Alaska’s Evita

Sarah Palin vs. Evita Peron

Since the end of the campaign, Gov. Sarah Palin has been working on re-creating her political persona. Along with her new appearance (in an attempt to keep her “freshness” on the national arena), Gov. Palin is attempting to fix some of the things that didn’t come out quite as “down-to-earth” (both literally, and figuratively) as the McCain campaign may have wished. In that direction, she is “calling for an ambitious statewide goal of producing half of Alaska’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025,” reported the Juneau Empire back in January. Even though such proposals have been in the Alaska Legislature for a while, the governor managed to “steal” her fifteen minutes of fame from the lawmakers, some would argue non-surprisingly.

In another unexpected affection towards environmental concerns, Sarah Palin showed more practicality. Last Sunday, the Empire’s front page story talked about a court decision to halt the controversial road project out of Juneau (the town still has no road access). Very much supported by developmentalists, and unilaterally by Republicans, the construction was to be funded by the federal government (as almost anything related to Alaskan development), but was put on hold due to a lawsuit from an environmental group. The judge ruled against the road, stating that there should have been more attention attributed to the ferry system in the plan, and other alternatives to a road – maybe more environmentally friendly. But that same article notes the following:

The ruling appears to justify the decision by Gov. Sarah Palin to stop the Department of Transportation from issuing a contract to build the $350 million road until there was a favorable court ruling.

I am not sure I understand this correctly. So, in her infinite strive towards development, independence, fishing and hunting, and what being an “Alaskan” is all about, the governor suddenly became more concerned about this road that would connect the capitol to the rest of Alaska, and its environmental impacts? Rather (again, it seems), in her struggle between being a devoted moose-huntin’, fish-eatin’, g-droppin’ Republican and a devout proponent of the capitol move (to… Wasilla?), the latter prevailed. She would rather be an anti-developer than show for a split second that she favored Southeast Alaska.

In yet another recent article in the Washington Post, Sarah is piously compared with Eva Perón, Argentina’s sweetheart in a restless time. “She doesn’t care about the political establishment, but the people in the streets love her,” a legislative aid noted. No doubt, the populist tendencies constructing Sarah Palin’s public image are strongly correlated with that of Evita’s, but in different contexts. One was venerated by the public as the “protector” of the simple (or “shirtless”) ones, ignorant or indifferent towards the political interests behind it. The other is popular for her ‘reformist’ policies, but even those might not hold if her divisive attitudes towards her electorate continue for long.


2 Responses

  1. Summer’s coming on and school’s going to be out soon, but shouldn’t these children remain in class a bit longer?

    That’s the feeling I receive when a handful of Republican governors are considering turning down some money from the federal stimulus package, a move opponents say puts conservative ideology ahead of the needs of constituents struggling with record foreclosures and soaring unemployment.

  2. I personally do not like Sarah Palin, I do not want her to win. I think it was a battle between her and Tony Knowles and my family and I wanted him to win. It was not because she was a woman, but because we liked what Tony Knowles did. It seems like Palin is doing a lot worse from what I can tell. I am not a political kind of person, I don’t really listen to politics, but I am just not a fan of her, especially after her stint with McCain.

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