Friday, October 15, 2010

The most important race?

Ted and Lisa
While most of the coverage surrounding the mid-term Senate elections has focused on places like Nevada and West Virginia due to their tight races, or the freak show factor of Delaware, I'm increasingly convinced that the most important contest might be one that few others are talking about: Alaska. Mostly ignored because it is almost assured of remaining in Republican hands, the race could go a long way towards clarifying what exactly Americans believe in.

On the one hand we have Joe Miller, whose about as red-blooded a conservative as you will find. He favors repealing ObamaCare, a federal hiring freeze and -- get this -- limiting federal actions to those explicitly authorized by the Constitution.

Then there is Lisa Murkowski. Appointed to the job by her father, Murkowski is the prototypical politician who has run her office like a favor factory in order to maintain power. Indeed, nine federal contractors are so scared of losing her as a conduit to Washington pork they've given a combined $805,000 to the Murkowski campaign. And now she is releasing a new ad that plays up her connection to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, a legendary pork-barrel politician who brought home billions to the state. The subtext is hard to miss. Vote for Lisa and she'll keep the gravy train on track -- nevermind that the country is facing a 2011 deficit now projected at $1.4 trillion.

Alaskans face a pretty stark choice: they can keep going with the same people who treat the federal treasury as a big piƱata and helped get us in the current fiscal mess, or elect a genuine conservative who will try to straighten matters out but won't act as a Santa Claus in politician's clothing.

The race is quite close, and some current and former Murkowski staffers I am friends with are outwardly confident about the senator's chances. If she prevails it will cast quite a pall over the entire election. This is gut check time for Alaskans and the country.

No comments: