Prophet, la urracca, Nespolo, Blue Waters Run Deep, yowsta, kath25, tbirchard, profmom, HeartlandLiberal, starfall18, noofsh, sjtaylor, NCDem Amy, ezdidit, sfbob, MonsterSound, mystic, entlord1, davehouck, RosyFinch, malharden, Kyle the Mainer, mouser68, dolphin777, Seneca Doane, BobTrips, GMFORD, eashep, Azdak, akdude6016, vbdietz, BlueInKansas, mauro7inf, montanajen, thursdays child, Newzie, jnhobbs, Bridge Master, gchaucer2, internezzo, RudiB, Tetris, cececville, Rumarhazzit, uciguy30, Sarea, Dar Nirron, leonard145b, KathyinSC, madgranny, electric meatball, skod, ImpeachKingBushII, JML9999, tj iowa, Captain Nimrod, eyesoars, sable, Assaf, Hens Teeth, vet, wuod kwatch, on the cusp, mall teacher, TomP, Empower Ink, rmonroe, Theghostofkarlafayetucker, Send Rahm a Cheesecake, sand805, EricAZ, MissyH, Dem in the heart of Texas, rogerdaddy, Spruce, martydd, Different One, chapter1, browse, left turn, edg, HopefulOkie, AlexanderChee, condorcet, JeffW, TX Freethinker, LightningMan, wheelsme, RickMassimo, dotster, NotGeorgeWill, AllWeAreSaying, Boisepoet, weegeeone, karin x, Cordwainer, OleHippieChick, noble experiment, Foundmyvoice, marchtoimpeach, rikyrah, Involuntary Exile, angel65, ReEnergizer, NewDealer, Wes Opinion, skohayes, binkaroni, filby, Renaissance Man, Dave from Albury, annex, Pragmaticus, lineatus, Mother of Zeus, Akonitum, Oliver W Holmes the 3rd, fnord warrior, Yohannon, Happy Days, Spirit of Fighting Bob, kjboy27, tofumagoo, royce, pamelabrown, TexasLiz, TH Seed, left my heart, icebergslim, bluesheep, DanK Is Back, Jeff Y, Ladyhawk, home solar, WoodlandsPerson, mnguy66, ShempLugosi, mofembot, temptxan, Kuparuk, codairem, Gemina13, kyril, mommaK, jalenth, xango715, bubbalie 517, Rolling, Jacques, makettle, KimD, bob zimway, RickinDallas, luckylizard, CeeusBeeus, melfy, rapcetera, mary13L, DixieDishrag, omegajew, Dewey Kneadleeders, Uncle Bob, ptolemynm, allie123, Executive Odor, dont think, Guadalupe59, debheadley, HoosierDeb, revelwoodie, Robinswing, Diogenes2008, jlms qkw, statsone, fayea, Wild Starchild, oldliberal, ryangoesboom, satanicpanic, Old Woman, clent, maggiejean, 1BQ, bhagamu, multilee, pileta

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site