Special Note: Re-posted September 28th to correct the misspelling of Patrick McGonagel's name through the body of the original post. My humble apologies.
In Sunday's Anchorage Daily News (September 24th, 2006), Juneau resident Patrick McGonegal (pictured at left, courtesy of his campaign website) announced his intention to run against Congressman Don Young as a write-in candidate. He claims no party affiliation, running as an independent. He identifies himself as a long-time Juneau resident, having originally moved there with his parents in the late 60s. He attended Auke Bay Elementary, Floyd Dryden Junior High and Juneau-Douglas High School before his family moved to Hawaii during his junior year (1983). He spent a year in Italy as a foreign exchange student and then spent two years in Utah on a church-sponsored mission. He married a Utah woman, Marna, producing two children so far. He also attended college in Utah and received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Weber State University.
He returned to Alaska in the fall of 1999, currently working for the City and Borough of Juneau as well as maintaining a private web development and graphic arts business. He considers Alaska to be the finest place in the world to call home, citing the wilderness and the beauty of our great State.
His announcement was published as a letter to the editor, entitled "Write-In House Candidacy Is Aimed At Getting The Money Out Of Politics" (scroll down to the second LTE). Because the Anchorage Daily News requires you to register to view its website after a certain number of clicks, I reproduce his LTE below, in its entirety:
Write-in House candidacy is aimed at getting the money out of politics
It seems like you can't even open the paper any more without hearing about corrupt politicians. It doesn't matter what party they represent, or which community. All across the nation it is becoming painfully obvious that money controls our political system. It is about time for a change.
In this vein, I have decided to run as a write-in candidate for the seat in Congress currently held by Rep. Don Young. My campaign, however, will be very different from his in that I will spend no money -- nor accept any. Should I be fortunate enough to get elected, I will carry this principle with me into office. I will accept no money other than the salary of the position. I want to be beholden to the voters of Alaska rather than to the special interests of corporations and organizations. I want Alaska's representative to represent Alaskans.
In order for representative government to work, however, voters need to take the initiative to learn about the candidates for whom they may be voting. To this end, I am not asking you to vote for me. I am asking you to find out who I am and what I stand for so you can make an informed decision. To learn more about my campaign, as well as my views on current political issues, visit my site www.didjuneau.com/campaign.
Click here to access the main page of his website, which is an informative, organized site not infested with the customary gaggle of graphic bells and whistles which slow down loading and cause hanging of so many websites nowadays. On the Views page, he addresses six core issues: Election Reform, Party Affiliation, Gun Control, Abortion, Same Sex Marriage, and Death Penalty. This page further leads to an essay written back on March 30, 2005, entitled "Guns, Drugs, and Babies", which he maintains are the only significant differences betwenn the Republican and Democratic parties. He also reveals himself to apparently subscribe to the libertarian philosophy. Here are brief explanations of his core issues:
1). Election Reform. McGonagel wants to scrap the political party system, hold politicians legally accountable for campaign promises, limit campaigning to formally-scheduled debates, outlaw campaign commercials, and dissolve the Electoral College.
2). Party Affiliation. McGonagel would work to neutralize the effect of any particular party in Congress. Currently, these party lines are controlling committee memberships, ethics investigations, budget oversight, etc. This needs to change. Committees should include those most qualified for the position. Investigations should proceed regardless of the party affiliation of those implicated. Budgets should be approved or denied based on their merits rather than the party of those proposing them.
3). Gun Control. Supports the Second Amendment. Instead of further gun control legislation, McGonagel wants to further discourage gun misuse by holding gun owners responsible if they use or store them in a criminal or negligent manner which could result in injury or loss of life.
4). Abortion. McGonagel does not take an explicit position. Instead, he prefers to reduce the impetus for abortion by providing individuals with the knowledge and products they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
5). Same Sex Marriage. McGonagel supports it.
6). Death Penalty. McGonagel supports the death penalty as appropriate punishment for specific crimes, although he questions whether or not it's been used appropriately.
McGonagel also encourages people to e-mail him with comments about his existing issues, or suggestions for additional issues. Two of the hottest issues he should consider are immigration reform and elimination of affirmative action and other forms of racial and gender preference. Perhaps he doesn't think Alaska has an illegal immigration problem. He should have been in Anchorage on May 1st, when 1,000 people showed up to rally in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Or perhaps he missed the story about an alert Alaska State Trooper calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 25 illegal Mexicans in Kenai this past July. Reports estimate at least 5,000 illegal immigrants in Alaska.
His support for the Second Amendment is gratifying, but many of his other ideas are unrealistic. To get rid of political parties would create a danger of dictatorship. A constitutional republic needs multiple political parties to guarantee liberty. What is necessary is to reform the way political parties operate, and in particular, those legislative caucus rules which penalize a lawmaker for voting against the caucus for the sake of the lawmaker's constituency (the cases of Reps. Bob Lynn and Nancy Dahlstrom come to mind).
Holding politicians legally accountable for camapign promises is not only unrealistic, but we currently can do so by voting them out of office the way we did with Frank Murkowski in August. Furthermore, how would he do it? This strikes me as overkill.
His position on abortion is fuzzy. Is he conditionally pro-life or absolutely pro-choice? He needs to define himself.
His position on the death penalty is absolutely on target. He's right to question our methodology in order to avoid Illinois' debacle in 2000 when then-Governor George Ryan had to suspend executions because of procedural irregularities.
However, in a desire to renounce "politics as usual", McGonagel seems to be acting more like an "anti-candidate" rather than a candidate (sort of like the difference between an anti-hero vs. a hero). He needs to accept the fact that he will have to spend at least nominal sums of money to get his message out. He also should quit saying he doesn't have a chance; this will simply drive voters away. He should be more optimistic, and simply admit he's a longshot, but very much in the race. Just because he's a "write-in" candidate doesn't make him any less of a candidate.
Tags: politics , Alaska , brrreeeport , election , U.S. House