Why Mitch McConnell No Longer Has A Stranglehold on the Republicans in The Senate

The answer is Lisa Murkowski.  By now most of you are aware that she was challenged by Teabagger Joe Miller and lost in the primary.  The RNC and the RSCC then threw all their money and power behind Joe and basically threw Lisa under the bus.  And drove back and forth over her. 

Lisa was undeterred. She began fundraising – and more importantly, began educating the Alaska electorate on how exactly to do a write-in ballot.  During her campaign, two out of three of her campaign commercials were on how to correctly fill out a write in ballot.  As a result – not only did she win, but other write in candidates received several thousand valid votes as well.

The fact of her win is a lesson that I think has not quite sunk in with the Beltway press or with the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill just yet.  The glimmerings are there though, and maybe through the holiday break they will realize just what they have done. 

Lisa voted in favor of DADT, the 9/11 First Responder’s Bill, the new START Treaty, and the DREAM Act.  Not bad for a very conservative Republican Senator.  Yep – not a moderate one – a conservative one.  And therein is the lesson.  The Republicans have always been kept in lockstep by their respective leaders in the House and Senate largely by threats to withhold campaign cash and to run candidates in primaries against them.  Well, Lisa had both of those thing happen to her – and not because of anything she did “wrong’.  But she won anyway.  So…long story short – they cannot hold that over her head any more.  I think that it also serves as a lesson to other members of the Republican caucus from very red states that maybe the power of McConnell and the RNC is not so much to be feared after all – particularly since the finances of that group are rumored to be in a total shambles after Michael Steele’s vaunted tenure.

The example of Lisa Murkowski proves that you can win if you address the issues that your constituents care about – and that you can be a good Senator or Representative voting for things that are good for the country – which all four of those things are. She proved that you don’t have to vote lock-step with the party leadership in order to get re-elected either.  Sure I don’t agree with her positions on a lot of other things – she is a conservative Republican – but she is one that I think can really be worked with now.  And I am sure that in the months ahead Reid may find that there are others like her who have also realized that McConnell cannot blackmail them as he did in the past and that they are much more free to vote for the good of the country.  And that is good for all of us.

So Lisa Murkowski has done us all a great service by not quitting – unlike another Alaskan who shall remain nameless.

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