Monday, August 23, 2010

Lisa Murkowski And Sheldon Fisher The Better Choices For Congress In The 2010 Alaska Republican Primary

Less than 24 hours before the August 24th Alaska primary election, the media scribes are casting their editorial votes. In the U.S. Senate race, both the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and the Anchorage Daily Planet have weighed in for Lisa Murkowski. In contrast, in The Alaska Standard, Dan Fagan has executed yet another volte-face (attributable to a controversial Murkowski ad) and is now choosing Joe Miller, as has conservative Red County blogger Thomas Lamb.

But what those of us who choose the Republican ballot in the primary election, to include Republicans, Undeclared, and Non-Partisan, ought to keep in mind is that we are not merely voting for the best Republican; we're also voting for the best Alaskan. While the Democrats have presented viable opposition, neither of their two candidates are likely to win in November. Harry Crawford has virtually no stroke outside of Anchorage, and Scott McAdams, despite a good track record as mayor of Sitka, is too much of an unknown outside of southeast Alaska. So the Republicans we vote for on August 24th most likely will be the Alaskan members of Congress going to Washington DC in January 2011.

This means we must vote for the Republicans who can best represent the ENTIRE state.

In the Senate race, the Republican who best meets this criteria by a narrow margin is Lisa Murkowski. Senator Murkowski has risen to number 59 on the U.S. Senate seniority list. She has consistently maintained a professional demeanor throughout this entire campaign despite some highly-partisan attacks directed against her. And recognizing by virtue of the opposition against her that she had strayed too far from her Republican roots, Senator Murkowski was not afraid to re-evaluate her positions on immigration, bailouts, and health care. She now opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, has expressed regret for voting for TARP, and has made it amply clear that she opposes Obamacare. Nonetheless, she does believe there is some role for government in health care; after all, anyone who believes the government has no role in health care would have to abolish Medicare and our VA hospitals to be consistent. Obviously, no one's prepared to go that far. You can review Lisa Murkowski's key votes HERE.

Joe Miller has run an energetic and informative campaign. His conservative credentials are ironclad; he has zero tolerance for illegal immigration, and has even had the courage to propose the abolishment of the U.S. Department of Edcuation. Federal involvement in public education has virtually wrecked that institution and Federal mandates are one of the reasons why 47 percent of my property taxes go to feed the Anchorage School District. On the other hand, the Miller campaign has been disrupted repeatedly by unnecessary drama. The battle over his departure from service with the Fairbanks Borough became too protracted, leading people to question the circumstances. The last-minute brouhaha between Debbie Bauer and Dave Stieren, which contributed to the sudden termination of campaign manager Paul Bauer, also didn't help. And, unlike Lisa Murkowski, Joe Miller can be polarizing. We need a senator who can reach out to the entire state. But if there's one major benefit to Joe Miller's campaign, it's in the fact that he stirred up Lisa Murkowski in remembrance of her Republican roots and caused her to return to them.

If Joe Miller doesn't succeed this time, he will have positioned himself effectively for a U.S. House run in 2012 if Don Young gets elected, or a run at Mark Begich's Senate seat in 2014.

By keeping Lisa Murkowski's seniority intact, we simplify the choice for the U.S. House race. Congressman Don Young's trump card has been seniority; few can equal his 37 years of Congressional service. And admittedly, constituent work is also his forte. Unfortunately, the value of Don Young's seniority has become diluted and compromised. First, there was the Coconut Road kerfuffle. Then there was the one-year long Federal investigation which was suddenly and mysteriously abandoned recently. In addition, Congressman Young refused to join in the Republican moratorium on earmarks. Although I strongly agree with the latter decision, the combined effects of all these issues has led to the House Republican leadership stripping Don Young of ranking minority member status on various committees. This seriously weakens the effects of his seniority. You can review Don Young's key votes HERE.

But this time around, we have a superbly-qualified Republican replacement for Don Young. Former telecommunications executive Sheldon Fisher has stepped up to the plate. Unfortunately, the media has not paid nearly as much attention to Fisher as to Joe Miller (with the exception of the Anchorage Press) because Fisher has run a drama-free campaign. While Don Young is demonstrably conservative, Sheldon Fisher is even more so. Note his 10-point "Contract With Alaska", which is designed to respect the Constitution to protect our freedoms, restore fiscal discipline to ensure future prosperity, and promote real economic growth to provide for our families today. Part and parcel of this Contract With Alaska is to REDUCE the burden of government upon people by replacing our Byzantine tax code with a Fair Tax and by simplifying the Code of Federal Regulations and requiring that the benefit of any regulations outweigh the associated costs. It is the bureaucratic burdens imposed upon us that make us particularly irate, even more so than high taxes. Bureaucrats are supposed to be public servants; they do what we tell them to do, we don't do what they tell us to do.

Congressman Don Young has served Alaska with honor and, at times, with distinction for 37 years. But there comes a time in which one must pass the torch. And it's at this time, when we have a replacement as meticulously prepared as Sheldon Fisher, that we should consider granting Don Young an honorable release from his Congressional stewardship. Sheldon Fisher is ready for prime time.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely disagree with you on Joe Miller. I will always vote for conservative principles and integrity over professionalism or seniority. Surprised you would vote for Lisa considering her support for abortion. Also, though I supported Sheldon Fisher, please don't give him full credit for his Contract with Alaska--it was nearly identical to Freedomworks, etc.'s Contract from America (CFA). Incidentally, I asked Mr. Young if he would sign the CFA and he said he'd sign all except #9 earmarks. Miller signed on right away and Murkowski never even replied to me when I asked if she would sign.