Gov. Mike Dunleavy is trying to generate national opposition to the recall campaign by appearing on right-wing talk shows and giving interviews to sympathetic websites, portraying himself as a victim of the same forces opposing President Trump.
If Dunleavy can sell this line of hokum, it might gain him financial assistance from wealthy Outside donors beyond his brother in Texas. Without this alleged Trump parallel of persecution, he’ll have a hard time generating national attention.
After telling the audience at a Republican chili cook-off in Palmer last week, that “I may call upon you to help out” fighting the recall, he plugged his website and mentioned he is taking his message Outside.
“I’ve been doing a number of national shows. I’ll be going back to D.C. and New York to do some of the shows that you will watch on some of the conservative channels. Have a discussion about Alaska. They’re very interested in Alaska. You’re going to see a lot of editorials.”
This sounds like a campaign trip for Dunleavy.
His pitch? He has been persecuted by the left, the news media and special interests, just like President Trump.
Dunleavy has been practicing this spiel for weeks. And it is likely to be his major argument in the recall. It’s a weak hand.
On the Joe Pags radio show, Dunleavy said he doesn’t get treated fairly by the media in Alaska, one of his favorite complaints.
“Personally I don’t think we’e getting a fair shake. And you’re not going to hear me complain much about the press, but you asked the question. Fairness would be out of 10 articles, are five and five balanced? It doesn’t appear to be. And a lot of folks that are contacting our office are saying the same thing. So you have to fight through that and beyond that and get to people through social media and get to people one on one, so that’s what we’re doing,” he said.
The idea that “balanced” news coverage consists of five articles in his favor and five against him shows that he misunderstands how this works. His tone-deaf budget debacle, his false claims about schools and the University of Alaska, his lack of leadership and his inability to get things done with the Legislature are the main reasons why coverage is not balanced to his liking.
His sense that state-fund propaganda is a superior form of communication doesn’t help his cause.
In none of these appearances does Dunleavy mention what he actually promised during his campaign—painless budget cuts, no cuts to the ferry system, the elimination of 2,000 ghost jobs, etc.—but claims he is being unfairly attacked for doing what he said he would do.
His mishandling of the budget this year is the primary element in the strength of the recall. He continues to take no responsibility for his mistakes, claiming his reversal on $150 million in vetoes and the firing of Tuckerman Babcock and Donna Arduin had nothing to do with the recall.
Dermot Cole can be reached at email@example.com