THE WRONG WAY TO ESTABLISH A RECORD…. U.S. News‘ Paul Bedard reported this week that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s “bright star has fast faded in the eyes of Washington Republican officials and analysts.” Bedard quoted a GOP strategist who has worked for George W. Bush who noted that Palin is “starting to look like she’s having trouble being governor of Alaska.”
Quite right. In 2008, John McCain used to argue that Palin was the “most popular governor in America.” The claim didn’t stand up well to scrutiny at the time, but more importantly, she’s clearly seen her political fortunes deteriorate in her home state.
For example, Palin nominated a very controversial figure to be the state’s attorney general, for reasons that never seemed to make sense. Yesterday, the state legislature — including the Republican leaders in both chambers — rejected the governor’s choice.
The Alaska Legislature voted 35 to 23 on Thursday to reject the confirmation of Wayne Anthony Ross, Gov. Sarah Palin’s pick for attorney general.
According to Legislative Research Services, it was the first time in state history a head of a state agency has failed to be confirmed by the Legislature. All the Democrats in the Legislature voted against Ross and were joined by nine Republicans, including the Senate president and House speaker.
If that were the only embarrassment, it’s be easier to overlook, but Palin’s problems hardly end there. She’s engaged in a protracted fight with Democrats on filling a vacancy in the state Senate, in which Palin’s conduct has been so absurd, it’d be hilarious if it weren’t so ridiculous. Making matters worse, she annoyed lawmakers in both parties by skipping town at the end of the legislative session to give an anti-abortion speech in Indiana.
The antagonism between legislators and Gov. Sarah Palin doesn’t end. Hours after the Legislature voted down the governor’s nominee for attorney general, House Finance Committee members tonight slammed the governor’s aides for not briefing legislators on Palin’s plan for an in-state gas pipeline.
“I’ve had a lot of friction with the governor this year on her lack of connection, frankly the appearance that she’s more concerned about her national ambitions than what’s going on in the state,” Anchorage Republican Rep. Mike Hawker, co-chair of the finance committee, told Palin budget director Karen Rehfeld.
The committee was deciding on a request by Palin for $9 million to help develop a private in-state natural gas pipeline from the North Slope down to the Kenai Peninsula. Hawker and the other co-chair said Palin staffers spoke to legislative leaders about the money — but several other finance committee members complained this was the first they’d heard of it.
“Nobody from the (Palin) administration has been to my office at all… I see a number of different legislators all shaking their heads, same thing, nobody’s been in their office,” said Kodiak Republican Rep. Alan Austerman.
This came up a lot during Palin’s national campaign, when Alaskans conceded the governor seems “incurious about the mechanism of government,” has has “never” been “deeply engaged” in matters of state, and “has not paid much attention to the nitty-gritty unglamorous work of government.”
In advance of her next national endeavor, Palin has an opportunity to learn about policy and discover how to work with policymakers to govern and pass legislation. She’s apparently not taking advantage of this opportunity.