Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes, says the New York Times. Not surprisingly to those of us who know small-town politics well, there was plenty of dirt to be dug up once reporters got a chance to talk with people. Some interesting facts that turned up:

– about the book banning rumor:

The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”

So much for the ‘basic administrative question’. The entire town knew why she was asking the question – she wasn’t new to politics in the town, after all. She’d made her position clear as a city councilwoman.

About fighting dirty with the media:

In the middle of the primary, a conservative columnist in the state, Paul Jenkins, unearthed e-mail messages showing that Ms. Palin had conducted campaign business from the mayor’s office. Ms. Palin handled the crisis with a street fighter’s guile.

“I told her it looks like she did the same thing that Randy Ruedrich did,” Mr. Jenkins recalled. “And she said, ‘Yeah, what I did was wrong.’ ”

Mr. Jenkins hung up and decided to forgo writing about it. His phone rang soon after.

Mr. Jenkins said a reporter from Fairbanks, reading from a Palin news release, demanded to know why he was “smearing” her. “Now I look at her and think: ‘Man, you’re slick,’ ” he said.

It’s called pre-emptive strike. No wonder she’s got no problem with the tactics of the current campaign – hell, it’s gotten even worse since she came on board. Sounds like Rove could take pointers from this pit bull.

– about her run for governor:

Not deeply versed in policy, Ms. Palin skipped some candidate forums; at others, she flipped through hand-written, color-coded index cards strategically placed behind her nameplate.

Before one forum, Mr. Halcro said he saw aides shovel reports at Ms. Palin as she crammed. Her showman’s instincts rarely failed. She put the pile of reports on the lectern. Asked what she would do about health care policy, she patted the stack and said she would find an answer in the pile of solutions.

So I guess it’s nothing new that she doesn’t understand the basic necessary information for holding a public office. She figures if it worked for her as governor, it will work for her as vice-president.

– about breaking down the old boys’ network:

As she assembled her cabinet and made other state appointments, those with insider credentials were now on the outs. But a new pattern became clear. She surrounded herself with people she has known since grade school and members of her church.

Mr. Parnell, the lieutenant governor, praised Ms. Palin’s appointments. “The people she hires are competent, qualified, top-notch people,” he said.

The Wasilla High School yearbook archive now doubles as a veritable directory of state government. Ms. Palin appointed Mr. Bitney, her former junior high school band-mate, as her legislative director and chose another classmate, Joe Austerman, to manage the economic development office for $82,908 a year. Mr. Austerman had established an Alaska franchise for Mailboxes Etc.

Do you really want the country run by Wasilla High School’s Class of ’82?

– on transparency in government

While Ms. Palin took office promising a more open government, her administration has battled to keep information secret. Her inner circle discussed the benefit of using private e-mail addresses. An assistant told her it appeared that such e-mail messages sent to a private address on a “personal device” like a BlackBerry “would be confidential and not subject to subpoena.”

Ms. Palin and aides use their private e-mail addresses for state business. A campaign spokesman said the governor copied e-mail messages to her state account “when there was significant state business.”

On Feb. 7, Frank Bailey, a high-level aide, wrote to Ms. Palin’s state e-mail address to discuss appointments. Another aide fired back: “Frank, this is not the governor’s personal account.”

Mr. Bailey responded: “Whoops~!”

I’m spluttering at that one. They used personal email addresses to avoid discussing public policy in emails that could be subpoenaed – after campaigning on a platform that advocated transparency in government. No wonder the Republican party fell in love with her.

– about her management style:

During the last legislative session, some lawmakers became so frustrated with her absences that they took to wearing “Where’s Sarah?” pins.

Many politicians say they typically learn of her initiatives — and vetoes — from news releases.

Mayors across the state, from the larger cities to tiny municipalities along the southeastern fiords, are even more frustrated. Often, their letters go unanswered and their pleas ignored, records and interviews show.

Last summer, Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage, a Democrat, pressed Ms. Palin to meet with him because the state had failed to deliver money needed to operate city traffic lights. At one point, records show, state officials told him to just turn off a dozen of them.

Now there’s real decision making in action. It reminds me of one of our local city councilors, invited to tour the homeless shelter where I worked. After peering into the common room where clients were eating a dinner that cost less than $1 per person to prepare, she turned to our director and declared, “Well, there’s the problem right there, Buddy. That’s why we’ve got so many homeless people. They’re like stray cats. If you feed them, they just keep coming back.”

We laughed at her naivete – but she was only one of a 9 member board of a relatively small city with a mayor and a strong city manager. We could afford to laugh. I can’t laugh at Sarah Palin. There’s just too much at stake.

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