The first thing that crossed my mind was that Palin is one of the least qualified choices the GOP had. The second thought was that her presence on the most important ticket in the country, and in the most important national election in more than a generation, would bring national attention to Alaska like nothing since Joseph Hazelwood left the bridge, leaving his crew to challenge Bligh Reef.
The third thought - the bull in the china shop one - had to do with the effect of Palin on Alaska politics, more than upon national politics. I knew immediately that her enormous popularity among Alaska voters would blow out some close races for the legislature Alaska Democrats were hoping for. Palin's Alaska base, so depressed by a constant stream of GOP convicted corrupt bastards - some of them active evangelical Christians - would now show up, blessed and prayed over in their decision, to support Palin.
A lot of other Alaskans figured all that out about as fast as me. Some didn't.
By noon, prominent Alaska politicians - and candidates from the Democratic Party - were praising Palin. For her ethical values and history. I came unglued, as I realized how bad this might get, if I sat on my butt and didn't help get the word out. I wasn't going to "dodge the question - '"is Sarah Palin qualified?'"
But others had to respond. Like just about anyone running for any office in Alaska in October and November elections. Everyone had hers or his own approach. Over Labor Day weekend, there were a lot of reports coming in to me, showing Democrats were continuing to praise Palin for things I knew to be uninformed or untrue.
I sent out a lot of "say one nice thing, then STFU!" messages to candidates, or to their staff or volunteers. I yelled at a couple of campaign people.
As I was yelling on my cell phone to one friend, I realized that Progressive Alaska needed to step back from directly helping Alaska legislative races, or the Begich and Berkowitz campaigns, so that PA could concentrate on helping get the word out on a politician I had known for almost 18 years - Sarah Palin.
In tonight's KAKM/KSKA/APRN debate, both sets of national seat candidates were asked, "Do you feel Sarah Palin is qualified to be vice president?"
Since deciding to step back from directly supporting or fundraising for Berkowitz and Begich, I've asked myself several times, "was that choice the right one?" Listening to Ethan and Mark dodge the question, was mildly frustrating. But listening to them reinforced my belief that it was best to back away from those candidates, spending the recovered time helping others educate the public about Sarah Palin.
We'll see how it goes, if Ethan and Mark are elected (they will be) on Tuesday, when they are asked, sometime next year, "Is Sarah Palin qualified to be Governor of Alaska - yes or no?"