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July 8, 2009

What’s Up with Republican Governors?

Michael Kurtianyk

So what is it with these Republican governors these days? Is there some sort of Kool-Aid trough they’re drinking from that’s making them go wacko? In no particular order, let’s look at the Hall of Shame.


We’ll start with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who announced on July 3 that she is stepping down as governor of Alaska. Did you see her entire speech? Did you see how she rambled and waited nearly 13 minutes before mentioning (finally!) that she would not seek re-election as governor?


Not only that, but she said that she would step down later in July and turn over her power and authority to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell. Flying geese overhead and references to dead fish in her ramblings aside, what could possibly have motivated her to step down now, only 2 ½ years into her first term as governor? As a former guard in basketball, she used an analogy she was comfortable with: she knew it was time to “pass the ball for victory.”


Pass the ball? More like “drop the ball!” What point guard would beat a full-court press (which she said we would be naïve if we didn’t “see a full-court press from the national level picking away right now”), by quitting? Isn’t a winning point guard one who stays the course, follows the game plan, and passes the ball for the winning shot?


What was it exactly? Was it the continuing ethics charges surrounding “Troopergate?”


Was it the continuing ethics charges surrounding the legal defense fund Governor Palin established, called the Alaska Fund Trust?


Is it the dozen or so ethics complaints that have been filed against her since her ill-fated run as vice president on John McCain’s ticket?


Is it her very public feud with Levi Johnston, the former fiancée of her teenage daughter, Bristol, and the father of Bristol's infant son?


Is it David Letterman? Maybe her travel agent said she should take a sightseeing trip on the Bridge to Nowhere. On second thought, she can stay home and see Russia from where she lives.


My take is that either another shoe will drop, which will be revealed at a later date, or that she is sincere in not staying in politics any longer. Who quits their position as governor, and then seeks the presidency in the future?


This was political hara-kiri, and if her supporters think otherwise, then they’ll need to take their rose-colored glasses off for once. As a Democrat, I feel bad because she would have been such an easy target in the 2012 race against President Barack Obama. Now, the Republicans are forced to prop up a stronger candidate.


Then there’s Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, of South Carolina. What can you say about him? The sequence of events went something like this: Sanford, a father of four, disappeared on June 18, without telling his wife, or staff, or security where he was going. For two days after reporters starting asking questions, his office said he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trial. I will pause here to suggest that “hiking the Appalachian” has become a euphemism for having an affair. But I digress.


Governor Sanford returned on June 24 and after a lengthy, rambling speech (same speechwriter as Gov. Palin?), he admitted to having an affair.


It turns out that the Argentinean woman has a degree in International Affairs (insert laugh here), and that the affair had been going on for quite some time. Though he did resign as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, he has yet to resign as governor of South Carolina. Governor Sanford needs to do the right thing and resign now, and provide a peaceful transition of power to his lieutenant governor. Then maybe the Republican Party would have a fighting chance to retain the gubernatorial seat in the next election.


Governor Sanford’s link to John McCain is that he had been mentioned as a potential running mate for Senator McCain in 2008. Too funny! Senator McCain’s legacy has certainly been hurt by his links with both Governor Palin and Governor Sanford.


I haven’t mentioned Governor Jindal (R., LA), who decried the government spending of “$140 million for something called ‘volcano monitoring.’” Then, a few weeks later, Alaska’s Mount Redoubt erupted (insert statements on irony here).


Nor have I mentioned Gov. Rick Perry (R., TX), who wants Texas to secede from the rest of the United States. So sad, really. Bragging as being a fiscal conservative, his wacko talk of secession reflects a lack of depth in thought. Texas would never recover from the losses of federal moneys from FEMA, Pell Grants, school funding, etc. Also, with the necessary establishments of health services, postal services, etc., taxes would skyrocket.


When I see the Kool-Aid being passed my way, I’ll leave the trough….


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