Palin's First Test

Sarah Palin has proudly worn the title of “America’s Most Popular Governor,” but now, with the first crisis of her tenure looming, we’ll see if she’s big enough for her britches. According to the Associated Press, “The rapid decline of oil prices has left [Alaska] in a looming budget crisis and a late-entrant in the national recession.” Oil accounts for up to 90 percent of Alaska’s state revenues, so the drop in prices means a budget shortfall. It’s the governor’s first real challenge, as the Alaskan treasury was bloated with surplus money from the high oil prices during her first two years. "The first two years of her term, upon reflection and looking over your shoulder, are going to be looked back at fondly," said one Alaskan Democrat. It seems likely that Alaska’s troubles mean Palin will have less time to travel around the mainland in preparation for a possible 2012 presidential run.