Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said goodbye to her constituents Sunday afternoon and handed off the baton to Lieutenant Gov. Sean Parnell. Explaining her
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said goodbye to her constituents Sunday afternoon and handed off the baton to Lieutenant Gov. Sean Parnell. Explaining her puzzling move, Palin cited her inability to get anything done as a lame duck — though her term would have ended in about a year and a half.
After a few jabs at the press, Palin ran through a laundry list of her accomplishments in office, including an ethics reform package (which, ironically, she now names as one reason for leaving office early, as “frivolous” complaints dog her) and kick-starting a public-private natural gas pipeline project — a longtime dream for the state. Palin, with a near unanimous vote in the legislature last year, has the state on the hook for $500 million for a completed proposal. The building portion will take years and billions of dollars, if it actually happens at all.
Certainly she was trying to end on good terms with Alaskans, but she didn’t forget about the CNN crew either. Since announcing her decision to leave office earlier this month, Palin’s been positioning herself as an “energy expert,” quickly penning on op-ed for The Washington Post that blasted President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plans. She spent a good portion of her address today talking about “renewables,” her gas pipeline project and the need to tap into Alaska’s natural resources (but she did not invoke her 2008 campaign mantra, “Drill Baby, Drill”). She also claimed Alaska could wean itself off earmarks if it were allowed to more fully tap its energy sources. (Palin has taken credit for being an earmark reformer, despite many, many examples to the contrary.)
Arguably, her farewell speech’s best moment came when she tossed the crowd some red-meat on gun control. Blasting wildlife groups that recruit “Hollywood starlets” to run campaigns against her record on hunting rights — presumably referring to the Defenders of Wildlife attack ad describing Palin’s wolf bounty proposal (cash for every severed left foreleg turned in by hunters) — Palin yelled to the crowd, “We eat, therefore we hunt.”
Surprisingly, she steered clear of one of her signature issues, abortion. During her 2006 gubernatorial bid, she tended to avoid talking about her abortion views (its not a rallying point among Alaskans). On the 2008 trail the issue became part of her national persona and she had an arsenal of euphemisms and suggestive anecdotes, like “culture of life,” and her continued talk of her son Trig, born with Downs syndrome, that made her point (none of which came up today). As TWI’s David Weigel recently reported, anti-abortion rights activists are eager to welcome her aboard. With her sights apparently set on cementing herself as a national figure and legions of devoted fans supporting her, today’s goodbye is almost certainly not the end.
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