John Aronno with the Alaska Commons does the work of unpacking the recent survey released by the Alaska Family Action (AFA) group in preparation for the group’s GOP Senate candidate “family values” debate on Aug. 4. The Alaska Family Action is the political arm of the Alaska Family Council. Run by Jim Minnery, it is commonly considered a right-wing force in the state, though how much force he actually has is debatable. After all, the group supported now-Gov. Sean Parnell over Rep. Don Young in 2008, and Young
trounced beat Parnell in the primary.
As Aronno puts it, the survey is “narrowly honed in on views surrounding abortion, abortion, abortion, marriage equality, and abortion.” (Wouldn’t it be interesting if such surveys about family values included at least one question about the working poor, maybe, or affordable childcare?).
There’s also a question about federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, which all three Republican candidates — Joe Miller, Mead Treadwell, and Dan Sullivan — say they are against, and which puts them to the right of even Young. Indeed, on social issues, all three candidates are to the right of most of the state. They want to overturn Roe v. Wade. They want to ban abortions after 20 weeks. They want to leave marriage up to the states AND support a federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, an inconsistency which they’ll have to answer to at some point. They want school choice and they say that they’ll vote for judges that “embrace a philosophy of judicial restraint.” This is a dog-whistle question that basically means that the candidates would only support those judges whose idea of judicial constraint means agreeing with their views on social issues, even at the expense of that pesky, 10th state’s rights Amendment.
Both Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller have made social issues central to their campaign. Both, in fact, have gone further than the questionnaire by coming out for a federal “personhood” bill, which would effectively make all abortion murder. Sullivan, who appears to be the more moderate of the bunch, has kept these issues in the background. Now, however, he’s on record And if he wins, Sen. Mark Begich will likely bring them to the front. Begich has always been unabashedly pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. As Begich knows, and Aronno points out, the center is where most Alaskans, and most in the country live.
Correction: Initially I had written that Young “trounced” Parnell in the primary. That’s not at all true. I was thinking of the general. Young actually only beat Parnell by 304 votes.
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