The Alaskan White Knights are Waffling, and We Have Homework to Do.

25 11 2008

waffle

I have a couple questions.

What do you do when your Governor is accountable to your Attorney General, and your Attorney General is accountable to your Governor, and neither one of them will either acknowledge or administer consequences for bad behavior.  It’s like a kid whose Mom says, “Go ask Dad,” and whose Dad says, “Go ask Mom.”  Neither one of them wants to be accountable, and neither one of them has any  intention of answering the question.  They are hoping the kid will go away.

Now I have another question.

What do you do when the Legislature, the voice of the people who hired the Governor, also refuses to administer consequences for bad behavior, and simply stands mute?  And what do you do when that silence then turns into statements that run not only counter to the expectation of the people, but to their job description, and the bounds of ethics and the law? 

What do you do when your “voice” no longer speaks for you?

I have a small understanding about how people with Tourette syndrome, or muscular spasms must feel.   It must feel like a betrayal of mind and body when the things that are meant, on the most basic level, to represent you  (your voice, and your actions) are hijacked by unknown forces, leaving you making declarations and gestures that have no connection with your true intent. 

When the Alaska Legislature starts talking about how we’re all weary of Troopergate, and Governor Palin, Attorney General Talis Colberg, and those who ignored legislative subpoenas should just be able to continue without facing any consequences for violating the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, and the law,  I feel like shouting, “This is not me!  I’m not saying this!  I’m not doing this!”

I have often compared the Democrats of the Legislature to white knights. I’ve been blown away at times by their bravery, their conviction, and the fact that they put themselves out on a limb to do the right thing. And I’ve also given a pat on the back to Republicans who have planted themselves on the right side of the fence despite their party affiliation. In some ways the Repulicans had the harder job. When the bipartisan Legislative Council voted to make public the Troopergate report whose first finding was that Sarah Palin abused her power and violated the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act, I was amazed. I began to…dare I say it aloud….have faith in my Legislature.  All of them.

Now, after the election, as Sarah Palin gets back to the business of the state (when she’s in town), I am beginning to lose that faith.  The white knights are starting to pull their punches, the horses are rearing like they’ve seen a snake, and the villagers are getting a horrible sinking feeling. We are wondering what happened to them? We wonder if they are breaking their vows to us, and justifying the betrayal in the name of “moving forward and working together on the issues that really matter.”

Call me crazy, but I think ethics really matters.   If you polled voters and asked if they’d rather have an ethical politician or an unethical one, you’d get the obvious answer. And if you broke down the results of this poll by party affiliation, I don’t think you’d find much difference.  Everyone wants ethical politicians. So, why, after a candidate has been elected, would anyone want to stop a process that was designed to find out if that politician is corrupt?  Why would you budget $100,000 for an investigation to find out whether a politician violated the ethics act if you were going to ignore the finding?  And why, if the findings showed that the politician had indeed violated the ethics act, would you decide to give them a free pass?  And why, if witnesses, and perhaps the head of the Department of Law violated…..the LAW, would you be just fine with that?

For right now, I’m going to give our White Knights on both sides of the aisle the benefit of the doubt.  I, on behalf of the villagers, am going to accept some responsibility for their waffling.   Perhaps we just haven’t been doing a good enough job of letting them know we’re here, and that we’re going to back them up.  Maybe they really think people don’t care.  Perhaps they feel like they’re headed off to battle with no ammunition.  That has to be scary.

So here’s your homework Mudflatters…  As a Thanksgiving present to the Alaska State Legislature, I want you to give them some ammunition.  Every email you send, every letter you write, every phone call you make is an arrow in their quiver.  Phone calls count as two arrows…maybe even three.

I want our white knights to be armed to the teeth.  I want them to ride into battle feeling invincible.  I don’t want them to feel like they were abandoned by the village.  Let’s hang a garland of flowers around their necks, and sent them off with a full quiver of public outrage.

I’m not willing to throw them under the horse just yet.

For emails to all Alaska State Legislators – Click HERE – then cut & paste them all into your email address bar.

For phone numbers of the Alaska State Legislators – Click HERE

Giddyup!





Palin Throws Alaska Under the Bus.

17 09 2008

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is effectively turning over questions about her record as Alaska’s governor to John McCain’s political campaign, part of an ambitious Republican strategy to limit embarrassing disclosures and carefully shape her image for voters in the rest of the country.

That’s the lead in from the Anchorage Daily News story about the latest GOP strong-arm tactics to perform what many Alaskans feel is an outside political takeover of the state’s Troopergate investigation.  A pack of high-powered east coast lawyers are the new artisans of the Palin “image”.  If anyone has a question about Palin’s 20 months as governor, ask the McCain campaign, because apparently no one else can give you  the answers.

This is not going over well in Alaska.  I’ll use my usual caveat that there are lots of Alaskans who happily subscribe to the “Sarah right or wrong” mentality, and will continue to do so.  However, the progressive take on this whole latest mess is only slightly short of taking torches and pitchforks and surrounding the Attorney General’s office, demanding an end to the stonewalling.  I’ve watched Alaskan progressives that I personally know go from saying, “Wow! I can’t believe I voted for a Republican!” to, “She’s doing OK.  I don’t agree with everything, but I don’t regret my vote” to being so furiously seething angry they just can’t say anything.

This means that there’s a shift, and shifts tend to bring along all people to a certain degree.  If there’s one way to tick off Alaskans it’s by bringing in ‘outsiders’ to try to control state affairs.  Imagine if you will how a small independant nation would feel being invaded by the superpower next door.  It’s like that.

I’ve even lived to see the day that Republican State Senate President Lyda Green (often vilified by Democrats over the years) agreed to do an interview on the local progressive talk radio station, and was practically hailed as a hero.  Why?  For simply stating the investigation should and will move forward despite the fact that the Attorney General, under the influence of McCain lawyers, said that state employees would defy their subpoenas. “Nothing has changed,” she said. “Our job is to find the truth.”  Real integrity coming from either side of the aisle is what Alaskans want.  It’s in desperately short supply these days.

And again, and again, I hear Alaskans quoting that now infamous promise of our governor (who is still our governor by the way) to run the state with “ethical, open and transparent” government.

It remains to be seen how effective the so-called “Truth Squad” is in ‘shaping her image’ in the rest of the country, but they are not doing her any favors here at home.  I’ve never heard so many people say they can’t wait to see her new approval ratings.

Meanwhile, the opposing side, not to be outdone by a goofy name, has come up with  “Alaska Mythbusters,” a nod to the popular television show. This white hat version of the Orwellian “Truth Squad”  is made up mostly of elected officials who have opposed or know Palin and who criticize her work.

So what does the Attorney General Talis Colberg have to say for himself?  I know a couple people who know Colberg, and respected him deeply until recently.  I heard from a friend of his that this whole thing is really taking a toll on him. “He’s really a decent guy,” says my bewildered friend. So, what say you sir?  Hello?  Are you there? 

Oh.  Talis Colberg just went “on vacation” to Kansas.  You can’t make this stuff up. 

Beware of tornadoes, falling houses, and flying monkeys!  Nothing would surprise me any more.