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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Memo To Don Young

To: Don Young
From: An AlaskaVoter
Subject: Democracy and Your Conditions of Employment.

Don, it has come to my attention that you refuse to campaign for your office.

According to the conditions of your employment, you are supposed to stand for election every two years.

Let me remind you that “stand for election” doesn’t mean standing thousands of miles away from Alaska in your residence in Virginia or standing in your Bermuda shorts in the Marianas.

Standing for election means coming home and mixing it up with your opponents. But you have refused to debate your campaign opponents this campaign season.

Your main opponent, Diane Benson, flew to Sitka for the Alaska Day parade because she knew you would be there, but you cancelled when you learned that she did so. Then, a few days later, she traveled to Fairbanks to a meeting you were scheduled to attend and, again, you learned that she would be there and you cancelled on those nice folks who wanted to talk to you.

I thought it was very accommodating of Diane Benson to help you meet your employment condition of “standing for election,” but then I learn, through the newspaper, that you are not actually campaigning when you travel to Alaska three weeks before an election.

The problem as I understand it is, if you had debated with Diane, the Congressional Accounting Office or someone might misconstrue this as campaigning and you might have to reimburse the federal government for your plane ticket to Alaska. With only $2 million in the bank, your campaign can ill-afford that. I understand.

I also understand that you want to be scrupulous as to appearance; a clear bright line between campaigning and doing “the people’s work”. The lavish reception in your honor during the GOP Convention in Philadelphia, courtesy of Jack Abramoff and Preston Gates & Ellis, was clearly on one side of the line and the fact-finding trip you took to the Northern Marianas Islands, an Abramoff client, was on the other side of the clear bright line.

But you know what? This memo isn’t about splitting legal hairs. It’s about your job. It’s on the line.

It’s on a clear, bright line called election day.

You see, this month (October) is on track to being the deadliest month for our soldiers this year and the fourth deadliest since the start of the war. Nearly three thousand of our soldiers and guardsmen have died, supposedly for democracy. You yourself have said they are over there fighting for democracy. My question, therefore, is simple:

Don, don’t you owe it to those who are dying over there to participate in the process called democracy here at home?

There are other issues on the voters’ minds that relate to your job: our economy is turning sideways, our social contracts are broken, and Congress has become something akin to the K Street bordello. You, Congressman, need to stand up and face these issues in front of us voters.

In response to an Anchorage Daily News reporter’s question, your campaign manager said: "A campaign event? We do not have any campaign events."

Don, your campaign manager has just earned my designation as the Maytag Repairman of the 21st Century: all dressed up with nothing to do.

In truth, I have lived with you so long, I have become strangely attached to that the ‘eau de bull’ that suffuses your tenure. But, Don, fewer and fewer Alaskans are so sentimental.

Recent polls show that you are an incumbent in trouble.

With nearly total name recognition, you barely eked out a majority in the Craciun poll (52%) and you fall short of that goal in the more recent Hays Research Group poll (43%). In the Hays poll, that pesky Diane Benson trails by only nine points. In both polls, there is a relatively large block of undecided voters. And it’s not just polls, Don; it’s the voters. The 102,000 votes cast in the Republican primary included 21,000 voters who deliberately did not vote for you. You received only 81,000 of those primary votes.

Don, maybe the Independents and Non-Partisans who voted in the Republican Primary were trying to tell you something. And maybe, just maybe, you will get the message on November 7.

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