Governor Palin – Fit for a Long Presidential Run

First let me say … Happy 47th Birthday, Todd Palin!

It was great to meet Todd in Iowa! He obviously enjoys meeting the people who adore his wife, judging by the way he treated me and my kids in our brief conversation. As he interacted intently with those of us in the room, making lots of eye contact, I got the sense that he is not just “along for the ride,” that this is personal for him, that he really admires “the folks” in the Tea Party movement, and that he is 100% committed to restoring the greatness of our nation. There is no doubt Todd Palin is an indispensible part of the team we want to lead that restoration.

Enjoy your celebration today, Todd! We’ll see you along the trail.

And on this Tuesday after the big Labor Day weekend, let me just say … Sarah Palin is so running for president.

(Who takes the time to come up with a five-point plan if they’re not planning to implement it, right?)

I stand by my prediction that she will announce on Constitution Day, Sept. 16th, because this race isn’t about her … it’s about the greatness of America. (And you can see her love of the Constitution written all over her bus!)

But at the very least she will announce her intentions sometime this month as she promised Sean Hannity.

If you can’t stand to wait it out, remember, in the Revolutionary War, it was Colonel William Prescott who reportedly instructed his men not to fire until they saw the whites of the enemies’ eyes. He said that because he had  limited ammunition and didn’t want to waste it. Sound familiar? Oh, and yes, I’m speaking metaphorically about ammunition, but still … Why get in the race any earlier than you have to and expend precious resources? To win an unconventional, “guerilla-style” battle where you are “out-gunned” and out-spent” 5-1 or 10-1, you can’t think conventionally. You have to be “alley-cat” smart.

And to those who doubt Gov. Palin’s capacity to run and win (as is the case with a great many Republicans, I suspect) I suggest you spend some time in the same room with her, as 200 of us did on Friday evening when she and the First Dude graced our dinner gathering.

Here are three reasons she is fit for a long presidential run:

1) Physical stamina.

Maybe people want to overlook this, but running for president is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires supreme physical endurance, an ability to put in 20-hour days, and be on the road six or seven days a week, spending long hours on even longer rope lines, smiling and greeting people without showing a hint of exhaustion, or needing an Excedrine break. How exhausting is a rope line? Consider that in a recent appearance at the Iowa State Fair, Gov. Palin spent two hours walking 200 yards through a crowded throng who didn’t want to let her move anywhere. At the restaurant last Friday night, she walked a distance of about 25 yards, and it took about 45 minutes. At the Indianola Balloon Grounds, she spent an extra 45 minutes mingling with those who had stood in the rain to hear her inspiring speech. She probably shook a thousand hands last weekend and signed autographs for anyone who asked. Now imagine doing that for the next 400 or so days of your life.

Sarah Palin would be the youngest of the GOP presidential candidates at 47.

She also, in my view, is the the most physically fit. She spontaneously participated in a half marathon Sunday posting the second-best time. She obviously has been doing some kickboxing judging by the muscles in her back and shoulders. I hugged her. I got a good look at her trim frame. There is not a shred of fat on her body. And no, Steve Schmidt, she is not skin and bones from some kind of misguided Atkins diet. She is as strong and fit as one of those gracefully sleek and beautiful race horses you see galloping toward the finish line, every glistening sinew engaged in forward movement.

And by the way, I always envision Sarah kick-boxing a punching bag with Obama’s picture taped to it … for extra motivation of course.

At any rate, Gov. Palin is not going to run out of energy on the trail. In fact, I believe she draws energy from the crowds, as they draw energy from her. That’s what you need in a presidential candidate. Pure stamina.

2) Undaunted support.

It was a downpour in Iowa last Saturday … and the picturesque Indianola Balloon grounds quickly became a giant mud puddle. (Ironically, it was clear and sunny the next day with a slight breeze … God does have a sense of humor, doesn’t he?) And still … 3,000 “undefeated” but drenched people turned out Saturday to hear Gov. Palin’s inspiring speech. There is not a single GOP candidate who could have inspired such a turnout. Heck, Gov. Palin isn’t even a candidate yet and she drew twice the crowd as Mitt Romney Monday in his supposed stronghold of New Hampshire. I’m not discounting that there are ardent supporters for the other GOP candidates, nor suggesting that we won’t have to battle for every vote. But I am suggesting that Palin’s base is solid. In the words of Peter Singleton, we are “radiation-hardened.” I had to look that up on Wiki to find out what it meant. Radiation-hardening is a process of making electronic components resistant to any kind of damage that might be caused by extreme conditions such as outer space, high-altitude flight or nuclear warfare.

Friends, we are built to withstand extreme conditions. How extreme? Well, we’ve already been falsely accused of causing a mass shooting, called racists, terrorists and hostage takers … and our “candidate” has been called every name in the book … a diva, a bimbo, a quitter, an illiterate, an incompetent  … and still … we support her. There is absolutely nothing they can say that will dissuade us from supporting Gov. Palin. Even one fellow I was told was starting to waiver on Gov. Palin, due to her announcement-timing, showed up in Iowa after a cross-country flight. We are un-dissuaded. The other candidates are not going to be able to siphon off our support. I don’t follow polls that much. As Gov. Palin aptly put it … “polls” are for strippers and skiers. But in the last six months the polling for the ABP (Anyone But Palin) candidates has been completely fluid. Every  month there is a new name at the top of the leader board. Which tells us that support is soft for the other candidates. We are hard support. We form a base that can only grow larger. And we will be the ones on the front lines, manning the phone banks, turning out for campaign events … and reaching out to other Republicans, Independents and Tea Party members to educate them about Gov. Palin’s accomplishments.

3. Unique position as a reformer and incumbent-slayer.

And speaking of records, Gov. Palin is the single candidate in the GOP field who is a true reformer with a record of results. She took on a corrupt system, and ousted a Republican governor whose chief of staff later pled guilty to felony conspiracy charges. As she pointed out in her Facebook note today, she and Barack Obama both rose to power in states with well-known political machinery. Unlike Barack Obama, she confronted that party machine square on, and won. None of the other GOP candidates can make that claim. In fact, she’s the only GOP candidate to have defeated an incumbent in her rise to power. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann all took easier paths to power. They didn’t challenge their own parties. They didn’t even challenge incumbents from the other party. They won open-seat elections. Every single one of them. (In Mitt’s and Jon’s cases they pressured their state’s first woman governors, both Republicans, respectively, off the primary ballot. Talk about being afraid of a woman!)

Ever wonder why Ronald Reagan was a better president than George W. Bush? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Reagan didn’t wait for an open-seat election to run. He twice confronted an incumbent, and in 1980, against Jimmy Carter, he won decisively. There is a special kind of skill, determination and courage that is required to defeat an incumbent … and a special mandate that comes with that victory. And I’m sorry, but I don’t see that courage, skill or mandate in Rick Perry, our current “frontrunner.” Rick Perry “inherited” a Constitutionally-weak governorship and failed to confront the over-spending plaguing his state.

Sarah Palin has never inherited anything but a mess that she’s only too-happily called out and cleaned up. She’s defeated two entrenched incumbents in her 20 years in politics, and when given the chance, she signed the largest spending vetoes in state history, against the protests of her own party.

Everything she’s gained politically has been hard-fought. She challenged the special interests and her own party in her state at a time when it was thought that doing so was “political suicide.” No one ever gave her a chance to become mayor or governor. But she did.

My favorite line from Gov. Palin’s speech Saturday was: “I’m not for sale.”

Indeed, Governor Palin is not for sale, and that is exactly whom we need in the presidency. We need someone who will give up the perks of office as she has consistently done, in laying off the chauffeur and the chef, and using up the contents of the pantry at the Governor’s mansion. If someone wants to regurgitate the “She’s a quitter” line, you remind them that Sarah Palin hates waste. How badly does she hate waste?

She got rid of a private jet that cost the state $63,000 in lease payments every quarter and $1,689 an hour to fly. She said the state didn’t need it and couldn’t afford it.

She spent 85% less on travel than her Republican predecessor.

Yet those calling her a “quitter” believe she should have acquiesced to let the state of Alaska spend $1.9 million just so she could remain as governor? Are you freaking kidding?

Remind them that in four years, the corrupt Murkowski administration attracted only 109 public records requests, while Gov. Palin’s administration was inundated with 189 public records requests in just the NINE MONTHS after she was nominated to run for VP, or at a pace of one every other day. (By contrast, she had incurred only around 40 in her first 18 months of office). In other words, she was hit with a tsunami of false charges and paperwork, more than twice as voluminous as those thrown at her predecessor and in a much shorter amount of time — just because of her national prominence and the threat she constituted to the Democrat party. At that pace, had she remained in office, she would have seen perhaps as many as 320 additional public records requests, for a grand total of 550 (five times more than Murkowski in his four-year-term). The cost would have been approximately six million dollars in opportunity cost to her state and more than $1.5 million in legal bills to her personally.

She could not abide that cost to her state and her family.

The Anchorage Daily News reported at the time:

[S]taffers from multiple state agencies had to set aside their normal duties. State lawyers were also pulled off cases, [Leighow] said.

“Important legal issues involving the state’s interests were delayed in order to respond to these complaints. That means lost value to the state, which is measurable in dollars,” she said. “There were also hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on equipment and outside legal counsel — dollars that could have been used to benefit the state.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s unprecedented,” said Linda Perez, who handles the requests as Palin’s administrative director and has been in state government since the Sheffield administration in the 1980s.

The public records requests to Palin are largely from members of the Alaska and national press, although some are from people who have filed ethics complaints against the governor. A large portion of the money Palin talks about as she explains reasons for her resignation is state employee time on public records requests.

The biggest chunk of that, more than $600,000, represents hours state lawyers spent reviewing requested information. They decide how much to release. Records can be withheld for reasons like an individual’s privacy or for “deliberative process” — an executive privilege generally limited to the governor and close advisers, covering internal deliberations before a decision is made.

[P]ulling state lawyers away from their work to deal with public records requests and ethics complaints has a cost. For example, Leighow said, the paralegal responsible for tracking down and billing “parties responsible for releases of toxic materials” wasn’t able to devote enough time to do it because of time spent instead on public records issues.

“There is an estimated loss to the state this year of about $400,000, most of which the administration ultimately hopes to recover, though some will inevitably be lost in the delay,” according to a breakdown sheet Leighow provided.

Other examples included state lawyers having to delay their work or pass it on to colleagues. A state attorney was apparently required to relinquish an Alaska Supreme Court oral argument on food-stamp repayment case to a colleague less familiar with the case in order to work on a series of public records requests directed at the governor’s office. The state won the right to recoup the payments, although the court found issues with the notice provided to the plaintiffs.

Another significant chunk of the $1.9 million that Palin talks about is what her administration says is over $415,000 worth of staff time in the governor’s office.

Perez said that represents an estimated 5,773 hours of staff time doing tasks related to public records requests and ethics complaints, whether it be Palin’s spokeswoman answering questions about complaints, staffers making copies, or time the head of the governor’s Anchorage office, Kris Perry, spends reviewing documents.

“Kris Perry, at least half of her time is spent dealing with ethics complaints and public records requests,” said the governor’s spokeswoman, Leighow.

So, those who can’t get past her resignation, are really saying that they are content with wasting money, that they would rather a public servant stay in office at great cost to their staff and state, and to themselves. (Governor Palin incurred an estimated $500,000 in personal legal costs due to these records requests and frivolous ethics charges over nine months, while earning less than $125,000 during that time. She was in the process of being bankrupted.)

Business-as-usual politicians don’t care about costs because they don’t have a problem spending other people’s money.

One final note about Palin versus the GOP field. These two videos illustrate a stark contrast between what President Palin would do versus President Perry.

Bank of America exec to Perry … “We will help you out.”

Oil executive to Palin … “You don’t know who you’re messing with.”

Meg Stapleton recalls an encounter at the Fairbanks airport when Palin literally stared down an oil executive who told her, “You don’t know who you’re messing with.”

So, we’ll just remind the GOP and the government crony capitalists … No, you don’t know who YOU’RE messing with.

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I'm a mother of three, and devoted Palin blogger.

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