No, not that governor. The new one.
In what Alaskans hope is not becoming a longstanding tradition, the governor just dissed the President of the United States. No, he didn't accuse him of "pallin' around with terrorists" or criticize him during a speaking engagement in a foreign country. He decided instead to say "thanks but no thanks to those tickets from the White House."
Yesterday, Air Force One arrived on Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage and President Obama touched down for the first time ever on Alaskan soil. The officer who introduced the President said that we were thrilled and grateful to have the President with us. You wouldn't know that by looking at Alaska's chief executive.
Republican Sean Parnell, stepped in to the governor's office after the rogue one up and quit. So where was he during this presidential visit? Parnell's office explained that unfortunately, the Governor had a long-standing commitment to deliver a "major" speech, and he just couldn't get out of it. The event? The Associated General Contractors of Alaska Annual Conference in Anchorage. The conference started on Wednesday, November 11 at 8am will continue through lunch this Saturday afternoon, and concludes with a dinner/dance Saturday night. That's three and a half days.
And the "major" speech that the governor apparently could not reschedule to welcome the President of the United States to Alaska? According to the agenda, that was the "Excellence in Safety Awards Luncheon" at the Captain Cook Hotel. It's sandwiched (pardon the pun) between the "Go From Profit Mystery to Profit Mastery" presentation, and a Department of Transportation Q&A session.
Guess those General Contractors can be pretty brutal about their scheduling requirements of the Governor's office.
For those unfamiliar with the area, according to Mapquest, the Captain Cook Hotel is 2.24 miles from Elmendorf Air Force Base. For travel planning purposes, you can expect the trip to take 6 minutes.
The President met the families of fallen troops, and addressed an enthusiastic military crowd in a filled hangar. Senator Mark Begich (D) was on hand to welcome the President, and spent a good deal of times granting requests for pictures, and showing his appreciation to the men and women in uniform, while Parnell ate lunch less than three miles away.
Behold an Alaska governor who has skewed priorities, poor judgment, bad manners, who thinks people will actually buy the lame excuses for bad behavior, and who embarrasses the citizenry in thinly veiled displays of inappropriate bipartisanship. I wish this felt unusual.
But in this two-for-one display of numbskullery, the new governor not only snubbed the President, he also snubbed the troops that the President took time to honor. Nice work.