In an attempt to look closely at the support for Margaret Stock by millennial self-identified “Berniecrats”, when one published a meme touting Ms. Stock in the Alaskans for Bernie Sanders Facebook group I invited him to specifically identify any progressive legislation now pending in the US Senate that Ms. Stock would be willing to commit to co-sponsor. I suppose this could be considered “trolling” because it was at the time very clear to me that Stock was and continues to be very much a true Alaskan Republican, in no small part because her major endorsement thus far (other than dog musher Jeff King) was from the The Centrist Project. After lots of your typical deflection, the poster suggested that I address my concerns to the candidate, so I did. I e-mailed Ms. Stock’s campaign:
The question has arisen, in as much as Ms. Stock has indicated that she is receiving support from the Centrist PAC (which some read as Rockefeller Republican) and has stated that she wants to work with other Senators to get things done, whether she would co-sponsor any of the following progressive bills now pending in the Senate: S2391, S2237, S2142, S2054, S2023, S1832, S1713, S1631, S3118, S3078, S3025, S2789, S2761, S2744, S2647, S2624, S2578, S2436, S1709 , S1381, S793.
And almost immediately I received an answer directly from Ms. Stock:
Thank you for reaching out to ask about my positions on the 22 Senate bills that you listed in your email. As you can imagine, I don’t have the bill numbers memorized, but first chance I get, I will check the names of the bills and let you know my positions on them. Do you want to set up a time to talk by telephone so we can chat about your views on these bills?
Also, just FYI, the Centrist Project is not a PAC and they do not provide money to political candidates. Instead, they are a national project that endorses candidates, and they send emails to their supporters and ask the supporters to send individual donations to the candidates. But again, the Centrist Project is not a PAC.
Let me know if you’d like to set up a time to talk by telephone.
And I quickly responded:
FYI, I never said that the Centrist Project was a PAC, and there is a Centrist Project PAC, the Centrist Voice, a separate segregated fund of the Centrist Project (https://centristproject.nationbuilder.com/centrist_voice). I am surprised that you are not aware of it, especially as the CPV donated to campaigns in 2014, and has done so again in 2016 according to the CRP.
My views on progressive legislation are not, of course, an issue in the campaign. But as you have been touted by many Democrats as a progressive candidate, I wanted to know if you were a centrist, or a progressive, and I thought if you were to confirm your willingness, if elected, to co-sponsor the legislation mentioned, that would go quite a ways to resolving that question. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, Marc [list at left, attached]
Margaret has now been caught out, as it were. The website she references for her campaign is a joint project of The Centrist Project and The Centrist Project Voice, and the website continues to solicit money, and all the money continues to go into its PAC and the PAC continues to file FEC forms and spend money (see this OpenSecrets link). But Margaret (much like any Republican), just doubles down:
Centrist Project Voice isn’t an active PAC. It looks like they gave $75.00 to candidates in 2016. I have not received any funds from them.
Yes, the position of the person who proposes to be our new US Senator is that because the last quarterly filing shows only $75 in candidate support the PAC is not “active”, nor is she receiving any funds. Well, one has to wonder, then, why she sought their endorsement, especially in as much as the 2014 candidates that The Centrist Project endorsed received thousands of dollars!
While I let all that stew for a bit, I plumbed the Centrist Project website and made a donation. I was thanked for my donation via an e-mail with an address of email@example.com (Andy Smith, past Outreach Manager for The Centrist Project) but the e-mail said it actually came from Dane Sharrets, whose LinkedIn profile indicates that he is the current Outreach Manager at the project and the one responsible for the current web site. Of course, that may be problematic for Mr. Sharrets, as e-mails to both firstname.lastname@example.org (the e-mail employed by Mr. Sharrets) and my attempt at what might be Mr. Sharrets’ address, email@example.com, bounced. I followed up with a telephone call that went to voice mail and I left a message.
And no, I have not had anything further either from Ms. Stock’s campaign, nor from the Centrist Project. I will update this if I hear from either.
Now, am I suggesting that you not vote for Margaret Stock? Nope. Am I suggesting that you vote for someone else? No there as well. Am I suggesting that any of the points raised above are earthshaking? Sorry to disappoint. Margaret Stock was, is, and will continue to be a Republican: she contributed to the McCain 2008 campaign, as well as to the campaign of a “true Alaska conservative” (Treadwell 2014), and her positioning today makes it clear that she is looking for a way to avoid the ideological litmus tests inherent in today’s GOP primaries. It’s great that people want to “take back” the GOP, it’s just unfortunate that as contrasted to Senator Sander’s efforts, they are trying to do that from outside the party.
The bit that is problematic is the confusion by self identified “Berniecrats” that use of the word “independent” somehow equates with some sense of one’s political views being progressive. Let’s put it this way, if you can argue that John McCain and Mead Treadwell are progressive goto guys for our country, then we apparently have no common understanding of what the term “progressive means. Don’t get me wrong, I have often opined how politics is rendering so much of our language virtually meaningless, but this would be rather an extreme example. So extreme, that when I read the penultimate graph in Cal Thomas’ latest piece,
Only one candidate for president is capable of overturning the “money changers” in Washington. The political, governmental and media elites have had their chance to turn things around and they have failed. Now it’s time for…
I felt that Thomas (about as far right as one can get and still appear in a major newspaper) was, in borrowing Senator Sander’s script, pulling the same thing.
You can take Stock. You can have Trump as well. Are they two peas in a pod? ‘Won’t say; wouldn’t be prudent…’ But they both look to take advantage of fear and anger, don’t they?