This is a question and answer position survey of the various candidates who were running for governor of Alaska at the time and I specifically draw your attention to the following items:
5. Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges [the so called "bridges to nowhere"]?
"Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now - while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist."
So she was FOR it before she was AGAINST it. [at least as of September, 2008]
Her own words reveal a glimpse of her position on the abortion issue. I only present the following so that you may contrast and compare it to that of someone like say, Hillary Clinton, just to see that the two are not interchangeable female archetypes from a purely political perspective:
7. Do you support or oppose the use of public funds for abortion (e.g., paying for abortion, promoting abortion, subsidizing organizations that provide or refer for abortion)?
"I oppose the use of public funds for elective abortions."
While I do applaud her refusing to let Senate President Lyda Green muddy up the waters of the last special legislative session (specifically called by Palin to hammer out issues pertaining to the natural gas pipeline under the AGIA bill) by bringing in the five separate anti-abortion/anti-choice bills as introduced by John Coghill (R), in a response letter to Green who requested the reintroduction of these bills during the special session she specifically states "As you are aware, I fully support these bills". Palin further chastised Green that perhaps she didn't do enough during the regular session to push all of these bills through the legislature: “As the end of the session drew near, passionate supporters of these measures made an attempt to move these bills to the floor for a vote,” ...“I was surprised to see that you and Senator Huggins voted with the opponents of these bills to block such a vote.”
and (a copy of both letters) here:
As I have stated before, as someone who doesn't own a uterus, I don't really have much to add to the reproductive rights dialog, but I do know that the state has no business telling women what they can and can't do with their own bodies and concerning their own health issues.
Unlike Hillary Clinton, whose pro-choice views are already widely known, evidently Sarah Palin is the exact political opposite of Hillary because of her hardcore (and already well documented) stand against ALL forms of abortion even in the case of rape or incest. She has however been quoted as saying "I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending an innocent's life."
Governor Palin is also known to favor both parental consent and spousal consent laws (two more bills introduced by Coghill in the last regular session of the Alaska legislature) that, in the absence of Roe v. Wade being overturned, would require minors to inform their parents of elective abortions, even those who may be victims of rape and incest perhaps even at the hand of their own parent or family member. The insanity of requiring by law that someone get consent to abort from someone who may have committed rape or incest upon them is unbelievable. It is unconscionable. A bill similar to this passed in the Alaska legislature in 1997 but was tied up in the state supreme court almost immediately upon passage and eventually ruled by the court as unconstitutional. To reintroduce it in almost its exact form less than ten years after being overturned by the courts is an extreme wase of time and a severe folly at best.
As to spousal consent this is more difficult for me to approach as I am a father and I would have been devastated if my ex-wife had unilaterally decided to abort our son. Yet had she made that choice for health reasons or otherwise, I would have supported her decision. While it is likely that as the donor of 50% of the DNA that made that baby possible I may feel that I should have at least a 50% say in that decision, it is still an absolute fact that it is her body and as such she is the ultimate arbiter of what happens with that body. Some of the more shrill opponents of a pro-choice position would perhaps say that this would make me an accessory to a "baby killer" but I would say that you cannot FORCE someone to have a baby. Not even if you love them, are married to them or seemingly have their best interests at heart and in mind.
As evidenced by my previous post concerning her reluctance to move to the state capitol of Juneau, Alaska and her charging the state for 319 days worth of per diems while mostly working from her home in Wasilla, it should come as no surprise that she supports the following:
22. Do you support building a road from Juneau to Skagway?
Having such a road would link the state capitol to the rest of the state unlike its currently less than acceptable position of being reachable only by airplane or the state ferry system. This would make it accessible to ALL of the citizens of the state of Alaska rather than only those who can afford an expensive airline flight or ferry trip simply to gain access to our elected representatives. It may even save the state tens of thousands of dollars shuttling the governor's family back and forth between the Governor's Mansion in Juneau and her "family estate" in Wasilla. She could drive her big black Suburban back and forth, instead.
Recently the governor came under fire in the local media for using her office to promote the defeat of two important ballot measures (both of which later went down to defeat in the most recent election). As a hunter, she has always stated her support for aerial wolf hunting and predator control methods, something which the citizens of the state of Alaska have voted against on several occasions. Her office specifically promoted what Palin herself characterized as an "informational" website that was essentially opposed to the measure. The APOC (Alaska Public Offices Commission) enjoined her and the state from both promoting and presenting this site by saying that it used state resources to promote a negative position and misinformation against this particular ballot measure prior to an election. The state used an appropriation of $400,000 to develop and promote this website, going as far as to place ads on local radio and television stations to further its agenda of preventing passage of the measure and in continuation of the policy for which the state is currently invested. This again is despite of the fact that the majority of the population has voted against this policy position at least two if not three times previously.
The other initiative they opposed was ballot measure 4, the so called "Clean Water Initiative", the detractors of which had said was a stealth ballot measure designed to thwart the development of the controversial Pebble Mine project. Because of the proposed location of the mine at the headwaters of the watershed that drains into Bristol Bay, one of Alaska's prime deep sea salmon fishing spots, opposition to the mine has been nothing less than fierce. Long before the ballot measure was introduced, Sarah Palin's position was (taken from the governor candidate position statement published previously):
26. Do you support the proposed Pebble mine in Southwest Alaska as the project is now envisioned? If no, are there conditions the mine developers could take that would make the project acceptable?
"As part of a Bristol Bay fishing family, I would not support any development that would endanger the most sensitive and productive fishery in the world".
Yet somehow, almost inexplicably and sometime close to the actual election, governor Palin used her position to promote yet another questionable "informational" website that opposed ballot measure 4 using $25,000 of money appropriated by the Alaska state legislature.
Governor Palin even appeared in television advertisements on local stations stating that she "personally opposed" ballot measure 4, seemingly a position exactly opposite of her previous statement that she "would not support any development that would endanger the most sensitive and productive fishery in the world". Pebble Mine would undoubtedly have some sort of effect upon the watershed of the area which drains DIRECTLY into Bristol Bay. All hard rock, open pit mines historically have some sort of detrimental environmental effect upon their water systems because of the chemicals used to extract minerals from the rocks themselves. To have cyanide, lead and other chemicals released into the water and thus the fish and by extension the people eating those fish is at the very least and perhaps by the very definition of the word, "detrimental". I dare say calamitous, even.
So perhaps yet again another case of she was FOR it before she was AGAINST it.
As someone who identifies himself as a progressive, I find it absurd that politicians take positions that are diametrically opposed to that of their constituents. Politicians are first and foremost supposed to be representatives of their constituents. Period. Full stop. We do not and should not elect our representatives to promote their OWN views but rather the views of the majority when those views don't directly trample upon the rights of the minority.
In retrospect and providing for the adage that hindsight is 20/20, she can now say, after personally opposing it in widely publicized television advertisements and through "informational" websites that she IS representing the will of the people. The absurd part is that she may have used state funds to promote a negative position and/or misinformation to unduly influence the outcome of these particular ballot measures rather than the ethically superior position of supporting the will of the people without exerting her influence. In the long run I have an idea that she will not be vindicated by the fact that these measures went down to defeat but will rather most likely be held accountable by some of the more fair minded people the state of Alaska for exerting this negative influence while using state funds and her personal charisma as a means to an end.
In my mind it does not take much of a leap of faith to imagine that this means to an end was caused by her eagerness to see her AGIA initiative passed and signed into law and to support the future (now present) license holder of AGIA, TransCanada, a Canadian company. The other sticky fact is that the developer of the Pebble Mine project is ALSO a Canadian company. One can easily imagine that the deal to oppose ballot measure 4 was nothing less than tit for tat, trading upon her full cooperation with TransCanada to "play ball" on AGIA if and ONLY if Sarah would come out strongly in opposition to a ballot measure that would effectively kill a future mining project for another Canadian company.
Perhaps that's just the conspiracy theory part of my brain kicking into overdrive. It does however seem fishy (pun intended) that governor Palin would take a chance at risking a fishery ecosystem of such immense importance to Alaska and its economy and one which she previously was so outspoken about protecting, in exchange for the long shot that IS AGIA. It would also seem to take the kind of backroom, old boys network political dealings of the past to perhaps make her change her position so radically. At this point in time Palin seems so politically invested in AGIA being a success for Alaska that even she might take the bait (again, pun intended) to have so totally and unbelievably reversed her position on something she had previously stated to have held so dear to both her life and her livelihood.
AGIA is a long shot because it isn't an actual contract to guarantee that a gas pipeline gets built in Alaska, only a promise that TransCanada can proceed with the right-of-ways, research and development of that pipeline and that the state will help them with this by reimbursing them up to $500,000,000 of the cost of those preliminary steps. Both the state AND TransCanada must work together to get the gas producers (BP, Exxon, ConocoPhillips) to come to the table to hammer out the agreement necessary for getting our natural gas to market.
Since the producers seem to be proceeding full steam ahead with their own project called "Denali" which was deemed by governor Palin as unacceptable to the state of Alaska under the terms of AGIA, that prospect is not likely to happen in the near future. This makes her proclimation of AGIA success somewhat hollow because it is likely that she will be long gone from her position as governor of Alaska before a single cubic foot of natural gas can get to market. And not because she'll be vice president but because, I believe, the gas producing lease holders will tell her to take a hike. Which is all the more reason why she should have told McCain NO to the VP position so that she could be here in Alaska fulfilling the promises she made about building a gas pipeline BEFORE she got so distracted by the heady whiff of power that the RNC seems to presently be feeding to her ego.