The Original Nick Begich

Nick Begich III seeks to represent Alaska in Congress, as his grandfather did from 1970 to 1972. Even though Young Nick is a conservative Republican businessman he is suspect in the eyes of many Republicans because of the politics of his uncles Mark and Tom. A better place to look for Young Nick’s inspiration is to look at the all too brief career of the Original Nick Begich.

Elected to the State Senate in 1962 at the age of 30, in 1970 Begich beat Republican Frank Murkowski 55-45 for the right to succeed Republican Representative Howard Pollock, . (Pollock ran for Governor and lost). At this time development of the oil field discovered at Prudhoe Bay in 1968 was stalled because of Alaska Native Land Claims.

As a freshman Congressman in 1971, Begich worked with Alaska Natives and with Senators Ted Stevens and Mike Gravel on legislation to settle these claims and allow construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. For Alaska this was, and is, the most important law passed since statehood. Working closely with House Majority Leader Hale Boggs of Louisiana, Begich won passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Thirteen regional Native Corporations were established, and given the rights to 40 million acres of Alaska lands. This critical bill passed the House 343-63, and the rush to the Arctic was on. This was the birth of modern Alaska.

Boggs was in line to become Speaker of the House following Carl Albert of Oklahoma. He was so impressed with Begich that he flew to Alaska in October of 1972 to help him win reelection. On a flight from Anchorage to Juneau their Cessna 310 went down in mysterious circumstances and was never found. House Majority Whip Tip O’Neill took over for Boggs as Majority Leader and Don Young was elected to replace Begich. In 1977 it was O’Neill, not Boggs, who became Speaker after Albert.

Who knows how far Begich could have gone if he and Boggs had not been killed? He was destined for leadership in Congress, and was poised to become a great asset to the people of the State of Alaska. If his grandson needs a role model, he will not be looking to his uncles. All he needs to do is walk in the steps of one of the founders of modern Alaska, the Original Nick Begich.

The issue of federal lands in Alaska has not been settled to Alaska’s satisfaction to this day. In fact, the federal government still owns 61% of Alaska lands. Why? There’s no satisfactory answer to that question. In his 2016 campaign for President, Sen, Ted Cruz promised to support transferring federal lands to the states. His opponent, Donald Trump, was opposed. His son, Donald Trump Jr., acting on behalf of Safari Club International, convinced him to adopt this position, and in an interview with Field & Stream magazine he said he didn’t trust the states with the land. The wealthy trophy hunters of Safari Club fear the states, if given title, would give hunting preferences to their residents. Cruz was able to campaign and win on this issue in northern Nevada, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah.

In the 2024 Republican presidential primaries this question will resurface, as candidates compete to win delegates in the mountain west. As Ted Cruz proved in 2016, it’s a winning issue. As a result, if a Republican other than Donald Trump wins the Presidency, Alaska and the other states of the mountain west will almost surely have an ally in the White House as they seek to reduce federal landholdings in their states. Who better to represent Alaska on this issue than the namesake and grandson of the Original Nick Begich?

A Realignment Election in 2024?

The Democratic Party agenda has dominated American politics for the last 89 years, since 1932. Republican Presidents like Eisenhower, Nixon and the Bushes didn’t really challenge the Democratic narrative. Reagan and Trump did, but both left office with Democratic political dominance intact.

The Republican Party agenda dominated for 72 years, from 1860 to 1932. Grover Cleveland was only a nominal Democrat, and Wilson only won because Bull Moose Teddy Roosevelt split the Republican vote.

In other words, 1860 and 1932 were realignment elections. The winning coalitions lasted far beyond one or two Presidencies. They lasted generations.

It seems as if contemporary Democrats have a death wish, as if they were intentionally trying to alienate people. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. In the political sense, these people have lost their minds.

I’ve got a feeling in my gut that 2024 is not only an historic landslide, but that incoming President Pence will prove a resounding success. If his successor is someone like Ron DeSantis, he, too, will be successful. An enduring political majority could be the result. Democrats may win the Presidency, but they won’t challenge the dominant, Republican narrative.

That narrative is, essentially, normalcy.

I may have felt this way before. I’ve been involved politically since 1960. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

But I think it’s going to make the next few years extremely interesting. If you like politics.

After 50 years, Fiscal Reform will come at last

From 2014 to 2018 it was possible for the Republican state legislatures to call for an Article V Amendment Convention without one Democrat vote. Since the 2018 election, that is no longer true. But by 2024, if current trends continue, it will be again.

At the moment there are Republican majorities in both chambers in 31 states. We should win the Minnesota Senate in 2022, getting us to 32.

In 2023 we should pick up the Virginia Senate, giving us 33. In the Republican landslide of 2024, we should win either Maine or Nevada. That’s 34.

I believe Mike Pence will be elected President in 2024, but as long as it isn’t Donald Trump — an avowed opponent of all Article V resolutions — the Republican in the White House will encourage the campaign to get the Fiscal Reform Amendment proposed at an Article V Convention, and ratified in his first term.

What started in 1975 will finally come to pass, and I am determined to see it.

Fighting the mask nazis with Irish democracy

I live in a part of California, the Sierra foothills, which has the culture of the Mountain West. This distinct American subculture extends north from northern Arizona and New Mexico all the way up to Alaska. It begins in western Colorado and includes the most easterly sections of Washington, Oregon and California.

But it’s still subject to the laws of California, so mask requirements are everywhere. I am a follower, not a leader, in this regard. If most people are wearing a mask, I do too. But if a significant minority are maskless, I take mine off.

I go to Walmart occasionally, and I’ve witnessed a trend, which has become a wave, of resistance. Big signs in front of the store say masks are required, per local law, but today, for the first time, almost no one had a mask on. Same thing, a little later, at Wells Fargo.

This is Irish democracy, or civil disobedience, and I think it’s gaining steam. In Alaska the election of Mayor Bronson was an early symptom. Glenn Youngkin’s recent win in Virginia is related.

This political wave is evidenced today Vermont Senator Leahy retiring. This is a surprise. He’s only 81, a spring chicken by Congressional standards.

What we’re witnessing is the beginning of a virtuous circle, as more Democrats retire, and more quality Republicans decide that 2022 is a great year to run.

It will be three years before we can vote Biden out of office, and he’ll do significant damage to this country in the mean time. But 2024 is shaping up as one of the great political wipeouts of all time. To me it looks like 1920. That election led to some badly needed reforms, including immigration law. 2024 is going to be so big that some great things are going to be possible, things that haven’t been possible in generations.

This why we’ll get good candidates for Congress. Big changes are coming, and who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

This is especially true in Alaska, and I intend to play a part in that play.

January 6, 2021, the day when Mike Pence assumed the leadership of the Republican Party

That’s the day Pence refused Trump’s angry demand that he throw out the electoral votes of states where fraud was suspected.

But the language of the 12th Amendment admits of no room for interpretation.  It confers no power on the Vice President, only the duty to count the electoral votes submitted by the states. This act is purely ministerial.  It allows for no discretion.

Crackpot lawyer Eastman was speculating, in his “legal” advice to Trump, about what might happen if Pence exceeded his authority and claimed a power he did not have.  It was simply a recipe for an attempt at a coup d’etat.

As President, Trump had a duty to follow the Constitution.  But he wasn’t interested in the Constitution.  He was interested in power, and in somehow avoiding the humiliation of having lost an election to a demented charlatan. 

Because of his ignorance of and indifference to the Constitution, Trump disgraced himself on January 6th, and proved himself unfit for service in political office.