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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Should Alaskans Recall Senator Mark Begich? and why they won't.

This is an interesting question for Alaska. Senator Mark Begich has been found by a municipal investigation to be in the wrong for his hand it the city of Anchorage's budget shortfall. But the only ones who seem to care are conservatives and tea parties. In fact there is little if any media coverage of the recall campaign, it isn't the talk of the town and for the most part few if anyone seems concerned.

With 4 more years left in his term there is ample time to recall him and field a new senator, but is there the political will? Based on the investigation a re-election campaign will be particularly difficult for Senator Begich but not impossible. I doubt he will even have anyone from his own party challenge him. Perhaps if Lisa Murkowski fails at her write-in campaign we will see her again in 2014.

To be honest I think the scuffle between Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski has done more to dismiss efforts to recall Senator Begich than anything else could have. 95% of the people interested in recalling him are now tied up trying to defeat Lisa to pay him any attention. I've met Senator Begich several time and have always thought he was a nice person, and I must be like many Alaskans in that I don't feel the need to hasten his departure from the U.S. Senate. However, when 2014 rolls around, I probably won't be voting for him, maybe he won't even run.

But why won't Alaskans recall him? Why be content to let him finish his term? It seems to me a well publicized recall campaign would do great harm to the democrats in the upcoming election, so why not?

Well to be honest the report is not very damning. It cites "Administration failed to practice prudent fiscal management". Of course it also faults the Anchorage Assembly for the same thing. Basically Senator Begich failed to notify the assembly of the shortfall but also the assembly failed to ask for it. You can read the full report here, Begich's spokesperson blamed the economy in 2008 for the lack of fiscal transparency. "But the findings in the audit report need to be evaluated in context. The events and decisions analyzed occurred during the most extreme economic conditions since the Great Depression. Those conditions at the end of 2008 created challenges for governments and businesses in Alaska and across the country that were unparalleled. They were certainly unprecedented in the history of the Municipality of Anchorage." You can read about that story here.

Aside from their being enough blame to go around the single website I could find trying the champion the recall "" seems to have very little activity and more concerned with selling buttons that pushing any real recall effort (sorry guys), but with roughly one post a week and some of them not even about the recall effort its obvious this is not their top priority. Additionally I'm sure their lack of site support stems from the requirement to 'sign-up' and provide an e-mail address before you can view anything but the landing page.

If the die-hards aren't motivated how can you expect anyone else to be?


  1. Good read, looking forward to more

  2. Well I'm kinda glad I don't live there, but it does make you think.

  3. The assembly got lax on this one.the fault does not just lie with Begich