American Elephants


Take that, Howard Dean! by The Elephant's Child
September 10, 2008, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Conservatism, Election 2008, Liberalism, Media Bias, Politics | Tags: , , ,

The Wall Street Journal today took a look at the claim that Sarah Palin’s qualifications to be Vice President are poor because she governs one of the least populated states, with a meager budget of “only” $12 billion and 16,000 full-time state employees.  But it turns out that the Governor’s office in Alaska is one of the nation’s most powerful.

For more than two decades Thad Beyle, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina, has maintained an index of “institutional  powers” in state offices.  He rates governorships on potential length of service, budgetary and appointment authority, veto power and other factors.  Mr. Beyle’s findings for 2008 rate Alaska at 4.1 on a scale of 5.  The national average is 3.5.

Only four other states — Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia — concentrate as much power in the Governor’s office as Alaska does, and only one state (Massachusetts) concentrates more.  California may be the nation’s most populous state, but its Governor rates as below-average (3.2) in executive authority.  This may account in part for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s poor legislative track record.  The lowest rating goes to Vermont (2.5) where the Governor (remember Howard Dean) is a figurehead compared to Mrs. Palin.

The Alaskan governor has line-item veto power over the budget and can only be overridden by a three-quarters majority in the Legislature.  Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, elected in 1992, had a state budget of $2 billion which was among the smallest in the country. Sarah Palin not only governs a lot of territory, but is an important executive.

The Obama people keep digging, and we will have to keep debunking.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

As governor of Alaska you even have to administer a much higher percentage of earmarks than any other governor. Take that Democrats!

Comment by Sander

Actually one of the things Sarah Palin has done is to reduce the amount of earmarks coming in to her state. A great many Republicans in congress have sworn off earmarks completely. My congressman is one of them, John McCain has never accepted any earmarks for his state in his entire career.

Are there any Democrats anywhere who can say the same? If there are, I am unaware of them. And it certainly isn’t Barack Obama or Joe Biden.

Comment by American Elephant




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