REPUBLICAN REP: "ALASKA'S NAME IS MUD"-- SO WHAT WOULD THAT MAKE TED STEVENS?
Ted Stevens (R-AK): nice collar but, crooked is as crooked does
The wheels of justice sometimes grind very, very slowly-- so wonderers are wondering how long it will take before uber-corrupt Alaska Senator Ted Stevens to be indicted on bribery charges. Stevens has been a reliable tool for the Bush Regime and a dependable rubber stamp-- but nonetheless far right extremists have never been delighted with him. His grotesque avarice-- think "Bridge to Nowhere"-- and his rampant criminality and unbelievable greed makes the whole GOP look like a vast criminal enterprise. So, according to yesterday's Moonie Times, the wingnuts at the Club For Growth are pushing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to challenge the vulnerable Stevens in the Republican primary. A poll, taken even before it was revealed that the FBI had taped conversations of the senator discussing bribes, showed that Palin would beat him 56-32%.
Coincidentally, on Friday Palin publicly asked Stevens to level with Alaskans about the charges against him.
"Right now, Alaskans aren't hearing anything," Palin said, adding that she and many of the state's residents are willing to give Stevens more leeway than most people because of the Republican senator's long service to Alaska.
"But not hearing anything in terms of information that can be shared regarding the senator's innocence is kind of frustrating for Alaskans," Palin said in a telephone interview from Anchorage. "Alaskans are getting more anxious to hear any information that he can provide regarding his innocence."
Palin first expressed her concerns Thursday to a reporter with National Public Radio, who spoke to her after she dropped in on the federal corruption trial of former state Rep. Pete Kott. Among the trial's bigger revelations was testimony from former Veco chairman Bill Allen that he or his oil services company financed a substantial portion of the 2000 remodeling of Stevens' Girdwood home.
Palin's remarks took on greater significance when The Associated Press reported later Thursday that Allen agreed to secretly tape telephone calls with Stevens after authorities confronted the Veco executive with evidence that he had bribed Alaska lawmakers. The Washington Post on Friday confirmed the existence of the taped phone calls between Stevens and Allen. It's not clear what was said during the calls, or how many were recorded.
Stevens still has one comment only: "No comment." Although Friday a CNN reporter finally got him to open up a little after staking out his Capitol Hill office and asking him about the wiretap from his once close ally and alleged briber. "It's a nice day," was all Stevens would say in response to the questions. "I hope you're enjoying it. I'm having a great day."
It isn't what Palin wants to hear who thinks all the corruption is seriously hurting the state. "I think people are just kind of asking about the commitment that Alaskans have to change the political climate up here to a climate where (residents) can trust that the decisions the state government is making are based on the best interest of Alaskans, not due to undue influence." Rep. John Coghill (R-North Pole) added, "Alaska's name is mud right now."
And the first substantive test of Stevens' plummeting popularity comes next week-- in local elections in Ketchikan, where Greg Vickery director of the Tongass Conservation Society is a candidate for the Borough Assembly and is campaigning against Stevens. Vickery's beef is that Stevens took bribes from VECO in return for his influence in directing an Arctic exploration contract for the National Science Foundation to the company-- which has been a financial mainstay of the Alaska GOP and has lined the pockets of Stevens, his family and his cronies (including Alaska's sole House member, Don Young).
Mud of worse, Alaska Republican politics is a swamp that severely needs a major overhaul. It's time for the Stevens clan and Young to be retired from the public sector and start preparing for what looks like lengthy legal battles.
UPDATE: POLLS INDICATE THAT STEVENS MIGHT AS WELL RETIRE
This chart, based on polls from June 14 and September 17, shows what one could only call a precipitous collapse of support for Alaska's most corrupt politician.