Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Saradise Lost - Book 2 - Chapter 16 - Earth to Sarah: "Time to Come Back!"

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin hung out in the ambience of the 2008 national campaign as long as anyone could. When the polls close today in Georgia, at 3:00 p.m. Alaska time, she will have no more campaign appearances until 2010, when she will have to run once more, as Alaska's governor, for a second term. She will not run against either Rep. Don Young or Sen. Lisa Murkowski, in the Alaska GOP primary. She can't, if she wants to develop any creds based upon experience.

Manu Raju wrote an interesting article for today's politico.com, that poses the possibility of a run by Palin for Murkowski's seat, in the 2010 primary. Raju cites the country's most inaccurate pollster, Ivan Moore, as an expert on the matter. Heh.....

Democratic pollster Ivan Moore and other Alaska analysts say Murkowski is poised to skate to a second full term unless she loses in the Republican primary. The most credible Democratic challenger, Ethan Berkowitz, will likely mount a rematch against Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) for the state’s lone House seat in 2010, Moore and other analysts said.

Even though Palin’s popularity dipped after she took on a partisan role as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate and stumbled in televised interviews, she maintains high approval ratings back home, including about 80 percent support among Republican voters. Murkowski enjoys similarly high numbers.

A head-to-head fight between the two Republicans “would be a titanic struggle,” Moore said.

I'll get back to Moore's remark on Berkowitz, but Raju goes on to cite a more credible pollster, Dave Dittman, on Palin's 2010 dilemma:

David Dittman, a Republican pollster in Alaska, said some right-wing talk show hosts have given Murkowski the nickname “Liberal Lisa,” a label that could stick in a Republican primary fight.

But like Murkowski, Dittman said Palin would be better served by staying in Juneau, where she still would have a huge profile and could maintain political star power in GOP circles — a celebrity status she showed off in Georgia this week as she campaigned for Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

With Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, having just lost his seat, Dittman said GOP primary voters in Alaska would be wary of losing more Senate seniority by replacing Murkowski with Palin.

“My feeling is that Alaskans wouldn’t respond to that very well, especially Republicans, if she takes on Lisa and she starts seniority all over again,” Dittman said. “I think it would be tough for Sarah to do that and justify it.”

The basic reality is that a victorious second-term Governor represents a far more credible candidate than does a newly minted U.S. Senator.

As increasing scrutiny on Palin's job performance deepens by Alaska media and bloggers, along with the state's Democratic Party leadership, Palin has to face her job once again. Her spokesperson (I've promoted him back to his regular title, at least for today), Bill McAllister, in a press "availability" in Anchorage on Monday, stated that Palin is working on crafting legislation on "medical care and energy," among other things. I missed "education."

It will be interesting to see if Palin's energy proposals mesh at all with the proposal issued by the bi-partisan Western Governors Association, on November 21st, and covered extensively down below last week (though not yet in Alaska, as far as I can determine):

The bi-partisan Western Governors’ Association has given President-elect Barack Obama a four-page letter detailing its recommendations for the new administration’s energy policy, including an “aggressive and achievable national greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal.”

The letter, signed by Utah Gov. John Huntsman Jr. and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer also urges Obama to “promptly” (within the first 100 days of office) to, among other things: Propose a national mandatory system of emissions reductions through “market-based mechanisms;” Pursue a national energy efficiency program; Establish an oil import reduction goal; and spend tens of billions of dollars each year to encourage private investment in clean energy.

The article links to a PDF file of the complete statement. I find it hard to imagine Palin's energy ideas, which will most likely link more closely to her future political aspirations than to any realistic solutions for Alaskans, will closely resemble the Governors' goals.

Back to Moore's statement regarding Ethan Berkowitz's determination to stay in the race against Don Young. This is the third credible source (got that, Ivan, I called you credible) from whom I've heard the same message - Ethan is going to run against Don Young again in 2010.

What Berkowitz needs to do is do something. Something visible, something revolutionary, something effective. Probably something that meshes with the goals included in the WGA statement mentioned above.

And Alaska Democrats need to take the cues given recently by Party Chair Patti Higgins, and by Party Communication Director (more on that job's future soon) Kay Brown, and mount substantive challenges to Palin's real record as Governor.


Anonymous said...

What Ethan needs to do-what we all need to do-is examine the GEMS database and count 5% of several random precincts and check a few logs and match the number with the number of voters and...if they're still available (not likely) verify the postmarked envelopes that accompanied the absentee ballots (92% return this year!)...it's called election integrity and apparently since Mark won, no one gives a damn anymore.

Philip Munger said...

I give a damn, and I agree with you. there is a big difference between doing machine recounts and manual recounts. I'd actually prefer 10% manual, rather than 5% manual.

I believe the State Democratic Party took some steps yesterday to maintain all records of the election.

OTOH, Ethan does need to create a real identity that will resonate with Alaskans, beyond how they currently perceive him. He's a great talent, quite bright, and needs to be a visible part of the change he has been espousing.

Anonymous said...

I think the United States may have strong bias for, or a requirement for, christian credentials from most candidates who run for a national office or for congress. This is extremely unfortunate-- people like Bush have dragged our government through disastrous religious- based decisions like the "crusade" in Iraq. I think Alaska is a very christian biased state and its voters are probably too paranoid to support any non christian candidates. This may help explain the recent congressional election. I imagine our founding fathers (some of whom were not christians), who emphasized separation of church and state, would be rolling in their graves. Let's face it-- our government has become largely christian theocratic and you really need to at least claim you are christian in order to get elected.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that as of December 1, Kay Brown is no longer with the ADP- she's left to run Sheila Selkregg's mayoral campaign. Just when we need some party leadership to help solidify core support behind a viable mayoral candidate. Reason number 1, 464 that I've had it with the Alaska Democratic Party.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ #4 - the DNC pulled the funding for Kay's job, as of yesterday, as well as for Jonathon's. Sucks. I'm glad Kay found a job with Sheila.

Kate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You're right, it sucks. What the ADP needs is consistent leadership.
I've heard a lot of idle talk about holding an informal caucus to determine the most viable mayoral candidate, and a withholding of campaign donations and volunteer efforts until this is sorted. I'm not sure I agree that that would get us the best candidate, but if such a thing were to occur, it would require more leadership from the party.
Primaries, as we saw this year, are rough. Diane Benson will never be convinced that she was not the best candidate. Same for Jake and Ethan. Same now for Sheila, Matt, Paul, and Eric. The same will forever apply to Sarah Palin, and her weird sense of manifest destiny. There's no reasoning like that with a candidate- not if they have what it takes to win.
The internal divisiveness of the last election hurt us progressives, as a group, and the mayoral race is looking to be even more damaging. Hopefully the ragtag crew can hold it together, but I'm not convinced that any of them can BRING it together.
I don't know who can, or how. I just know that Dan Sullivan is sitting on some very solidified conservative support, while the Democrats are running around divided. Our best hope is that Loren Leman enters the race as rumored, and split the conservative vote. I think we can all agree that times are tough when we're hoping Loren Leman files to run.

Philip Munger said...

Anon @ #7 - "The internal divisiveness of the last election hurt us progressives, as a group."

I'll assume you mean the August primary (?) If so, in what way did that hurt progressives? Are you saying we shouldn't have primaries, or that the party itself should discourage anyone but the party's elected officers' preferred candidates from being on tickets?

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking less of the primary than of later events during the final months of the election. I saw major disconnects between the 4 significant campaigns: Obama, Begich, Berkowitz, and the legislative races. Competition for resources, volunteers, and money pitted campaigns against each other. In general, the legislative races got the short end on all counts. I saw a lot of factionalism, heard a lot of trash-talking, and witnessed a lot of ugly episodes between supporters of different camps. Some people thought the Obama campaign did a great job for Alaska's politicians- some are appalled that they made 50,000 Get Out the Vote calls OUT OF STATE the last weekend of the campaign rather than focus on local elections.
I'm don't think it advances the ball to go into more specifics. This is all just one person's opinion, like your own. I don't have a problem with primaries, and I don't know how to fix our problems. I just want to have a conversation about them with people who's opinions might not necessarily be identical to me.

For the record, if the party discouraged anyone but their preferred candidate to run, none of the candidates I support (including Barack Obama) would be elected.

Anonymous said...

A few points:

a) Ethan Berkowitz sucks as a statewide candidate. He's a two time loser who managed to spend millions more running for Congress than Diane did in 2006 yet gain only 5 percentage points more than her in the general election results.

b) I'm amazed that more people are not pissed at Ethan's f*cking up of a golden chance to take Don's seat.
b) Ethan is toast. Diane is finished. Jake is worthless. We need a viable alternative to run against Dirty Don in 2010, someone who is Alaskan (unlike Ethan), sane (unlike Diane), and has a spine (unlike Jake). Suggestions?

c) Kay Brown wasn't very good at her job at the ADP. We need talent, not has-beens. Let her fail with Sheila rather than the entire state party.

Anonymous said...

Use your Precinct 1080 Ning ID and go on over to http://www.teamsarah.org/
and sign up for Team Sarah today.

Great monkey-wrenching possibilities here.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to think Sarah Palin didn't give birth to Trig: http://www.palindeception.com/blog/

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that sometimes the most outrageous and/or disparaging posts are done anonymously (hear that Jeremy?). Diane Benson was the best choice to beat Don Young (even Don admitted it!) and the Dems made a mistake going with the "safe" downtown candidate. Diane is far from "finished" as time will demonstrate.

Anonymous said...

The Dems need a viable candidate. Run Walt. I heard Lt Honeman was a D.

I know....Trooper Wooten.

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