I. Ethan Berkowitz and Diane Benson are leading in polls of voters likely to show up for the August 27th Alaska Democratic Party primary. Actually, they are both far out in front.
How well will that combination poll against the most likely GOP combination? We don't know yet, as the GOP races are more in flux. From the Democratic perspective, the dream ticket would be Parnell-Burke, as it might spur more non-aligned minorities and women to vote Democrat in November than any other combination. But Eddie is not polling well. Darn!
Ethan spent several years in the minority leadership in Juneau, and has since been running for higher office than the Alaska House, so far, unsuccessfully. Diane has been elected to offices in Alaska Native organizations, but has so far been unsuccessful in gaining office outside that sometimes contentious and often neglected arena here.
In their 2008 campaigns for the AK-AL Dem slot, they learned a lot about each other. Early on in 2010's maneuvering, they weren't very close. That has changed as both realize they will be the September-October Democratic Party ticket. The party leadership has caught on, too. If the leadership starts getting behind this inevitability right now, rather than six weeks from now, we may have something.
Both Berkowitz and Benson are far more visionary than Parnell, to say the least. Captain Zero, the guy who put the lack in lackluster, or Palin's last remnant, Parnell is both vulnerable and, as Don Young observed in November 2008, doesn't make for a good Alaska story. There's a potential synergy in a Berkowitz-Benson campaign that I dare my party's leadership to be capable of understanding and crafting, so that it makes sense to Alaskans.
There's a helluva lot of truth in the potential narrative that Berkowitz and Benson believe in Alaskans' 21st century destiny far more than Parnell can even grasp what any future involving cooperation and using the inherent creativity of Alaskans might encompass. Even among the dim bulbs of Alaska's GOP, Parnell sometimes seems to sputter, and look like that little filament wire is about to go "poof" if you even touch his bulb.
I'm thinking about organizing a campaign to get 7,000 Alaska Democrats and Independents to vote for Eddie Burke in the August primary. That's how many it will take to get him to overcome Jay Ramras.
II. Here are some recent images that vaguely connect to the above post:
Ethan and I have this thing going since last year. He bought me a beer at a DL event. I bought him a beer at the annual Democratic Party dinner at the Dena'ina. He brought me a bottle of Dickel bourbon to a party Judy and I hosted last summer. I've got a bottle of Rosenblum Syrah waiting to give to Ethan and Mara.
My batch of smoked Copper River Red salmon this year is the Ethan Berkowitz batch. After the salmon have smoked for about 20 hours, I begin basting them in hard liquor, while still smoking. After they are done, I baste them one more time before packing. This year's batch was basted in Ethan's whiskey:
Two images of two of Alaska's most durable, endearing and courageous feminists, Katie Hurley and Diane Benson, from a fundraiser last Sunday in Palmer: