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What others say: Senate debate shows meaningful contrasts among contenders

Posted: June 30, 2014 - 4:14pm

Thursday’s debate between Republican hopefuls for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Mark Begich was a meaningful kickoff to the body of the primary campaign that will be decided Aug. 19. As Alaskans are well aware, the race already has been underway for some time, but with the primary election now less than two months away, it’s clear that candidates Mead Treadwell, Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller are beginning to press harder. That pressure is being applied both to what the candidates see as the failings of Sen. Begich and to one another — after all, only one will survive to continue their campaign in the general election.

To that end, attendees at the debate Thursday evening at East Anchorage High School saw the candidates draw some of the sharpest contrasts yet made between themselves and their opponents. Some of those contrasts will be useful for voters who have yet to make up their minds, while others appeared to be pre-tested gotcha lines and red meat meant more to appeal to the party base than to set realistic goals.

One meaningful contrast that emerged was a pronounced difference in foreign policy vision between Mr. Miller and his opponents, particularly Mr. Sullivan. Mr. Miller told the crowd at the debate that he rejects the long-standing policy of nation building overseas by the U.S. military, saying that America has had little success in bringing freedoms like those enjoyed at home to other countries. Those statements run sharply counter to both Mr. Sullivan’s views and his résumé — he worked under Condoleezza Rice in the early years of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and later served in President George W. Bush’s State Department as assistant secretary of state for energy, economics and business. His stance on policy reflects that service — he stated in the debate that he believes in American exceptionalism and sees the country’s overseas deployments as protecting others from tyranny.

Other moments at the debate, however, were less helpful for those looking for realistic policy goals. At one point, Mr. Miller cited the scrutiny of political groups by the Internal Revenue Service. He told attendees that the country should abolish not just the IRS but also income tax altogether. That scheme is not only politically unworkable but, if implemented, would have massive impacts on essential services like education, transportation, and national defense without other tax revenues to replace them. While Mr. Miller may well believe that the IRS should be reformed or eliminated, it would be more responsible to outline a plan by which the country’s business wouldn’t face an existential disruption rather than simply tapping into resentment of Washington, D.C., and its revenue collection efforts. And back-and-forth exchanges between Mr. Treadwell and Mr. Sullivan about who does more improper funding outside the state might make for a good attack ad, but we’d rather see substantive debate over campaign finance reform than one-liners meant to get quick applause.

There’s still a good amount of time left before the primary election, and several more debates between the candidates are scheduled to take place in that time. We’re optimistic that future events will see even more focus on substantive issues and less on “gotcha” moments.

— Fairbanks Daily News-Miner,

June 29

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jford 07/01/14 - 09:57 am
Meaningful contrasts? Not according to the Tea Party.

The Tea Party officially declared they are not backing one candidate over any other because, according to the official Tea Bag Party officials, each of them are all sufficiently the same on the Tea Bag scale of [filtered word]tery.

When the Tea Party says all the candidates are interchangeable, that tells you they're all equally as crazy as the other.

Pick one, pick any one, …you'll get a tea bag [filtered word] any way you go.

It should tell you that none of them are fit for public office.

The Fairbanks Daily Neocons just want their chicken hawk view to prevail. They're backing the guy who isn't even an Alaskan. A Bush administration drop-out. Couldn't even hack it in the most incompetent administration to ever be in charge.

It's as if incompetence is viewed as a candidate's primary qualification.

Don't vote for any of these clowns, write in someone who's not a [filtered word] winger. Reject all three of the buffoons.

KenaiKardinal88 07/01/14 - 03:16 pm
Begich Still A Liberal - Same As Obama

Any of the three Republicans are preferable to the liberal Begich, who votes with Obama over 90% of the time.

jford 07/01/14 - 09:44 pm
Republicans are the party of failure.

They've got nothing to offer.

Raoulduke 07/02/14 - 09:09 pm
Voting percentage

KK-88 There seems to be a blanket campaign advertisement.Where any Democrat Senator from ANY state holding an election. Has been shown to vote with Obama 90% of the time.Whether it be true,or not.These exact words are being shown throughout the countries TV services.So! There is a great deal of parroting of this one commercial. FACTS These are the important items to learn.
Fact: States (26) of them that have taken on the medicaid expansion.Generated jobs,and increased the number of people receiving preventative care
Fact: Medical costs have gone down since the Affordable Care Act became law. Saving people thousands of dollars annually.
Fact: You can continue to see your regular physician .
FACTS! Get yours.

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