Tuesday, November 20, 2007
HULK MAD! HULK SMASH!!!
Ted Stevens has the web nickname of "Hulk" from a well-known picture of him wearing a tie with the image of THE INCREDIBLE HULK. As the ADN's Liz Ruskin observed back on June 22, 2003, "Around the Capitol, Sen. Ted Stevens is known as a man with a temper, a reputation he fuels by donning his Incredible Hulk tie for political battle. "When I see the Hulk tie on Ted Stevens, I know he's pumped up," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who described the Alaska Republican as "tenacious, pugnacious and ferocious."
As the pressure mounts on both Senator Stevens and his wayward son, Ben, the Hulk seems to be teetering from one rage to another. This past week had at least two tantrums. He raged against the Daily News, vaguely threatening something on the verge of blackmail, when Stevens whined, like some sort of enfeebled Godfather, "I believe there should be a law, a federal law, that requires truthful disclosure of circulation, and we intend to pursue that," as he tried to tie the Anchorage paper to a lawsuit in Minnesota against the McClatchy-owned Minneapolis Star Tribune. Huh?
On the one hand, there's the manic-depressive Stevens. On the other, the bipolar Anchorage Daily News. Since more revelations have come out about the elder Stevens' ties to the now-extinct oil service giant, Veco, the Daily News has reported on what others have reported on Stevens far more than the paper itself has actually investigated the legislator.
Every once in a while, as if to calm a petulant child who refuses to accept a "time out," the ADN will print a vacuous fluff piece about St. Ted, like this one from June 4, 2007: "Museum organizers apparently have a special interest in aviation and have a special surprise on hand for visitors: Two dozen photos from Sen. Ted Stevens' World War II years flying in Asia. The collection includes a charming photo of young Sen. Stevens, an Army Air Force officer, strumming a guitar."
Special surprise? Charming? Good friggin' grief! So I'm going to go down to Whittier to see a picture of St. Ted strumming a guitar sixty years ago? Yeah, right.
There are other examples of Ted Stevens bipolar disorder at the Daily News. For instance, today's ADN carries another editorial chastising Stevens. But the News apparently failed to send a reporter yesterday afternoon down to Dimond Center to cover the fundraiser-"press conference"-protest being held there. KTUU was there, with video of the peckish toddler-oldster. Other media was involved too. KUDO's Shannyn Moore urged listeners to go to the shopping mall to protest Stevens's fundraiser.
Both Stevens and Representative Don Young seem to be greeted everywhere they go these days by protesters. Both have poll numbers from which you'd have to swim upstream to get to the toilet. Young has attracted three opponents from the Democrats. The Diane Benson campaign is about to release polling numbers that show her beating Don Young by a little under ten points. Unlike earlier, similar numbers released by candidate Ethan Berkowitz, Benson's polling is not tainted by a direct connection between her campaign and the pollster.
Anchorage mayor Mark Begich, who visited Washington D.C. last January at the behest of organizations interested in his candidacy for Young's seat, passed on that. Many observers here are wondering why Begich is waiting so long to declare his candidacy for Ted's seat. I've speculated that Begich's hesitancy is based on a genuine fear that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will declare her candidacy against Stevens.
But I'm beginning to doubt that she will do that. As a friend told me last night, "She's having way too much fun right now as Gov." But if Mark Begich waits until after the inevitable indictment of Ben Stevens by the Feds, he'll appear to be a shameless opportunist.
(quote at top - Kuparuk at TPM; photo one from WaPo; photo two from the Whittier Museum; photo three from Alaska Report)
Updates - Thursday: KTVA highlighted the video they took of Ted's Dimond Center tantrum late Tuesday. But they've since removed direct links to this video from their main web page. Interesting. They've got older links up on far less important stuff. Even more interesting is Ishmael's take on the picture I posted of Ted and his Air Corps buddy having a good time in WWII. Flying the Hump?