POLITICS
10/03/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Palin Forced Staff To Resign In Loyalty Test

Earlier today, First Lady Laura Bush urged us to remember Gov. Sarah Palin's record as mayor of her hometown from 1996-2002 when assessing her experience. I agree.

Driving around this city today, I decided it looks more or less like a string of strip malls, 45 minutes northeast of Anchorage. I couldn't help but think that being mayor of a place like this would be something akin to running a large neighborhood watch.

The main highway that runs through town is lined with new big-box stores, including a Target and a Wal-Mart. A handful of fast-food chains as well as some local restaurants also sprinkle the main drag. Breathtaking mountains, the peaks still lightly dusted with snow, create a striking backdrop. Despite the chain stores, this small city feels distant from the rest of the world. I'd have guessed Palin would have run the city with a "we're in this together" theme.

It turns out she had a somewhat different approach. If a small-town mayor ever ruled with an iron fist -- it was Palin. Eleven days after taking office in 1996, she mailed letters to each of the city's top managers requesting that they resign as a test of loyalty.

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