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

Posted by: ST on July 27, 2009 at 9:47 pm

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)

RSS feed for comments on this post.


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


  1. Larry Sheldon says:

    Ironic, isn’t it? The GOP may in fact hate (or fear, which may be the same thing) Palin worse than the Democrats do.

  2. RogerCfromSD says:

    The Republic Party leadership better fear losing Sarah and all of the Conservatives who trust her more than the feckless GOP.

    A Third Party in this political climate may actually work.

  3. greg says:

    Frum and the rest are trying desparately to hold on to what power they can. They “know” that they are the only ones who are smart enough to lead, and fear that they are about to be replaced by the great unwashed.

    Deport Frum back to Canada.

    Palin 2012

  4. Joe Marier says:

    Well, David’s argument is that the $1200 cash payments put too much of a burden on the state balance sheets, considering that they don’t get cut when oil revenues collapse. I have no idea myself, but certainly Palin wasn’t constitutionally bound to increase the payments, so I’m not sure how the constitutional issue enters the discussion.

  5. Carlos says:

    Frum: distribution = REdistribution = making everyone equally miserable, or stealing from the rich, taking a giant share and distributing the rest to those who have no claim to it to begin with

    Palin: distribution = sending checks to their rightful owners

    Frum just never got the hang of the language, I guess.

  6. No, “the GOP” does not hate Palin.

    Some dislike her, some love her. I’ve noticed this in our local organization. She is divisive, I’ll say that. People either love her or hate her.

    Myself, I love her, but don’t know if she’ll ever be presidential material.

  7. thirteen28 says:

    I just refer to Frum and Brooks, collectively, as the David Sisters. Seems fitting.

  8. b. pocoroba says:

    As gov. of Alaska, Palin’s qualifications are at least as accomplished and notable as some other media-favored candidates. The statist media is never or seldom challenged when it/they portray Palin’s background.

  9. Lorica says:

    Actually Tom, Yeah, Leadership in the Rep party hates her. When have they come out once to defend her on all of these ethics charges. McCain can’t stand her because she was a bigger draw then he was. They hate the idea that she might reform the Rep party into what it should be and not just a version of the Dem party like they want it to be.

    As far as her being “presidential material”, she is far more equipped then our current occupant. – Lorica

  10. Peter says:

    If Frum is supposed to be a conservative voice, shouldn’t he sometimes support conservatives?
    Oh, sorry, I’ll stop the crazy talk now.