Thursday, April 05, 2012

Dr. David Eichler Shows Political Cowardice, Withdraws His Name From Consideration For APOC Post After Old "Racism" Charges Resurface

Another example of possible political cowardice today, this time in Alaska. David Eichler, who was Gov. Sean Parnell’s nominee to the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC), withdrew his name from consideration prior to a hearing before the Senate State Affairs Committee on April 5th, 2012. Dr. Eichler is under fire once again for posting allegedly racist statements about Alaska Natives on an online forum in 2006 at a time when the state dental association, which he then headed, was challenging the use of dental assistants to extend health care in the Bush. One committee member, Sen. Bill Wielechowski, told the Anchorage Daily News that Dr. Eichler would have been questioned about those statements during the hearing, and the hearing might have become contentious. An updated Anchorage Daily News story now confirms that Dr. Eichler voluntarily withdrew his name from consideration after receiving a phone call from the governor's office.

It dates back to 2006, when there was a dispute over the creation of a dental therapist program in rural Alaska. Leaders in rural Alaska favored allowing dental assistants to perform additional services normally reserved for dentists, and the American Dental Association opposed it on the basis that it might result in substandard dental care (although I do not recall dentists exactly lining up for the opportunity to open up practices in rural Alaska). In any event, Dr. Eichler posted the controversial comments in an e-mail about public health care in the Bush to the ADA's online discussion group for presidents and president-elects of state associations. However, it was eventually leaked to a wider audience. The highlights:

-- Oral disease is rampant in the Bush because dependency on the public health care system has left Natives free of personal responsibility.
-- Eliminating special federal assistance for American Indians and Natives will improve matters and allow their integration into American society as dignified citizens.
-- Unchecked tooth decay is "child abuse", and any culture that allows such disease will soon disappear and rightfully so.

A bit harsh, but hardly "racist"; our diversity and multiculturalism theology has indeed minimized personal responsibility among non-White communities by encouraging them to blame Whitey for all the sins of the world, past, present, and future. Nevertheless, Valerie Davidson, senior director of legal affairs for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, characterized Eichler's statements are racist and rude to Natives, imply that Natives aren't dignified and don't deserve to exist. Obviously a complete over-reaction. But Dr. Eichler decided to play the good diversity soldier and apologize for what he called "offensive and insensitive terms and phrases I used in commenting upon the philosophy directing public health programs in Alaska". So be it; it was a done deal, and the issue was put to bed.

Until April 4th, 2012, when progressive harridan Shannyn Moore caught wind of the fact that Gov. Parnell had nominated Dr. Eichler to a designated Republican seat on APOC. Moore went into action, launching a Saul Alinsky-style character attack on Dr. Eichler which was published on Mudflats. She Googled and re-published the original ADN article from 2006, which prompted ADN to do the same on their website, then added a bunch of silly zingers such as how Dr. Eichler liked extreme Republicans like Joe Miller and Wayne Anthony Ross, and how he was also a plaintiff (actually, one of five plaintiffs) in the case to stop the ethics investigation (Troopergate) against Governor Sarah Palin. Yada, yada, any of that is actually relevant to APOC's mission or Dr. Eichler's suitability for the post.

The Anchorage Daily News also posted copies of letters from the Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Chugachmiut, and Sealaska expressing opposition to the appointment of Dr. Eichler.

Dr. Eichler has defenders in the comments section of this ADN story, in particular Dan Sorensen, who notes in one comment that "Things are much cheaper in urban areas, food, gas, housing, ect. But the proud Native chooses to stay in their areas of hardship for the sake of their culture, and lets not be un-truthful in the fact that MANY natives resent American culture, and voice their opinion as such. Where I went to highschool, no cultural days were allowed but 'native cultural days and studies'. Seems pretty un-intergrated and willingly so, to me. And lets be honest, I've seen many many MANY more drunk, drug addicts, laying in pools of their own vomit, then the ones I've seen go to college and be succesful. Would you call those drunk dignified, and a good representation of your culture?"

But while Dr. Eichler has been unfairly stigmatized and victimized, he has perpetuated his own victimhood by withdrawing his name from consideration without a fight. Instead of going to the hearing and taking a healthy cut, even at the risk of a swinging strike three, he merely stood there with the bat on his shoulder and took a called strike three. By doing this, he further empowered and enabled these progressive harridans who use charges of racism not out of any actual concern about racism, but merely as a form of political warfare to intimidate, obstruct, and defeat their political adversaries. If Shannyn Moore really celebrated diversity, she would move to East St. Louis, Camden, or Detroit. Hell, she could pick up a single-family house in Detroit for $10,000.

Unless Gov. Parnell preemptively withdrew Dr. Eichler's name from consideration, Dr. Eichler displayed political cowardice by bowing out.


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