Sarah Palin of Wasilla, Alaska

by Michael O. Allen on September 9, 2008

Newsweek magazine, despite a generally laudatory profile of Sarah Palin, serves up some inconvenient facts to counter the myth that she and her state have been swathed in since her nomination:

Palin is not regarded as an introspective or intellectual type—not the sort who likes to mull the deepest nuances of every issue. In that sense, she’s the anti-Obama. While Barack Obama of Hawaii, Indonesia, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Cambridge, Mass., Chicago and now Washington has been on a well-chronicled lifelong search for his identity, Sarah Heath Palin seems just fine being a woman of Wasilla. Alaskans regard themselves as a breed apart—more rugged, self-reliant and free than other Americans. Palin shares that sense of exceptionalism. But the myth is contradicted by some inconvenient facts. Only 1 percent of the state’s land is in private hands, and the economy is dependent on oil and other natural resources controlled by the federal government or Big Oil. As a result, nearly 50 years after statehood, Alaska remains deeply dependent on the federal government for support. Social ills are rampant. The state’s levels of drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence and child abuse are above average or among the highest in the country.

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