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Byron York on Palin’s Underperformance

September 29, 2008

Byron York makes a great point over at the Corner:

So why has she done so badly in her two broadcast interviews?  One reason is her failure to draw on her own experience.  For example, when ABC’s Charles Gibson brought up cost controls for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, she appeared to know little about the issue.  Yet everyone knows, to take one example, that governors have been complaining long and loud about the burdens imposed on states by the federal government’s reimbursement policies on Medicaid.  Palin has had to deal with that in Alaska — I talked with her budget director about it yesterday.  And yet Palin said nothing about her own experience. The same was true for education and a bunch of other issues.  Oddly, the area in which she did bring up her Alaska experience was in foreign affairs — Alaskans can see Russia — when it wasn’t at all relevant to the question at hand.

What do governors do when they run for president?  They talk about what they’ve done in Texas, or what they’ve done in Arkansas, or what they’ve done in California.  It’s the way they make the case to voters that they not only have executive experience but experience dealing with some — certainly not all — of the issues they will face as president.  Governor Palin could cite her own experience much more.  Why she hasn’t, at least so far, is a mystery.

Back in 2000, I remember the President discussing his education reform in Texas as well as all the times he crossed the aisles to work with Democrats. It is not too late to recouch the debat, but she needs to step up and grab the spotlight from Obama. We were at our best last month when Palin spoke freely, whether it was at the convention or on September 10 when she arrived back in Alaska for the first time. Byron York also links to Sarah’s State of the State speech from earlier this year:

With this progress, it is with great confidence that I say our future is bright. Industry knows we want responsible development. Anadarko will drill Alaska’s first-ever gas- targeted wells on the North Slope. Chevron, FEX, Renaissance – many others are exploring. That’s ratification of AGIA’s promise to make investments profitable for industrious explorers. There’s more we can do to help leaseholders, to ramp up development. Our new reservoir study can increase development and we will ensure better, publicly supported project coordination. Besides oil, gas, and mining, we’re advancing tourism, to show the world Alaska’s majesty. We’re supporting our tremendous fisheries – for 150 years they have been the economic and social heart of our coastal communities. They define and sustain us, and I will not let politics interfere with management-for-abundance of our largest private sector employer.

To cultivate timber and agriculture, we’re encouraging responsible, economic efforts to revitalize our once-robust industries. We can and must continue to develop our economy, because we cannot and must not rely so heavily on federal government earmarks. Instead, let us power up and produce for Alaska and America. We can do this – we’re 50 years old now, and it’s time!

Time to take back our collective sense of responsibility and sovereignty. To honor constitutional principles and remind the Federal Government of our right to access and develop. To maximize development for the people of this Great Land. Let’s harness Alaskan ingenuity to deal with the double-edged sword of high oil prices. We will implement solutions to address outrageous energy costs for our citizens. While at the same time saving and investing the revenue generated by the record oil prices.

Let’s not blow it, let’s capitalize. We will fully fund Power Cost Equalization – $28 million to offset costs. We will match $10 million for Denali Commission and Energy Authority conservation programs. But we need a comprehensive approach to long-term energy plans, not just fiscal “shots-in-the-arm.” I’m appointing an Energy Coordinator, to activate a statewide Energy Plan. We’ll use earnings from a $250 million “Renewable Energy Fund” for alternative projects, like hydro, wind, geothermal, and biomass. These projects cannot even flirt with snake-oil science – they will be real, doable, and economic. Alaska’s plan can lead America toward energy security and a cleaner, safer world.

It is our energy development that pays for essential services, like education. Victor Hugo said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” It’s a privileged obligation we have to “open education doors.” Every child, of every ability, is to be cherished and loved and taught. Every child provides this world hope. They are the most beautiful ingredient in our sometimes muddied up world. I am committed to our children and their education. Stepping through “the door” is about more than passing a standardized test. We need kids prepared to pass life’s tests – like getting a job and valuing a strong work ethic. Our Three-year Education Plan invests more than a billion dollars each year. We must forward-fund education, letting schools plan ahead. We must stop pink-slipping teachers, and then struggle to recruit and retain them the next year.

We will enable schools to finally focus on innovation and accountability to see superior results. We’re asking lawmakers to pass a new K-12 funding plan early this year. This is a significant investment that is needed to increase the base student allocation, district cost factors and intensive needs students. It includes $100 million in school construction and deferred maintenance. There is awesome potential to improve education, respect good teachers, and embrace choice for parents. This potential will prime Alaska to compete in a global economy that is so competitive it will blow us away if we are not prepared. Beyond high school, we will boost job training and University options. We are proposing more than $10 million in new funding for apprenticeship programs, expansion of construction, engineering and health care degrees to meet demands. But it must be about more than funds, it must be a change in philosophy. It is time to shift focus, from just dollars and cents to “caliyulriit,” which is Yupik for “people who want to work.” Work for pride in supporting our families, in and out of the home. Work for purpose and for action, and ultimately destiny fulfilled by being fruitful. It’s about results and getting kids excited about their future – whether it is college, trade school or military. The Lieutenant Governor and I are working on a plan to make attending Alaska’s universities and trade schools a reality for more Alaskans through merit scholarships.

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