Klondike Criminality: Ted Stevens Has Rounded Third on the Long Way Home

08/01/2007 10:24 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Tuesday NY Times reported that after the extraordinary federal raid on his Alaska residence, Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in U.S. Senate history, issued a brief statement: "I continue to believe this investigation should proceed to its conclusion without any appearance that I have attempted to influence the outcome."

How magnanimous of the guy.

It seems a wealthy Anchorage businessman -- who received tens of millions in federal contracts directed his way by Stevens over the years -- secretly and illegally paid to remodel the senator's home, doubling its size. Ted's son and Don Young, the state's only U.S. congressman, have also been implicated in dealings with the businessman, who has pleaded guilty to bribing state lawmakers and agreed to cooperate with authorities.

Ted, I think I speak for all Americans in agreeing with you that it would be terrible if you were seen as having "attempted to influence the outcome" of an investigation against you, so here's a nifty idea: Why don't you save us the time and expenditure and tell us what federal agents were looking for and what exactly you've done wrong?

After all, you know what they're investigating. Just come clean. Then we'll all go out for cocktails and be done with it.

An admission of guilt (plus a show of remorse) is the mature thing to do, Ted. And let's face it, at 83 you're past the tried and true "youthful indiscretion."

Here's another thought: After your indictment, trial and likely conviction, who's going to pay for changing all the signage when the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport reverts to plain 'ol Anchorage International Airport, its name before they unwisely added you in 2000?

Many cities and states have rules saying a person must be dead so many years before stuff gets renamed for them. There's a good reason. Sometimes a community gets egg on its face after rushing to honor a sleazoid before horrible details about them bubble up.

Modern examples abound. The city of Cincinnati, Ohio actually had this rule but waived it in 1985, at the urging of a city councilman. Pete Rose was retiring from baseball, and a local road was quickly renamed in his honor. As fate would have it, Pete would soon be banned for life from his sport for gambling. He also did prison time for tax evasion as I recall.

And the official who led the charge to honor Pete back then? That would be Ken Blackwell, who would go on to build his own brand of infamy as Ohio's Republican Secretary of State during the 2004 presidential election.

Some of the Cincy road is no more, having fallen victim to development and embarrassment. Many call the remaining stretch the "Cooperstown Bypass." Blackwell was trounced in the 2006 Ohio governor's race, 60% to 38%.

Oh, look: Here comes Ted Stevens now, sliding toward home plate and his own ignominious fate. "'re OUT!"

UPDATE: A commenter points out that the Klondike River is in Canada, not the USA. True, it's in the Yukon Territory, just east of Alaska. Still, it sounds good and it's close enough, at least to those of us in the lower 48!