Not that pretty at all.
America needs to know a little bit about those who are asking them to place them second in line to the most powerful position on the planet.
Thus far, the Republicans have clearly thought they had the perfect choice of candidate with which they could simply make it all up, stick to their stories, and hope no one would be able to report the truth. But just in case, they launched a massive coordinated effort to pre-emptively smear and denigrate "the press" in general, and anyone who asked just about anything as "sexist" and unfair.
But thank goodness, despite the McCain campaign manager saying they wouldn't allow Palin to be interviewed by any reporter unless they showed a proper amount of "deference" and respect towards Palin, apparently laboring under the delusion that this is a monarchy, some bits and pieces of reality are seeping through.
But try as they might to tighely manage the Palin myth, some truth is coming out.
Not that Palin and McCain's staff haven't tried. As noted in this revealing NY Times piece, a suitably icey fear of revealing any information about Palin has been cast over Alaska. The McCain forces have already gotten the message to the troops, ordering anyone who had any familiarity with Palin to not speak to any reporters, instructing them to refer them to the campaign or the governor's office, or simply refuse to respond or provide documents. Websites have been scoured and cleaned up, and the effort to hide the evidence is in full swing, including smear campaigns against those who might reveal the real Sarah.
Are you swallowing the idea of Palin as a "maverick" and "reformer"? Not so fast. She surrounded herself with cronies and appointed many high school classmates who were completely unqualified to high state offices while placeing a priority on loyalty and secrecy. (sound familiar?) and has a long track record of vilifying her opponents and using her office to punish enemies and reward friends. (Like all pols do, but not this blatantly and this extensivesly.)
Read the article and see if, rather and a reformer and "change agent", Palin doesn't sound alarmingly like a carbon copy of George Bush.
But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.
Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.
Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records.
Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought the e-mail messages of state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears. (Ms. Palin said the scientists had found no ill effects, and she has sued the federal government to block the listing of the bears as endangered.) An administration official told Mr. Steiner that his request would cost $468,784 to process.
When Mr. Steiner finally obtained the e-mail messages — through a federal records request — he discovered that state scientists had in fact agreed that the bears were in danger, records show.
“Their secrecy is off the charts,” Mr. Steiner said.
Ms. Palin ordered city employees not to talk to the press. And she used city money to buy a white Suburban for the mayor’s use — employees sarcastically called it the mayor-mobile.
Ms. Palin chose Talis Colberg, a borough assemblyman from the Matanuska valley, as her attorney general, provoking a bewildered question from the legal community: “Who?” Mr. Colberg, who did not return calls, moved from a one-room building in the valley to one of the most powerful offices in the state, supervising some 500 people.
"I called him and asked, 'Do you know how to supervise people?'" said a family friend, Kathy Wells. "He said, 'No, but I think I’ll get some help.' "
The Wasilla High School yearbook archive now doubles as a veritable directory of state government. Ms. Palin appointed Mr. Bitney, her former junior high school band-mate, as her legislative director and chose another classmate, Joe Austerman, to manage the economic development office for $82,908 a year. Mr. Austerman had established an Alaska franchise for Mailboxes Etc.
Many lawmakers contend that Ms. Palin is overly reliant on a small inner circle that leaves her isolated. Democrats and Republicans alike describe her as often missing in action. Since taking office in 2007, Ms. Palin has spent 312 nights at her Wasilla home, some 600 miles to the north of the governor’s mansion in Juneau, records show.
As Ms. Palin’s star ascends, the McCain campaign, as often happens in national races, is controlling the words of those who know her well. Her mother-in-law, Faye Palin, has been asked not to speak to reporters, and aides sit in on interviews with old friends.
At a recent lunch gathering, an official with the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce asked its members to refer all calls from reporters to the governor’s office. Dianne Woodruff, a city councilwoman, shook her head.
“I was thinking, I don’t remember giving up my First Amendment rights,” Ms. Woodruff said. “Just because you’re not going gaga over Sarah doesn’t mean you can’t speak your mind.”
P.S. Frank Rich essentially repeats my contention that this election, and those who vigorously support McCain (or anyone Republican) are simply voting out of a deep-seated fear that the white power structure is fading away, and desperately trying to stop the inevitable, they lash out almost pathologically. The very notion of change scares the hell out of them.