Free Markets, Free People

The bigger story about the Murkowski defeat

You remember Ned Lamont, don’t you?

You don’t?  Well Ned was the posterboy for the Kos Kids effort to change the dynamic within the Democratic party.  They wanted “progressive” candidates and Joe Lieberman of CT just didn’t fit the bill.  So the Kossaks and others like FireDogLake, backed their candidate, raised money and did their best to oust old Joe.  And they had some limited success.  I say limited in that they beat Joe in the Democratic primary, but then independent Joe whipped Ned’s rear in the general election.

Now, it’s not clear that will happen in Alaska.  Rumor has it that Murkowski, sensing defeat to the Tea Party backed Joe Miller, reached out to the Libertarian Party of Alaska, wondering if they’d be willing to adopt her as a candidate.  The libertarians said, “no way, no how, Lisa”.  She might be a viable candidate, but she’s no libertarian.  But that caused some to believe she’ll run now as an independent.

And, in Florida, you see the same sort of scenario being played out with Charlie Crist and the TP backed Marco Rubio.  Crist, the establishment GOP choice has been reduced to running as an independent – and he is.

The whole point of course is getting establishment candidates ousted in a primary is only Step 1.  As Ned Lamont and the Kossaks learned, the important step is Step 2.

If the Tea Party is to be taken seriously as a force for making the GOP more fiscally conservative and Constitutionally aware, it has to win the Step 2 contests as well.

~McQ

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13 Responses to The bigger story about the Murkowski defeat

  • Crist isn’t a good exmaple, i think.  He’s had limmited exposure and is hurt by Meek’s win in the primary.  Crist is going to split the Democratic vote and win a few independents, but Rubio has a better chance of winning all around.  The polls are starting to reflect this.

  • First, from what I read, Murkowski can’t run as an independent (missed filing dates) She can run as a write in, but that’s a no go.  It seems that the real issue is if she’ll endorse Miller or the Dem candidate – her endorsement seems to have some real influence here.

    Oh, and quite the “embarassing defeat” for Palin  wasn’t it  ;)

    “If the Tea Party is to be taken seriously as a force for making the GOP more fiscally conservative and Constitutionally aware, it has to win the Step 2 contests as well”

    Tell you what, just the fact that they forced out 3 people (Bennet, Murkowski, Crist) that probably would have won (2 of them sitting incumbents) is already a bit of a testament to power.  Add to that losing Specter and there’s quite a few mediocre people we’ve already gained from their departure.

    Christie ’16

    • And they did more than that, my own estimation is that we now have over 20 conservative candidates who won primaries for house seats, who are seriously more conservative than the other Republicans who ran.
      And they all had endorsements from local tea parties.

      That means that not only can we look forward to Republican gains, but they will be more fiscally conservative over all than previous republican caucuses.

  • Shark is right.  Alaska structured their election system so you can either run within a party through the primary system or run as an independent.  You cannot run for a party nomination and then go independent after you lose.  Independents have to have filed before the primaries take place.
    What Murkowski can do is try to get an existing party to make her their candidate.  This typically means their existing candidate has to resign (because they already won the nomination in the primary) and the party appoints Murkowski in their place.  The Libertarians have already said no.  I doubt the Alaskan Independence Party is interested either.

  • The ultimate question to be determined at a later time beyond Step 2 is … will the Republican Party, as embodied in DC, accept these new fellow statesmen or will it isolate them.   The ultimate demise of Republicans in 2006 and 2008 was based on a party that had accepted the agenda as set forth by the Democrats, but thought they could co-opt that agenda.  These new members will want to reject that agenda completely, not try to co-opt it.  While we got a warmup of that kind of thinking for the last 18 months, it still isn’t clear if the glue that holds the opposition together will hold when they become the majority.  History isn’t kind in this regard, but the last showing with the Democrats appearing to completely lose their collective minds in the current session will be an ugly reminder of where not to go.

  • … will the Republican Party, as embodied in DC, accept these new fellow statesmen or will it isolate them.

    Just like the Borg, they’ll first try assimilation. They’ve been quite successful at that in the past. See, e.g. Bill Frist.

    I think that’s going to fail with some of the current crop. They’ll have some company, with DeMint, Coburn, and others from their new class. I hope that’s enough to resist what the establishment Republicans throw at them.

    The real problem is that there must be enough such people in office to have a serious swing block on legislation. The establishment GOP is certainly not beyond compromising with Democrats to get more government goodies to their states/districts. They can also be counted on to quietly block restrictions on big government that those Republicans talk down in public, but secretly approve of because in their hearts they don’t really believe in limited government. See, e.g., George W. Bush.

    • See, e.g., George W. Bush.
      My first and best example of trying to co-opt is the prescription drug program .. the Democrats screamed for such (topped of with drug reimportation), Republicans tried a slightly different approach when no plan was probably what we can afford.

    • The Tea Party is key. It should keep up the pressure.

    • Billy HollisJust like the Borg, they’ll first try assimilation. They’ve been quite successful at that in the past. See, e.g. Bill Frist.
      I think that’s going to fail with some of the current crop. They’ll have some company, with DeMint, Coburn, and others from their new class. I hope that’s enough to resist what the establishment Republicans throw at them.

      It’s not just what the establishment Republicans throw at them: it’s the total environment in DC.  Members of Congress spend much (most?) of their time in DC, surrounded by other members of Congress, staffers, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and reporters.  This tends to skew their perception of reality (witness recent polls indicating a vast gulf between the “country class” and the “political class”).  Also, let’s remember the homely old saying: “When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” We hope that members of Congress are interested in doing a good job on behalf of their constituents and country; at the very least, they are interested in doing a good job on behalf of their reelection prospects.  Either way, they will feel an impetus to DO SOMETHING about any problem placed before them.  It’s easy in such a circumstance to forget whether or not that “something” is allowed by the Constitution or even makes good sense.

      • I agree.  Washington is corrupting.  The longer a legislator stays in Congress, the more corrupt he becomes.  Washington is also a bubble that manages to protect legislators from what people are really thinking.  The health care bill is a prime example of the bubble.  Legislators were surprised at the level of vitriol toward that bill and even when they found out a year ago, the Washington bubble managed to envelope them again and they went ahead and passed the monstrosity.
         
        The point is that the new members of Congress are going to have to make their marks relatively quickly or they will lose their opportunity.  As Trent Lott proposed, the current leadership will attempt to co-opt the new members as quickly as possible.  I don’t hear the Republican leadership making huge points about reducing spending, or repealing health care, or reviewing the financial reform bill.

  • Excellent question, McQ!
    As I’ve said before, power behaves in certain ways, all of them predictable.
    Co-option cuts two ways, BTW.  The old power-brokers CAN chose to  OPT INTO the new order, just as they can (and will) try to subvert the new order into the old.
    But your point was about 1) killing the king, AND THEN 2) REPLACING the king successfully (figuratively, of course).  So far, it appears that the Tea Party TYPES (because that is such an amorphous group of people) are doing pretty well.  Joe Miller, last I saw, was polling 16% up on his Deemocrat opponent.
    Rubio seems to be strong, and strengthening.