Excuses for Sarah

Written 9 July 2009 at 22:52

This week I have been a part of a program at the Eagle River United Methodist Church Camp in Juneau, Alaska. Today our group was given tickets to go up the tramway to Mount Roberts, a prominent attraction that towers above downtown Juneau and Douglas. On the way to our trip back down the mountain, I overheard for a few minutes a conversation between someone I assumed to be a local tour guide and a couple I assumed were visitors to Alaska. What I heard in fact was only the speaking of the guide, and he seemed to be explaining why our governor’s resignation should not be viewed as negative. He cited Alaska’s ethics laws as things being taken advantage of in order to sabotage the governor; to paraphrase, he said something akin to “for the cost a postage stamp you can cost the state millions of dollars.”

Sarah has stated several times that ethics complaints against her have cost the state “millions of dollars.” The simple truth is that the cost has been barely over a quarter of a million – and the plurality, if not the majority of the costs have come from the case that was initiated by the state legislature and the complaint that Sarah filed against herself so that the issue (Troopergate) would be moved from the legislature to the members of the state ethics board who she has the power to hire and fire. This board has handled all the other complaints filed against her. Is it possible that might have been a problem? I don’t know – but I know for sure that the investigations of Sarah Palin’s ethics violations have not cost the state anywhere near as much as she’d like you to think, and the accusations against her have been nowhere near as “frivolous” as she pretends they are.

[Note: following my writing of this post I've learned that last week the Palin administration actually tried to come up with some justification for Sarah's two million dollar lie. In their "calculation" they included the salaries of state employees across the justice department and elsewhere. Of course there is the little fact that these state employees will still be employed and will still be paid the same amount of money regardless of whether citizens of Alaska made against their governor's ethics law violations or not... but I do give kudos the administration for their creativity.]

Anyway, to continue his little meme, the tour guide said something like “Sarah’s one of the few politicians that cares about money being wasted” (concluding that her main reason for resigning was the concern for the costs of these “expensive” and “frivolous” ethics complaints that obviously had no basis in fact and were blatant attacks on her by “citizen saboteurs”). He also backed this up with something like “She spends 80% of her time now defending herself from these attacks.” Again, I have paraphrased these quotes – but regardless, listening to this man’s delusional ramblings left me in a shock. Twice I considered calling him on his ridiculousness, but ended up thinking the better of it. I got on the tram and rode back down to the sea level of reality.

Honestly though, I think I will definitely think the better of writing any more on this subject. Sarah is leaving and I will leave it to many others to reason out the political insanity of her term. There is but one question I can pose to anyone in Alaska or anywhere in the world that will unravel all pretensions that Sarah Palin was ever a competent administrator of this state. The question is this – and I will phrase this in as Palinesque language as possible:

What has Sarah Palin done as governor to effect positive change for Alaska?

This is a serious question, and I personally have thought up one serious answer. Yes, I believe there is one good thing Palin did for our state, and it’s not some sarcastic jab but an actual legislative action that I believe was a positive change pushed by Sarah. If you care to ask, I will tell it to you, but first I’ll let you think up some serious answers as well. Most politicians are able to claim some actually factually good accomplishments in a term – Bush had his heightened aid focus in Africa as well as possibly some good effects of No Child Left Behind (although those would be very much up for argument). There are more I’m sure, but regardless, the point remains – what were Palin’s uncontested accomplishments? Please, think them up.

This is my challenge to you. I struggled quite a while and came up with one answer, and if you can find more accomplishments than you have left-handed fingers I would be very surprised indeed. Sarah can claim to be a victim all she wants, but the truth is that those she pretended to serve will be a lot better off once she’s gone.


  1. She really didn't prove herself competent as governor since she was part of a national campaign for several months, and then she quit part way through her first and only term as governor. I think many Alaskans are disappointed with her lack of service to our state. I think she was an "absent governor," and I can't come up with something she saw to completion to say was a great accomplishment.


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