My turn: Murkowski, Miller would be members of the Republican gang

Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Imagine if you will, the late Sen. Ted Stevens sitting in his office and getting a call from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying, "Ted, as long as Barack Obama is President, we are going to vote no on everything he hands us. Everything. I'm sure we can count on you to play ball. Oh, and that friendship thing you've got with Hawaii's Dan Inouye has got to stop. This is war." Stevens was never one to mince words. I don't think he'd salute and say, "If that's what it takes to be in the in crowd, I'm in."

Since the 2008 election, being in the Senate Republican minority is like being a member of a street gang. With the occasional exceptions of Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, every Republican in the Senate is voting no on just about anything the Obama Administration wants. As House Minority Leader John Boehner relishes saying, "Not just no, but hell no." No to stimulus money. No to a jobs bill. No to health care reform. No to consumer protection. No. Hell no.

The Republicans want nothing less than government paralysis, not just because they want Obama to fail, and not just because they believe in small government (unless it involves a woman's womb), but because their campaign war chests come from a who's who of industries who reaped record profits under the Bush Administration. They want the good old days back.

For those Alaskans who are thinking that a vote for Lisa Murkowski is a good idea because it might stop Joe Miller from winning, think again. The Murkowski of 2010 is not exactly the same Murkowski her dad appointed to the Senate in 2002. She is a Republican gang member, and she votes accordingly.

For quite a while, Murkowski has been in the background at all the photo ops with the Republican leadership. She rose to the top by being a loyal gang member. In the past two years, she voted with other Republicans more than 90 percent of the time, rejecting important funding bills that brought millions of dollars to Alaska. McConnell relented a few days after the primary election for reasons we will never know, and Murkowski was allowed back into the gang for the time being.

After all, Murkowski voted no on health care reform even though it provided funding for Native Health Services. A pro-choice Republican, Murkowski voted for the abortion coverage ban amendment to the health care reform legislation. What kind of loyalty did she get in return? None.

Whether you write in Lisa's name or you vote for Miller, you're going to get the same representation in the United States Senate. Whether Miller is a closet moderate or a far-right tea partier, the Republicans vote as a bloc to stop anything the president wants. They vote no. Period.

Journalists outside of Alaska write that Scott McAdams comes from a town with only 9,000 people. Coming from a small town is not an issue in Alaska. Outside of Anchorage and maybe Fairbanks, we all live in small towns. For me, character is an issue. The ability to think through complex problems is an issue. Political courage is an issue. Integrity is an issue. Putting Alaska first is an issue. After doing my own research, I believe McAdams has those qualities and will make a great senator.

The real question for Alaskan voters is whether or not our next Senator will be able to vote his or her conscience and do what's best for Alaska and the country. Murkowski hasn't done that because she has either become a reborn conservative, or she needs to, above all else, be loyal to the Republican gang. Miller won't do what's best for all of Alaska and America because either he really does not believe in government, or he, too, will do whatever it takes to be part of the gang.

The choices in November are actually quite stark, aren't they?

• Belknap is a Juneau resident

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