Monday, June 21, 2010

Should We Alaskans Really Trade Senator Lisa Murkowski's Growing Seniority For Joe Miller's Greater Ideological Purity?

The campaign of Joe Miller for U.S. Senate continues to slowly gain traction. In addition to bagging the Alaska Right To Life and the Conservative Patriots Group endorsements earlier, other important endorsements include that of Sarah Palin as well as the Tea Party Express. Even the Club for Growth, apparently not content with Lisa Murkowski's 82 percent rating on their issues and her previous support for TARP, is now taking a hard look at Miller's candidacy. A Club for Growth endorsement would make Miller a solid contender. You can read a detailed comparison of Miller's and Murkowski's positions on the issues HERE.

But while Joe Miller clearly is more conservative than Lisa Murkowski, Murkowski possesses the advantage of incumbency. And she's transforming that incumbency into seniority; in the eight years she's served in the U.S. Senate, she's worked her way up to 59th on the seniority list, and she's now the ranking Republican on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee. And, as such, she's been instrumental in attempting to put a leash around the EPA, particularly in regards to cap-and-trade. During a June 20th interview on CNN, Murkowski said a carbon cap limited to just the energy utility sector was not likely to pass in the Senate. She also took issue with the media's preoccupation with Joe Barton's "apology" to BP, saying that instead of pointing fingers, it would be much more productive to get relief to the Gulf, making sure that they have every asset possible, making sure that there's a claims compensation system that works for them. Video embedded below:

By being interviewed on venues like CNN, Lisa Murkowski gives Alaska publicity - positive publicity, since she's a class act from top to toe who refrains from treacly statements such as "How's that hopey-changey thing working for ya?". She shows respect for the office and what it represents. Would she have been interviewed by CNN if she was a rookie Senator? Unlikely. Just today, lame-duck Utah Senator Bob Bennett warned Utahns that his successor will have nowhere near the stroke he accumulated during his lengthy service in that body; almost any freshman spends the first two years in the Senate just learning their way around. Bennett stated that upon being first elected in 1992, he immediately ran up against the Senate's seniority-based structure, and found that the big promises he made during the campaign proved to be difficult to fill because the "alpha" senators had their own ideas on the big issues and were not about to just step aside for a rookie. Bennett ultimately carved out his niche with the Y2K issue, which most senators wanted nothing to do with.

Electing Joe Miller may make us conservatives feel good, but Joe Miller will have to contend with those same early challenges which confronted Bennett -- and likely as a member of the minority party. Another consideration -- the Democrats have now put up electable opposition in the person of Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams. While Murkowski could defeat McAdams, could Joe Miller do likewise? Miller has yet to secure the support of the corporate wing of the Alaska Republican Party; conservative shock jock Dan Fagan took Miller to task for alleged ambiguity on ACES both HERE and HERE. Andrew Halcro also takes Miller to task HERE.

But Joe Miller still brings value to the campaign. First, there's evidence he's driving Lisa Murkowski to the right on some issues, particularly immigration. On her campaign website, Murkowski now opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants. She also wants to reform the process for admitting H-1B and H-2B immigrants; she believes the Department of Labor needs to stop rubber-stamping employers' demands for these workers. But has she always felt this way? Considering that NumbersUSA grades her a "C-" on immigration, not likely. In contrast, Joe Miller has opposed amnesty for illegal immigrants from Day One, and is willing to consider deploying troops to the border for additional security.

In addition, if Joe Miller loses, but does so respectably, he'll put himself in the pole position to challenge Mark Begich in 2014. At that time, there should be no problem with the entire Republican Party putting up a united front; getting Begich out of the Senate is considered a top priority for Republicans. Of course, there's been talk that Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan might challenge Begich in 2014 as well, but he's expressed no particular interest at this point.

Because of the seniority issue, the burden is much more upon Joe Miller to prove that he should replace Lisa Murkowski than it is upon Murkowski to show that she should be sent back to Washington for another six years. But Miller deserves a full opportunity to make his case.


  1. Lisa is fond of making campaign promises in an election year and then it's back to form letters that give noncommittal answers like "thanks for contacting me, I'll keep your views in mind."
    I'd say it is high time to support and elect a solid true conservative that has not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. His service to our country in the Gulf War, and his experience as an attorney, US Magistrate Judge, Superior Court Master and Acting District Court Judge have given Joe a deep understanding of our founding principles and the timelessness of the U.S. Constitution. Joe has a Master's Degree in Economics and is committed to being your trusted conservative voice in the US Senate by cutting spending, lowering taxes, protecting families, and restoring the Constitution to its rightful place in the life of our nation.
    I'm putting my time, efforts, money, and vote on Joe Miller for US Senate August 24th. Please join me. With your help Joe will be able to work for Alaskans and all Americans, to bring back our GOD-given rights and freedoms that Murkowski and her Democrat buddies have squandered away.

  2. Absolutely. If we are sellouts, then we are no better than the rest of them. We all know Joe is the real deal, and we all know Lisa is really only with us about 60-70% of the time. If we trade that for pork, or seniority, we are just as bad as all the polticians like Lisa, who trade conviction for votes, and ideals for pet projects.

    If we are going to take back the nation, we have got to take back the party.

  3. The word of these long time Alaskans is good enough for me— I'm backing Joe Miller for US Senate!

    "More than ever, Alaska needs a Senator who will stand up to federal bureaucracy. I endorse Joe Miller for US Senate because he has the qualifications and the right views to represent Alaska"
    — Senator John Coghill

    "I am supporting Joe Miller because he is a man of principle and courage, all characteristics in short supply in the American contemporary scene. We are fortunate to have a man of this caliber willing to serve."
    — Senator Fred Dyson

    "Joe Miller is a God-fearing man and a staunch defender of the free enterprise system. He embodies the principles of our Founding Fathers that I and my fellow Alaskans hold so dear. It gives me immense pleasure to endorse the next great conservative voice for Alaska. Please join me in supporting Joe Miller, as the people's choice to represent the Great Land in the United States Senate." — Edna Armstrong Devries, Former Mat-Su Borough Mayor and Alaska State Senator

    "Joe's the real deal. He has distinguished himself as a capable leader who is unafraid to confront the challenges of our time and bring fiscal discipline to Washington."
    — Representative Wes Keller

    "I've known Joe Miller for eleven years. He has high ethical standards. He is a family man, a small businessman, an outdoorsman, and one of the hardest working people I know. He is very familiar with the problems and issues facing Alaskans. Please join me in supporting Joe Miller for US Senate." — Dale Bagley, Former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor

    "Its so encouraging to have such a solid pro-life candidate running for office. We are saddened and disappointed with Senator Murkowski's anti-life voting record; we call on all pro-life Alaskans to support Joe Miller."
    — Dr. Christie Eberhardt, President, Alaska Right to Life

    "CPG is confident that Joe Miller is the candidate that will best act to uphold the spirit and word of the Constitution of the United States of America, our Bill of Rights, and the conservative principles on which CPG was founded." — Conservative Patriots Group

  4. Trading our convictions for seniority and pork has brought us to the sorry state of affairs we currently are in.Do people really think the current trend of increasing debt and spending money we don't have can continue much longer? Look at Greece. America will soon be insolvent . Who will be left to bail us out when China calls us on our debt?
    We need a new way of thinking and new Strong leadership.Not someone who will compromise our rights away.

    Joe Miller is the Leader Alaska needs in the Senate.

  5. It is interesting how Lisa is suddenly trying to sell herself as a conservative. Maybe she's hoping we'll forget her previous efforts "compromise" on cap and trade or her statement regarding healthcare reform: “Repealing this is not the answer in my opinion, because if you just repeal and you do nothing, we will not have addressed health care reform.” Since when is the federal government responsible for our health care??

    However, the biggest problem I have with Murkowski is as a fellow Catholic. She identifies herself as a Catholic, yet is willing to compromise on our most basic right, the right to life. Her stance is "As a woman, and as a mother, I believe that abortion is a very personal issue that must be left to a woman and her physician, and not to elected officials." This is far from the Church teachings. If she is willing to compromise on this, what else is she willing to compromise on?

  6. I originally was an ardent supporter of Lisa. I personally met her when a was a VA Contact Rep here in the Fairbanks area. She was and is supportive of veterans issues. However, we are confronted with more than one issue facing our state and the nation.

    Since her defeat of Tony Knowles when she ran in her own right, I have become increasingly disappointed with our senior senator. Her support of Obama's reversal of the Mexico City Policy (funding of "reproductive health" programs overseas with federal funds)was the final straw for me. I wrote her and told her so.

    Lisa also favors using the federal purse to influence social policy as so many of our politicians do in energy, healthcare and education. The federal leviathan has far exceeded any constitutional parameters. However, politicians and their constituents, to a great degree, have been willing to turn a blind eye to this fact because everybody wants in on the federal gravy train. It is financially and, I would argue, morally and ethically eroding the principles in which the nation and the state were founded.

    I have been a believer in proportionality. For instance, I believed McCain was a flawed candidate but I thought he was infinitely better than the current occupant of the White House. In the current case, Joe Miller is a straight, down the line constitutional conservative. I believe that electing such candidates who understand the constitution's original intent, the rule of law and the incorporation of discipline and common sense in what we do and how we spend is essential now more than ever.

    I support his principled campaign.

  7. Yes! Which is worse, a RINO who votes for Obama and compromises with the enemy which compromises the Constitution or have a figher for Alaskans who support and defend the Constitution? We have far too many RINO's in the House and Senate now, we can only really impact one at this point, but if we replace one RINO with one Conservative who will not compromise with the enemy and against the Constitution, then we win so much more! If We the People can gain control of the Senate with Constitutionalist then we can stop the compromising of the Constitution, repeal all the damage that has been done to the Constitution and by extension economy.

    I will vote for the Constitution by voting for Joe Millier!

  8. Seniority is useless if the country is insolvent! It's time to start acting like adults and vote for the candidate who best embodies the highest ideals of our country, rather than continue to act like pigs at the trough.
    Joe Miller is a serious leader for serious times. Retire the RINO!

  9. We all know what kind of Republican Lisa is....check her voting record...77 times she voted with the Democrats. I found a real Conservative Republican candidate that we have met, sat down with and talked 'Real Issues' with, and that is Joe Miller. My husband and I are impressed after doing the background checks etc. Imagine a true Conservative representing us in the US Senate! A vote for Joe is a vote Alaska needs...Sorry, Lisa...once a rino..always a rino.`