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 Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sarah Palin has Thin Credentials and a Vindictive Management Style


Janice Johnson

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On the surface, John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his Republican running mate seems to have worked, but underneath there’s the rumble of women growing angrier and angrier.

To my friends and family, this pick cynically assumes that voters will be impressed with her speeches and the sound bites, her appearance and happy family, and her unusual lifestyle in a state we don’t know much about.

What I hear from my friends is that when they study her they find a candidate with the thinnest of credentials, modest education, and fiercest of management styles, a pattern of destroying anyone who crosses her path and promoting her unqualified friends.

My mother brought another problem to my attention. She was upset when she learned that Palin claimed to have cut the chef from her budget for the governor’s mansion but had, in fact, kept her chef. “She said that the kids had to do without the cook,” Mom said, “but they didn’t.” She went on to explain that the chef stayed on but was paid out of a different state budget (not the governor’s mansion).

You know who’s cooking your meals,” Mom said. “If she’s not telling the truth, then it’s a lie.”

My mother is still offended by lies.

When I shared this information with a new friend who just moved here from Colorado, she told me a startling story of her own. She was raped as a young woman and kept the baby. As a single mom she was shunned and disrespected, even by the clergy. When her son turned 18, she finally told him the truth about his father. He had been pressing for details for years. When he heard the truth, he exploded and still hasn’t gotten over it, years later.

I don’t want that to happen to another child or another woman,” she told me, between sobs. Palin supports no choice, even for a woman who has been raped.

I wondered if the Palin nomination would motivate my friends to tell me more stories from their deep and hidden pasts.

“I can’t talk about it. I’m exhausted,” confessed a neighbor who is married to a Republican. Her husband refuses to discuss the issues. She referred me to, where dozens of accomplished women have written out their opposition.

A friend in Oregon emailed me a letter he found on the Internet from Anne Kilkenny, an Alaskan, who wrote to her friends and relatives about Palin, right after her nomination. That letter ended up on, which has verified that it was written by “Anne of Wasilla.”

The letter says that when Sarah ran Wasilla the annual expenditures grew by 33 percent and the taxes went up 38 percent. The town had no debt when she took it over and she left the city with $ 22 million in debt. Anne paints the picture of an ambitious but not gifted politician, someone who uses fear, cronyism and lies to further her agenda. You can view the letter at

Kilkenny has guts because Palin gets even with those who speak against her.

As a former human resource manager in large corporations, I’ve been disturbed by Palin’s leadership style and by the claim that she has executive experience. She ran a small city and a very small state, population-wise, but those experiences do not prepare her for national politics.

She should have experience working on the type of complex problems she would encounter in a large state’s legislature or in Congress. If she had gone to a top college or completed a law degree, or even another advanced degree, then she would be more qualified.

As for leadership, her profile is not of a talented leader but rather of someone who loves to be in the spotlight. There is not one issue that she brags about that is a true accomplishment.

On the surface Sarah Palin looks good, but looking deeper at her skills and accomplishments can engender anger.

Do the Republicans believe that voters are so superficial that they will not look beyond Palin’s outer qualities?

What will happen to the United States if someone who is so unprepared to be president actually has to become president?

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