The charges, which stem from the continuing FBI investigation into Veco's role in the corruption of Alaska politics, were downplayed by many in Alaska, especially the wing of our GOP that has been closely identified in the past with the political funding paradigm firms such as Veco have represented. Even with a seven-count felony indictment against the old codger, he still has a 40-point lead over David Cuddy, his nearest challenger in the August 26 Alaska Republican Primary.
Alaska's progressive bloggers had a lot to say about this. Over two weeks ago, I had begun hosting, with the help of Celtic Diva, a five-part series at the national blog, firedoglake, where people could write poems about St. Ted. Ironically, many of the submissions related to the remodeling of the senator's Girdwood house. The overall contest winner, submitted by Darkblack, a Black Canadian artist and blogger, reads:
There are odd things done in the midnight sun
By the men whom Oil has sold
Their fishy tales meet with hearty gales
from wise heads when they are told
The FBI’s knights have recited some rights
but the queerest they ever had read
was that night by the mouse of a Girdwood house
that belonged to Senator Ted.
Does anyone find it weird that a woman in Eastern Canada has a deeper understanding of how the world views our very senior Senator than do most Alaskans?
Dennis Zaki, at his Alaska Report Blog, helped with the presentation of the complete firedoglake TedFest! poem collection, at Ted's Anchorage campaign headquarters. He worked for hours, on a busy night, when CNN was having him upload a lot of Ted stuff to their national feed, putting a YouTube together for us. Thanks, Dennis! Thanks, Celtic Diva!
From the comments at Dennis' blog, comes this great YouTube, further proving that Ted can inspire new art, no matter what his legal situation:
The blog, Alaska Chinook, made its first entry since early July, commenting in depths about Ted's indictment, and how it is emblematic of the continuing corruption of the way American political campaigns are cynically funded by lobbyists, PACs and special interests.
Robert Dillon at An Alaskan Abroad - he's coming home to Alaska this weekend - avoided the details of Stevens' indictment and arraignment, instead linking to a sympathetic statement by Stevens' longtime friend Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, and a cautionary op-ed by Jim Mills at The Hill. But Dillon interviewed Stevens the day before he was indicted about the investigation, and about a host of other items. I transcribed part of Dillon's question to Ted about the investigation:
Robert Dillon: Are you concerned about [the ongoing FBI investigation's] impact on the election?
Sen. Stevens: I've, I'm, uh, I'm really not found, eh, et, uh, when I'm person-to-person that it has anything, anything to do with our conversation on, on my re-electability. I think it comes about through the NEWS MEDIA CONSTANTLY REFERRING to both me and my son, whenever ANYONE ELSE is charged -- The two of us involved. Uh, uh, uh, it's not, uh, you don't, uh, include the, the person who, who was, uh, best man, er, who, uh, was, uh, er... you don't include anything about any of the Democrats who were involved, and, any of, uh, it was sort of a, a whole string of things, people involved.
Just THE REPUBLICANS, and just Ben and me, were mentioned EVERY SINGLE STORY that's been written. And EVERY TIME YOU OR ANYONE ELSE says anything about it, eh, eh - uh -ANYONE ELSE - eh, you also say "and the two Stevens been included."
So, thank you very much! You're the ones who got us more visibility than anyone else in the state. There isn't anybody doesn't know my name.
Dillon concentrated instead, last week, on the more important story for Alaska's future, of the passage of the AGIA proposal by our State Legislature.
Celtic Diva, Alaska's most influential progressive blogger, wrote about how the Stevens indictment changes the way the press, locally and nationally, will cover the entire Alaska late summer and fall campaigns.
Ishael Melville at Kodiak Konfidential, and Progressive Alaska, were the first to write about concern over what shenanigans the Randy Reudrich machine might come up with in reaction to Ted's new adventure. Actually, my piece on this came from David Shurtleff, Ethan Berkowitz's press guy.
At Fiery Blazing Handbasket, both flicthebic and Cabin Dweller had a lot to say about the indictment. flicthebic compared Ted's professions of innocence/ignorance to Pete Kott's, when he was caught. And Cabin Dweller made a list:
Santa'sThe FBI's Little List --- (First posted in December 2007 - Updated 7-29-08)
Tom Anderson :
NaughtyConvicted Gray Bar Hotel
Very, Very, Very NaughtyPlead Guilty
Naughty and Easy ConvictedGray Bar Hotel
NaughtyIndicted Convicted Gray Bar Hotel
Very NaughtyIn the Bag
Very, Very Naughty and Haughty In the Bag Under Investigation and Getting Grumpier by the MinuteINDICTED
Naughty and Rude In the BagUnder Investigation and Spending $ Like Crazy
Naughty and SlowGive 'im rope
Very, Very, Very Naughty There's always hopePlead Guilty
I'm sure there are more names, new names, on the FBI list.
Along with Dillon and PA, Dierdre Helfferich at the Ester Republic, had to deal with already scheduled Ted events getting changed in their meaning by the Feds. A rally outside of Ted's Fairbanks HQ by activists concerned about his outrageous conduct, was cancelled on the 30th, because, I guess, the point was already being made so well by the FBI and DOJ. Deirdre also gave credit to Ray Metcalfe in her essay about Ted's indictment. Others have not been so fulsome.
Radical Catholic Mom offered Ted a sincere prayer.
Gryphen at the Immoral Minority, humorously comments about how Jon Stewart's coverage of the indictment, reinforced inaccurate stereotypes of Alaskans.
Mudflats sums up my feelings, better than I've been able to myself, about the possibility of moving Ted's trial from DC to Anchorage:
If we give Ted Stevens a pass on 7 felony counts, and re-elect him we advertise loud and clear the fact that we prostitute ourselves for pork. We don’t care if Stevens got bought by Veco, because we’ve been bought by Stevens. We walk through the shiny granite-covered Ted Stevens International Airport and we feel so darned important. Probably just like Ted feels when he hangs out on the wraparound deck, and fires up that Viking barbeque grill he got from Veco. Here we stand with our collective hand out like Vic Kohring sniveling and groveling to the Federal Government. We’re all so busy scratching each others backs, we simply don’t care about ethics….which is exactly why this state is in the condition it’s in, and why we need the FBI to shovel us out of our own dung heap.
And, in spite of all this taking center stage, the Palin Administration's AGIA plan passed, just before deadline.
cartoon courtesy of Universal Press Syndicate