By RYAN NELSON
In national politics, Sarah Palin is a household name as a firebrand who can get a Lower 48 crowd of conservatives engaged and excited with her word-salad speeches.
In Alaska, the conservative base is far more divided about Sarah Palin’s political ambitions than national figures like Donald Trump and Corey Lewandowski could possibly understand.
Some Alaskans still like Palin and will bend over backward to support her. Some might even defend her even if she shot someone in front of Anchorage’s 4th Avenue Theater. Other conservatives who have lived in Alaska for years and pay attention to politics remember her reign as governor of Alaska and are less enthusiastic.
While Palin supporters are well meaning in their loyalty, they are often not aware of her failures as a policymaker. As governor, her progressive tax on Alaska oil production (ACES) destroyed Alaska’s oil industry and sent companies like Exxon to greener pastures in North Dakota and Texas, where the business environment was friendlier.
Her many ethics scandals included Troopergate. The time she spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars as Wasilla mayor to renovate her office brought shame to her legacy. Perhaps her most embarrassing mistake was her endorsement of the former Gov. Bill Walker, the governor who cut the Permanent Fund dividend, nearly sold Alaska’s gasline to China, and appointed left-wingers like Scott Kendall, who would eventually go on to be responsible for destructive ballot initiatives like Ballot Measure 2.
Her support for Walker arguably tricked many conservatives into voting for him, making up the difference in a narrow gubernatorial election with Gov. Sean Parnell in 2014.
This wasn’t the only time Palin stabbed a fellow Alaskan in the back. In 2008, when former Sen. Ted Stevens was federally charged weeks before an election in a sham federal investigation meant to target and destroy him, instead of coming to Stevens defense against a clear witch hunt, Palin called for Sen. Stevens to resign. This ultimately damaged Stevens’ image right before a tough reelection, and aided in his loss to Mark Begich. Stevens, of course, was cleared of all charges — after the election.
Did Palin ever apologize for her condemnation of Ted Stevens? No.
Did Palin ever apologize for her endorsement of Walker? No.
Did Palin apologize for doubling the size of Alaska’s state government, and punishing Alaska’s most important industry? No.
Did Palin apologize for her many ethical scandals such as Troopergate? No.
Did Palin ever speak up for Alaskans as Gov. Walker willfully stole our Permanent Fund dividends for more government spending? No.
Did Sarah Palin speak out against Ballot Measure 2 as dark money from out-of-state funding a misleading campaign to change Alaska’s election system? No.
Instead, Palin has always been too self-absorbed to fight in the trenches with us as enemies target Alaska. She has yet to show any remorse for any of her mistakes.
I’m sure everybody remembers back in the days of 2009 when Sarah Palin resigned as Alaska governor. To this day I hear people making the excuse that Palin was forced out by angry attacks from the left that prevented her from effectively governing. However, that argument could not be more unsupported. Gov. Mike Dunleavy endured far worse from the Left with a full-on coordinated attack by the media and Scott Kendall’s campaign to recall him, which began only weeks after he was elected. Yet, he did not resign. He fought on for Alaska. Donald Trump didn’t quit because the going got tough, with two impeachments. He fought on for America.
After Palin’s resignation, these pending lawsuits and litigations did not prevent her from living a lavish lifestyle. I wouldn’t expect a person buried in litigation to have the time to tour the country to promote her book. I wouldn’t expect a person buried in litigation to have the time to fly over to the East Coast to be a contributor to Fox News. And I certainly wouldn’t expect a person buried in litigation to have the time to start her own reality show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.”
It’s clear that the reason she resigned was not due to attacks from the leftist media, or because resigning from governor would allow her to better fight for Alaska.
Instead, Palin resigned because she discovered she didn’t like governing. She became drunk on fame, intoxicated by the media spotlight, the paid speaking engagements at large conservative gatherings, and the luxurious life that followed. She could have at least been honest about why she resigned. But she wasn’t. She expected us to believe that she could better serve Alaska with her reality TV show.
If Palin manages to get elected to Congress despite her being a politically polarizing figure in Alaska, it will be all fun in games at first. There’s no doubt she will be on the Sean Hannity Show, and will get a lot of attention from the national media to keep the lights lit in her out-of-state mansions. But at the end of the day, it’s all about Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.
Some may argue, “At least she can’t do much damage in a U.S. house seat as she did as governor of Alaska.” To that, I paraphrase Barack Obama’s quote about Joe Biden: “Don’t underestimate Sarah’s ability to F*** things up.”
Alaska, please consider giving a candidate with new blood like Nick Begich a first shot before you recycle Palin.
Ryan Nelson is a resident of Eagle River Alaska.