Mychal Massie slavers over Sarah Palin in his Nov. 18 WorldNetDaily column, padding her resume in the process:
She ended a multi-year stalemate over the financing and construction of a $40 billion cross-state pipeline that supplies cheaper natural gas to Alaskans and the lower 48 states. That single act alone did more to advance American energy independence than Biden, Obama or McCain can boast collectively. In her capacity as being responsible for the Alaskan National Guard, she authorized 521 missions that saved 200 lives.
Others offer a more reality-based view. Regarding the pipeline, the New York Times wrote:
Certainly she proved effective in attracting developers to a project that has eluded Alaska governors for three decades. But an examination of the pipeline project also found that Ms. Palin has overstated both the progress that has been made and the certainty of success.
Contributing to the project’s uncertainty is Ms. Palin’s antagonistic relationship with the major oil companies that control Alaska’s untapped gas reserves.
Ms. Palin won the governor’s office in part by capitalizing on populist distaste for the political establishment’s coziness with Big Oil, and her pipeline strategy was intended to blunt its power over the process. Her willingness to take on the oil companies has allowed the McCain campaign to portray her as a scourge of special interests.
Now, though, she will need the industry’s cooperation if her plan is to succeed, and just this week, her office said she intended to reach out to the North Slope oil companies.
As Ms. Palin takes to the road to campaign with Mr. McCain, invoking the pipeline as a major victory, some Alaska lawmakers who initially endorsed her plan now believe it was a mistake. State Senator Bert Stedman, a Republican who is co-chairman of the finance committee, said that in its contract with the chosen developer, TransCanada, the state bargained away too much leverage with little guarantee of success.
“There is no requirement to lift one shovel of dirt or lay down one inch of steel,” he said.
Regarding the National Guard, ProPublica wrote:
The president commands National Guard troops whenever they're deployed in federal missions, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. State governors only command the guardsmen in operations inside their states, traditionally in response to disasters like floods and fires.
According to Alaska National Guard spokeswoman, Kalei Brooks, in the two years of Palin's term, the National Guard has run 521 missions and saved 200 lives.
Major tasks, Brooks said, have been fighting wildfires and providing standby security during two meetings, including the International Whaling Commission (PDF) meeting in May 2007.
But even in state operations, Palin has a limited role. For big or unusual events, Palin authorizes the National Guard's actions, but for most run-of-the-mill work, Palin isn't involved at all.
Brooks explained that the National Guard works with other state security and emergency services, which each cover different geographical areas of the huge state. Each agency has a set of agreements that authorize them to respond automatically in an emergency, without needing the governor's specific authorization every time hunters get stranded in swamps, or Swedish tourists get stuck in the snow.
And while McCain spokesman Tucker Bound was correct when he told CNN that Palin, "makes the decision as to how to equip, how to command the National Guard in Alaska," the federal government, not the state, provides all of their equipment and material.
But then, Massie isn't exactly a reality-based guy.