You can put an American Flag on a pig, but it's still a boar

Michael Kinsley is going to piss off a lot of innocent Alaskans with his latest essay for TIME, "Sarah Palin's Alaskonomics," but you have to hand it to him for really crunching the numbers to prove his point that she is anything but the "tough fiscal conservative" that the Republican establishment is making her out to be.

Saith Kinsley:
".... Palin has continued to repeat the already exposed lie that she said 'No, thanks' to the famous 'bridge to nowhere' (McCain's favorite example of wasteful federal spending). In fact, she said 'Yes, please' until the project became a symbol and political albatross.
"Back to reality. Of the 50 states, Alaska ranks No. 1 in taxes per resident and No. 1 in spending per resident. Its tax burden per resident is 2 1/2 times the national average; its spending, more than double. The trick is that Alaska's government spends money on its own citizens and taxes the rest of us to pay for it. Although Palin, like McCain, talks about liberating ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, there is no evidence that being dependent on Alaskan oil would be any more pleasant to the pocketbook.
"Alaska is, in essence, an adjunct member of OPEC. It has four different taxes on oil, which produce more than 89% of the state's unrestricted revenue. On average, three-quarters of the value of a barrel of oil is taken by the state government before that oil is permitted to leave the state...."
Kinsley goes on to look at this issue more closely, and also to examine Palin's past budget cuts (or lack thereof). Be sure to read the full article. But one thing that caught my eye -- which I'd heard before but is worth pointing out again -- is that Palin has actually made some smart oil-tax moves that benefited the people of Alaska and could be applied to the entire U.S. via some intelligent changes to our current oil-company tax plans. The odd thing is that Palin isn't proposing to roll out her Alaska oil-tax scheme to the entire U.S., and instead is jumping on board the let-corporations-rape-pillage-and-never-pay-tax neo-conservative bandwagon:
".... One thing Barack Obama and McCain disagree on is an oil windfall–profits tax. McCain is against it, on the theory that it is a tax and therefore bad, and also that it would discourage domestic production. Obama is for it, on the theory that if oil companies can make a nice profit when oil sells for $50 per bbl., they can still make a nice profit when it sells for more than $100, even if the government takes a bit and spreads the money around to those who are hurting from higher oil prices.
"Although Palin's words side with McCain in this dispute, her actions side with Obama. Her major legislative accomplishment has been to revamp Alaska's windfall-profits tax in order to increase the state's take. Alaska calls it a "clear and equitable share" tax. The state assumes that extracting oil from the tundra costs about $25 per bbl. and takes as much as 75% of the difference between that and the sale price...."
The upshot?
".... Alaska residents each get a yearly check for about $2,000 from oil revenues, plus an additional $1,200 pushed through by Palin last year to take advantage of rising oil prices. Any sympathy the governor of Alaska expresses for folks in the lower 48 who are suffering from high gas prices or can't afford to heat their homes is strictly crocodile tears...."
Of course, guys like Vasko Kohlmayer feel the opposite (see: well-written but wildly right-wing American Thinker's article "Pigs, Obama and Sarah Palin").

But if Palin was promising me a check for $3,200 a year at the expense of the oil companies that are making record-breaking profits, I might actually vote for her! You know, if she wasn't just a big ol' hog pile of wedge issues.

And now, Barack Obama explains to David Letterman that Palin is the lipstick and McCain is the pig:

And Michael Hart puts "Lipstick on a Pig Religion" in his article about preacher John Hagee (pictured below).

"A Venn Diagram of Sarah Palin's Foreign Policy" map by Daniel at the Daily Page blog:

Also, don't forget to answer CitizenSugar's "The 'Lipstick on a Pig' Riff: Pretty Funny or Ugly Politics?" question.

And remember, there's only one thing more fun than an American Election. What's that, you ask? Why, it's an American Pig Race. Duh! Everybody loves American pigs.

Photo credit: The pic featured at the very top of this post, which features a female hunter standing next to a huge American-flag decorated pig, was taken and slightly warped by yours truly -- the illustration itself is by Brian Stauffer for TIME magazine. Stauffer has a terrific graphical sense: check out his work.

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