“First Dude” Todd Palin Was Heavily Involved in Wife’s Decisions6 February 2010
Under Alaska’s public records law, 1,200 emails exchanged between Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd Palin, were disclosed to MSNBC. Various shady dealings aside, investigative journalist Bill Dedman says the emails “provide a glimpse of the ways the Palins divvied up their responsibilities when she became governor in December 2006.” According to the report, “first dude” Mr. Palin assisted in decisions regarding appointments, contract negotiations, and a whole host of sensitive matters passing through his wife’s office.
To my knowledge, this is the first time a female politician’s husband has been singled out like this. Spousal involvement has been commonplace, of course, but the fact that Todd Palin is a husband conjures up the specter of conspiracy rather than a feeling of mere “support.” Perhaps it has something to do with the Palins’ earlier attempt to cast him as a down-home kind of man who just liked to take care of the kids and go snowmobiling. In any case, my sense is that the public will be rather intolerant of political partnering with future “first dudes.”