As I previously reported, Brad Keithley is making noises about running for governor. If he does so, he’d likely run as an independent, and he likely would be self-financed. He’s well-educated and cultured. He knows as much about college basketball and more about music than anyone who is running or has talked about running to date. And he’s also proving to be rather unorthodox compared to most politicians.
So far, in front of groups, on talk radio, and on his blog, he has focused on Gov. Sean Parnell’s handling of the state’s fiscal affairs, which could prove to be a major weakness for Parnell.
Under Parnell’s “fiscally conservative” administration, the budget has grown 55 percent. There are all sorts of reasons for this: declining federal funds and ballooning health care costs, to name a few. But there’s been loads of fat in Parnell’s budgets. And he’s done nothing to address what Keithley and others call a looming fiscal crisis. In fact, Parnell doesn’t even talk about it.
Inexplicably, Bill Walker let this one get away from him. Someone was bound to jump into the budget-sized opening. Too bad for Parnell that it increasingly looks like it’s Keithley who’s doing so.
That Keithley might have enough money to be self-financed, and not beholden to anybody, should be enough to make Parnell nervous. But already Keithley is proving that not being beholden also provides the flexibility to say and do what he pleases, and to break the so called “rules” of politics. This should be particularly unnerving for Parnell, who is nothing if not conventional.
Last week, for instance, Keithley posted correspondence on his blog that belittled his own candidacy. Most politicians would have tried to bury it. Keithley highlighted it by republishing the criticism in full, saying that it brought him “humor:”
Meant to tell you, I was recently at a meeting that included several Alaskan republican leaders. It was rumored that you were considering running for governor. When I heard their reactions, I was actually embarrassed for you. Of course democrat friends in JNU and on the hill hope you run, as there’s not a chance in hell you can win, but you will help push the vote in their favor. Best part? Several of those I mention above are people you told me were good friends and who you respect immensely. You are the laughing stock of that town. So gratifying to watch…
Keithley’s pitch-perfect response:
The humor? That ‘Alaskan republican leaders’ are wasting their time talking about personalities. (If you believe the writer, at least.) My recommendation? They spend their time instead talking about things that really matter, starting with ways to reduce the upcoming budget. Otherwise … they won’t be leaders for much longer.
Truth is, some Alaska Republicans, the smart ones, are talking about Keithley. In fact, they seem to be talking more about him than they are about Walker, who has been running for months. And they aren’t laughing.
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Clarification: As far as I know, Keithley posted the correspondence in full. The author of the email that he published, however, says otherwise.