Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Alarm Bells in Alaska

Senator Ted Stevens—one of the chief architects of special interest earmark pork—had his Alaska home raided by federal agents yesterday.

Stevens—who’s held his Senate seat since LBJ was in office—recently gained notoriety for threatening to quit the Senate if it didn’t green light the infamous Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere,” as well as placing a secret hold on a pork bill allowing greater accountability and oversight of federal spending. Now he may be in line for corruption charges.

This may rid us of Mr. Stevens, but it’s a very bad sign for Republicans.

Top White House political advisor Karl Rove told a bunch of us over lunch last week that corruption was the single biggest issue in last fall’s election that overturned the GOP congressional majority. I have always agreed with this assessment, based on exit polls that showed corruption and runaway budget spending were actually more important to voters than Iraq.

So this Stevens business has to be swept away. The GOP should not defend him if he is guilty. Just clean house.

By the way, another theme Mr. Rove highlighted was the importance of the economic populism/inequality/globalization issue. He said the GOP must face this head-on in 2008 and rebut it in terms of economic prosperity.

He figures the Dems will run on a three-legged stool: Iraq, healthcare, and economic populism. His solution is to have Republican candidates sharply contrast GOP plans with Democratic plans.