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Sarah Palin: Caribou Barbie or Porky Pig?

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Sometime around September 1st the moniker "Caribou Barbie" was coined for Sarah Palin even before the Repbulic National Convention (RNC) had officially started. The domain name was quickly snapped up. Next came the feigned outrage and cries of misogyny from the right accusing progressive bloggers of creating the moniker "Caribou Barbie". Sadly not two days later on the floor of the RNC before Sarah's nationally televised speech, you saw Republicans proudly holding signs reading, "Hooisers for Hotties", "Hottest Governor from the Coldest State", and "Republicans for Hotties".

In the run up to her speech Cindy McCain, called Sarah Palin a "hockey-mommin' ... basketball shootin' ... moose huntin' ... fly-fishin' ... pistol-packing ... mother of five for vice president." Sarah Palin, a former beauty queen, then led off her speech with the following joke, "What's the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom? One wears lipstick!"

Granted her speech was written by one of President Bush's speechwriters and not her and ironically within the same speech she touted how she was not part of the Washington establishment and was going to shake up and change the way things are being done in Washington. How is that for irony: the Washington establishment writing a speech about how they will shake themselves up. I digress.

Regardless of how confident one feels about her claims of executive experience running a state for two years with a total population no larger than the city of Columbus Ohio, she does have a compelling small town Americana story … for a "Lifetime" cable movie. Everything from leading her high school basketball team to the state championship to winning the Miss Wasilla Pageant followed by a third place finish in the subsequent Miss Alaska pageant.

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At times, however, her first national interview on ABC with Charlie Gibson felt like the 'question and response' portion of a beauty pageant competition and not the kind of dialogue one would expect for someone who could be a heartbeat away from running an economic world superpower. When asked by Gibson, "Did you ever travel outside the country prior to your trip to Kuwait and Germany last year?"

Palin responded, "Canada, Mexico, and then, yes, that trip, that was the trip of a lifetime to visit our troops in Kuwait and stop and visit our injured soldiers in Germany. That was the trip of a lifetime and it changed my life."

Gibson: "Have you ever met a foreign head of state?"

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Palin: "I have not."

Trying to divert attention away from her lack of experience Republicans have been touting how much of a reformer she is and that she is a fiscal conservative that will shake up Washington. Sarah Palin herself said in the Charlie Gibson interview that John McCain was looking for someone who had a proven track record of reform and she was that person and would be a good partner for John McCain.

During her Repbulic National Convention speech Sarah Palin said the following:

"And I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending: nearly half a billion dollars in vetoes.

I suspended the state fuel tax, and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.

I told the Congress 'thanks, but no thanks,' for that Bridge to Nowhere.

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If our state wanted a bridge, we'd build it ourselves. When oil and gas prices went up dramatically, and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged - directly to the people of Alaska."

The problem is that Sarah Palin was for the "$315 million Bridge to Nowhere" before she was against it. In September 2006, while campaigning for Governor, Sarah Palin visited Ketchikan to express her support for the Gravina Island Bridge project, which would later be coined the "Bridge to Nowhere".

The "Bridge to Nowhere" was originally an earmark bid from Senator Ted Stevens and the Republican Congressional delegation back in 2005. The earmark was buried in the 2006 National Appropriations Bill and most likely would have been funded had it not been noticed by anti-pork barrel spending advocates who started to make a very public stink about this particular earmark.

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Eric Nelson is freelance writer, an editor at OpEdNews, and a spiritual progressive from Minnesota who has become more politically active. The reasons for this should be obvious to most; rising poverty, a broken health care system, and a growing (more...)
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