Alaska GOP Senate Race – Cirque de SoLame
Politico just ran an article focusing on the Alaska Senate race, but boy did they get the headline wrong.
First of all, when you “fear” something, it means you generally don’t want it to happen. Fearing a GOP civil war in Alaska, for some of us, is like fearing the circus, or fearing Christmas.
Oh, no! Jugglers, and cotton candy, and entertaining acrobatics! And who is that scary guy stuffing my stocking with gift cards and chocolate truffles?! Hold me!
Second, the use of the future tense seems a bit… late. The GOP Civil War “may” be coming to Alaska? We practically invented that war on a national level, thank you. Remember when a certain someone got called out for “pallin’ around with terrorists?” And on the statewide level, we can safely say that war was in full swing back in 2010 when the libertarian, Ron Paulish Joe Miller defeated “old guard” moderate incumbent Lisa Murkowski to become the Republican nominee.
Snake Flag vs. Fat Cat – it was a thing to behold.
When Murkowski decided to stay in the race as a write-in candidate for the general election, it was all-out chaos. Democrats and moderates terrified of Miller jumped ship from Democratic candidate Scott McAdams. That, and the huge influx of money from Alaska Native Corporations that filled Murkowski’s coffers, and she pulled it off. “We Made History” her campaign proclaimed – and they had. It was our Battle of Bull Run.
Now it’s 2014, and this time the Senate race is different. The incumbent is not a Republican, it’s Democrat Mark Begich. There is no viable write-in candidate. It’ll be a straight primary, and to the victor will go a spot on the general election ballot against Begich.
So, let’s see what’s happening at the three-ring GOP circus, shall we?
Ring 1: Mead Treadwell
The current Lt. Governor has declared his candidacy with all the excitement of a wet piece of cardboard. His main function in his current capacity is to oversee the Division of Elections, and the care and upkeep of the state seal. We’re still using the same antiquated, hackable Diebold voting machines that were there when he arrived, and the State of Alaska joined the lawsuit against the federal government to eliminate protections for Native Alaska voters afforded through the Voting Rights Act. Presumably, he’s managed to do better in his other function, because I hear the state seal is polished to a high mirror shine.
In our Republican circus, he’s the guy in a top hat who can juggle three beanbags at the same time, and sometimes doesn’t drop one. Wow. Nifty.
Ring 2: Joe Miller
Mr. Miller is still out there waving the snake flag, and railing against Obamacare, the feds, the illegals, the libruls, the gays, and anything else that endears him to the hard-core base. He’s even blogging now, aggregating all the hot-button articles he can find. Although poll numbers suggest he’d not do well in a head-to-head against Begich, he still has a loyal and “well-regulated” following. Anyone still in Miller’s camp isn’t going anywhere. Those in the clown car parade, who have seen not only their duly elected nominee get trounced by the old guard appointed daughter of a corrupt bastard, but the excommunication of TWO of their own Ron Paulish party chairs in the past year, are bitter. They are bitter, bitter clowns.
Ring 3: The Other Dan Sullivan
Not “Mayor Dan” the feckless, smarmy chief executive of Anchorage – the other one. He popped in from out of state a few years ago to become Alaska’s Attorney General. Then, he was appointed Chair of the Department of Natural Resources. At that point, anyone who was paying attention realized that this career trajectory was leading to a run for statewide office. And now that he’s back from six weeks in Afghanistan with the Marine Reserves, he’ll be tossing his hat in the ring. He wields a resume as long as your arm, filled with all kinds of important and impressive things. His task will be to prove himself a “real Alaskan.” In a state where 15-year residents are called “newcomers,” it’ll be a trick. He’ll have to really razzle-dazzle a bunch of skeptical sourdoughs with his fancy fire-eating, sword-swallowing ways.
Ring 4: The Fabulous and Daring Whatzername!
The “bonus” ring in our circus is populated by some woman in a red sequined outfit from Wasilla. She’s walking in circles with one arm in the air and a megaphone, screeching,
“Look at me! Look at me over here! I might just put my head in a tiger’s mouth! Maybe I’ll swing from a trapeze! I’m not ruling that out! I bet you’d like to see me walk a tightrope! I don’t have any immediate plans do to that, but never say never! Hey! Hey, where are you going?”
And so the GOP masses will buy their tickets and head to their show of choice. Most will decide between the wet dishrag in Ring 1, and the carpetbagger in Ring 3. But a small group will stampede to Ring 2, because they love them some clowns, and there’s a “Live Free or Die” bumper sticker on the back of that tiny car.
This year’s second Ron Paulish ousted ex-chair of the Alaska Republican Party had this to say:
“It’s not about voter turnout software,” she said by phone from Alaska. “We have an epic battle facing us as Republicans … and that’s essentially to choose between definitions of conservatism: One is steadfast opposition to emerging social trends like secularism [and] multiculturalism. The other choice is … to go more secular and more modernizing.”
The question is, after the majority of the audience is split between the modern, secular, multicultural Treadwell and Sullivan rings, will there actually be more of an audience in the xenophobic, evangelical dinosaur ring, sending Miller to the general election? And THAT, my friends, is why we are all sitting in the bleachers eating popcorn, and loving life.
And if that isn’t enough to keep you entertained, Politico also tells us that once we have a nominee, we’ll be getting a visit from the Ringmaster himself, Reince Priebus next October.
I think we’re going to need some extra butter.