Haven’t heard back from the Daily News about writing an op-ed for them, though I have had a nice email exchange with my old editor, Mike Carey. If I get a few printed I’ll have enough of a profile to be able to get re-involved up there in the Sullivan campaign. I’ve never met him, since he got into politics about the time I was leaving. His main opponent, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, was active when I was, but he had his nose shoved so far up Wally Hickel’s butt that I didn’t really know him. Hickel was an asshole with money, and he liked to surround himself with sycophants who kowtowed to him. He gave them jobs at some of his political projects and supported them. They were required to listen to his deep thoughts (Wally was a big geopolitical thinker) and act like they were profound. Guys like that shouldn’t get elected to the U. S. Senate. Sullivan just got backing from the Club for Growth, and he’s raised a lot more money than Treadwell, so the race is his to lose, in the primary. The general, against the politically talented incumbent Mark Begich, promises to be a knock down drag out, but if Sullivan has decent skills he should win. Begich voted for Obamacare, he’s a Democrat in a very red state, and Obama’s approval is around 40% nationally, much lower in Alaska. I met Begich when he was an Anchorage Assemblyman who was responsible for bringing traffic ticket dispensing cameras to Anchorage. People hated the damn things, and I was involved in an initiative to outlaw them. Begich came on the show to defend them, unsuccessfully. I wasn’t too hard on him, and he showed some balls just coming on my show. Seemed like an O.K. guy, really. It sure would be fun to be part of a campaign that knocked him out of the Senate.
Beating Treadwell in the primary would be fun too. Mainly because he was a Hickel guy. After I helped take Wally out in ’78 as Chairman of Hands for Hammond, I was part of taking him out again in ’86, as principal advisor of Bipartisan Alaskans Against Hickel, BAAH (like a sheep). This was my buddy Bob Clarke’s idea. I lived with Bob in Juneau most of my eight years down there. He was Hammond’s Communications Director (PR guy), and really good friend. He told me all the good stories about Hammond, who he accompanied on trips out of state. They were, like, pals. Bob worshiped Hammond. And Hammond did not want Hickel to be Governor. He was afraid he’d destroy the Permanent Fund (worth, today, $50 billion). So Bob wanted to do big full page attack ads against Hickel, accusing him of all kinds of things. Sturulewski was running against Hickel, and she couldn’t be associated with the ads. They were really rough. So Bob somehow got some money from Sturgulewski people to run the ads, and formed BAAH. But for a variety of reasons Bob’s name could not be associated with any of this. I was House Minority Leader, and couldn’t be the flack catcher either. So Bob said go find some college kid that likes Sturgulewski and we’ll make him the Chairman. So I asked around and came up with this kid, who we convinced to do it. His parents were big Sturulewski fans, so they went along. So I had my secretary, Anne Williams, go get a BAAH P. O. Box, and we had ourselves an organization!
We ran the ads and they were killers. Caused a huge stink. Charges. Counter charges, big coverage in the papers and TV stations. Everybody wanted to know what the hell BAAH was and who the hell was Paul Hansen (the college kid). The heat got too strong and we had to produce the kid, at a press conference. I prepped him pretty good, and he was really good. I was proud of him. But somebody had to set up the press conference, and be there with the kid. Since Bob couldn’t do it, it was me. I didn’t want to, at all. These ads we ran were real hardball, and Hickel, and a lot of other people, would be pissed. My name wasn’t mentioned in the papers, or on TV. But Hickel and people in politics knew. These guys were going to have a hard on for me for a long time.
On the bright side, I was getting a reputation as a guy you didn’t want to mess with.