Don't cry for me, Wasilla

Sarah Palin's month of bad press just got a little worse.

By Vincent Rossmeier

Published February 18, 2009 5:30PM (EST)

February has not been a good month for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Though she's officially exited the national stage (at least for now), she, and her family, can't seem to stay out of the limelight.

First, Palin's 18-year-old daughter, new mother Bristol, tells Fox News that relying on abstinence alone to prevent teen pregnancy isn't realistic -- a contradiction of the governor's views on the subject. And then it comes out that her state might actually need some money from that stimulus she's opposed: The state's budget deficit is estimated to reach $1.5 billion this year because of a drop in oil prices.

Wednesday, Palin had to deal with more bad press, as Alaska state officials ruled she has to pay back taxes on the per diem she received from the government while living at her home in Wasilla. Plus, the Washington Post published a lengthy article documenting Palin's chilly return to Alaska's government. While acknowledging that the governor still has an approval rating over 60 percent, the paper's Michael Leahy wrote:

A number of factors seem to have contributed to the bumpy homecoming: a residual anger among Democrats for the attack-dog role Palin assumed in the McCain campaign, lingering resentment from Republicans for the part she may have played in McCain's defeat, and a suspicion crossing party lines that the concerns of Alaska, at a time of economic crisis, will now be secondary to her future in national politics.

Leahy's article goes on to say that as Palin is now confronting some of her biggest challenges from fellow Alaska Republicans -- one of whom reportedly calls her "Dan Quayle with a ponytail" -- she is becoming increasingly isolated, and is having difficulty with the state legislature. "A lot of people around here see it as the Eva Peron syndrome -- Sarah being Evita," a top aide to one GOP member of the state House told the Post. "She doesn't care about the political establishment, but the people in the streets love her."

On a brighter note, Todd Palin finished sixth in the Iron Dog snowmobile race last weekend.

Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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