There’s little doubt that the outcome of the current criminal trial of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens could have a huge impact on the balance of power in the Senate. Given the current polls, if he’s convicted, presumably he’ll lose reelection; if he’s acquitted, presumably he’ll win.
So, the jury’s verdict may well determine whether the Democrats stand a chance in hell of gaining a filibuster-proof 60-vote Senate majority.
But, believe it or not, I honestly don’t care. This isn’t about politics; it’s about what the evidence in the case has shown: and, frankly, those of us who didn’t sit through the trial have no way of answering that question.
Is Steven’s at least a little dirty? That much seems very clear. But as to whether the government proved its case, especially in light of the claims of prosecutorial misconduct (claims which the trial judge seems to have accepted as true), how the hell can we know?
Now, for what little it’s worth, here’s my entirely uninformed prediction: the jury will acquit Stevens. They’ll do so not because they think he’s clean — but because they’ll think he’s so damn old that he probably didn’t remember what gifts he’d received when he filled out his Senate disclosure forms.
And in a way, such a result might just serve Alaska right, if, as seems likely, they then decide to send this corrupt Senator back to Washington since he’s always been so good at bringing home the (federal) bacon. Because in the next overwhelmingly Democratic Congress, with Stevens still carrying the stench of corruption, he’ll be about as useful to Alaska as a blind toad trying to help steer a bus.
If Alaskans decide to send Stevens back to the Senate, they’ll have sold their soul and they won’t even get the benefit of the bargain.
And that might just be fair retribution for their having hoisted Sarah Palin on the rest of us.