The episode might serve as a compelling, if small-bore, example of Palin’s reformer instincts. Except that, according to those who were present, Carney wasn’t quite the crooked trash magnate Palin makes him out to be. For one thing, Carney couldn’t have proposed the ordinance because he’d recused himself from the matter. The council, in fact, had asked him to appear as a kind of expert witness on the relevant rules and regulations. “I looked at it as we actually had an expert on the council sharing the information,” recalls Laura Chase, a fellow councilwoman. “Not … conspiring over a contract. There was no way that was happening.”
So if it wasn’t a sinister garbage conspiracy that put Carney in Palin’s crosshairs, what was it? At first glance, the two would have appeared to be allies–both had spent most of their lives in Wasilla and had attended the same high school. But, beyond that, they were sociological opposites in almost every respect. Whereas Palin had bounced around several no-name colleges before graduating from the University of Idaho, Carney held a degree from Dartmouth. Palin seemed preoccupied with her family and church when she entered politics. Carney was preoccupied with histories of the Civil War and World War II (he later contributed a self-published book to the genre) and savored the New York Times crossword puzzle. By the time he joined the city council, Carney had traveled to Asia, Australia, and Central America. He’d run the Anchorage office of Alaska’s economic development agency and had served as the state’s agriculture director. “I’d dealt with larger budgets by far than the city of Wasilla,” he recently told me.
Carney had a wry sense of humor. He was fond of joking that he’d graduated from Wasilla High School in the “top 20 percent”–by which he meant he was valedictorian of his five-person class. Sometimes Palin was the only colleague who didn’t get his jokes. “I don’t think he had too much patience for her lack of understanding,” says John Stein, then the town’s mayor. In internal discussions, Carney would be relentlessly logical while Palin was vague and intuitive. “Nick had a way of being direct and to the point, something that Sarah was uncomfortable with,” recalls Chase. Which is to say, when it came to garbage removal, what Palin seemed to have chafed against was less the substance of Carney’s position than what she felt was his elitist, Ivy League bearing. And, over the next few years, she found ways to get him back.
Yes. Those damned Franklins. That wink at the debate wasn’t designed to give Rich Lowry an erection, she was actually wincing in pain from the chip on her shoulder.
This person needs to be kept away from the White House. And for a preview of the next month with Sarah Palin on the campaign trail, look back to 1996:
Within a few months, Palin was officially challenging Stein and exploiting the cultural shift masterfully. She welcomed a national anti-abortion group in to carpet bomb Wasilla with pink postcards affirming her pro-life bona fides. She orchestrated an NRA endorsement and a mailing from the group falsely proclaiming Stein, a lifelong hunter, “anti-gun.” (Stein complained to the local newspaper that Palin was telling voters he wanted to “melt down” all the firearms in the state.) And, in a move practically out of Karl Rove’s playbook, she dwelled on how Stein’s wife used her maiden name, going so far as to demand a marriage certificate as proof of their nuptials. Palin’s campaign literature proclaimed her “deeply devoted to conservative family values”–all in the context of an ostensibly nonpartisan election. (Stein himself was a moderate Republican.)
Like I said- this woman needs to be kept out of Washington. She is everything the “old” John McCain used to pretend to despise.