GOP's Unexpected Schism

Lisa Murkowski, the Republican US senator from Alaska who lost her primary race to Tea Party pick and Palin favorite Joe Miller, is causing much concern in her party. Murkowski now is running a write-in candidacy for the November 2 general election.


And she is like another Republican, Florida governor Charlie Crist who lost his primary bid for the US Senate to conservative Marco Rubio. But rather than accept his loss, Crist is running as an independent.


Murkowski and Crist represent the opposite of the accepted wisdom of the last 18 months; that conservative and Tea Party candidates would offer third-party challenges and drain away enough Republican votes to throw elections to the Democrats. Because now it is disgruntled Republican centrists  and establishment figures who are upsetting the political apple cart in precisely that way.


Crist, along with the Democrat candidate, are both trailing Rubio in some recent polls, and Rubio probably will win despite Crist’s arrogant confidence at the outset that he was an invincible independent and that Florida loved him.


Murkowski is a different story. She knows she has a long, long shot as a write-in, but she is hoping for a miracle win. She will get many more votes than the average write-in because she is well known, having been in the US Senate since 2002. But the likely effect is that she will drain away enough votes from Republican nominee Miller to throw the election to the Democrat.


Murkowski is driven by anger with Palin who backed Miller. Palin also defeated Murkowski’s father Frank for the Republican Alaska gubernatorial nomination in 2006. But Frank Murkowski was no shoo-in for re-election. Says wikipedia.org, ’Muurkowski left office with one of the nation’s worst approval ratings of 19%.’

The media coverage has been portraying Murkowski as a liberal Republican who was ousted by conservatives. But here are some of Murkowski’s votes from ontheissues.org which describes her as a “hard core conservative”:


Rated 14% by (pro-abortion) NARAL indicating a pro-life voting record: YES on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion: YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life: YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime: NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives: YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions:


Rated 14% by the NAACP indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance:


Rated 83% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-family voting record: Rated 0% by the AU indicating opposition to church-state separation: YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration:  Rated 0% by the HRC indicating an anti-gay-rights stance:  YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage:


Rated 71% by National Taxpayers Union, indicating “Satisfactory” on tax votes:  Rated 0% by the CTJ, indicating opposition to progressive taxation: YES on raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M:  NO on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million: YES on allowing AMT reduction without budget offset:  YES on $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years: YES on extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends: YES on permanently repealing the `death tax`:  YES on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts:


NO on requiring FISA court warrant to monitor US-to-foreign calls: NO on extending the PATRIOT Act’s wiretap provision: YES on reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act:  NO on preserving habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees:  NO on requiring CIA reports on detainees & interrogation methods: YES on removing need for FISA warrant for wiretapping abroad: (end of excerpt)


Seeing Murkowski’s record, it is hard to see what Palin was getting at beyond the bad personal animus between herself and the Murkowskis. But that often is the strongest motivator in politics. And now that seat, which was safely conservative under Miller, may go to a Democrat unless Murkowski drops out.


Palin certainly could not have foreseen Murkowski’s write-in effort, and her backing of Miller shows the unanticipated risk of the conservative insurgency to the GOP.


In Delaware, another tempest has exploded. Conservative Christine O’Donnell beat Republicrat establishment figure Mike Castle in the September 14 primary for US Senate. Castle since has refused to offer his support to O’Donnell. Along with Murkowski’s write-in campaign, this is classic crybaby politics  being practiced by establishment Republicans against outsiders and Tea Partiers, the opposite scenario from the one predicted over the last year by media pundits and worried Republicans.


You didn’t see conservative Ronald Reagan throw a tantrum when he lost the presidential nomination to centrist Gerald Ford in 1976. Nor did Richard Nixon even protest even through he knew for certain – and the world knew too – that the 1960 presidential election had been stolen by the Kennedys in the most notorious voter fraud in American history.


Yet when Democrats or these establishment/centrist Republicans lose their power fair and square – as Gore did in 2000 – they go crying. No wonder the Tea Party is seeking to oust them.


In the famous NY-23 congressional race in 2009 in upstate New York, the Republican establishment picked a very liberal Dede Scozzafava to run against union-backed Democrat Bill Owens for an open seat after long-time NY-23 Republican congressman John McHugh was picked by Obama to be secretary of the Army.


Conservatives and many Republicans were unhappy with Scozzafava and their Conservative Party candidate Douglas Hoffman surged in September/October and forced Scozzafava out. Hoffman then lost the general election by just a few points, a remarkable and unprecedented outcome for a third-party candidate who was relatively unknown just a few months previous.


The kicker, however, was the Scozzafava endorsed Democrat Owens after she dropped out. And Hoffman also lost crucial votes because Scozzafava still got 5% of the vote because she was still on the ballot even though she was out of the race. Many voters were either unaware or confused. 


And by the way, Owens  refused to take a position on the health-care bill during the campaign but supported it as soon as he got to Washington.


Typical Democrat.


This is the type of action that is driving the Tea Party movement and motivating Republicans to claim their party for conservatism. Because there is something essential in the genuine insurgent conservative character that is honest and straightforward and always willing to stand on the kinds of principles that built America.


The reason is that we conservatives feel we are being called by fact, destiny, history and circumstance to offer real solutions to our nation’s woes. This is not about political power; it is about doing what’s right for the country.


But liberals, centrists and establishment politicians do not have that guiding goodness within them. They are focused only on  power, just as John McCain has been sweeping the political horizon like a searchlight looking for any trend to latch onto to stay in power. In his recent primary campaign he suddenly acted super-tough on illegal immigration after being soft for years and years.


There have been prognostications among some in the political and media classes that the Tea Party is a temporary phenomenon that will fade away. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because the insurgency on the right is fueled by one thing only – a sense of what is right in these trouble times. And that is the most powerful motivation of all and only is going to grow over the coming years.


Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.