It must be the air up there, but Alaska has a seeming case of schizophrenia, writes Gail Collins in the New York Times. The state, and especially its politicians, champion its independent, frontier spirit even as it simultaneously and relentlessly shakes Washington down for cash—to the tune of the feds footing about a third of its vaunted budget. Sarah Palin seamlessly embraced both positions, adding a somewhat-ironic anti-earmark stance when she signed on to John McCain's campaign, but the race for Lisa Murkowski's seat shows a clear divergence.
During a recent debate Collins attended between Tea Partier Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams, the two men's "worldviews were so different that they could have been running on different continents." McAdams, as Alaskan politicians historically have, "wants to bring home the bacon. ('We are a young state. We have great needs.') Miller said the pig is dead, the barn is on fire and a killer tornado is headed for the farmhouse." It will be interesting, now that the two points of view have so clearly diverged (with the added intrigue of Murkowski's write-in campaign to save Alaska's last vestige of Beltway seniority), to see which path Alaskans choose. For all about the Senate race, click here. (Read more Alaska stories.)