Welcome once again to the wacky world of Alaska politics. When we last left our governor, she was involved in a knock down drag out fight with David Letterman over a crass comment about her daughter getting "knocked up" during a baseball game. We all know how that turned out, and regardless of which side you were on, or whether you were somewhere in the middle, it was quite a spectacle. A battle of the Titans. Former VP candidate and Queen of Alaska Sarah Palin vs. The Undisputed King of Late Night Comedy who can make or break politicians with his sometimes acid tongue, and always razor sharp wit. It was quite a show that culminated in 15 protesters and 35 members of the media showing up outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City asking that the aforementioned King of Comedy get fired from his job.
Fast forward a few weeks.
Local Alaskan political watchdog and blogger Linda Kellen Biegel is in the middle of a project. She's working in virtual obscurity in Alaska, to get email records released that she feels will reveal questionable communications between the Palin administration and a local gossip columnist, and a local pro-Palin conservative radio talk show host. Palin herself has appeared on the show many times, in addition to her family members, her lawyer, her spokeswoman and various other members of the administration.The talk show host in question, Eddie Burke, recently showed up at an Anchorage Assembly meeting to give public testimony about an upcoming Municipal gay rights ordinance wearing this.
A few months ago, security forcibly removed him from another Assembly meeting.
Biegel believes the release of these emails will show a concerted effort between the Palin administration and these two members of the media to coordinate attacks on local watchdogs. She won't know for sure until she can pay the $5500 the state is charging her for costs associated with her records request. Last week she began a fund drive to raise the money online, and each night posted a "thermometer" showing the progress and featuring a different image.
Here's where the fireworks begin. On Tuesday, a picture of Palin holding up her son Trig during that famous speech at the RNC convention became the thermometer graphic. Only in this picture, Trig wasn't Trig. In the image Biegel used, the governor is cuddling a photoshopped baby with the face of Eddie Burke. Disturbing, yes, but meant to illustrate the governor's strange and cozy relationship with this controversial Alaskan figure, according to the blogger.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, an out-of-state pro-Palin blog expressed outrage. At first they did not realize what the face was, as those outside of Alaska were not familiar with the visage of Eddie Burke. But after finding out, one of the bloggers at the site was featured on the Eddie Burke Show in Alaska and expressed the fact that her readers were outraged. This image was making fun of a precious special needs baby, she said. An hour of Burke's radio program Wednesday was dedicated to discussing the issue and callers weighed in from both sides. Biegel was called on to apologize to special needs kids everywhere, and the Democratic Party was called upon to renounce Biegel, who had been Alaska's state blogger at the Democratic National Convention, but whose official relationship with the party ended there.
Today, Meghan Stapleton, the governor's spokeswoman issued a strongly-worded statement:
Recently we learned of a malicious desecration of a photo of the Governor and baby Trig that has become an iconic representation of a mother's love for a special needs child.
The mere idea of someone doctoring the photo of a special needs baby is appalling. To learn that two Alaskans did it is absolutely sickening. Linda Kellen Biegel, the official Democrat Party blogger for Alaska, should be ashamed of herself and the Democratic National Committee should be ashamed for promoting this website and encouraging this atrocious behavior.
Babies and children are off limits. It is past time to restore decency in politics and real tolerance for all Americans. The Obama Administration sets the moral compass for its party. We ask that special needs children be loved, respected and accepted and that this type of degeneracy be condemned.
Neither Stapleton nor the governor had commented on a similar photo that had been photoshopped using that same image to show Palin cuddling a baby with a David Letterman head last Friday, points out Biegel who says the photo is obviously making fun of Eddie Burke and the governor, not Trig.
Tactics have changed. This is not a battle of the Titans, but more like Titan vs. Hedgehog. One thing sure to come from this latest turn of events is the evidence that Palin has changed her tactics, and that right or wrong, Linda Kellen Biegel and her blog will be better known by the time it's over. And so will Eddie Burke.
Follow Jeanne Devon (AKMuckraker) on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mudflats