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Don being Don

Congressman Don Young spoke Thursday to a gathering of "Alaskans for Liberty" at an east side Anchorage cafe.

Don was in fine form, alternately bombastic and charming. Here are a few gems from his performance:

About House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her dealings with conservative-leaning House Democrats: "I will give the speaker credit. (Dramatic pause.) She is a mean woman." (He says she keeps them in line by threatening them.)

He defended his willingness to discuss increasing the federal gasoline tax: "Who likes roads? If you want to have infrastructure, then you have to pay for it."

A questioner said that if a disaster struck, Alaska has only a two-week supply of food and other essentials. Before giving a serious answer, he said "You might want to be a neighbor to a Mormon. They always have a year's supply of food."

He called the nation's dependence on imported oil a "criminal activity of exporting dollars to buy fossil fuels."

Talk radio jock Eddie Burke asked if Young was part of the problem in creating the nation's $11 trillion debt. "No!" Don retorted. "YOU'RE part of MY problem!"

On why a constituent hadn't gotten a reply to a letter sent to the congressman by U.S. mail: "Mailed letters go through anthrax treatment and they're usually destroyed." E-mail is a better way to go, he said.

"I am totally against cap-and-trade (to deal with greenhouse gas pollution). It's a tax . ... I do not believe man is causing the problem. God has a lot to do with this. ... Eleven times, we've had ice ages. ... We're being honswaggled (sic) by the media and those who want control ... Where did those 11 freezings and thawings come from? ... My geologists believe the largest deposit of oil left is at the North Pole. If that's the case, where was the ice cap (when the oil was formed)?

To a complaint that "We have no way of getting you out of office" -- Don said with a big laugh: "I came within 304 votes of getting out!"

"To those who voted for me, I thank you. To those who voted against me, I forgive you."

One questioner obviously didn't like his stand in favor of union card check legislation.

Don said he's "prejudiced" on this one because he's a Teamster. "I believe in unions. I believe in working people. They say the secret ballot is eliminated. That's not true. A secret ballot can be requested."

He was unfazed when the questioner replied "What you just said is almost enough to make me vote against you."

As Don mentioned his pedigree as a riverboat captain, trapper, and gold miner, he said "I found a 122 pound gold nugget," gesturing to his wife Lu. She gave him an adoring hug.

"If my wife and I can't do this job," he told the audience, they could vote him out.

-- Matt Zencey