What are your views on Sarah Palin? What does the Lehigh Valley and its neighbors think? Does she represent your values? Is she a realistic presidential candidate for 2012 or just an eccentric minority banner for the Republican Party? Please take a minute to comment and add your views on Ms. Palin.
There are no shortages of Sarah Palin's books at the grocery store these days, so one has to wonder if people are really fans or just hopeful and curious as her first book's sales competed with current presidential memoirs. If you peruse Palin's political history in Alaska, you might have noticed a lot of "heads rolling", so to speak, as the "Queen of Hearts" found opposition to her agendas. As common-place and practical as eliminating non-supportive staff is in the political world, being "Big Brother" to the Alaskan people seems a bit over the top. According to the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, the year before Alaskan citizens were to vote on reform of aerial hunting of wolves and bears, Palin spent $400,000 to campaign across Alaska for the Game Board's Predator Control Program. The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund question Palin's motives for the aerial hunting and other agendas affecting the Alaskan environment. From the Defenders of Wildlife website in response to Palin's claim that she's just trying to feed Alaskans:
"* Why are sport hunter groups the biggest advocates of aerial hunting as opposed to advocates for the poor or hungry?
* Why did Palin’s administration allow out of state hunters to hunt and directly compete with rural hunters for supposed limited resources in most of the areas where aerial hunting was, and still is done?
* While governor of Alaska, why did Palin oppose what is called “rural preference” which would give true rural subsistence hunters priority access over sport hunters to the areas where aerial hunting is conducted?
* Why did she file an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to block the Cheesh-na Tribal Council from expanding their subsistence hunting in key areas?"
Palin also misrepresented Alaska state scientists on the endangered species qualifications of polar bears sole to further her resource extraction goals and sued the federal government when the Secretary of the Interior voted to add polar bears to the Endangered Species List. She argued that this would jeopardize her plans for oil and gas drilling and questioned the scientific facts that warranted the endangered status. There is no crime in a person wanting to get her own way, as long as she pursues her agenda honestly and without harming others or her environment. Palin stated in her January 2008 New York Times opinion article Bearing Up, "I strongly believe that adding them [polar bears] to the list is the wrong move at this time. My decision is based on a comprehensive review by state wildlife officials of scientific information from a broad range of climate, ice and polar bear experts."
However, according to an article in September 2008 by Becker, Goodman, and Powell of the New York Times, "Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought the e-mail messages of state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears. (Ms. Palin said the scientists had found no ill effects, and she has sued the federal government to block the listing of the bears as endangered.) An administration official told Mr. Steiner that his request would cost $468,784 to process." Apparently after he gained access to the emails, Professor Steiner discovered that Palin's opinion was not founded in scientific facts.
Tom Kizzia of the Anchorage Daily News reported in May 2008 that the "newly released e-mail from last fall shows that the state's own biologists were at odds with the Palin administration, which has consistently opposed any new federal protections for polar bears under the Endangered Species Act."
The former Alaska governor did a lot for her state's economy, surely, but her methods leave a lot to be desired. A democracy is based on being capable of making concessions and listening to all party's points of view, a challenge for most presidents. Would Ms. Palin be willing and able to listen to her opponents without screaming "off with their heads"? Could she offer a sustainable economic solution that also spoke to environmental ethics?