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Jamie Stiehm Headshot

Three Truly Weird Governors, USA

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Even with a new Barack Obama presidential glow emanating out of the White House, I can't shake the disturbing sensation that the trio of governors we've gotten to know lately on the national stage have been as truly weird as the three witches in MacBeth.

Consider the evidence: Governors Sarah Palin of Alaska, David Paterson of New York (not to mention his tawdry and disgraced predecessor, Eliot Spitzer) and of course, Rod Blagojevich of Illinois. Wow, who knew what human dramas, complexes and perfidies lurked behind the doors of these three governor's mansions?

You could not make some of this stuff up. Let's take Palin first, since she swooped into our collective psyche last September as Sen. John McCain's chosen one for the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Somehow her plain speaking pattern, upswept hair, glasses and supreme self-confidence electrified the body politic. Love or fear her, she and her small-town ways could not be ignored. She was charming when she chose to be, with her winks and aw-shucks, doggone-it lines, but it wore thin when asked about foreign policy or how she intended to "be in charge" of the U.S. Senate. Sarah Palin also showed a smiling mean streak out on the campaign trail.

Substance was not her strong point and we never got an answer to Katie Couric's question: what in heck does the lady from Alaska read, anyway? Stay home up there near Russia and the North Pole, and chill out, Governor. You have delighted us in the Lower 48 long enough.

Less amusing was the performance of the New York governor, who botched his chance to appoint the U.S. Senate successor to Hillary Clinton. Paterson had two political plums in hand, either a Kennedy or a Cuomo, but he picked a first-term congresswoman named Kirsten Gillibrand, an unknown outside of New York. The daughter of the late president, Caroline Kennedy, an author and a civic do-gooder, and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo were treated shabbily, especially Kennedy. For some reason, the governor saw fit to let his aides tear her down as she tried to withdraw as part of the endgame. This is a governor who only got the job because of the spectacular downfall of the former governor, Eliot Spitzer.