Lisa Murkowski Decides She Wants a Political Future

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via AP, Pool

Lisa Murkowski is a yes on confirming Amy Coney Barrett. After signaling earlier in the month that she might vote no and that she was opposed to holding a vote at all, she made the somewhat surprising announcement today. There’s a caveat though, and one that is completely in character for the wishy-washy Republican Alaska Senator.

That’s so on brand that it’s scary. Murkowski is going to vote against advancing Barrett’s nomination to the floor, but in the end, she’s going to vote yes because she believes Barrett is qualified. You can try to make sense of that logic, but that’s the tangled web that Murkowski has spun for herself after preemptively trying to smother the nomination in its cradle early on.

Had Murkowski voted against Barrett after already voting against Brett Kavanaugh, it would have been curtains for her political future. There’s no doubt this latest decision is based on her desire to have one. Of course, what would have been far preferable was for her to just stop talking and not make a spectacle of her opposition to Barrett in the beginning, but some Republican Senators can’t help but virtue signal when they feel it harms their own party. Notice that figures like Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney can never gather the gumption to throw criticism at the other side, but they are always ready with a stern statement for whatever Republican of the moment they want to throw mud on.

Frankly, I hope she still loses in 2022. Everyone knows that Murkowski would have been a no had she been the deciding vote here. The only reason she’s flipped is because she lacks the power to execute her will, and she wants to save herself in the process. Alaskans should wise up and throw her out anyway via the primary the next go around.

Enough is enough. It’s one thing to be a free thinker on some topics. It’s another to so thoroughly and consistently oppose the interests of your own voters, including trying to throw something as history altering as the Supreme Court to the will of Democrats (John Roberts is essentially a liberal justice at this point). In this case, it’s Republicans who keep putting Murkowski in her position of power. They should rethink that proposition the next time around.

(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)