It’s kind of like “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” In that classic chick flick, Julia Roberts is chasing after Dermot Mulroney, and Dermot Mulroney is chasing after Cameron Diaz. No one is chasing after Roberts. Well, swap out Roberts for President Obama, Mulroney for Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and Diaz for Senator Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK) and you’ve got the 2014 Senate race in Alaska.
Earlier this month, Obama said that, like it or not, his policies are ‘on the ballot’ this November. However, vulnerable Democrats are outright ignoring him.
In the Last Frontier’s tight campaign, incumbent Senator Mark Begich is doing his darnedest to distance himself from President Obama, perhaps not surprising considering only a third of Alaskans give him a positive approval rating. First, Begich said the president’s ‘not relevant’ in this election, and now he’s refusing to even
The LA Times
The simple question is at the top of many minds this grumpy election season, even among the 1,000 or so high school students gathered for a televised debate: "How will you work to reach across partisan lines to accomplish real goals?"
Incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat in a tight race, started his answer by shoving his party's president gently under the campaign bus, talking about the need to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, anathema to the Obama administration.
One person Begich isn’t shying away from, is Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. Begich has used Murkowski in his campaign ads, touting their bipartisan partnership:
"Lisa Murkowski and I, Republican and Democrat, this last year voted 80% together," Begich boasted, a claim he makes at campaign stops from Barrow to Ketchikan. "No other senators in a split delegation in the country have that kind of voting record."
Murkowski, however, was unimpressed with the ad, asking Begich to remove her picture, considering she has already endorsed his GOP opponent Dan Sullivan. Begich doubled down with a ridiculous argument that she simply ‘didn’t like the photo’ they used.
This sticky situation doesn’t only prove Begich needs to work on his manners, it also highlights the fact that Begich is more interested in touting his relationship with a Republican senator than with the president.
Other vulnerable Democrats are trying to convince voters they’re not so chummy with the president as their records might suggest. Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-Ky.) wouldn’t admit she voted for him, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) couldn’t say whether or not he was a good leader, and my personal favorite, when Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) claimed the White House would be frightened to see him walking across the lawn. In other words, by keeping the president at bay, Begich is in good company.
Oh yeah, and sorry to spoil the film, but in the end, Julia Roberts doesn’t get the guy.