Political theater falls flat for Lindbeck



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Did candidate Steve Lindbeck receive his Screen Actors Guild card? What with all the theater he’s engaged in lately, he should go all-in on union membership. Acting, after all, is dangerous business.

Last week, Lindbeck wrote to the Alaska Dispatch, saying that when he’s congressman he’ll get to work right away to make sure that affordable daycare is available to all who need it.

This week he promised on social media platforms that he’d make sure the correct maritime company would win private sector contracts.

Lindbeck, who was with the Anchorage Daily News for many years as an editorial writer and editor, followed up by staging a parking lot production in front of Congressman Don Young’s official office today.

He brought along a trio of walk-ons, set up a lectern, chased some paper around the parking lot, but then had not a whiff of preparation for the questions from the two-and-a-half reporters who showed up.

For a man who has been in the news media most of his career, and with all his news friends to pull favors from, it was a stunning failure.

Lindbeck’s baptism into grievance politics is this: He demands that Don Young intervene in a contract that has not yet been awarded but that is being negotiated this summer.

The contract in question starts with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, and its current contractor, Crowley Maritime, whose headquarters is in Jacksonville, Fla.

Crowley decided not to bid on the next contract to escort ships in and out of Prince William Sound, and Alyeska is negotiating with Edison Chouest. This is the free market system.

Standing at the lectern and wearing a cloak of disappointment that the media didn’t bite, Lindbeck said he believes that Young should intervene and ensure that Crowley, a union shop, gets the contract — the one it has declined to bid on.

Lindbeck said that since Edison Chouest is non-union, it is not a good company and should not get work in Alaska. It is from Louisiana, and that’s another strike against it.

He further alleged that since Edison Chouest was responsible for the wreck of the Kulluk, Shell’s drilling rig, it is unsafe in Prince William Sound. And since Prince William Sound has fish, and fish are a resource, the public — him, in particular — should have final say about which companies get to operate there.

The candidate ignored that in 2011, a Crowley Maritime barge carrying 146,000 gallons of fuel got loose from a tugboat along Alaska’s western coast and nearly caused a massive disaster. These things happen from time to time, but Lindbeck wants to pick and choose his disasters, his shipwrecks, and his favored contracts. 

Lindbeck then went straight to the heart of his complaint: Donations.

“Don Young is refusing to do anything while his top donor plans to fire Alaska oil-spill prevention workers… Protecting a Louisiana company that has given you nearly $300,000 …We must oppose the outsourcing of Alaska jobs that harms our economy and endangers Prince William Sound…”

Lindbeck needs to do his homework: Dollar for dollar, his good friend, the former Senator Mark Begich, received just as much in donations from Edison Chouest as Don Young did year over year, for the six years that Begich served in the Senate.

Lindbeck also played dumb when it came to the fact that Crowley also gave to Young and Begich alike. He didn’t seem to know about that.Lindbeck SAG card

This is troubling truth-twisting coming from a man who spent his career in journalism. That he is lying so early in his political career is a clue as to what the Lindbeck Summer Stock theater season will be like.

We’re awarding Steve Lindbeck his SAG card tonight. But he’s going to need a few more dress rehearsals to be convincing. Right now, he’s strictly at the level of an “extra.”