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"Tougher in Alaska" host Geo Beach discusses Sarah Palin

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Obama missed his best chance for the presidency when he skipped Janet Napolitano, governor of Arizona, as running mate. She would have brought gender, executive experience, and Western states credibility to the ticket. Not only is she a former attorney general, something that would have enhanced the ticket's centrist appeal, she's been elected in John McCain's home state -- and re-elected.

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Any way you play the political checker-board, Janet jumps Joe Biden -- and McCain plus whoever. If Obama had named Napolitano, it would have been just a few moves to "King Me".

Instead, we have guaranteed change at the highest level of government -- courtesy of John McCain. Not just maybe a black president, but for certain either a woman or person of color at the top of the executive branch.

But there's another first. The 2008 election will put either a Hawaiian or an Alaskan at the pinnacles of Washington DC fifty years after statehood for the 49th and 50th states.

Don't forget to forget political analysts.

Cokie Roberts recently dismissed Barack Obama because he vacationed in his home state of Hawaii, which Roberts called "some sort of foreign, exotic place". Cokie thought Barack should have been in Myrtle Beach. That's as ridiculous as ridiculing Barack as a weird name when we have a Cokie on ABC's This Week.

Memo to Mrs Roberts -- Hawaii isn't foreign. It's been American territory since 1898.

Cokie should know better. Her father, Hale Boggs, was killed in that other discontiguous state when he was campaigning for Rep Nick Begich's reelection in 1972.

In Alaska.

Now, in another display of dynastic politics, Nick's son Mark is running to take out Sen Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the history of the US Senate. It's a central race in this year's national political landscape.

So don’t make Cokie’s mistake. Alaska's neither exotic (no palm trees – some places no trees at all!) nor foreign (it’s been American for 141 years). And it's no longer off the upper left-hand corner of American consciousness.

With Sarah Palin on John McCain's ticket, Alaska isn’t just hot. It’s right in the middle of America.

Good Morning!

Geo Beach recently received the best columnist award from the Alaska Press Club. Previously, as national affairs commentator for Monitor Radio, Beach was awarded the SDX medallion from the Society of Professional Journalists. Email geobeach@columnist.com

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