Nobody Beats the Biz

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Rudy-smashing journalist Wayne Barrett thought there was something fishy about Sarah Palin's claim to be a "small business" owner. He checked into it. The good news: Palin did venture into small businesses. The bad news: None of them did any, you know, business.

On July 1, 2004, the Palins and Carolin and Ray Wells purchased commercial property in Anchorage, incorporating themselves as Anchorage Car Wash LLC. "When we started, we thought we were going to go ahead" with the car wash," Carolin Wells told Modern Car Care. "We just decided to disband it. It was actually just an investment for both of us over a piece of property as it turned out." They sold it for a small profit in January 2006, just as Sarah Palin was launching her gubernatorial campagn.

In 2005, Palin incorporated Rouge Cou (roughly translated, "Red Neck"), a marketing firm that got a license but, according to disclosure forms she filed with the state the next year, never did any business.

Let's assume McCain doesn't overcome an 100-electoral vote deficit and win the presidency. Will Palin be the frontrunner for the next GOP nomination? Her national profile is bigger than it ever could have been had she stayed in Alaska, but with about two months to work, reporters keep blowing holes in her resume. A month into her quest for the Naval Observatory, she hasn't given a press conference. Having survived a debate with Joe Biden, she can't again enter one of these contests with Mariana Trench-low expectations.

Ross Douthat, a Palin fan in general, assesses her chances here, but to really do that you need to consider who'll be in the field. Mitt Romney? South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford? Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal? In mid-2011, when these candidates start debating, will Republicans really think being a "hockey mom" is more impressive than being, like Jindal, a Rhodes scholar who more-or-less single-handedly saved a state's hospital system? I doubt it. If Jindal was McCain's veep this year, Sean Hannity would probably be telling you how Jindal's wisdom and experience were far more impressive than Joe Biden's phony, time-travelling attempts at "Joe Six Pack"ism. He'd accuse the Democrats of class warfare. He'd be right!

Palin could probably stand 100 or 200 more pinpricks in her record and still win the female vote in GOP primaries, but by 2012 party leaders will be done pretending she's qualified for this job.

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  1. incorporating themselves as Anchorage Car Wash LLC

    Palin incorporated Rouge Cou (roughly translated, “Red Neck”), a marketing firm that got a license

    Give her some credit. She did the part with the most annoying, thanks-for-getting-in-the-way-of-entrepreneurs government paperwork.

  2. If John Edwards could be a frontrunner in 2008, I don’t see why Palin couldn’t.

  3. Meh. Palin is simply the right’s Terri Shiavo that isn’t (arguably) brain dead.

  4. Sanford would be lovely as a GOP candidate, though I fear he’s too libertarian for their tastes.

  5. http://rawstory.com/rawreplay/?p=2095

    yes this is Olberman on Saturday. Riffing on Palin’s ‘obama is a terrorist’ crap. 10 minutes long. I enjoyed it. I think you will as well

  6. Jindal couldn’t afford to be hitched to McCain’s broken wagon (which has been obviously broken from the get go) this cycle. Had he done so, it would have poisoned his chances text time around.

    It may take another cycle or two, however, for the Republicans to truly shed the heavy hand of the Chrisianist/nutball faction.

  7. It may take another cycle or two, however, for the Republicans to truly shed the heavy hand of the Chrisianist/nutball faction.

    Uh, dude. Jindal is a *star* of the “Christianist/nutball faction”. There was a great and entertaining story not so long ago about how he attended and assisted with exorcisms in his college years.

    If you’re hoping for a GOP disentangled with religion, Jindal is not your savior.

  8. shecky, it is my opinion that the christianist/nutball faction is what led the gop to power. Their straying away from the christians is what has been their down fall. The only political salvation for the GOP will be in reuniting with the christion conservatives led by the southern baptist convention.

  9. There was a great and entertaining story not so long ago about how he attended and assisted with exorcisms in his college years.

    “The power of Christ commands you to vote for me!”

  10. Who says that the Republican party will be relevant in four years. That is four more years of the Hispanics and black populations growing and the white population shrinking. It is four years when the Obama Administraiton can put 20 millions illegal aliens on the fast track to citizenship. It is also after the Democrats redistrict another 30 Repulbican congressmen out of office.

    The quesiton for 2008 is whether this is the last time that the Republicans will be relevant in a national election?

  11. If Sanford runs, we’ll again see the Republican party’s (and the news media’s) antilibertarian hate in full flower. Same with Walter Williams (but then add some denied racism for seasoning!) Mark my words…

  12. what was the deal with her purported commercial fishing operation? was that her husband’s? i confess i didn’t follow the link.

  13. Hogan, the fishing business doe belong to her husband, but she helped on the boat I guess. I can’t speak for Alaska, but in the west, Native Americans can take a lot more salmon commercially from their historic fishing grounds. Don’t know if the first dude enjoys the same perks up there.

  14. doe=does

  15. Well, most small businesses fail, so her failing at a small business isn’t that surprising.

  16. Seems he conveniently forgot the snowmobile dealership the Palins were partners in, the commercial fishing they do and that Todd’s snowmobile racing is a business.

  17. By 2012, she’ll have four more years of experience as a candidate. Maybe she’ll be a little more sure-footed and knowledgeable.

  18. “shecky, it is my opinion that the christianist/nutball faction is what led the gop to power. Their straying away from the christians is what has been their down fall.”

    Are you sure it wasn’t straying away from the Reagan coalition?

  19. joe, I expect the good people of Alaska to kick her out of office after her deplorable behaviour cast them in such a terrible light.

  20. “By 2012, she’ll have four more years of experience as a candidate. Maybe she’ll be a little more sure-footed and knowledgeable.”

    No way. You can get away with having the 38th ranked tennis player as your doubles partner, but don’t expect that 38th ranked player to make it past the first or second round in the singles tournament.

  21. Loser VPs don’t get nominations. Exception: Bob Dole. And Bob Dole is no Sarah Palin. Bob Dole never talked about airspace.

  22. What’s Geraldine Ferraro up to these days?

  23. “joe, I expect the good people of Alaska to kick her out of office after her deplorable behaviour cast them in such a terrible light.”

    Yeah, I already had a bad opinion of Alaska from Ted Stevens and Don Young. Palin has made me think even LESS of Alaska then before, and I didn’t think that was even possible!

  24. LBJay-

    Being thorough and comprehensive is not Mr. Weigel’s strong suit.

  25. Besides Dole, has any losing VP candidate gotten the presidential nomination for their party? I’d prefer answers to be limited to John McCain’s lifetime please. Even Dole’s run was 20 years after his ticket lost. Have any of them won the presidency?

    Seems to me, if you’re on a losing ticket, you’re branded as a loser. Not to mention, Palin’s standing for a lot of people is as the butt of national jokes. The way SNL treats her makes Quayle’s “potatoe” incident look distinguished. If McCain’s job in 2009 is still a senator, I guarantee that conservative elites will brutally turn on her the day after the elections.

  26. Mo–

    Not in John McCain’s lifetime.

    And again, Bob Dole could do stuff like debate and give interviews. And, you know, read newspapers and stuff.

  27. Mo, good point. I can see where the GOP will lay McCains loss at her feet.

  28. Actually Lamar, I’m not much better at doubles

  29. You can get away with having the 38th ranked tennis player as your doubles partner

    Not if you want to win.

  30. I don’t mind doubling up, wink wink.

  31. Lamar-

    John Mcenroe at Wimbledon in 1977 being an exception. You will recall that he had just graduated from high school and had gone to the All England Tennis Club hoping to win the Juniors and instead he was able to get in to the big boys tournament as a qualifier.

  32. Sarah Palin for Pres?

    YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS!

  33. brotherben,

    You might be right, the voters of Alaska might rise on up into her airspace. If she can win the next election, though, she will have laid down her marker. That will indeed be a major test.

    Lamar,

    You can get away with having the 38th ranked tennis player as your doubles partner, but don’t expect that 38th ranked player to make it past the first or second round in the singles tournament.

    A 21-year-old who’s reached #38 isn’t going to go far at Wimbeldon this year, but he would seem to have a bright future. Palin is like a pitcher who got called up from the minors. She’s got great stuff, but she’s not ready. That means she has the potential.

    Besides Dole, has any losing VP candidate gotten the presidential nomination for their party? Carter/Mondale lost in 1980. I know, not exactly the same thing, but close.

  34. Episiarch,

    Not if you want to win.

    Jimmy Connors/Peter Flemming in the 80s.

  35. Lamar-

    and he made it to the semifinals, before losing to the brash basher from Bellville. Credit for the alliteration goes to the fabulous Bud Collins.

  36. Yeah, yeah, joe and Lamar, there are exceptions, I agree. But they come about when you have, say, an OK power baseliner that compliments a much better net player.

  37. Palin Magazine

    All Palin, all the time

  38. “A 21-year-old who’s reached #38 isn’t going to go far at Wimbeldon this year, but he would seem to have a bright future.”

    My point is just that there are too many “21 year-olds” with bright futures that are already in the top five. I just don’t think she’s a national quality politician.

  39. Episiarch,

    I’m thinking about Asante Samuel. As a rookie, he was an ok nickelback, but there is no way he ready to start at corner until the end of the year. That is to say, it was his inexperience, not a lack of natural ability, that made him only suitable for a supporting role at first. People with talent can gain experience and skills.

    Maybe you’re right, Lamar. But sometimes it’s the sixth round pick that turns into the All Pro.

  40. My point is just that there are too many “21 year-olds” with bright futures that are already in the top five. I just don’t think she’s a national quality politician.

    Oh snap!
    So you think she’s more of a Thomas Berdych circa 2005?

  41. I’m thinking about Asante Samuel

    joe, the only thing where I know names and info is tennis, because that’s the only game I watch.

  42. Well, most small businesses fail, so her failing at a small business isn’t that surprising.

    Except that it sounds like she didn’t even try. Not that most of our fearless leaders have stunning resumes in the world of private enterprise, of course.

  43. *was just getting suspicious about where Martina Hingis got her coke from…*
    *looks toward Episiarch*

  44. joe, maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part. I can’t stand Palin’s aw shucks ain’t we just happy and the stoopeds routine.

  45. Except that it sounds like she didn’t even try.

    You of all people should know that a “failed” business is a great tax deduction.

    *looks toward Episiarch*

    If I had enough to sell I’d be Tony Montana, and I’d be screaming something about saying hello to my little friend right now.

  46. Maybe you’re right, Lamar. If the aw shucks stoopid routine ends up giving the Republicans 8 years of George Bush and then an electoral defeat, perhaps they’ll go in a different direction.

    Episiarch,

    A cornerback is what they call a centerfielder when the infield goes into a shift and they use the point guard as a third goalie.

  47. joe,
    Most rookie corners in the NFL are pretty mediocre because the rigors of the NFL are much more than in the pros. Once they get used to the complexity and speed of the NFL, they get better in their second and third years, like wide receivers.

  48. failed small business owner -> Governor -> VP candidate

    Failing upwards is always an indicator of future incompetence. The Peter Principle on acid. It happens everywhere, but it is especially chilling in politics.

  49. Wow, Mo. That’s almost like a metaphor of something.

    Yes indeedy. In baseball, the skills of the best hitter in AAA ball will get him through about two months, before the pitchers learn how to pitch him, then he strikes out badly twice a game for few weeks. He then either grows as a hitter, or he wins a couple more batting titles in AAA and opens a car dealership.

  50. George W. Bush didn’t claim that his timber investment was a small business. It’s pretty amazing when George W. Bush out-truths you.

  51. Uh, dude. Jindal is a *star* of the “Christianist/nutball faction”. There was a great and entertaining story not so long ago about how he attended and assisted with exorcisms in his college years.

    If you’re hoping for a GOP disentangled with religion, Jindal is not your savior.

    Indeed. However, it’s clear to me that Jindal would be a much more formidable opponent to a Obama than McCain. Despite Jindal’s magical tendencies, he does have a credible and practical fiscal conservative streak that would be critical to building broad coalitions. He does have some intellectual chops. On the downside, intellectual chops are viewed with suspicion by the GOP base, and he isn’t white.

    shecky, it is my opinion that the christianist/nutball faction is what led the gop to power. Their straying away from the christians is what has been their down fall. The only political salvation for the GOP will be in reuniting with the christion conservatives led by the southern baptist convention.

    A broad base well beyond the christianist/nutball faction is what led the GOP to power. They were the useful idiots for a long time. Unfortunately, the GOP couldn’t remain all things to all people forever. Moderates/fiscal conservatives found much to be repulsed by in the Jesus/GOP crowd, which led to the current disarray.

  52. So they incorporated, then assessed their business plan, and found out they could make more money (presumably) by selling the land. In other words, they did business. Presumably, they paid market price for the land and weren’t given a huge discount by a convicted felon who happens to raise money for them or their party, because that would be newsworthy if it actually happened, right?

  53. Ooh, look at the Chicago real estate appraiser.

  54. Besides Dole, has any losing VP candidate gotten the presidential nomination for their party?

    Mondale.

  55. Oops, somebody already said it. Damn.

  56. “So they incorporated, then assessed their business plan, and found out they could make more money (presumably) by selling the land. In other words, they did business.”

    The image conjured up by the phrase “small business owner” is one of an ongoing business venture, i.e., something that is more than the buying and selling a single piece of land. It appears that they intended to be small business owners, then stopped short. But feel free to continue life as a disingenuous clown as you see fit.

  57. I see Haley Barbour being the GOP candidate in 2012. Jindal has plenty of time and won’t run until 2016 unless Obama’s approval rating is at Bush-like levels by 2011.

  58. It may take another cycle or two, however, for the Republicans to truly shed the heavy hand of the Chrisianist/nutball faction.

    Apparently the christian conservative faction has already gone elsewhere.

  59. John David,

    Mondale was a winning VP candidate before he was a losing VP candidate.

  60. “Red Neck” would be “Cou Rouge”. The reversed phrase is French hipster slang for a mild mannered person who likes to collect friends who are really violent. You know, like someone who pals around with terrorists.

  61. Sounds like a pretty shoddy piece of reporting to me. You can always conclude that someone’s small businesses never did any business by leaving out the ones that, you know, did.

  62. RE: exorcisms–

    An old pastor of my church was an Indian Jesuit. He was quite brilliant, spoke five languages fluently and could play piano and guitar. As a young priest he was sent to Burma, learned a native dialect there, and was the first to train new priests from that ethnic group. When the Junta cracked down on non-burmese citizens, the Vatican pulled him out for his own safety.

    Anyway, this brilliant old guy told me that he had performed exorcisms twice. I wouldn’t hold something like that against him. He’d proved his intellect in a lot of ways, he proved his bravery in facing down tigers, bandits, and the military dictatorship of Burma.

    For Jindal to have participated in an exorcism is no crazier than other superstions that modern intellecuals believe.

  63. “Besides Dole, has any losing VP candidate gotten the presidential nomination for their party?”

    Sure. The losing VP candidate in 1920 was his party’s presidential candidate in ’32, ’36, ’40, and ’44.

    “I’d prefer answers to be limited to John McCain’s lifetime please.”

    Well, McCain was born in 1936.

  64. “For Jindal to have participated in an exorcism is no crazier than other superstitions that modern intellectuals believe.”

    to which superstitions do you refer?

  65. “You can always conclude that someone’s small businesses never did any business by leaving out the ones that, you know, did.”

    A search of the Alaska Dep’t of Commerce business entity records reveals only the one LLC. Granted, she could have engaged in small business without establishing a business entity. But that’s unlikely.

  66. Well, Nixon was a losing PRESIDENTIAL candidate that was nominated again 8 years later and won.

  67. Epi, a solid baseline player is no help in the game of doubles. Both players must be masters at the net. The I formation leaves the opponents too many angles. A number thirty eight player can be a help if his specialty is net play.

  68. Walter Mondale was a losing VP candidate who got the nom 4 years later.

    And anyway, there aren’t that many presidential nominees — we usually only get three new ones every eight years. So yes, there aren’t that many losing VP candidates who get nominated later. There also aren’t many guys whose last names start with “S” who get nominated — that doesn’t mean having a name that starts with “S” is a handicap.

  69. Jindal’s Cristian conversion is about as convincing as Obama’s, not very. That doesn’t exclude either from being a successful politician, in fact disingenuisness is an asset in that business.

  70. Obama converted to Sky Fairy Nuttiness of the Christian Variety? I thought he was born into it.

    Oh wait, I forgot, anyway with skin darker than balsa wood must have their religion looked upon with skepticism.

  71. Obama was an athiest before conviently discovering Rev. Wright’s spiritual message. I love Jindal, but it’s funny how he chose to be a catholic in a majority catholic state. It has nothing to do with color, I question every politician’s religious claims. I don’t think the devil can be a Christian.

  72. It’s funny how most people here in
    Texas choose to become Southern Baptists. I don’t think they’re being very genuine either.

  73. It may take another cycle or two, however, for the Republicans to truly shed the heavy hand of the Chrisianist/nutball faction.

    I think you missed that part about how McCain won the republican primary.

  74. The quesiton for 2008 is whether this is the last time that the Republicans will be relevant in a national election?

    Yeah cuz as the Democrats go farther and farther to left they are sure to get socially conservative, economically classical liberal, catholic, working class, family oriented Hispanics to follow them….

  75. Seems he conveniently forgot the snowmobile dealership the Palins were partners in, the commercial fishing they do and that Todd’s snowmobile racing is a business.

    Weigel has never cut a pay roll and is a shill for Obama so he can be forgiven for this oversight.

  76. ‘I just don’t think she’s a national quality politician.’

    There is no valid definition for this. Corollary point: Ron Dellums spent 25+ years SUCCESSFULLY representing Berkeley in the House. Since being elected mayor of Oakland, he has shown a preponderance for being completely inept as an executive.

  77. Zoltan, I defy you to show me a Texan that converted to Southern Babtist.

  78. A. Politicians are the most full-of-themselves people around.

    B. Full-of-themselves people, like myself, don’t believe there is any other higher power.

    C. Politicians that claim to be religious are full of shit.

  79. I said “choose to become” not “convert”.

  80. If Gingrich were running against Palin in the 2012 primaries, I don’t think he’d hesitate for a second to savagely mock her intellectual inadequacies in a way that would make Pelosi feel sorry for her.

  81. I think you missed that part about how McCain won the republican primary.

    I think YOU missed the part where McCain went on bended knee to the Robertsons and Hagees of the world while seeking the nomination. And after winning the nomination, he selected a fundamentalist nutball as his running mate.

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