Despite the outcry from Republican voters against Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, for her vote to block Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has no plans to oppose her if she runs for re-election in 2022.
After the allegations against Kavanaugh were scrutinized, principled Americans saw that it was wrong to presume Kavanaugh guilty without evidence and permit the Democrats to assassinate his character. Yet Murkowski, ever the ally of the Left, wavered and voted with the Democrats to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation from going forward. She voted to reward and embolden the Democrats’ smear tactics, and if just a few more Republicans had voted with her, Kavanaugh’s confirmation would have ended in defeat.
The Alaska Republican Party is considering how it might reprimand Murkowski for her vote, but “leader” McConnell said Wednesday that there is no point in challenging Murkowski because “nobody’s going to beat her.” She nearly jeopardized Kavanaugh’s confirmation and did historic harm to the Senate confirmation process, but McConnell still considers her a Republican in “very good standing.”
McConnell disagreed with President Donald Trump’s prediction that she will “never recover” from her vote, demonstrating once again that as the leader of a supposed conservative Republican party, he is out of step with rank-and-file conservatives.
“Well, she’s certainly going to recover. … She’s about as strong as you could possibly be in Alaska,” McConnell told the Associated Press in an interview. “Nobody’s gonna beat her. I’m proud she’s in the Republican conference,” he added.
McConnell cited Murkowski’s 2010 write-in campaign victory over the Republican nominee Joe Miller, who defeated Murkowski in the primary, as evidence that it wasn’t worth bothering to defeat her. Murkowski was never punished for challenging the GOP — McConnell permitted her to keep her committee assignments. In 2016, when Murkowski was up for re-election after betraying Senate Republicans and supporting several of President Obama’s policies and judicial nominations, McConnell supported her for re-election when there were alternatives.
His “pride” in Murkowski is consistent with his support for Republicans who object to a conservative agenda over conservatives in primaries that has made the GOP Senate majority nearly impotent. Every major policy from repealing Obamacare to confirming judicial confirmations is in danger of a handful of liberal Republicans upsetting the vote.
Many Republicans are very happy with McConnell right now for getting Kavanaugh confirmed, but understand that this is exactly why the best conservatives can do under his leadership is barely having the votes to get Kavanaugh onto the court. McConnell hasn’t delivered for Trump supporters on a border wall, on health care, on spending, on immigration, on protecting the unborn. He shouldn’t be turned into a hero for one victory amid a thousand defeats, and he should be called out for undermining his own party by supporting Lisa Murkowski.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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