Don Young Inches Ahead, With a Boost From….Ron Paul?
I'm in Anchorage, Alaska this morning, wrapping up a vacation. Other than Sen. Ted Stevens' unfortunate win that Nick Gillespie noted this morning (but fret not—polls show he's going to get clocked in the general election) the big news up here from last night's primaries is that the state's sole representative in Congress, Rep. Don "Stuffed It Like a Turkey" Young, is in the fight of his political life, clinging to a 145 vote lead over state Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell.
Young of course is the House's poster boy for earmark madness, making an art of procuring mounds of pork for the Last Frontier, then openly boasting about his recklessness with taxpayer money. Young's best move, though, may have been finding $10 million in the federal budget for a road project in Florida, coincidentally benefiting a real estate magnate who had hours earlier raised $40,000 for Young's campaign, and happens to own 4,000 acres along the same road. Young's a dinosaur, the epitome of the frozen sludge of long-serving, good ol' boy politics that's come to epitomize Alaska's delegation in Washington. It shouldn't surprise anyone that Young is also being investigated by the Justice Department for corruption.
Which makes it all the more puzzling that Young won a last-minute and possibly game-changing primary endorsement from, of all people, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). Paul's endorsement praises Young for "standing up to environmental extremists," and for supporting Paul's proposal to abolish the income tax. But that hardly seems worth Paul sticking his neck out for this idiot, particularly given Young's resolute support for the Iraq war, the issue that defined Paul's run for the White House.
Parnell, Young's opponent, has proposed a one-year earmark moratorium. He has also been endorsed by the low-tax, limited government Club for Growth, a fact Young has used against him, weirdly implying that the anti-government group may call in favors from Parnell in exchange for their support (how would that work, exactly?). There's really not much difference between Young and Parnell on environmental issues. Both support drilling in ANWR.
Paul's last-minute entry into the race shouldn't be taken lightly. Paul raised more money from Alaska than any presidential candidate from either party, and finished third in the GOP caucuses, ahead of John McCain, with votes to cover Young's slim lead over Parnell this morning several times over.
Paul's no stranger to earmarks himself, so perhaps that explains why he's not much bothered by Young's frivolity with taxpayer money. But I'd imagine that many of the people who donated to Paul's presidential run in support of his opposition to the war and his support for a limited, fiscally responsible federal government will be pretty disappointed by his move to keep a guy like Young in office.