Alaska Troubles for John McCain
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Aug 05, 2008 at 05:24:54 PM EDT
It's never a good sign when a party's top surrogate in a state talks up the standard-bearer of the other party. Think Gordon Smith trying to cozy up to Barack Obama and John Kerry in his latest ad campaign -- a sign not only that the Republican Senator believes that he is in jeopardy in Oregon but also that the Beaver state really isn't in play on the presidential level this year, either.
Oregon isn't the only state in which this is occurring for the Republicans. Take a look at what's going on in Alaska:
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin -- occasionally mentioned as a McCain vice presidential prospect -- has put out a press release praising Obama's energy plan.
Alaska energy politics seem to trump national politics here, though it's also interesting to see a red(dish) state Republican so willing to associate herself with the Democratic nominee.
"I am pleased to see Senator Obama acknowledge the huge potential Alaska's natural gas reserves represent in terms of clean energy and sound jobs," Palin says in the release. "The steps taken by the Alaska State Legislature this past week demonstrate that we are ready, willing and able to supply the energy our nation needs."
This story says quite a bit about the state of affairs in Alaska. The sitting GOP Governor, who prior to the new investigation into her alleged improprieties sported an 80 percent favorable rating, finds that she needs to sidle up to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in a state whose electoral votes have gone Republican in the last 10 elections... that can't be good.
Does this mean that Alaska is already a swing state on the presidential level? Not necessarily. But this move by Palin says at least as much about the politics in the state today -- the rise of the Democrats, particularly Obama, and the decline of the GOP -- as does the composite of recent polling, which shows McCain with an unimpressive 49 percent to 42.9 percent lead over his Democratic rival.