Political campaigns make my ears bleed

I guess it’s the nature of the political beast. In order to win the most votes, you have to say things so vague that the electorate can pretty much read anything they want into it, thereby ensuring that they think you represent them.

Imagine the shock most of us feel when that turns out not to be true.

Let’s take a recent statement uttered by Our Gal, Temporary Sal.  Yes, I know this is like shooting fish in a barrel but she is so good at this stuff that it’s hard not to go to her barrel when looking for the vacuous statement du jour.

A while back, Sal came out in support of Joe Miller in his effort to beat Lisa Murkowski in the Republican senatorial primary.  Here’s part of what she wrote: “…it is my firm belief that we need a bold reformer who is not afraid to stand up to special interests and take on the tough challenges of our time. Joe Miller has stepped forward. I am thankful for his willingness to serve. He has fought alongside me and others to help clean up the Republican Party here in Alaska by bringing in new leadership, new ideas, and commitment to putting government back on the side of the people, not any political machine.”

OK, first there is the obvious conflict inherent in claiming to want to put government on the side of the people and not any political machine while at the same time firmly aligning herself and Miller with the Republican Party in Alaska.  As for new leadership, can you say “Randy Ruedrich”? Because I can. And the last time I looked, he was still head of the Alaska Republican Party.

But even more interesting is the initial reason Sal gives for backing Miller. She claims that he will “stand up to special interests…” Hmmm. I guess the Tea Party doesn’t count as a special interest group. Or did she mean special interests that wouldn’t give him money anyway because they have opposing viewpoints?

Special interests that agree with you are still special interests.

If Sal was not mouthing political double speak here, Joe Miller would end up looking like just your run of the mill candidate who potentially could be bought and sold on the open market to those special interests that fall in line with his philosophy. The state of politics being what they are today, that seems to be the only way to generate enough cash to run a competitive campaign. We all know that. Why try to pretend otherwise?

Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear a politician honestly acknowledge that the groups funding his or her campaign are just as much “special interest” groups as those of their opponents?

By the way, just to be perfectly clear, this is not me endorsing Lisa Murkowski. God knows she has enough on her plate without having to defend herself against my endorsement.  I am using Joe Miller as an example only because I found it curious that the man Sal said was not going to be beholden to special interests in now in a potentially competitive race for his party’s nomination only because of the money a special interest group is about to pour into this state on his behalf.

We have a long campaign season ahead and I am begging politicians to not say things so blatantly and obviously pandering that my stomach heaves when I hear it.  Don’t tell me you won’t be taking anything from special interest groups when you will so long as they are your groups. And don’t tell me you’ll stand up and be independent of any party while running to be that party’s candidate. 

Alaskans deserve honest candidates who want to honestly debate the issues of the day and where they stand on them. No obfuscation. No blurry sentiments that melt in the light of day. No denying with your right hand what you left hand is doing. And no statements so painfully untrue as to make us cringe.

I’d like to get through this election cycle without my ears bleeding from the noise it generates. However, I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. I’ll just hold tissue to my ears to catch the blood.