Sunday, January 20, 2008

Alaska At Its Best - and Worst

There's just something plain wrong with putting a writer, person, pugilist, and Alaskan like Wally Hickel on the same page as Dan Fagan. At least the Anchorage Daily News had the good taste to put Hickel at the top of the page and Fagan at the bottom in their print edition.

Governor Wally Hickel, perhaps more than any other person now alive, helped shape Alaska into an image we can look up to. Fagan, can't touch much of anything without distorting it and pointing down to something he wants us to despise.

Wally, the author of two important books, numerous pamphlets, scholarly papers and hundreds of articles, has always emphasized the concepts of the commons and collective or shared responsibilities. Fagan, the denizen of a local AM-radio talk show and author of a few dozen op-eds, stresses selfishness when it comes to the economy, calling anything short of blatant me-first thinking in that realm socialism when he's in a good mood, communism if he's bitchy.

Hickel built one of the classiest, and certainly the most Alaskan, of four-star hotels in North America, without outside help. He's spread a lot of his enormous wealth, and has been been the patron of many local causes, one of the saviors of Alaska Methodist University, now Alaska Pacific University. Fagan survives solely through the wingnut welfare provided him by KFQD and the Anchorage Daily News.

Wally Hickel, a boxer from youth through middle age, and a long-time supporter of Golden Gloves and other youth athletic causes over the years, is still as tough as nails in his 80s. Fagan reluctantly accepted a challenge from KUDO's Aaron Selbig to a charity boxing match at Friday Night Fights, but failed to show up for the mandatory physical and weigh-in. But he likes to brag on the air about beating girls at quarter-court basketball. I'm almost ready to spew all over this keyboard over that one, but it gets worse, folks.

Governor Wally Hickel today became the first prominent GOP figure to endorse the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama. Obama isn't my first choice, but Hickel's article is compelling:

The race for president has attracted an impressive field of Americans willing to assume the responsibilities of the White House at a challenging time in our history. All echo the need for change. None has better captured and articulated this moment than Sen. Barack Obama.

Hickel says more:

If I were 20 years younger, I would find him and ask, "What can I do?" And I would tell him that Alaska can help our country fulfill his vision.

Fagan's image for our future is more of a nightmare, than a vision:

When government punishes good decisions and rewards bad ones, that society is doomed to economic failure.

If I'm not scared yet, Dan dishes this out:

This is the time of year when government seeks out a segment of our population to punish them for a certain behavior: buying property.

Governor Hickel treats the current state of our union critically, in terms of our global position. He wants us to:

correct our failed foreign policy and reclaim the American vision Obama so brilliantly describes.

Fagan is a shill for the Bushista regime's degradation of our stature worldwide. If he knew more about history, he might learn from it, but he's not very knowledgeable about the legacies of U.S. foreign policy.

Wally Hickel has honestly called himself the little man, smiling. Fagan is pretty darned insecure about his physicality.

Just as Hickel probably didn't ponder Obama's race in his consideration of the man, past what this means for our future hopes, Fagan likes to invoke racist images of past fears. Last summer he wrote about convicted lobbyist Tom Anderson:

Tom Anderson is guilty. Even the O. J. jury would convict on this one....Anderson couldn’t play the race card: He's white.

Hickel knows when somebody is being a racist. Perhaps Fagan is a bit more dense, eh? Go read his column.

and.....feel free to add comparisons.

Update - Tuesday noon: Steve Aufrecht accurately characterizes Fagan's latest rant as Pollution of the Public Discourse.


newtonusr said...

I know nothing about Hinkle, but he seems a likable Patriot.
The other guy reminds me of now-ousted Gooper Congressman J. D. Hayworth, who to my shock and glee now appears on a late night infomercial hawking "free" money from the Federal Government to use to buy property!
Way to go!

Honest_Harry said...

What is with your obsession of Dan Fagan? If you don't like hearing him on the radio - don't listen.

If you don't like what he writes in his column - don't read it.

Personally, I like Dan. I agree with him on most issues and I appreciate his willingness to express the truth. Judging by his ratings, so do a lot of other people.

Philip Munger said...


I've written here twice about Mr. Fagan. I don't often listen to him. I have no idea why somebody would choose not to read a columnist just because he or she doesn't like what the author writes. Why do you feel that my interest in him is an "obsession"?

Steve said...

Phil, good piece, the contrast was a great idea. Honest_harry, how do you define truth? My guess is "something that I agree with." I listen to and read people I don't agree with because I might learn something or get some sense of why they see the world so differently from me. But Dan's world is so totally bizarre, self-centered, and unfriendly to anyone who thinks differently from him, that it is hard to read. My guess is he's a very angry man who needs to come to terms with his own issues. You can't respect other people until you respect yourself. Disagreeing and disrespecting are not the same.

Polarbear said...

A telling comparison of Walter Hickel, a man of substance and accomplishment, with a failed former journalist who found his shtick.

Honest_harry is just another victim of media packaging. Radio found a way to raise their ratings by letting little minds slap each other on talk media. Arbitron ratings draw advertising resulting in profit. Shallow controversy, gossip, and confrontation sell. Good luck with that gullibility problem, "Honest_harry". The advertisers love you.

Ishmael said...

I don't know anything about Fagan other than he's a buffoon. I have no use for him because I have syrup of ipecac in my medicine chest if the need to vomit arises.

Wally Hickel on the other hand, I know and respect. I was once in Russian Mission with him and his lovely wife Irma Lee. We all took trucks to the top of the hill for a community meeting, but it was a nice day and when it was over, he decided we should walk down. Part way down the hill a road -- make that trail -- diverged off and up to the left, which went up to the old Russian mission. Concerned over his age (then 75), villagers started to send word for a truck to take him up, but he refused and set off on foot. A hundred yards of very steep terrain later Wally and the school kids who could keep up made it to the top first, long before the rest of us. I asked his Trooper body guard what was up, and he said Wally ran five miles a day and swam another.

How about a foot race up that same hill between Wally and Fagan.... It's been over a dozen years since the last time he climbed it, but I bet Wally would win again. And maybe the stress would put Fagan out of our misery.

p.s. Irma Lee makes great cookies.
p.p.s. Their son Jack was obviously raised well -- he's a doctor building a hospital in Africa.

Honest_Harry said...

Oh sorry, man. I got you confused with your buddy over on the 'What do I know' blog.

I'm a Fagan fan and I enjoy your blog.

That is all. Carry on.

Anonymous said...

Look at what that idiot, Ishmael, wrote; "I don't know anything about Fagan other than he's a buffoon. ..."

This from a guy that refuses to post comments on his blog from people that prove him wrong.

Ishmael is the real buffoon; not Fagan.

red said...

thank you


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