It is a story that superficially is about Jim DeMint.He beat up his Senate Republican colleagues in an email the other day for what they did. Lisa Murkowski left the party to run as a write-in candidate against Joe Miller in Alaska after he beat her in the GOP primary.Murkowski’s chief selling point is that she is the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Senate GOP could have stripped her of that position, but chose to keep her there.This has given Murkowski a new attack against Miller, i.e. even the Senate GOP expects her to come back.DeMint took exception to that. National Review has done yeoman’s work getting Senators on record about how they voted. What they are finding is that pretty much every Republican Senator supports Murkowski.Republican Senators are now attacking Jim DeMint for siding with the tea party movement.
“I would take issue with that,” said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, No. 4 in the GOP hierarchy. He said DeMint’s statements are “overstating what happened. I think the Republican leadership is very much doing everything they can to help the Republican nominee in Alaska.” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called DeMint’s pitch a “mistaken idea,” saying there “isn’t one sitting Republican in the Senate that isn’t supporting Joe Miller.” Bond, an appropriator who has sparred with DeMint, said the South Carolina senator’s characterization was “totally inaccurate” and noted that Republican senators are raising money for Miller this week during his Washington fundraising rounds. Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the GOP conference chairman, said simply that DeMint’s fundraising e-mail “speaks for itself.” But he expressed concerns about the fact that DeMint publicly aired material from a closed-door meeting. “Our strong tradition in the Republican Conference is to have a free and open exchange and to keep that among ourselves,” Alexander said. “I’m always disappointed when some member of our conference decides not to follow that tradition. It makes it hard for us to be a team.”
These keepers of the status quo do not get it. They have sent a strong signal that what Lisa Murkowski did was perfectly acceptable. They do not care about Joe Miller. They can say they are supporting him, but it’s like supporting a nation at war through hand claps instead of action.
“I know from experience that trying to work within the system for 12 years has not yielded results —and our country is worse off [than] where it was when I got here,” DeMint said Tuesday. “The party is not going to mind what I do as long as I’m not effective.”
We need to stand up for Joe Miller and we need to stand up for Jim DeMint. The Senate Republicans have lost their way.