Nearly every day lately, I’ve been getting press releases from one of the Republican candidates running for U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s seat about the failures of ObamaCare and about Begich’s yes vote on the bill. Frankly, the attacks are not only getting boring, but are possibly shortsighted. This is because the health care law will likely get more popular as more people who have been living without insurance are able to buy into the market for the first time in their lives, and as they do so, the public will be continually reminded of the unjust system that the act is trying to address.
But Joe Miller sent out a press release today that sows the seed of an issue that will likely grow: drilling in ANWR, that festering wound that has eaten at most Alaskans since Congress voted to lock it and its gobs of oil up in 1980.
Begich campaigned on opening ANWR in 2008, when he ran against the late Sen. Ted Stevens. His claim then was that it would be more effective to have at least one Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation to fight to open the refuge.
That was five years ago. The area is still closed to drilling and it looks like nothing is going to change soon. On Oct. 31, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell spoke at the National Press Club, where she renewed calls for protecting areas that are “too special to develop,” such as ANWR. She also said that the Obama administration would consider taking unilateral action to “protect” certain lands.
Begich wrote a letter to Jewell in response, warning that he would “fight any effort by the Obama Administration to make ANWR off limits.”
Begich voted to confirm Jewell, a fact that isn’t lost on Miller.
“I think it is worth noting that Mark Begich’s way of fighting for ANWR development includes voting to confirm Sally Jewell as Secretary of Interior.” Miller said. “It is a mystery to me how Mr. Begich can imagine that he has any credibility on this issue when he is, at least in part, personally responsible for elevating the very people to power who are blocking access to Alaska’s resources.”
Ouch. Though I don’t have a crystal ball, I’m willing to bet that this vote will likely hurt Begich as much, if not more, than his healthcare vote.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org