Opinion

Commentary: Stevens leaves a legacy in Alaska

Ted Stevens of Alaska has been indicted on charges of failing to disclose gifts.
Ted Stevens of Alaska has been indicted on charges of failing to disclose gifts. Chuck Kennedy / MCT

This editorial appeared in The Anchorage Daily News.

Ted Stevens leaves public life as the most powerful figure ever to walk Alaska's political stage. His 50-year career, brought to an end by voters this past week, is tragic in the classic literary sense of the word. The same certitude and sense of righteousness that carried him to greatness also led to his personal and political downfall.

No public official in Alaska did more to make the state what it is today than Ted Stevens. During the long span of his career, Stevens was revered for his ability to benefit Alaskans by delivering policies, programs and money from a far-off and too-often indifferent federal government. He was Alaska's generous, pragmatic Uncle Ted.

Yet Uncle Ted was no teddy bear. He could be prickly, even irascible. He lacked the politician's gift for charming strangers. Famous for outbursts against adversaries, he lived by Machiavelli's maxim: It is better to be feared than loved.

As U.S. senator, he became the federal viceroy for Alaska – if it fell in Ted Stevens' sphere of influence, Ted Stevens would tell the federal government what to do.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.

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