Sunday, September 14, 2008

The NYT Comes Out Flinging

Following the Washington Post's front page non-story of Gov. Sarah Palin's per diem expenses a few days ago, the NYT follows with an equal non-story of its own on Gov. Palin - this one being an all out effort to diminish her highly successful executive experience - you know, that bit on the resume missing from both sides of the Democratic ticket. It ends up being nothing more than an effort in throwing a bevy of tiny flecks of manure at the large wall of Gov. Palin's tenure in office and hoping that a piece or two might stick.

You can find the entire article here. Lest you not get the premise, the NYT spells it out half way through the article, after fertilizing the ground with the first half of their article:

The charismatic 44-year-old governor draws enthusiastic audiences and high approval ratings. And as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, she points to her management experience while deriding her Democratic rivals, Senators Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr., as speechmakers who never have run anything.

But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.

(Emphasis added)In other words, don't trust to this woman's highly successful track record, her reformist credentials, or her 80% approval rating after two years in office. She may have tons more executive experience than Obama and Biden combined, but it doesn't count because _________. The NYT leaves it to you to fill in the blank from the ton of material they provide. Pick your favorite.

Tom Smith's analysis of this NYT article is probably more cogent than my own. Here is how he puts it:

Among other things you will learn:

-- Upon getting elected, Palin fires people who have held jobs for years ("professionals") and puts in people she has known for years, often going back to her high school days. Why a reform-minded politician would do this in a notoriously corrupt state is, of course, baffling.

-- Palin bears grudges and takes them personally. This is a rare fault in politicians and not to be endured. The Clintons, for example, have set a fine example in letting bygones be bygones.

-- Palin is an evangelical Christian who went so far as to inquire about taking the inoffensive book "Daddy's Roommate" out of the public library.

-- Todd Palin called somebody and let them know he and his wife were unhappy that he had hired somebody or other who had broken up with somebody or other over something. This one made a deep impression on me I will not soon forget.

-- Sarah Palin when she was mayor put pressure on the town council to fire the town attorney, whom she did not like, possibly because he was not pro-development enough. I earnestly pray this is not true.

-- Sarah Palin often uses lots of notes when she speaks, even going so far as to use tabs and different colors of notecards. This is just so unbelievably tacky and small town I am considering killing myself.

-- Not only Governor Palin but members of her staff sometimes use their personal email accounts to do public business. This charge is perhaps the most deeply shocking of all. Then, these same officials have sometimes resisted turning over their personal emails on public business to their opponents in political disputes.

All this, taken together, goes far beyond Maureen Dowd's searing revelation that Sarah Palin wears shoes that are really intended for much younger women. Now we know that far from a pit bull with lipstick, Governor Palin is a merely human politician who rewards friends, punishes enemies and plays "hardball" just like one of the guys. Who does she think she is? And, she's ambitious. She confided to a friend that she wants to be president someday. Should such a person be allowed inside the White House?

Read the entire post. Jennifer Rubin has an equally scathing commentary on this tsunami of scatalogical minutia from the NYT:

The New York Times does the all-so predictable Sarah Palin bill of indictment for its Sunday front page. It certainly sounds compelling in the paragraph called the “nut graf”:

Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

But what is so remarkable is how little there is in the page after page of minutiae thrown against the wall by the Times. And indeed there’s plenty of favorable material there. Up front we learn:

Ms. Palin has many supporters. As a two-term mayor she paved roads and built an ice rink, and as governor she has pushed through higher taxes on the oil companies that dominate one-third of the state’s economy. She stirs deep emotions. In Wasilla, many residents display unflagging affection, cheering “our Sarah” and hissing at her critics.

In just the first few paragraphs you have testimony that she was “effective and accessible.” So where are we going here? Well, despite the testimony that she was ”accessible,” others find her “secretive” and inclined to put a premium on “loyalty.” The evidence? The Governor’s office declined a request for emails that would have cost over $400,000. Proof positive. Oh, and the records sought (about Polar Bears and such) were in fact obtained.

Then there is the ” she blurs personal and public behavior” charge. The evidence? A phone call from Todd Palin to a state legislator about the latter’s chief of staff, which Palin denies was mentioned. Pretty thin gruel.

Next we have her tenure as mayor, where again all heck breaks loose because — are ya sitting down? — she brought in her own team. No! Unheard of. Jeeez. Next she’ll be firing the town museum director. Oh no– it’s true! Palin says (”Oh yeah, she says,” you can hear the Times reporters hrrumphing) she was cutting the budget.

This is pathetic, really. Is there something illegal here? Is there something nefarious? What is the point? . . .

Read the entire post. You'll find more blogs talking about this at Memorandum.

Other than those on the far left, there is nothing in this article that will resonate with the sole exception of Palin's choice to head the state's Agriculture department, and that will make one night at Comedy Central and be gone.

If this is the best the NYT can do after combing through her life with a microscope, they have problems and I am feeling a bit more confident this morning. Oh, and stay tuned, I understand the NYT, in an effort to be fair, is finally going to get around to do a similarly detailed piece on Obama. Its slated to go to the presses on or about Nov. 6.


ChenZhen said...

Well I think that we've had enough of the "loyalty over competence" style of governing.

I figured that there would be plenty of people who'd look at this NYT piece and say "so what?". But this is the type of thing that gave us Brownie and a Harriet Miers nomination and Valarie Plame and complete mismanagement in Iraq.

I say pick people who can do the job right and learn to get along.

Ymarsakar said...

This reminds me of all those times Al Sadr got to shoot his mouth off while he was torturing and killing Shia in his little ghetto military camps.

Every single time he did it, I feel the same thing as I do now, Wolf.

The Democrats couldn't pick competent people if their lives depended upon it.

GW said...

ChenZhen - The bit about Brownie was my first thought also. Having said that, I googled Alaska's Ag. chief and it turns out she has a lifetime of involvement in farming and agriculture. Beyond that, I didn't see anything about Palin's appointments that was problematic. Given that 5 of her classmates are no government hirees is probably statistically low. There are 650,000 people in Alaska. 25,000 of them work for the state. And there is nothing in the article to suggest that the people Palin has hired were incompetent - something I would clearly expect to see in the NYT article if there was even a whiff of it.

As to your comment about Iraq, you lost me on that one.

At any rate, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Ymarsakar said...

Chechnya here means Palin is like Bush and uses corrupt practices.

If you think about the Democrat party leaders like Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, you'll get a pretty good idea of how he thinks Palin and Bush are connected.

ChenZhen said...


Re: Iraq - I was referring to stuff like this.

Ymarsakar said...

THe problem with stories like that is given what people have lied about concerning Iraq and Vietnam, all anti-Iraq and anti-Vietnam stories become suspect.

Not only do they have to break past the burden of proof, but they also have to break past the burden of proving their intentions and integrity as well.

Until they do, nobody's security filters should let the data into be processed by the human mind the same we do with sensations of hot/cold.

Ymarsakar said...

In war, often times the deficiencies and problems the enemy experiences is not due so much to their own incompetency as it is due to friendly action.

When enemy actions become more and more constrained, their efficiency begins to fall. They no longer have the optimally best alternatives. Why? Because those options were taken away in order to weaken them.

Given Bush's promise to work with Democrats and given Bush's trust of Democrat cabinet people like Tenet with WMD slam dunk proclamations, people will never know to what extent enemy failure was due to enemy or friendly actions. *Until both sides' records have been opened by history in 50 years*

It's rather simple concerning the details. To what extent did Democrat sabotaging of Bush's personnel and manpower requirements, contribute to Bush and his subordinates developing paranoia or self-selective criteria bias? And to what extent did Bush's trust of Democrat affiliated people, State Department included, contribute to the introduction of inefficient decisions into the stew.

Kerik authorized the formation of a hundred-man Iraqi police paramilitary unit to pursue criminal syndicates that had formed since the war, and he often joined the group on nighttime raids, departing the Green Zone at midnight and returning at dawn, in time to attend Bremer's senior staff meeting, where he would crack a few jokes, describe the night's adventures and read off the latest crime statistics prepared by an aide. The unit did bust a few kidnapping gangs and car-theft rings, generating a stream of positive news stories that Kerik basked in and Bremer applauded. But the all-nighters meant Kerik wasn't around to supervise the Interior Ministry during the day. He was sleeping.

As we see with Afghan and Iraq's current progress today, civilian help on it continues to be zero and it continues to be totally ineffective, even if it is there.

THe major component to getting them up was combat leadership and tribal loyalty.

Civilians would not have been able to handle that, and even if they could, they would not have been allowed to by the DoS.

In terms of "executive" level experience, that is still being provided by US military forces and trainers in the form of the cadres they have trained for police battalions. We're not talking about one precinct of police or even the police size of one city like New York. The Iraqi police are essentially light infantry numbering in division times division strength.

THe only people with executive experience with leading and training that number of people are military, not civilian, affiliated folks.

After the successful Democrat actions in Vietnam to get AMerica's allies killed and exiled, the US military was extremely reluctant to have US military personnel leading foreign auxiliaries or telling foreign police and civilian agencies what to do and how to do it. They remember the debacle of Vietnam and how the Left hurt them there. Most of the rest of the civilians in America, do not.

The overall arching truth concerning strategic and political level policy failures in Iraq was that America did not have the necessary Imperial infrastructure to take in a foreign nation and build it up according to America's standards. Cause America didn't even have standards for what foreign nations should look like, especially Arab foreign nations. THe US once had standards for admitting new states, like banning frontierswomen from voting, but the modern US has lost even that form of requirement.

Given such institutional lack of awareness, you could switch the individuals the Bush people picked around all you liked. It wasn't going to do anything in the end. Even the US military had to spend copious amounts of time learning how to do things right. And nobody wants to say Bush picked Casey and Abizaid out of some nascent corrupt and penny anting instinct.