Statehood book touts Palin while snubbing Ted Stevens

Dan Fagan

Love him or hate him, it is undeniable Ted Stevens has done more than anyone in history to contribute to the development of Alaska.

But you wouldn't know it by reading the book, "Alaska 50, Celebrating Alaska's 50th Anniversary of Statehood." This slickly produced, impressive, 210-page publication all but ignores Ted Stevens.

You would think a book chronicling Alaska's first 50 years would be full of Stevens' pictures, accomplishments, and achievements.

But Stevens' name appears in the book only twice. It briefly mentions his early political career and how it led to a Senate seat. That's it. Nothing more.

No Alaska Native Land Claims Act, the American Fisheries Act or even the Magnuson-Stevens Act. It doesn't tell how Stevens won passage of legislation opening ANWR before Bill Clinton vetoed it.

You won't read about the billions and billions Stevens brought to our young state for infrastructure.

Or how he became the third most powerful man in the country.

No, reading the book "Alaska 50," you would think Stevens didn't amount to much.

But strangely enough, the history book credits one state leader with playing a big role in the state's development. A governor by the name of Sarah Palin.

While the Belle of Wasilla's picture appears several times in this history book, the man voted Alaskan of the Century is nowhere to be found. Palin appears with her hair up, her hair down, in a pants suit, dress, and yes, even Carhartts.

And while Stevens' name only appears twice in the 210 pages, Palin's name is featured too many times to count.

Listen to how this history book describes our rookie governor. "History will likely remember Palin for her unflinching fight to reform state politics."

Less than two years in office and she's already a historic governor. Impressive.

The history publication goes on about Palin, saying, "Since her term began, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has unveiled a full-scale investigation into Alaska's legislators and congressional representatives. "

I seem to remember legislator offices being searched during the primary before Palin was elected. Fifty years from now people reading this history book will be led to believe Palin initiated the current crop of investigations. Maybe that's why history will remember her for her unflinching fight to reform state politics.

A half-century from now, Alaskans will also be able to read in depth about what a great success AGIA was. The book reads "The first step toward advancing the gas pipeline was the passage of the Alaska Gas line Inducement Act."

I must have been out of town for that one. And how in the hell did AGIA rate higher than Stevens?

The obvious question is how could a book chronicling Alaska's first 50 years ignore Stevens and give so much credit to a governor in office only 20 months?

The Alaska Statehood Celebration Commission is responsible for the content of the book.

Former speaker of the house Gail Phillips says when she was chair of the commission they planned including not only Stevens but the entire congressional delegation.

But Palin had her young sidekick, Ivy Fry, fire Phillips as volunteer chair of the commission.

The governor then put her best friend and now state employee Kris Perry in charge. The commission now stacked with Perry and other Palinbots went to work rewriting history.

The question is did they intentionally all but ignore Stevens while glorifying Palin?

One section does focus on the importance of federal dollars to our state through the years. Any mention of Stevens in that section? No, not one.

Taking credit for so much while accomplishing very little should not surprise us with our self-promoting governor. She is more a press secretary than governor.

And we shouldn't be surprised when Barracuda Palin plays hardball with her enemies. You'll remember she demanded Stevens explain more about why the feds searched his Girdwood home, even after the senator said he paid every remodeling bill presented to him.

What is surprising is Palin would attempt to erase the legacy of the longest serving Republican in the U.S. Senate. You would think that would be beneath even her. You would think.

Dan Fagan is a radio talk show host on KFQD, 750 AM. E-mail