It couldn't have been the money. After all, both Gov. Sarah Palin and the Alaska Legislature accepted more than $900 million in stimulus funds. The $28 million in disputed energy money that was half the reason for a special session of the Legislature last week was barely 3 percent of what we accepted. It was 0.0035 percent of the entire federal stimulus package, so refusing it was not going to help the nation pay the long-term bill for this costly, but necessary, dose of economic relief. So it wasn't the money.
The strings? Despite Palin's claim of "ropes," the strings attached to the federal money are light. They have more to do with good intentions and continuing on our present courses of energy conservation than they are onerous mandates. Besides, Alaska has accepted billions in federal money that routinely comes with conditions and reporting requirements, from social service grants to highway spending. That's the practical reality of Alaska's economy. Like it or not, one-third of all economic activity in Alaska depends on federal spending.
So it wasn't the strings.
Maybe now we're getting closer. From two directions.
First, Palin's veto drew a line that put Palin supporters on one side and opponents on the other. That's been an angry division since she made her vice presidential run. To back the veto was to stand with Sarah.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.