Sunday, November 25, 2007
Don Young Bipolar Disorder at the ADN
I suppose one might call it Bi-coastal Disorder too. Yesterday's ADN carried a fluff piece by Erika Bolstad about Congressman Young, called Don Young phones home for town hall meetings. Bolstad explains how it happens: Here's how the town halls work: Autodialing computer programs call up to 50,000 people at once, to alert them to the town hall. They can either stay on the line, or choose to hang up. And if no one is home, they'll be left a sorry-we-missed-you message. Sort of like an interactive robocall. Bolstad quotes Young's Communication Director (an oxymoron if there ever was one), Meredith Kenny, "He loves them!"
Kenny helps the piece's fluff tone considerably with this one - "He's very engaging," Kenny said. "We have the option of dropping callers, but we don't do that with him. He likes the back and forth."
Yep, that's the Don Young we all know and love.
Bolstad explains that Alaska's congressman takes the call and makes the most of it, Kenny said. He did two town halls late this summer and early fall, and was so enamored with the process that he hopes to make them regular events. But Bolstad cites no dates or subject matter covered in these past Town Halls. Nor does Kenny offer any useful information about when Young might charge the U.S. taxpayers $8,500 for his next Town Hall event. It doesn't appear that Bolstad thought of asking.
To be fair to Bolstad, her article does an excellent job of pointing out how distinct an advantage is given the incumbent with technology like this.
Today, the ADN was back on the other end of the bipolar disorder cycle, with a scathing article by Wesley Loy on earmarks in the Bering Sea King crab fishery that give distinct advantages to three companies which have donated to Young's campaigns, and penalizes companies that have not donated. The article shows how similar this scheme was to Young's earlier misdirection of $20,000,000 to a road project in Florida that would have benefitted a wealthy developer who had made large contributions to Young's campaigns.
Disclosure: I am a volunteer for Diane Benson for Congress 2008. Many who read here already know that. I also have deep respect for former Representative Berkowitz, and a certain amount of respect for Jake Metcalfe. I campaigned for Don Young in 1978 and 1980, and have donated to campaigns of all four of these people.
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