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Friday, January 28, 2022

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]



14 Responses to “Working Hard Representing… Who?”
  1. leenie17 says:

    I’m fortunate to live in a city where the local newspaper (which tends to lean slightly to the left) always has good pre-election coverage of candidates. For most of the elections, they’ll have several articles that explain what each candidate supports, many times in chart form so it’s easy to make comparisons. For the bigger elections (Governor and President) they’ll have a special supplement to the paper that is dedicated to the election. I’ve always used that information to make decisions about supporting the specific candidates, not necessarily their party affiliation.

    However, this year I’m having a hard time with the election coming up next month for County Executive. The incumbent is a Republican, who’s done a mostly decent job, but I am so completely disgusted with the party these days that I would find it nearly impossible to vote for someone with an R attached to their name. There have been quite few scandals under her watch, although I’m not sure how much direct responsibility she’s had for them. I don’t know enough about the Dem yet to make an informed decision so I’ll have to do some reading before election day. If I decide against the Dem, I’ll pop a few antacids, head for the polls and hold my nose as I choose the incumbent…maybe filling in the bubble for her on the independent line if she’s there just so I don’t have to vote R!

  2. Lacy Lady says:

    This was in our Iowegian today. Looking good for Pres. Obama. A sign of HOPE?

    ” Campaign filings: Iowans give $454K to canidates so far this election cycle.
    Des Moines (AP—-Some 800 Iowa residents have donated $454,000 to 2012 predential canidates so far this election cycle.
    Barack Obama’s campaign has collected the most contributions–almost $200,000. His 10 Republican opponets split the rest of the pot “

    • Bailey says:

      Her grassroots appaorch is literal there’s a story that she and her husband just had a pile of soil delivered to their home last week, with hopes of getting some yard work done over the Labor Day weekend I doubt they’ll have time to complete the job before winter! LOL I think she’s going to be the real deal for quite some time. I am already thinking about the millions of dollars of wasteful spending she will STOP.

  3. Valley_Independent says:

    Thank you for expressing just exactly what is wrong with voting based on what letter a candidate has after their name, instead of actually doing some homework and figuring out which candidates are of good character and where they really stand on the issues.

    In the Mat-Su, less than 20% of those that could vote show up at the polls in most elections. Even worse, a number of those that do vote have never been to a local government meeting, have never looked up a voting record, have never contacted a candidate, and are voting based on a D, R, Tea Party endorsement, friend’s recommendation, number of candidate signs they see, or something else not indicative of how the candidate will do if elected. Very few voters will take the time to check out what a candidate puts on their campaign literature to see if it’s actually true, though often it isn’t, and it usually wouldn’t be that hard to verify.

    If the organized groups really want to provide a good service and weed out the INOs, then let them sponsor candidate debates or forums to which all candidates are invited and allow the public to ask questions. Keep encouraging people to participate in their government, not just a few days before election, but all year long, and don’t hesitate to remind everyone that it isn’t just a right, but a responsibility to be taken seriously.

  4. blue_in_AK says:

    I got one of these invitations by e-mail and had the same reaction you did, Jeanne. There’s nothing I hate more than “faux” Democrats, and these two most definitely are.

  5. Cortez says:

    So would they be “Dino’s”?

  6. hedgewytch says:

    This is an accepted republican tactic to destroy the democratic party. Look at what happened in Michigan this year with the re-elections – how many candidates where put up as “democrats” when they were / are actually republicans? Luckily, the folks in Michigan figured out the ploy quickly enough and were able to shine light on these faux democrats and not elect them.

    The same thing needs to be happening in Alaska.

  7. beaglemom says:

    I think party tags are pretty much ignored everywhere. Here in Michigan, you very rarely see a sign that says, “John Doe, Democrat for Congress” or “John Smith, Republican for Congress.” What you see are lots of stars and stripes but no political party identifier. I think that’s unfortunate. I’m proud to be a Democrat and, if I were a candidate, I’d want potential voters to know that. But the subterfuge is done by everyone. In our local elections, supposedly non-partisan, there is often no way to know which candidate stands for what because their ads are all so bland.

    One big local question where I live right now is about keeping our local fire department or merging with the county fire department. It’s a matter of union-busting because our city firefighters are unionized. To date only one candidate for City Council has mentioned the issue and, fortunately, he is for keeping the city firefighters. So that’s one good candidate; but the others never mention the issue. Imagine giving up a fire station that is less than ten minutes away for one that is thirty minutes away, just because you don’t want firefighters to have decent pay and benefits! But, except for one candidate, no one wants to take a stand. It’s just ridiculous.

    As it is, we drove past a local Democratic politician’s home yesterday to see whose signs he had posted in his yard. We also drove past the home of a prominent Republican to check the signs in that yard. This has become one way to figure out who will get our votes. The statements in the media and the printed matter provided by the candidates give little information on real issues. The voter spends a lot of time trying to read between the lines and, yes, as in the ad above, figuring out who the named supporters of the candidate are and where they stand on issues. It’s truly absurd.

    In state and federal elections, candidates should be proud of their party affiliation! At least at that level, there is not the charade of non-partisanship that we all have to suffer through in local elections.

  8. Man_from_Unk says:

    Thanks for the closer look. It pays to pay attention to what your lawmakers are up to.

  9. Ben in SF says:

    We say McGinley’s, they say McGliney’s

  10. I See Villages From My House says:

    As a big huge liberal progressive Dem from the Bush region (Bush in Alaskan slang meaning, treeless land peppered with bushes, not any kind of Republican Governor or President Bush) I’m the first to say that D’s and R’s typically don’t mean squat in the hinterlands. Ted Stevens represented the poorest and most underrepresented folks in the State as much as he did the monied and powerful Prevo’s and Penny’s of the State.

    Lisa Murkowski has shown us in Juneau and Washington that she also doesn’t live to serve only her district or Party interests.

    I love AKM (will forever) but I know the Natives you didn’t write about in this post – and though I don’t support Pebble Mine, I wouldn’t throw the Republican label at them.

    • tallimat says:

      Spot on.

      Not your definition of “bush Alaska” though. Cause I’m in bush Alaska, but I’ve plenty of trees larger than willows.

      Anywho, methinks those street corner pyrite sellers at Pebble Partnership reached out and offered up a fundraiser. Gail Phillips is from Nome. Look I’m not try to find excuses for some rural Democrats. Not at all.

      Party interests don’t mean squat in rural Alaska. However they do mean lots to folks at Pebble. Chances are with the sleazy slime coating Shively and Phillips, they will use this fundraiser to show international investors with Pebble, that they do have Alaska Natives for Pebble.

  11. BeeJay says:

    That is just so wrong, I don’t know where to begin. Mixing metaphors here, it sounds like some of the bottom of my wallet kind of love going on here, certainly not heart.

    Could the state Democratic committee do something about this, or is this ‘normal’ in AK to ignore party allegiances?


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