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Paul Jenkins: Of sanctimonious Dems, political races and Parnell as a man of letters

Paul Jenkins

It is fun to watch sanctimonious Democrats -- and, really, are there any other kind? -- reveling in righteousness, aglow in goodness as they forgive and embrace one of their own gone astray. If the transgressor happens to have cash, so much the better.

Take, for instance, the lovely Harriet Drummond. The Anchorage Democrat and former Assembly and School Board member was photographed absolutely beaming at a rally outside the Dena'ina Center protesting Senate Bill 21, Gov. Sean Parnell's long-overdue oil tax cut that drives the Left nuts.

She was sporting a sign that read, "Corrupt Bastards Club Meeting. Third Floor." It apparently referred to those who sought or took money and favors from Bill J. Allen, former head of Veco, the oil field service company, as he unsuccessfully -- and very illegally -- sought favorable oil tax legislation and political advantage.

Federal prosecutors -- in the guise of sweeping Alaska clean of petty corruption -- deployed a small army in operation "Polar Pen." Its ultimate mission arguably was to get Sen. Ted Stevens. The feds promised Allen they would not go after Veco or his family, and he helped them.

In the wide-ranging probe of sitting or former lawmakers, others were snared. Anchorage lobbyist William Bobrick, a political heavyweight and former Alaska Democratic Party executive director, was one of them. He served five months in prison for bribery conspiracy.

You might think time in the joint would make the politically connected Bobrick -- Mark Begich was best man at his wedding and he was, and is, Best Friends Forever with many Assembly members -- persona non getouddahere with the Left, but no.

Alaska Public Offices Commission records show Dick Traini, Paul Honeman, the Alaska Conservation Voters, Hollis S. French, Chris Tuck, Patti Higgins and -- surprise! -- even Harriet Drummond have forgiven him. All received donations, albeit small, from Bobrick in 2012 and this year. He is back as a consultant.

Democrats like Drummond, it turns out, have little to be sanctimonious about.



Failed Senate candidate Joe Miller, who has a Bronze Star, is going after the GOP nod to challenge Democrat Mark Begich. A big question: Will Sarah Palin jump in? Miller, backed by Palin, won the Republican primary in 2010, beating a somnolent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and then lost to her in a historic write-in stampede.

In the primary, Miller may be facing Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell or a candidate to be named later. Among the possibilities: one of two Dan Sullivans -- the DNR chief or the Anchorage mayor. Mayor Dan also is touted as a lite guv possibility.

Bill Walker also is in the governor's race against Parnell, but as for Democrats, who knows? Sen. Bill Wielechowski is cogitating.

Miller goes into the race with more than 400Gs, giving him the loot lead. Democrats must be absolutely agog at their good luck. A Miller-Treadwell battle bleeds them both. If Miller somehow prevailed -- say, the world exploded and he was the last Republican left -- we almost certainly would have six more years of Begich. The same folks who voted for Murkowski over Miller would vote for Begich over Miller.

Miller will tell you I'm out to get him, that I'm the "mouthpiece of Alaska's corrupt political establishment" and one of those lying "establishment goons." He's wrong and it hurts me when he talks that way.



Good grief, the governor is at it again, writing letters and firing off copies everywhere. Whatever happened to a meeting or maybe a telephone call? Letter-writing, as I've mentioned before, is déclassé. Nobody does it. Ask the Post Office.

This time, his missive very publicly went to University of Alaska President Pat Gamble -- and the Board of Regents and University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor Tom Case. The guv apparently is snitted up over the sports mess at UAA for reasons unclear. With the letter barely having time to arrive at the university, Athletic Director Steve Cobb was asked to take a hike. What a coincidence. Wouldn't you just love to see the emails to and from Parnell's office and others involved before he decided to grandstand?

Parnell has used very public letters as bludgeons in the past, to Republican Sen. Bert Stedman, as they wrangled over oil tax revisions, and to Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, for shouldering in on Arctic policy.

Letters, it turns out, are a nifty way to make it look like you are doing something, even if you are not.

Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com.


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