Mashek Blog: Little Sympathy For Ted Stevens

Enemies of Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska can be forgiven for any gloating over the veteran Republican's ethics investigation. He will get little sympathy from them.

For many years, Stevens has been a mean bully who takes personally any opposition to his way of operating. He admits to being an irascible lawmaker, feeling comfortable in that role.

Stevens is caught up in a widening investigation of ethics violations in Alaska. FBI and IRS investigators swarmed Stevens's home near Anchorage this week.

Stevens told fellow Republican senators in closed session that they should not prejudge him and that he would exonerate himself. That is more slack than he would be willing to give anyone who has dared to challenge him.

Either as chair or ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Stevens has used his position to every advantage. For those who speak up to challenge him, there will be utter contempt or punishment for his or her home state.

Some TV commentators referred to Stevens in news accounts as the "highly respected" senator. Wrong, because he is feared and not respected.

A word of support for Stevens came from his friend across the aisle, Sen. Dan Inouye of Hawaii. Democrat Inouye and Stevens have served together for many years.

Let's hope the honorable Inouye, a World War II hero, has a few more good friends than Stevens.

By John W. Mashek