31 January 2007

Max Gruenberg

I have never met Anchorage representative Max Gruenberg but I have interviewed him over the phone once or twice and he strikes me as a friendly person and a thoughtful lawmaker.

But he might do well to take that famous piece of advice of heart, "'Tis better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

If you listen to last Wednesday's confirmation hearing of H. Connor Thomas to the Select Committee on Legislative Ethics (tough to link to online but you can find it at Gavel to Gavel), you'll hear him say something to the effect of, "I see you're the president of the Nome Kennel Club. What kind of dog do you have?" Then you'll hear Connor respond, "Um..., which one? I've got dozens. I'm a musher." To which Gruenberg (as I hear it) offers a bit of an embarrassed silence and a muttered response, not quite realizing that in rural Alaska "kennel clubs" are not the Westminster type but the mushing type.

Then, if you listen to the floor debate on the executive clemency bill, you'll hear him rise and extol the nation's checks and balances system and invoke the famous Marbury v. Madison case that established judicial review. A fine thought but his interpretation of the case is factually incorrect and he appears to acknowledge it himself when he slows down in the middle, stutters, and starts couching his statements with "I think."

I respect every lawmaker in Juneau because they're willing to step forward, throw their hat into the public ring (so to speak), and ostensibly serve Alaskans. But it can be so easy to poke fun at them.

(Of course, the "better to be thought a fool" advice could equally apply to me and this blog.)

1 comment:

First Alaskan Man said...

A fine example of brilliantly baffling by our elected leadership. However, like you, I gotta hand it to them for stepping up to the plate.
Now there is food for thought: Alaska Legislative Kennel. Good point on me, opening my mouth too. I’ll hush now.