On July 25th, 2009, the second event of the "Sarah Palin Farewell Tour" took place at the Delaney Park Strip in Anchorage, Alaska. Thousands showed up for the free food and the opportunity to press the flesh with the "Princess", as some refer to the outgoing Governor. While no one put forth a specific headcount, organizers planned for as many as 8,000 people. Primary media stories from the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU Channel 2.
-- Anchorage Daily News gallery of 47 photos available HERE.
-- KTUU news video directly accessible HERE.
The picnic took place between 12 P.M. and 3 P.M. But those expecting to hear a long farewell address might have walked away disappointed. There was no talk of her own political future - but she did talk about lunch. "The only thing standing between you and food would be us, so we'll keep this very short so we can all enjoy," said Palin.
In her few minutes at center stage, she said goodbye to her supporters. "I hope to get to shake as many hands as possible," said Palin. "And tell you from the bottom of my heart how much I thank you, and love you, and I say God bless Alaska and God bless America."
Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell also chimed in. "I can tell you that Sarah Palin is a good, an honorable, and a decent human being who loves Alaska, loves Alaskans, and she is going to continue standing up for you," said Parnell. "So let's give Governor Sarah Palin a warm Anchorage thank you."
After the speeches, picnic attendees waited in line for more than an hour to be served by the outgoing and incoming governors. It was a cultural cross section of Anchorage, with Whites, Blacks, Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders and Asians in attendance; even some homeless showed up to chow down. Despite the fact that Anchorage, along with Juneau, is one of the two primary centers of hard-core opposition to Palin in Alaska, the crowd was mostly supportive, and any anti-Palin activists present chose not to make a spectacle of themselves. Noted progressive anti-Palin activist Shannyn Moore, who Palin's lawyer has threatened to sue, did show up, saying she came to the farewell picnic after receiving an anonymous e-mail saying she should wear a bullet-proof vest if she did. "Today is a great day for Alaska and Alaskans," she said.
Mudflats provides a fairly detailed report from the progressive perspective HERE. Local conservative Republican activist Thomas Lamb also attempted to live-blog the event (mostly unsuccessful due to Wi-Fi issues), and posts some of his pictures HERE. Conservatives4Palin has three videos available on this post; I've embedded the longest of the three below:
But Governor Palin did not have the stage all to herself. Beginning at around 2 P.M., activists from ACT For Health Care Reform showed up, using the huge assemblage as a natural opportunity to promote their cause. According to this other KTUU report, ACT for Health Care Reform is trying to build grassroots support for passage of health care reform by August, and wants to hold Congress accountable. The specific legislation being promoted is HR3200, "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" One thing they'd like to see is more affordable access to office visits and preventative care. The Celtic Diva has been leading the charge for this act HERE.
"If we can achieve that then people will go see the doctor when they're not feeling quite well, and they'll get care, and that will save us tens of hundreds of dollars when they get critically ill," said Jonathan Teeters with Organizing for America. But there are a number of valid concerns about this health care proposal, as expressed in the following comment posted to the KTUU story (paragraphs reformatted for clarity):
Here since 56 wrote:
I like [sarcasm] the part of the Health Care reform package that requires those over 65 to undergo counseling once every five years to determine if they should consider euthanasia instead of burdening the system with their illness. Sick, sick, sick. And this ACT groups supports this kind of thinking. They should be ashamed of themselves.
This has nothing to do with helping us and everything to do with control. With Nationalized/Socialized medicine, the government will be able to control a large portion of your life. What you eat, smoke, drink, how you live, how much exercise you get, all these things will be considered by some bureaucrat when determining what kind of health care you get. All these things will be controlled to control the cost of health care.
Our cancer survival rates exceed those of all other countries. Same with all other illnesses and surgeries. Our "broken system" works way better than any other system. Don't buy in to the lies told by the TOTUS. He has an agenda, and our best interests are not a part of that agenda. Quite the opposite as anyone with eyes can see.
Other legitimate concerns include the requirement to force all people to buy health insurance. This forces another unfunded mandate upon a population with a growing inability to bear endless mandates. If health insurance were universally affordable, you wouldn't have more than 40 million Americans without it.
Means testing is O.K., so long as it's limited to income and discretionary assets., But means testing cannot include vital assets like one's primary home, primary vehicle, or a financial "nest egg". The bottom line - we have no business requiring anyone to spend themselves into penury or even bankruptcy in order to have health insurance. Furthermore, the insurance companies will need to be scrutinized and regulated, since huge malpractice premiums imposed upon providers drive up costs. Thus tort reform will also be necessary to accomplish effective and lasting health care reform. We also cannot afford to allow illegal immigrants to have access to such a system.
And above all, we cannot eliminate the profit motive for providers and insurers altogether. One of the reasons for the decline in the number of Medicare providers in Alaska is because they can't afford to treat Medicare patients - they lose money on them. You cannot force people to operate at a deficit. Recommend you also read Ann Coulter's latest critique on universal health care, posted on The Alaska Standard.
The last stop on the "Palin Farewell Tour" is in Fairbanks on July 26th. After a picnic at Pioneer Park from 12 noon until 3 P.M., she will turn the office over to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell. KTUU will broadcast Palin's speech live.