For the last few years, I’ve lived in a college town with a high percentage of Alaskan students. This being the case, I’ve had Alaskan roommates, professors, drinking buddies and Greyhound seatmates fairly regularly for some time now, and while I don’t pretend that this makes me an expert on the one of a kind politics of the Great White North, I can certainly fake it if somebody hums a few bars. That said, I, like many Americans, know almost nothing about Sarah Palin. And that’s because there is precious little to know. Palin is a self described “hockey mom” and evangelical Christian who got involved in politics almost accidentally, moving from the PTA to City Council in Wasilla, Alaska before taking over as mayor of the town of less than 10,000. She r won her first gubernatorial campaign running on a campaign to cut spending and clean up government and became Alaska’s youngest governor and first female governor in 2006. But what does she really stand for?

Well, one way she managed to save money was by cancelling the construction of the infamous Ketchikan ‘bridge to nowhere’ – and keeping the federal money for use on other projects. This is apparently what passes for “telling Congress thanks but no thanks.” In her short time as Governor, Palin has also developed an unnerving knack for replacing officials who make decisions she dislikes, from the state Board of Agriculture and Conservation to a Public Safety Commissioner who refused to fire a state trooper in the midst of a messy divorce with Palin’s sister. So while I’d like to believe that the Palin pick is a silly one that will ultimately hurt the Straight Talk Express, I’m not sure I believe it. It’s a silly pick to be sure – a huge vote of confidence in an untested official from a state whose Republican Party is utterly crooked and notably unpunished for it. But will it hurt the campaign?

That has been worrying me more and more all weekend. First off, I don’t think the Public Works commissioner firing hurts her as much as I feel it should. People just don’t much care about Public Works commissioners in states they’ve never visited, especially ones that they often mistake for Canada. The fact that the state trooper she was trying to get canned was by all accounts not exactly a peach shouldn’t be an extenuating circumstance, but it’s certainly not going to help people take the matter more seriously.

The second problem is bigger, and it is this. Earlier, I’d said that Joe Biden wipes the floor with a half term governor with no foreign relations experience or exposure on the public stage. But here’s the thing – America doesn’t like to see pretty girls get picked on. If Joe Biden goes at Palin with both guns blazing come the Vice Presidential debate, as he would have with Mittens or Pawlenty, he risks coming off as a bully. If he doesn’t, then the best the Obama/Biden ticket can come away with from the VP debates is a draw, which frankly isn’t good enough. So the question is can Biden land a Lloyd Bentsen-esque knockout punch without looking like he’s swinging? The guys good, but if he’s that good…well, he probably would have been nominated president by now. Neal Kinnock, where art thou in our hour of need?

Finally, we come to the disgruntled Hillary supporter issue. I firmly believe that even the most disgruntled Hillary voters are not disgruntled enough to see through this gross and pandering sham of a VP pick. I think that most of these people will end up voting the issues, and understand that a fanatical anti-abortion crusader who believes that creationism should be taught alongside real science and who is, via her Selleck mustachioed hubbie, literally in bed with the oil industry does not have the best interests of Jane Q. Soccermom at heart. I think that, disillusioned as they may be, most women who went from supporting Hillary to disappointed fence sitting are smart enough, savvy enough, politically aware enough and virtuous enough to see through this frankly offensive ruse.

That said, anytime I need to believe that many good things about people, I tend to come away disappointed.

But in the interest of full disclosure, Palin loves the Obama energy plan – it says so in a press release that’s since been removed from her website – luckily, you can still access it in Google’s cache for now, here. Thanks, Google!

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