Sarah Palin was a sportscaster before beginning her political career. After serving two terms as mayor, she became Alaska’s youngest and first woman governor. In 2008 she was selected by John McCain as his vice-presidential candidate in an effort to win over the religious right. After losing the election she returned to Alaska and resigned from the governor’s office the following year, before completing her term.
Palin has since been a television commentator and wrote the bestseller Going Rogue. She told Sean Hannity in 2010, “I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism. And I have a communications degree.”
In 2009 she formed a political action committee, SarahPAC, to promote energy independence and support state and federal candidates. The website was criticized following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford for having a graphic of a target over Gifford’s district. She responded: “Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,” and equated the accusations of her role in the shooting to a “blood libel.”
Palin endorsed and campaigned for Tea Party candidates in 2010. The Tea Party movement, she said, is “the future of politics in America.” In October 2011 she announced that she would not run for president.
Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, was registered as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party from 1995 to 2002. The primary goal of Alaska’s third largest party, according to its website, is to have the state vote on secession, an option it was denied when it voted on statehood. The Palins attended the party’s state convention in 1994, and Sarah Palin addressed it in 2006 while running for governor and sent a video greeting to its 2008 convention. The party also advocates positions similar to those of the Constitution Party and Libertarian Party.
Palin’s campaign for mayor targeted wasteful spending and high taxes. As mayor she cut property taxes, eliminated business inventory taxes, and increased the sales tax to fund a sports complex which helped increase the city’s long-term debt from $1 million to $25 million, a project the Wall Street Journal described as a “financial mess.”
The African evangelist whose prayer, "Lord make a way, Lord make a way,” Palin says helped her become governor established his ministry after “God spoke” to him and he began a witch hunt against a Kenyan woman whom he accused of causing car accidents through demonic spells. He frequently referred to the witch hunt as an example of the power of “spiritual warfare.” In 2005, he delivered sermons at Palin’s church, the audio of which was available on the church's Web site until it was removed around the time Palin's vice-presidential candidacy was announced.
In 2006 Palin successfully ran for governor, focusing on clean government, and signed an ethics reform bill the following year. She also supported development of Alaska’s oil and natural gas resources and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Before Palin became governor, Congress approved funds to build a bridge to a small island populated by 50 people, the “bridge to nowhere.” After national public outcry, the funds were reassigned to the Alaska’s general transportation fund. She campaigned for governor in support of the bridge, saying “nowhere” was insulting to the island’s residents. However, she canceled the bridge plan after the election and did not return the federal dollars. The following year she said that the there should be less reliance on the federal government.
While she cut hundreds of projects from the state budget, she accepted a $58 per day travel allowance totaling nearly $17,000, and about $43,500 in travel expenses for when her family accompanied her on state business, which she said was state policy. Alaska reversed that policy and said that per diem travel costs for stays in her home were considered income. The legislature then voted for a salary increase, which she declined.
In 2008 Palin dismissed the state’s public safety commissioner for performance related issues. The commissioner said he had resisted pressure from Palin and her husband to dismiss her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, after his acrimonious divorce.
The state legislature then investigated “Troopergate.” The final report found that firing the commissioner was proper, but that Palin had abused her power as governor and violated the ethics act when she sought to have the commissioner fire the trooper, and that she allowed her husband to use the governor’s office to seek the trooper’s dismissal.
Announcing that she would not seek re-election and did not want to become a lame duck, Palin resigned the following year, stating that she and the state had spent an “insane” amount of money to address these “frivolous” ethics charges.
Palin is opposed to healthcare reform, saying it would lead to healthcare rationing and “death panels.” The phrase met with bipartisan criticism and Politifact called it 2009’s “Lie of the Year.”
She opposes abortion, including in cases of rape and incest, same-sex marriage, and supports capital punishment. She is a lifetime member of the NRA and opposes the ban on semi-automatic weapons.
Palin is skeptical of global warming. She supports off-shore drilling; when asked about the Gulf Coast BP oil disaster, said, “I repeat the slogan, ‘drill here, drill now.’”
“Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!”
(In a Tweet coming to the defense of Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the talk radio host who apologized and decided to retire from her highly-rated program after using the N-word on the air 11 times in 5 minutes, Aug. 18, 2010 – Sources: Twitter; Huffington Post; CBS)
“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide…whether they are worthy of health care.”
“Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing”
(Tweet from July 18, 2010 – Sources: Twitter; Politico)
“A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.”
(August 29, 2008, Newsmax interview – Source)
“'Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!'”
(Tweet sent by Sarah Palin in response to being ridiculed for inventing the word "refudiate," proudly mistaking her illiteracy for literary genius, July 18, 2010 – Source)
“I want to help clean up the state that is so sorry today of journalism. And I have a communications degree.”
(Fox News interview with Sean Hannity, Nov. 22, 2010 – Source)
“I think we should kind of keep this clean, keep it simple, go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant. They're quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the Ten Commandments. It's pretty simple.”
(Arguing that Judeo-Christian belief was the basis for American law and should continue to be used as a guiding force for creating future legislation, interview with Bill O'Reilly, May 6, 2010 – Source)