Lots of skeletons in Palin's closet

Friday, September 12, 2008 | 6:41 a.m. CDT; updated 10:39 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The poet and philosopher George Santayana is the man credited with, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Maybe our orthodox Republican friends need to look into their own history of 40 years ago.

When the world was introduced to Sarah Palin, we saw a strong and assertive state leader and a person who spoke her mind, rolling up her shirtsleeves to fight the fight. It also appeared that Palin picked a new fight when she announced during her acceptance speech "damn the press and full-speed ahead." Since Sept. 3, Palin has not given one press interview. Is she really that angry at the press or that afraid?

I enjoy American history, especially the part I grew up with. I especially enjoy the story of Spiro Agnew. Here is the short version:

Spiro's background was not too much unlike Palin's. Starting in local politics, Agnew moved up the ladder to governor. He held that office for less than two years before being put on the national ticket. It took Agnew, like Palin, only six years to advance from county official to vice presidential candidate. He was put on the ticket because of his conservative leanings and East Coast contacts, not as a replacement for Nixon. In fact, Agnew was considered only Nixon's voice as Sarah will be for McCain.

Now Agnew hated the press. The press dug a little too deep and set a big roller in motion. Nixon's number two man was accused of taking almost $30,000 in bribes while governor, something discovered by the press. Amid controversy and in the middle of the Watergate investigations, Spiro resigned pleading nolo contendere to charges of both bribery and tax evasion.

It was Agnew's lack of affection for the press that sticks in my mind. In November of 1969, Agnew slapped the hand of the American press for not supporting the president's policies concerning the war, at that time in Vietnam. His tirades continued against the Fourth Estate until his resignation in 1973. Agnew hated the press, mush as Palin seems to today.

The online magazine Slate ran a wonderful headline, "How Palin will beat the press." The subtitle held the answer: She will run as the new Spiro Agnew. Nixon understood that the press corps was an easier target than the liberals. His voice gave birth to conservative radio's easiest target, the liberal press. Yet it was the press that discovered Agnew's alleged bribery scheme and tax evasion as well as Nixon's involvement in the Watergate fiasco. Just as the press is digging into Sara Palin's "Troopergate."

More to the point is the lack of open communication, any communication, Palin has had with the press since the announcement of her selection by McCain. In fact, I received no less than two dozen articles on Sunday alone extolling the vice presidential interview with Charles Gibson of ABC's "World News Tonight." But that is only one and it is reported that Sarah Palin is sticking to her script and will not open herself to any controversial issues.

Governor, here is some free advice from a political advisor. Sit down with the friendlies, Fox News Sunday Morning and let them tout your conservative laurels, your National Rifle Association membership and your daughter's pregnancy and shotgun wedding as pro-life and pro-marriage. It would be a great practice and mistakes will be edited out. Sit with Leno and Letterman and tell a joke or two so we know you are a real person. Then attempt Stephanopoulos.

Palin's closet is filled with recently buried skeletons. "Troopergate" is only one. Flip-flopping on the "Bridge to Nowhere" is a second. Leaving Dallas after breaking water and telling noone she was giving birth while flying home to Alaska is a third. I wonder what else the press will find out.

Make the press angry, they will dig very deep.

David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and instructor at Columbia College. He welcomes your comments at



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