When I googled Wayne Anthony Ross for an earlier post, I came across a background article about Sarah Palin from the time of her campaign for governor in 2006.
It makes very interesting reading. I condensed it and want to share the juiciest bits with you, with my own comments in bold type.
Palin ran for lieutenant governor in 2002 at the age of 39. She was just finishing her second term as Wasilla mayor. In the last two weeks of the general election campaign, she did her Republican duty, stumping the state and appearing on television for Frank Murkowski. She was still, as she herself put it later, "the golden child."
Murkowski offered her several jobs in his administration, she said, including commissioner of commerce or head of the state parks division. Palin turned the governor down until he offered to put her on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Oil seems to be a strong magnet...
Palin, who admitted to having little background in the field, was named chairwoman, with the $125,000-a-year seat designated for a "public" member. She said she took the job to learn more about the oil industry, vital for the state. It wasn't an obvious stepping stone, she insists.
In the same way Alaska is not a stepping stone to her ambitions in the national scene...
The other Murkowski appointee to the commission was Republican Party chairman Randy Ruedrich. He had a professional background as an petroleum engineer. But protests were heard immediately about having a fundraising partisan regulating the oil industry. There were staff complaints about Ruedrich doing party business on state time, a leaked document to a gas-drilling company, perceived favoritism toward companies the commission was supposed to be regulating.
Palin, acting as chairwoman and ethics supervisor, passed complaints up the ladder to the attorney general and the governor's office. By November, as the complaints compounded, Ruedrich resigned from the commission.
Palin, who was asked to gather evidence from Ruedrich's computer, was bound by state ethics laws from saying anything publicly.
It was especially tough for Palin because one of the main issues Ruedrich had been promoting, shallow-gas drilling in the Mat-Su area, affected her friends and neighbors.
She finally quit in frustration in January, months before specific allegations would become public. She had been on the job only 11 months.
"A good friend told me that in politics either you eat well or you sleep well," Palin said of those times. "I wasn't sleeping well."
Concerned that the matter might be dropped, she continued to talk to the state through a lawyer, Wayne Anthony Ross, the National Rifle Association board member who had made a right-wing primary challenge to Murkowski in 2002.
W.A.R. rears his head.
"It was a crisis of conscience for her," Ross said. "Her personal integrity is very important to her, and here it appears she's behind a cover-up."
Two months after the Senate election, Palin was invited by Democrat Eric Croft to join him in filing an ethics complaint against attorney general Gregg Renkes, Frank Murkowski's longtime aide and campaign manager. The complaint charged he had a conflict of interest in an international coal deal that had been uncovered by the press. The case against Renkes mounted, even after Murkowski issued a reprimand and declared it closed. In February 2005, Renkes resigned and Palin was one of the heroes again.
Sarah Palin filed another ethics complaint?
Palin found other, small ways to stay in circulation. She appeared on statewide television in an ad for Spenard Builders Supply.
The same Spenard that provided materials for Wasilla Sports Complex at the same time her nice, warm home was being built nearby bearing some striking similarities to the complex.
None of these maverick positions were taken with the goal of setting up a run for governor, she says. When she appeared in the all-Alaska ads, she said, she still didn't know whether she might run for lieutenant governor in 2006 or make a run for governor as an Independent.
Ah, the maverick!
Instead she decided to enter the Republican primary last October, with Frank Murkowski still on the fence about whether to run himself. She said publicly that powers inside her own party wanted her "crucified." Her independence and her high profile on ethics issues captured an insurgent public mood, and by summer she was leading in the polls.
Those qualities also left her vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy. Public-record requests of the City of Wasilla revealed Palin campaigning for lieutenant governor in 2002 on city time. The records -- obtained originally by the Voice of the Times' Paul Jenkins and distributed by Murkowski's campaign -- showed Palin arranging campaign travel from the mayor's office and using her administrative assistant to write thank-yous to campaign donors.
Hypocrisy? Sarah Palin?
Palin responded by calling the accusations exaggerated and not at all comparable to Ruedrich's transgressions on the oil and gas commission. She said she apologized for any mistakes. Mostly, she dismissed the charges as last-minute smears by desperate opponents.
Sarah Palin's own transgressions are all pink and smell of roses. The tone was the same then as it is now when dismissing complaints against herself.
Her supporters remain avid, and Palin's bright red signs -- the school color of the Wasilla Warriors -- line the roads of Southcentral Alaska. But the campaign has wobbled at times.
Palin missed a few scheduled events and, at others, came off as unprepared or over her head. After an education forum last week, she was mocked by her opponents for submitting a folksy three-year-old essay about her schoolteacher father instead of a plan for improving schools.
Education? What's that?
Then last week she told a hometown crowd in Wasilla she would favor them as governor. "Certainly, people will assume I'm biased toward the valley in the decisions I make. So be it, because I will be.
We've noticed a certain bias, yes.
Another disconnect is with the state's Native corporations. Palin backed away from a scheduled meeting with Native executives several weeks ago, her campaign conceding she wasn't ready to talk about tribal recognition and other Native concerns raised by the group. Subsistence was prominent on the executives' list.
Palin's ties are strong to the Alaska Outdoor Council, whose calls for "equality" and hunting access sound different in rural Alaska than they do in the Mat-Su. It's unclear where the candidate would turn for advice on Native political matters.
Sarah Palin still doesn't know much about Native Alaskans. If in 2006 she was just ignorant, now she has graduated into being absolutely insulting about this issue.
Since her 1996 run for mayor, when signs saying "Positively Palin" adorned Wasilla, the candidate has said she hates negative politics.
That was fun. If you'd like to read the whole very long article, click here.
I have realised that there is a part one of this article. If you have the patience to read it, it's here.