Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Big Day

It's finally here: the day of the Alaska Governor's Picnic at which the current governor (for a few more hours) passes the keys to the state government over to her Lieutenant Governor. Sarah Palin will have finally achieved the status of "former" governor. That the transfer will take place at a summer picnic is somehow fitting, although, for the life of me, I cannot actually articulate why. The only question remaining with respect to the turnover is its timing. Will it be before or after the three-legged race? During the children's search for pennies in the sawdust (wait -- this is Alaska, 2009, better make that quarters)?

At least that question will be answered today. There are other questions, however, which won't be answered, at least not for a while. The big one, of course, is why? Why is she leaving before the end of her first term? Speculation continues. Even her supporters aren't really certain. What is certain, however, is that Sarah Palin lost interest in governing Alaska after her fling at national politics as the Republican nominee for Vice President.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Supporters are struggling to improve on Palin's explanations: frustration over unfounded ethics complaints and a desire to "effect change" from outside government were among those she cited in her somewhat disjointed announcement -- along with the desire not to be a lame duck of dead fish. Critics see her early departure as a bid to marshal money and connections for a future run for higher office.

"I think it's 100% clear that the governor's interested in national politics," said Democratic state Rep. Les Gara. "Half the press releases she issued this year had to do with federal issues, not state issues, and I'm assuming if she thinks she has a chance to run for president, that's what she's hoping for." ...

"When she came back, she had a very limited interest in the day-to-day state problems we were all working on," Gara said. "Issues like healthcare, education reform that require you to roll up your sleeves and pay attention to details and aren't very sexy -- she never seemed very interested."

Legislators on both sides of the aisle were outraged when Palin threatened to veto about a third of the $900 million in federal stimulus money offered to Alaska. She wound up backing down, but declined $28.6 million offered for energy conservation and weatherization.

Palin said taking the money would require Alaskan communities that never have wanted building codes to adopt them. Republican state Rep. Mike Hawker countered that most mortgage lenders already required the kind of energy standard sought in the federal stimulus package.

"She was looking for something to save face with, and found something she could veto and at least lay a claim as to why she vetoed it," he said.

Sarah Palin has managed, in slightly less than a year, to become a caricature of the grasping politician, which is certainly no mean feat. I suppose part of her success in this regard is that she is from Alaska, a state a friend of mine who spent two years in Fairbanks described as "just like Texas, only bigger."

If she indeed has national aspirations, she has a couple of years to wipe out the image of "quitter." That's a long time when it comes to political memories. If she can raise the money, she believes she can be a contender, and she may very well be right. One thing we can count on: Sarah Palin is not riding off into the sunset, never to be heard from again. She'll be around, on the Sunday talking-head shows, as a commentator on Fox Cable News, on the early morning television shows touting her new book (as soon as it is written).

You betcha.



Anonymous PeasantParty said...

Wheee! You Betcha! It's the best thing that could happen to Progressives. I hope she runs, and gets the "coverage" she needs. ;-)

5:38 AM  
Anonymous ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Why is she leaving before the end of her first term? Speculation continues.

Too much work.

6:10 AM  

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