Tuckerman Babcock and the 'frenetic desire to win at any cost'
One reader of Tuckerman Babcock’s hate mail suggested that perhaps he should have waited 24 hours before clicking the “send” button on his diatribe against half of the Republicans in the state Senate.
Babcock was angry that day, my friend.
In a letter hurling insults at the six senators, he let loose with these words—arrogance, heavy-handed, disrespect, hatred, hate, outrageous, ridiculous, disingenuous, irrational and disgusted. Arrogance won the day, a word he used five times.
The tenor of the column and his choice of targets reveals all you need to know about why his short tenure as the governor’s chief of staff —ending with his forced departure—was less than a complete success, and how Babcock helped launch the biggest recall campaign in state history.
He sent a slightly different version of his spiel to Suzanne Downing, the voice of Gov. MIke Dunleavy and all things Babcockian.
He made two significant changes that toned down his accusations in the Anchorage paper.
“It is pure arrogance and an absurd and preposterous demand that all applicants now bow to Cathy Giessel’s and Natasha Von Imhof’s hatred of the full PFD,” he said in Downing’s version.
“It is pure arrogance and an absurd and preposterous demand that all applicants now bow to Sen. Giessel’s newfound hatred of the full PFD,” he said in the ADN version.
About Sen. John Coghil, he said in the ADN, “I am particularly disappointed by this vote coming near the likely end of a long career of Sen. John Coghill. He has always previously done his best to uphold the Alaska Constitution and the principles of good government. Not this time.”
For the Republican blog, he said, “This is a dismal end to the long career of Sen. John Coghill. He has always previously done his best to uphold the Constitution and the principles of good government. Not this time.”
Neither Von Imhof nor Coghill deserve these insults, but they will consider the source and keep doing their jobs.
There are conflicting opinions among Alaskans about the Permanent Fund dividend and what to do about it. The problem is complex because the permanent fund, as the largest source of state income, has to be looked at in the context of overall state finances.
The six GOP senators who refuse to look at the dividend in isolation deserve credit for refusing to accept the tunnel vision championed by Dunleavy and Babcock. The entire GOP contingent in the Legislature is still lagging behind reality in refusing to talk about taxes, but that is another matter.
Seeking an intelligent discussion about state finances is the task of Senate leaders. Babcock’s barking about those who “hate” the PFD is pure blather.
“I supported a full, statutory PFD — as does the Alaska Republican Party,” brags Babcock.
He aimed this at Giessel, but she and the five other senators should reply to Babcock with his exact words: “Your frenetic desire to win at any cost and your twisting of the process and the purpose of the law has cost you my support.”