Sen. Mark Begich: I’m worried about Joe Miller & the entire national right-wing attack machine

Photo credit: aflcio

Sen. Mark Begich is worried about Joe Miller and “the entire national right-wing attack machine.” Those are words he used in a recent letter soliciting funds for his 2014 reelection bid. Instead of starting with his positions on current issues and a list of his accomplishments, Begich devoted the first dozen sentences of the letter to how his opposition is preparing to take him down. But the underlying message in this uninspiring introduction is how the commercialization of our society is corrupting our democratic process.

As a Democrat in a Republican leaning state, Begich knows he’ll likely be the underdog in the race to retain his U.S. Senate seat. What will make his battle more difficult, he says, is that the GOP will be “spending millions of Washington dollars to distort [his] record and promote Joe Miller.” It’s a scenario he should be partly familiar with because that’s how the Democrats helped him four years ago while the FBI was investigating possible corruption by the late Sen. Ted Stevens. And just as he claims the GOP at the national level doesn’t “care about what’s important to Alaskans,” the D.C. Democrats back then didn’t either.

What will be different in his 2014 race is how campaign money will come into the state from undisclosed sources. That’s because the 2010 Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case equated political contributions with free speech. The transparency problem created by the ruling could have been corrected before the election that year. Indeed, the Supreme Court actually advised Congress to pass new legislation that would have required sufficient disclosure so the voting public could determine which candidates might wind up beholden to special interests. But Senate Republicans defeated such a bill crafted by Democrats in 2010 and more recently shot down a similar proposal.

Begich may be sounding early alarm bells because Alaskans really won’t see much of the effect of Citizens United in this year’s national elections. But around the rest of the country, billionaires, large corporations and every other well financed special interest group are prepared to spend enormous sums of money to influence the outcome of other races. And while political analysts believe Republicans will benefit most from the lack of transparency in campaign spending, blaming them for the deterioration of our democratic process is too easy. There are other entities who for decades have been contributing of demise of our electoral politics.

Let’s start with the advertising industry. They’re drooling at the prospect of revenue from record breaking spending this year. It would be one thing if they were hired to honestly portray a candidate’s record and position on the issues. But the vast majority of their television and radio ads will be totally void of substance. Worse yet, the most effective ones are often those that slyly distort the truth. In other words, the most sought after advertisers are those who can legally deceive most of the people most of the time. New York Times columnist David Brooks put it this way — “the ad-makers now take dishonesty as a mark of their professional toughness.”

Read more from this story HERE.

  • reggiec

    Political advertising and campaigning has always pushed the edge of the envelope as far as the trurh is concerned. It is becoming more and more difficult to do so for one very important reason.
    One advantage the internet has afforded the general populace is the creation of a huge “fact check” archive. Politicians can now be held more accountable. Just about every speech is on video or archived in print. Their public appearances are recorded on video and posted on the internet. Cell phone cams catch them unawares and citizen journalists are filling the gap of investigative reporting while the mainstream press abandons it. The internet has become the worst enemy that dishonest or despotic politicians have ever encountered. We must fight each and every attempt by government to censor or control its content.

  • Attacks and intimidation are coming, not from the right but, totally, from the radically liberal left. You would have to be ignorant to not see that. Do you not notice the biased left all over the mainstream media? Wake up!

  • More foolishness on the part of the left. If there were nothing to fear in what they have done, these ridiculous comments wouldn’t keep coming out.

    I can’t believe that this is the same guy that I went to school with. Pitiful.

  • john

    Garbage In, Baggage Out!!!

  • if Begich had a record to run on that favored LIBERTY, he wouldn’t be whining like the crybaby that he is!!!!

  • Esteban

    I will give Begich credit in only one capacity: he actually responded in writing to a message I left on his DC office phone, unlike the Murk, who has the lowest liberty rating of any Republican in the Senate. And Don Young? He’s an obsolete relic who has been grandfathered into permanent status (pun intended) by the sheeple voters. Our entire DC delegation is worthless, and while their pork barrel spending tactics are amusing in their justification (since the Feds control 2/3rds of the land, we’ll make sure they spend every penny possible in this state), they are virtually defaulted into a statist mentality when it comes to Alaskan “interests.”

  • Money isn’t everything. With more and more Conservatives touting their Christianity, folks should realize that. Show me a politician who gets less money, but the campaign contributions are strictly local, accomplishes more with said funds and wins by merit of their achievements and fair play. And that is the one I’ll say is a real leader. Everyone dogs Young, but that’s how he got in for at least the first 4 or 5 terms. And that’s why he’s AK Rep in Congress for life.

  • Two more years of bagich.