The Latest Out of Alaska

November 18, 2008

News out of Alaska:

It seems that Sarah Palin’s national political aspirations are on the verge of taking their second direct hit in as many weeks.  After the defeat of the McCain-Palin ticket on November 4, people in the press and political establishment immediately began to speculate on the Alaska Governor’s political future.  Much of that speculation centered around the future of Alaska’s senior U. S. Senator, Ted Stevens.  Stevens, a Republican, was convicted in October of seven counts of failing to report on his Senate financial disclosure forms more than a quarter of a million dollars in gifts, some in the form of elaborate home improvements.

Stevens was up for reelection this year, and preliminary returns indicated that he might actually win over Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.  Senate Republicans seemed likely to vote Stevens out of the Republican Senate Conference, all but forcing Stevens to resign his office.  While Palin could not appoint herself to the seat, many speculated that she would resign as governor and have her Lieutenant governor, also a Republican, appoint her to finish out Stevens’ term.  This would give her a national platform for a 2012 Presidential run; it would give her much needed experience on national political issues; and it would keep her in the national spotlight (though she seems to have little trouble doing this on her own).

Unfortunately for Palin and the GOP, Alaska’s vote counting process is fairly slow, and those initial election night returns showing Stevens in the lead were as fleeting as Joe the Plumber’s fame.  As votes have been counted over the past two weeks, Stevens’ lead has vanished.  It started at about 3,600 votes, fell to 900, and then disappeared completely.  After one counting day last week, Begich was up by a mere three votes.  The next day the Democrat’s lead grew to 814.  By Friday it was 1,022.  Tomorrow is the last day of counting, but most votes were to be counted today.  At midday the totals were updated again and Begich’s lead had grown to 2,374, large enough if it stands there to allow the state to avoid an automatic recount.  Several thousand votes remain to be counted, but many are from parts of the state that are expected to be favorable to Begich.  [Later update:  Begich’s lead as of 4:45 pm Alaska time is now at 3,724 votes, more than enough by far to avoid an automatic recount.]

If I were a betting man, I’d wager that Sarah Palin is destined for a job in the media once her current term as Governor is over, either as a radio talk show host, a la Oliver North, or as a Fox News analyst, like Karl “Turd Blossom” Rove.

Frankly, I think she and Karl deserve each other.

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