Monday, September 08, 2008


By William Fisher

So now we know about Alaska’s famous jet.

Thanks to that vast left-wing media conspiracy, we know Sarah Palin didn’t sell the thing on ebay.

We know her administration tried several times – and failed.

And we know that it was finally sold – at a loss – to businessman Larry Reynolds, an Alaska refugee from Texas, who was brought into the deal by a Palin pal, John L. Harris, the Speaker of Alaska’s House of Representatives. (Reynolds’ wife reportedly donated $1,000 to Harris’ campaign.)

But we also know that the day after the Republican Party’s convention, while campaigning with Governor Palin, John McCain told the ecstatic crowd, “She took the jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on ebay... and made a profit."

What we don’t know is whether Mr. Straight-Talk knowingly lied, or whether he was simply parroting the talking points provided by his campaign aides (misinformation also confirmed by a Palin spokesperson).

If he was intentionally peddling misinformation, he lied. Sound familiar? It should; it’s a chapter straight out of the Bush/Rove playbook (let us not forget that this was precisely the kind of thing George W. Bush did to McCain in South Carolina in 2000).

And if McCain was simply playing Charlie McCarthy, it should remind us of Governor Palin’s vetting process and all the “judgment” that went into that process.

Either way, the ebay caper will likely be forgotten long before Election Day -- it’s already being dismissed by some as nothing worse than “good old American politics.”

Meanwhile, there’s an issue surfacing that’s far more serious than the sale of Alaska’s jet. It’s far more serious because it goes to the very heart of Governor Palin’s approach to governance.

The issue is God. Specifically, the ideological intersection between God and public policy.

Sarah Palin’s approach to public policy is God-driven. God’s on her side. She doesn’t just think it – that would imply some sort of rationality. She knows it. And that Bushian construct is arguably the scariest part of Palin being just a single beat away from a 72-year-old heart.

During a speech at a Pentecostal church, Palin exhorted the congregants to pray for our service members in Iraq who are “carrying out the will of the Lord.” The United States sent troops to that fight on a "task that is from God," she said.

She continued: "That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

And, as if God didn’t already have enough on His plate, Palin told her church audience that God was also interested in pipelines, specifically the $30 billion national gas pipeline project that Palin was pushing for. She asked her church audience to pray for it. The pipeline, she said, was "God's will."

She told graduating students of the church's School of Ministry, "What I need to do is strike a deal with you guys." As they preached the love of Jesus throughout Alaska, she said, she'd work to implement God's will from the governor's office, including creating jobs by building a pipeline to bring North Slope natural gas to North American markets. "God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that," she exhorted.

A pipeline -- God’s will?

So America’s voters will be violating God's will if they disagree with Gov. Sarah Palin's views on Iraq or energy policy? Does sound a tad that way, doesn’t it?

Now, I can’t read this kind of stuff without being reminded of the poster-boy for the God-is-on-our-side school of public policy.

That would be Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, one-time commander of the Army's top-secret Delta Force and former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

This born-again evangelical, you may recall, was the guy who appeared in dress uniform and polished jump boots before a religious group in Oregon to declare that radical Islamists hated the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian ... and the enemy is a guy named Satan."

Other tidbits of Boykin’s wisdom:

"I knew my God was bigger than his (a Somali warlord). I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”

"We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God, have been raised for such a time as this (Iraq War)."

President Bush is “in the White House because God put him there."

Oh. I always knew there must be a reason, but I thought it was the Supreme Court. Now I know.

What Sarah Palin needs to know is that the world is complicated, short on absolutes and full of grays. But if God is your public policy advisor, there are no grays. There are no ambiguities. The world is black and white, good or evil.

From that theocratic starting point, public policy gets built on certitude and hubris. And we’ve all seen where that takes us.