What Does Reform Mean
Earlier today I was thinking about how I couldn’t help but admire Gov. Sarah Palin a little for breaking with Sen. Ted Stevens on his “bridge to nowhere.” Since then, plenty of people have disagreed with me on whether she actually did anything heroic, arguing she didn’t fight hard enough to kill the project or come out swinging early on. In another state I’d probably make that same argument. But in Palin’s case, I see the decision within the bizarre context of Alaska politics, where the bar for what is “reform” is pretty low.
But Palin’s outside of Alaska now. Presumably, voters in other places in the country won’t be impressed that she didn’t sign on to the legislature’s “Corrupt Bastards Club,” that walked the halls of the capitol wearing custom-made hats with their CBC logo — paid for by the oil services company for whom they did their shilling. I don’t think it will sell too well to say to the American public, hey, I didn’t get a 1,000 percent return on a sweet-heart investment in Utah like Uncle Ted did. Oh, and I didn’t try to move into a major campaign contributor’s back yard for half price like our state’s junior senator. I don’t think “my chief of staff wasn’t indicted like the last Alaska governor’s was” makes a great slogan. That’s the kind of reform some Alaskans were imagining when they went with her — a sad state of affairs, to be sure. I’m thinking now at the national level, this isn’t going to be enough. It’s a far cry from what 80,000 fans cheering for change at Invesco meant.