Friday, 13 February 2009

Questions without answers

Sarah Palin has fielded over 500 requests for interviews recently, but had to turn them down to concentrate on state matters, which was the reason given for not attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), according to Ronald Kessler of Newsmax.

The Governor was accused of neglecting Alaska during the vice-presidential campaign, but refutes such allegations.

“Of course, she paid attention to Alaska even while campaigning, but some people just won’t have it.” Bill McAllister, her communications director, tells Newsmax. “We’re constantly fighting that.”

Ethics complaints have been filed, and a record number of broad-based Freedom of Information requests have been made, McAllister says.

“In some cases, they want somebody’s entire e-mail account over a period of months,” McAllister says. “It’s unbelievable."

Although the public is entitled to file such requests, McCallister notes, to deal with the deluge, the state’s Department of Law has had to pull off attorneys working on issues such as those affecting the state’s production of oil and gas that are important to the public.

McAllister is not allowed to comment on matters outside state business or discuss the Governor's involvement in political activities in the Lower 48.

“She’s focusing on her job as governor, and perhaps that has the effect of reducing what could be her national exposure,” he says. “We’ve got a legislative session going on with some weighty issues.” McAllister agrees that, “by default,” when it comes to national exposure, Palin is keeping a low profile.

Much of the rest of the article is pretty boring, but the snippets above raise some interesting points.

The first point concerns being away for weeks on end campaigning for herself and Senator McCain and, according to her office, running the state at the same time. A very tall order and she couldn't pull it off, as they're still constantly fighting accusations of neglect. I have only one question: what exactly does the lieutenant Governor do all day?

Next: during the last legislative session, in 2008, there were lots of members of the Legislature wearing "Where's Sarah?" buttons. The fact that the Governor avoids Juneau at every possible opportunity is nothing new. It's almost puzzling to hear all this talk of not being able to absent herself from Juneau NOW when she never hesitated to do so in the past. There's a big question mark there...

Finally, Sarah Palin went on and on and on about transparency, being held accountable, etc etc during her campaign for the governorship. So why all the drama about providing copies of e-mails? Why does she still use a private e-mail account for state business? The worst part of McAllister's statements regarding the requests under the Freedom of Information is that the Governor seems to be looking to blame the public in case anything goes pear-shaped with the state's oil and gas production - because the attorneys working on these issues had to be pulled off to deal with those pesky requests!

If matters of state are so important, why did Sarah Palin ignore appeals from people - who live in the state - for a whole month? Then became so defensive when asked questions about Emmonak during Wednesday's press conference? Apart from gas and oil, is there anything else she considers important? How about people?

(Image by Banksy)