As I've indicated before, I find Lisa Murkowski a generally agreeable and likeable person. I've interviewed her on a few occasions and traveled with her to villages in this region. She thinks for herself and actually listens to others, which aren't qualities I find in every politician I meet. Given the overwhelming Republican lean of this state, I think Alaska could be doing a lot worse in the junior senator department.
You've got to wonder, though, why she's stumping for Rick Santorum.
- First, he's clearly going to lose so it might just be a waste of energy. Why not go help out a few other Republicans who have a change of winning, like Jim Talent in Missouri or Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island? If you want to find a conservative, go help out George Allen in Virgina.
- Second, it's not clear to me what the benefits are. I doubt a campaign swing by a few Republican senators makes more than a blip on the media radar screen in the greater Philly area, particularly in the closing weeks of a campaign. But it turns up on the media screen in Alaska and threatens (at least in my case) some of my respect for Murkowski because she's associating herself with someone whose positions I find odious.
- Third, her own party's gubernatorial candidate in her own state is locked in an apparently neck-and-neck race to the finish. Can't she help Sarah out?
One could argue, of course, that staying out of the race makes sense so that she can work with whoever wins and doesn't create any ill will. But then she goes and slams Tony Knowles when Kyle Hopkins asks her about him.
I don't like to read too deeply into anyone's psyche, particularly someone of the opposite sex, but is it possible that another high-profile female leader in the state could threaten Lisa's position? Sarah and Lisa have a lot in common (children, quiet husbands, strong wills). A political system often only has room for one politician of each type (as maverick Halcro is finding out as he challenges maverick Palin). What happens when Alaska's political system has two strong women?
Additionally but separately, as RedState notes, why isn't Don Young sharing some of his huge war chest? The Palin campaign could sure use some, as could numerous House and Senate Republicans around the country. Young is never going to have a serious challenger for the remainder of his career? What gives?