Palin = Rowland??

I don’t know hardly enough about Sarah Palin to say what kind of person she is, or what kind of job I think she would do. I did some reading, and have a few ideas. One thing for certain is that I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes right now for all the money in the world.

I like to look at what the other local bloggers are saying. Gene Kinsey and Marjorie Asturias weighed in early on. Rick Wagner reacted predictably, parading a generality, an insult, and a video clip in support of his self-stated position as “Western Colorado’s premier political destination”. Sorry, Rick, you’ll have to do better than that.

Ralph D’Andrea deferred most of his comments for later today, but did take time to try to compare Ms. Palin to Janet Rowland. This is something that ColoradoPols also tried to expand upon, but for me it just doesn’t ring true because from first blush it looks like Governor Palin deserves more credit than that.

Governor Palin, among other things, was a member of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for a while. To quote Wikipedia on her tenure there;

“Governor Murkowski appointed Palin Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, where she served from 2003 to 2004 until resigning in protest over what she called the “lack of ethics” of fellow Alaska Republican leaders, who ignored her whistleblowing complaints of legal violations and conflicts of interest. After she resigned, she exposed the state Republican Party’s chairman, Randy Ruedrich, one of her fellow Oil & Gas commissioners, who was accused of doing work for the party on public time, and supplying a lobbyist with a sensitive e-mail. Palin filed formal complaints against both Ruedrich and former Alaska Attorney General Gregg Renkes, who both resigned; Ruedrich paid a record $12,000 fine.”

A fresh Wall Street Journal article outlined some of Gov. Palin’s experience on energy issues this way:

Since becoming Alaska’s governor in 2006, Sarah Palin has pushed oil companies to move faster with projects to expand oil and gas production. She is widely credited with reviving a long-stalled effort to build a natural-gas pipeline from Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay energy fields to the Lower 48 states.

In a state that is dependent for its operating revenue on taxes and energy royalties paid by oil companies, she has negotiated with the state’s big producers, Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC and ConocoPhillips.

“Sarah Palin is pro-development and is supportive of oil and gas development in an environmentally conscious way, but she is very tough on the companies. She doesn’t think that when the state of Alaska leases oil and gas to big oil, it means big oil gets to call all the shots,” says Drue Pearce, an appointee of President George W. Bush who directs the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects.

Critics say Ms. Palin is pro-drilling at a time when the U.S. shouldn’t pursue an energy policy that attempts to drill its way out of high prices. “She may face down the oil companies in Alaska when it comes to the pipeline, but she is singing their tune when it comes to energy policy,” says Daniel J. Weiss, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a left-of-center Washington, D.C., think tank.

So Governor Palin has established a reputation for integrity by exposing corrupt practices among members of her own party, and also has a reputation for being tough on the energy companies who do business in her state.

This doesn’t sound hardly at all like Janet Rowland, who on energy issues usually follows the bread crumbs left for her by her fellow commissioner, Craig ‘Conflict of Interest’ Meis.

I for one would be curious to hear Gov. Palin expand upon the concept of how to firmly regulate the energy companies operating in her state. Her answers may help to further deflate the lame argument that additional, reasonable regulation will drive big energy out of Colorado.

Sarah Palin sounds like a gutsy risk-taker to me. I can see how John McCain would identify with her, even if they only met once before he asked her to jump on the Straight Talk Express to Hell.

What I can’t see is her presiding over the U.S. Senate as Vice President with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Mikulski, and many other women with infinitely more political experience currently serving in the Senate on both sides of the aisle.

Speaking of both sides of the aisle, the Almanac of American Politics describes Alaska as “heavily Republican, with a Libertarian streak”. One wonders how a Vice President Palin will be able to help manage a Congress that will likely continue to be in control of the other party. She may possess the youth, vitality, and charm that Dick Cheney lacks, but that won’t get things done on the floor or in the cloakroom.

Governor Palin’s reputation as a ‘barracuda‘ may be a solid attribute for a politician and leader, but she’s a star in summer stock when the show’s on Broadway. Her talents will be best utilized in another role that will hopefully provide the experience and seasoning that she’ll need to lead in Washington. Perhaps she’ll be able to join the Senate if the Ted Stevens debacle results in an open seat for an Alaskan in the near future .

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One Response to Palin = Rowland??

  1. Marjorie says:

    Dear John,I mentioned Palin as a potential running mate on my blog back in June, but was still surprised when McCain announced her as his pick. She is indeed more experienced than people give her credit for — and I agree with the pundits who say that at the very least, she has executive experience, something Obama lacks — but I also agree that she doesn’t have the seasoning required in the position she’s now gunning for. She’s got a good background and may be a solid presidential candidate in 2012 or 2016 — she’s certainly young enough to wait that long — but I’d be concerned about having her exposed too early, before she’s really ripe for such a huge role.Can’t wait to see how the VP debates go. Should be…interesting.Cheers,Marjorie

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