Apparently there is a new book out about the old hooah. Matthew Zencey (formerly of the ADN) has written about Palin’s time as Governor of Alaska and has titled said book, “Unlikely Liberal: Sarah Palin’s Curious Record as Alaska’s Governor.”
Steve Weinberg has reviewed the book and this is what he has to say:
Some of Zencey’s findings make Palin look like a skilled, honest, maverick politician. Some of his findings make her look alternately dishonest and clueless. The book is not a hit job, that is for sure. It is a carefully researched examination of a governor who quite likely would have remained obscure except for McCain’s choice of her as a running mate without a careful vetting of her political record or her personal life.
Zencey grapples with these realms as he evaluates Palin’s governorship: her combative, complicated relationship with gigantic gas and oil companies in a state where energy extraction matters above all else; her overall environmental record; her fiscal policies; her stances on social issues such as abortion and gay rights; her ethical lapses; and her poor record as a manager of government employees.
After Palin and McCain lost to Barack Obama and Joseph Biden, Palin returned to the governorship of Alaska. But she had frayed lots of relationships during her brief fling with national politics, and she could not regain her influence.
When Palin resigned the governorship before the end of her term, she offered numerous plausible reasons. Zencey does not believe most of those reasons, and, as a result, began to disrespect her in ways he had tried to suppress while writing about her at the Anchorage newspaper.
His ultimate judgment of Palin is harsh: “Like George W. Bush, Palin is personally likable. Like Bush, she is inarticulate and intellectually shallow . . . . When John McCain picked her, she lacked the experience, judgment, and temperament to serve as either vice president or president. She still does.”
The first chapter is available to read at Amazon. Here are a few snippets…
The Sarah Palin Americans saw in the 2008 vice-presidential campaign was not the Sarah Palin Alaskans knew from her first year and a half as governor. In Alaska, Palin had governed as a bipartisan maverick. Her most reliable allies in the legislature were the Democrats. Her most vocal critics were staunch Republicans and the state’s business establishment.Democrats solidly supported the three major accomplishments of Palin’s first two years. They helped her pass ethics legislation (which the Republican majority had stymied in previous years). Democrats worked with her to pass the biggest tax increase in the state’s history, when they reformed the state’s oil production tax, which had been passed amid a bribery scandal.
Democrats also helped Palin set up innovative incentives to promote a $40 billion natural gas pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope…After she and John McCain went down to defeat, a different Sarah Palin came back to Alaska.With her partisan attacks, she had fractured her governing coalition. Democrats no longer had common cause with her on any big issues, and they certainly didn’t want to help someone who so enthusiastically attacked their party. Pro-oil Republicans in the legislature refused to fill the void in her political support left by alienated Democrats. When Palin selected a controversial conservative to be her second attorney general, and he made remarks suggesting the governor could ignore a particular state law, the Republican-dominated legislature vented its frustration with her and voted him down. It was the first time in the state’s history that a governor had a cabinet appointee rejected.19To keep her national credentials as a conservative leader, Governor Palin had to bad-mouth government, while she tried to run a state whose economy is dominated by state and federal government spending. She told Sean Hannity of Fox News that high oil prices were not good for Alaska because they gave government too much money to spend.20 She grabbed headlines by saying she would refuse roughly a third of the federal economic stimulus headed for Alaska. As it became clear that various pieces of the federal money did not carry the “strings” Palin complained about, she kept reducing the amount she planned to refuse. In the end, she insisted on vetoing $28.6 million of energy conservation funds, making exaggerated claims about the requirements that came with the money.21 Shortly after she left office, the legislature overrode her veto.The contradiction between her national ambitions and her responsibilities to govern the state of Alaska proved to be untenable. Having enjoyed national fame and the adulation of adoring crowds, facing huge legal bills from a steady stream of ethics complaints (most of which were trivial and easily dismissed), and with a special needs toddler at home, she resigned with a rambling and unconvincing explanation involving unspecified future plans that would “progress” Alaska.It was not the first time she left a state government post before her term was up, with complaints about how the state’s ethics law applied to her. Before running for governor, she served only eleven months on a technical regulatory panel, the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and then quit.22 She discovered a fellow commissioner had been using his office for Republican Party business but she couldn’t talk publicly about the case because state ethics law kept the matter confidential. She cited the gag order as her reason for quitting, even though many others suspected she didn’t like the highly technical work and the long commute from her home in Wasilla.