In a recent column, conservative Pat Buchanan describes a battle for Sarah Palin's soul in terms of a struggle between "true conservatives" and "Bush neo-conservatives."
Buchanan identifies two agents of neo-conservative darkness in particular: Randy Schuenemann, McCain's foreign policy advisor, and Steve Biegun, former member of Bush National Security Council. These men are assigned as Palin's policy tutors. Biegun's assignment, according to Steven Clemens of the New American Foundation, is to "... turn (Palin) into an advocate of Cheneyism and Cheney's view of national security issues."
When CBS News anchor Katie Couric pressed candidate Palin on whether she would support Israel if that country decided to attack Iran, Palin kept repeating the Cheneyesque mantra "The US shouldn't second-guess Israel"; she is heeling to a short neo-conservative leash.
Buchanan frets about Sarah Palin's radical policy implant by the neo-conservatives; so should "true conservatives" be distressed by the McCain campaign's political makeover of the woman many Alaskans once believed was a reformer. Transparency has been replaced by secrecy; bipartisan cooperation has been replaced by stonewalling; and the rule of law is being compromised for political expediency.
For most of our recent history, Alaska has been a virtual political colony of the Republican National Committee. Add to that the presence of an Alaskan on the Republican National Ticket, and it is not surprising that the McCain campaign decided that it is their Natural Law right to occupy and use Alaska any way it sees fit.
Sarah Palin, who believes her destiny is divinely guided and shares a messianic zeal with many of her core supporters, has virtually turned our state government over to the service of her political mission. Alaska's Department of Law is now under the apparent direction of an outside alpha-dog attorney, Ed O'Callaghan, who was parachuted into Alaska by McCain's national campaign to scrub the Palin dirt from the national lens. One big piece of that dirt is the so-called the "Troopergate" inquiry, with which we are all familiar. O'Callaghan reminds me of the Wolf, Harvey Keitel's character in the movie "Pulp Fiction," whose job was to clean up the blood and ditch the body for the employer of a couple of careless hit men.
Alaskans have watched helplessly as Attorney General Talis Colberg subverted the authority of the Legislature in Troopergate. Specifically, Colberg counseled state employees to refuse to testify in the Troopergate inquiry after they were subpoenaed. This advice is contrary to his duty to the people of Alaska.
The McCain camp has not only taken over the Department of Law but has hijacked the governor's office. As of this writing, the governor's press office routinely refers outside press inquiries to the McCain campaign. And at least one person from the battleground state of Florida claims that official letters from Gov. Palin are appearing in mail boxes in that state.
Local media and the principals involved in a legislatively sanctioned Troopergate investigation have become targets for attack by the national McCain campaign's so-called "Truth Squad." There are reports that the Carrs-Safeway Stores in the Palmer-Wasilla area pulled all of their copies of the recent issue of the National Enquirer that featured critical articles about Sarah Palin. I was able to locate copies at our local Fred Meyer stores, however.
As an admirer of Gov. Palin's bipartisan success on oil tax legislation, AGIA, and ethics reform, I have been stunned by her transformation into a polarizing, negative partisan by McCain campaign. As I watch her performance on the national stage I feel a mixture of embarrassment for her and anger that she allowed herself, and our great state, to be used like this. While Sarah Palin may have received prayerful protection in her church from a witch doctor-battling missionary, she is clearly not protected against the Voldemort-like forces now controlling the John McCain campaign.
If the voters of America want to know what life will be like under a McCain-Palin administration, they need only to look at what is happening here in Alaska. If voters in Alaska want to send a meaningful message to political thugs like Ed O'Callaghan, then vote with a vengeance. If enough of us do so, we might just save our governor's political soul.
Elstun Lauesen is a rural development specialist. E-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.