Alaska politicians lack ANY political courage

Back in the day, a young man who would one day be president wrote… or had ghost written, depending on whom you believe… a book entitled “Profiles in Courage”. JFK’s book detailed decisions made by brave men who knew they were putting their political future on the line for a principle in which they believed. 

If that book were written about Alaskan politicians today, I don’t know if we’d find enough material to even call it “Profile in Courage”.

Political opportunism and pandering has reached such an unprecedented depth in our public life that we don’t even blink when our governor claims to veto an additional appropriation for Denali KidCare because of his principles concerning abortion but doesn’t explain why he leaves the rest of the program funded and providing exactly the same services.

Do his principles have a monetary cut off point? If you make up to 150% of the poverty level his conscience allows you to have an abortion if your life is threatened by your pregnancy, but if you make 200% of the poverty level his morals suddenly kick in?

If your principles say that a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy if her life if threatened is wrong, fine. Those are your principles. So live up to them. 

To do that, you’d have to veto the whole program, not just the increase – unless, of course, this is less about principle and more about pandering. Because most politicians know that if they tried to kill the entire Denali KidCare program, they’d have a hard time with voters in the fall.

Apparently their principles don’t outweigh their political ambitions.

I say if Governor Parnell really has objections to the less than one percent of Denali KidCare money that goes to abortion services of any kind, from counseling to sonograms and back again, then he needs to stand up for his principles and announce that he will veto the entire program if elected. Let the people of this state decide if they agree with what he stands for when they go into the voting booth.

Then there are our weak kneed legislators, the ones who voted for the increase in funding but are now not willing to consider a veto override because the governor has caused them to want to review and study the matter more. Are we to take from this that for the three months the legislature was in session in Juneau and we were paying their expenses and they were mouthing support of this increase that, in fact, they were out bowling and hadn’t actually studied or even read the bill?

At least in the days when oil company lobbyists ran the state we could assume that someone had read the latest proposed legislation, if only the lobbyists themselves.

If our legislators were unable to comprehend what they were voting for when they increased funding for Denali KidCare, a program that’s been around for over twenty years and has already been litigated up to the Alaska Supreme Court, what is the chance that any of them actually understand AGIA?

These legislators, who are apparently just now discovering that they may not really support a bill for which they voted, should stand up and tell us whether they truly support Denali KidCare; not just the increase, but the whole program.

That, of course, would require that they actually read the bill. Maybe a lobbyist could help them with the big words.

Many, many years ago, the Alaska Supreme Court made it clear that if we offer reproductive services as part of a health care package, we can’t pick and choose which services to offer. In fact, some of those very politicians who are now rethinking their support of this bill, claiming to have just found out that it provides services for all reproductive choices, were around when that case was decided and have consistently voted to fund the program in ensuing years.

So you can see where some of us might be a bit skeptical of our political candidates’ suddenly found concerns over how state money is being spent. What have they been doing in Juneau all these years if not familiarizing themselves with the programs they keep refunding?

Principles or political pandering… you decide.