Working Hard Representing… Who?
‘Tis the season for political fundraisers. Invitations come via email, and Facebook, and robocall, and some still even come the old fashioned way and arrive in the mailbox. Each invitation tries to sound a little exciting, a little different, a little “stand out from the crowd.”
Well, this is one that definitely stood out.
We’ve got two candidates – Neal Foster, and Donny Olson. They’re both from Nome, and they are both running for re-election to the state legislature – Foster in the House, and Olson in the Senate.
Now, let’s put on our reading spectacles and have a careful look.
First, let’s see who our hosts for the event were. Who were those notable members of the community, whose ideals and principles are aligned with the candidate, and who put their names out there in close affiliation as if to say, “I, (fill in your own impressive name) support this candidate, and by virtue of that fact, so should you.” Let’s have a look at the top four.
1) John Shively – Pebble Partnership
Whoa. Right off the bat, number one sponsor, name in front, loud and proud. Shively used to be Chief of Staff for Governor Bill Sheffield and got caught lying, shredding documents, and being a general ne’er do well. He decided to turn his life around by doing something equally abhorrent, taking the reins on the Pebble Mine Project which threatens to destroy a huge commercial, sport, and subsistence fishery, the way of life for Alaska Natives in the region, and jeopardize thousands of sustainable jobs – all to line the pockets of some of the wealthiest and dirtiest environmental degraders in the world, in the form of foreign mining conglomerates Anglo-American and Northern Dynasty Minerals.
2) Gail Phillips – Former Republican Speaker of the House, and current shill/flak for… you guessed it… Pebble Partnership. She’s the Chairperson for the group “Truth About Pebble.” Yes, the name is as Orwellian as it sounds. Think “Ministry of Truth”, “Patriot Act” and “Clear Skies Act.”
3) John Binkley – Fairbanks native son, and former Republican candidate for Governor of Alaska. He ran in the primary against Frank Murkowski and then long-shot Sarah Palin. She used to call him “Bink” and “Rich Man Binkley” and “the machine candidate.” She accused him of “stealing” her website, and reacted to his copycat ways with a scathing “Shhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzz.” She worried that he was going “use his goofy grin” and the support of some of his influential “Mormon buddies” to gain support. She despised him as one of the corrupt “Good Ol’ Boys” that were the movers and shakers in the Republican Party, and as part of the problem she wanted to expunge from state politics. She shouldn’t have worried. But, Mr. Rich Man Bink landed on his feet and now works at the Alaska Cruise Association.
4) Orin Seybert – The founder of Peninsula Airways, and large political contributor to Republican candidates over the years. A quick search reveals that since 2006, he’s made 14 donations to Congressman Don Young (R), 7 to the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R), and 1 to former Gov. Frank Murkowski (R).
OK, knowing all that, are you ready for the question? This is going to sound like a total no-brainer. Ready?
What political party do both of the legislators for whom this fundraiser is being thrown belong to?
~Rep. Neal Foster and his candidate for United States Senate
If you’re still on the fence, take a look at where the fundraiser is being held – McGinley’s Pub in Anchorage. Yes, the same McGinley’s Pub of which Mayor Dan Sullivan is part owner. That little factoid totally clinches it for you, right?
Yes, they are Democrats.
(A collective WHA??? is heard over the mudflats)
You’ll notice how the flier carefully avoids that fact. They aren’t “Democrats” who’ve made a difference. They are “legislators” who’ve made a difference. What difference? Well, they’ve certainly made a difference in constituents’ ability to tell what political party they belong to, that’s for sure.
And this leads me to a question. Do we as Democrats (yes, I am still one for now) have no set of minimum basic requirements to allow our candidates to proudly put that D after their names? Should they not, in fact, draw to them people who believe as Democrats do, who want to see Democrats in office, and who support Democratic ideals?
Yes, I would argue, we should.
Perhaps there are those who would admonish a Democrat who said this with the argument, “Why are we fighting amongst ourselves? Let’s not eat our own!” But is there not some point at which we draw a line? Who is “our own?” And who is the “You” in the headline of this invitation? Inquiring minds want to know.
A man is known, the old adage goes, by the company he keeps. And this is some sad, sad company indeed for anyone who claims to represent the party for which they are registered. And truly, if these are your friends, and those who support you financially, and those who host fundraisers for you, then for crying out loud have the decency to take of the D-sguise and proclaim that you’re one of them.
[h/t Mudflatter North of the Range]