Former Senator Ted Stevens, who for years had a strong hand in controlling the nation’s purse strings, died in a small plane crash that killed at least five people in his home state of Alaska, a family spokesman said on Tuesday.
The North American chief of European aerospace giant and Airbus maker EADS’, Sean O’Keefe, and his son, survived the Monday night crash, a sourced briefed on the matter said.
Stevens, the longest serving Republican senator ever, chaired the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and was a strong supporter of robust U.S. defense budgets. A family spokesman confirmed his death in the crash. He was 86.
Stevens has somewhat of a tarnished legacy, and he can thank no one other than the incompetents in the Bush administration for that.
It’s times like these, I wish I believed in Heaven and Hell — particularly the latter, hopefully reached via a series of tubes.
Wait, what? I thought had the Bush lawyers not bungled the case, Stevens might have actually faced fines or jailtime.
@BR: I might be misremembering.
Fuck off Ted.
Bruce (formerly Steve S.)
My condolences to Jon Stewart.
The media spin cycle never ends. He was a strong supporter of wasteful defense budgets that helped bust the budget while enriching defense contractors, that encouraged the militarization of our governments and of our discourse, and that promoted the unwise use of force, such as in Iraq.
His first wife died in a plane crash, which he survived. It’s hard to believe he died in another crash.
Condolences to his family.
According to TPM, an astonishing number of Alaska politicians die in plane crashes. No doubt because so many people in Alaska own private planes.
Fix’d. You’re a US Senator. Arguably, one of the most powerful people in the world. You don’t get to make excuses about tarnished legacies that occurred when you were parading around the Capital in a Hulk Smash tie, throwing hissy fits for your Bridge to Nowhere and demanding we listen when you reveal that the internet is not a big truck.
I might be too. Let me see if I can dig it up.
Edit: ok, so reading about it at various places, it looks like the main issue was that the Bush lawyers withheld evidence from the defense and that constituted prosecutorial misconduct, which is why Holder had the case thrown out last year. But it does seem like Stevens was doing shady deals. (One supposedly exonerating piece of evidence I found was that the kickbacks he got in house renovation was only $80k rather than the $250k claimed in the trial.)
Actually I suspect it’s because Alaskan politicians fly more than other people do. People in Alaska fly more in general than people in other states, and politicians have to fly even more than the average person.
Have conservatives blamed Obama for this yet?
Or because Alaska’s huge, and if you need to go from one end of the state to the other, there are mountains in the way that prevent you driving the entire distance. It’s tough to get to Juneau, for instance, without flying or ferrying. Flying’s faster. My uncle lives in Juneau, and when his work takes him to Anchorage, he generally hops on a plane to get there.
For the same of those who could enjoy his better side, I am sorry for his death.
For the sake of everyone else, I am sorry for his life.
Yeah, so Ted used to be on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and he just happened to be chilling with the NA head of EADS.
Ironically, he might be alive today had the prosecution not totally bungled the case against him.
Well, you know, whatever. People die. 86-year-old people die more often, and Alaskans who have to fly private planes to get anywhere die more often. My condolences to his friends and family, even as I recognize that as a politician he was corrupt and selfish.
Hey Ted, now that you’re dead was all that corrupt dealing really worth it?
BTW Google concurs that the internet is just a series of tubes-the wireless portion of it at least.
I am totally underwhelmed by news of this person’s demise. He was “not a nice man,” was as corrupt as hell, and at 86 had long outlived his usefulness (if he ever had any, except for delivering pork to the Alaskan welfare state).
There is some irony in the fact that if his conviction had stuck (Thanks, Bush DoJ) he’d probably still be alive and doing time, but for the rest . . . bury him and forget him.
The plane he went down in was older then his state.
Alaska also happens to be a rather foreboding place to have engine trouble, particularly in a single-engined aircraft (which, commercially/charter-ly, are massively more common in AK).
Progressive whitewash of Career Lawyers at the DOJ public integrity section withheld of exculpatory evidence.
Of course I could go full Wellstone and say the DOJ public integrity section killed him for exposing their prosecutorial misconduct .
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan and his “Independent” consul better watch their backs.
I hope the GOP uses his Memorial for a Political Rally and fund-raising.
True to form, Stevens was on his way to a boondoggle. On board a plane owned by GCI to a fishing lodge also owned by GCI. (A major communications firm in Alaska.)
Good-bye and good riddance.
True about Alaskan terrain. This is not Cindy McCain “one must have a jet to get anywhere” [in Arizona, yet] territory.
More flights in small planes to farflung locations in changeable or bad weather. Not enough roads and too much snowpack.
First I’d heard Sean O’Keefe and his son survived the crash. I hope they both recover fully.
Hadn’t thought Stevens’ odds of survival were great, just because an 86 year old, even a hearty one, is more fragile. Auto deaths bear that out; the elderly die in accidents younger people would survive.
Suspect Stevens would rather die in a plane than in a federal pen.
He had a full long life.
Mostly I’m thinking it’s too bad the plane didn’t land on Sarah Palin.
Alaska can be a treacherous place to fly and flying is the only way you can get around most of the state, especially when it comes to fishing, which is what this group were doing.
There was bad weather in the area they went down last night, so it looks like Alaskan weather has claimed more lives.
There’s another tie in here to previous plane crashes in Alaska and political figures: Ted Stevens was defeated in 2008 by Mark Begich for his U.S. Senate seat. Mark Begich’s father was Nick Begich, a promising one term Congressman representing Alaska’s at-large district. In 1972, Representative Begich and then House Majority Leader Hale Boggs of Louisiana were flying to a fundraiser for Begich in Juneau when their plane disappeared. Both were presumed dead but the wreckage was never found.
Begich went on to beat Republican Don Young in that election. Once Begich was declared dead, Young ran again for the seat and won. He’s held that seat since.
Why blame Bush? These are all grown, educated people if the chose to follow Boy Blunder down the hell-hole of no return they could have had many excuses but “nobody could have guessed” was not one of them.
Well, I don’t think Ted Stevens was like one of the southern wingnut Senators. Thoughts and prayers with the family.
In addition to toobz and corruption, his legacy was Sarah. IIRC it was his influence that got her the governorship.
So, he gets first pick of the beds in the room that he and John McCain will be sharing in Hell.
Oh and to add – my condolences to his family. It’s always sad to lose a loved one, moreso when it’s in a sudden accident like this one.
And to everyone else – I know he was a corrupt politician, but you have to admit he did his job as an Alaskan Senator – he brought the bacon home to his home state year after year. He was very successful at what he set out to do (which makes his ham-handed handling of the favors he was getting from his oil company buddies surprising). The Senate would probably be a lot more functional at least if we had a few more Republicans who were more concerned about bringing home the bacon to their home states and less concerned about ideological purity like Stevens seemed to be.
@MoeLarryAndJesus: We can dream…
I was hoping he’d go to jail, yes. But unlike this comment thread so far, never was I so stupid to think “OH I HOPE HE DIES IN A PLANE CRASH”.
@NonyNony: No, it’s more sad to lose someone in some interminable fight with some horrific disease. . . not that you asked me.
Holy shit. A REPUBLICAN died in a small plane crash?
This almost makes me want to reconsider my favorite conspiracy theory.
Unless that’s what they want us to think. Maybe he was terminally ill and had nothing to lose…
For the win.
Perhaps not so hard. In addition to the extensive cross-country flying Stevens would have done as Senator, Alaska itself is “flight-heavy”, with many parts of the state not reachable via any other mode of transportation.
And let’s not forget all the aviation deregulation Stevens, as a Republican, must have voted for over the years.
It just all finally caught up with him.
I’m kind of surprised he made it 86 without getting into another plane crash, to be honest.
Will Munny: Funny thing, killin’ a man. You take away everything he’s got and everything he’s gonna have.
Come to my blog where you too can learn how to rape collies for fun and profit.
The Moar You Know
No, he was worse, stealing openly and without shame from the taxpayers until the day they drove his truck-driving through the intertubes ass out of the Senate for bribe-taking on a scale that made Duke Cunningham look like a motherfucking Boy Scout. Fuck Ted Stevens. Hope he’s enjoying his truck ride through the tubes to Hell.
And fuck Daily Kos while I’m at it. The way they’re slobbering on the shredded remains of his no doubt cashew-like knob over there, you’d think he was some kind of progressive patriot who was FDR’s runner-up, not the asshole that gave us Sarah Palin, bridges to nowhere, and a broken earmarks system. So fuck them too.
My first thought was that it was too bad he plane didn’t land on Dick Cheney. Well, actually that wasn’t my first thought. My first thought was about Cheney and the plane, but not so much the plane landing on him.
Already on a couple of news programs there’s been people on saying he’s was exonerated because of the prosecutorial misconduct. Not saying the case was dismissed, but that he wasn’t guilty of any wrongdoing.
I kinda miss being young and believing that history is set in stone. Or short term memory for that matter.
@The Moar You Know:
You had me at “And fuck Daily Kos”…
Felix Salmon has an inspired take on the Senator’s Alaskan life and death:
So much venom. The man died in a plane crash, it’s sad news. Man, I can only imagine what this site will be like if Dick Cheney ever bites it.
The plane he went down in was older then his state.
And 4 out of 9 people on it survived a crash landing in a blizzard. The DeHavilland Otter, the “one ton truck”, is a hell of an airplane and considered by many to be the finest bush-plane ever built by man.
You think? I dunno – it seems like with a long term fight against a disease you have time to prepare yourself for the eventual death, but with the sudden accident everything happens at once and the suddenness makes it worse.
OTOH, the battle against the long term disease is certainly soul-sapping itself for the family too. So maybe. I’ve been involved in both long-term and sudden deaths in my family and I guess I wouldn’t want to rate one over the other. They both suck.
When Dick Cheney goes the bile being spewed over his death will have been well earned, in my opinion. That’s a man who will be leaving behind a legacy of evil.
But Stevens? Meh. Run of the mill corrupt politician. Did some good things for his state, did some bad things for his country, did some bad things to get some good things for himself and got caught. About the oldest story in American politics and nothing really to get worked up over outside of an election booth. Enough to vote him out of office? Sure, but not really enough to get me dancing on his grave or anything like that.
I imagine it would look a lot like this:
In fact, it’s impossible. You cannot drive from Juneau to Anchorage. You can fly, or you can take a boat from Juneau to Whittier or Seward and then drive or train it from there.
Really, a plane crash is a pretty good way to go, especially at age 86. Beats sitting in your own pee in a nursing home wondering what your name is.
He decried federal spending while using federal spending to get himself elected.
He was the essential American politician.
My condolences to his family and friends.
@shortstop: Quite true. Or being vaporized by an IED when you’re barely an adult in the first place. No disrespect to the dead at all when I say 86 is a pretty good run, considering.
“Man, I can only imagine what this site will be like if Dick Cheney ever bites it.”
A lurker’s paradise, that’s what it will be like.
Your use of the word “if” reveals that you too are skeptical as to whether it is even possible.
Re Cheney, this one popped in to my mind first
He’s not doing well these days. Last I heard he was still in the hospital more than a month after his last surgery. And the prognosis for his condition is not good.
Just an observation.
Smurf filter installed?
Link found at Anchorage Daily News (adn.com).
AP June 30 story re Stevens reaction to Robert Byrd’s death.
I hope those who reviled the late Senator Byrd for his renounced KKK ties will report accurately on the late Senator Stevens’ legal issues.
Pretty damn quiet, unless everyone decides to try posting from whatever bar they’re celebrating at.
I can’t say I had much respect for his politics but any man who regularly wears an Incredible Hulk tie on the floor of the Senate is OK in my book. RIP Senator.
It would be beyond awesome if his former chums in the Senator were to pay tribute to Sen. Stevens by donning Hulk ties en mass.
That is a decent attitude. Are you sure you’re really a smurfhole?
@eemom: I hear he’s waiting for a heart to transplant. There are only so many compatible Hyena donors, but a plane is standing by on the Serengeti as soon as they find one. it’s a race against time and evil.
J sub D
Ted Stevens (Robert Byrd’s chief rival for the title of King of Pork) has only himself to blame for his tarnished reputation.
He’s dead and I really don’t give a rat’s ass.
Yeah, I’ve never been crazy about the dancing-on-the grave thing that often occurs on this website. I think there’s good karma in temporarily focusing on the positive right after a death, if at all possible (which Felix Salmon did in an interesting and original way in the blog entry I cited above).
It’s just a way of acknowledging that we’re all huddled at the edge of the same abyss.
I don’t know. I would rather somebody just slip up behind me and hit me in the head with a ball-peen hammer.
I for one will be singing like Julie Andrews in “Sound of Music”.
And fixed above, because I’m an optimist.
+1000. condolences to his family (tho god knows they probably lived high off of his corrupt hog), but his political issues were his fault.
I couldn’t care less about the misfortunes of a hateful corrupt old man.
He’s not worth dancing in the streets over, as i’ll be doing when Dick Cheney and george bush die (I actually did the Snoopy dance at work when falwell bit it).
Just another dead crook who should have expired in prison.
And the flying weather is often ghastly.
@flukebucket: There may have been a hammer on that flight. Let’s all just cool off until the facts come out.
Let’s be a little fair here – it’s not that much worse on this website than anywhere else on the ‘tubes. There are very few politicians who die these days where you don’t find virtual gravedancing going on, no matter who the pol was.
Hell I can’t think of anyone in the public eye alive today where you wouldn’t find some virtual gravedancing going on somewhere on the Internet if they kicked off. We’re a fairly mean species in some respects, and death is one of the things that brings it out.
Meh. I’m actually not afraid of dying. I do what I can to try to leave the world a better place than it was when I got here, so I try not to leave any unresolved negative things in my wake that I’m going to regret on my deathbed. Right now my only real fear of death comes from the fact that if I were to go today I’d never see my kid grow up. But I’ve had a good life already and I wouldn’t leave any real major regrets behind. (Haven’t been to France yet – need to get that done.)
But I’m always more concerned about the folks left behind. I’ll be dead so what do I care, but my wife and my kid have to deal with the fallout. They’re the ones I’m worried about. Deaths bring that into perspective. And they’re the ones I feel bad for when it comes to grave dancing because their grief is a real thing and the gravedancing probably makes them more miserable than they need to be.
Won’t stop me from dancing on the real villains’ graves though. Their families are already living off of the misery of others, for the most part. The Cheney family, for example, should be able to put up with some grave dancing when the elder vampire dies, given how much they’ve profited over the years off the misery of others.
I guess being bed-ridden means he can’t just shoot a prospective donor in the face.
Not necessarily applying it to Stevens but…
I never wanted to see anybody die, but there are a few obituary notices I have read with pleasure. ~ Clarence Darrow
licensed to kill time
Well, respect for the soul that shuffled off this mortal coil today. I hope it learned something on this go-round.
I like to believe in reincarnation and that you learn something each time you choose existence in the meat world because it’s less bleak than thinking one shot and you’re out. Plus I don’t see that I have much to lose in thinking that way. It could happen.
The world lost another defense contractor lobbyist, truly the sun shines darker on this day.
Fuck, he didn’t even die lobbying for a US-based defense contractor, not that it makes a much of a difference.
I hate it when people refuse to speak ill of the dead, considering that they spoke nothing but ill of when they were alive.
@ulee: That was all kinds of win.
Assuming that his supply of babies runs out and the rejuvenation cycle fails.
But yes, that is likely to be a day of national–nay, worldwide–celebration. Dick Cheney is a mere piker compared to some of the historical despots whose methods he emulates, but no less a monster–the difference is in scale, not kind.
The only sad things about that day will be that he couldn’t spend the rest of his life rotting in a jail cell, and the inevitable hagiography and whitewash of his legacy that will begin before the body is cold.
Fuck him and his evil spawn.
That’s a very nice epitaph. “Nice” in its original sense of accurate, not polite.
I live in Alaska, and have for over 30 years. I have pretty middle of the road to liberal leanings politically, which all by itself is kind of an anomaly in this state. I loved Ted Stevens as my Senator. Not because he brought home big pork barrel projects (which of course he did), but because he brought home a lot of little projects that helped a lot of people that he never got much press for.
He did a lot for rural communities in terms of health care, access, basic mail services, and education. He got funding for lot of scientific research with emphasis on the arctic. He did a lot for search and rescue groups. He did a lot of little practical things that improved peoples lives for not very much money. He was accessible, lots of politicians aren’t.
He made a career out keeping his nose pretty clean until recently, and I can’t help but think that some of what tripped him up with just plain stupidity or age.
Oh, and his son is about as bad as they get. Don’t know much about the rest of his family.
West of the Cascades
Haven’t read rest of comments, despised Ted Stevens when he was alive, but in keeping with “speak only good of the dead” I’d offer up Stevens’s sponsorship of Title IX in 1972 as a very good thing he did:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…
–United States Code Section 20
In short, high schools and colleges who wanted to continue to receive federal funds had to do one of the following:
* Providing athletic participation opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the student enrollment, OR
* Demonstrating a continual expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex, OR
* Demonstrating full and effective accommodation of the interest and ability of underrepresented sex.
@wengler: Glad someone caught that!
By the way, did Ted Stevens really decry federal spending? Seriously?
I lived in Alaska when I was little, and we had a little four-seater that took us everywhere. It was like having a second car. We took it out to the cabin at Big Lake, where we landed on pontoons.
I have wonderful memories of sitting up front with my dad, pretending that I was helping to fly. My teenage brother (who became a fighter pilot) learned to fly in that thing – he said at my dad’s memorial service that it was one of the happiest memories of his life.
@Steve: I might break my longtime sobriety with news of that.
Stevens has somewhat of a tarnished legacy, and he can thank no one other than himself.
The man was a loon.
Karma can be a bitch Stevens can’t wait to fuck.
I am pretty sure he was for all sorts of de-regulation of airline industry and against NTSB and shit. I guess karma caught up with him, a bit late, second time, but for sure.
…and with his best years still ahead of him.
…and with his best years still ahead of him.