The Reactionary Views of Sarah Palin, Miss Wasilla 1984

I’ve been mocking the choice of Sarah Palin by repeating her title of Miss Wasilla 1984 because this points out two problems in her selection. Prior to her one and one-half years as Governor of Alaska, her experience was based upon being Mayor of Wasilla, population 9000 (where she had previously won the local beauty pageant). Her choice kills any hope of McCain raising experience as an issue against Obama, along with creating real concerns about the Republican ticket considering his age. The 1984 part is also signficant. Obviously I would not claim her reactionary views are anywhere as bad as those in Orwell’s 1984, but on a libertarian to authoritarian spectrum she is definitely leaning towards the 1984 end.

The Boston Globe provides some examples of her right wing views:

“A significant part of Palin’s base of support lies among social and Christian conservatives. Her positions on social issues emerged slowly during the campaign: on abortion (should be banned for anything other than saving the life of the mother), stem cell research (opposed), physician-assisted suicide (opposed), creationism (should be discussed in schools), state health benefits for same-sex partners (opposed, and supports a constitutional amendment to bar them).”

The article also cites another report of Palin supporting the teaching of creationism in a debate. The New Republic provides another example of Palin’s right wing extremism. In 1999 she backed Pat Buchanan for president, quoting this AP report:

“Pat Buchanan brought his conservative message of a smaller government and an America First foreign policy to Fairbanks and Wasilla on Friday as he continued a campaign swing through Alaska. Buchanan’s strong message championing states rights resonated with the roughly 85 people gathered for an Interior Republican luncheon in Fairbanks. … Among those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage.”

Ben Smith notes that between her support for Pat Buchanan and her conservative social views Palin is already receiving criticism from Jewish groups. Smith also reports that Buchanan had referred to Palin as a supporter of his campaign on Hard Ball. It already looked like the Jewish vote would go heavily for Obama, and the choice of Palin will clinch this.

One might think that supporters of Hillary Clinton would also oppose any ticket which Palin Sarah  is on. This would be true of those who followed the advice Clinton gave during her speech at the Democratic convention when she asked, “Were you in this campaign just for me?” However, as I’ve pointed out many times in the past, many Clinton supporters do not support liberal values. They are ignorant of John McCain’s opposition to abortion rights and ideologically are much closer to the views of John McCain and George Bush than to liberal Democrats such as Barack Obama on many other issues.

Taylor Marsh writes that John McCain must think that women are stupid if he thinks they would support a ticket with Palin:

Seriously, all this suffrage rambling is convenient, but considering both McCain and Palin are against women’s civil rights and equal pay, hoisting her into the public spotlight and hearing her talking about Hillary is absolutely insulting.

Does McCain think women are stupid? Evidently, yes. They believe that just because Sarah Palin is a woman, disaffected HRC voters and women are supposed to flock to her. Experience, for Republicans has got nothing to do with it, especially if you’re a chick.

Unfortunately many of the women (and men) who backed Hillary Clinton really are stupid. While some might have found this to be unexpected, I was not at all surprised that The Volokh Conspiracy found a contingent of Hillary Clinton supporter who are thinking of voting Republican now that a woman has been added to the ticket. After all, lacking both understanding of and a commitment to liberal values, they have no reason to look beyond the gender of the candidates.

The Volokh Conspiracy quotes from several comments at this Hillary Clinton Forum such as, “Wow, Thanks so much to this Sarah Palin who never forgot us. She is a fighter. She paid her respects to our Hillary and Geraldine . They now no more think women in this country are 2nd class. You go girl and thank you for a refreshing pick Sen. McCain.” To them a woman who would help John McCain bring back shirt hanger abortions is preferable to a male Democratic candidate with a strong record of supporting abortion rights.

Their ignorance and blind acceptance of disputed right wing smears is seen in comments such as, “Remember just a short while ago Obama would not visit the wounded soldiers in Germany…” The degree to which Clinton supporters and the McCain campaign echo the same Rove-style lies is just amazing.

Some Clinton supporters cite this (along with the sun raising in the east) as proof that Democrats should have nominated Clinton instead of Obama. What they fail to realize is that only a tiny number of vocal nuts on the internet actually think this way. The number of votes that Democrats would have gained by having Hillary Clinton anywhere on their ticket would be greatly outnumbered by the votes she would cost the Democrats with Clinton being an extraordinarily weak candidate in a national election campaign.

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  1. 1
    battlebob says:

    Cafferty on CNN had an interesting comment.
    The entire state of Alaska has the population of Austin, Texas.
    Cafferty considers her selection a joke.  The Repub response was naturally defensive. 

  2. 2
    Tony says:

    I might point out that, according to the city of Wasilla’s official Web site, the population of that city is 6,715 today. I think it’s a safe bet to say that when Palin was elected mayor in 1996 the population was even less. Whether or not that’s true, it’s clear that Wasilla equates to no better than Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. He’s another one I’d prefer not to see run for high office.

  3. 3
    Joe Trainor says:

    Each candidate realized that if he became President, there was a possibility that he may not finish the first or second term.

    Candidate A thought long and hard, and chose a human being who would be able to carry on America’s legacy of greatness and hope, and leave people to say, Candidate A was a great man, and left the USA in solid hands.

    Candidate B consulted with the highest paid spin doctors, abandoned common sense, and threw down a political gambit based on the arrogance of self-immortality, selecting an election partner who provoked an initial reaction of wtf, and if sworn into the highest office, would make America cry “what have we done, again?”

    To a cleaner, safer and more prosperous world!

    Joe Trainor Clean Energy as a Path to Peace Renewable Power Stocks Investing Geothermal Power Companies Stocks

  4. 4
    allen bean says:


    Posted by: Scott | August 30, 2008 1:11 AM

    Not only all that, but Ms Palin has had virtually no contact with Jewish people in America. In fact, most Alaskans still use the term “to jew someone down” as part of their every day vocabulary when speaking about bargaining at the store….so I guess Ms Palin has a huge storehouse of inherited antiSemitic fixations based not on hatred but on ignorance. Ask her what she thinks of Jewish people someone? I am sure she only knows about 3.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:


    I read population 9000 in one article and went with that but cannot be certain of the accuracy. It is possible that the population was higher as opposed to lower when she was mayor as small towns often have a problem of the young moving away as they graduate and others also leaving due to lack of jobs. 

    Regardless of whether it was closer to 6000 or 9000, Palin’s experience in Wasilla hardly compares to Obama’s experience before running for the Senate.  Of course the PUMA kooks who think that Hillary Clinton was also more experienced than Obama due are likely to parrot the right wing kooks who question Obama’s experience. (PUMA kooks, right wing kooks–there I go becoming redundant again.)

  6. 6
    Jerry says:

    For what it’s worth, I found a 1992 road atlas that lists Wasilla as having a population of 5450.  I’m sure there are official census numbers somewhere.
    BTW, I’m stunned by how little vetting (or real thinking) went behind this selection.  Here are just a few things that have cropped up in the short time we’ve taken Palin (semi)seriously:
    1. She supported Pat Buchanan (thanks for this)
    2. She’s willing to overlook her pure reformist ideals to join one of the most lobbyist-laden campaigns in history.
    3. There’s a serious on-going investigation into the firing of one of her underlings. Play this video of an Alaskan TV report for more:

    This last point might just cause McCain to retract his choice.  From Palin’s earlier comments about the issue, one could conclude that she had nothing to do with it.  Since then – just recently – more information including taped phone calls from her staff have come out, and in the above piece, the fired official puts Palin in the center of it. At one point he had to warn her that she should not be discussing the issue (of firing her ex-brother-in-law) with him.  If true, this could be a big hit.
    Palin strikes me as a zealot.  And zealots have many blind spots that get them in trouble.  They don’t listen to reason and don’t compromise, even when it’s in everyone’s best interest to do so.  And they can easily rationalize their own lapses as necessary and acceptable.
    Of course, if this does blow up into a full-scale scandal, the right-wing base will claim that she’s being attacked unfairly, which will solidify the base even more.  Fortunately, the extreme right-wing base is smaller than most people realize.

  7. 7
    Keanus says:

    Per the US Census Bureau, Wasilla’s population in 1990 was 4,028; 2000, 5469; and 2007 (est), 9780. Whichever figure one uses, it’s clearly a very small town. And it’s only responsible for recreation, roads and little else. Police, fire and schools are a borough (like counties in the lower 48) responsibility.

  8. 8
    Jerry says:

    Wow. I’ve been reading so much today about Palin, and it’s almost beyond belief. She’s vulnerable in so many ways. Previous support for the bridge to nowhere is just one. I was going to try to list them all, but so many others are doing a credible job. Her approval rating has been dropping recently as troopergate has evolved into something potentially serious. Newspapers in Alaska are providing a lot of material.
    Not only that but she’s already saying a lot of not-so-smart things in interviews: “It’s nice to see another part of the country.” She’s no Dan Quayle and she’s certainly no Hillary.

  9. 9
    Christopher says:

    The PUMA kooks at lunatic sites like No Quarter are celebrating Sarah Palin like she’s Hillary 2.0.

    Nevermind that Palin is a radical, rightwing, religious conservative who is 100% anti-choice and says no woman should have access to abortion, even in the case of rape or if the woman’s life is threatened. If you’re preggers — you will carry the child to term and deliver it.

    Palin is also vehemently antigay despite the fact her own uncle is gay and has lived with his partner for more than 20 years.

    The questions around the last child, the one born with Downs Syndrome is the story that has the blogosphere in Alaska buzzing the most over. How can it be that no one, and I mean absolutely no one in Palin’s office, new she was with child? Palin just breezed in on Monday and announced to everyone she’d given birth over the weekend.

    Very strange behavior if you’ve ever worked in an office and a colleague or co-worker became pregnant. This is always grounds for a party, pizza, cards and gifts. I’ve worked for large corporations and non-profits and it’s the same everywhere.

    Not in the governor’s office in Juneau. Very odd.

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:


    I’ve commented many times here on the anti-liberal views of many Clinton supporters, so their support for McCain/Palin is not really a surprise to me.

    The rumors are that Palin’s last child is really the child of her teenage daughter (who missed school for seven months due to mono.) At this time I don’t think there is much to this story, but we will see what happens as people look further into this.

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