Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stevens Indicted

The indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska is probably not exactly what the GOP was looking for.

The indictment of Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens on charges that he lied about accepting gifts from an oil contractor only adds to his party’s already bleak electoral prospects in November, and not simply because it could cost the GOP a Senate seat that should be safe.

While Stevens has vowed to fight charges and, through a spokesman, to move “full steam ahead” with his re-election bid, he’s received little support from Alaska’s Republican governor and no comment yet from his own GOP leader in the Capitol.

His indictment, though, could knock Republicans off message just as party leaders hoped to gain traction on one of the few issues in which voters solidly side with them: producing more domestic oil.

Stevens is the single most prominent advocate of oil drilling in protected areas, and charges that he took more than a quarter-million dollars worth of unreported gifts from oil services contractor Veco Corp. and its executives will play right into Democratic efforts to paint Republicans as a party captive to Big Oil.

According NPR, the Democrats are not gloating — “it’s a sad day” — and I think they’re right on that score. It stinks when any elected representative, regardless of party, is accused of this kind of thing.

If you want to see a reason why election turnout is anemic, here’s one reason. And Bryan at Why Now? makes a good point:

This is one of the many reasons the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve shouldn’t be opened – these people just can’t control their greed.