When reading the comments section of the Anchorage Daily News as well as other resources, one would get the impression that Governor Sarah Palin is viewed by Alaskans as the Antichrist. On the other hand, Conservatives4Palin tends to view Governor Palin as another Mother Teresa, and doesn't pretend otherwise.
Both viewpoints are distorted, but in particular the negative viewpoint. Although Governor Palin took a beating over Troopergate and her vice-presidential run, she's recaptured some of her old credibility, and 13 ethics complaints against her have been dismissed. People are beginning to recognize that Governor Palin was being witch-hunted, and are fighting back, Her most recent approval rating of 54 percent, while down from earlier polls, is the envy of many governors, in particular Kah-lee-forn-ya Celebrity Governor Ahnald Schwarzenegger, whose approval rating as of May 19th is 33 percent.
According to Jan Thacker, whose account was published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, signs of Governor Palin's resurging popularity were evident in North Pole, Alaska on Memorial Day. An estimated 150 enthusiastic supporters gathered to greet Governor Palin, husband Todd and a small entourage. Everyone cheered heartily.
On behalf of the military, Reba Fansler presented Governor Palin with a flag that had been flown in Iraq. Palin said she would always cherish the flag and that we should never forget those who fought for our freedom. She also talked about an earlier Memorial Day ceremony just down the road in Fairbanks. She commented on the tourists that were on hand, saying that you could tell which ones were tourists because “they always seem to wear nice, clean white tennis shoes.”
The majority of Palin’s time in North Pole was spent signing a half dozen bills. Most of them were explained by the representatives who introduced them. But what most impressed Thacker was how Palin behaved when she greeted them. Here's the account:
After the ceremony, Scooter and I got in line to greet the governor, and we had our photo taken with her. She was so gracious and poised, even though she already was late in leaving for her next engagement. I quickly told her we have a 10-year-old granddaughter, Alex, who has Down syndrome, and Palin’s eyes sparkled with delight. She wanted to know about her. I told her I talked to Todd and given him a packet of columns I’d written about Alex and also included some photos. She thanked me and said she looked forward to reading them.
Earlier in the day, Todd was equally as exuberant when he heard about our Alex and gave me an update on Trig, who he said is growing quickly and developing a fun personality. Families of children with Down syndrome are like that — it’s always a joy to meet someone else who has a family member with Down syndrome.
This is the real Sarah Palin - the Sarah Palin who proved so electable twice as mayor of Wasilla, and again as governor in 2006. This is why Palin prevails over long odds. Even if one questions her judgment and her executive capabilities, she has the gift of personal charisma lacking in so many other elected officials. Barack Obama also has that same gift, but unfortunately Obama's politics are much more similar to those of former Chilean Communist dictator Salvador Allende or Venezuela's current socialist dictator Hugo Chavez. In contrast, Sarah Palin is an ardent apostle for the free market.
Nevertheless, electoral storm clouds are gathering on the horizon for 2010. Both Bob Poe and Robert Rosenfeld have announced their intentions to seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination next year. Rosenfeld is originally from Brooklyn, NY, and his grandparents and parents are Russian Jews. Possibly joining them are Ethan Berkowitz and, God help us, Hollis French. On the Republican side, Dan Fagan hinted earlier this week that former State Rep. Ralph Samuels might challenge Palin for the Republican nomination. With his command of resource issues and his professional demeanor, Samuels could prove to be a formidable intra-party opponent for Palin. Governor Palin herself has not announced any intention to seek re-election yet; the longer she waits, the more quality competition will appear.