[Editor’s note: Senior frontier correspondent, awc, sends along the following dispatch from the wilds of Alaska’s history. Please be aware that this post likely will be updated and edited when awc’s team of intrepid sled dogs, carrying in their intrepid maws more history, arrives later today at EotAW world headquarters.]

One of the most amusing storylines being floated by Republicans is the idea that Sarah Palin is a maverick. Certainly, she appears less corrupt than her peers, no hard feat in the nation’s most crooked state. And she has diverged from party orthodoxy on a few issues.

The most obvious theme, however, that emerges from Palin’s bio is a Bush-esque obsession with loyalty. We all now know about her alleged attempts to pressure the state police to fire her former brother in-law. Less well known are her actions as mayor of the city of Wasilla.

Shortly after her election in October 1996, she asked the police chief, librarian, public works director, and finance director to resign. In addition, she eliminated the position of city historian. Her critics charged the directors were dismissed for supporting her opponent, John Stein, in the preceding election. Palin further rankled city employees by issuing a gag order, forbidding them to speak to the media without her permission. Her controversial behavior led to demands for her recall. The press characterized the situation like this:

Four months of turmoil have followed in which almost every move by Palin has been questioned, from firing the museum director to hiring a deputy administrator at a cost of $50,000 a year to a short-lived proposal to move the city’s historic buildings from downtown. Critics argue the decisions are politically motivated. Palin says people voted for a change and she’s only trying to streamline government.

Daily Sitka Sentinel, 2/11/1997, 13.

The matter was only resolved three years later, when a federal judge upheld her right as mayor to remove the chief without cause.

Palin claimed she was trying to streamline government, and we might believe her were it not for the trooper incident. But the pattern of evidence suggests that she believes public employees should be politically, ideologically, and personally faithful to her. And if anything has been discredited by this administration, it’s the idea that loyalty is more important than ability.

Heckuva VP choice, Johnny!