I have seen lots of liberals making the case that she is not. Some of these arguments get really tedious and confusing but perhaps the most succinct one comes from a fellow resident of Wasilla named Anne Kilkenny:
Sarah campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased general government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002). She reduced progressive property taxes and increased a regressive sales tax which taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners way more than they benefited residents.
The huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration weren’t enough to fund everything on her wish list though, borrowed money was needed, too. She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million. What did Mayor Palin encourage the voters to borrow money for? Was it the infrastructure that she said she supported? The sewage treatment plant that the city lacked? or a new library? No. $1m for a park. $15m-plus for construction of a multi-use sports complex which she rushed through to build on a piece of property that the City didn’t even have clear title to, that was still in litigation 7 yrs later–to the delight of the lawyers involved! The sports complex itself is a nice addition to the community but a huge money pit, not the profit-generator she claimed it would be. She also supported bonds for $5.5m for road projects that could have been done in 5-7 yrs without any borrowing. While Mayor, City Hall was extensively remodeled and her office redecorated more than once. These are small numbers, but Wasilla is a very small city.
As an oil producer, the high price of oil has created a budget surplus in Alaska. Rather than invest this surplus in technology that will make us energy independent and increase efficiency, as Governor she proposed distribution of this surplus to every individual in the state. In this time of record state revenues and budget surpluses, she recommended that the state borrow/bond for road projects, even while she proposed distribution of surplus state revenues: spend today’s surplus, borrow for needs.
Spend and borrow – the fiscal conservatism of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and now McCain and Palin.
Update: Barack Obama blasts Palin on her earmark record:
“Don’t be fooled,” Obama told the crowd surrounding him in a large barn. “John McCain’s party, with the help of John McCain, has been in charge” for nearly eight years. “I know the governor of Alaska has been saying she’s change, and that’s great,” Obama said. “She’s a skillful politician. But, you know, when you’ve been taking all these earmarks when it’s convenient, and then suddenly you’re the champion anti-earmark person, that’s not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can’t just make stuff up.” McCain has vowed to wipe out earmarks, which are targeted funding for specific projects that lawmakers put into spending bills. As governor, Palin originally supported earmarks for a controversial $398 million Alaska project dubbed the “bridge to nowhere.” But she dropped her support after the state’s likely share of the cost rose. She hung onto $27 million to build the approach road to the bridge. Under Palin’s leadership, Alaska this year asked for almost $300 per person in requests for pet projects from one of McCain’s top adversaries: indicted Sen. Ted Stevens. That’s more than any other state received, per person, from Congress for the current budget year. Other states got just $34 worth of local projects per person this year, on average, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based watchdog group.The state government’s earmark requests to Congress in her first year in office exceeded $550 million, more than $800 per resident.
I guess to supporters of McCain-Palin, reality has a liberal bias and facts are sexist.