The Sarah Palin She Knows: Snopes Vets Anne Kilkenny’s Letter

6 09 2008

Republican power brokers have been insisting that an unvetted Alaskan mom and small-town PTA activist who’s a complete stranger to them, must nevertheless be smart, charming, able to do anything she sets her mind to and believable beyond all question (even as she spouts easily disproved untruths with a lipsticked smile.) So surely they will just LOVE Anne Kilkenny?
Here’s the Snopes dot com finding that the letter is authentic.

And here is Anne Kilkenny’s letter in full:

I am a resident of Wasilla, Alaska. I have known Sarah since 1992.
Everyone here knows Sarah, so it is nothing special to say we are on a
first-name basis. Our children have attended the same schools. Her
father was my child’s favorite substitute teacher. I also am on a
first name basis with her parents and mother-in-law. I attended more
City Council meetings during her administration than about 99% of the
residents of the city.

She is enormously popular; in every way she’s like the most popular
girl in middle school. Even men who think she is a poor choice and
won’t vote for her can’t quit smiling when talking about her because
she is a “babe”.

It is astonishing and almost scary how well she can keep a secret. She
kept her most recent pregnancy a secret from her children and parents
for seven months.

She is “pro-life”. She recently gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby.
There is no cover-up involved, here; Trig is her baby.

She is energetic and hardworking. She regularly worked out at the gym.

She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “puts things out
there” and if they prove to be popular, then she takes credit.

Her husband works a union job on the North Slope for BP and is a
champion snowmobile racer. Todd Palin’s kind of job is highly
sought-after because of the schedule and high pay. He arranges his
work schedule so he can fish for salmon in Bristol Bay for a month or
so in summer, but by no stretch of the imagination is fishing their
major source of income. Nor has her life-style ever been anything
like that of native Alaskans.

Sarah and her whole family are avid hunters.

She’s smart.

Her experience is as mayor of a city with a population of about 5,000
(at the time), and less than 2 years as governor of a state with about
670,000 residents.

During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running
this small city was turned over to an administrator. She had been
pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after she had
gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had
given rise to a recall campaign.

Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6
years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over
33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the
City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation

She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a
regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she
promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they
benefited residents.

The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration
weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed
money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it
with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage
the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said
she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a
new library?

No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a
multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece
of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was
still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers
involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the
community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it
would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that
could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing.

While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office
redecorated more than once.

These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.

As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus
in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will
make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she
proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state.

In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she
recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while
she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s
surplus, borrow for needs.

She’s not very tolerant of divergent opinions or open to outside ideas
or compromise. As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by
her or her staff. Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the
basis of who proposed them.

While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected
City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from
the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents
rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s
attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew
her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the
Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.

Sarah complained about the “old boy’s club” when she first ran for
Mayor, so what did she bring Wasilla? A new set of “old boys”. Palin
fired most of the experienced staff she inherited. At the City and as
Governor she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people,
creating a staff totally dependent on her for their jobs and eternally
grateful and fiercely loyal–loyal to the point of abusing their power
to further her personal agenda, as she has acknowledged happened in the
case of pressuring the State’s top cop (see below).

As Mayor, Sarah fired Wasilla’s Police Chief because he “intimidated”
her, she told the press. As Governor, her recent firing of Alaska’s top
cop has the ring of familiarity about it. He served at her pleasure
and she had every legal right to fire him, but it’s pretty clear that
an important factor in her decision to fire him was because he wouldn’t
fire her sister’s ex-husband, a State Trooper. Under investigation
for abuse of power, she has had to admit that more than 2 dozen
contacts were made between her staff and family to the person that she
later fired, pressuring him to fire her ex-brother-in-law. She tried to
replace the man she fired with a man who she knew had been reprimanded
for sexual harassment; when this caused a public furor, she withdrew
her support.

She has bitten the hand of every person who extended theirs to her in
help. The City Council person who personally escorted her around town
introducing her to voters when she first ran for Wasilla City Council
became one of her first targets when she was later elected Mayor. She
abruptly fired her loyal City Administrator; even people who didn’t
like the guy were stunned by this ruthlessness.

Fear of retribution has kept all of these people from saying anything
publicly about her.

When then-Governor Murkowski was handing out political plums, Sarah got
the best, Chair of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: one
of the few jobs not in Juneau and one of the best paid. She had no
background in oil & gas issues. Within months of scoring this great
job which paid $122,400/yr, she was complaining in the press about the
high salary. I was told that she hated that job: the commute, the
structured hours, the work. Sarah became aware that a member of this
Commission (who was also the State Chair of the Republican Party)
engaged in unethical behavior on the job. In a gutsy move which some
undoubtedly cautioned her could be political suicide, Sarah solved all
her problems in one fell swoop: got out of the job she hated and
garnered gobs of media attention as the patron saint of ethics and as a
gutsy fighter against the “old boys’ club” when she dramatically quit,
exposing this man’s ethics violations (for which he was fined).

As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from
Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel
politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to
nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget
guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing
projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative
action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply
because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant
she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

She is solidly Republican: no political maverick. The State party
leaders hate her because she has bit them in the back and humiliated
them. Other members of the party object to her self-description as a
fiscal conservative.

Around Wasilla there are people who went to high school with Sarah.
They call her “Sarah Barracuda” because of her unbridled ambition and
predatory ruthlessness. Before she became so powerful, very ugly
stories circulated around town about shenanigans she pulled to be made
point guard on the high school basketball team. When Sarah’s
mother-in-law, a highly respected member of the community and
experienced manager, ran for Mayor, Sarah refused to endorse her.

As Governor, she stepped outside of the box and put together of package
of legislation known as “AGIA” that forced the oil companies to march
to the beat of her drum.

Like most Alaskans, she favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. She has questioned if the loss of sea ice is linked to
global warming. She campaigned “as a private citizen” against a state
initiaitive that would have either a) protected salmon streams from
pollution from mines, or b) tied up in the courts all mining in the
state (depending on who you listen to). She has pushed the State’s
lawsuit against the Dept. of the Interior’s decision to list polar
bears as threatened species.

McCain is the oldest person to ever run for President; Sarah will be a
heartbeat away from being President.

There has to be literally millions of Americans who are more
knowledgeable and experienced than she.

However, there’s a lot of people who have underestimated her and are
regretting it.

•“Hockey mom”: true for a few years
•“PTA mom”: true years ago when her first-born was in elementary
school, not since
•“NRA supporter”: absolutely true
•social conservative: mixed. Opposes gay marriage, BUT vetoed a bill
that would have denied benefits to employees in same-sex relationships
(said she did this because it was unconsitutional).
•pro-creationism: mixed. Supports it, BUT did nothing as Governor to
promote it.
•“Pro-life”: mixed. Knowingly gave birth to a Down’s syndrome baby
BUT declined to call a special legislative session on some pro-life
•“Experienced”: Some high schools have more students than Wasilla has
residents. Many cities have more residents than the state of Alaska.
No legislative experience other than City Council. Little hands-on
supervisory or managerial experience; needed help of a city
administrator to run town of about 5,000.
•political maverick: not at all
•gutsy: absolutely!
•open & transparent: ??? Good at keeping secrets. Not good at
explaining actions.
•has a developed philosophy of public policy: no
•”a Greenie”: no. Turned Wasilla into a wasteland of big box stores
and disconnected parking lots. Is pro-drilling off-shore and in ANWR.
•fiscal conservative: not by my definition!
•pro-infrastructure: No. Promoted a sports complex and park in a city
without a sewage treatment plant or storm drainage system. Built
streets to early 20th century standards.
•pro-tax relief: Lowered taxes for businesses, increased tax burden on
•pro-small government: No. Oversaw greatest expansion of city
government in Wasilla’s history.
•pro-labor/pro-union. No. Just because her husband works union
doesn’t make her pro-labor. I have seen nothing to support any claim
that she is pro-labor/pro-union.


First, I have long believed in the importance of being an informed
voter. I am a voter registrar. For 10 years I put on student voting
programs in the schools. If you google my name (Anne Kilkenny +
Alaska), you will find references to my participation in local
government, education, and PTA/parent organizations.

Secondly, I’ve always operated in the belief that “Bad things happen
when good people stay silent”. Few people know as much as I do because
few have gone to as many City Council meetings.

Third, I am just a housewife. I don’t have a job she can bump me out
of. I don’t belong to any organization that she can hurt. But, I am no
fool; she is immensely popular here, and it is likely that this will
cost me somehow in the future: that’s life.

Fourth, she has hated me since back in 1996, when I was one of the 100
or so people who rallied to support the City Librarian against Sarah’s
attempt at censorship.

Fifth, I looked around and realized that everybody else was afraid to
say anything because they were somehow vulnerable.

I am not a statistician. I developed the numbers for the increase in
spending & taxation 2 years ago (when Palin was running for Governor)
from information supplied to me by the Finance Director of the City of
Wasilla, and I can’t recall exactly what I adjusted for: did I adjust
for inflation? for population increases? Right now, it is impossible
for a private person to get any info out of City Hall–they are
swamped. So I can’t verify my numbers.

You may have noticed that there are various numbers circulating for the
population of Wasilla, ranging from my “about 5,000″, up to 9,000. The
day Palin’s selection was announced a city official told me that the
current population is about 7,000. The official 2000 census count was
5,460. I have used about 5,000 because Palin was Mayor from 1996 to
2002, and the city was growing rapidly in the mid-90’s.

August 31, 2008



13 responses

6 09 2008
Crimson Wife

I grew up in a town of about 5,000 residents and this letter just brought back not-so-nice memories of all the petty personal grudges that flourish in a small town. Doesn’t Mrs. Kilkenny have anything better to do with her life than bitch about Mrs. Palin?

6 09 2008

LOL – I have some not-so-nice small town memories, too. But it’s funny — I was wondering the other day, why would anyone automatically picture Palin as the good-girl side of small towns and motherhood and government reform, when she’s just as likely to be the vindictive tyrant with the town in a stranglehold, and Kilkenny one of her little-people victims with nothing left to lose by standing up to her and trying to warn people about the need for real reform of ALL the Republicans?

Here in our state capital, at least, it’s been our experience that whistle-blowing victims merit the benefit of the doubt long enough for a careful and scrupulously impartial investigation, especially against wealthy and popular power brokers with relationships and resources and commanding media coverage under their thumbs. Sarah Palin may come from a small town and present herself as the victim of unfair criticisms so she’ll seem like a lovable David, but as a wealthy power broker who fired everybody in her way and installed her own cronies, and now has the entire corrupt Bush administration operatives and presidential campaign funding vested in bleaching out her skirts, it’s inarguable that Kilkenny is the real David in this drama, not Governor Goliath.

Seems the logical fallacy of confirmation bias — which Dale at Meming of Life has written a five part series about recently, starting with this post — like the Force,
“can have a strong influence on the weak-minded!”
— Obi-wan Kenobi

Which includes all of us. 🙂
It’s just that the smartest and most moral of us see it, learn about it and work to do better. The very definition of a Thinking Parent imo. (Not to mention Thinking Politicians . . .the future of the free world depends on THAT!)

The scientific method is largely devoted to neutralizing a single fallacy called confirmation bias — our strong tendency to find and collect whatever evidence supports our preconceptions and desires while ignoring the rest.

Francis Bacon and the rest didn’t invent the idea of evidence — they laid the foundation for a systematic method of controlling the incredibly strong human tendency we all have to cherry-pick evidence to confirm our biases.

6 09 2008
Nance Confer

I think Mrs. K is a good citizen of her small town trying to give her take on things that she knows about first-hand. I didn’t read this as bitching about some small potatoes. After all, Mrs. Palin proposes that we make her our Vice President. She’s not running for Class Mom.

Or class anything, that I can see. But that’s another bitch-fest.


6 09 2008

Also it’s clear now that someone is lying about a LOT. Having Kilkenny’s letter as well as Palin’s autobiography as she likes to tell it, makes it more likely the American voters will be able to sort out truth from self-serving lies in time to not be harmfully sucked in by anyone’s?

Which I thought was at least one change we Americans all agreed was essential this time around, but suddenly it’s hard to believe that . . .

6 09 2008

One thing the Republican nominees apparently do have in common? 😉

“. . .she hired or elevated new, inexperienced, obscure people”

6 09 2008

Here’s a question for the whole class:
What does your own confirmation bias tempt you to believe about this latest attack — and whichever version of reality prevails, should it determine what happens to the, ahem, united nation that flag symbolizes?

By David Harsanyi
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 09/06/2008 05:05:56 PM MDT

This morning, Republicans tell me that a worker at Invesco Field in Denver saved thousands of unused flags from the Democratic National Convention that were headed for the garbage. Guerrilla campaigning. They will use these flags at their own event today in Colorado Springs with John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Before McCain speaks today, veterans will haul these garbage bags filled with flags out onto the stage — with dramatic effect, no doubt — and tell the story.

“What you see in the picture I sent you is less than half of total flags,” a Republican official emailed. “We estimate the total number to be around 12,000 small flags and one full size 3×5 flag.”

I’m not sure what the DNC was supposed to do with
unused hand-flags, frankly. But the Republicans are obviously questioning someone’s patriotism here.

Update: I just spoke with the person at Invesco who found the flags. He thinks both sides are exaggerating a bit. He claims the majority of the bags with flags were near the trash and it was probably an “oversight” by the Democrats rather than a nefarious plot against the flag, but he doesn’t believe anyone was coming to get them. “The flags were there for a week and a day and no one came looking for them,” the person said.

Here are the statements from the Democrats.

“American flags were proudly waved by the 75,000 people who joined Barack Obama at the Democratic Convention. John McCain should applaud that, but instead his supporters wrongfully took leftover bundles of our flags from the stadium to play a cheap political stunt calling into question our patriotism. On the same day he agrees to join Barack Obama at Ground Zero on September 11, John McCain attacks the patriotism of Obama supporters who so proudly waved the American flag at our historic event in Denver just days ago.”
– Democratic National Committee Spokeswoman Karen Finney

“Stories circulating about flags at the Democratic National Convention are false. We distributed more than 125,000 American made flags at the Convention – the flags removed from Invesco field were intended for other events and taken without permission. It’s disappointing that someone would take American flags without authorization and then falsely describe how they were being used. We have the utmost respect for the American flag, and it’s sad to see them being used for a cheap political stunt.”
– Democratic National Convention Committee

Reach columnist David Harsanyi at 303- 954-1255 or dharsanyi@

6 09 2008

And what about this?
Would it be a lie, if headlined “Sarah Palin Doesn’t Have Heart” — no.
Would it be the truth — no.
Is this meaning stuff not that black-and-white, even if Palin herself is?
Now you’re thinking!

Heart’s Nancy Wilson responds to McCain campaign’s use of ‘Barracuda’ at Republican convention

“‘Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women. We ask that our song ‘Barracuda’ no longer be used to promote her image.

The song ‘Barracuda’ was written in the late 70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women. (The ‘barracuda’ represented the business.)

While Heart did not and would not authorize the use of their song at the RNC, there’s irony in Republican strategists’ choice to make use of it there.'”

7 09 2008

The flag does not equal patriotism.

7 09 2008
Nance Confer

Do Republicans know how to talk about issues?


7 09 2008

Remember the journalist who wrote The Great Derangement!!

It hits even closer to home after living through August:

I realized how quaint was the mere suggestion that Christians of this type should learn to “be rational” or “set aside your religion” about such things as the Iraq War or other policy matters.
Once you’ve made a journey like this — once you’ve gone this far — you are beyond suggestible.

It’s not merely the informational indoctrination, the constant belittling of homosexuals and atheists and Muslims and pacifists, etc., that’s the issue. It’s that once you’ve gotten to this place, you’ve left behind the mental process that a person would need to form an independent opinion about such things.

7 09 2008

Palin for example, has her own church pulpit politics problem. Just a few weeks ago she reportedly sat in the pew for the foreign policy lesson that that Jews should become Christians if they want to survive in the Middle East.

If Gwen Ifill asks Palin in the debate about any such Christianist (and therefore unconstitutional in a president?) approach lurking in her own foreign policy background, is it a legitimate question people should demand that Palin address, or is even asking the question legitimate cause to make journalism the enemy, for the pitbull to get huffy and never talk to the media again even once elected?

(Should it make me America’s talking heads concern instead of her, for using a sex-specific word like huffy? Would it be better, or worse, for me to say “bare her fangs and bite like the canine bitch she introduced herself to the RNC as being, to their partisan delight?”)

7 09 2008

Piggybacking on what COD said — who knows what Palin’s Israeli flag story from Foreign Policy Magazine really means?

20 09 2008

What an interesting and informative letter. I don’t perceive the authors tone to be that of someone with a vengeance. More likely a concerned citizen of her community. I think Palin has been hyped beyond measure. (as was Hillary) The debates will certainly make for entertaining morning TV here. I almost feel like both sides should sell season tickets to this event. Muddling through the fodder of politics has become almost to much. I have not decided who I will cast my vote for. I wrestle with Obama and his (clinging to their guns and religion speech).
As a current home schooling/PTO mom, I would love more information on Obama’s plan to *fix* education, we all know Mcains’s plan (the same as Bush).

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