How bad is Lisa?
By Bruce Walker
The decision by Lisa Murkowski to mount a write-in campaign to cling to her Senate seat is just another example of how bad she has been for conservatives. Are Alaskans begging her to run? Well, consider her political history. Her father, Frank Murkowski, gave up his Senate seat in 2002 to run for governor. As governor, Frank appointed his daughter Lisa to fill his unexpired Senate term after he was elected governor and resigned from the Senate. What qualifications did she have – I mean, other than being his daughter? She had served in the lower chamber of the Alaska State Legislature.
In 2004, a strongly Republican year, Lisa Murkowski struggled to win election to a full Senate term with a paltry 48.62% of the popular vote. That is the only time Lisa has faced the voters of Alaska in a general election. So, running in a Republican state, in a Republican year, as an incumbent senator, as a member of the political party which controlled the Senate, and as a member of a famous political family in Alaska, Lisa Murkowski could not even get a majority of Alaskans to vote for her.
In 2006, Alaskans indicated their unhappiness with the Murkowski family when incumbent Governor Frank Murkowski sought re-election. How unhappy were Alaskans with him? He was the sitting governor of a Republican state, but in the Republican primary Frank Murkowski received only 19% of the vote. A political unknown named Sarah Palin, who eschewed insider politics and cronyism, received a whopping 51% of the vote in a crowed field. Governor Murkowski did not even come in second in the Republican primary: he came in third. That would indicate that Lisa’s loss in the Republican primary this year reflected, in large measure, deep mistrust of this political dynasty.
Why would Alaska Republicans dislike the Murkowski family? Frank’s selection of his daughter to replace him in the Senate, of course, stinks to high heaven. Frank Murkowski has a lifetime conservative voting record, according to the American Conservative Union, of 83% - lower than John McCain’s lifetime ACU rating. Lisa has had an even lower conservative rating. In 2009, Lisa Murkowski had an ACU voting record of 68%. How bad is that? Alaska can best be described as a Rocky Mountain state – it is open, mountainous, forested, cold and filled with hardy, independent folk.
Alaska, like other Rocky Mountain states, votes Republican. McCain walloped Obama in Alaska by 59% to 38% and beat Obama by comparable margins in Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. In 2004, Bush swept the whole Rocky Mountain region. His wide margins of victory in Alaska were landslides just like the Bush victories in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. In 2000, Bush swept the nine Rocky Mountain states (Alaska included in that) except for a razor thin Gore victory in New Mexico. This, along with the South, is the heart of conservative America.
How does Lisa Murkowski compare to other Republican senators from the Rocky Mountain region? Against her 68% ACU voting record, the other Republican senators in the region have these ACU voting records: Enzi (WY) 100%, Barasso (WY) 100%, Crapo (ID) 92%, Risch (ID) 96%, Hatch (UT) 88%, Bennett (UT) 84%, Ensign (NV) 100%, Kyl (AZ) 92%, and McCain (AZ) 96%. Lisa was much less conservative than Senator McCain, the archetypical RINO or Senator Bennett, the Utah Republican denied re-nomination this year. Lisa Murkowski, not Joe Miller, is out of touch with voters in the region.
It gets worse. Out of the 21 other Republican members of Congress from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico, every one had a conservative voting record better than Lisa Murkowski. Against her 2009 ACU voting record of 68%, the average Republican in Congress from this nine state region had a 2009 ACU voting record of 93%. It gets even worse. There are 319 House and Senate Republicans in Congress. Only eleven of those 319 in 2009 had an ACU voting record as bad as Lisa Murkowski. One of those eleven, Mike Castle, a political fixture in relatively leftist Delaware, was just defeated by a newcomer, Christine O’Donnell. None of these eleven other hyper-RINOs came from traditionally Republican conservative states like Alaska.
For the third straight time – Lisa Murkowski’s anemic 48% vote in her 2004 general election victory; Frank Murkowski’s pathetic 19% of the vote in the 2006 GOP primary; and now in Lisa’s 2010 GOP primary loss – Alaskans have rejected this family of opportunistic, self-aggrandizing RINOs. It is hard to see exactly what Lisa Murkowski has in mind, except for spite. If the recent Democrat and Republican primary had been the general election votes, Joe Miller would have already been elected with a plurality of the votes. Miller not only got more votes than Murkowski, but he got fifty percent more votes than all the candidates in the crowded Democrat primary put together. Alaskans seem to have voted loud and clear, but Murkowski does not like the message. How bad is Lisa? Pretty bad.
Bruce Walker is the author of a new book Poor Lenin’s Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life.