Friday night I got to observe Shannyn Moore as she engaged a number of fairly conservative people at an after-concert party in Anchorage. I had a lot of people to see and talk to myself, so wasn't able to hear much of their talks with her. But I could see engagement and humor in all the conversations. One conservative friend came up to me after talking to her, saying, "Right after she asked me a question, I realized Shannyn really DID want to know what I thought. She's on a quest."
She is. And she does want to know and understand what other people think.
Since back around the time of Moore's Gilliard Award at Netroots Nation last summer, friends have asked me scores of times if I knew whether Shannyn might or might not be thinking of running against Sen. Lisa Murkowski this year. I've watched people ask Shannyn the same question. She has not said "yes." Instead, she has engaged people who asked her that, wanting to know what they think about the race.
Moore, who took the flak for what other bloggers had written or said last summer, over the 4th of July weekend, knows how to deal with opponents who want to marginalize or threaten her. She welcomes dialog with staunch conservatives like Rep. Bob Lynn, a retiring legislator who has come to genuinely respect her. Lynn, after a session on Moore Up North told me that Shannyn is one of the most remarkable journalists he has met.
On Moore's KUDO radio show last week, she effectively questioned the motives of Sen. Murkowski's stifling of a change to the liability limits oil companies have enjoyed since 1990, for their handling of oil spills they cause. Defending BP, whose chronic pattern of criminal negligence has most recently emerged (or not emerged) 100 miles SSE of New Orleans, Murkowski killed the bill. She claimed a change might hurt "Mom & Pop" offshore drilling operations. Moore, on her show, that is now sometimes being simulcast nationwide, observed that she'd like to know which "Mom & Pop" offshore drilling or oil exploration operarations Murkowski meant.
There are none.
All this while evidence is mounting that BP's fuckup will probably kill about 50,000 Mom & Pop businesses that don't drill offshore.
Moore is very knowledgeable about neighborhood, Anchorage, Southcentral, Alaska and worldwide issues. Perhaps more so than anyone else who might consider running against Murkowski this year.
Moore is unique, in that she is the first Alaska liberal or progressive who has gained a nationwide progressive audience. In 2008, that nationwide progressive audience delivered Mark Begich over $200,000 in campaign contributions. One source alone, Blue America, was Begich's biggest single cash cow. And Blue America, which is very progressive, didn't consider Mark to be particularly liberal when it came to assessing how he might have an impact on the Senate. They just knew he was viable and that he might defeat Sen. Ted Stevens.
Moore 2010 could easily raise four or five times as much off the web as Begich 2008. What Murkowski did last week to protect BP could work against the senator in Alaska just as well as it might Outside, by a well-run, focused campaign. If people here and in the lower 48 thought Moore were viable, she might raise up to $2,000,000 or more on the web.
Moore, with her powerful life story, Alaska roots, understanding of how to perceive both sides of issues, and ability to intensely focus, when compared to Murkowski's increasing parallels to the MO of her failed father, might be far more viable than most think.
Should we draft Shannyn Moore for the U.S. Senate Alaska Democratic Party primary in 2010?