Robert Dillon is an award-winning Washington, D.C.-based reporter. His day job is as Political Reporter for The Oil Daily. He also frequently writes for The Fairbanks News-Miner, where he used to be their State Reporter. He's won seven Alaska Press Club awards for reporting or photography, and a National Press Photographers Association award.
Robert's blog, Alaskan Abroad, is the second place I check every day, after looking at the Anchorage Daily News. If you haven't visited his blog, you should. Alaskan Abroad is listed here as an Alaska Progressive Blog. Dillon is less progressive on some issues than most other blogs listed there, but I consider him not only highly professional, but one of the most honest reporters we have on Alaska issues. Because of the latter of those attributes, he ends up being more progressive than a lot of the people he interviews in D.C.
I've commented from time to time at his blog, and he finally commented here yesterday. Dillon was miffed about my mildly humorous Kos post and poll, saying "All humor aside, what the f*$k do we care what some liberal Outside blogger thinks is good for Alaska? Is Kos going to care when the heat gets shut off in Tuntituliak?"
An excellent point. I have no idea how Markos Moulitsas would care about that. He might. But Robert pushed a button when he next wrote "Hate earmarks all you want, but the delegation has delivered for Alaskans."
Irrespective of whether or not Don Young, Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski have "delivered for Alaskans," it is past time for Young and Stevens to go. As for Sen. Murkowski, I felt she was one of the few sensible Republicans in our State Legislature when she was there, and was a better U.S. Senator than her dad ever was within days of her accepting his appointment to his former job.
I've known Ted Stevens since 1973, when I first interviewed him for KLAM Radio in Cordova about fishery issues. I've met him several times since, had lunch with him a couple of times, dedicated some songs for children to him, watched him accept fishing flies my six-year-old son had tied for him, and corresponded with his office since 1978. I campaigned for him in 1978, and have voted for him twice.
Sen. Stevens has done some great things for Alaska, the USA and the world. Perhaps some of the most important things he's done haven't registered with Alaskans, most notably, the role he played up until the Bush administration stole the presidency, in assuring the demise of the Soviet Union's nuclear infrastructure was closely monitored and dealt with sensibly. The Bushistas could give a shit, Robert.
Ted Stevens saved the National Endowment of the Arts and Public Broadcasting more than once. He's pro-choice.
But Ted Stevens has failed our coastal community infrastructure. He was instrumental in pushing for Valdez tankers to be able to leave the tanker navigation lanes at the bottom of Valdez Arm. He has constantly enabled a few supporters to take over our offshore fishery industry, and supported regulations that made local shore-based fish processing in small communities untenable or statutorily impossible.
He has rubber-stamped most of George Bush's policies that have mired us in an extended war in which if we return to how bad it was three years ago, it looks really good. He has supported the consolidation of media that leaves our communities without locally controlled news and emergency information access. His tenure up to 2006 in the field of telecommunication oversight nationally was an unmitigated disaster.
Sen. Stevens does not have six years of mental stability left in him. I've watched him drift in and out of acuity for years, but it is on the verge of getting out of hand.
Representative Don Young is far, far worse. When he was responsible for the welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, he sold their and the guest workers there into a criminally-connected slave regime that will take years to undo. For that alone, he's the worst bad act our state has inflicted on the national soul.
He has consistently lied to you and me about the depth of his ties to Jack Abramoff. He has been an even thicker, inkier rubber stamp for the worst president in the history of our Republic than has been Sen. Stevens.
You say "the delegation has delivered for Alaska." This is true for some, but we have no way of knowing whether or not somebody else in their offices would have done better for us all. I hope we get a chance to find that out soon.
photo of Robert Dillon by Robert Dillon