Senator Begich: Your Senate Race IS About Obama

Senator Begich: Your Senate Race IS About Obama
By  Fred Fleitz

Alaska Senator Mark Begich said on Saturday that the Alaska Senate race is about Alaska’s future and not President Barack Obama.

But first Lady Michelle Obama insists the November elections are about her husband.  She said at a recent campaign rally in Illinois: “Because make no mistake about it. Barack’s last campaign wasn’t in 2012; the last campaign is this year, 2014.”

Funny how Senator Begich and Democratic senate candidates across the country don’t agree and are running from the president.

Begich along with Democratic Senate candidates Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Kay Hagan (North Carolina), Bruce Braley (Iowa), and Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire) have distanced themselves from Mr. Obama and refuse to campaign with him.

In a recent debate, Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Allison Grimes refused to admit she voted for Barack Obama for president.

Senator Begich maintains he is not a rubber stamp for the president because he has opposed him on issues such as the Keystone pipeline, gun rights, the cost of living on military bases and rural education policy.  He also opposes the president’s plan to arm the Syrian rebels.

While many conservatives agree with Begich on these issues, he is sidestepping more important issues which I believe will lead to his defeat: how Begich’s reelection will help keep Harry Reid as majority leader, Begich’s vote to pass Obamacare, and the fact that if the Republicans take the Senate, Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski will become the Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Removing Harry Reid as majority leader is the only way Americans can express their displeasure with President Obama’s failing presidency.  Reid has been abusing his power in the Senate for six years to block key bills and amendments that could have blunted the damage of Obama programs and force Democratic senators like Mark Begich to take public stands on them.  With the recent volatility in the stock market, the president’s ineffective efforts to contain the threat from ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the mishandling of the Ebola outbreak, and growing concerns about Obamacare, America needs a Republican Senate to hold the president accountable.

The handful of issues on which Senator Begich disagrees with the president are greatly overshadowed by these and other more important issues.  Re-electing Mark Begich would be a vote to keep Harry Reid as the Senate Majority Leader and to NOT hold Mr. Obama accountable.

Although Obamacare may be the most important issue for Alaskans in the U.S. Senate race, Begich is desperately trying to ignore it.  Check out the “priorities” page of his campaign website – healthcare is not listed as a priority issue despite the fact that Obamacare was the most important vote of his Senate career and growing anger in the state about how this program is causing healthcare costs to skyrocket.

According to an October 13 Politico article, Alaskans are facing “more extreme premium increases from some insurers” because of Obamacare.  In early September, the Alaska Division of Insurance announced that average premiums for health care plans available on the federal exchange will increase up to 37 percent according to a September 11 Alaska Journal of Commercearticle.

The Alaska Journal article also said Obamacare has caused Premera Blue Cross of Alaska to incur severe losses.

And then there is chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, an issue which has received little attention in the Alaska Senate campaign.  The current Democratic Chairwoman, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, has used this powerful post to benefit oil and gas production in her state.

Alaska would gain a similar advantage if the Senate flips to Republican control and Senator Lisa Murkowski became the new chairwoman of this committee.

But there is another scenario for the Senate Energy Committee that would harm Alaska: if Landrieu loses but the Democrats keep control of the Senate, the new chair would be Washington Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell who is hostile to the energy industry.

Dan Sullivan, the Republican candidate for the Alaska Senate seat, is a good alternative to Senator Begich.  He is a moderate Republican who has been endorsed by the conservative Club for Growth and moderate Republican Condoleezza Rice.  He also has a deep understanding of national security issues from his 20 years of military service and high-level jobs in the National Security Council and the State Department.

Making Senator Murkowski the new Chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is a good reason to vote against Senator Begich.

But a better reason is that Alaskans and all Americans need to hold Mr. Obama accountable for his poor policies and lack of leadership by removing his key ally, Senator Harry Reid, as Senate Majority Leader.

Senator Begich, Michelle Obama was right – next month’s elections are about President Obama.



Fred Fleitz is a regular contributor to APE. Mr. Fleitz is a former CIA analyst and Senior Fellow with the Center for Security Policy.



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