Ron Fournier, AP Political Writer posted today (September 2, 2005) this view of the politicians who failed the victims of Hurricane Katrina:
"Just last year, the Army Corps of Engineers sought $105 million for hurricane and flood programs in New Orleans. The White House slashed the request to about $40 million. Congress finally approved $42.2 million, less than half of the agency's request.
Yet the lawmakers and Bush agreed to a $286.4 billion pork-laden highway bill that included more than 6,000 pet projects for lawmakers. Congress spent money on dust control for Arkansas roads, a warehouse on the Erie Canal and a $231 million bridge to a small, uninhabited Alaskan island.
How could Washington spend $231 million on a bridge to nowhere — and not find $42 million for hurricane and flood projects in New Orleans? It's a matter of power and politics.
Alaska is represented by Republican Rep. Don Young (news, bio, voting record), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and Republican Sen. Ted Stevens (news, bio, voting record), a senior member of the all-important Senate Appropriations Committee. Louisiana's delegation holds far less sway..."
The Alaskan Delegation has been low on statesmanship since our founding delegation of Gruening, Bartlett and Rivers leveraged the goodwill of the nation into massive federal funding and pro-Alaskan policies during those foundling years.
Since that time, the image of Alaska's delegation has been dominated by flakey (Gravel), goofy (Young), empty (Murkowski I) and arrogant (Stevens).
In a sense, Alaskans, like New Orleans, live in a political hole well below sea level. Stevens, Murkowski and Young are the levees holding back the natural forces of ego, avarice, and vengefulness that threatens to flood Alaska, were it not for the bulwark of committe chairmanships and a career of I.O.U's. Ted Stevens has built his political career on this very notion: he AND his arrogance are indespensible to the federal money and programs that feed Alaska's nearly taxless society.
But Ted Stevens is 86. Someday...soon... his pillar of the political levee will break and Alaska will be awash in a flood of recrimination.
The Day Ted Stevens dies, speakerphones and cell phones around the country and in Alaska's Corporate board rooms will be linking up in a collective bid to salvage any deal that is even remotely tied to Stevens' basket of intrerests.
The Day Ted Stevens dies, courtesy and professed affection will mask the dark designs of others,including some within Stevens' own party.
Soon after Ted Stevens dies, the still harbor of resentment will become turbulant with the splashing of discarded obligations and the chain mail of old threats, causing the waters to overflow.
...and when it does...
...May God Save Alaska!