Some non-partisan background on Sarah Palin
I'm not even sure that I can be classified as a "Palin fan", but I am kind of an observer. An old school buddy of mine has worked within the Alaska legislature for the last twenty years or so. He's a registered Democrat and has worked on projects that allowed him to cross paths with her going back when she was a city commissioner, as the mayor, and as the governor.
He told me that the picture painted of her as a mindless ideologue is about 180 degrees off base. He said that over the years, he'd probably dealt with her a couple of dozen times and that her input and/or decisions were always supported by law and not by personal beliefs.
The thing he told me about her that really peaked my interest of her was her ability to process information and then to quickly forge a plan with the information she was given. He said she was a living, breathing CPM chart. He said he had seen her on multiple occasions on a variety of subjects instantly absorb input from others and then respond with cogent solutions to problems. He said if you put her in a room with a bunch of people, the chances would be great that she'd be the smartest one in the room.
He told me that when he saw her debacle with Katie Couric, his first thought was, "who is that Sarah Palin imposter?" He said that was not the Sarah Palin he had worked with for years. He was sure that the interview was highly edited. It came out later that there was almost six hours of the interview that people didn't see.
He told me that if I really wanted to get a feel of who she is and how she dealt with powerful people, I should read the book, "Sarah Takes On Big Oil". It was released in October, 2008 and written by two of the state's top oil & gas editors. The lady they described had no fear to stand toe-to-toe with heavyweights and leave them slinking away with their tales between their legs. She told them that she was the advocate of the citizens of Alaska and there would be no deal making that would adversely affect them. The big boys at Exxon-Mobile and BP folded like a cheap suit.
One other thing he told me that still amazes him was how she managed to get people to work together. According to him, she could take two people with opposing opinions, sit down with them, listen to them, offer her solutions, and both guys would leave happy and not feeling that they had compromised their position at all.
He laughed at the "she doesn't read" meme. He said it is well known in the capitol that she was a voracious reader. She truly did read most of the national mags and newspapers, mostly on line, as well as a dozen or so energy trade magazines. According to him, there were stories about how she would take home stacks of papers and reports to prepare for a next-morning meeting and it was as if every word of those reports were stamped into her brain when she sat down at the meeting.
He told me not to be fooled by her syntax or her colloquialisms because they were not a fair barometer of her smarts. He said if people would just listen and not try to read between the lines, she was easy to understand. He said he'd love to see her and Obama in a debate about energy or even healthcare. He said she'd clean his clock. He even said that if she were given a day or two to prepare for a debate on foreign affairs, his money would still be on her.
He said she was the epitome of a leader. She assembled her staff, listened to their advice, allowed opposing ideas to be heard, and then acted accordingly. As a manager, she advocated making a plan based on the best info available, budgeting the plan, working the plan, measuring results, and quickly adjusting the plan if it was determined it wasn't working as expected. She believed in the First Law of Holes.
He thought her biggest struggles in the 2008 campaign were the product of trying to endorse McCain's positions on issues. She was able to voice her dissenting opinion on ANWR because her views were known, but on everything else she was expected to toe the McCain line. He said that she lacked the ability to shovel crap and sell it as perfume.
He reminded me that anyone who denies the accuracy of her "death panel" metaphor should go back and read her exact words, both her initial FB post and her rebuttal of Obama's attack on her words. He said "read what she wrote, not what someone wrote or said what she wrote". Her words in those posts have already been proven to be true.
He said that "divisive" is not a word that should be used to describe her. He said that was just a simple use of Alinsky's rule #13. He said, "look at all the issues. Her position is in line with the majority on virtually all of them".
He told me she wasn't perfect, but if I read something or heard something that was negative, I should check it out a little closer. He shared a lot more, but I'm afraid I've already rambled on for too long.
Should she run in 2012? I really don't know. Would I vote for her? It depends who she's running against. Will she drive the agenda if she doesn't run? Yes, for a long time.