Update: It's official. Murkowski conceded to Miller. So, the courts won't be deciding things after all.
Thanks for giving the Democrats a shot, Lisa.
Update: After today’s count, Miller still leads Murkowski by a full point.
Murkowski has called a press conference, and the pre-release is that she’s conceding the race.
I suspected from her lack of actual campaigning that her heart really wasn’t in it, and that she was looking for a way out. This appears to be it.
On one hand, I feel like calling her up and thanking her for giving the Democrat Scott McAdams a real shot. On the other hand, I simply can’t stand that smug bitch Palin gloating in Miller’s victory.
You can bet I’ll be doing everything I can to help McAdams.
Down in Anchorage they’re counting the absentee ballots.
As I write this, it’s Miller with with 50.66% and Murkowksi with 49.34% and Miller’s lead is shrinking.
Joe Miller is spitting mad and going publically paranoid.
Lisa Murkowski is cautiously optimistic.
There are maybe 15,000 ballots to go and it’ll be days before the results are known, officially that is. We should know who the republican candidate is later tonight. Whichever way it goes, whoever comes out on top of Alaska’s Republican Senatorial primary, it won’t be by much. Likely less than one percentage point will determine the winner.
The results won’t be uncontested, you can make bank on that.
See, both Murkowski and Miller are lawyers. Whichever way the count goes, it’s a good bet it’ll end up in court.
Over the last couple of days a rather large number of folks have asked me who I’m rooting for.
That’s a lot like asking if I’d prefer the red hot pokers or to be pulled apart by wild asses.
I don’t want either one.
First, the incumbent: I have no use for Lisa Murkowski whatsoever. I’d like to see her gone and and it would not bother me in the least if the door hit her in the ass on the way out. In fact, I’d be perfectly happy if the Murkowski Dynasty faded away quietly into the Alaskan wilderness like a lost bush plane, never to be heard from again. Understand something, I actually liked Murkowski, I might even have voted for her – once. The fact that she came to the US Senate via a blatant act of nepotism doesn’t particularly bother me, there are far worse things in the cesspit of Alaskan politics. She won reelection on her own merits and she’s done a reasonably decent job for us Alaskans. More importantly, there was a time when Lisa Murkowski was a moderate republican, somebody whose actions in the US Senate made me think that she actually understood that her duty was to represent all of us Alaskans, all of us, not just those who voted for her, not just those in her party, not just those in the thrall of the oil and mining industries, and not just the uber conservative Palinites who surround me here in the MatSu. Alaska is a land of extremes, divided between massive-scale industry and the tree huggers, slash & burn and conservation & ecology – a true Alaskan senator must represent both. Murkowski walked a fine line down the political highway, often closer to the centrist middle than in the right lane – though it is almost impossible for a sitting politician to resist all those vast billions that flow through Juneau, a special interest siren call that eventually doomed Murkowski’s father, Frank. She was often one of the increasingly scarce reasonable voices on the right side of the aisle, one of the few willing to compromise, one of the few who haven’t made a religion out of obstructionism, one of the few Republicans without the fevered glint of Jesusland burning in their eyes and the purple stains of neoconservatism at the corners of their mouth. If I had to be represented by a Republican, well, there were far worse than Lisa Murkowski. She rejected the GOP’s threatened use of the so-called Nuclear Option, she supported stem cell and other scientific research, she voted her conscience on abortion issues coming down 50/50 sometimes for and sometimes against specific bills (i.e. she considered the merits of each bill, and didn’t vote based on dogma, I can live with this). On the other hand, while she doesn’t appear to be a religious climate change denier, her record on the environment is pretty damned miserable and like a lot of her conservative colleagues she seems to think the US would be better off without the EPA – a position that simply confounds me, given that Alaskans more than anybody else ought to understand what happens when you let heavy industry such as oil, mining, fishing, and the military wander around without a keeper.
I didn’t like Murkowski’s politics, but I didn’t hate them either. I saw her as a reasonable human being, the kind of Republican that I dearly wish there were more of.
Right up until Barack Obama was elected President.
It was at that point Lisa Murkowski started flirting with the far right.
And then came the current Alaskan primary. Despite her vaunted experience and 2+ million dollar war chest, Murkowski didn’t bother to actually campaign. I never saw a sign for Lisa Murkowski until a week or so before the elections. I saw plenty of Joe Miller signs (and we’ll get back to that in a minute), but even now, there are damned few indicators that Murkowski even bothered to run an actual campaign. She broadcast few commercials, she held few interviews, she wasn’t out on the street kissing babies and shaking hands and making the usual empty promises. She didn’t have a booth at the Fair. I got robo-calls from the goddamned Tea Party every day exhorting me to vote for Miller, none for Murkowski. The implication is obvious, she thought she had it in the bag. A tactical blunder of this level is astounding. Hell, her, mentor, Ted Steven, was a fixture of Alaskan politics for 30 years and he never stopped campaigning. Ever. And in this Lisa Murkowski is a lot like a democrat – she thinks her record should speak for itself, that it should be obvious to thinking people. What she completely failed to understand is that the vast majority of voters are morons with the attention span of a cocker spaniel and a memory packed full of basketball scores and Bud Lite. They remember whatever Sarah or Glenn or Rush or the pretty Fox Anchor with the cleavage told them last. The simple truth of the matter is that most voters are idiots (I didn’t say all of them, certainly not you, Gentle Reader, but a very large part of them are. This is democracy’s Achilles Heel), for a politician to forget that doesn’t speak well of either her insight or political savvy. You want to win, you better campaign, hard.
But that’s not what lost her my vote.
No, the reason I won’t vote for Murkowski is that instead of appealing to me, to centrists, to moderates, to progressives, instead of playing to her strength, instead of standing on that line in the middle of the road, she veered to the right and pandered to the fucking Tea Party.
When the chips were down, she abandoned the very things that made her attractive to both the moderate right and the moderate left. She tried to out conservative Joe Miller. She appealed to the far right, instead of those of us in the middle, and by doing so she made it damned clear that she fears the Tea Party, fears the right, fears being labeled a moderate – as if that is something to be ashamed of.
You know, I have absolutely no use for people whose principles depend on the direction of the wind.
And then, of course, there’s Joe Miller. Miller has made absolutely no bones about who he intends to represent. He doesn’t give a damn about fifty percent of Alaska’s population. The tree huggers and the liberals and the moderates and the progressives and the apolitical can go fuck themselves as far as Joe Miller is concerned. Despite trading shamelessly on his status as a veteran, he doesn’t give a good goddamn about veterans like me, vets who served a hell of a lot longer than Joe. He’s a Tea Party thrall, endorsed by Sarah Palin – a woman who quit on us and walked away from our state with her job less than a quarter of the way done, who endorsed Miller because of a long standing vendetta against Murkowski’s father, why in the hell any Alaskan would listen to that self serving childish bitch about anything is utterly beyond me. Miller is the kind of politician who’ll say anything to get elected. He lied repeatedly during the campaign, even going so far as to claim Murkowski voted for “Obamacare” when in fact she didn’t. Obviously didn’t. No republican did. Joe Miller was forced to admit on public radio that he was knowingly misleading people, that he deliberately lied - and he just grinned and shrugged and kept right on doing it. He’s the kind of slick lawyer who gives weasels a bad name. He has repeatedly stated that he thinks social security and medicare are unconstitutional – despite years of court challenges, battles decided long ago, that say just the opposite. He wants to privatize retirement and healthcare for the elderly – and either completely misses the reasons those systems were put in place to begin with, or simply doesn’t care. After all, he’s fairly well off and doesn’t figure he’ll ever need either – Miller is the epitome of the conservative “fuck you I got mine” mentality. He’s the kind of guy who can walk past the homeless elderly, and those without healthcare, and feel nothing but irritation because they’re more unfortunate than he is. He’s exactly the kind of guy who spread Palin’s Soylent Green bullshit, that “Obamacare” would result in death panels - and yet he has boldly stated that given the chance he would return the country to a time when tens of millions of the elderly had no retirement plan or healthcare whatsoever (and it speaks to Palin’s own hypocrisy that she herself would endorse Miller on this). Miller has stated repeatedly that he wants smaller federal government, that he believes any federal agency not specifically mentioned in the Constitution is illegal and should dissolved. He’s talking about the EPA, the Fed, and the Department of Education of course - the Tea Party’s flavor of the week bugaboo - but you have to wonder why he doesn’t mention the Air Force or Veteran’s Administration or the National Weather Service as well, since none of those things, or the hundreds of other government agencies we depend on every day aren’t mentioned in the Constitution either. See, either Joe is engaged in bald faced hyperbole and willful lies in order to placate the Tea Party, or he’s astoundingly naive and ignorant (Given his track record and profession, I’m leaning towards willful lies myself, but hey that’s just me). This guy is exactly what we don’t need in the Senate, yet another obstructionist, yet another science denying creationist, yet another Senator who represents big industry and big money and the extremists and his own unfettered ambition and avarice instead of the people of his state. Since the primaries, Miller has been whining about “out of state influences” and calling foul as his lead disappears one fraction of a percentage point after another. But what Joe carefully doesn’t mention is that almost all of his support came from out of state. Once Palin endorsed him, the Tea Party Express showed up and showered him with money and volunteers. They waved signs and went door to door, they held rallies where they ranted about state’s rights – and never seemed to see the hypocrisy of interfering in our state’s right to select our representative without outside interference.
No, I have no desire to be represented by either of these people.
And it chaps my ass that this is the best we can do, but then again only 27% of registered voters actually turned out for the primary. That’s about average for Alaskans. They bitch and moan and rant and rave and complain bitterly about their politicians, but they won’t actually get off their dead asses and take fifteen minutes to vote.
If I had to choose one, I’d grit my teeth and vote for Murkowski as I find her slightly less repugnant.
But, here’s the thing, see I’m sort of hoping Murkowski loses today.
Recent poll results show that the democrat, Scott McAdams - who won his primary handily by the way - stands almost no chance against Murkowski if it comes down to it in November.
However, the polls show that he’s got significantly better than a fighting chance against Miller.
I’ll take McAdams over either Murkowski or Miller any day.
Of course, that depends entirely on whether or not Alaskans are willing to actually go to the polls and vote. It depends entirely on whether or not traditionally red state Alaska will elect a second Democrat to the Senate (Mark Begich, our other Senator, is a democrat. He beat the legally troubled Stevens in the last election). It depends on whether or not enough liberals will actually put down their doobies long enough to pay attention. It depends on if McAdams can mount an effective campaign against Tea Party influence.
There’s a lot of ifs in there.
It’s a hell of a risk.
Lions or crucifixion, indeed.
In the end, Alaskans will have nobody to blame but themselves.