NAKED POLITICAL AMBITION ON DISPLAY
Earlier this week, Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott spoke publicly about how they were “leaning” against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for U.S. Supreme Court. Mallott was concerned particularly about the “process.”
Today, they are solidly opposed to Kavanaugh. What has changed since Monday?
Walker and Mallott, two struggling public figures hoping for a reelection miracle, may have seen some poll numbers that disturb them. They’re tacking left, trying to “out-Begich” Mark Begich, the Democrat in the race.
Begich, running several points behind Mike Dunleavy, has already come out against Kavanaugh. And Walker is now dragging along the bottom in third place, and trying to claw back the most hard-left votes from Begich.
Walker and Mallott said unequivocally in their press release this morning that they are clearly on the side of Big Labor, with a veiled reference to a recent court decision that allows public employees to not join a union:
“We oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“One of our top priorities as Governor and Lieutenant Governor is expanding affordable healthcare access to all Alaskans. We supported increasing the number of people eligible to receive health insurance by increasing the pool of those who have access to Medicaid, and we have also championed protections for Alaskans with pre-existing health conditions. Another priority of our administration is protecting the rights of working Alaskans. Mr. Kavanaugh’s record does not demonstrate a commitment to legal precedent that protects working families. Key aspects of our nation’s healthcare and labor laws may be at risk if Mr. Kavanaugh receives a lifetime appointment.
“Mr. Kavanaugh’s appointment could also jeopardize the Indian Child Welfare Act, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, and other laws that enable tribal self-determination due to his overly narrow view of the relationship between federal and tribal governments. Alaska is home to 227 tribes, nearly half of all tribes in our nation.
“Finally, we believe a thorough review of past allegations against Mr. Kavanaugh is needed before a confirmation vote takes place. Violence against women in Alaska is an epidemic. We do not condone placing someone into one of our nation’s highest positions of power while so many key questions remain unanswered.”
WHAT IS THEIR ANGLE?
Walker is reaching out to his voting base. This has less to do with persuading Sen. Lisa Murkowski to vote against the Kavanaugh confirmation than it has to do with Walker’s own ambitions. It’s almost as if the Democrats are finally having their primary — in the General Election.
The governor’s statement refers not once to the importance of upholding the U.S. Constitution or rule of law, but instead treats the Supreme Court as if it is a super-legislative body, rather than an independent judicial panel weighing cases against constitutional principles and established case law.
At a time when crime is at record levels across the state, and when Alaska has the highest unemployment in the nation, the statement by the governor may backfire.
Why? Plenty of Alaskan voters are wives, mothers, and daughters, and they do not hate men, as the Dianne Feinsteins of the world appear to do. Plenty of women are thinking “What if Brett Kavanaugh was my son and this was happening to him?”
Mike Dunleavy, the Republican candidate for governor, was more circumspect in his statement:
“This is an unfolding event with many moving parts, but an established process exists to fully vet Supreme Court nominees,” he said. “I have every confidence in our delegation and the process to do right by Alaskans and the American people. Meanwhile, my campaign remains focused on making neighborhoods safe, rebuilding our economy, and paying Alaskans full dividends.”