Mr. Begich, It’s On! But Will Treadwell Be The Next Romney?

photo credit: usdagov

By now, you have all probably heard that Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell announced on Friday that he is launching an exploratory committee to decide whether he should run for the United States Senate seat now held by former Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. As I read the well-wishes on the Lt. Governor’s facebook page today urging him on, I was left with a couple of nagging questions. Is Treadwell the right man for the job? And more importantly, is he up to it?

To all the Republicans out there who think this is going to be easy, I have a few words of caution.

First, Mark Begich is, without doubt, the most savvy politician in the state. Second, the whole government-media-complex will work tirelessly to make sure their golden boy wins re-election. Third, he will have David Axelrod and the whole ‘Chicago Machine’ at his disposal. And last, but not least, his secret weapon: unlike most politicians, people actually like this guy.

Am I suggesting that the 2014 race for US Senate is already a done deal? Not at all. But I am saying that we shouldn’t run hastily into a marriage that isn’t a good fit, and that will not likely end with an oath.

There are no less than five other potential candidates out there who have yet to make their intentions known, and I have privileged information that suggests there may be a wild-card in the works that could take the whole political establishment by surprise.

As for the Romney analogy, there are a lot of similarities between the psychology of Alaska Republicans, and that of the RNC who wanted nothing more than to beat Barack Obama. The Alaska Republican Party has proudly displayed an ad on its webpage urging the defeat of Mark Begich in 2014 ever since he assumed the seat in the United States Senate once occupied by the late-Senator Ted Stevens.

And so, like the National Republicans, the effort is already underway in Alaska to ‘immaculate the One’ who would defeat Mark Begich. Conventional wisdom is that if we can just unite behind a candidate early in the process, there will magically be unity in Republican ranks. And we will sweep to victory . . . and live happily ever after.

Didn’t we just try this with Romney? Was it just me, or was he running for the nomination for the last four years? And am I the only one who just saw how that worked out?

But the larger view that Party luminaries and political pundits miss is that some of us actually care about policy. We don’t just want to vote against someone. We want to vote for something. We don’t want consensus; we want leadership.

Wasn’t that the lesson of the 2010 US Senate race here? Some of us aren’t content to join the coronation for a candidate that in many respects is very similar to Mark Begich. Like Ronald Reagan before us, we want bold colors, not pale pastels. Aren’t there already too many do-nothing senators in Washington who are inebriated on the wine of their own self-importance, and are happy just to be a part of the club?

Now I’m not suggesting that Mead Treadwell would be a do-nothing senator, though he did support one in 2010. He is an affable guy, a deal-maker, and has big ideas. But it is precisely the fact that he has such big ideas that I find troubling, because they are the wrong ideas.

I am speaking of Mead’s penchant for ideology. Yes, I know ‘he’s a pragmatist not an ideologue.’ However, the doctrine of man-made global warming is nothing if not an ideology. The dogged belief in the inherent benevolence of the United Nations is nothing if not an ideology. And the pragmatism of compromise itself can become the handmaiden of ideology when it becomes an end in itself.

We already have a ‘Republican’ in the United States Senate who only wishes to be named among the ‘cool kids.’ She hasn’t passed a stand-alone bill in her 10 long years in the United States Senate. What we don’t have, and what I don’t wish to have, is one who is effective at getting the wrong things done. So before I’ll be jumping on the bandwagon, I need some answers from Mr. Treadwell.

If elected to the United States Senate, will he continue to push for International Treaties that would strip us of our sovereign Right to self-governance? Will he join the push for carbon taxes, or cap and trade? What would he do right now about the impending ‘fiscal cliff?’ What is his plan to rein in federal spending? Will he vote to allow leftist judges through Senate confirmation like his friend Murkowski? Does he support the President’s ‘tax hikes for the rich?’ What about social conservative issues? The second amendment? Will he vote for amnesty for illegal aliens? Does he favor reforming the tax code? What does he intend to do about the looming insolvency of Medicare and Social Security? Does he support full repeal of Obamacare? Will he support auditing the Fed? . . .

These are the things conservatives want to know. Until we have answers, support should not be offered.

Yeah, Treadwell’s a rich moderate that can appeal to independents. Romney won those voters overwhelmingly. How’d that work out for us?

Yeah, Treadwell is the anointed candidate of the Republican establishment. So was Romney. How’d that work out for us?

Yeah, Treadwell is an experienced businessman and government manager. So was Romney. How’d that work out for us?

Yeah, Treadwell is a decent man who believes in a fair fight. So was Romney. How’d that work out for us?

The bottom line is not that Mead Treadwell is a bad man that you should not support. It is rather that he is a man we still don’t have answers from, and who still hasn’t been vetted.

He may well be the candidate that emerges who will unite the party, and defeat Mark Begich. But we don’t know that yet.

I am a firm believer in the inherent wisdom and goodness of the people to make better choices than the politicos. It is up to us, not the Washington insiders, or the Juneau elites. So let the process work itself out. Get involved. Ask the questions. And for God’s sake, don’t settle for Mitt Romney.

Matt Johnson is a freelance writer, consultant, and political activist who resides in Chugiak, AK

  • Lizelot

    “I’m a firm believer in the inherent wisdom and goodness of the people to make better choices than the politicos.” How did that work out for us? Four more years?!

    • Matt

      Thank the Washington establishment. Thank Lisa Murkowski. Thank Mitt Romney.

      Obviously, the folks who could have put Romney over the top didn’t show up to vote. He apparently didn’t sell them on the fact that he could do the job, or perhaps he convinced them that Barack Obama really wasn’t all the bad. Wasn’t that essentially the message? ‘Obama’s really a good guy, he’s just not as good at his job as I would be.’
      Wrong answer!

      When you’re going to a street fight with a Chicago thug, you check your manners at the door and do what needs to be done. There’s no way Obama should have even been in the game, but Mitt was more worried about being acceptable to the cool kids than winning the game.

      It’s very unfortunate. Because Mitt wouldn’t fight for us, we’re going to have to live with the consequences.


  • Begich got in through the back door in 2008; Ted Stevens’ legal troubles paved the way for him to get in – he probably would not have gotten in otherwise. Still, as you say Matt, Begich is a popular guy and the best weapon the Democrats have in this state (not that he has any meaningful competition, read French, McAdams, Cissna).

    Getting a second term will be much harder this around: Begich now has a record that he’ll have to defend. He’ll have to defend the non-Alaskan stuff he’s taken part of while he’s been on the Obama party train. Defending Obama’s record at the 6 year juncture will be a hard slog in this red state. In addition, if Treadwell were skilled enough, and I think he is, he’ll have to finally be held accountable for his management of Anchorage as mayor.

    They’ll be no sneaking in next time around.

    • French barely won reelection. After that speech on the AK Senate floor called “The best partner” where he advocated that Alaska adapt Noway’s economic model, he’ll be an easy beat, even among the Dems. Are you kidding? The man is an old school socialist… indeed even folks in the moderate relm of the Dem Party have real problems with him.

      McAdams? Nope, he couldn’t even consolidate support from the traditional Democratic base the last time who went for Murkowski.

      Cissna? He must be a local name… personae non gratia in most of the state.

      Begich will handily get the Dem nodd

      However, if Treadwell is the GOP nominee, I promise you there will be a 3rd party challenge.

      • My point was that Begich is the best the Democrats have and even that’s not saying much.

        Cissna is a gal and she lost against Young last month, remember?

    • Matt


      I happen to agree with you that Begich is vulnerable because of the makeup of the electorate. But I stand by my statement that beating him will not be easy.

      I also think that Mead is a likable guy, and a skilled politician in his own right. However, the point of the article is that we really know very little about Mead’s position on a wide range of policies, he appears to be an advocate of internationalism, and tends to be more of a deal-maker than a fighter.

      We’re fighting for the heart and soul of our civilization right now. I’m not interested in cutting a deal with despots. So whoever we send down to DC needs to understand what the stakes are, and be willing to defend the republic.
      Having said all that, let’s see who else gets in, have a lively debate, and find out where folks are on the issues. Let the games begin!

      • Matt, point well taken. Goal #1 is to get Begich out of there. I don’t know if there are any current poll numbers out there, but I would suspect that Treadwell has decent favorability numbers and would match up very well against Begich. Yes, he will have to come out more on specifics. My personal view is that he is a very good campaigner who will try to avoid controversy pointed at himself and keep the controversy spotlight pointed in the other direction.

        The key here is to have a GOP nominee that will win the Primary and make it stick in November. That takes a well known individual that has a broad enough appeal to win 50.1% of the vote. Sadly, people are more interested in how an individual brings in the bacon than anything else. They’ll bow for the cash while in chains.

        I wish that the upcoming process would mean an individual that holds a more conservative and libertarian leaning viewpoint like myself, but that may not work like I would prefer. Maybe another 2 years of Big O will bring more people around, but I’m not holding my breath.

        • Matt

          Maybe I’m in fantasy land, but I believe there will be a rather significant shift in the electorate over the next couple years. Obama has already signaled that he’s not the least bit interested in any kind of meaningful compromise. That can only mean one thing: it’s on. Unless, that is, we roll over.
          Going forward, the Republican establishment has already indicated which option they will take. Unfortunately they’re going to roll over. That makes the lines pretty clear from where I sit.
          As for Alaska, I have direct knowledge of two other candidates that are serious about this one. And rumors abound about others. I think we’re going to have some options. If we opt for meaningful debate, rather than the politics of personal destruction (ala Murkowski), we will have the strongest candidate when the smoke clears.
          Otherwise, it’s likely to be a free-for-all . . . and who knows what comes out of it.
          The one place where I might disagree with you is that I don’t see this first and foremost as being about beating Begich. I see this as being about saving our country, as I’m sure you do too. Begich, though, is a sideline issue. I love my country a whole lot more than I fear Mark Begich.
          Great having a discussion with you, Mike. Would love to sit down and talk next time I’m in Fairbanks.

  • Greg S.

    To get my support, Mead Treadwell would have to supply good answers to the questions asked in this article. Furthermore, he’d have to explain his support for the Law of the Sea. Begich is fine with empowering the despots of the UN, and apparently so is Mead. Really, both have shown zero wisdom in this regard. We’d be better off with Mead over Begich, but only marginally.

    Greg S.

  • Greg S.

    To get my support, Mead Treadwell would have to supply good answers to the
    questions asked in this article. Furthermore, he’d have to retract his support
    for the Law of the Sea and explain why he did support it. Begich is fine with
    empowering the despots of the UN, and apparently so is Mead. Really, both have
    shown zero wisdom in this regard. We’d be better off with Mead over Begich, but
    only marginally.

    Greg S.

    • He won’t retract it; he will only mutate it so it looks like it has changed. If you have advocated a view for that many years, it becomes part of your intellectual DNA.

  • Will Gov. Palin run?

    • georgie22

      Would love her to run…but I was hoping she would run for office in my state, AZ, where she owns a home!!

  • If you love David Dewhurst, you’ll love Louis Mead Treadwell. They came from the same intellectual incubator. Treadwell and Murkowski are so tight, it is almost scandalous.

  • gracentruth

    Begich got in through voter fraud. Murcow**** got in through voter fraud. Let’s be our own country. Peace,

  • CSN

    Wonder why all the “What Nots” or “Has Beens” seem to run for office, while good people do not. Come on men….the trusted and the stout of heart…don’t be lackluster, but go in for a run and beat the pants off these Wolves in Sheeps clothing. You need a Stout Hearted Man to win!

  • CincinnatiRIck

    I have privileged information that suggests there may be a wild-card in the works that could take the whole political establishment by surprise.

  • tepsocal

    Why isn’t Joe Miller running for this seat?

  • ric

    Senator Young, anyone?

    • Vincent

      Hahahaha! That’s definitely happening!

  • Ray Downen

    I don’t like Matt’s insinuations that Mitt Romney was a poor candidate. He lost, but barely. I learned to like him. It’s obvious that many who should have voted for him chose to not vote. So in effect they voted for the Muslim. And that’s Romney’s fault somehow? I think not. Likely he could have done even better. He tried hard to not offend “independents” and didn’t try as hard as I wish he had to offend Obama. But he did very well indeed and I suspect it was only illegal votes which defeated him.

    But the total count indicates that many who should have voted for Romney didn’t do so for reasons they thought were good. Or else their votes didn’t get counted. Romney would have gotten the nation back on a solid financial footing rather than continuing to spend every day more than comes into the national till. The vote counters say he lost. It’s all of us who lost, of course. And all of us will pay dearly for the loss.

    • Romney was the weakest candidate the GOP could have gotten and that was proven in many ways, one of which was when he gotten soundly beaten by the worst president in US history.
      Matt does a great job in his article with questions that should be asked BEFORE we support Treadwell! As far as I can see he will be another Romney. Mead Treadwell supported Lisa Murkowski big time and I refuse to support any one who backed Obama-speed-dial-Wish-List-Star Murkowski!

  • Yikes… Alaska is full of really dumb people apparently. Do you honestly not understand the science behind climate change? And if so, why are you writing about it as if you do?