Credit where credit is due – national Republicans have been pulling no punches when it comes to their reaction to Ted Stevens’ conviction on seven felony counts of corruption.
“It is clear that Senator Stevens has broken his trust with the people and that he should now step down. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will be spurred by these events to redouble their efforts to end this kind of corruption once and for all.”
“As Governor of the State of Alaska, I will carefully now monitor the situation and I’ll take any appropriate action as needed. In the meantime, I ask the people of Alaska to join me in respecting the workings of our judicial system and I’m confident that Senator Stevens from this point on will do the right thing for the people of Alaska,” she said.
“This is a sad but serious day. Sen. Stevens was found guilty by a jury of his peers, and now must face the consequences of those actions. As a result of his conviction, Sen. Stevens will be held accountable so the public trust can be restored.”
National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman John Ensign (Nev.) offered a strong condemnation of Stevens and seemed to hint that this conviction would lead to his defeat.
“This is a sad day for the United States Senate,” said Ensign. “Ted Stevens served his constituents for over 40 years and I am disappointed to see his career end in disgrace.”
Of course, these people have to distance themselves from their friend and colleague as he is lead off to jail. Ted Stevens is a losing commodity nationally. He is an anchor to be hung around the necks of McCain, Palin, McConnell, and Ensign. That they turn around at try to bury his connections to them is a political necessity. I don’t know how well it will work for them, but at least they’re generally saying the right things.
What hasn’t been done yet is honest talk by McCain and Palin about what comes next:
- Will Sarah Palin vote for Ted Stevens for Senate?
- Will McCain pledge to not pardon Ted Stevens?
- Will McCain and Palin specifically ask President Bush to not pardon Ted Stevens?
- Will Palin begin immediate efforts to encourage the Anchorage International Airport to be renamed, in consultation with the Municipality of Anchorage?
Hopefully some intrepid reporters will be asking the Republican ticket these questions.
Palin pushes more chips into the pot, calling on Stevens to resign even if he’s reelected:
“I had hoped Senator Stevens would take the opportunity to do the statesman-like thing and erase the cloud that is covering his Senate seat,” she said in a statement. “Alaskans are grateful for his decades of public service, but the time has come for him to step aside. Even if elected on Tuesday, Senator Stevens should step aside to allow a special election to give Alaskans a real choice of who will serve them in Congress.”
No word yet if Palin will vote for Stevens before he resigns.