Now that the news media, or at least what passes for news media in Alaska, thoroughly have dissected Senate candidate Al Gross’s bear tale, perhaps they now could find out what he would do if elected.
It is good to know, we suppose, that a hapless bear was dispatched by someone – the official report names the shooter as Gross’ buddy, by the way – and the killing was legit except that the bruins claws were never turned in, according to news reports.
Yes, yes, that all means something, but it means squat when it comes to experience qualifying someone for the Senate. What do we know? Gross, a Democrat-cum-independent has never held office and his ads claim he killed the offending bear himself, drove a fishing boat, was born in the wake of an avalanche and knew former Gov. Jay Hammond. How in the world does any of that qualify him for the world’s most exclusive club?
Gross is running to unseat Republican Sen Dan Sullivan, but where does he stand on issues? Take, for example, health care. Gross is a guy who knocked down millions each year working a three-day week in the middle of nowhere as an orthopedic surgeon. Now, by golly, he sees the light?
“In Washington I will work with anyone to make healthcare more affordable and that patients are protected,” he says in campaign literature. He wants Medicare to be available to everyone, he says. After that? A blizzard of generalities. “Strengthen.” “Increase.” “Simplify.” “Support.” Not much specific and much like Alyse Galvin’s campaign literature in her race against Congressman Don Young – bland and opaque. (Her main claim to fame, it seems, is her inability to hold a job.)
The news media should explore the consequences for Alaska if Gross were elected as an “independent.” What would that mean? He says he will caucus with Democrats, but Democrats generally advance up the ladder to power more slowly than Republicans.
When Republicans gained the majority in 1995, they changed their rules to allow Republicans on individual committees to vote by secret ballot for their committee’s chairman, no matter that member’s seniority.
Republicans also limited their committee chairman, or, when in the minority, their ranking members, to six-year terms to allow broader participation. Democrats have no such rules, and it could be a very long time before anybody among the Democrats would bother to listen to an “independent” from Alaska.
There is so much we do not know – and there are so few in the media asking questions.