USA Today: Gov. Palin is not a ‘religious wacko’ and works well with Democrats

The USA Today does the heavy lifting that the WaPo, NYT, and other big media news outlets refuse to do on Gov. Palin regarding her religious views and how she governs:

ANCHORAGE — Weeks after taking office as Alaska’s governor in December 2006, Sarah Palin vetoed a bill that sought to ban benefits for the same-sex partners of state workers. It was unconstitutional, she said.

This year, she rebuffed religious conservatives who wanted her to add two abortion restriction measures to a special legislative session on oil and gas policy, even though she supported the bills. Former aide Larry Persily said she didn’t want to risk offending Democrats, whose votes she needed on energy legislation.

Since Republican presidential candidate John McCain picked Palin as his running mate, much attention has been focused on her deeply conservative social views — including her opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and her attendance at a church that promotes the “transformation” of homosexuals through prayer.

But in her 21 months as governor, Palin has taken few steps to advance culturally conservative causes. Instead, after she knocked off an incumbent amid an influence-peddling scandal linked to the oil industry, Palin pursued a populist agenda that toughened ethics rules and raised taxes on oil and gas companies.

And she did so while relying on Democratic votes in the Legislature.

“She has governed from the center,” says Rebecca Braun, author of Alaska Budget Report, a non-partisan political newsletter. “She has in some small ways supported her religious views — for example, proposing money to continue the office of faith-based and community initiatives — but she has actually been conspicuously absent on social issues. She came in with a big oil and gas agenda, which really required Democratic allies to get through.”

John Bitney, who was Palin’s issues adviser during the 2006 campaign and later worked as her legislative liaison before she fired him, says, “She’s a very devout Christian. That’s a part of her core. But we never put those issues forward in the campaign. She takes the positions she takes because that’s who she is, but when she came into office, that wasn’t her agenda.”

Anyone with an open mind who reads that article will discover quickly that she’s not the ‘religious wacko’ certain folks on the far left have made her out to be. As I wrote last night, what Palin said about “God’s plan” and Iraq didn’t even come close to matching the over six minute prayer that FDR said before the nation the night D-Day started. Not only that, but presidents like Truman and JFK – and Lincoln, as she correctly pointed out in her interview with Charlie Gibson last night – weren’t ashamed to pray in public for guidance and clarity during tough times. That didn’t make any of them ‘religious nuts,’ and nor did Gov. Palin’s remarks in her former church make her out to be one, either.

On the reaching across the aisle front, Ed Morrissey responds:

[…] Her efforts to reform government and to ensure that Alaskans got their share of their mineral wealth may not meet with conservative approval — I think it was a mistake — but she clearly had to curb the influence of the oil companies in government. The Ted Stevens-Veco scandal proved at least that much.

Michael Reagan compared Palin to his father, and one can see at least some parallels with Ronald Reagan’s stewardship of California and of the nation here. Reagan fought a larger war for conservatism but didn’t mind allying himself across the aisle when he could reduce governmental power. He also gave tremendous personal support to religious values, but tended to shy away from government policies to impose them.

Now that the surprise of the Palin announcement has faded and journalists have recovered from being proven so hopelessly wrong on the veepstakes, we’re starting to see more balanced analysis of Palin’s track record. Unlike her opponents in this race, Palin has worked hard to create a “post-partisan” government model in Alaska, based on truly shared interests in reform. She has projected her values without radicalizing government to prove them.

Palin isn’t the frightening spectre her critics have claimed … and that makes her even more dangerous to them.

Yep.

The far left – heck, for that matter, even some like Josh Marshall on the ‘mainstream left’ – have become completely unhinged over Gov. Sarah Palin, and – in concert with mainstream media outfits like the WaPo, are flinging whatever mud they think they can find on her in an attempt to make something … anything stick, in order to stop her momentum. It’s a clear sign of desperation on their part. As the polls tighten up and the enthusiasm increases for the McCain-Palin ticket, the more of this we’ll see. Not just from far left bloggers, but from the Obama campaign itself.

Man your battle stations, ya’ll.

Related 1: The Washington Post continues to do their part for the left by dredging up Cindy McCain’s addiction to painkillers in a five page article that begins … on page A01.

Related 2: Via Prestopundit: Palin rips Gibson for lying about her statements on global warming.

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