Unlikely Liberal: Sarah Palin's Curious Record as Alaska's Governor

Unlikely Liberal: Sarah Palin's Curious Record as Alaska's Governor

by Matthew Zencey


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How much do you really know about former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin? The revelations in Matthew Zencey’s account of her tenure will surprise you. Although Palin is widely seen as a conservative social ideologue, her political career in Alaska was marked by a progressive fiscal approach that is at odds with her current right-wing Republican identity. A self-described red-meat conservative, the partisan “pit bull with lipstick” had been a bipartisan, pragmatic, and surprisingly progressive governor who raised taxes on Big Oil and distributed oil revenue to every Alaskan. She also rankled her social-conservative supporters by vetoing an anti–gay rights measure and placing a pro-choice woman on the Alaskan Supreme Court. But her mishandling of accusations of ethics violations made her politically vulnerable at home, and her foray into the partisan brawling of national politics broke apart her bipartisan governing coalition in Alaska’s capital. After her failed 2008 bid for the vice presidency, Palin spent one more legislative session trying to run a big government state while maintaining her national stature as a small-government conservative, but it was politically untenable. With no hope of achieving any major political accomplishments, plus a growing strain on her family life, huge legal bills, and a large book advance in hand, she resigned. Zencey, an editor at the Anchorage Daily News during her tenure, shows how the Sarah Palin who was so popular in Alaska is starkly different from the Sarah Palin who is now so popular with the Tea Party.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612341859
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication date: 08/28/2012
Pages: 222
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Matthew Zencey is the former editorial page editor for the Anchorage Daily News, where he covered Alaska politics for twenty-one years and wrote numerous editorials on Sarah Palin’s performance as governor. He lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

1 Highlights and Lowlights: From Bipartisan Maverick to "Pitbull with Lipstick" to Former Governor 1

2 The Key to Palin's Popularity as Governor: Meet Her Predecessor 8

3 Fiscal Conservative or Republican Robin Hood? 13

4 Social Conservative, But You Wouldn't Really Notice 19

5 Palin Triumphs over Big Oil, Round 1 28

6 Palin Triumphs over Big Oil, Round 2 36

7 Palin Triumphs over Big Oil, Round 3 46

8 Palin Triumphs over Big Oil, Round 4 59

9 This is the Record of a Tea Party Favorite? 64

10 Al Gore, She's Not 75

11 From Ethics Crusader to Ethics Target, Part I: Troopergate 84

12 From Ethics Crusader to Ethics Target, Part II: Oops! Not All Those Ethics Complaints Were Frivolous 99

13 Personnel (Mis)Management 109

14 This May Sound Familiar from High School 117

15 The Truth Can Be So Inconvenient 125

16 "Where's Sarah?" 139

17 Palin Returns to Her Day Job 150

18 Legacy and Prospects: A Republican Geraldine Ferraro or a Modern-Day Aimee Semple McPherson? 166

Notes 179

Source Notes 197

Index 203

About the Author 209

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