It’s understandable when politicians desire to break down big government decisions into bite size doses the masses can more easily digest. How oil companies work or don’t work unless you give them tax breaks. How the sun rises on a full pipeline loaded with crude or it sets on a half full one, in which case, all kinds of bad events will follow. How the barracks at Prudhoe are becoming a ghost town because there aren’t enough workers there any more – they ran off to North Dakota.
Those analogies, we find, are mostly not true. Alaskans are getting a good education in oil these days. Thanks to our very own governor. He’s doing an excellent job asserting various scenarios, which his legislature is disputing after putting them to a fact-test. Not that our sympathy isn’t with Gov. Parnell. For some reason, he wants to give Grandpa Oil a big break. But no matter what story he tries to tell us to help us see the reasoning, it’s not working. We’re kind of lost trying to understand him.
Well, Grandpa’s been good to us. That part is true. We wouldn’t have state infrastructure, billions in the bank, an annual dividend or much of anything without his beneficence. But the problem with this aging relative is that he took awful good care of himself, first and foremost.
Wish we could talk the governor out of pursuing his $2 billion tax cut idea, because it’s starting to look painful. Facebook whining. Never ending headlines. Letters home to constituents where representatives like Mike Doogan make terrible fun of him.
And then comes a speech to the Alaska Outdoor Council in which he gave a sad metaphor about moose hunting to explain his controversial mission statement change at the Department of Natural Resources.
“Think about your moose hunt,” he told a group gathered at the Prospector Hotel in Juneau on Feb. 3. “Think on how you position yourself in the early evening hours after some supper to watch that meadow. As the sun goes down, it gets more and more difficult to scope the tree line beyond the meadow. And then there’s that point … and you’ve been there, I know … when darkness has settled in and obscured your view. You and your buddies turn around and head back to camp.”
So it is with a department’s mission statement, the governor told them. “Over time, mission statements get watered down. Buried and obscured by the push and pull of commissioners and legislators trying to keep the peace; compromise language can settle like darkness and obscure the true target.”
But, hunters who take careful aim at what they “know to be right and true,” are more likely to hit what they’re shooting at. That’s why he challenged his departments to review their mission statements and change them if necessary to “sight-in their constitutional mandate.”
To the governor’s credit, he quotes the Alaska Constitution, which contains, word for word, the DNR’s new mission statement. But it sidesteps the other article in the Constitution that contains the old mission statement, also word for word.
Might be time to lay off the metaphors, governor, or hire someone who can write you better ones. If you’re not fighting the federal government over their wrongheaded endangerment listings or thinking up new ways to help out those poor oil companies, we’re not really sure what you are doing these days. Messing with mission statements? That’s a new level of crying out for help.
Let’s offer our governor some love and understanding, folks. He’s got troubles. Real troubles.
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