Political Buzz June 10, 2011: Sarah Palin’s Emails as Alaska Governor Released

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: SARAH PALIN’S EMAILS AS ALASKA GOVERNOR RELEASED

 

Reporters load boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin's emails from her time as Alaska's governor Friday, June 10, 2011 in Juneau, Alaska.

Brian Wallace/Associated PressReporters loaded boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin’s e-mails from her time as Alaska’s governor on Friday in Juneau.

HEADLINES…

  • Read the Palin emails: Here are all of the state government emails of former Gov. Sarah Palin that were released on Friday by the state of Alaska. The state released them as mor than 24,000 pages of paper; we’ve scanned them into a series of searchable PDFs in roughly chronological order. They are big files – up to 30MB – so may take some time to download…. – Anchorage Daily News, 6-10-11
  • Full coverage: Sarah Palin’s e-mails releasedWaPo
  • Read Sarah Palin’s emailsLAT
  • The Palin E-Mails: A collection of e-mails between Sarah and Todd Palin and Alaska public officials during Ms. Palin’s first 22 months as governor. The messages were originally requested under state public records laws in 2008. The documents were released on Friday, June 10, at 9 a.m. Alaska time. E-mails are organized by the date of each conversation. The New York Times has redacted some e-mails to remove offensive language…. – NYT
  • Sarah Palin emails: The Alaska archive – who’s who: Nearly 25,000 pages worth of Sarah Palin’s emails from her tenure as governor are being released by the state of Alaska, spanning the start of her term in December 2006 to shortly after she was named Arizona Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential running mate in September 2008. Below is a guide to Palin confidants, critics and family members likely to appear in the correspondence…. – KTUU, 6-10-11
  • Glossary of Abbreviations: Following are abbreviations and acronyms found in the trove of Governor Palin’s e-mails released on Friday. – NYT
  • The Top Ten Revelations from the Sarah Palin Emails: At 8:37 a.m. Saturday morning, the New York Times tweeted “After scanning marathon, all 24,000 #palinemail documents are in our searchable, interactive viewer.” Regardless of whether you thought the Palin email trove was a waste of time like many, or were obsessively live-blogging the events like us, you can’t deny that the massive scanning and crowdsourcing of document review by major news outlets was a tremendous accomplishment. While revelations from the cache may continue to trickle in over the weekend, at this point the bulk of the emails have been combed through, and this is what we now know about Palin that we didn’t (necessarily) know before…. – The Atlantic Wire, 6-10-11
  • Five Discoveries from the Sarah Palin E-Mail DumpTime 6-10-11
  • In E-Mails, a Glimpse From Inside Palin’s Rise: Few could have been more surprised than Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska when Senator John McCain picked her as his running mate in 2008.
    Reporters in Juneau, Alaska, picking up boxes of hard copies of Sarah Palin’s e-mails on Friday.
    “Can you believe it!” she wrote in response to a staff member’s “Wow governor” message that Friday in late August when the choice was announced. “He told me yesterday — it moved fast! Pray! I love you.”
    Not two days earlier, Ms. Palin had been dealing with the sometimes mundane matters of one of the nation’s least populous states: a ballot initiative on mining, thorny personnel issues involving her ex-brother-in-law, and her personal request for “Alaska pins and governor pencils (or pens) to drop off at gladys wood elem school today after my afl cio speech.”
    A scan of Ms. Palin’s e-mails in the weeks just before and after she was chosen as Mr. McCain’s running mate on the Republican ticket — among some 24,000 pages of them released by the State of Alaska on Friday — show in minute detail how she went overnight from being a small-state governor who was midway through her first term to a dominant figure in Republican politics.
    One moment she was immersed in board appointments and the Miss Alaska beauty pageant, the next she was receiving advice from the likes of Newt Gingrich and fielding questions from the national news media, including whether she believed that dinosaurs and humans had walked the earth together…. – NYT, 6-10-11
  • Sarah Palin e-mails released on Friday: A cache of e-mails released Friday add vivid new color and fresh details to the complicated public portrait of Sarah Palin, who displayed many of the same strengths, and shortcomings, as Alaska governor that she would later bring to the national political stage.
    Often blunt and frequently impatient, Palin derided “old school” politicians and bureaucrats and acted as a champion of populist interests on issues ranging from energy policy to women’s rights, the e-mails show. Her relations with fellow politicians, including many Republicans, were often strained, and she relied heavily on her husband, Todd, and a close-knit group of aides to help cope with crises and shape policies.
    Palin felt passionately about issues of importance to her state, the documents show, and she waged battle with foes large and small. That included detractors on obscure government commissions as well as multinational conglomerates seeking access to Alaska’s vast oil and gas reserves. She twice refers to one major oil executive with a derogatory nickname and complains that phone calls with him did not go well.
    Palin also devoted significant attention to the portrayal of her and her administration in the press, regularly decrying “untruths” in media reports and working feverishly to push back on negative assertions. Targets of her ire ranged from mainstream newspapers to commenters on local blogs….
    The e-mails — some 24,000 pages total — were released in response to public-information requests from media organizations, who first began asking for the records during Palin’s run as the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008. More than two years later, Palin has become a fixture in the conservative political firmament, a reality-TV celebrity and a barbed critic of President Obama who may, or may not, be pondering a run for the White House…. – WaPo, 6-10-11
  • News Outlets Pounce on Palin E-Mails: Reporters load boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin’s emails from her time as Alaska’s governor Friday, June 10, 2011 in Juneau, Alaska. Brian Wallace/Associated PressReporters loaded boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin’s e-mails from her time as Alaska’s governor on Friday in Juneau.
    News organizations that pored over nearly 25,000 pages of e-mail correspondence relating to Sarah Palin on Friday focused on her selection as Senator John McCain’s running mate in 2008, her relationship with the media and her style of governing.
    Many news outlets — what Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, calls the “lamestream media” — sent reporters to Juneau for the release of the e-mails by the state government in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.
    The result? After a day of frantically poring over the correspondence, with the help of millions of online readers, there were no major revelations but plenty of attempts to dissect the background of a woman who might yet run for president…. – NYT, 6-11-11
  • Palin emails show engaged leader who sought VP nod: There are no bombshells, no “gotcha” moments. The emails of Sarah Palin — more than 24,000 pages of them released Friday by the state of Alaska from her first two years as governor — paint a picture of an image-conscious, driven leader, closely involved with the day-to-day duties of running the state and riding herd on the signature issues of her administration.
    She angled for the vice presidential nomination months before John McCain picked her — and hinted at presidential aspirations.
    The messages give a behind-the-scenes look at a politician who burst onto the national stage after serving as Wasilla mayor and less than two years as Alaska governor. They show a woman striving to balance work and home, fiercely protective of her family and highly sensitive to media coverage. She expressed a sometimes mothering side with aides but also was quick to demand answers or accountability…. – AP, 6-10-11
  • Palin E-Mails Show Her Combative and Engaged: In the three years since Sarah Palin stormed the national political stage, her brief tenure as governor of Alaska has often been reduced to caricature. Critics cast her as petty, preoccupied and disengaged. Supporters say she was a maverick reformer, a salt-of-the-earth true believer who bucked the establishment elite.
    Yet what is clear in the 24,000 pages of her e-mails released Friday — completing Ms. Palin’s transformation from one of the most obscure politicians in America to one of the most scrutinized — is that her governing style was not necessarily an either-or proposition. Sometimes she seemed to be everything all at once.
    She sought to be an encouraging leader one moment, lauding her team for a breakthrough on oil production: “You guys are doing awesome.” She could be distrustful and accusatory the next: “I can’t handle staffer leaks.” She would focus on the progress of substantive legislation, including supporting a major increase in oil taxes, but then become distracted by “un-flippin believable” criticism directed at her by a popular radio host…. – NYT, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin emails released from time as governor – but many withheld or redacted: After a years-long delay, the state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of emails from about 21 months of Sarah Palin’s time as Alaska governor on Friday.
    The emails were released as paper printouts to the media outlets that requested them, among them CBS News, which had a reporter in Juneau collecting the heavy boxes of emails. Media outlets paid $725 each for photocopies of the records.
    Journalists are now busy reviewing the emails for nuggets of information from Palin’s roughly half-term as Alaska governor, though the emails stop in September 2008, leaving almost of a year of her time in office uncovered. The state has said it has not finished reviewing the emails from late 2008 through the summer of 2009, when she abruptly resigned. It remains unclear when those emails will be released…. – CBS News, 6-10-11Check out the full collection of emails and documents here.
  • Sarah Palin emails: ‘The false assumptions are mind boggling’: Email conversations reveal pressure the former Alaska governor was under after she entered the vice-presidential race in 2008…. – Guardian UK, 6-10-11
  • Palin closely guarded her public image, emails show: Even before she became prominent in national politics, Sarah Palin defended herself against even the slightest criticism during her tenure as Alaska governor, newly released correspondence shows…. – LAT, 6-11-11
  • Media frenzy over Palin e-mail release was unusual even for her: The 13,000 Sarah Palin e-mails released Friday provided little new insight about her time as Alaska’s governor. But the frantic effort to obtain the messages, dissect them and post them online served as a watershed moment for the news media, whose zealous approach will no doubt be replicated on future stories.
    The spectacle on Friday was unusual even for Palin, who is known for her ability to inspire a media frenzy. Eager to be the first to post the messages online, news outlets — including The Post — dispatched reporters armed with scanners to Juneau for the 9 a.m. release of the e-mails, which were not distributed electronically but in stacks of printed paper.
    Back in their newsrooms, the outlets competed to get the documents online for the public first and to capture the coveted top spot on Google. Reporters tweeted every new revelation, from 7-year-old Piper Palin’s anxiety that her mother was leaving for another trip, to the governor’s outraged notes over the scandal known as “Troopergate.” And they “crowdsourced” the documents by inviting readers to assist in scouring the e-mails.
    The enormous effort drew criticism from some quarters, particularly Palin’s backers. Though Palin remains a very public figure, she is not in elective office and has said she has not decided if she will seek the Republican nomination for president next year…. – WaPo, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin e-mails show husband Todd’s key role: Sarah Palin’s reliance on her husband for counsel while governing the state is well-known; Todd Palin played a key role in helping to organize the controversial ouster of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan in September 2008, for example.
    In a March 2008 e-mail, Sarah Palin makes clear that Todd also weighed in on how to deal with Alaska’s burgeoning wolf population, a topic of debate at the time among officials and environmental experts. The governor told her fish and game commissioner in blunt terms that she opposed using state helicopters to hunt wolves and preferred paying private hunters. WaPo, 6-10-11
  • Sarah Palin emails hint at her governing style: In her time as governor, Sarah Palin was lavish with praise at times, quick to criticize her aides and also unapologetically impulsive.
    In one exchange, Palin aide Bruce Anders said he worried that her very gushing praise for an op-ed writer’s piece in support of her oil and gas policies would eventually become public. Palin said she was happy to provide an “attaboy” to writer Jomo Stewart, and said she wouldn’t apologize for going with her gut…. – WaPO, 6-10-11
  • Does Sarah Palin have a way with words? You bet – we ain’t misinformed Raft of previously unreleased emails reveal a unique style of communication and use of language: Sarah Palin may have numerous faults, but if the 24,000 pages of her emails released to the media in Alaska are anything to go by, adopting an artificial manner in public is not one of them.
    Her unique style of communication – a key component of her appeal to her fans, and source of endless fascination and amusement to her detractors – is as evident in her behind-the-scenes interactions as in her on-stage ones…. – The Guardian UK, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin emails: Treasure trove or waste of paper?: So far, there are no bombshells in the thousands of Sarah Palin emails released this week. But they reveal a fuller, more nuanced picture of one of the most powerful and controversial women in US politics today…. – CS Monitor, 6-10-11
  • Sarah Palin emails: An outpouring of support after Trig’s birth: In the days after her son Trig was born, Sarah Palin received an outpouring of support and well wishes, many from other parents of children with Down syndrome…. – LAT, 6-11-11
  • Email shows George W. Bush joked with Sarah Palin: Among the people talking up a vice presidential run to Sarah Palin before she was picked: George W. Bush.
    Palin wrote her chief of staff Mike Nizich about an encounter she had with the then-president in early August — about a month before John McCain selected her as the running mate.
    “The [president] and I spoke about military, [including] Track’s deployment and how Iraq is a different place than it was a year ago,” Palin wrote Nizich. “He also spoke about (and we joked about) VP buzz.”… – Politico, 6-11-11
  • Emails Show Palin Surprised by Nomination: Sarah Palin’s rapid transformation from a little-known governor to the vice presidential nominee on the 2008 Republican ticket was as much of a surprise to her as it was to the rest of the U.S., her email messages from the time show.
    “Can you flippinbelieveit?!” she replied to a note of congratulations from an official in her administration. “Thanks for your kind words – and for keeping the homes fire burning. Thank you! We love you guys!”
    The state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of email messages Friday sent to and from Ms. Palin during most of her tenure as governor. The messages show few signs of contact between her and national Republicans before she was announced as Sen. John McCain’s running mate on Aug. 29, 2008, or that she saw herself as a likely candidate…. – WSJ, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin emails: Aides giddy at prospect of VP pick: As Sarah Palin pushed for a one-year repeal of the state’s fuel tax in June of 2008, her jubilant aides crowed that the move would boost her standing as a possible vice presidential pick for Sen. John McCain…. – LAT, 6-11-11

SARAH PALIN EMAIL QUOTES

  • On Troopergate and the ethics investigations against her:
    “I do applogize if I sound frustrated w this one. I guess I am. Its killing me to realise how misinformed leggies [legislators], reporters and others are on this issue. The accusations and false assumptions are mind boggling.
    Referring to her former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, who was in a messy divorce with her sister:
    “He’s still a trooper, and he still carries a gun, and he still tells anyone who will listen that he will ‘never work for that b*itch’ (me) because he has such anger and distain towards family. So consistency is needed here. No one’s above the law. If the law needs to be changed to not allow access to guns for people threatening to kill someone, it must apply to everyone.”
  • On God’s guidance: “I have been praying for wisdom on this … God will have to show me what to do on the people’s budget because I don’t yet know the right path … He will show me though.”
  • On her battles with Alaskan lawmakers over the budget:
    “I’m back here in DC speaking with Cheney [the vice-president] (sat with him the entire State dinner last night), will try to speak w/Bush [the then president] today … speaking with national reporters and all these governors all about AK’s [Alaska] proof that we can provide sound oversight of resource development, and here while I’m away I find out the legislature may undermine those efforts? It’s unacceptable if the nation is to believe we’re capable of responsible, ethical ramped up development that’s need in our state, for our nation. Referring to speaker of the Alaskan house, John Harris:
    “I think that’s the most stupid comment I’ve heard all year … his statement says it all re: his beliefs: ‘What the hell can we do …?’ Nice talk Mr Speaker, Reflects well on your commitment to ethical leadership”
  • On her possible selection to be vice-presidential candidate: “The Pres [George Bush] and I spoke about military. He also spoke about (and we joked about) VP buzz.”
  • On Barack Obama: “… a guy named Barack Obama.” email from February 2007:
    “He gave a great speech this morn in Michigan – mentioned Alaska. Stole ou[r] Energy Rebate $1,000 check idea, stole our TC-Alaska gasline talking points, etc. So … we need to take advantage of this a[nd] write a statement saying he’s right on.”
  • On false rumour that Trig, Palin’s fifth child, was in fact born by her daughter Bristol:“Hate to pick this one up again, but have heard three different times today the rumor again the Bristol is pregnant or had this baby. Even at Trig’s doc appt this morning his doc said that’s out there (hopefully NOT in their medical community-world, but it’s out there). Bristol called again this afternoon asking if there’s anything we can do to stop this as she receive two girlfriend-type calls today asking if it were true.”
  • On bear hunting: “I am a hunter. I grew up hunting – some of my best memories growing up are of hunting with my dad to help feel our freezer… I want Alaskans to have access to wildlife… BUT – he’s asking if I support hunting the bears in the sanctuary? No, I don’t… I don’t know any Alaskans who do support hunting the McNeil bears that frequent the viewing area.”
  • Palin-speak: “Keep hunting, keep being a true Alaskan… keep calling it as you see it – we love the mobster in ya.”
    – to her chief of staff, Michael Nizich: “Tibs [chief of staff Michael Tibbles] is going to be p#*(ed.”
    “Holy flipping A.”
    ‘Unflippinbelievable.”
  • On the pressures for her family: “Guys, I may be pretty wimpy about this family stuff, but I feel like I’m at the breaking point with the hurtful gossip … I hate this part of the job and many days I feel like it’s not worth it.”

SARAH PALIN EMAILS: FULL TEXT

Midterm Elections 2010: Results & Reactions, Republicans Gain Control of House, Obama Responds at Press Conference:

MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010:

Midterm Elections

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

RESULTS

    Senate: D 51 – R 46
    House: D 184 – R 240
    Governor: D 16 – R 29 – I 1

    NYT: House Map
    Senate Map

    HNN Hot Topics: Midterm Elections

  • Live Blogging Election Night – NYT, The Caucus, 11-2-10
  • Midterm elections live blog 2010 – Yahoo News, 11-2-10
  • Michael Bennet (D) defeats Ken Buck (R) in Colorado Senate race: Incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has beaten his tea-party-backed challenger, Republican Ken Buck, according to the Associated Press.
  • Washington, Colorado, Alaska Senate races: When will we know who won?: The Colorado, Washington State, and Alaska Senate races are undecided on Wednesday morning. They won’t tip the balance of power in the Senate, but two are important to Democrats…. – CS Monitor, 11-3-10
  • Write-in ballots lead in Alaska Senate race: The Alaska Senate race was headed for another nailbiter in the rematch between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and tea party favorite Joe Miller as supporters from both sides prepared Wednesday for a potentially prolonged ballot count…. – AP, 11-3-10

THE HEADLINES….MIDTERM ELECTIONS 2010

 

Presumptive next Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner

 

  • G.O.P Captures House, but Falls Short in Senate: “Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, riding a wave of voter discontent as they dealt a setback to President Obama just two years after his triumphal victory,” writes Jeff Zeleny…. – New York Times
  • Republicans capture control of House; Dems to retain Senate: “Just four years after surrendering power, Republicans recaptured control of the House and made gains in the Senate on Tuesday night, in a major rebuff of President Obama and the Democrats by an electorate worried about the economy and the size of the government,” writes Dan Balz…. – Washington Post
  • GOP Wins House in Huge Swing: “Republicans won control of the House of Representatives as voters dealt a stiff rebuke to President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in a historic wave that swept the GOP to power in states and districts across the country,” write Laura Meckler and Jonathan Weisman…. – Wall Street Journal
  • Republicans win House, Democrats retain Senate: “Republicans, tapping into widespread anger over the ailing economy and disappointment with President Obama’s leadership, wrested control of the House of Representatives from Democrats in Tuesday’s midterm elections, but fell just short of winning the Senate,” writes Douglas Stanglin…. – USA Today
  • Republicans promise limited government: Emboldened by a commanding House majority and Senate gains, Republican leaders vowed Wednesday to roll back the size of government and, in time, the nation’s sweeping health care law. President Barack Obama, reflective after his party’s drubbing, accepted blame for failing to deliver the economic security Americans demand while saying of his health overhaul: “This was the right thing to do.” He called the election a “shellacking.”
    After two years with fellow Democrats leading Congress, Obama now must deal for the rest of his term with the jarring reality of Republican control of the House, a diminished Democratic majority in the Senate and a new flock of lawmakers sworn to downsize government at every chance.
    The capital awoke — if it ever slept — to a new political order. With their lopsided win, Republicans are ushering in a new era of divided government and dethroning Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a prime target of their campaign…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • Obama signals compromise with GOP on tax cuts: A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections. Obama ruefully called the Republican victories “a shellacking.”
    At a White House news conference, the president said that when Congress returns, “my goal is to make sure we don’t have a huge spike in taxes for middle class families.” He made no mention of his campaign-long insistence that tax cuts be permitted to expire on upper-income families, a position he said would avoid swelling the deficit but put him in conflict with Republicans.
    He also virtually abandoned his legislation — hopelessly stalled in the Senate — featuring economic incentives to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles and other sources. “I’m going to be looking for other means of addressing this problem,” he said. “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat,” he said, strongly implying there will be others…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • G.O.P. Leaders Vow to Repeal Health Care Law: At a news conference at the Capitol, the likely House speaker, Representative John A. Boehner, and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, invited President Obama to work with them on these and other goals. But they also quickly adopted an aggressive posture on some issues certain to antagonize Democrats, including a vow to repeal the big new health care law.
    Mr. Obama, at his own news conference in the East Room of the White House, called the election results “humbling,” but he also attributed the far-reaching Republican victories largely to the public’s frustration over the slow economic recovery. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy,” he said.
    The president said he was “eager to hear good ideas wherever they come from” and expressed a willingness to work with Republicans. “We must find common ground,” he said, “in order to make progress on some uncommonly difficult challenges.” And he cited energy and education as two policy areas on which Republicans and Democrats could see eye to eye…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • Obama Takes Responsibility for Voter Frustration: “Some election nights are more fun than others,” he told reporters in the East Room of the White House. “Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling.” He said that he had to take “direct responsibility” for the failure to repair the nation’s economic fortunes. But in his opening remarks and answers to early questions, Mr. Obama refused to say that the Republican wave that swept across the country was a fundamental rejection of his administration’s policies.
    “There is no doubt that people’s No. 1 concern is the economy,” he said. “What they were expressing great frustration about is that we haven’t made enough progress on the economy.” The president repeatedly said that he wanted to work with the newly empowered Republicans in Washington. But he also said more than once that there were some principles that both parties were going to be unwilling to compromise on…. – NYT, 11-3-10
  • House leaders begin outlining priorities: Republicans on Wednesday pointed to their House takeover as a mandate to “change course” on economic policy and key elements of President Obama’s agenda, including the health care overhaul he pushed through Congress this year…. – USA Today, 11-3-10
  • Pelosi Election Results: What It Mean’s for Health Care Champion: Nancy Pelosi may not have been up for election Tuesday night, but many Republicans felt her ideas were, chief amongst them strong support for Obama’s health care plan. Several big ticket conservatives as well as new members of Congress have pledged to roll back key pieces of Obamacare or repeal it entirely…. – CBS News, 11-3-10
  • Sarah Palin The Mama Grizzly Scorecard: She didn’t appear on any ballot yet one big question of the Tuesday night election was how well did Sarah Palin do? Palin will point to a positive win-loss record—49 of her 77 candidates triumphed, (6 races had yet to be called by Wednesday morning.) But many of the highest-profile races, where she had loudly interjected herself, her candidates— Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, and John Raese in West Virginia—lost.
    Even in her home state of Alaska, her help seems to have been less than helpful. Joe Miller, the GOP candidate and Palin protégée, ended up having to fight off the write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, and even a last-minute bit of McMentum—when Democratic candidate, Scott McAdams suddenly seemed to rally. By late Tuesday night, that race had still not been called, but Murkowski was leading.
    If there was a silver lining for the former Alaska Governor, it came in the form of Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, and Mary Fallin in Oklahoma—the first time women won governorships in those three states.
    The election may have been a vote on Obama and the Democrats. But for many watching, the most widely anticipated other referendum was how well Palin would do. Of her 77 candidates around the nation, 20 are women—in the Palin vernacular, her Mama Grizzlies who, she had predicted, would “rise up on their hind legs.”… – The Daily Beast, 11-3-10
  • Tea party-backed Rick Scott claims Fla. governor win: Tea party-backed Republican businessman Rick Scott, who ran as an outsider vowing to shake up the political establishment, claimed victory Wednesday as Florida’s next governor after Democrat Alex Sink conceded an extremely tight race…. – AP, 11-3-10
  • California Climate Law Survives Challenge at Polls: The defeat of Proposition 23 marked a big victory for Silicon Valley investors, who poured millions of dollars into defending California’s AB 32 law and protecting their massive investments in green technologies ranging from solar power to electric cars. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Boehner wants Bush tax cuts extended for all: U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader John Boehner said on Wednesday that extending the Bush tax cuts for all income groups is the right policy…. – Reuters, 11-3-10
  • Lengthy to-do list awaits lame duck session: Now that the elections are over, a lame-duck Congress comes back to work this month to deal with a pile of unfinished business: whether to extend Bush-era tax cuts due to expire, give seniors a $250 Social Security special payment and repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gays serving openly. It’s an open question how much they’ll get done. The current Congress returns Nov. 15 for a post-election session dominated by tax and spending issues. Rarely has such a big pile of work faced lawmakers when the party in power has suffered so much at the ballot box…. – AP, 11-3-10

QUOTES

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama took a question from a reporter during a news conference at the White House on Wednesday.

  • President Barack Obama, Press Conference: “I’ve got to do a better job,” he said, “like everybody else in Washington.” And he took responsibility for not doing enough to alter the ways of the capital, whether its hyper-partisanship or back-room dealing. “We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn’t change how things were done.”

President Obama: ‘I’ve Got to Do a Better Job’

Boehner, McConnell Preview GOP Agenda for Next Congress

  • Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting: “Change course we will,” describing the outcome as a clear mandate to shrink the government. That echoed the unrelenting demand of tea party activists whose energy and votes helped to fuel the largest turnover in the House in more than 70 years.
    “I think it is important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity,” Boehner said.
  • Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, No. 2 Republican in the House: “We’ve been given a second chance and a golden opportunity.” But, he added, “People want to see results.”
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who survived a tea party challenge in Nevada: “I’m ready for some tweaking” on the health care law but would fight its repeal.
    “If we need to work something out with the people who are really rich, I’ll have to look at that,” he said. “If there’s some tweaking we need to do with the health care bill, I’m ready for some tweaking. But I’m not going to in any way denigrate the great work we did as a country, and saving America from bankruptcy because of the insurance industry bankrupting us.”
  • Sarah Palin via Twitter: “As always, proud to be American! Thanks, Commonsense Constitutional Conservatives, u didn’t sit down & shut up…u “refudiated” extreme left”—so tweeted Sarah Palin on Election Night, demonstrating characteristic optimism in the face of what was decidedly a mixed bag for her politically…. Palin tweeted on Tuesday about the media, and specifically the Today Show: “Silly fellas! Chucky, remember, I’m not on ballot.”
  • Rick Scott FLA Gov (R): “There were plenty of pundits, politicians and insiders who said this victory was impossible. But the people of Florida knew exactly what they wanted. They sent a message loud and clear: they said, let’s get to work.”
  • Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who is poised to become the new speaker of the House: “Americans have sent an unmistakable message … tonight, and that message is: Change course.” Boehner acknowledged that his party’s ability to set the nation’s path will be limited with Democrats still in power in the Senate and the White House. “It’s the president who sets the agenda for our government,” he said…. “The American people were concerned about the government takeover of health care,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity.”
  • Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., in line to take over as House majority leader, said the driving issue in his party’s success was the economy: “Jobs first,” he said in describing the GOP’s priorities. Rolling back Obama’s health care initiative also will be a goal, he said. “There’s no question, last night indicated again that the majority of Americans want to see the repeal of Obamacare.”… “I hope that we’re able to put a repeal bill on the floor right away because that’s what the American people want,” he said Tuesday night. “They understand that this bill is going to bankrupt this country and take away the health care that they — most people in this country — know and like.”

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Michael Beschloss: Historian Predicts Obama Will Be Reelected Despite Midterm Election Results (VIDEO): ‘The Daily Show’ (weeknights, 11PM ET on COM) partnered with ‘The Colbert Report’ for ‘Indecision 2010′ on election night, offering viewers live coverage of the midterm results. Jon Stewart noted that it’s standard practice for the nation’s ruling party to “lose some seats” in midterm elections. However, presidential historian Michael Beschloss admitted they don’t usually lose this many seats.
    But if history repeats itself, he had some good news for President Obama. “The three presidents in recent times who have had midterm loss like this have been Truman, Eisenhower, Bill Clinton. Every single one of them got reelected.” “So your thought is, ‘What a great night for Barack Obama!'” joked Stewart. – TV Squad, 11-3-10
  • Tevi Troy Visiting Senior Fellow, the Hudson Institute, How does Obama explain the GOP landslide?: President Obama has a lot of explaining to do. He came into office with a great deal of goodwill, strong majorities in both houses of Congress, and an opposition party in complete disarray. Less than two years later, the goodwill and the House majority are gone, and Republicans are resurgent. It will not be possible to make complete amends in a single press conference, but he can start by signaling a move to the middle and a willingness to work in a more bipartisan manner…. – Politico
  • Julian Zelizer: As the GOP Gains Control of the House, What Does the Party Have to Do? John Boehner Expected to Become Next Speaker of the House: “[Boehner's] first challenge is to control the rebels,” said Julian Zelizer, political analyst and professor of politics at Princeton University. “Some of the ideological division we see will be because of the Tea Party types, but also just because of freshmen determined to show they’re not part of the status quo.”
    “The Republicans don’t want to look like a whole cohort of Christine O’Donnell’s came to town,” said Zelizer referring to the losing Tea Party candidate who admitted during the campaign she once dabbled in witchcraft. “Maverick outsiders who are good at attack politics but who are not necessarily politicians who can’t handle the responsibilities of the office.”
    “Boehner has to make sure that’s not the image that people are left with in two years,” said Zelizer.
    “The GOP really needs to decide whether their strategy is to try to obtain some legislation that their supporters would like or to focus on a strategy on pure obstruction and grandstanding. Both have dangers and benefits,” Zelizer said…. – ABC News, 11-3-10
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Is it 1994 all over again?: Republicans effectively gained control over Congress on Tuesday. The GOP won a majority of seats in the House of Representatives, thus overturning the gains Democrats made in 2006 and 2008.
    In the Senate, where the procedural power of the minority has already given Republicans the power to shape deliberations, the narrowed Democratic ranks will further weaken the majority.
    In the weeks running up to the election, there were some commentators who concluded that the current situation would be the best outcome for President Obama.
    Pointing to the example of the 1994 midterms, which gave Republicans control of Congress, they have argued that a bad outcome for Democrats would ironically allow Obama to regain his standing. Obama could use Republicans as a foil to attack extremism — just as Clinton did with Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1995 and 1996 — and he would have political cover and incentives to move closer toward the center, where voters would like him more….
    Now, with 2012 over the horizon, the GOP will have more incentives to oppose the president. Indeed, Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, recently said: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
    At the same time, Obama faces a significant risk if he tries to appease Republicans in Clinton-like fashion. After all, many liberals are already frustrated with the kinds of compromises Obama has made. Going too far — for example, declaring that the era of big government is over — could trigger a challenge to the president in the Democratic primaries.
    We should hope that the United States is not about to live through a repeat performance of what occurred after 1994. The nation faces too many pressing economic and foreign policy problems to have that happen again. – CNN, 11-3-10
  • Paul Green, Roosevelt University political science professor and commentator Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “The election really doesn’t make a difference. Everything will be held up. Bipartisanship has become a code word for political treason.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • David Claborn, Olivet Nazarene University associate professor of political science and history Election 2010: Will gridlock be election fallout?: “We voted against a party and a status quo, not necessarily for the people who won. I don’t think the election has given us much of a clue as to what will happen.” – Daily Journal, 11-3-10
  • Jacob Weisberg: Faking Right How the Republican Congress will abandon Tea Party ideas and legislate toward the center: In the likely event that Republicans capture control of one or both houses of Congress next week, the new leaders will face a strategic question. Should they pursue the agenda of the Tea Party movement that brought them to power? Or should they try to mollify their party’s base with gestures and symbols, without taking its radical ideology too seriously? While they’ll never discuss this problem honestly, indications point in the latter direction. That is, the GOP’s congressional leadership will feint right while legislating closer to the center.
    The choice is between a Ronald Reagan strategy and a Newt Gingrich strategy. Reagan, who first rode a new conservative movement to the presidency in 1980, was a master of the right fake. After one brief and disastrous attempt to reduce Social Security spending in 1981, Reagan never seriously challenged federal spending again. But Reagan sounded so convincing in his rhetorical flights that most conservatives and liberals walk around today thinking that he cut government. Reagan was just as slippery with the religious right, embracing them while wasting little political capital on issues like abortion or school prayer. President George W. Bush followed this same model, humoring the base while letting government expand…. – Slate, 11-3-10

Super Tuesday Primaries 2010: Lincoln renominated in Ark. Whitman, Fiorina Win in Calif., Angle wins in Nev., Haley in SC

SUPER PRIMARIES 2010

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor / Features Editor at HNN. She has a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

Meg Whitman prevailed in the California G.O.P. primary for  governor.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times Meg Whitman prevailed in the California G.O.P. primary for governor.

IN FOCUS: STATS

  • Primary Election Results June 8thNYT
  • Lincoln Bucks Tide; Business Leaders Win in CaliforniaNYT, 6-8-10
  • Live Blogging the Primaries: From California to Maine, Georgia to Nevada, a dozen states are holding primaries and runoff contests for key Senate, House and governor’s races. Polls have closed in South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, New Jersey, Maine, South Dakota, Iowa, Nevada and California…. – NYT Caucus, 6-8-10

THE HEADLINES….

  • Tuesday’s Primaries: Lincoln Triumphs in Ark.; Whitman, Fiorina Win in Calif.: Final results are still coming in from the 12 states with primaries Tuesday but a few headlining outcomes have emerged, notably that incumbent Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln has survived a challenge in that state’s Democratic primary to run for a third term…. – PBS Newshour, 6-9-10
  • California Republicans tap women to lead ticket: Once, California Democrats led the way to a year of the women. Now, nearly two decades later, Republicans hope it’s their turn. Meg Whitman won the party’s nomination for California governor on Tuesday and Carly Fiorina will carry the GOP banner into the fall campaign for a Senate seat, a pair of wealthy businesswomen and first-time candidates running against veteran politicians in a year of palpable anti-establishment sentiment.
    In next-door Nevada, a third woman contender, Sharron Angle, won the right to oppose Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the fall. And hundreds of miles to the east, South Carolina state Rep. Nikki Haley outpaced three male rivals in a race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Shy of a majority, she will face Rep. Gresham Barrett in a June 22 runoff in a solidly Republican state…. – AP, 6-9-10
  • Whitman and Fiorina Win in Calif.; Lincoln Prevails in Ark.: Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, who ascended to the top of the business world before turning to politics, prevailed on Tuesday in their respective battles for the Republican nominations for the United States Senate and governor in California, setting the stage for costly general election fights this fall…. – NYT, 6-9-10
  • Whitman, Fiorina cruise to victories Republicans choose wealthy businesswomen to oppose Democrats Brown and Boxer for governor and U.S. senator: California Republicans reached for history in Tuesday’s primary elections, as Meg Whitman claimed the party’s nomination for governor and Carly Fiorina won the GOP race for the U.S. Senate, results that gave women the Republican nominations for the two most powerful statewide political offices for the first time.
    The two wealthy businesswomen, who powered their first electoral bids with millions of dollars of their own money, swept into election day as the front-runners and rode the momentum of an angry electorate that spurned the appeals of veteran politicians competing against them on the ballot. Neither one touted her gender overtly on the campaign trail, but Whitman embraced it Tuesday night as she greeted supporters near Universal Studios.
    “Career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., be warned — you now face your worst nightmare; two businesswomen from the real world who know how to create jobs, balance budgets and get things done!” she said, after congratulating Fiorina. LAT, 6-9-10
  • Whitman easily defeats Poizner: Meg Whitman, who spent a record-smashing $71 million of her own money to sell herself as a political outsider from the corporate world who could turn California around, decisively defeated Steve Poizner on Tuesday to become the first woman in state history to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
    “This gal is on a mission. … I’m all in,” the billionaire former eBay CEO declared at her lavish victory party at the Universal City Hilton in Los Angeles, where 500 supporters ate and drank amid signs declaring, “Fiscal responsibility is on the way.”… – SF Chronicle, 6-9-10
  • Anti-Incumbent Rage Bypasses Arkansas: On a primary election night when the heralded anti-incumbency sentiment was expected to again demonstrate its strength, Senator Blanche Lincoln proved there were clear limits to its power.
    Virtually written off as a likely victim of voter outrage at veteran politicians, Mrs. Lincoln, a two-term Arkansas Democrat, showed that an experienced office-holder with money, message and determination still had a chance to prevail even in a toxic environment.
    “Blanche has proven once again she is a true independent voice for the people of Arkansas, but she is also a fighter for what she believes in and will never stop standing up for her convictions or for her state,” said Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee…. – NYT, 6-9-10
  • GOP picks NV tea party candidate in Reid battle: Nevada Republicans Tuesday picked tea party insurgent Sharron Angle to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, marking the start of an epic showdown between a king of Capitol Hill and a conservative renegade who wants to turn Washington on end. The choices couldn’t be more different.
    Reid, 70, is the bland, sometimes prickly Democratic powerhouse who tells Nevadans, “I’m just who I am.” Angle, 60, is a fiercely committed small-government, low-tax crusader, an outsider even in the GOP, who says, “I am the tea party.” The former school teacher and legislator grabbed the nomination after a brutal primary in which her rivals depicted her as too extreme to appeal to independents who often cast the decisive votes in centrist Nevada. She benefited when one-time front-runner Sue Lowden was widely mocked for suggesting consumers use chickens to barter with doctors…. – AP, 6-9-10
  • Nevada governor loses job after 4 years of scandal: Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has been thrown out of office after a tumultuous term that was marred by a bitter divorce and allegations of infidelities. The first-term Republican lost the GOP primary Tuesday to former federal judge Brian Sandoval. Rory Reid won the Democratic primary, earning a spot at the top of the ballot next to his senator father. Gibbons is the latest incumbent to be ousted this election year. But his woes had more to do with his own problems than anti-incumbent rage prevalent in other states…. – AP, 6-9-10
  • Runyan wins N.J. GOP primary: Former Eagles lineman Jon Runyan posted the first victory of his political career Tuesday, holding off a feisty tea-party-backed challenger in the Republican primary in New Jersey’s Third Congressional District. In the fall, Runyan will face the better-funded freshman U.S. Rep. John Adler (D., N.J.) in what is expected to be one of the nation’s most closely watched and expensive races.
    Underscoring the importance of this race for Republicans, Gov. Christie went to Runyan’s Mount Laurel strip-mall headquarters to share in the celebration Tuesday night. “Make sure we send the right Jon to Washington, D.C., in November, not the wrong John,” the governor said. “It’s time to get rid of John Adler and time to bring common sense to Washington.”
    Runyan quipped: “This reminds me of a post-game speech that Coach [Andy] Reid would have: ‘Take the night off, get back to work tomorrow.'”… – PA Inquirer, 6-9-10
  • SC Dem upset: Jobless vet to face GOP’s Jim DeMint: An unemployed military veteran who raised no funds and put up no campaign website shocked South Carolina’s Democratic Party leadership by capturing the nomination Tuesday to face Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint in November. With nearly all precincts reporting, Alvin Greene, 32, commanded 59 percent of the vote against 41 percent for former four-term state lawmaker Vic Rawl, 64, who had raised about $186,000 and had to abruptly scrap a late-week fundraiser for the fall.
    “I would’ve liked very much to be a candidate against Jim DeMint,” Rawl said, describing his sole primary rival as something of a mystery. “I never saw him. I’ve still never met him.”
    As for Greene, he couldn’t explain it either but thanked voters in a state numb with high unemployment and said: “Let’s continue to make history and get South Carolina back to work.”… – AP, 6-9-10

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Democrat Lincoln’s Arkansas Primary Tests Dislike of Incumbents: “There is no way Lincoln’s defeat can be seen as anything but people being upset with incumbents,” said Julian Zelizer, a history and public policy professor at Princeton University in New Jersey.
    “You see the center-left tension” within the Democratic Party playing out in the Lincoln-Halter race, Zelizer said.
    An Angle win might fuel other anti-establishment candidates, Zelizer said. “The question with the Tea Party is, is this a serious movement that can do serious things?” he said. “To the extent they’re successful, they get more people involved.”… – Business Week, 6-8-10

Off Year Elections: Republicans Win Governorships in New Jersey & Virginia

OFF YEAR ELECTIONS:

Republican gubernatorial candidate...

Photo by AP Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, smiles during a rally in Richmond, Va. yesterday.

ELECTIONS 2009….

  • Analysis: Election lessons will shape ’10 campaign: What we learned from the off-year elections: The president’s influence is limited, independents rule, incumbents beware, issues trump ideology and, once more, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Also: Republicans can win — even if they lack a leader and their base is cracked. And this certainly isn’t the Democratic-friendly political environment of 2006 and 2008 when the party captured control of Congress and the White House. The first Election Day of Barack Obama’s presidency was a big night for Republicans, who recaptured governorships in the swing state of Virginia and the Democratic stronghold of New Jersey. Democrats won two races for vacant congressional seats, including one in upstate New York that had been long held by Republicans and that exposed a GOP divide…. – AP, 11-5-09
  • GOP Sweep: Big Governor Victories in Virginia, NJ: Republicans sweep governor races in Virginia, New Jersey _ troubling sign for Dems, Obama: Independents who swept Barack Obama to a historic 2008 victory broke big for Republicans on Tuesday as the GOP wrested political control from Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey, a troubling sign for the president and his party heading into an important midterm election year.
    Conservative Republican Bob McDonnell’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds and moderate Republican Chris Christie’s ouster of unpopular New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was a double-barreled triumph for a party looking to rebuild after being booted from power in national elections in 2006 and 2008…. – AP, 11-3-09
  • Races an early test of Obama influence: President Barack Obama’s political standing a year after his election is being tested as voters cast ballots in Virginia and New Jersey, two states he’s worked hard to keep in Democratic hands. A handful of congressional and mayoral races and a same-sex union initative also are among the featured face-offs this Election Day.
    Obama has made a number of forays to neighboring Virginia and northeast to New Jersey as he has sought to ensure that Democrats win governor’s races and pick up a GOP-held congressional seat in upstate New York. In doing so, Obama raised the stakes of a low-enthusiasm off-year election season — and risked political embarrassment if any lost…. – Boston Herald, 11-3-09
  • Election 2009: Test of Obama clout in NJ, Virginia: President Barack Obama’s political clout was on the line Tuesday as Virginia and New Jersey chose governors in contests that could serve as warning signs for Democrats about the public’s mood heading into an important midterm election year…. – AP, 11-3-09
  • 2 hopefuls duel in upstate NY after surprise turn: With the Republican out of the race and unions lining up behind their candidate, national Democrats on Monday used a high-profile campaigner and ramped up get-out-the-vote efforts to try to grab a congressional seat in a district held for decades by the GOP. On the other side, a splintered Republican Party brought in its own big names to try to salve over wounds opened by a bruising special election campaign that has seen a maverick third-party conservative candidate outgun the hand-picked Republican…. – AP, 11-2-09
  • Obama says NJ governor is key to his own agenda: In a final campaign swing on behalf of the only governor seeking re-election this fall, President Barack Obama on Sunday pitched Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine’s bid as a key component for the White House to make good on its political promises. “He’s one of the best partners I have in the White House. We work together,” Obama said. “We know our work is far from over.” Obama drew 6,500 people at a rally in Camden and another 11,000 later in Newark, according to White House estimates. He urged supporters to work hard to give Corzine another term in office so he can work with Washington to help repair a brittle economy. A Corzine loss would be seen as a political embarrassment for the White House…. – AP, 11-1-09

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Julian E. Zelizer “Are Republicans too giddy?”: Republicans have been downright giddy following the off-year elections in Virginia and New Jersey. In a swing state and a blue state, Republicans pulled off significant victories with Chris Christie’s defeat of Gov. John Corzine and Robert McDonnell defeating Creigh Deeds.
    Just two days after the election, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who had boasted of the results as evidence of a “Republican Renaissance,” issued a stern warning to his colleagues. Steele said that his message for the 2010 midterm elections was that Republicans should remain loyal to the party principles, or “we’ll come after you.”
    Republicans certainly can take some comfort in this election. It is clear that some of the excitement about the Democratic Party has faded since the beginning of 2009. The so-called jobless recovery, with unemployment now at 10.2 percent, is not sitting well with many Americans.
    But Republicans should be cautious. Both political parties have a history of over-reading election results and seeing mandates where none exist. The leaders of each party have often thought that the electorate sent a clear message endorsing a new direction in public policy only to learn that voters were relatively comfortable with the status quo….
    Rather than misread the message of the elections, Republicans must turn to the difficult job of rebuilding their party by finding a new generation of leaders and ideas, while broadening rather than narrowing their reach. If they don’t, their response will leave their ranks in even worse shape than before. CNN, 11-10-09

Sarah Palin Resigns as Governor of Alaska – For 2012 Presidential Run?

Sarah Palin said on Friday she will resign this month and will not run seek reelection.

Robert DeBerry/The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, via Associated Press Sarah Palin at the news conference on Friday.

THE HEADLINES….

  • Palin resigns as governor, leaves plans secret: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin surprised supporters Friday and announced she is resigning from office at the end of the month, leaving open the possibility she would seek a run for the White House in 2012….
    Palin hinted she had a bigger role in mind, saying she wanted to make a “positive change outside government.” But she kept supporters in suspense, promising on Twitter: “We’ll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election … this is in Alaska’s best interest, my family’s happy … it is good. Stay tuned.”
    In a hastily arranged news conference at her home in suburban Wasilla, Palin said she will formally step down July 26, and Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell will be inaugurated at the governor’s picnic in Fairbanks. She said she had decided against running for re-election as Alaska’s governor, and believed it was best to leave office even though she had two years left to her term.
    “Many just accept that lame duck status, and they hit that road. They draw a paycheck. They kind of milk it. And I’m not going to put Alaskans through that,” she said…. – AP, 7-3-09
  • Palin to Resign as Governor of Alaska: Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska announced Friday that she would step down by the end of the month and not seek a second term as governor, fueling speculation that she is trying to position herself as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. Her decision follows a week of extraordinarily bad publicity, from within her own state over ethics inquiries and across the national landscape as top aides on her vice-presidential campaign and supporters have been engaged in a highly public feud that has spilled out in vociferous tones online on blogs and on television. Bloggers in Alaska, critics of the governor as well as former Palin supporters, suggest also that pending releases of e-mails among the Palins were about to expose her to further questions about her finances and governance issues…. – NYT, 7-3-09
  • Palin’s Resignation Has Many Asking, What Next?: Some political insiders questioned the political wisdom of her decision to quit in the middle of her first term as governor while others were reluctant to bet against her popularity. Sarah’s Palin’s decision to quit as Alaska’s governor at the end of the month left political observers scratching their heads and wondering, is this the beginning of Palin’s run for the the White House or the end of her political career?…
    “I am real surprised. It is real unconventional,” William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, told FOX News. “It would make sense to finish the governorship and then run for president in 2012. But Kristol didn’t count Palin out for 2012, calling her “crazy like a fox. “It’s a huge gamble — but some of her gambles have paid off in the past,” he said. “If I had to bet right now, I would bet that we just heard the first opening statement in the 2012 presidential race.”… – Fox News, 7-3-09
  • Prepping for a run for president? Howard Fineman: Palin is potentially a major GOP player in 2012 race: I have covered politics for a long time. I can tell when someone is running for president. Sarah Palin is running for president.
    On a sunny (slow news) day in Wasilla, Alaska, the governor and former GOP vice presidential candidate appeared before the cameras and announced that she was stepping down as the state’s chief executive 18 months before her term expires.
    Just like that — like the distant sound of a chain saw in a stand of northern pines — the 2012 Republican race lurched into gear…. – MSNBC, 7-3-09
  • Palin’s Resignation: Shrewd Move or Political Suicide?: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s decision to not only opt out of running for re-election but to resign as governor at the end of the month underscored the Republican lawmaker’s commitment to “no more conventional politics as usual,” as she said today in her announcement. But if Palin is serious about a 2012 presidential bid against President Barack Obama, how smart of a decision was it to bow out of the only public office she’s ever been elected to before the end of her first term?
    In her lengthy–and at times rambling–statement today in Alaska, Palin said she didn’t want to focus any more of her time or the state’s tax dollars in fighting off ethics complaints as her main reason to resign. “It’s pretty insane,” she said, “My staff and I spend most of our day dealing with this instead of progressing our state now.” From that starting point, it will be hard to make the case that she is ready to lead a country if she is incapable or unwilling to face her political enemies…. – WSJ, 7-3-09

POLITICAL QUOTES

  • Palin Announces No Second Term: I’ve never believed that I, nor anyone else, needs a title to do this – to make a difference… to HELP people. So I choose, for my State and my family, more “freedom” to progress, all the way around… so that Alaska may progress… I will not seek re-election as Governor.
    And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn’t run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks… travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade – as so many politicians do. And then I thought – that’s what’s wrong – many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and “milk it”. I’m not putting Alaska through that – I promised efficiencies and effectiveness! ? That’s not how I am wired. I am not wired to operate under the same old “politics as usual.” I promised that four years ago – and I meant it.
    It’s not what is best for Alaska.
    I am determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional and not so comfortable.
    With this announcement that I am not seeking re-election… I’ve determined it’s best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell; and I am willing to do so, so that this administration – with its positive agenda, its accomplishments, and its successful road to an incredible future – can continue without interruption and with great administrative and legislative success.
    My choice is to take a stand and effect change – not hit our heads against the wall and watch valuable state time and money, millions of your dollars, go down the drain in this new environment. Rather, we know we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale, and actually make a difference for our priorities – and so we will, for Alaskans and for Americans.
    Let me go back to a comfortable analogy for me – sports… basketball. I use it because you’re naïve if you don’t see the national full-court press picking away right now: A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket… and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I’m doing that – keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities – smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it’s time to pass the ball – for victory.
    I have given my reasons candidly and truthfully… and my last day won’t be for another few weeks so the transition will be very smooth. In fact, we will look to swear Sean in – in Fairbanks at the conclusion of our Governor’s picnics.
    I do not want to disappoint anyone with my decision; all I can ask is that you TRUST me with this decision – but it’s no more “politics as usual”.
    Some Alaskans don’t mind wasting public dollars and state time. I do. I cannot stand here as your Governor and allow millions upon millions of our dollars go to waste just so I can hold the title of Governor. And my children won’t allow it either. ? Some will question the timing. ? Let’s just say, this decision has been in the works for awhile…
    In fact, this decision comes after much consideration, and finally polling the most important people in my life – my children (where the count was unanimous… well, in response to asking: “Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children’s future from OUTSIDE the Governor’s office?” It was four “yes’s” and one “hell yeah!” The “hell yeah” sealed it – and someday I’ll talk about the details of that… I think much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently.) Um, by the way, sure wish folks could ever, ever understand that we ALL could learn so much from someone like Trig – I know he needs me, but I need him even more… what a child can offer to set priorities RIGHT – that time is precious… the world needs more “Trigs”, not fewer.
    My decision was also fortified during this most recent trip to Kosovo and Landstuhl, to visit our wounded soldiers overseas, those who sacrifice themselves in war for OUR freedom and security… we can ALL learn from our selfless Troops… they’re bold, they don’t give up, they take a stand and know that LIFE is short so they choose to NOT waste time. They choose to be productive and to serve something greater than SELF… and to build up their families, their states, our country. These Troops and their important missions – those are truly the worthy causes in this world and should be the public priority with time and resources and NOT this local / superficial wasteful political bloodsport. …
    First things first: as Governor, I love my job and I love Alaska. It hurts to make this choice but I am doing what’s best for Alaska. I’ve explained why… though I think of the saying on my parents’ refrigerator that says “Don’t explain: your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.”
    But I have given my reasons… no more “politics as usual” and I am taking my fight for what’s right – for Alaska – in a new direction….
    Remember Alaska… America is now, more than ever, looking North to the Future. It’ll be good. So God bless you, and from me and my family – to ALL Alaska – you have my heart.
    And we will be in the capable hands of our Lieutenant Governor, Sean Parnell. And Lieutenant General Craig Campbell will assume the role of Lieutenant Governor. And it is my promise to you that I will always be standing by, ready to assist. We have a good, positive agenda for Alaska.
    In the words of General MacArthur said, “We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.” – State of Alaska, 7-3-09

HISTORIANS’ COMMENTS

  • Julian Zelizer “Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to resign in surprise move”: Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer said Palin’s future in public life depends on the reason she stepped down. “If there is any evidence that the decision was a result of political problems or looming scandals, she is done,” he said. “The Republican Party already feels to be in a moment of crisis,” after losing the presidency and control of Congress to the Democrats. He noted that in 2008 “she revealed many weaknesses … limited policy knowledge, association with fringe groups, weak performances on television and more.” – WaPo, 7-3-09
  • Gerald McBeath “Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to resign in surprise move”: “I think it’s good news for both the governor and for Alaska,” said Gerald McBeath, a political science professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Her immediate future is not in elected office, but as a media personality, he said. “And media personalities often end up in high political office.” – WaPo, 7-3-09
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