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