Sen. Mark Begich has said repeatedly that he thinks President Obama is wrong about a host of policies, whether on oil drilling, the military or the environment. Begich also has made it perfectly clear that he has no interest in having his fellow Democrat out to his home state of Alaska, saying this year that he doesn’t “care to have him campaign for me.”
But that doesn’t mean he’s not looking for the president’s help. Begich has, in fact, submitted a long wish list to the Obama administration for agency decisions that he thinks would boost his reelection chances. Other Democrats have done, too.
In New Hampshire, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen would like the administration to help expand access to the new health-care law. In Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu has lobbied for help to keep open a federal call center. In Montana, Sen. John Walsh is fighting a decision to privatize land that could be used for hunting and fishing.
In the post-earmark era, using the party’s control of the federal bureaucracy to deliver local projects or delay new regulations that might stifle jobs has become a critical part of Democratic efforts to maintain control of the Senate. In close races, particularly in less populated states such as Alaska and Montana, incumbents are hoping that a few favorable agency decisions might secure the backing of key constituencies.
Sometimes, though, the requests set up a difficult dynamic for the administration, which must decide between helping vulnerable Democrats and going against broader goals. Many of Begich’s requests, for example, would allow for more oil drilling at the expense of disturbing environmentally sensitive areas.
HT: Hot Air