08 November 2006

The fallacy of Tony Knowles

I hope the election results put a definitive end to the Democratic Party's belief in Tony Knowles. Everyone - from Ethan Berkowitz on down - seemed to kow-tow to him as the only person capable of winning a statewide race for the Democrats.

But let's review his history:

  • Lost in 1990;
  • Ever-so-narrowly won a three-way race in 1994;
  • Won in 1998 when he was running against a nutjob;
  • Lost in 2004;
  • Lost convincingly in 2006.
The guy is 2 for 5 in statewide races and 1998 really shouldn't count. He's not a great Democratic party Svengali who has any special insight into the nature of Alaskans or any great crossover appeal.

Alaska is a Republican state and Democrats will always struggle, particularly when they continue to be led by members of their urban intelligentsia, like Berkowitz or Johnny Ellis. I think a lot of Democratic hopes are going to be pinned to Mark Begich in 2010 and I bet he'll run. But I don't give him much of a shot.

UPDATE: I just want to clarify this post, based on some e-mails I've received. My point is not that Berkowitz, Begich, et al. are bad people or have bad ideas. I've never met Begich but I have spoken with Berkowitz several times and came away impressed every time. I'll miss him in the legislature. "Urban intelligentsia" is not a term of derision; indeed, before I moved to Nome (not so urban), I could easily have counted myself among its members.

My point is that I don't think the Democratic Party's route to success lies in nominating candidates from Anchorage. And just because I don't think Mark Begich has much of a shot in 2010 doesn't mean a) I won't vote for or support him or b) I think he's a bad guy. He just might not be the strongest candidate the Democratic party could nominate.

1 comment:

Deirdre Helfferich said...

I voted for Berkowitz in spite of Knowles being on the ticket. That was pretty much the view of several others I spoke with last night, and I talked to many who couldn't bring themselves to vote for Knowles, so voted for Halcro or even Massie instead.