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What others say: Political ads show relentless focus on trivia rather than real issues

Posted: September 3, 2014 - 8:02pm

Among those who have the power to do anything about it, this editorial will almost certainly fall on deaf ears. That’s a strange thing to say right off the bat and continue anyway, but this is an issue that deserves discussion whether it sways those controlling advertising budgets for the Outside groups that will dominate airwaves now through the November general election. Alaska is a great state, and it deserves a great debate by those seeking to represent it.

That means focusing on the issues, not on the “gotcha” moments that tell us nothing about a candidate’s ability to serve the state.

To a certain extent, a focus on attacking perceived weaknesses as opposed to spelling out distinctions on matters of policy is endemic to all politics. After all, the public deserves to know if a candidate truly has shortcomings that would prevent him or her from serving the people properly — issues of corruption, say. But too often, candidates and their supporters slip into the realm of trivialities that have nothing to do with substance — whether a candidate is wearing an American flag lapel pin, for instance, or what kind of car he or she drives. The “silly season” of politics seems to never end, and in the case of this year’s U.S. Senate race, it’s certainly here already.

The focus on negative diversions as opposed to substance is typified among groups supporting Republican candidate Dan Sullivan by their recent attacks on Sen. Mark Begich’s attendance record for votes. Negative ads run by advocacy group Americans for Prosperity slammed Sen. Begich for missing 4.5 percent of the Senate’s roll call votes, putting him in the lowest 20 percent of Senators by percentage of votes missed. The ad didn’t mention that Sen. Begich missed many of those votes due to significant travel distances between Alaska and Washington, D.C., and that he owns the best voting record among the state’s Congressional delegation. Rep. Don Young has missed nearly 15 percent of House votes in his decades of service — three times as many as Sen. Begich — but that didn’t stop Americans for Prosperity awarding him a 76 percent approval rating (they scored Sen. Begich at a meager 12 percent). What’s more, it seems obvious that what matters isn’t the few votes missed, but the positions taken on the many consequential votes Sen. Begich has cast over the past six years. We’d like to see debates over those positions, as discussion of the issues and how they affect Alaska are far more consequential than the 3 percent of votes that are the difference between Sen. Begich and the top 10 best-attending senators.

Sen. Begich’s supporters aren’t blameless in making mountains of molehills, either. The Put Alaska First PAC, which supports the senator, has relentlessly gone after Mr. Sullivan’s pedigree with regard to residency, drawing attention to his out-of-state residences or his relatively short tenure living in the state. But at heart, while we like to flaunt our sourdough status, it’s hard to make the case that Mr. Sullivan doesn’t have ample experience with Alaska issues. He served both as the state’s attorney general and the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, positions which require great familiarity with the state’s unique challenges.

If it were solely the candidates themselves, public pressure might be enough to keep them focused on the issues. But the state Democratic and Republican parties, as well as the well-funded political interest groups that support each candidate, are only too happy to keep making unsubstantive, ankle-biting attacks in hopes that one will cripple their opponent. They’re faceless enough, too, that fingers can be pointed in various directions to disclaim responsibility for their actions.

That’s a shame. Alaska is a great state, and it deserves real and meaningful debate on the issues, not the same mudslinging that defines Washington, D.C., politics.

We can’t say we have any hope that the silliness will stop — but it should.

— Fairbanks Daily News-Miner,

Aug. 31

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jford
2718
Points
jford 09/07/14 - 12:14 pm
3
4
Trouble is, Sullivan is not an Alaskan,

so ads, or should I say, public service announcements which inform the electorate that he claims residency in another state to avoid paying taxes, and at the same time he's campaigning here claiming to be an Alaskan, those announcements are simply necessary public service announcements.

He can't have it both ways. He's a carpetbagger.

So to compare,

Begich has the best voting record of any Alaskan Congressional member.

Sullivan claims to be a resident of two different states at the same time.

Sullivan loses every time.

Read more here:

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2014/09/04/dems-ask-maryland-to-investigate-...

According to the state’s voter list, Sullivan voted by mail in Alaska’s general election in 2008, during the period he was claiming in order to qualify for Maryland’s homestead credit.

Dishonesty is a value if you're a right winger.

Suss
3650
Points
Suss 09/04/14 - 11:34 pm
3
4
Ohio Dan

You would think and hope that "positions which require great familiarity with the state’s unique challenges." Would be given

To someone that understood Alaska.

Not so in the case of L48, Ohio Dan Sullivan.

HB77 stripped the public's right to protest or comment on

Development plans or permitting, such as Pebble Mine,

that Sullivan fully endorsed.

kearbear
1091
Points
kearbear 09/09/14 - 05:43 am
4
4
Senator Begich/Obama/Reid/Pelosi/Navarre

"Tell me how having a Democrat in the Senate, working with a Democrat administration, has benefited the state of Alaska," Alaska's senior senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski.

Since 2009, Begich Has Voted With Obama 95 Percent Of The Time. (Sen. Mark Begich, Congressional Quarterly, Accessed 6/23/14)
BEGICH supports Harry Reid and President Obama Begich “Elected six years ago. Sen. Mark Begich is still waiting for a vote on any of his amendments."http://washingtonexaminer.com/why-mark-begich-still-hasnt-gotten-a-vote-on-any-of-his-amendments/article/2550792

jford
2718
Points
jford 09/04/14 - 09:45 am
4
4
Sullivan spawned HB 77, he originated that bad legislation

Needless to say, Alaskans all over this state came out against HB 77.

HB 77 was overwhelmingly rejected by Alaskans who reject the policies promoted by Sullivan and promoted by Parnell, Micciche and the Republican majority.

http://www.adn.com/article/20140403/facing-fiery-opposition-alaska-senat...

(and don't forget, our House reps voted for and passed HB 77 before it was killed in the Senate.

No votes for Sullivan, and boot the entire Republican majority. Boot Parnell, boot Micciche, Olson, and Chenault.

Vote them out, they only represent the interests of their corporate masters, and policies such as those enshrined in HB 77 prove they only care about the interests of the corporations.

They don't represent your interests. They should be run out of public office.

Sent back to their corporate overlords.

Norseman
3378
Points
Norseman 09/07/14 - 05:04 pm
3
2
well stated jford. ...."They

well stated jford.

...."They don't represent your interests. They should be run out of public office.

Sent back to their corporate overlords."........

alaskanellie
12
Points
alaskanellie 09/08/14 - 09:21 am
3
3
The donkeys are at full squeal!

Blah Blah Blah,Sullivan will overwhelmingly win the Kenai Peninsula vote, the Dems need to quit wasting their time trying to convince this community otherwise.

jford
2718
Points
jford 09/08/14 - 10:13 pm
3
2
Whoa nellie,

did a bit too much reality scare you?

The polls today aren't going to decide the election.

The reality of Sullivan is leaking out and you can't stop the leakage.

kearbear
1091
Points
kearbear 09/08/14 - 06:07 pm
3
4
New York Times Sullivan pulls ahead

Alaska, where the result flipped from Mark Begich, the Democrat, who used to lead by 12 points, to the Republican Dan Sullivan, who now leads by six. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/upshot/shift-in-alaska-helps-republica...

jford
2718
Points
jford 09/08/14 - 10:10 pm
3
2
Allow me to point out the obvious.

Donkey's are unable to squeal.

The donkey are from the horse family but need less food than horses. They have developed loud voices that enable them to keep in contact with their family groups.

Members of the porcine family squeal.

The above, which you reference, is categorically not squealing,
...it's more properly defined as an all too rare, (to you,) glimpse into reality.

The other thing that's exceedingly obvious, is that there are plenty of people on the Kenai Peninsula that aren't in the least bit interested in reality, and no one is going to successfully convince a good percentage of that lot that they shouldn't vote against their own best interests.

Just because a few like nellie will ignore reality and vote for Sullivan anyway, is no reason for sane people to do the same.

And whoa, nellie, if you're that afraid of reality, go back to sitting in front of your tv tuned to Fox News.

You won't see any shred of reality there.

The rest of us are going to keep talking about that which scares you so bad.

Reality, like Sullivan trying to take credit for things others accomplished.

Reality, like Sullivan threw you under the bus and kissed up to his corporate masters.

Reality, like fact checked journalism.

Here nellie, for a change, try reading something which is fact checked. You do read?

http://www.adn.com/article/20140906/claim-check-sullivan-fought-back-aga...

http://www.adn.com/article/20140908/sullivan-snubs-military-aim-abolish-...

jford
2718
Points
jford 09/09/14 - 09:58 am
5
1
Sullivan runs away from traditional candidates debate.

Alaskan gubernatorial candidate Dan Sullivan will not participate in key fisheries debate in Kodiak

The Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - September 9, 2014

Republican U.S. challenger Dan Sullivan will not participate in the now traditional candidates' debate set for Oct. 1 by the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, an invitation incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, has already accepted.

Laine Welch of Fish Radio/Fish Factor in Kodiak said Sept. 8 that conversations with the Sullivan campaign always implied he would participate in this ev
Mike Anderson, an aide to the Sullivan campaign, said Sept. 8 that Sullivan never agreed to participate.

Won't participate because he'd have to debate facts instead of lies in the Koch funded ads.

Afraid he'd have to answer questions from Alaskans.

Suss
3650
Points
Suss 09/09/14 - 01:42 am
3
2
Ohio Dan Timeline

Where and when was Sullivan an Alaskan?

This timeline gives a clue to who, what and where was

Sullivan.

http://www.adn.com/article/20140419/dan-sullivans-personal-and-professio...

kearbear
1091
Points
kearbear 09/09/14 - 05:40 am
4
3
An accomplished and qualified man

Thank you for posting the superb professional and private life experience of this man of credentials. Alaska is fortunate that providence has provided Alaska with such a marvelous man of integrity and devotion.

Norseman
3378
Points
Norseman 09/09/14 - 07:02 am
2
2
it aint providence, it is the

it aint providence, it is the koch brothers pouring millions of dollars into sullivans campaign so they can have another bought and paid for puppet.

By now most real long term Alaskans have had a bellyfull of these carpet bagging outsiders like ohio dan and arizona bearup.

Suss
3650
Points
Suss 09/09/14 - 07:14 am
2
1
Both Bearup and Sullivan Residency?

Seem to have residency issues. PFD questions.

Property tax questions?

What does saying you are a resident mean when it is

not the truth?

Did not see that any residents gave money to Bearup!

Is that true?

Maybe his lawyer told him to file this, hahaha.

Bearup $$$$$

Bearup found $10,000.00
APOC reports Bearup gave himself $10,000.00 cash.

That's nice.

Did not see any other donations.

That's sad.

Candidate Information
Election Year: 2014
Candidate Display Name: 2014 - Tom Bearup (Kenai Peninsula Borough)
Candidate First Name: Thomas
Candidate Last Name: Bearup
Filer Information
Filer First Name: THOMAS
Filer Middle Name: R
Filer Last Name: BEARUP
Filer Title: Candidate
Contributions (1)
Contribution
Date Form of
Contribution Amount Description
09/04/2014 Cash
$10,000.00

Amended form says check

Candidate Display Name: 2014 - Tom Bearup (Kenai Peninsula Borough)
Candidate First Name: Thomas
Candidate Last Name: Bearup
Filer Information
Filer First Name: THOMAS
Filer Middle Name: R
Filer Last Name: BEARUP
Filer Title: Candidate
Contributions (1)
Contribution
Date Form of
Contribution Amount Description
09/05/2014 Check
Check Number: Cashiers check $10,000.00 Deposited cashier's check in the amount of $10,000.00 from my personal account with the intent of $5,000.00 for reimbursement

kearbear
1091
Points
kearbear 09/09/14 - 09:02 am
2
3
Impeccable, Honorable, Courageous

Candidate Dan Sullivan's resume is impeccable, honorable, and established over the decades he has served Alaskans. We are fortunate to have a man of his excellent and superb qualifications working for Alaskans in the private sector, the military, the reserve military, and State and Federal executive positions. His family is an example of devotion to serving the community.

jford
2718
Points
jford 09/09/14 - 09:53 am
3
1
Alaska Iraq vet exposes Sullivans anti-veteran intent.

Alaska Iraq vet exposes Sullivans anti-veteran intent.
Sullivan would eliminate the Office of Servicemember Affairs.

Sullivan's proposal would be devastating for military service members because it would eliminate the Office of Servicemember Affairs, which is focused solely on protecting service members from financial predators.

http://www.adn.com/article/20140908/sullivan-snubs-military-aim-abolish-...

It is offensive that Sullivan would throw service members under the bus to placate the Wall Street banks that are contributing to his campaign.

If you support Sullivan, you should be ashamed.

Suss
3650
Points
Suss 09/09/14 - 09:59 am
4
2
20 Cents on the Dollar

Sullivan boasts how he saved Alaskan pensions.

The only thing Sullivan did was agree to settle on the

cheap. Left billions on the table.

Tried to push HB 77 that would not be of benefit to Alaska!

Sullivan and Bearup are tourists that are Poseurs.

kearbear
1091
Points
kearbear 09/09/14 - 11:09 am
2
3
Proud as a peacock

I support Dan Sullivan with pride and gratitude.

kearbear
1091
Points
kearbear 09/09/14 - 11:18 am
2
2
Does the Pope snub Catholics too

Claiming Dan Sullivan would snub the military is like claiming the Pope snubs Catholics. This article is an absurdity dressed up in a ridiculous illogical conclusion. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is another government bureau that accomplishes more harm then any good. It makes credit harder to get and more expensive, It creates fees and penalties that harm Service men and women, many who are young and on duty far away from family. A Service member needs access to credit for him or herself and for their young, just getting started families. The Bureau started with a recess appointment that the Supreme Court said was a violation of the Constitution. It is Elizabeth Warren's assault on Americans. A bureaucrat who believes she is smarter than other Americans. This article is an insult to all Service members.https://www.navyfederal.org/ http://www.essortment.com/military-personal-finance-training-requirement...

kearbear
1091
Points
kearbear 09/09/14 - 11:20 am
1
2
Fees Fines and Penalties

If any group needs access to credit, it is members of the military. Service members are transferred, relocated, transplanted frequently. Members of the military very often move into their new communities and invest in duplexes, tri plexes, small multi dwellings. Why do they do that? Supplement their payroll earnings. Without access to credit, young members cannot establish financial upward mobility, invest, increase and supplement their earnings. If anyone needs access to credit, it is the service members trying to build financial security. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a network of fees, fines, penalties, and obstruction to service members access to credit. It should be abolished.

kearbear
1091
Points
kearbear 09/09/14 - 11:32 am
1
1
Out of Court Settlements are always better

"Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan said in a statement that the unfunded liabilities were caused by stock market declines, increases in health care costs and Mercer's negligence. The Alaska board accused Mercer of malpractice, breach of contract and unfair trade practices in advising the state on management of two retirement funds.

“This is a significant settlement that will benefit the state and our citizens,” Mr. Sullivan said in the statement. “We have been informed that by a large margin it is the largest such settlement in history for this kind of claim.”

Mercer denied liability, it said in its statement. Insurance will cover $100 million of the settlement, the company said.http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20100614/NEWS/100619966

Suss
3650
Points
Suss 09/09/14 - 11:50 am
2
2
Paid Outside Counsel

Sullivan did not do squat. State paid for real lawyers

to do the heavy lifting.

kearbear you are blind!

"He said the state public pension systems will receive about $403 million after deducting court costs and the contingency fee for outside counsel."

Those lawyers took their money and ran. Sullivan was a tool.

KenaiKardinal88
472
Points
KenaiKardinal88 09/14/14 - 07:15 am
0
0
Begich Voted For Obamacare

Begich is very liberal and has not represented us on the Peninsula.

Sullivan is a much better candidate.

jford
2718
Points
jford 09/14/14 - 11:18 am
0
0
Affordable Care Act has been a success,

and the paranoid predictions of ‘death spirals’ and huge premium spikes just haven’t come true.

The right wing has preyed upon the public by manufacturing one lie after another to create a veil of opposition against a bill that has so far been pretty effective at covering people and lowering costs.

Slowly, the truth is catching up.

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