Governance, Palin-Style

According to an LA Times investigation, she seems to have conducted business in Alaska in the best traditions of the Bush administration:

* More than 100 appointments to state posts — nearly 1 in 4 — went to campaign contributors or their relatives, sometimes without apparent regard to qualifications.

* Palin filled 16 state offices with appointees from families that donated $2,000 to $5,600 and were among her top political patrons.

* Several of Palin’s leading campaign donors received state-subsidized industrial development loans of up to $3.6 million for business ventures of questionable public value.

* Palin picked a donor to replace the public safety commissioner she fired. But the new top cop had to resign days later under an ethics cloud. And Palin drew a formal ethics complaint still pending against her and several aides for allegedly helping another donor and fundraiser land a state job.

Of course despite this she’s been super-popular in Alaska. That’s common in small states but also, I think, reflects the unique nature of Alaska politics. Basically, it’s this kind of nice conservative fantasyland where public ownership of valuable natural resources (but don’t call it socialism) combined with huge net transfers from the federal government (but don’t call it socialism) and a small population, combine to create a where somehow everything can go smoothly without such inconveniences as taxes or competent administration of government. You can indulge in all kinds of wingnutty goodness and not suffer the consequences that would follow from trying this stuff in a more normal place.