Apparently, the GOP Senate caucus met to discuss the pathetic outrage represented by Lisa Murkowski’s decision to run a fruitless write-in campaign after losing the Republican primary to Joe Miller and to consider stripping her of leadership positions – which would seem to be the reasonable way to impose discipline on wayward and selfish party members.
But in doing so, the mandarins among the Republican senate caucus decided to stop short of actually dumping her from the biggest honey pot committee assignment she has – namely, the Senate Energy Committee.
A GOP source in the room tells CNN, despite anger towards Murkowski, the conference decided not to even take up the question of the Senate Energy Committee post because “there was a sense that she’s resigned her leadership post, she lost her primary, she will probably lose her race, and she’ll be gone. She will not be ranking [Republican] because she will not be here.”
From what it sounds like, the more conservative members of the GOP Senate caucus were ready to run Murkowski off. But some of the old guard managed to carry the day. Namely, Orrin Hatch.
“We all respect the system, and she still is a Republican senator,’’ said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah.) after the closed party caucus. “It’s just a matter of good taste. We decided to keep the status quo as long as she’s a senator.’’
Good taste? Hey Hatch, this woman is running against the GOP nominee for the Senate in Alaska. She’s calling the GOP nominee, chosen by the Republican electorate in her state, an “extremist.” Which means she’s calling the majority of the Republican Party in Alaska extremists by extension.
That’s the exact same word the Democrats are using to describe Republicans across the country. Murkowski is running against a Republican candidate using the same language the Democrats use.
If you can’t punish this, what can you punish?
This is the kind of weak-kneed performance the Senate GOP leadership has been guilty of for a very long time, and it isn’t getting better. It’s why so many of us refused to support the idea of sending yet another weak Republican to the Senate – Mike Castle – to make common cause with fossils like Hatch and meat puppets for the Beltway elite like Lindsey Graham.
Castle, by the way, seems to think Murkowski’s idea of being a write-in candidate is just swell. He says he might even possibly do it himself. Funny thing, though – the 20-something percent that Castle would top out at would likely come mostly from the Democrat, Chris Coons. So for once, perhaps careerist arrogance on the part of loser so-called Republican politicians ought to be encouraged.
Meanwhile, a new Survey USA poll says Joe DioGuardia is within one point of Kirsten Gillibrand, 45-44. That same poll has Chuck Paladino just nine points back of Andrew Cuomo in the New York governor’s race, 49-40. The people of New York are so fed up with establishment Democrats that they’re willing to vote for Republicans they’ve never heard of.
The takeaway from all this? Here we have this massive wave coming, which looks like it could deliver to the Republicans a majority in the Senate with room to spare, and the GOP leadership is doing things which will have the effect of dampening enthusiasm for giving them control.
Nice work. Can’t wait to see the hard-nosed leadership Mitch McConnell and his crew have in store for us.
UPDATE: Jim DeMint is livid about yesterday’s vote:
Senate Republicans held a closed-door meeting yesterday afternoon to elect someone to replace Senator Murkowski as the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Or so we thought.
Rather than taking away Murkowski’s leadership position on the committee, Senate Republicans decided to let her keep it. One senator after another stood up to argue in favor of protecting her place on the committee — a position she will no doubt use in her campaign against Joe Miller, the conservative Republican nominee.
It was bad enough to watch my colleagues work to support her in the primary after she had built a record of betraying conservatives principles. But watching them back her after she left the party and launched a campaign against the Republican nominee was more than I could bear.
I spoke out against the motion and I voted against it. But the good ol’ boys Senate club, which always protects its own, prevailed. The motion was adopted by secret ballot and the final tally was not disclosed.