Progressive Alaska re-posted this Robert Dillon picture back in February. Robert took it when Alaska Gov. Palin was in Washington, DC, for the US Supreme Court arguments on what is known as the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill class action lawsuit.
The governor, posing then, in what some regard as one of the best proofs of Palin's late term pregnancy, is standing with Cordova wood sculptor, Mike Webber. Between them is the Tlingit "Shame Pole" that Bob Henrichs commissioned to publicly insult Exxon in the Tlingit tribe's traditional manner.
At the time, Gov. Palin characterized the movement of the case from the Ninth Circuit to the Supreme Court, and the lowering of the initial Anchorage jury's large award to plaintiffs, "a kick in Alaska's collective gut."
Since's Palin's selection to run with John McCain last year, she hasn't been successful in dealing with oil, natural gas or coal politics, in Alaska, or on broader scales. And those minerals' economic downturn have turned Palin's gas projects, especially, into something with many untenable strings attached.
The announcement today in the Texas media that Exxon-Mobil and Trans-Canada are working with Palin on a deal that might bulldoze Denali - BP/Conoco-Phillips' plan - will dominate Alaska media for a good week or so, unless the volcano blows again, or the "Feds," as Palin calls them, get back into doing what nobody else here seems to want to do - bust political crooks.
Many Alaskans will remember how the governor sided with plaintiffs in the EVOS case from the beginning of her term until the VP campaign. This open embrace now, of the company that has screwed Alaskans more than any other (it is a long list), will not go down well with coastal Alaskans. It may combine with the growing perception, especially among rural Alaska Natives, that Palin is selling out to slutty companies like Exxon and to the foreign-owned, Seattle-based Bering Sea trawling pirates.
Palin is under enormous pressure to get something going in the natural gas arena that makes next year's "open season" more marketable for her as a candidate. Palin is constructing a national campaign machine whose maintenance costs are rising faster than those of any other project in Alaska political history. Unless she gets something going soon that shows she's earned some top chops as a governor since the campaign ended, her marketing team will have to tell her she cannot run for a second term as governor.
Andrew Halcro predicted we might be visiting this Exxon territory. He also accurately predicted Palin's endgame scenario.
We need to get a group together to encourage another Alaska artist like mike Webber to make another Tlingit shame pole.
images - top Robert Dillon; bottom - Mike Martinson