Amanda Coyne: All's c'est la vie in love and politics

Amanda CoyneThe New York Times

While Southcentral Alaska basked, fog crept into Juneau and stayed, resulting in grounded planes, flared tempers, more rounds of drinks and even canceled fundraisers. You know it's bad when politicians cancel fundraisers.

The fog might also have contributed to a measure of mental murkiness in the Capitol. On Thursday, Rep. Lance Pruitt likened health insurance for poor people to giving toys to children. Not to be outdone, Rep. Eric Feige said what the uninsured really need is a job.

A state job, perhaps, with the best health insurance taxpayer money can buy?

And then there are the ladies, God bless us. A group of Anchorage Dems were thoughtful enough to convene an all-male panel on Tuesday night at Barbie's Cafe to talk to us about President Obama's State of the Union address and the state of world.

Five of them. Telling us what it meant for women when the president spoke about equal pay.

Actually, it was a pleasant evening. Ray Metcalfe was there. In the 1970s, he was known as Disco Ray because he danced like the wind and dressed like John Travolta. Nowadays, Metcalfe wouldn't be Metcalfe without trying to push some complicated cause that requires math. His latest has to do with salaries and percentages, or something.

Patti Higgins helped organize the event, and her husband Pat Higgins came with her. Since the 1990s, it's been rare that one or the other isn't announcing a run for something. That night, Patti announced she's running again against Rep. Charisse Millett, who had told the media the day before that she likely has MS.

Pat announced that he's running for reelection to the School Board.

Anchorage pollster Ivan Moore was on the panel. He had been out of state, caring for his lovely wife Shelley, who recently passed away. We miss her, and we're lucky to have him and all his tall, booming, lefty British authority back in the state.

Brad Keithley's Facebook page says he's eyeing an APOC letter-of-intent form sitting on his desk. Will he or won't he run for governor? Surely he knows that if he does, all's fair in love and politics.

Speaking of love and politics: Last week, I wondered if Bernadette Wilson and House Minority Leader Chris Tuck, also known as the most eligible bachelor in Alaska, were still seeing each other.

Word came back that they weren't. Word also came back that talk show host Wilson was upset that her romantic life was being written about.

So sorry.

Isn't it odd that when you go to Rep. Lindsey Holmes' campaign website, you get a Japanese site touting the benefits of growing vegetables? Click on the translation button and you come up with things like, "Because cucumber is because I hate to me."

But who cares when you're still in the first blush of new romance? Or, as lieutenant governor candidate Sen. Hollis French might put it, c'est la vie.

Valley teacher Bob Williams is also a Democrat running for lieutenant governor. Williams has blondish hair, blue eyes, rosy cheeks. He's also partial to props. At the first campaign forum, he brought color-coded ones. Now he's floating around the state carrying a hand-fashioned voting booth, equipped with a sign that reads, "Kids! Not Cuts."

On the U.S. Senate side of things, DNR Dan Sullivan released his first ad, using the deep symphony of life as the soundtrack to his very important life story. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell is discovering he's more socially conservative every day. And Sen. Mark Begich has suddenly found himself disagreeing with nearly everything Obama says and does.

And finally, on the political social scene: Wednesday there was a fundraiser for Anchorage Assembly candidate Pete Nolan at his sister's house, complete with karaoke room, disco ball and the obligatory Elvis statue.

As a handful of people sang next to me, I tried to interview Nolan. I knew enough to ask about union contracts but the music was loud and I couldn't understand what he was saying. I nearly gave up to go buy a calculator and join Metcalfe, when Nolan began to talk about being an Anchorage cop in the 1980s. How bad crime was then. How he loved his job.

In 1981, in Spenard, he was shot in the shoulder and the leg by a sniper firing from an apartment building. Nolan was on the ground for more than eight minutes before another cop could get help.

His leg still swells and gets infected.

When the music to "I Shot the Sheriff," came on, Nolan laughed. "I can sing this," he said. And we all sang along with him.

A wooden post on Doris Street still carries the scar of a bullet from that day.

If Tuck isn't seeing Bernadette Wilson, who is he seeing?

Amanda Coyne at