Hank  Adler

Sunday’s New York Times treats its readers to this paragraph on page one: “When Ms. Palin had to cut her first state budget, she avoided the legion of frustrated legislators and mayors. Instead, she huddled with her budget director and her husband, Todd, an oil field worker who is not a state employee, and vetoed millions of dollars of legislative projects.” Horrors!

To the New York Times writers scurrying around Alaska looking for someone to say something bad about Sarah Palin, it must be pretty horrifying stuff to think of a first term reform governor deciding to veto millions of dollars of legislative projects. It must be horrifying to see lobbyist directed legislation being vetoed in an effort to tame runaway spending. Of course, this was the theme of Sarah Palin’s campaign and the reason the voters of Alaska decided to elect her as governor.

It is often great fun when reality mimics art. The romantic comedy “Dave” played this very scene in 1993. Kevin Kline plays the role of a common man who is thrust into the Presidency and is desperately trying to do both his best and the right thing for all Americans. After he cannot get the Cabinet to find a few dollars for an important social project, he brings in Charles Grodin, playing his personal accountant, and the two spend the night looking at the Federal budget. Their conclusion is that with a little of this and a little of that, there is more than enough money for Kline’s project and he simply “blows away” his Cabinet at the next meeting with facts and figures. The common man makes the uncommon correct choice on the allocation of resources.

It is not great fun seeing the New York Times condescendingly identify Todd Palin as “an oil field worker who is not a state employee”. Which part is the deal breaker? Are all oil workers and therefore all voters without a college degree to be banned from discussions of serious matters? Are only certain spouses, those identified and certified by the media to be acceptable, to be allowed to consult with their elected official husbands or wives on legislative issues? Finally, is the job title “state employee” an entitlement needed to have a useful idea with respect to good government?

Why cannot the “elite” media understand that voters want their governors to review and reject “millions of dollars” of inappropriate spending proposals from their legislatures? The voters understand that too much legislation emanates from lobbyists with issues divergent from the citizens. The voters understand that it does not take a degree from an “elite” school to have common sense in decision making. And finally, the voters understand that common sense is what has been missing from legislative decisions at all levels. And common sense is where you find it.


Hank Adler

Hank Adler is an Assistant Professor at Chapman University.

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