Q: But you are from Alaska – a state known for rugged individualism. In some ways don’t you identify — just a little bit — with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin?
A: While I agree with Palin on almost nothing and would never vote for her, she is in many ways the quintessential Alaskan woman. There’s a popular T-shirt line in that says, “Alaskan Women Kick Ass,” which pretty much sums up how Alaskans view their women. Alaskans are very independent, self confident, nonconformist and anti-elitism. Traditional gender lines also aren’t really honored there. Women do pretty much everything men do: they fish, hunt, camp, ride snow machines. Alaska has a history of fierce frontier women and that legacy continues. It’s also not surprising to me that she is so unaffected by what people say about her. Until fairly recently, Alaska was completely isolated from the rest of the world, including the “Lower 48” and there has always been a sense that people who aren’t from Alaska are kind of wussy. Alaskans believe they are special and different and “tougher” because of where they live. I see this attitude emanate from her in terms of how she just dismissed the Beltway crowd and East Coast elites. I can definitely relate to that because while I find the criticism I get sometimes tedious, it doesn’t affect me emotionally in the least, probably because I was raised to believe that not conforming and saying things that people disagree with are positive traits.