Until Sarah Palin, Alaska hadn’t had a popular governor, at least not while in office, since Bill Egan way back before OIL. Alaska’s government is so powerful and pervasive that as soon as a governor takes his/her hand off the Bible, half the people hate him. Sarah Palin defied all that and has maintained phenomenal approval ratings all through her tenure, albeit still a short one. That may have just changed.
In a state where everybody knows everybody, the personal is the political, but there are lines you’d probably best not cross. Gov. Palin may well have found that line:
When your interviews with State Trooper investigators regarding your sister’s ex-husband are on the front page of the Anchorage Daily News, your career indicator light should be flashing brightly. When you fire a well-respected commissioner without a credible explanation, your career indicator light should be flashing brightly. When that well-respected former commissioner plays kiss and tell, you have a problem.
Now, I’ve fired a lot of public employees and I’ve had political principals suggest that I fire public employees. I, like most political managers, kept a nice, neat little list in my head filed under “just give me a chance” – still do! But when you act on it, you’ve just bared your breast to the storm.
It certainly seems as if Governor Palin wanted her ex-brother-in-law fired. In point of fact, it pretty much looks like he should have been. If you’d like a glimpse into Alaska’s version of Divorce Court just peruse the ADN’s political blog here: http://community.adn.com/?q=adn/blog/24417
Just for the record, I don’t think this tawdry mess had much to do with the commissioner of public safety’s firing. She had a serious beef with him on budget issues and if you want to get to the bottom of something, follow the money. That said, blood has been drawn and the aura of invincibility is gone. Now, about that VP slot?