Lisa Murkowski: A Winner Against All Odds

By Lynda Lamp

Lisa Murkowski is one of Alaska’s two Senators, and she has made a name for herself recently by being one of the three votes that saved ACA (Obamacare) from repeal. She is coming back into the spotlight again as the GOP threatens the repeal of ACA again with the Graham-Cassidy Bill. Her vote will likely be critical to its success or failure.

At a time when the GOP appears to make the act of passing a bill more important than the contents of the bill, Lisa Murkowski has shown herself to be a strong-willed and seemingly righteous woman. This is an interesting development since her father, Frank Murkowski, former Governor of Alaska (2002-2006) and the previous occupant of the same Senate seat for Alaska from 1981 to 2002, is considered by some (many?) to be a very corrupt politician. He was the Governor of Alaska during the Corrupt Bastards Club scandal involving 12 Alaska legislators including Senator Ted Stevens. (They had hats and t-shirts made with the motto “Corrupt Bastards Club. They were corrupt and egotistical enough that they wore them!)  Among the “suspects” mentioned in the summary by Alaska Report … Frank’s daughter Lisa Murkowski.

One of the things Frank Murkowski did that some people consider very corrupt is that Frank appointed his daughter, Lisa, to finish his term as Senator after he was elected Alaska’s Governor in 2002. Frank still had two years left in his U.S. Senate seat when he was elected Governor of Alaska. Because nothing was stopping him, he appointed his daughter to fill his seat. He says he considered 26 candidates and interviewed 11, but Lisa was final his choice.

It was an unusual move because Lisa is not her father’s mini-me although they both may have engaged in corruption.  They agree on some issues like gun control (opposed), arctic drilling (in favor of) but they also disagree on some other fundamental points like abortion rights (she favors them) and taxation (she’s proposed new taxes to eliminate Alaska’s dependency on oil revenue.) The Republican Party in Alaska is relatively conservative, Lisa, not so much.

Not surprisingly, two years later in 2004, when Lisa’s Senate seat was up for reelection, she was challenged by a Tea Party candidate Joe Miller. Joe Miller won the Alaska Republican primary. Lisa had no choice but to run a write-in campaign.  “Fill it in. Write it in. Lisa Murkowski.” was her motto and she became the first Senator to win a write-in campaign since South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond in 1954. She won with over 10,000 votes and even considering all the challenges from the Miller campaign she still won by over 2,000 votes. Perhaps Alaska is not as conservative as the GOP would like to think.

But, let’s go back to the Corrupt Bastard’s Club for a moment.  As the article from Alaska Reports cites:

US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) – Funneled taxpayer money for a road to her vacation home in Kenai, Alaska.

Yes, and Alaskans will say “and she likely got a hell of a deal on the land for her vacation home because she promised the road.’

But before you get your panties in a bunch, this is how things used to be done. It happened in the 21st Century in Alaska because it is the Last Frontier, but it’s how things have gotten done in this country and around the world forever. It would be a joke to say otherwise. There have always been bribes and payoffs, tit for tat arrangements and other nefarious deals made to move projects along and “make things happen.’

The real problem is now people are aware of the lack of transparency and the abuse of power. One of the gifts of technology is the transparency it brings us. There are people with cameras and microphones everywhere. Everyone can be a Mrs. Kravitz and report on perceived wrongdoings with the push of a button! Of course, one of the dangers of this is we have citizen reporters who don’t have the full story, for example, contributing to creating problems not solving them.

As technology has evolved and enabled the revelation of the corruption occurring behind closed doors Americans face a seemingly unending series of scandals. Our whole country is caught up in a scandal now of unmitigated proportions. Our entire election process is compromised. Top governmental positions are now filled with foreign agents or plants and those people have appointed their agents into other departments and positions around our Country. We have an illegitimately seated Supreme Court Justice and no method to remedy the situation.

In light of the magnitude of some of our problems, when we look back at Lisa Murkowski’s “corruption” about the funnelling of tax funds they seem small and insignificant.  Was it ok? No, probably not. Will she do it again or something like it? No, probably not. Should we let that mistake color our opinion of her? No, probably not.

At the time it was a culture.  It’s just how things got done. A new culture is emerging, however. There is a cry for truth and transparency, honesty, and forthrightness. There is rising demand for authentic representation of the people. Lisa Murkowski seems ready to meet that demand, and for that, I will meet her with my forgiveness and my trust.

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