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Hullabaloo


Monday, February 23, 2004

 
Go Knowles!


Atrios hosts guest blogger Tony Knowles, Democratic candidate for the Senate in Alaska. I am an ex-Alaskan and have close ties to the state and I can tell you that this is a good guy. This seat is a definite possibility for a Dem pick-up in the Senate (hopefully to balance out the loss of Kerry or Edwards.) Governor Murkowski appointing his daughter to replace him in the Senate and attempting to curtail the yearly stipend the state confers on each citizen has made it a real contest for what should be a safe GOP seat. Knowles is an attractive and popular ex-Governor. He has a real shot.

I must warn everyone, however, that Alaska is a red state and Knowles is likely to be one of those Senators who will be called a "tu-tu" wearing, cowardly, Republican-lite Democrat on certain issues. Alaska is dependent upon federal largesse and is well cared for by Senate appropriations chieftain Ted Stevens. Military spending is a huge part of the economy. Every Alaskan gets a check each year from the oil companies' payments to the state "permanent fund." It is also one of the few states that routinely elects libertarian legislators to the state house and has no state income tax (for now.) Alaskans see themselves as rugged individualists living in the last frontier. Go figure.

So, if Knowles wins, I wouldn't expect him to be a Paul Wellstone Democrat. He'll likely vote for opening the wildlife refuge --- Alaskans want it badly. He is supported by oil companies because oil companies are the biggest and richest companies in Alaska and all successful politicians are supported by oil companies there. And, he's not going to be somebody who will vote against military spending or gun rights either.

But, he won't support right wing attacks on civil liberties, fascist judges or tax cuts for billionaires. He'll support President Kerry or Edwards and if Bush somehow makes it he will vote to block the worst of Bush and DeLay's excesses. He is not Zell Miller.

Still, I think that everyone should recognise that he may end up being one of those awful turn-coat Dems on some important issues if he wins. His constituency is very different from Barbara Boxer's. But, he is a Democrat. And at this point we've got to support Anyone But Republicans. (ABB and ABR are my watchwords. The problem is Institutional Power, folks. The Republican party has shown that they cannot be trusted with it.)

Knowles is a middle of the road guy. But he's our middle of the road guy and we should support him.





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