Sarah Palin’s Governing Philosophy Emerges In “Going Rogue”

November 30, 2009

Based upon an Op-Ed in the Appeal-Democrat, it's suggested that, far from a political neophyte, Sarah Palin possesses a critical instinct for a governing style consistent with limited, cost-effective governing – and that she's resistant to being drawn in to the type of conventional wisdom that often moves politicians to the Left post-election.

You can't help but notice that just about everyone who is part of the political establishment detests Sarah Palin. And you can't help but notice that Palin couldn't care less.

Early in the second chapter of "Going Rogue," a chapter titled "Kitchen-Table Politics," you learn everything you need to know to understand why. This is the way Palin has been wired for a very long time. During her two terms on the Wasilla City Council, followed by two terms as the city's mayor, she consistently demonstrated a refreshing immunity to the insider mentality that tends to afflict people who serve in government at any level.

Palin is said to have resisted the type of influence peddling to which many politicians succumb, even when it meant going against her early political mentors. While the governing mentality first demonstrated itself in Wasilla, it's claimed it stayed with her right to the Governor's office in Juneau.

In one of the first tests of her independence, Palin opposed a proposal touted by Carney, her political patron, to force residents to pay for neighborhood trash pickup rather than hauling their garbage to the dump themselves, as most did, and as Palin says she still does. Why was this so important to Carney? Because he owned the local garbage truck company.

The portrait of Palin that emerges is not someone who is anti-government, but someone who is focused on making government provide critical services and programs, while trimming out the fat.

During her terms on the council, she consistently opposed heavy-handed community planning initiatives and burdensome taxes. But she was not anti-government, as she explains: As a council member, I focused on what I believed to be the key functions of government: infrastructure development, fiscal responsibility and simply being on the side of the people.

 Several of the controversies that ensnared her early on are said to be the result of that mentality, as opposed to Palin being someone who didn't know what she was about, or enjoyed making enemies just for spite. Fans of Sarah Palin are likely to find the op-ed a refreshing read for its take on the former Governor.

The chief of police flat-out refused to even look for budget savings, beginning a chilly relationship that ultimately resulted in Palin firing him and — get this — being sued by him for sex discrimination. (It took three years, but Palin was vindicated — another harbinger of things to come.)

Among Palin-haters, one of the most popular canards is that she is an airhead, and clearly not capable of dealing with the intricacies of government. As this chapter demonstrates, nothing could be further from the truth.

Palin not only has a keen grasp of the details of governing and budgeting, she also understands the political difficulties inherent in making government responsive. Many of her antagonists at the national level scoffed at the notion that her experience in Wasilla was of any value. Quite the contrary, local government is where a public official's decisions have the most direct impact on the electorate. It's where you really have to understand the ins and outs of what you're doing.

No voting for bills without reading them first.

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  1. JLawson says:

    I predict this won’t make much of a difference – those inclined to hate Palin aren’t going to be swayed by facts. I’m reading her book now – and finding her philosophy of leadership (and what she actually accomplished with it, which has gone unreported in favor of the ‘airhead’ meme) to be a very welcome change to what’s in Washington now – on either side.
    (And it’s funny to see those complaining about her ‘lack of experience’ attempting to justify Obama’s current status – he’s accomplished far less that Palin did, and hurt a lot more people with it. His ‘Annenburg Challenge’ management wasted $200 mil to no result, and his ‘Grove Parc’ initiative screwed over a LOT of people, and he did nothing as a US senator – but PALIN is the one with no leadership experience?)

  2. syn says:

    “No voting for bills without reading them first.”
    This is why Sarah Palin draws so much attention; she is a rare Eagle who soars high above the chickens in Washington DC.

  3. unseen says:

    Her book also makes a note of her actually going thru the entire state budget of AK. cutitng things like 40k for shrub removal. I wonder how many billions could be cut from the Federal budget if someone would actually read the entire thing? Even if say a group fo 50 people tasked to read sections of it flagged the pork? could not someone running for office call out names? I think that was were McCain messed up. he promised to name names yet didn’t. that promise of McCain’s was one of the only shinning moments of his campaign. Palin’s instincts are great. She only has to show if she is able to leverage that talent from a statehood level to a national level.

  4. SDN says:

    unseen, the problem is that the President can’t cut out line items like that; it’s all or nothing…. and we know how the media reports government shutdowns attempting to restrain spending.

  5. unseen says:

    true. however as we saw with bush and now Obama Presidents are now issueing signing statements which are quasi line item vetos. the Congress as not seen particularly interested in taking this matter to the SCOTUS. As far as I know there is nothing in the consitution that says the President does not have line item veto power. It has simply not been used for fear of pissing off the Congress. that being said. If someone was to go thru the budget there are alot of areas for savings without sacrificing the core responsibilites of the government. The formation IMO of the omnibus budget bills is the reason for runaway spending. A Strong president could veto a couple of these omnibus spending bills without shutting down the gov to a large degree. While making it know that out of control spending will no longer be accepted.

  6. greg says:

    I disagree with JLawson, Going Rogue will make a big difference. It will solidify those who are already Palin supporters, and it will bring in a lot of those who were sitting on the fence, and not sure about her. Naturally,the Palin haters, if they actually read the book, and not just anti-Palin reviews, will still hate her, but that is their problem. The huge crowds that are showing up at every stop will also be a big psychological boost, for Palin and her supporters, at the same time these crowds will be a real psychological blow to the Palin haters. Those unsure about her may also be influenced by the crowds, in a positive way.
    Along with the book tour itself, there are the interviews that Palin has done on both radio and TV that have been heard and seen by tens of millions of people. Millions more are being exposed to the overwhelmingly favorable local news coverage of her tour.
    All in all, the book, the book tour, and the interviews, are going to be a major plus for Sarah Palin.

  7. Fe says:

    This link was great. Palin had the foresight to look ahead and see the progressives were trying to bankrupt her personally with bogus ethics complaints and waste millions in taxpayer dollars too. But you can be sure she is always looking at the bottom line. No pokulus earmarks for you!
    What a difference between Palin’s political launch mate and Obama’s in Bill Ayres.

  8. Peg C. says:

    This is great stuff. This aligns with my theory that conservatives actually don’t like government and hence tend not to want to be long-term pols and bureaucrats, while statists are all about the career politics and everyone making a nice, cushy home for themselves forever inside government. This does not mean statists make good leaders; only that conservatives are uncomfortable with it. We say conservatives need to get over and past this but I believe it’s in line with conservative principles and ideology. Statists believe big government should control every facet of life; conservatives only want the amount of government that is absolutely necessary. This does seem to be the principle from which Palin operates and definitely explains conservatives’ affinity for her. It also explains the Left’s paralyzing fear of her. She threatens their reason for being.

  9. SDN says:

    Actually, unseen, Nixon tried to implement line item veto by simply refusing to spend the money, aka impoundment. The Supremes basically said that if Congress budgets it the President must spend it because Congress has “power of the purse.” That prevents any approach except vetoing the whole thing.

  10. Mike K says:

    I was also very impressed with her local government experience. I have worked in local government and know a woman who was very much like Palin in local and even state government. She would read the city check register, line by line. She was hated and finally driven from office by harassment not so different, on a small scale, than that used on Palin. The in-group hates the sort of person who says “Why are we doing this ?” Sarah Palin doesn’t have to be the smartest person to run for president. Jimmy Carter may have been, for all I know. She just has to know how to find the stuff the others are trying to hide.

  11. Mike O says:

    It really comes down to be true ‘anti-establishment’ in terms of the way government is currently done; local, state, and federal. She demanded better; we all need to.

  12. unseen says:

    thx didn’t know that. You remeber the case by chance would like to read up on it

  13. happyfeet says:

    I’m heartened that her book shows her in a good light.

  14. happyfeet says:

    did that sound kvetchy?

  15. Tennwriter says:

    After reading her book, two things changed. One, I’m more confident she can do the job, and two, I realize she’s not as right wing as I hoped she was. I’m willing to compromise and accept Palin if we can get a true hard-core rightwinger for VP.

  16. happyfeet says:

    What’s important is that 2012 be seen as a triumph of right wing sensibilities as opposed to being seen merely as a rejection of disastrous and impoverishing dirty socialist usurpations of freedom attendant to the decrepitudinating of our little country and if Sarah Palin’s involved that’ll really be aces!
    I’ll even get the car washed!

  17. kevin barry says:

    years ago, there was a canadian magazine that did a long biographical article of Palin while she was governor. She was certainly not famous at the time. It was very heartening to read it. You folks should look for older articles that provide insight into her character.
    I wanted her to be vice-president LONG before that old goof McCain picked her.

  18. AD says:

    Line Item Veto/Budget Impounds…Many Presidents have Impounded Funds appropriated for programs they did not ask for, want, or believe the country needed. Following Watergate, Congress passed an “Impoundment Act” that forbade the President of this time-honored device, and gave themselves Base-line Budgeting so that spending would always grow, and a program once implemented, never had to be re-justified.
    What a President can do, is to go through his Budget Request, line by line, to make sure that none of his hirelings are asking for funds that he doesn’t agree with – it would be a good time to attempt to defund things the Government has no business doing, like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, etc. Then, when Congress sticks these little gems back in, VETO the entire measure making a public fuss over how Congress is attempting to recklessly spend the taxpayer’s wealth on useless programs. Then, VETO the Authorization, and the Appropriation, Bills, when they don’t get the message.

  19. SDN says:

    “More than 30 federal lawsuits challenged these impoundments, and all were decided against the President. None of the decisions directly challenged Nixon’s assertion that he had a constitutional power of impoundment. Instead, the judges looked at the language of the law requiring that cabinet-level officials spend funds for programs and decided that these laws had not given officials discretion to withhold funding.”

  20. cubanbob says:

    SDN the Supreme Court has never ruled on that issue. The Nixon Administration did not challenge those rulings in front of the Supreme Court. There is nothing prohibiting the President from ordering a cabinet officer to impound the funds as the cabinet officer is ultimately charged with administrating their respective area of responsibility under the President’s policies. He can also fire the cabinet officer if the officer refuses to comply. Politically the Nixon Administration was not strong enough to believe it could succeed if it chose to appeal the cases. However that does not imply that another administration , perhaps a Palin Administration, would not once again impound budgets or items within the a budget and force a showdown with Congress. Then it would be a game of chicken between Congress, the President and the Supreme Court and if you read the source you cite, there is a way the President can can go around Congress using a 1950 act. A President with support in Congress would probably not receive too much congressional opposition. In the internet age it doesn’t require too much for the White House to publish the items impounded, the reason for the impound and to challenge Congress to explain itself to the public. In short the matter is far from being decided. Then again the President could simply veto any budget he or she is fundamentally opposed to and continue to do so until Congress curbs the excesses to the satisfaction of the President. Naturally that would presume the President has sufficient popular support to impound or veto the items in question. So ultimately it is a question of political will and public support. Remember Congress can pass any law it wishes but that does not mean that every law is constitutionally valid.

  21. Angus Dei says:

    That’s why we who love her, love her… that, and she’s HOT!

  22. DEO says:

    Yeah. Here’s Palin…you take the bus, I’ll take the jet/ Which isn’t so bad unless you PRETEND you are taking the bus….

  23. GunRunner says:

    that’s all you got? No analysis? No pithy comment? Just “She should stay on the Bus?”

  24. Mae Good says:

    Sarah Palin is sooo Politics as usual. From her Ice Rink to her Tennis Court Sarah is self serving.
    Society consist of more than one group of people. We live in a Mosica world that requires open minded behavior.
    :) Mae Good

  25. Why would a CEO of a company earning $10 million or more is necessarily supposed to be stealing? Sometimes these companies have to pay these salaries in order to get the best person for the job and it is tied to performance. If Joe Sixpack had the same education and qualifications he could earn the same. I think the problem here is that your education is more like Joe Sixpack than that of a CEO and therefore you are suffering from a great dal of envy.