Sarah Palin — the Hugo Chavez of Alaska
I was watching the former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin giving her speech at CPAC the other night. Her fans came in droves, and I have to admit on a certain level, I do admire her, and I drew comparisons to another political figure that I also admire — Hugo Chavez.
There are similarities between the two.
First off, let’s be fair to Sarah Palin for a moment. When she came into the governorship of Alaska, she was truly up against a good ole’ boys club and she thumbed her nose at them. This doesn’t appear to be much to the pedestrian onlooker, but it’s a pretty significant revolution in its own right to break the gender barrier and to take on the establishment business class of Alaska’s local GOP. Granted this wasn’t the military coup that Hugo Chavez was a party to, still it’s profound and revolutionary in terms of the first female governor ever in Alaska. “Sarah barracuda” came, saw, and conquered. This begs the question — what is the biggest similarity between Hugo Chavez the Socialist and Sarah Palin the Republican, asides both being charismatic upstarts?
Oil fueled social welfare.
Alaska has its own oil resource that the state government controls and the citizens of Alaska get social welfare off of the oil revenues — a monthly check. Much like in socialist, Marxist, communist or whatever FOX News is calling Venezuela nowadays, Venezuela also controls its oil production via mercantilism. Both Alaskans and Venezuelans get a check to promote the social welfare and try to dampen poverty amongst its citizenry.
Alaskan socialism it is just like the socialism in Venezuela when it comes to petrodollar economies. Alaskans will do whatever is in their power to protect this resource and redistribute the wealth amongst themselves. Why shouldn’t they, right? It’s hard enough to live in Venezuela or Alaska.
What was truly remarkable about the crypto-socialist Sarah Palin was watching her remind her former constituents of Alaska that the oil resources of Alaska belongs to its citizens, not to a corporation that wishes to privatize that public resource. When she said this, there was no applause at the CPAC convention. It was if everyone was stunned for a second and this detail was overlooked by the media. Why? It flies in the face of Republican and Democratic doctrine that everything can and should be privatized and made into a business, like our US Prison system for example — a privatized industry that used to be under state control — or school vouchers. (I did in fact watch a convention for Democrats for education reform where they were all salivating over school vouchers and wanted to make public education, in their words, “competitive.” Maybe they can put up a toll both at the school too.)
When you socialize something, it becomes available to everyone — also known as public benefit. When you privatize something it becomes available only to those who have means. Take the internet for example. The internet was created by the US government, and instead of making sure its citizens of any economic class have full and free access to the internet, they handed that power over to corporations and made it their sole job to decide who has the internet and who doesn’t.
If you want internet access, you pay monthly rent. The internet is actually owned by the United States, but only in America can you take a public good and make it into a private business for shareholders. Same thing goes for radio and television. Sarah Palin and Hugo Chavez would hate the exploitation of a public benefit for privatized gains, wouldn’t they? I couldn’t imagine two human beings that would be obstinately bulwark against such corporate tyranny.
¡Viva Sarah Palin!