Monday, September 22, 2008

Palin's Shaky Bridge to Ted Stevens

If the economy calms down, this should be a big news week for Alaska. As Sen. Ted Stevens goes on trial in Washington for helping himself to some of the bacon he brought back home for constituents over 40 years, Gov. Sarah Palin will be hoping voters believe she refused to cook it.

Neither will be candid about their relationship, which started in 2003 with Palin serving as a director of the ethically iffy "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group to raise unlimited funds from corporate donors to help Republican women running for office in Alaska.

As an anti-corruption candidate in 2006, Palin took a step away by calling on Stevens to come clean about his alleged wrongdoing but also held a joint news conference with him, before he was indicted, to have it both ways. Stevens reciprocated with a last-minute endorsement and filmed a campaign commercial with her.

So now, in Palinworld, the Stevens who is on trial has gone from mentor to arm's length "Ted Who?" unless, by some chance, he beats the rap, in which case he may morph back into the kindly old uncle who helped get her into the statehouse, where John McCain could discover her and take over the role of older man in her life 20 months later.

The soap operas keep their convoluted plots more believable than that, but with Palin showing up only for scripted cameos, voters will have trouble figuring it out.

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