David Frum “jokes” about Sarah Palin, proves he still doesn’t get it

As part of the GOP’s elite Beltway wing, David Frum – noted critic of Sarah Palin who, like fellow Palin critic David Brooks, has written about feeling ostracized from the Republican party – wrote this short little breezy note on the “New Majority” blog yesterday about the Governor’s resignation:

Sarah Palin’s most notable achievement as governor of Alaska was to increase the payout from the state’s energy tax take by $1200 per resident. Isn’t it odd then that she would use her farewell address to warn against the danger of government handouts?

Um, does David Frum not understand the Alaska Constitution? Liberal Nate Silver from the 538 blog explained this last year:

Upon announcing her bid for Alaska’s governorship in October 2005, Sarah Palin made a solemn pledge to “put Alaskans first”:

**Palin declared her candidacy on October 18, Alaska Day, before any other Republican candidate joined the race for Governor, declaring, “It is time to take a stand and put Alaskans first”. She has been an outspoken critic of Gov. Murkowski’s Canadian gasline deal and wants to see entities compete for Alaska’s natural gas so Alaskans get the most value for their resources. Palin said she is committed to putting Alaskans to work on the gas line and wants provisions in any gas deal for Alaska hire and North Slope gas to energize Alaska’s homes and businesses first. **

The statement reads ironically in light of the McCain campaign’s “America First” catch-phrase. For Palin, however, it is more than a matter of rhetoric. The reason is because of an unusual provision in the Alaska Constitution that treats the states resources — everything from fisheries to oil and natural gas reserves — as public trusts:

**It is the policy of the State to encourage the settlement of its land and the development of its resources by making them available for maximum use consistent with the public interest.**

**It is the policy of the State to encourage the settlement of its land and the development of its resources by making them available for maximum use consistent with the public interest.**

This is not some sort of trivial, legal matter. On the contrary, all Alaska residents stand to benefit directly from the exploitation of the state’s natural resources. In 2007, for instance, all Alaska residents were sent a dividend check for $1,654 in exchange for their share of income earned from the state’s leasing of oil- and gas-rich territory. Anybody who has been a resident of the state for a year or more is eligible, including children, meaning that a family of four might expect to bring in about $5,000 in income each year this way.

The provision puts Palin in the unusual position of being sort of a landlord-in-chief, charged with negotiating oil and natural gas leases for the “maximum benefit of all Alaskans” — which Palin generally seems to have interpreted as the maximum royalty dividend. In her 2006 campaign for governor, Palin won for essentially two reasons. Firstly, her opponents in the Republican primary were a crusty and exceptionally unpopular incumbent governor (Frank Murkowski) and a Fairbanks businessman (John Binkley) who came across as a chauvinist, allowing her to build plenty of momentum en route to defeating former governor Tony Knowles in the general election. But secondly, she promised an aggressive, “Alaska first” negotiating position vis-a-vis the oil companies, pledging that her negotiations would have provisions requiring Alaska’s gas reserves to be made available first to Alaskans:

**Sarah Palin stated today, “Contrary to Murkowski’s recent statements, Alaska’s gas belongs to Alaskans. I’ve been saying for months, we—- Alaskans — need in-state use of gas. All options need to be put on the table with the goal of providing gas to Alaskans as a central provision in any negotiated contract, just a political afterthought as Murkowski is now proposing.”**

There is nothing untoward about this; on the contrary, Palin was arguing in essence that Murkowski was shirking his constitutional responsibilities by failing to be an effective, transparent, and hard-nosed negotiator.

But apparently to David Frum, the Governor should have ignored her own State Constitution – which he also would have criticized her for had she done. That is, had he taken the time to read it in the first place, which he obviously did not – but probably would have eventually, or something.

David Brooks and David Frum. David and David. I hate to say it but some days it’s like reading Dumb and Dumber.

(Apologies for the initial poor formatting on this post)

Amazing video: Cambridge officers, white, black, and Hispanic stand behind Crowley

One of the officers, Kelly King – a black female, says she will not vote for Obama again over this (hat tip):

AllahPundit nails it:

Crowley’s a spectacularly lucky guy to have friends like them. In fact, I’m thinking that beer date at the White House to discuss “tolerance” might not be such a bad idea if Crowley gets to bring Kelly King along. Skip Gates and The One might just learn something.


Culture of Corruption update: Dodd, Conrad and sweetheart deals

They can run, but they can’t hide:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Despite their denials, influential Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd were told from the start they were getting VIP mortgage discounts from one of the nation’s largest lenders, the official who handled their loans has told Congress in secret testimony.

Both senators have said that at the time the mortgages were being written they didn’t know they were getting unique deals from Countrywide Financial Corp., the company that went on to lose billions of dollars on home loans to credit-strapped borrowers. Dodd still maintains he got no preferential treatment.

Dodd got two Countrywide mortgages in 2003, refinancing his home in Connecticut and another residence in Washington. Conrad’s two Countrywide mortgages in 2004 were for a beach house in Delaware and an eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck in his home state of North Dakota.

Robert Feinberg, who worked in the Countrywide’s VIP section, told congressional investigators last month that the two senators were made aware that “who you know is basically how you’re coming in here.”

“You don’t say ‘no’ to the VIP,” Feinberg told Republican investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, according to a transcript obtained by The Associated Press.

Malkin remarks:

The last chapter of Culture of Corruption highlights President Obama’s embrace of corruptocrat Chris Dodd as a shining symbol of the Hope and Change farce. He endorsed Dodd’s 2010 re-election bid earlier this year by praising the Connecticut Democrat’s “extraordinary record of accomplishment.”

But Dodd’s career epitomizes the most fetid aspects of Washington’s culture of corruption. It’s a textbook case of nepotism, self-dealing, back-scratching, corporate lobbying, government favors, entrenched incumbency, and hypocrisy.


Expect Dodd’s poll numbers to continue to sink. Conrad, if I remember correctly, won’t be up for re-election until 2012, and North Dakota Republicans haven’t come close to beating him yet. Plus – by 2012 most of this will probably already be forgotten, so he’ll probably be safe.

Stay tuned.


Why “Gatesgate” is a losing situation for Obama – and black youths (UPDATE: POLICE RELEASE TAPES)

Jennifer Rubin has an excellent article up at Pajamas Media explaining why President Obama is likely so desirous to have Gatesgate swept under the rug via a meaningless photo-op “beer meeting” between him, Gates, and Sgt. Crowley. Excerpts:

First, it suggests he is an uninformed busy-body. With a paucity of facts and no evidence of racism, he chose to opine on a local matter which otherwise would never rise to the level of a presidential issue.


Second, he sucked the oxygen out of the health care debate at the very moment Democrats were pleading for him to become more involved. On the front pages of major newspapers, on TV news, and on every talk radio show the number one topic was: did Obama mess up on the Gates affair?

Third, Obama indisputably fanned the flames of racism and rekindled animosity on both sides by assuming or making this all about race. [2] Juan Williams, on Fox News Sunday, did the country an immense service by recounting what exactly occurred: “The president spoke without the facts. You can’t have a ‘teachable moment’ if it’s based on a lie.”As Williams explained, in this case, the neighbor called the police, Gates began to berate the officer (“Do you know who I am?”), trash-talking about the officer’s mother and pursuing him out of the house. The black and Hispanic officers confirmed Gates’ abusive behavior, and Sergeant Crowley took out the handcuffs and warned Gates before finally having to cuff him.

She gives two more reasons why this issue is a loser for Obama. Make sure to read the whole thing.

Something else I was thinking about related to this issue over the weekend is how we hear so often from “black leaders” like Jackson and Sharpton on how “rich white kids” supposedly can so often “buy justice” from “rich white lawyers.” I think in the instance of Gates, we have a prominent rich black professor and scholar whose (black) lawyer likely put pressure on the police department through – perhaps – Cambridge’s black mayor to have the charges dropped against his client in the interest of “moving on.” Gates’ laywer, by the way, was a mentor to a young Barack Obama. Go figure.

What a poor role model Gates has turned out to be for young black men in this country, considering his non-sensical actions during and after the arrest. Gates may “win” this argument in the short term because all too few in this country are willing to confront the issue of reverse racism head-on without backing down when the heat gets to be too hot, but in the long run, young black youths looking up to Gates – and Obama – lose on this issue.

So much for Gates wanting to “help out” the next generation.

Update 1 – 1:04 PM: Hot off the presses – the Cambridge police have released the tapes of the 911 call and police radio transmissions from the Gates arrest. I have not heard about or read any transcript. Am on the hunt for links. Anyone who finds one, please post it in the comments.