If there was ever any doubt that Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential candidate has her eye on a White House run in 2012 this erases it:
Gov. Sarah Palin just told reporters that she’s accepting only 55 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska. The governor said that she will accept only about $514 million of the $930 million headed to the state.
“We are not requesting funds intended to just grow government. We are not requesting more money for normal day-to-day operations of government as part of this economic stimulus package. In essence we say no to operating funds for more positions in government,” Palin said.
The biggest single chunk of stimulus money that Palin is turning down is $160 million for education. There’s also $17 million in Department of Labor funds (vocational rehabilitation services, unemployment services, etc.), about $9 million for Health and Social Services and about $7 million for Public Safety. The full list and the specifics aren’t available from the governor’s budget department yet.
Palin said she’ll work with the Legislature if it decides that it wants to go ahead and accept the money (although she didn’t rule out vetoes). But the deadline for the Legislature to decide could be April 3. Legislators from both parties said, if that is the deadline, it doesn’t leave them much time to sort through it all.
This will bolster Palin’s creds with her party’s conservative wing, although she is already hugely popular with conservatives. But just as Rush Limbaugh’s “I hope he fails” had become a litmus test for true conservatives the new litmus test for “real” Republicans who want to run for President and who are governors is rejecting the money and talking about how corrupting that would be on the GOPs
inflexible rule long stated goal of shrinking or not growing government.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.