With Sen. McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate, the Huffington Post is re-featuring Chris Kelly's May 2008 piece on the Alaska Governor
Sarah Palin keeps showing up on short lists of John McCain vice presidents. She doesn't have a weird thing growing on the side of her head, so she brings that to the ticket as balance. She also has a few other obvious things going for her:
She's the Governor of Alaska.
(A state that's 22 years younger than John McCain. Shows he can adjust to new things.)
She's a lady.
(Take that, Hillary. Or Obama, for slighting Hillary.)
She's what they call Nice Looking for a Politician.
(Don't look at me like that. I didn't say it. For one thing, Nice Looking for a Politician is what they say about anyone prettier than Haley Barbour. For another, I think Sarah Palin looks like an anchorwoman on a newscast no one wants to watch. And even if she didn't, I'm not shallow like that. I vote for the candidate with the most flag pins.)
Over the weekend, the Anchorage Daily News discovered a whole new reason Governor Palin is the perfect person to be the next Dick Cheney:
She can look you in eye and tell you black is white.
Especially when there's oil involved.
Back in January, the secretary of the interior was considering whether or not polar bears should be on the endangered species list. There were strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Childish romantics, who think there should be more bio-diversity on Earth than cows and us, wanted them listed. Grown-ups (and oil company lobbyists) argued that the answers are never that simple. But what about the scientists? Governor Palin wrote an op-ed for the New York Times that said:
"I strongly believe that adding them [polar bears that is, not scientists] 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."
The polar bears weren't drowning. They were hanging themselves in their cells.
So that was that. Scientists said so.
Except they didn't.
The Feds -- who eventually did add the bears to the list -- based their decision on models that showed all of Alaska's polar bears dead by 2050. The ice they hunt and mate on is melting and they'll fall in the water and drown.
There were too many "ifs" to this theory for Governor Palin. (Does ice really melt when it gets warm? Is ice really water? It doesn't look like water.) She had to have her own people check it out. So she sent the Feds' reports to three marine biologists, including Robert Small, head of the marine mammals program for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Small wrote back:
"Overall, we believe that the methods and analytical approaches used to examine the currently available information supports the primary conclusions and inferences stated in these 9 reports."
In other words, the Feds are right. The email is dated October 9, 2007. Palin's op ed, where she says they said the Feds were wrong, was published January 5th, 2008.
But was Palin lying? Not technically. Look at what she wrote again. She only says her decision is "based on a comprehensive review of wildlife experts." She doesn't say it's based on agreeing with anything they said. That's you, jumping to conclusions.
It's like later, in the same op ed, where she repeats talk radio's favorite polar bear fact:
"Polar bears are more numerous now than they were 40 years ago."
The implication is that their habitat is stable and climate change is something Al Gore made up because he's lonely. But it's only an implication. Why else would their population increase? I mean, we also stopped hunting them in 1973, and that's... let's see... 08 minus 73... carry the 5... round up... about 40 years ago. Not shooting them -- that might be part of the explanation. But I'm sure there's more.
All I know is, there are lots of polar bears and no scientific reason at all to believe they can't live happily, underwater, eating clean coal. Let's get drilling!
It's almost like Republicans say ridiculous twisted half-truths, and the New York Times publishes them as facts.
Makes you wonder if they'd lie about a war.
Gov. Palin loves to say that drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will affect "a small footprint... about 2,000 acres, which is smaller than the size of LAX." This is an adorable sound bite, but when I go to LAX, I take a road. Presumably, to get the trucks to the drills, they'd also need to build those, too.