Sarah, Standing Tall and Not-So-Plain


Fred Barnes profiles Alaska Republican Sarah Palin, the most popular governor in America. Palin seems like the real deal, an old-school, limited government conservative who emerged from the oily, fish-strewn filth of Alaskan politics: an anti-Ted Stevens, bizarro world Don Young, a Frank Murkowski antonym. She's taken on the GOP power structure in Alaska, and crushed them.  Writes Barnes:

With her emphasis on ethics and openness in government, "it turned out Palin caught the temper of the times perfectly," wrote Tom Kizzia of the Anchorage Daily News. She was also lucky. News broke of an FBI investigation of corruption by legislators between the primary and general elections. So far, three legislators have been indicted.

In the roughly three years since she quit as the state's chief regulator of the oil industry, Palin has crushed the Republican hierarchy (virtually all male) and nearly every other foe or critic. Political analysts in Alaska refer to the "body count" of Palin's rivals.

"The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who crossed Sarah," says pollster Dave Dittman, who worked for her gubernatorial campaign. It includes Ruedrich, Renkes, Murkowski, gubernatorial contenders John Binkley and Andrew Halcro, the three big oil companies in Alaska, and a section of the Daily News called "Voice of the Times," which was highly critical of Palin and is now defunct.

Probably also doesn't hurt Palin's national prospects that there's a reason why Barnes' describes her integrity as "eye-popping."