Eating words for the New Year

Posted: Sunday, January 02, 2011

The turkey was fork-tender perfect, the gravy thick and plentiful and someone even said “this is the best apple pie I’ve ever had in my whole life”.  But for me the bite I will remember most this holiday season is the bite I’m taking now.  It is time for me to eat some words . . . some words I said about Senator Lisa Murkowski.

During the recent election season, I along with others extolled the likelihood that Senator Murkowski would not act as the moderate we once knew and instead would be back lock step with the Republican leadership and continue voting against Alaska’s interests. I repeated this line even though in the back of my head I wondered if being so harshly abandoned by the Republican leadership would compel Senator Murkowski to return to her more bipartisan nature. But how many politicians do a makeover mid-career?  

While it is certainly too soon to say for sure, it appears that Senator Murkowski’s history setting write-in campaign has given her the freedom to put people above party. In fact, Senator Murkowski turns out to be the only Republican in the lame duck session to cast votes on all four items on President Barack Obama’s wish list: a repeal of “don’t tell, don’t ask,” a tax-cut compromise, the START deal and cloture for the DREAM Act. In defending her votes in a recent CNN interview with John King, Lisa notes, “We have enough work to do that we don’t need to get weighted down in partisan politics. Coming out of the Alaskan election that’s what I heard loud and clear.”

Although I certainly don’t expect Senator Murkowski to vote with the Democrats all the time (she will continue to caucus with the Republicans), I do want to encourage her efforts in figuring out to get things done in a bipartisan and thoughtful manner.

So, I hereby eat my words about Senator Murkowski’s likely return to the Party of No. Hm … it’s just like the cranberries … bittersweet.

And for after dinner, I still hope to serve up some Scotch McAdams. Through the course of the campaign I was privileged to see Scott McAdams grow by leaps and bounds into an extremely knowledgeable and compelling candidate who has all the makings of an Alaskan statesman.  

As I cheerfully eat my words and adjust the rearview campaign mirror, I have these three wishes for the new year. First, may 2010 be the year we see the last of Joe Miller, who insists on putting spelling perfection over voter intent. Second, I hope that Scott McAdams finds a public service venue so that Alaska can benefit from his leadership and genuine spirit. And foremost, I hope that Lisa’s maverick star rises to the extent that she helps usher in a new era of bipartisan accomplishments from energy reform to deficit reduction. Dreaming? Perhaps, but who would have thought a lame duck could be so tasty.

• Troll is a long-time Alaskan with more than 22 years of experience in fisheries, coastal policy and energy policy. She resides in Douglas.

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