Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saradise Lost & Found - Chapter Four -- Thanks, Sarah! - from Progressive Alaska

In the wake of Alaska's soon-to-be-ex Gov. Sarah Palin's decision to actually quit her job - as opposed to working it part-time, as has been the case since the summer of 2008 - I've seen a new upwelling of comments from both the left and right, dissing Alaskans in general.

Ann Coulter has been the right's poster waif for this, calling either Juneau or Wasilla "Ulan Bator" (the capitol of Mongolia). Many sites on the left continue to describe the city I live in - Wasilla - as something less than it is.

Having blogged nationally since 2005 about the failings of Don Young and Ted Stevens; having touted notable progressive Alaskans such as Diane Benson and centrists such as Mark Begich nationally since 2006; I can say that Palin's pickup by McCain changed peoples' perception of us.

One can't but appreciate how much attention Sarah Palin has brought to Alaska and Alaskans. As inaccurate as that notice often is, we can use that heightened awareness in many realms untied to WTF she does next.

The person who realizes this best seems to be our junior U.S. Senator, Mark Begich. He's very new on the job, but the contrast between the way he is approaching his responsibilities and the continuing attentions toward Palin's polarizing and bizarre end-game will resonate with time.

The person who so far seems to realize this least is Palin's successor, Sean Parnell, who is going out of his way to parrot some of Palin's most untruthful recent positions. Maybe Parnell merely wants to keep from ruffling Her feathers, fearful She might change her mind.

Although I've had to reassess my fairly positive feelings about Palin's governance up to the early summer of 2008, I'm willing to admit that getting the AGIA process going, as flawed as it has come to seem, was a masterpiece of collaborative politics. That she had to throw any future chance of across-the-aisle legislation away as part of what she was willing to become as a national-level politician, is a small Alaska tragedy.

That sad transition is small, rather than large, because the seeds of becoming a right-wing demagogue were already there in Palin's personal and political makeup. The demands of being thrust into the role of being McCain's red meat for the 2008 far right crowds and fundraisers brought something out in her that was ready to grow. As someone who has known her now for almost 19 years, it was sometimes scary watching it finally happen.

We will now watch that far right seed mature.

Whatever, Alaska will never be the same.

image - Zina Saunders


womanwithsardinecan said...

Phil, I've never quite understood the whole AGIA thing, and maybe it did show the best of Palin, but given her propensities, I'm more inclined to doubt that it was a "collaborative masterpiece." My gut tells me that she achieved what she did by being less than truthful in dealing with the players, and by being more interested in the centerpiece than the food. Just a feeling, since I don't have a clue about the intricacies of your oil and gas resource issues, even after living in Alaska for a few years in the past. Palin's "people skills" lean strongly on manipulation and a fake front (want some bagels?), and tend to be weak on genuine communication and compromise. I also don't believe that she is in any way an "energy expert," so whatever she did in terms of brokering that deal was done with the help of advisors who actually know the industry. She was just the pretty face smilin' and winkin' and taking all the credit.
That's just my take on it.

Anonymous said...

@womanw/asardinecan --

You could not be more correct! Not much of a masterstroke to concoct a deal - w/the assistance of the anti-oil dems - to put the screws to the oil companies. Never mind that it was not, and never will be, in Alaska's best interests. Under the same heading: the new oil tax structure.

As far as I'm concerned, both AGIA and the oil taxes are disingenuous. Further, if you want to penalize the oil companies, drive them out of the state (hello, anyone besides ConocoPhillips doing any exploration? Where's the natural gas to meet the needs of South Central Alaska?) then you'd better have some other means of filling the state coffers! An oil tax predicated on high prices per bbl is nonsense.

As Michael Carey said in his Terry Gross interview, the AGIA issue could be considered by SOME to be a success, but if you take it away (and I firmly believe it will go away once she goes away) she does not have any "successes" to put on her resume.


Aspiecelia said...

I have been in Alaska since 2004. I have run into a lot of people like Palin. They think they are better than everyone else, their religious beliefs are the only valid ones, and they are fairly uneducated about their jobs. when someone who is educated points out information or federal laws regarding something of importance they retailate against them. It's that "we're ignorant and we're proud of it" thing like they practice in the deep south. The way Alaskans can protect themselves is to educate themselves and organize against the backwardsness. Alaska really needs and elected AG who is not the governor's sycopant for one thing. Something needs to be done about the abuses from the department of law.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could avoid the negative connotations of "Wasilla" by just claiming to be from Palmer, since your location is equidistant from both towns. The Post Office helped us on that score, despite mapping software that thinks we live in Palinville.

Palmeranian Dan

Philip Munger said...

Palmerian Dan,

We've had a PO box in Wasilla since 1985. Where we live used to be "Palmer" according to the PO, but they switched it when they put in the distribution facility near Seward Meridian. We tried changing it to Palmer, but everything is stacked against it. I find myself going to Palmer instead of Wasilla to shop or whatever as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

I am white male more at home in Harlem when I go to NYC than I am in Fred Meyers in Wasilla. Frightening, truly frightening.

onejrkitty said...

Palin did NOT change.

She has always been the narcissist she is today.

What changed is that being on the political stage exposed her narcissism to public view and her persona, once revealed, was too obvious for even the more sheltered or naieve(sp?) of us to continue to accept as honest & real.

She did NOT become a narcissist when McCain picked her; she has ALWAYS been a narcissist.

I find it hard to accept that someone can know a person for 19 years and NOT SEE THE RED FLAGS OF HER NARCISSISM.

But then, we see what we want to see and usually it is projection of our own ideals and NOT what the person actually represents from their own character and values.

A persona of "confidence" is NOT the same as the quality of leadership. "Confidence" is what makes people fall for con-artist and manipulators. People who are susciptible to flattery and who enjoy hearing what they want to hear are participating victims when a con-artist get ahold of them.

Unfortunately, it is often necessary for the "victim" to be injured quite badly before the come out of denial and realize it was their own projections that made the con-artist look good in the first place.

onejrkitty said...

I think Gryphen's quote from one of his articles (today) very succinctly clarifys my previous post:

"She is dangerous because she attracts the most damaged and marginalized supporters in the country. These are America's version of the Taliban."

If a person doesn't see the red flags that Palin's extreme narcissism sends up, that person really need to question more deeply ANY & ALL "positive" thoughts/feelings/opinoins held for this woman.

May be that the positives are still positive, BUT GREAT DEPTH of investigation into one's own "opinions" needs to be done first.

In my book, an opinion, by definition, has done this work first. Playing "devil's advocate" with oneself, is JUST the beginning of the kind of self-investigation I am recommending.

Jim Jones fooled a lot of people, both educated and not. He just needed people who were looking for something to believe in and who, unfortunately, mistook what I call "Hallmark Card" maudlin, sentimental sayings for the indepth emotions that make us human.

Remember, the city of San Francisco, once gave Jim Jones an Martin Luther Kind Humanitarian award !