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The Easily Intimidated Sarah Palin

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Check out this in-depth article by Ken Armstrong and Hal Bernton in The Seattle Times on then-Mayor Palin's record in her first year in office in Wasilla in the mid-1990s. It's pretty scary. She's intolerant, yes. She gets involved in things she shouldn't get involved in -- such as banning books from the public library. She's like the worst micro-managing boss you ever had.

But the brunt of the article is her clash with Wasilla's Chief of Police, Irl Stambaugh, who created Wasilla's police department a few years earlier. Stambaugh was in favor of two things that got him into trouble with Palin:

1. He backed an ordinance requiring Wasilla to close their bars at 2:30 AM (weekdays) and 3 AM (weekends), instead of the usual 5 AM, because folks in nearby Anchorage, where the bars closed at the earlier hours, often drove to Wasilla to keep their buzz on, and drinking and driving, as we know, don't mix. The Wasilla City Council rejected the ordinance by a 3-2 vote. Palin, then with the Council, voted with the majority.

2. Stambaugh opposed an NRA-backed state legislative proposal that would allow concealed weapons in banks and bars. He called the proposal (which was vetoed by then-Gov. Tony Knowles) ridiculous. "Bars, guns and booze don't mix," he said.

So he was in trouble with Palin from the beginning. "She went on to state that the NRA didn't like me and that they wanted change," Stambaugh says.

So did Palin fire Stambaugh at the bidding of the NRA? Probably not. The article implies that she fired him for a more troubling reason: he intimidated her. He's 6'2", 240 pounds. He always tried to sit and use a soothing voice around her, but when he finally got canned, this was part of her official rationale:

"When I met with you in private, instead of engaging in interactive conversation with me, you gave me short, uncommunicative answers and then you would sit there and stare at me in silence with a very stern look, like you were trying to intimidate me."

I hope voters realize that if she feels intimidated by Putin, or Ahmadinejad, or new Pakistani President Zardari, all of whom won't use a soothing voice around her, firing them won't be an option.

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