mug-shot-saloon.thumbnail.jpgI guess it’s not a surprise that folks in Wasilla are big, big fans of Sarah Palin, especially now that she’s brought them genuine fame and put their town on the map. That’s true of Alaskans generally, among whom she has enjoyed an 80 percent approval rating.

But even here in her hometown, the doubts are starting to seep in. And those doubts are becoming significant everywhere else in Alaska.

The biggest source of doubt is the Troopergate investigation. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Palin in fact abused her office in firing the state’s law-enforcement director, and only true Palinbots are in denial about it any longer. A number of them think that if Palin had just fessed up, everything would have been forgiven, but the continuing denials are digging her hole deeper.

But what has Alaskans of all stripes truly pissed off is the way Team McCain has parachuted into the state and not just taken over the governor’s office, but is doing its damnedest to obstruct the Troopergate investigation by any means possible.

What I’m hearing from Alaskans: If Palin doesn’t win in November, she will be impeached as governor.

I met a couple at a roadside stop near Anchorage who were eager to talk about it. He was a former Republican state legislator and former McCain supporter. But he’s had his doubts about Palin since before she became governor, because he thinks she’s done a piss-poor job of actually managing the reins of government. Her style, he says, is to simply present herself as a “Joan of Arc” culture warrior without actually being competent in governance; his wife says her whole appeal, especially among male voters, is based on being “the naughty librarian.”

But like a number of people I’ve talked to in Wasilla, he’s become furious about how McCain’s people have seized control of the state’s government, and particularly their transparent manipulation of the attorney general’s office in their efforts to derail the Troopergate probe.

And then there’s the one-two punch of the economic crisis and Palin’s dismal performances in TV interviews. I was chatting with customers in one of the local gun shops, where they’re selling “The Hero and The Hottie” T-shirts alongside boxes of .30-06 ammo. They all love Palin, but there was a cloud over their enthusiasm.

“I feel like I’m getting this little brush with history, which is pretty cool,” said one man. “Too bad they’re going to lose.”

What makes you say that? I asked.

“The economy is just going to kill McCain,” he said. “And he’s not handling it well. Sarah’s great, but it’s not going to be enough.”

Another woman I talked to at the Mug Shot Saloon – where “Go Sarah” banners festoon the exterior – grimaced when I mentioned the TV interviews.

“To be honest, she looked way out of her league,” she said. “I’m worried she may wind up being a big embarrassment.”

Of course, in her view, the problem was the “liberal media.” But even she confessed to cringing while watching the Katie Couric interview.

It’s been gorgeous and sunny in Wasilla this week. But the clouds are descending.

I guess it’s not a surprise that folks in Wasilla are big, big fans of Sarah Palin, especially now that she’s brought them genuine fame and put their town on the map. That’s true of Alaskans generally, among whom she has enjoyed an 80 percent approval rating.

But even here in her hometown, the doubts are starting to seep in. And those doubts are becoming significant everywhere else in Alaska.

The biggest source of doubt is the Troopergate investigation. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Palin in fact abused her office in firing the state’s law-enforcement director, and only true Palinbots are in denial about it any longer. A number of them think that if Palin had just fessed up, everything would have been forgiven, but the continuing denials are digging her hole deeper.

But what has Alaskans of all stripes truly pissed off is the way Team McCain has parachuted into the state and not just taken over the governor’s office, but is doing its damnedest to obstruct the Troopergate investigation by any means possible.

What I’m hearing from Alaskans: If Palin doesn’t win in November, she will be impeached as governor.
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David Neiwert

David Neiwert

David Neiwert is the managing editor of Firedoglake. He's a freelance journalist based in Seattle and the author/editor of the blog Orcinus. He also is the author of Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, June 2005), as well as Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2004), and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest (1999, WSU Press). His reportage for MSNBC.com on domestic terrorism won the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000.