As is typical when a political party's top figure is the sitting governor, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin opened the Alaska Republican Party's 2008 convention. The speech was a dousing with cold water to the party's old guard, an offering of a drink of fresh water to insurgents her sometimes astounding success here has nurtured.
The Governor relentlessly brought up the image of "Change." Beyond that, she asked for anyone attending who is willing, to call for a "Declaration of Independence" from the GOP in Alaska as it is currently constituted. Her appeal to "clean up politics" was directed at a political organization which has done everything in its power to thwart her fairly progressive agenda. And still does.
Younger people in the audience applauded loudly as she asked, "Why should we wait for others to manifest that commitment for change? Let it be us, cultivating new leaders."
Older people were looking more and more glum, as she then quoted President Bush, in his 2008 State of the Union message, when Bush declared war on the earmark process, that has gone out of control during his presidency. Acknowledging Alaska's dependancy on earmarks in the past, she said, "It is time to embark on a new era in Alaska. It IS time for change."
Young people clapped harder, some rose to applaud and cheer. Palin kept using the term "change," almost as if she were auditioning to be Barack Obama's running mate. But she isn't.
Palin sees the continuing rule of GOP Party Chair Randy Ruedrich as an obstacle to the separation of her new paradigm from the statewide and increasingly important national highly negative image of Republican Party politics in Alaska. She next called the Party's Central Committee on their decision late Thursday night, to keep a vote on a rule change that would allow a vote against Ruedrich's tenure to come to the floor a questionable decision. Her request for vocal and physical support from the floor was indelibly recorded by Alaska Report's David Zaki.
I wanted to write about this Friday morning, but my other laptop started acting up. It is going into the shop tomorrow. I thought through the day, as I went from an interview with Diane Benson before she embarks on a trip, at a rehearsal at UAA, and at the Mat-Su Democrats dinner tonight, that some other news source would pick up on the chutzpa of Palin's call for change. None seems to. The Parnell announcement overshadowed Palin's appeal, but I thought her speech to be the most interesting by an Alaska politician I've ever witnessed.
I heard at the Mat-Su Democrats dinner that some news outlet announced a time for a vote Saturday on the motion to suspend the rules and consider Ruedrich's termination, but I haven't seen any further information.
As I left the convention site, I overheard one of the young Fairbanks Republicans who was handing out "Vote for Change" buttons say to another kid, "The reason Young is so much against change is because he knows that when his lawyers are done with him, that's all he'll have left - CHANGE."