Empire Editorial: Making monsters of men

Republicans have created a new monster intended to scare Alaska’s voters. It’s name: Sen. Mark Begich.

Anyone who’s seen a Godzilla movie, whether its the reboot that hit theatre’s this week or an oldie but goodie from the 1950s and 60s, knows the only way to defeat a giant monster is by pitting it against another of equal ferocity. Democrats know this too, which is why TV and radio ads have peppered mainstream media to warn everyone that another beast, which goes by the name Dan Sullivan, may soon be set loose on Tokyo (oops, we meant Alaska).

The political ads playing have told us very little of the candidates they’re backing, instead honing in on how sinister, devious, manipulative and/or weak the other guy is. Gone are the days of campaign ads where candidates explain their stance on key issues and qualifications for office. Such sentiments are too tame and civilized for the battle royal we’ve come to know as election season. For campaigns, painting your opponent in a negative light too often is more tantalizing than shining a positive one on your own candidate.

Based on all the negative spin, here is what we’re left to believe about two of the men running for U.S. Senate:

Dan ‘The Destroyer’ Sullivan

Not only is Dan Sullivan not Alaskan enough for our Senate seat, but he’s never been to Alaska, couldn’t find it on a map (maybe that’s because it’s nestled southwest near Hawaii on most maps), and rumor has it he may not even believe Alaska is a real place. Sullivan wants to evict woodland critters from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge so thousands of acres of pristine tundra can be ravaged for the sake of petroleum. Legend has it, liquefied dinosaur bones is what Sullivan draws his power from. If left unchecked, he’d tap every oil reserve in Alaska and binge drink them dry.

If elected, Sullivan would go on the kind of roaring rampage not seen since Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” bus tour in 2011. Even scarier: an election loss could lead to a series of bad reality TV shows. Oh, the humanity!

Mark ‘The Machine’ Begich

The real Mark Begich has been locked away in a secret government facility located a mile beneath Area 51 ever since his 2008 win against former Sen. Ted Stevens. He’s being kept alive on a daily regimen of pink slime and farmed-raised salmon. We’re not sure which is more inhumane.

The Begich we’ve seen in the public spotlight is little more than an artificial intelligence program created by Democrats. The program uses an algorithm enabling it to predict how Senate Democrats are going to vote with 99.9 percent accuracy.

There’s still some hiccups with the program. Begich only voted with Democrats 87 percent of the time in 2013, but the explanation is a simple one. Begich’s programmers are the same folks responsible for HealthCare.gov. If elected to another term, however, Begich 2.0 will be unveiled and previous voting glitches will be corrected by upgrading his operating system to Windows 8.1. The upgrade still won’t incorporate a copy of Quicken, so don’t expect excessive government spending to stop any time soon. (Fun fact: When Begich missed two key Senate votes in January during a trip to Hawaii, he was actually undergoing a tune-up. )

All fun aside, there’s more to these candidates than what we’re being led to believe. However, unless their campaigns and party backers change the messages being relayed, residents will only hear ugly half-truths about each side.

Alaskans would be better served learning why they should vote for a party’s candidate rather than why they shouldn’t vote for the other. The problem with smear campaigns is both sides get dirty and lose credibility once mud starts flying. As Alaskans, we should hold our would-be leaders to a higher standard.

Keep elections focused on the issues. Until that happens, try and ignore the attack ads. They have little to offer outside of creating a monster of men.

• Empire editorials are written by the Juneau Empire’s editorial board. Members include Publisher Rustan Burton, rustan.burton@juneauempire.com; Director of Audience Abby Lowell, abby.lowell@juneauempire.com; Managing Editor Charles L. Westmoreland, charles.westmoreland@juneauempire.com; and Asst. Editor James Brooks, james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com.

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