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Sarah Palin in Wasilla

I admit. I'm still intrigued by Sarah Palin. I'm not convinced that she's the blithering idiot that so many of my peers see. Nor am I convinced that she's the great conservative / libertarian hope that many others see. But I'm definitely intrigued by anyone who can attract as much attention as she has attracted.

That's why this op-ed caught my interest: Palin in Wasilla: Resistance to insider assimilation.

Early in the second chapter of "Going Rogue," a chapter titled "Kitchen-Table Politics," you learn everything you need to know to understand why [Palin is so hated].

... Recruited to run for the council in 1992 by local power broker Nick Carney, Palin was seen as an attractive face who would support the usual way of doing business in Wasilla. She wasn't.

In one of the first tests of her independence, Palin opposed a proposal touted by Carney, her political patron, to force residents to pay for neighborhood trash pickup rather than hauling their garbage to the dump themselves, as most did, and as Palin says she still does.

Why was this so important to Carney? Because he owned the local garbage truck company. If you've never had much exposure to local politics -- and this is largely true anywhere you go -- it's a pretty big deal for a young, inexperienced politician (especially a woman) to so blatantly go against the person who recruited you into politics and supported you in your first campaign. You come under tremendous pressure to fall into line. Most cave, right then and there, long before they ever sniff politics at a higher level.

Palin didn't.

During her terms on the council, she consistently opposed heavy-handed community planning initiatives and burdensome taxes.

... Among Palin-haters, one of the most popular canards is that she is an airhead, and clearly not capable of dealing with the intricacies of government. As this chapter demonstrates, nothing could be further from the truth.

Palin not only has a keen grasp of the details of governing and budgeting, she also understands the political difficulties inherent in making government responsive. Many of her antagonists at the national level scoffed at the notion that her experience in Wasilla was of any value. Quite the contrary, local government is where a public official's decisions have the most direct impact on the electorate. It's where you really have to understand the ins and outs of what you're doing.

Interesting, no? And, yes, I am planning on reading Going Rogue. I'll pick it up sometime after the Kindle edition comes out.