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An embarrassment of political riches, in Alaska and Outside

  • Author: Shannyn Moore
  • Updated: June 29, 2016
  • Published May 23, 2015

I wish I could say this week has been one of surprises. Maybe it has for some, but not for me.

For one, the television family celebrated for gratuitous breeding and condemning their moral inferiors for having fallen from grace -- if that's what you call reality TV fame. Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bob Duggar, of "19 Kids and Counting," were in Anchorage just a few months ago to speak at a banquet at ChangePoint church. Their words of wisdom and moral guidance were brought to us by Alaska Right To Life.

Mrs. Duggar, who seems more like a human clown car than a mother, is known for making pseudo-Christian robocalls in which she claims that transgendered people are all child molesters. Now we find out that her son, the executive director of and federal lobbyist for the Family Research Council, actually had a history as a teenage child molester, which Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bob knew for a year before someone in the family anonymously reported him to the authorities.

Yes, amazingly, these are people social conservatives trust for moral instruction and federal lawmaking. How weird is that?

New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, vetoed a political corruption bill. No surprise there. He's still waiting to see if he'll be indicted for the actions of his inner circle in arranging the New Jersey-New York bridge cluster-massage.

It's flooding like never before across the North Slope oil fields. It's almost like climate change is trying to tell us something about petroleum.

Soon-to-be-departed Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is suffering a bad case of "Reality Deficit Disorder." Sorry, mister, you can't buff up your miserable legacy -- no matter how much time you spend trolling the comments on Mike Dingman's column. My best wishes to the new administration as it tries to reverse the damage.

Because Sen. Mike Dunleavy, one of the Mat-Su's limitless supply of wing-nut Republicans, sees himself as a future big shot in Washington, D.C., he decided to politicize the anti-child abuse Erin's Law to win the love, and more importantly the money, of fundamentalists. Last week, through his position as chair of the Senate Education Committee, Dunleavy flipped the law from one protecting children from abusers to a "parental rights" bill that Papa Pilgrim could embrace.

Sen. Cathy Giessel, another of Alaska's self-appointed ayatollahs, defended the action, saying it was a parent's right to direct his or her child's education -- a "God-given authority." (I wondered if she was actually quoting Papa Pilgrim.) Is it a God-given right to abuse your child? Do we really think parents who abuse their children are going to "opt-in" to anti-abuse education?

Erin's Law is scheduled to be further mangled by the Senate Finance Committee this week. That may be a little awkward for one of the finance co-chairs, Sen. Pete Kelly from Fairbanks. Kelly's 27-year-old son, Devin, is currently awaiting trial for charges of sexual penetration and indecent exposure involving a minor, both felonies. Will Pete Kelly recuse himself from voting on Erin's Law? Probably not.

The Legislature's Republican majorities stiff-armed the governor's special session and then called one of their own. In addition to the opportunity for world-class deficit spending and denying health care to working Alaskans, why let the gravy train end? $292 a day. For doing less than nothing. Talk about government handouts.

Alaska Dispatch News published commentaries by the leaders of the ConocoPhillips caucus, Senate President Kevin Meyer and House Speaker Mike Chenault, this week. How embarrassing for Alaska that these two men are near the top of the political food chain. I keep waiting for Meyer to say, "I'm not a puppet, I'm a real boy." These two are like natural wonders, the Old Faithfuls of Alaska politics: every 12 hours they erupt in a geyser of excuses and blame. "It's not our fault," they whine, "all our problems are the fault of the minority Democrats."

Never mind that the Democrats proposed $100 million more in operating budget cuts than the majority Republicans. Yes, it's true that Democrats want to cut less money for education and senior citizens, but they would pay for it by cutting mega-projects that no one wants -- except the cronies who populate Republican donor lists. And they would accept federal money to expand Medicaid.

Democrats also want to move out of the Taj Mahawker palace on Fourth Avenue. The Legislature's rent used to be $685,000 a year. Under the stewardship of budget hawk Mike Hawker, the Legislature's rent -- in just Anchorage -- is now $4.2 million a year. That's not an issue for Meyer and Chenault.

Can someone please warm up the recall petitions?

Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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