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Alaska’s Showdown: Governor vs. Legislature

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is locked in several battles with the Alaska State Legislature over four core items:

  1. Nominating a State Senator for Juneau (District B) to replace Kim Elton who took a patronage job with the Obama administration;
  2. The stimulus bill: the legislature wants to take all the money, while Governor Palin has refused money that involves greater federal control over state affairs, results in unfunded state mandates, or both.
  3. Now, the State Senate is cutting millions of dollars from several important projects (Budget, 2009, ¶2) — likely on spite.
  4. Now…nominating an Attorney General….Wayne Anthony Ross (WAR) was rejected 35-23 (WAR, 2009, ¶1).

Each of these items has been extensively covered here.

Senate Seat Update

As to the Senate seat nomination, Governor Palin re-submitted her three choices to the Senate Democrats and told them to pick one (Nomination, 2009, ¶2). They retorted that nomination from a pool of candidates is “illegal” — she can only nominate one person at a time. So, Governor Palin sent a clarifying letter instructing the Senate Democrats to review one nominee at a time starting with Tim Grussendorf, moving on to Joe Nelson, and finally to Alan Wilson — in that order (Nomination, 2009, ¶2). “Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Hollis French of Anchorage said he does not consider Palin’s nomination of three Juneau residents for the seat to be valid” (Nomination, 2009, ¶6).

Apparently Joe Nelson got disgusted with the Juneau Democrats and withdrew his name from consideration.

“It has become clear to me that the Senate Democrats are not going to support any candidate that is not fully supported by the Juneau Democrats. Unfortunately, the Juneau Democrats thus far are not willing to support anyone other than their number one candidate (or a placeholder until the next election)” (Nelson, 2009, ¶2)

“Despite working for two of the top downtown Democrats in Juneau for the last five years, the party leaders maintain their empty claim that I am ‘unknown in the party’. They have also mentioned that I do not have ‘enough political experience’ under my belt, ignoring the fact that I have been elected to the board of directors twice by 20,000 shareholders whose political ties to Southeast predate statehood and this country” (Nelson, 2009, ¶3).

Budget Update

“The governor, along with House and Senate leadership, agreed to a modest capital budget in order to reduce the draw from budget reserves” (Budget, 2009, ¶1).

“The governor is disappointed, though, that the Senate would not even consider any amendments intended to ensure that general funds that match federal and other sources would be included. She proposed to replace lower priority projects with the state’s highest priority projects. The Senate refused. Specifically, the Senate omitted $15 million in match for federal highway and aviation projects. Also cut from the governor’s budget are specific priorities for resource development including $8 million for the in-state gas line, $4 million for oil and gas reservoir assessments, $3 million for access to resources in western Alaska, and $26 million for ongoing upgrades to the Dalton Highway which is a vital link to Alaska’s North Slope” (Budget, 2009, ¶2).

Governor Palin also offered a compromise on the stimulus in which she would accept $250 million in funds to replace the same amount in state funds. This would reduce the draw on state savings (Budget, 2009, ¶4). Thus far, lawmakers are not interested in this compromise (Budget, 2009, ¶5).

“Legislators hold the state’s purse strings, and they have made their decision. I respect that decision. It’s important and fair for Alaskans to know of my administration’s attempts to rein in state government growth and not contribute to the nation’s growing debt that we are passing on to our children” (Budget, 2009, ¶5).

Commentary on Senate Seat

As delineated numerous times before, the Senate Democrats have been trying to foist their candidate — Kertulla — on the Governor and force her hand. Governor Palin had gone three rounds with this process, nominating three different people, none of whom the Senate Democrats were satisfied with — because they want Kertulla. Governor Palin basically told them to re-consider each of the three people she had previously submitted for confirmation. There is nothing illegal about that.

Any one who reads regularly about Governor Palin knows — or should know that Hollis French was the man in charge of the infamous “Troopergate” investigation, in which the Governor was exonerated by two separate bodies. French was the one who promised an “October surprise” resulting out of this investigation. Kim Elton — whose seat is supposed to be filled by this process — worked with Hollis French on that investigation and concluded with “now voters can make a more informed decision.” Elton was rewarded with a patronage job in Obama’s administration. Elton and French were seen in an Obama/Biden campaign headquarters, as evidenced by the nine Obama/Biden signs and posters adorning the room.

Governor Palin is absolutely correct in not kowtowing to the Juneau Democrats on this issue, even if it means that the district goes unrepresented. They caused one highly qualified candidate to walk away in disgust. This behavior should not be rewarded by submitting to a foist-job.

Commentary on Stimulus Bill

Even if Governor Palin ultimately loses the war on this, in this writer’s opinion she should veto every item that she did not select herself. These would be the items create unfunded state mandates, or cause greater federal intrusion into Alaska’s affairs, or both. Even if her veto is overridden, at least the Governor is on record as having vetoed these items. As delineated above, she offered a compromise. The lawmakers refused. The time for compromise has come and gone. The time has arrived for Governor Palin’s veto pen. This is not for retaliation and “tit for tat.” This so that the Governor is clearly and squarely on the record that she is opposed to the poisoned funds. Passing them into law is tantamount to approval, despite any protestations to the contrary later. Best to withdraw the compromise offer, and veto the poison.

Commentary on Budget

Governor Palin exerted her best efforts on this. She called upon the sum of her wisdom and 17 years of experience in managing and administering budgets. Unfortunately, the Alaska legislature is more interested in currying favor with the Obama administration than standing up and doing the right thing by its citizens by financing transportation, infrastructure and energy projects. They can; however, be counted on for writing laws on matters like marmots, malamutes, and bestiality — and even those are not ready for signature.

Commentary on WAR

Though WAR was an admittedly controversial figure and had what some people would call a “strong personality,” the general consensus was — he was going to be confirmed. In light of the whole Senate seat showdown, the lawmakers’ argument that they had “concerns” about WAR rings hollow. This is just part of a pattern to use the legislative process so as to be spiteful to a Governor the lawmakers in question do not like. Much of this is motivated because her reforms upset the little apple carts of people in both parties.

But, the flak coming from the Democrats is all Obama-related, especially regarding the Senate Seat, and the stimulus bill. WAR to some extent also flies in the face of those who seek curry favor with their dear leader in Washington. WAR, after all is an ardent Second Amendment supporter, among other conservative causes he supports — and Obama has for practical purposes been the best gun and ammunition salesperson in recent history. More and more Americans are “clinging to their guns” — to steal his commentary on the subject — out of fear of his intention to reinstate the “assault weapons ban” and add numerous non-military type weapons to that list.

WAR’s politically incorrect utterances obviously do not sit well with a group that would be very happy to replace the First Amendment with a “PC Amendment,” and a “thou shalt not criticize Obama” commandment.

Final Thoughts

This entry has run rather long and discussed four separate but inter-related subjects. Their inter-relationship warranted this type of consolidated post. It is crystal clear from the foregoing that Governor Palin’s enemies are circling the wagons in an effort to render her ineffective as Governor and destroy her political career. Democrats see Governor Palin as a mortal threat to Obama and their entire power structure. Many covet patronage jobs — like the one Elton took. They criticize Governor Palin for a brief absence but would be more than happy to leave Alaska for a plush office in Washington, D.C.

This effort in the Alaska legislature, along with efforts to assassinate her character — and rewarding those who do — like Kim Elton, Katie Couric, and Levi Johnston (who absolutely was paid by someone to do his talk show circuit — he didn’t get the money for his trip or his Silverado out of thin air) — are all coordinated, synchronized and well-financed. In the meantime, Alaska Republicans like Jay Ramras and others of his ilk, as well some prominent GOP national figures seek to destroy Governor Palin so that they can have their own shots at power. She stands in their way.

The Governor’s speech in Indiana has 5,000 attendees (Ross, 2009, ¶1), of whom 2,000 will actually be seated (National Spotlight, 2009, ¶2) and has prompted road closures (Langhorne, 2009, ¶1). No wonder her enemies are afraid — very afraid.

References

Governor hopeful for budget agreements. (2009, April 15). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved April 16, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1764

Joe Nelson withdraws from consideration. (2009, April 16). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved April 16, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1766.

Langhorne, T.B. (2009, April 16). Right to life banquet prompts road closing. Evansville Courier & Press. Retrieved April 16, 2009 from: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/apr/16/right-life-banquet-prompts-road-closing/

Legislature rejects Governor’s choice for attorney general. (2009, April 16). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved April 16, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1767.

Palin clarifies position, re-nominates Grussendorf. (2009, April 15). KTUU. Retrieved April 16, 2009 from: http://www.ktuu.com/Global/story.asp?S=10189749

Palin returns to national spotlight at right-to-life dinner. (2009, April 16). FoxNews. Retrieved April 16, 2009 from: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/16/palin-returns-national-spotlight-right-life-dinner/

Ross, G. (2009, April 16). Vanderburgh County prepares for Sarah Palin. 14 WFIE. Retrieved April 16, 2009 from: http://www.14wfie.com/global/story.asp?s=10190223

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