Jockeying for Power in Juneau

The Juneau Empire reports that the Democrats in Alaska are submitting to Governor Palin the name of Beth Kerttula, and only Beth Kerttula, as a candidate to replace outgoing Alaska State Senator and Tasergate Hit Man Kim Elton, who recently got his payoff from Obama with a plum Interior gig in Washington.

No explanation as to why the Alaska Democrats are giving Governor Palin only one option – there were several other qualified people who threw their hats into the ring. The Guv does not have to limit herself to their recommendations – she can pick any qualified Juneau Democrat…though her selection has to approved by a majority of the Senate’s Democratic caucus.

Now, we’ve posted on Beth before. She’s the House Minority Leader who likes to drive by the Governor’s Mansion at night to see how many lights are on:

Driving home at night from her office at the Capitol, the leader of Alaska’s House Democrats, Rep. Beth Kerttula, often passes the governor’s white-columned mansion and wonders why there aren’t more lights on.

Beth also likes to follow Governor Palin into the bathroom:

Kerttula doesn’t expect to agree with the freshman governor on every step of the complex undertaking. But the minority leader looks forward to exploiting one backroom advantage she’s long waited for. “I finally get to go to the restroom and talk business with the governor,” she says.

Beth actually used to praise Governor Palin. In the 2007 Newsweek article linked above, she gave Palin high marks for accessibility and bipartisanship (presumably even in the bathroom). But when the Governor was selected as McCain’s running mate on August 29, 2008, Beth sharpened her knife – because Beth had pledged her allegiance to Obama:

Only two days later, on August 31st, the Juneau Empire was leading with Beth’s negative assessment of Palin, and her statement was quickly picked up by the leftwing blog/MSM echo chamber. (I was unable to find Beth’s assessment of John Edwards’ readiness for the VP spot only four years earlier.) It was apparent that she had received her talking points from the DNC.

Ask yourself – was it really in the best interest of her constituents for Kerttula to trash Governor Palin? If McCain had won, Alaska would have had a Vice President in Washington – and one that Beth herself had praised for bi-partisanship, at that. Are Obama and Biden going to do a better job looking after Alaskan concerns than McCain and Palin would have done?

After the campaign was over and Governor Palin had returned to Alaska, Beth was still following her Obama campaign orders to flog the ridiculous trumped-up Tasergate scandal, long after that dead horse had already been beaten into equine Nothingburger. Even though other legislators just wanted the whole thing to go away

State House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula said she isn’t ready to let the issues go.

“Troopergate isn’t going away, and it shouldn’t go away,” the Juneau Democrat said.

I have no doubt this whole scam was rigged from the get-go in a crass display of pay-to-play Chicago politics. Hollis French will likely get DNC backing for his gubernatorial ambitions. Kim Elton got his plush Washington gig, and in the process nominates Beth Kerttula as his heir – something that was probably arranged from the start. It gives Kerttula a chance to move up from being in the House minority to joining the bipartisan anti-Palin majority coalition in the Senate, where she will be in line for committee chairmanships. The whole show stinks to high heaven.

Andrew “Nine Percent” Halcro is already previewing the Palin-haters’ talking points on this appointment. He says that this is a “test of character”, and if Palin doesn’t appoint Kerttula the only possible reason is vindictive “payback”. It’s an extension of the collective hissy fit the left, and the press, had earlier this week when Palin made her mild “pledged his allegiance” statement about Elton. ADN editorial page editor Matt Zencey said that the statement had him scratching his head…he can’t figure out why she would say such a thing. Zencey is apparently a moron who completely forgot Elton’s blatant political maneuvering on the whole Tasergate sideshow.

In the minds of Palin’s enemies, only Palin ever engages in political games – she is the Huey Long of the Tundra. Meanwhile, everything they do is from the purest of motives. If she calls attention to their dishonesty, she is whining. If she makes a political move of her own, she is vindictive and power-hungry. What they want is another target like George W. Bush, who went into a huddle when attacked and relied on surrogates to defend him. Now, as a Palin surrogate, I’m happy to fight on her behalf – but it’s a pretty big boost to my morale to see her counter-punching these jerks as well.

I don’t know what the correct move is in this situation. I noticed that one of the candidates who applied, and was rejected by the Alaska Democrats, was pro-development Native Alaskan Gordon Jackson:

Gordon Jackson, Director of Roads and Transportation for the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. He said he would like to see the Legislature do more to support Juneau’s Kensington Mine. He also is a former CEO of the Kake Tribal Corp. “I don’t think that anyone who knows me has ever doubted that I’ve been a Democrat,” he said.

I know nothing about Jackson besides the above. Assuming he’s otherwise suitable, the Machiavellian side of me would like to see Palin “do a Burris” by appointing him, thereby forcing the Alaska Dems to explain why they don’t want a Native Alaskan in the Senate.

But I trust Governor Palin will safely navigate these reefs in a manner that is best for her legislative priorities, the people of Alaska, and her own political future.

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