Monday, August 11, 2014

Launch of It's Our Future ...

Last Wednesday, I announced an additional step in my part of the effort to help restore fiscal responsibility to state government.  I committed to spend up to $200,000 personally on selected legislative races in an effort to educate and change the dynamics for the better on fiscal issues in the state legislature.

The press release discussing that effort is available here.  For those interested in a deeper dive, subsequent to the release I discussed the effort on a series of talk radio shows; those with podcasts are here:  The Rick Rydell Show, KENI 650 AM (podcast starting at 74:45), The Dave Stieren Show, KFQD 103.7 FM (podcast starting at 00:00), Bernadette & Berkowitz (Mike Dingman and Dani Bickford, guest hosts), KFQD 103.7 FM (podcast starting at 07:40).  I also discussed the effort on the Bob & Mark Show, KWHL 106.5 FM, The Mike Pocaro Show, KENI 650 AM, and the Tall, Dark and Handsome Show with Duane Bannock, KSRM 920 AM.

The effort also received some press coverage, with a piece by Rich Mauer in the Alaska Dispatch News ("Anchorage consultant to form personal PAC targeting state deficits"), and a column by Amanda Coyne on her blog ("Keithley to spend big targeting big-spending lawmakers").

As is to be anticipated, the effort is receiving pushback from those concerned about the potential effect of the effort on incumbent legislators and those interested in preserving the big spending status quo.  For example, I understand from a summary that after initially commenting favorably on the effort on their show in a discussion with Amanda Coyne the day it was announced, Dan Fagan and Glen Biegel turned on it the following day (perhaps after receiving talking points from others) suggesting that it was a disguised effort to help Democrats against the current Republican incumbents.

Others have sought to defend the spending and in order to divert attention away from that pattern, have taken to attacking me personally.  For example on the same day Fagan and Biegel turned to defend the very incumbents responsible for draining over a third of Alaska's cash reserve the last two years, big spending defender Frank McQueary reprised his personal attack (podcast beginning at 5:30) that he had launched last year when he concluded I first was threatening the big spending, "stimulus-related" status quo he favors.

McQueary is one of Alaska's "Tom DeLay Republicans," a term which the Wall Street Journal coined in a 2010 editorial to describe those in the party who favor spending and prior to the termination of earmarks following the return of the Republicans to majority in the House of Representatives, earmarks as well.  The Journal used the term to describe why the Republicans had lost the House in 2006, explaining:
 ... the number of earmarks multiplied from nearly 1,500 in 1994 to a little under 14,000 in 2005—before voters ousted what had become the Grand Old Pork Party. It isn't easy to spend so much money so egregiously that even Nancy Pelosi could campaign as a relative fiscal conservative, but the Tom DeLay Republicans managed the feat in 2006.
I have previously responded to McQueary's personal allegations here ("The subtext of this story (income taxes, dividend cuts … or not) …"), here ("Wow, is that all he's got"), here ("My morning mail, continued ...") and here ("Alaska Politics| Ya gotta chuckle ...").  He didn't raise anything new this time around that he didn't try the last.  It is slightly humorous, however, that those who express concern that I am using this effort unfairly to challenge Republican incumbents based on their actual voting record stand silently by while McQueary goes off on his specious personal attacks, but I have become used to that.

This effort is not going to be easy and its going to come with some cost.  But its the right thing to do. All that the attacks have done -- especially by the state's "Tom DeLay Republicans" -- is make me more certain it is necessary.

This is a battle for Alaska's future -- our future.  It's not going away.