SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Down the Political Rabbit Hole
By Dave Kiffer


August 31, 2008

Ketchikan, Alaska - Yes, Boys and Girls, that giant wooshing sound you heard Friday morning was
indeed the sound of 650,000 Alaskans simultaneously spitting out their morning coffee.

Suffice it to say, no one, other than Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's immediate family had a clue that she would be nominated to be Sen. John McCain's running mate.

Oh yeah, there were all those favorable articles in the New York Times and those photos in People and Vogue, but really, it wasn't all that serious, right? Turns out it was.

We weren't the only ones that were surprised. The "chattering classes" of the national media immediately began weighing in with "yeas" or "nays" and a heck of a lot of "huhs???"

gif Geezer and Gidget

Geezer and Gidget
Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

There was a quickie internet poll on Aol.Com that found a slim majority of respondents favored the decision. But the same poll found that nearly 90 percent of the respondents knew either "little" or :"nothing" about Palin.

Talk about a blank slate.

Of course we in Alaska know quite a bit about our governor. Some of it good, some of it bad.

That's the way it is in a small state like ours, everyone seems to know everyone else. We are used to being on a first name basis with our leaders.

As one other local wag put it Thursday afternoon "I kind have a weird feeling that the GOP just nominated the girl I took to the High School prom."

Uh huh.

One thing we'll need to get used to is suddenly being the focus of the national media as they try to dig up any possible information on the "Unknown VP."

If you thought the incessant telephone calls and polls prior to the Primary Election (No on 4, Yes on 4, A Pox on Both Houses!) were bad then you better fasten your seatbelts because it will be a bumpy ride to November 7.

We will also be called on to offer our opinions on the governor. Don't bother. Even though no one in the Lower 48 has a clue who she is, they've already made up their minds based on their own political prejudices.

If you like the governor you are an insufferable "homer" who is just thrilled that someone from our little backwater of the world is getting any attention.

If you are opposed to the governor then you are just some provincial Podunk who does not like anyone getting ahead of anyone else in Alaska.

That's the way it will be framed no matter what you say. Get used to it.

And while you are framing your own personal answer to the sudden onslaught of interest, you can ponder just how far a political party is apparently willing to go to lock of Alaska's crucial three electoral votes. Who would have thunk it!

gif Hockey Mom Rescues McCain Campaign

Hockey Mom Rescues McCain Campaign
RJ Matson, The St. Louis Post Dispatch
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

At least we know that it wasn't some plot by the television networks to use our 700,000 viewers (that includes moose, sled dogs and caribou) to drive REPUBLICAN CONVENTION ratings higher. It wouldn't have worked anyway with 90 percent of the television sets in the state permanently tuned to the Mariners Network as we breathlessly wait to see whether or not the Beloved Ms will climb out of last place this year or not.

But there are a couple of thorny political questions that will have to straighten themselves out in the next few weeks

First of all, where does the prospective Vice President plan to live?

She has been only an occasional resident of Juneau because she prefers to have her family back in Wasilla.

If that's still the case, maybe she gave up on Gov. Mukowski's private jet a little too soon. She really doesn't want to fly coach if she plans to commute to DC and back everyday.

Then again maybe the capitol that is "moving" to Willow is not Juneau after all?

And exactly whom is running the state while both Governor Palin and Lt. Governor Sean Parnell are seeking higher office.

Of course, neither has resigned but you have to think that concerns about water quality in Egegik and road maintenance in McCarthy will take a back seat to issues of more national and statewide concern at some point in the next few weeks.

If - and talk about heading down the political rabbit hole here - both the governor and the lieutenant governor were both to be elected to higher office, the governorship would automatically go to - pause for a drum roll please - Attorney General Talis Colberg.

If your response to that name was "huh" then you are one of the same 90 percent of the state that said "huh" two years ago when he was named to the post by Governor Palin.

We don't need an online poll to tell us that absolutely no one in the state knows what that would mean.

As I was pondering all of this, I was sitting in a rare sunbeam at Bugge Beach watching a cruise ship float by. As it got closer, I could hear the band on deck playing a version of a song by the 1980s rock group "Toto."

That seemed appropriate, because - politically - we sure aint in Kansas anymore.



Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2008

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