Thursday was the last day of the Tanana Chiefs Conference Convention. This is the annual three-day meeting of delegates (typically First Chiefs) from the 42 tribal communities of Interior Alaska. In addition to reports on the previous year's business and financials of the tribal consortium, there is a healthy invite list of those in power that can, for good or ill, impact the governance and business of the Interior Athabascan tribes and their members. Among the invited dignitaries are, of course, Alaska's governor and its Congressional delegation.
Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich graciously addressed the Convention through the wonders of modern technology. Although their time was limited because of Congressional duties, they both still managed to deliver addresses that spoke to their goals and to some of the more pressing issues affecting Interior villages, and to answer follow-up questions.
Then there was Don Young. He sent a pre-taped video, which is what he does every year, and will no doubt continue to do, technology be hanged. Pre-taping obviates the need for him to convincingly act like he gives a rat's ass about bush Alaska, since any wooden stiffness and peculiar disdainful facial tics can be written off as artifacts of the video process. It also protects him from any audience questions that might spur him to do what he does so well ...putting his foot in his mouth by uttering some off-color, insensitive and outrageous response.
But hey, as obnoxious as Don Young is, at least he bothered to sit down and tape a message.
Not so Palin. What did the tribes get from Palin? Nada. A big fat zero. Certainly no personal appearance , even though now that she personally moved the capitol to Anchorage, we are only an hour away by plane. No live-feed, no taped message, not even a phone-call with regrets that she could not attend or appear via any of the technological substitutes for a live appearance.
In other words, the tribes got a resounding kiss-off from the lipstick queen.
Oh, she did allow her Rural Advisor to attend, but he came late, and hid in the audience, and who can blame him? TCC's president, Jerry Isaac, never one to mince words, offered some very pointed observations on the Governor's utter lack of respect for the Interior tribes, but its unlikely the Rural Advisor is going to report that back to his boss...heads have rolled in this administration for less.
On the brighter side, it's clear she's ignorant (willfully or no) of how closely her ongoing conduct and actions mirror those of her predecessor. In Frank-the-Bank's case, his arrogance resulted in plummeted approval ratings and a lost primary. We can only hope for the same outcome for Palin - both here and on the national stage. Keep up the good work, Sarah.