Tag Archives: Alaska Legislature

Palin and America’s Paranoid-Style Politics

Sarah Palin exemplifies all the worst traits of paranoid politics found within America today.

Sarah Palin exemplifies all the worst traits of paranoid politics within America today.

Forty-five years ago this November, political historian Richard Hofstadter published a provocative essay in Harper’s Magazine entitled “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” in which he argued that our nation “has served again and again as an arena for uncommonly angry minds.”

Hofstadter, a widely celebrated professor at Columbia University who had just won a Pulitzer Prize for his book “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” was then confronting both the ghosts of McCarthyism and the more immediate significance of Barry Goldwater’s candidacy for president of the United States. Hofstadter was particularly concerned about assessing “how much political leverage can be got out of the animosities and passions of a small minority.”

“I call it the paranoid style,” Hofstadter wrote, “simply because no other word adequately evokes the qualities of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

Palin Loses Her Final Fight with Alaska Lawmakers Over Stimulus

Protesters hold signs and greet legislators outside of the special legislative session in Anchorage, Alaska, Monday Aug. 10, 2009. Alaska Lawmakers are scheduled to take up confirmation of Craig Campbell as lieutenant governor and to override former Gov. Sarah Palin's veto of $28 million in federal stimulus funds intended for energy projects.

Protesters hold signs and greet legislators outside of the special legislative session in Anchorage, Alaska, Monday Aug. 10, 2009. Alaska Lawmakers are scheduled to take up confirmation of Craig Campbell as lieutenant governor and to override former Gov. Sarah Palin's veto of $28 million in federal stimulus funds intended for energy projects.

The Alaska Legislature voted Monday to override former Gov. Sarah Palin’s veto of $28 million in federal stimulus money for energy cost relief. But it was as close as a vote can get.

Reversing a governor’s appropriation veto requires a vote of 75 percent of the Legislature, a hurdle rarely met. The override passed 45 to 14 and if a single other legislator had voted against it or been absent from the special session, it would have failed.

Supporters argued Palin badly overstated the “strings” attached to taking the money, and that frigid Alaska could use the assistance.

“Instead of being the last state in the union to take this money we should have been the first,” said Bethel Democratic Sen. Lyman Hoffman. “We live in the coldest state in the union and we should be setting the standard in efficiencies and how energy is being used throughout this state.”

Continue reading

Alaska Legislature To Take Up Sarah Palin Stimulus Veto: Override Will Be Difficult

Even with her resignation, ex-governor Sarah Palin still has the last laugh at the expense of Alaska's citizens.

Even with her resignation in July, ex-governor Sarah Palin still has the last laugh at the expense of Alaska's citizens with her veto of $28 million in federal stimulus funds.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A final battle remaining from the Sarah Palin era as Alaska governor closes Monday when the Legislature votes on whether to override her veto of federal stimulus money for energy cost relief.

The vote will happen in a one-day special session scheduled for the Egan Center in Anchorage, just the second time a special session has been held outside of the capital city of Juneau. It won’t be easy to override Palin’s veto — 75 percent of the Legislature has to vote for an override in joint session to make it happen.

“My sense over time is that the numbers to override the veto will be there at the end of the day. But I don’t know for sure,” said Rep. Mike Hawker, an Anchorage Republican who has led the efforts in the House on the stimulus package.

At least one lawmaker, Nome Rep. Richard Foster, isn’t expected to attend. So even if all 59 other members of the Legislature show up, only 14 need to vote against the override in order for Palin’s veto to stand.

Continue reading

Palin’s Wild Ride Part.1: From ‘Open and Transparent’ to Something Less

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — For Alaska politics, 2006 was a rough time. A widespread corruption investigation dominated the scene and a natural gas pipeline contract was negotiated behind closed doors — and then rejected.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin on a 'wild ride' through Alaska.

Against this backdrop, in walked Sarah Palin, who swept into the Governor’s Office on the pledge that government should, and would, be open and transparent.

She appeared to allow unprecedented access by the media, giving interviews almost anywhere and anytime, and the media loved every minute of it.

“I can remember our Juneau correspondent going down to Juneau for the first session where Governor Palin was in office and saying like a gigantic weight had been lifted off the building,” Channel 2 News Director Steve MacDonald said.

“When Sarah Palin campaigned on a program of openness in government, that was very appealing to me,” Gregg Erickson, founder of the Alaska Budget Report, said.

And Palin officials say they put openness and transparency to work in government.

“If you look to her greatest accomplishment, which was AGIA (the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act), you see no greater transparent or open process than that, which was removing oil and gas from behind closed doors and what ultimately we learned later was a somewhat corrupt process among many,” Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton said.

But some reporters covering the governor saw the transparency clouding over.

“The thing about Palin is she came on — think back, transparency and openness was the slogan of her campaign — and from the start she was anything but transparent and open,” Bob Tkacz, a fisheries reporter and publisher of Laws of the Seas, said.

Continue reading

Alaska Attorney General Sullivan: Gov. Palin can Appoint an ‘Acting’ Lieutenant Governor

Alaska State Attorney General Dan Sullivan

Alaska State Attorney General Dan Sullivan

State Attorney General Dan Sullivan says Gov. Sarah Palin has the power to appoint Alaska’s new lieutenant governor by herself without confirmation by the Alaska Legislature.

Sullivan, in his first formal opinion since he took over June 16, weighed in on the issue created when Palin designated Lt. Gen. Craig Campbell, commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, as the new lieutenant governor when Sean Parnell replaces her as governor.

Campbell would step up to the state’s No. 2 spot instead of the previous designee, Corrections Commissioner Joe Schmidt, whom the Legislature has already confirmed.

Sullivan’s opinion contradicts that of legislative attorney Tam Cook, who earlier determined that legislative confirmation was required.

“To be honest, it’s a very close call,” Sullivan said.

Continue reading

Palin Stands Alone on a Shrinking Island

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

Last week Governor Palin set herself apart from every other Republican and Democratic governor in the nation. It’s a distinction I’d rather not have – as an Alaskan, or as an American who believes in President Obama’s goal of reducing America’s dependence on foreign energy.

Last week Governor Palin became the first governor in the nation to refuse to accept energy funds the president offered as part of his economic stimulus package. The governor vetoed the Alaska Legislature’s acceptance of $28 million the president and Congress have offered Alaska to create a renewable energy and energy savings plan. All we had to do, to accept the funds – funds every other state is working to try to keep – was commit to do the rational. We just had to certify Alaska would make a good faith effort to adopt rational energy efficiency standards (the IEEC), and begin 90% compliance with it by 2017.

Continue reading

As Alaska Stimulus Showdown Nears, Gov. Palin to Leave Town

The Alaska State Legislature

The Alaska State Legislature

JUNEAU — With just one week left before the Alaska Legislature adjourns for the year, the conflict between Gov. Sarah Palin and lawmakers over taking federal economic stimulus money is the dominant issue left.

In fact, legislative leaders don’t seem intent on doing a whole lot else this year.

Just nine of the 419 bills introduced have passed through the full Legislature so far, and while many more will pass in the frenzied final week, there is little desire to make major state policy changes in what Senate President Gary Stevens conceded is basically a session of preserving the status quo.

There’s still a chance that bills will pass increasing the state minimum wage, requiring parental notification when a teenager gets an abortion, expanding Alaska children’s health insurance for lower-income families and stopping the state, including the Permanent Fund, from investing in companies doing business in Sudan, the African country whose government has been blamed for genocidal killing in the Darfur region.

Legislators will also vote Thursday on approving the governor’s appointees, including attorney general Wayne Anthony Ross, who has proven controversial but is still likely to be confirmed.

Palin herself will be leaving Alaska this week to attend the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner in Evansville, Ind. on Thursday, as well as an event for special-needs children. Fairbanks Republican Rep. Jay Ramras questioned her leaving town right at the end of the session, when critical decisions are being made.

Continue reading