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Posted: Sunday, November 1, 2009 1:21 am | Updated: 12:49 pm, Wed Dec 26, 2012.

Oct. 28, 2009

To the editor:

Most farmers are pragmatic folks, so it’s not surprising they turn a sharp eye on gift horses. Applying the same standards to politicians makes sense; a pol’s hidden defects can create liabilities that take years to resolve.

The borough mayor’s runoff election illustrates the caution to a fine point. Mrs. Wilson is an ardent and well-spoken advocate for her positions, although they reflect a cheechako’s attitudes about the Alaska mythos.

While it is to her credit to have reached this level of civic engagement, let’s acknowledge Tammie rose to prominence in a six-person race where one candidate lacked serious support and two others were crippled by their records. Further, Mrs. Wilson enjoys the benefit of a talk radio host’s zealous drum beating.

Tammie Wilson plays well to another dubious advantage. She appears, with some adjustments, to be a reincarnation of Sarah Palin. High energy, winning smile, quick answers, strident anti-fed talk, a religious streak she wears publicly: Mrs. Wilson understands the media’s power in crowning a winner.

Taking swipes at Mayor Whitaker’s leadership undermines her credibility, however. Given Mrs. Wilson’s length of residency, her innuendoes betray an inclination for snap judgments. We can ill afford another leader who is not equipped for public service, who fails to make distinctions between it and private enterprise.

Sarah Palin famously said, “I’m the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can’t.” (Ref: http://tinyurl.com/5fwh93)

Religious voters were dazzled by Sarah’s public postures, many moderate Republicans came along for the ride, and what did it get us?

Frankly, Sarah gut-shot Alaska’s brand. Concurrent with federal indictments of state legislators, Ted Stevens’ fall and the investigation of Rep. Young, we’re leaving bloody tracks in the snow. Alaska’s come a long way from Jay Hammond.

In order to win the community’s trust, Mrs. Wilson needs to prove up her claim on the assembly. If she earns the respect of her colleagues and the voters, credit and greater responsibility will accrue. However, if she jumps the shark, we’ll have seen it coming.

Hopkins has my vote.

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