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I know I sound a little harsh, and I'm generally not one that likes to take peoples hopes and dreams and dash them on the rocks, but allow me to do that this once.  Know though, if you're a Murkowski supporter, you may love me again by the end, so stay with me.

Lisa Murkowski is not going to win.  I'm not saying she shouldn't have kicked Joe Miller's sorry butt up one side and down the other in the primary.  She should have.  Why didn't she?  The apathy of the moderates, and the enthusiasm of the extremists, my friends.

Watch it playing out everywhere.  Regular folks like you and me seem to be in a perpetual slack-jawed state of shock.  How could it happen?  Christine O'Donnell?  Really?

Yes, if democracy is ignored, it goes to Hell in a hand basket.

The far right are not the only ones who are mad. You and I are mad too. We realize the country has seen better days, and change needs to happen - but that doesn't mean that we're ready to vote every single elected leader out, just because they hold office, only to replace them with people who run so far from the mainstream that they stray into whackjobbery, for lack of a better word.

The passionate masses who have no idea why the country is in the state it's in have given you the likes of Christine O'Donnell, Sharron Angle, and now Joe Miller, Republican candidate for the Alaska senate. Why? Because they are the only ones showing up to the primaries.

Lisa Murkowski is not happy about this.  Her father Frank Murkowski gave her the senate seat when he left D.C. to become Alaska's second-worst governor ever.  But she managed, with the help of Ted Stevens' last-minute pleas to the electorate, to win election outright six years ago keeping the Murkowski seat in Murkowski hands for one more term.  And by all rights, she was doing a good job according to most Alaskans midway through her first whole term.

Lisa has called Joe Miller a dangerous extremist, and Lisa is right. Her fear and loathing of the man who was installed as Republican nominee reaches so far that she has attempted the impossible - literally.

She has gone the way of the desperate - launching a write-in campaign for the senate seat she's still sitting in.

Here's what's stacked against her:

First, there's History - A write-in candidate has never been successfully elected to statewide office in the history of the state of Alaska. Ever.

Part of that history includes Ernest Gruening - the Father of Alaska Statehood. Some upstart newbie named Mike Gravel came in with a slick modern media campaign the likes of which nobody had seen before in 1968, and swiped the Democratic nomination from the stunned Gruening.  He, like Murkowski now, felt he'd been the victim of negative campaigning and decided to rally the faithful and run a write-in campaign.  He emerged from the general election with 17% of the vote- a whopping 14, 118 votes.

Nationally those statistics don't improve much. Only once has a senator ever launched a successful write-in candidacy.  That would be South Carolina's Strom Thurmond, in 1954.  And the Republican candidate was dead.

Then, There are the Rules

Oh, those pesky rules. Nobody likes them, with the notable exception of those who can exploit them for their own benefit. (I'll get to that)

The person who oversees the State Division of Elections is Alaska Lt. Governor Craig Campbell.  He has confirmed to the Associated Press that in addition to filling-in the write-in oval, voters must write in the candidate’s last name, or name as it appears on the declaration to run. The Division of Elections has also clarified that simply writing in "Lisa M" is not enough. Lisa cannot distribute stickers with the correct spelling of her name to stick on the ballot, because it's not legal under Alaska law.

And then there's the issue of just writing "Murkowski".  Her father Frank held the seat for decades. Might someone mean Frank Murkowski? And what if we get another write-in candidate whose name is Lisa Murchowski?  Or Lisa Machulsky? Might someone with a similar name be convinced to throw their hat in the ring? They can do so up to five days before the election.

But don't worry about all this stuff. Palin's attorney Thomas Van Flein, and a hoard of Outside attorneys will likely descend once again on the vote count and gum up the works throwing out anything and everything they possible can. Franken v. Coleman anyone?

Then There are the Numbers

Rasmussen Reports, a right-leaning pollster shows Lisa Murkowski at only 27 percent.  Robo polls are known for overstating the results of write-in and third-party candidates, and simply cannot simulate the process of actually writing in votes properly on election day. And her vote is already declining since her announcement, compared to her public polls.

The daily political newspaper, The Hill, observed, "the fact that Murkowski backers will have to write her name on the ballot and remember to fill in a corresponding oval means there will likely be a significant drop off between those who say they will cast a vote for the incumbent and those who actually do."

So, 27% seems awfullyoptimistic, and unlikely as a final outcome.

A local long-time Republican pollster crunched the numbers and said, "Based on history, her chance would be close to zero."

So, it's not going to happen.  I hate being the bearer of "negative nabobism" as Murkowski accused non-believers, during an odd pseudo-Spiro-Agnew moment when she declared her write-in candidacy.  But someone's got to do it.

And so Lisa Murkowski will fan her little flame of faithfuls, and she'll spend her war chest on telling people to "fill in the oval" and don't forget it's "M-U-R-K-O-W-S-K-I".  In a cringe-inducing demonstration of the pitfalls of this strategy, her very first commercial telling people how to vote for her, spelled her name wrong.

She'll march ahead to the end, and if Joe Miller wins, she'll be accused of being a spoiler, and far-right Republicans will have spent the last month calling her an entitled princess, and sane Republicans and Democrats will blame her for putting Joe Miller in office.  Either way nobody is ever voting for her again. She's done.

So, is there any way out? Yes.

Lisa stays in the race for another two or three weeks. She gives it her best shot, reads the numbers, and tells her constituents that she is, with a heavy heart, suspending her campaign.  And before everyone goes calling her a flip-flopper or a quitter, she reminds them that she has always said from the very beginning that it's Alaska she cares about.  She, unlike ol' whatsername,<span style="text-decoration: underline;"> is</span> actually stepping down for the good of the state. She tells us sincerely that she'd rather sacrifice herself than leave us in the hands of Joe Miller.  She tells us that she'll do whatever she can for Scott McAdams to ease him into the seat when she leaves, and makes sure that he benefits from her connections on the Hill, her knowledge and her skill.

Right wing Republicans still love Joe Miller, BUT...

Everyone else looks upon her as a hero - the woman who snatched victory out of the clutches of a wingnut who was ready to sink the state.  A politician who actually, truly is all about doing what is best for the state, and not self-serving ambition.  We love her like a stray puppy loves the one who saved it from life on the street.  And then she runs again for office of some kind, untainted - not as a spoiler, but as a savior.

Perk: That crazy woman who defeated her dad, and who endorsed the guy who knocked her out of the senate?  No more magic wand. No more kingmaker. Can't even get a Republican elected in her own state.  And she got taken down by a Murkowski.

Game. Set. Match.

Originally posted to Jeanne Devon on Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 07:27 PM PDT.

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