Alaskans need to buck up and face the fact that the Federal Government will most likely convict Senator Ted Stevens on all or most of the counts they have drawn up against him, either in late September or early October. However, Ted will win his primary race 25 days from now against Mr. Cuddy and the rest. Handily.
The sentencing will be in early 2009. Stevens won't go to jail.
After the trial, he will have to immediately step down and vacate his candidacy. Randy Reudrich's Alaska Republican Party machine will not recommend Governor Sarah Palin to fill Ted's slot on the ticket. The only Republican with enough stature to challenge Mark Begich in November is Wally Hickel. He won't run. There might be a lot of GOP fools stupid enough to think they could jump into the breech and beat Mark, but I can't think of any who actually could even make the campaign interesting.
Mark Begich, unless something totally unforeseen happens, will be our next U.S. Senator.
I've asked myself several times over the past ten years, "Why do so many people think that Ted Stevens has been so unique, so positive, for the development of Alaska?" He was far more effective in the U.S. Senate for us and for the country, than was Frank Murkowski. Or Mike Gravel, for that matter. But how much of that effectiveness was he directly responsible for? How different would it have been over those years had somebody like Nick Begich or Wally Hickel or Fran Ulmer been our Senator?
We'll never know. But I do know that the challenge Alaska faces in the post Stevens and Young era in Washington, DC will be one pointing toward the future, totally unreliant upon our past experience. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been a better senator than her father ever was, within a few days of her inheriting his office. But is she good enough, though, especially in the coming eight years that will probably be dominated by Democrats?
Sorry, Alaska Republicans. You've failed Alaska on many levels over the past 14 years.
Alaskans! Get over Ted. Now. There is no reason to have to go through Post Ted Stress disorder.