I’m getting the most tendentious email about Palin these days. Here’s one on Palin’s supposed lack of fiscal conservatism, pegged to that absurd Post story. From a reader:
A problem for Repubs is going to be the underwhelming response to things that would normally alarm them. Forget the baby. Now Palin, the fiscal conservative she is, is shlepping her kids around the state on the taxpayer dime. I don’t know how common this is, but it doesn’t seem appropriate.
It’s clear there won’t be a knockout blow against Palin, but her fiscal conservative/reformer image is being slowly picked apart. From the bridge flip flops to sales tax hikes to fleecing oil companies to earmarks it’ll be strange how little conservatives care.
Me: First, let the record show the Post buried the lead horribly. If you make it past the headline, you’ll find this:
Gov. Palin has spent far less on her personal travel than her predecessor: $93,000 on airfare in 2007, compared with $463,000 spent the year before by her predecessor, Frank Murkowski. He traveled often in an executive jet that Palin called an extravagance during her campaign. She sold it after she was sworn into office.
“She flies coach and encourages her cabinet to fly coach as well,” said Garnero, whose job is equivalent to state controller. “Some do, some don’t.”
Leighow said that the governor’s staff has tallied the travel expenses charged by Murkowski’s wife: $35,675 in 2006, $43,659 in 2005, $13,607 in 2004 and $29,608 in 2003. Associates of Murkowski said the former governor was moose hunting and could not be reached to comment.
So she cuts travel spending by like 80% but, ah yes, she’s no fiscal conservative. Would that all government officials showed such profligacy!
Another point. Alaska is two-and-half times the size of Texas with probably fewer paved roads than Dallas (that’s a guess, but it wouldn’t surprise me). The state capital, Juneau, (which is cut off from the rest of the state) is over 800 miles from Wasilla. I would very much like to see Democrats finger-wag at Palin’s desire to maintain her family life while working.
Update: From a reader:
Greetings from rainy Holland. A quick thought on the whole ‘flip flop on the Bridge to Nowhere’ non-issue: I don’t think she acted any differently from any good hockey mom in Walmart. Palin said that she liked the idea of a bridge until she saw the price tag and told Congress ’thanks but no thanks etc’. That’s not a flip flop, that’s just common sense. Maybe Obama and Biden are confused about her looking at the price tag? Why change your mind once you find out it costs a lot of money? It’s only taxpayers’ money anyway, right?