Saturday, July 04, 2009

Alaska - stranger than you can imagine

Back when Palin was threatening the future of human civilization in her run for a post-McCain presidency, I recall an Alaskan trying to explain where she came from.

I don't recall the details, but the gist of it was that Alaska is very small, very eccentric, and surprisingly tolerant in an incoherent libertarian-welfare sort of way. It sounded like a place I'd enjoy, though maybe not with kids.

I thought again of that essay when I first read this mornings WSJ resignation coverage claiming Palin had a 92% approval rating in early 2007, and then read ...
Sarah Palin resigning as Alaska governor - Joan Walsh -

.... In an angry, rambling press conference that will rival Gov. Mark Sanford's as a stunning example of a bizarre public meltdown, Palin basically blamed her decision on her national critics, who she said were blocking her agenda and costing Alaska taxpayers money.

"You are na├»ve if you don't see a full court press right now on the national level picking apart a good point guard," Palin said, a reference to her days as Sarah Barracuda, high school basketball star. What does a good point guard do? "She drives through a full court press protecting the ball, keeping her head up…and passing the ball so her team can win. I know when it's time to pass the ball for a win.

"I really don't want to disappoint anyone with this decision," Palin continued. "I cannot stand here as your governor and allow millions of dollars to go to waste. I don't know if my children are going to allow it either…This decision comes after a lot of prayer and deliberation." Palin said all of her children endorsed her decision, and she closed by complaining about people mocking her Down's Syndrome son Trig, with little Piper standing by her side.

"In the words of General MacArthur, we are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction," Palin said, as she turned the podium over to the apparently shocked Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.

There was rolling hilarity and a total news vacuum on television for about 10 minutes after the news first broke. CNN's Rick Sanchez wondered aloud if Palin could be pregnant again – shocking Candy Crowley – before interviewing Frontiersman reporter Andrew Wellner, who says the press conference came as a total surprise to local reporters.

"She didn't take any questions, she said she could be more effective outside of government," Wellner said, reading his notes to Sanchez. Then CNN got tape of Palin's announcement...

.... CNN is now running the entire speech; earlier, it only ran a clip from her resignation statement onward. It's crazy stuff. For the first 10 minutes or so, Palin rambled weirdly about all the good things she's done for Alaska, on energy and budget issues, sounding kind of like a Furby who memorized a lot of information but has no idea how to repeat it in a human-like way. The tone and inflection were completely off...
There's lots of speculation on her plans, including my favorite -- that she doesn't really have a plan other than to make tons of money, duck a lot of investigations, and see what happens next.

I still think we should be mildly terrified of her. Any country capable of reelecting Bush/Cheney in 2004 is clearly capable of electing Sarah Palin in 2012 or 2016.

Low grade terror aside, this makes Alaska even stranger than I'd thought. This Governor had a 92% approval rating?! Nobody gets those kinds of approval ratings in a democracy. Even recently she was running at something like 60%, which is landslide-level for most politicians.

I really do hope I get to visit Alaska soon.

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