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Rebranding Alaska

Posted by Christopher Shea  January 27, 2009 05:05 PM

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Alaska, from the perspective of politicians with national aspirations, has an image problem: John McPhee's "Coming into the Country" is just one of many journalistic and historical accounts that portray the state as a place apart, psychologically as well as geographically, a destination for Americans who wanted off the grid long before "going off the grid" hit the lexicon. Right-wing anti-government dead-enders, crunchy back-to-the-landers who pluck salmon from the streams with their bare hands, Main Streeters disdainful of "the lower 48" (recall that Sarah Palin's husband was for a while a member of a secessionist group, and that Palin herself fulsomely addressed said group). Then there's that culture of political malfeasance, ex-U.S. Senator Ted Stevens barely deigning to acknowledge his conviction on corruption-related charges last fall. All in all, a tough sell, marketing-wise, as an outpost of the American heartland. (Never mind that quasi-socialist system of distributing oil profits.)

All of which might explain why Sarah Palin is repositioning herself as she looks to the future -- and, more to the point, repositioning Alaska. A striking graphic on the Web site of the erstwhile VP candidate's Political Action Committee (SarahPAC, natch) places the largest American state -- in terms of land mass -- roughly where Oklahoma, Kansas, and Eastern Colorado belong.

An outpost of the heartland? Why aim so low? Now Alaska is the heartland. (And notice she didn't dare mess with Texas.)

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What's the matter with Kansas?

H/t Troy Schneider

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