Alaska’s Accountability Moment
Some folks talk a good game about that popular notion of “accountability,” but don’t really care for the concept when it’s applied to themselves.
Exhibit A: Tuesdays’s critical election, which will determine the balance of power in our state.
Our state’s biggest political fight—oil taxes—is often misreported as a dispute over whether to cut taxes for multinational oil companies, and this is simply inaccurate.
Both sides of the debate are open to such a tax break. The only difference, and it is a crucial one, is whether such a break is tied to the often promised increase in production, or whether it’s simply a $2 billion blank check we send out of state.
I find this fascinating, because the same folks who can’t get enough accountability when it comes to our children and their school teachers—whom they’ll happily nickel and dime and test within an inch of their lives—suddenly don’t think the same rules should apply to the world’s most profitable multinational corporations. The latter, they argue, should get billions of dollars from us regardless of whether or not they increase oil production.
Even Sen. Bill Wielechowski, among the leading foes of the Governor’s oil tax scheme, has indicated support for cutting oil taxes as long as we ensure this does what we’re being promised it will do. The senator just isn’t a fan of sending blank checks to Texas.
Voters should be very skeptical of politicians who think accountability applies only to others, but eagerly shirk it when it comes to themselves.
A guy named Bob Bell, heavily funded by out-of-state corporations who’d like to buy themselves a more obedient legislature, would like to write our state’s laws. You know, the very ones he himself is unwilling to observe. It’s unsurprising Alaska law enforcement takes a dim view of such hypocrisy and has endorsed incumbent Senator Hollis French—a former courtroom prosecutor who has put away a lot of bad guys who thought they were above the law.
Speaking of law enforcement, Alaska’s cops, troopers and fire fighters have also endorsed my guy. His opponent, Cathy Giessel, isn’t so enthusiastic about this whole accountability thing either. The Anchorage Daily News made it quite clear who is and who isn’t willing to be held accountable:
“Devon talked about his campaign in two interviews in Anchorage coffee bars over the past two weeks. Giessel initially agreed to an interview at her South Anchorage kitchen table, then changed her mind and suggested that questions be sent to her by email. She then declined to answer those.” (ADN • Oct. 28, 2012)
We can’t have the voters knowing about someone’s extreme views, can we now? And even if you’re caught expressing said extremism on video, simply continue to deny it, and hope the voters trust your latest verbal gymnastics more than they trust their own eyes and ears:
I cannot fathom how such a person can demand accountability from our kids and their teachers. Whatever happened to leading by example?
Happily, dear voter, you will get the last word on the matter. Because politicians may skip out of public forums, they may run from questions, they may avoid reporters and their own constituents, but they cannot escape the power of your ballot.
This Tuesday, you can show them what it means to be held accountable.