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Alaska editorial: Serious issues require serious discussion in 2010 campaigns

Posted: Friday, July 02, 2010

The following editorial first appeared in the Kenai Peninsula Clarion

In response to news this week that an Outside organization would be jumping in to help a candidate in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat, we'd like to borrow a phrase from our former governor: Thanks, but no thanks.

The Tea Party Express, a national tea party organization with which Sarah Palin has had a cozy relationship, announced this week that it plans to devote its "full attention and resources" toward defeating Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the August Republican primary. The group said it is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to help little-known Fairbanks attorney Joe Miller, who also has received Palin's endorsement.

In her endorsement of Miller, Palin asserted that a contested primary is a good thing for the political process, encouraging candidates to "work harder, be more efficient, debate clearer, and produce more."

We wholeheartedly agree that healthy debate does indeed strengthen our democracy.

However, we resent the meddling of Outside interests in our process.

Our debate needs to focus on issues and solutions important to Alaska - energy policy, the economy, health care, climate issues and education to name a few. Candidates for Senate need to tell us how federal legislation is going to impact our state, and what they can do to influence the process in Washington, D.C.

What we don't need is the constant litany of everything that's wrong with government, nor do we need vague slogans or empty sound bites. We as voters will not be well served to watch a campaign devolve into a contest of which candidate can claim to be more conservative, without any demonstration of substance.

It's one thing to claim moral high ground and political outsider status during the campaign, but Alaskans deserve more than anti-establishment rhetoric. That talk rings hollow in a state so dependent on federal government.

Our homegrown political activist groups, conservative or otherwise, by all means should speak up over the next two months. But we'd invite the Tea Party Express, or any other Outside groups, to keep their buses and their campaign funds parked in the Lower 48 for the summer.

We Alaskans are reasonable people, and we can sort this election out for ourselves.

In short: The influence of Outside groups does nothing but muddy the water as Alaskans choose candidates.



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