Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Sarah Palin Announces Endorsement Of Alaska Republican Senate Challenger Joe Miller, But It May Not Be Enough To Beat Lisa Murkowski

Apparently when Todd Palin showed up at the Wasilla fundraiser of Republican U.S. Senate challenger Joe Miller, he decided that Miller "passed muster", because on June 2nd, 2010, Sarah Palin announced her endorsement of Joe Miller over Lisa Murkowski, and posted it on her Facebook site. Miller first announced his entry into the race back in April 2010. The Anchorage Daily News Alaska Politics blog has also picked up on the story.

Joe Miller's campaign website is available at the following location:

On Facebook, Palin posted the reasons for her endorsement:

Joe is a man of true integrity. He will never be bought off; he knows what a solemn trust it is to be given the responsibility of spending other people’s money prudently and wisely.

Joe also more closely shares so many of Alaskans’ values. He believes the greatness of our country is grounded in the founding principles of limited constitutional government and individual freedom.

Joe believes that we must repeal the new Obamacare health care mandate and seek true market-based reform to allow competition, control costs, increase access, and give Americans more freedom in health care; Lisa opposes repealing the law.

Joe is unashamedly and unequivocally pro-life; Lisa is not and has voted to use taxpayer funds to support abortions and embryonic stem cell research.

Joe is against granting amnesty to illegal immigrants; Lisa has voted for it.

Joe is against cap and trade (Obama’s new job-killing energy scheme that I call cap and tax); Lisa believes Al Gore’s insistence that man-made global warming is fact, so she’s on record as being open to cap and trade legislation to address weather changes.

Of course, questions have surfaced as to how this decision squared with Sarah Palin's financial contribution to Lisa Murkowski's campaign in 2009. Palin explained that she had SarahPAC contribute to Murkowski's campaign primarily to dispel rumors that she would challenge Lisa Murkowski for the U.S. Senate. Palin also assures us that there is no "blood feud" between her and Murkowski. But other factors prompting Palin's subsequent tilt away from Murkowski may include the fact that Murkowski not only criticized the use of the term "death panels" popularized by Palin during the health care debate, but also criticized Palin's decision to resign from the governor's office in July 2009, saying that she was deeply disappointed that Palin, in her words, decided to abandon the state and her constituents before her term has concluded.

So will Palin's endorsement affect the outcome of the August 24th Republican primary? Not necessarily; an April 2010 poll by Dave Dittman showed that 62 percent of all Alaskan respondents felt Murkowski should be re-elected, including 49 percent of Democrats. But that poll was taken before Sitka mayor Scott McAdams jumped into the race, providing an electable Democratic alternative; McAdams' presence is already energizing some Democrats. A Palin endorsement did not work out well in Idaho, either.

Nevertheless, although Lisa Murkowski remains the lead dog, most people support her out of a sense of duty rather than passion. The key watchphrase to describe Lisa Murkowski is "quietly competent"; she exudes professionalism from top to toe, but inspires very little passion. You won't find U.S. Marines tattooing her face on their buttocks. In contrast, passion is Sarah Palin's middle name; you either love her or hate her, but are not likely to be neutral about her. That's because she always lets you know where she stands -- without fear or favor. But can Joe Miller provoke the same degree of passion to counter Lisa Murkowski's tightly-controlled corporate image?

And now that a serious Democrat is in the race, an additional question arises. Which Republican is more capable of defeating Scott McAdams; Lisa Murkowski, or Joe Miller? At this point in time, it would seem like Murkowski is more likely to defeat McAdams. Many Republicans may support Murkowski simply on the basis of this perception alone.

The Bottom Line: The Palin endorsement will help Joe Miller close the gap between himself and Murkowski, but will not, by itself, propel Miller over the top in August.

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