Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reactions to the Verdict in the Ted Stevens Trial

The conviction of Senator Ted Stevens has spawned quite different electoral reactions nationally versus in Alaska. Nationally Republicans, especially those currently running for office, are bailing out and calling for Stevens to resign. Foremost amongst those calling for resignation is Presidential candidate Senator John McCain.

It appears that McCain’s call for Stevens’ resignation forced Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to fall in line. Her initial public statement skirted the issue and did not call for Stevens to resign.

McCain and Palin have promoted as a central issue in their Presidential campaign their opposition to earmarking in the federal budget and castigated Senator Obama for his earmarking. Sen. Obama is of course a piker when standing alongside the legendary king of earmarks Ted Stevens. This and many other factors likely played into the McCain camp feeling they had to throw Ted Stevens under the Straight Talk Express Bus.

Most of the national Republicans that have joined in asking for Stevens to resign are facing tough re-election campaigns. Evidently they feel they cannot afford to support their colleague and must instead save their hide. Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii—Stevens’ best friend in the Senate and a character witness at his trial—has maintained his consistent support for Senator Stevens.

In Alaska, Republican officials both from the Party and elected officials are standing behind Senator Stevens. Democrats in Alaska have been subdued in their response, which says mountains about the special esteem that Alaskans hold Senator Stevens in. The Anchorage Daily News has recommended in an editorial that Stevens step down, but has presented a carefully reasoned line of logic centered on the Senator’s “bad judgment” and did not hang their hat on a conviction by a D.C. jury. Conviction by a jury of distant non-Alaskans does not carry much weight with many Alaskans.

Many Alaskans would likely relish being chosen as jurors to sit as “a jury of peers” for these Senators that have chosen to dump on Senator Ted.

Administrative Note: Tirebiter's posts will appear in Arial font, while Cliff Groh's posts will continue to appear in Georgia font.

No comments: