In the 2010 election, it was clear that Sen. Lisa Murwkoski's write-in bid would not succeed without Democratic support. The Republican nominee, sore-loser Joe Miller, was locking up the solid R vote. And if Democrat Scott McAdams brought home the Democratic vote, she was toast.
Thus, Murkowski made an overt play for Democratic voters.
If she wins, she acknowledged, it won’t just be Republicans who elected her.
“I will be sent back to Washington, D.C., with the grace of God and all the Alaskan voters out there because all Alaskans have asked me to go back and continue my service,” she said. “It will be Republicans and Democrats and greens and independents and non-partisans and undeclared.”
“It will be Alaskans that have asked me to go. That’s who I will be responding to from Day One,” Murkowski added.
It seemed like cynical posturing at the time, and we at Daily Kos argued as much. Murkowski had always been a Republican, and the notion that she would be anything less than a Republican rubber stamp seemed absurd.
Yet a funny thing has happened since Murkowski was reelected.
One of Pres. Obama's biggest supporters in the Senate in the past week is not even a member of his own party: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
Murkowski supported the president's position on the Senate's four biggest votes since last Wednesday.... No Senate Republican voted for all four bills other than Murkowski. And the senior senator from Alaska, who became a national figure this year when she defeated attorney Joe Miller (R) with her write-in campaign, has actually been a more reliable vote for the president than 18 members of the Senate Democratic caucus since Dec. 15.
You read that right -- Murkowski has been a more reliable Democratic vote than 18 other Senate Democrats.
Spurned by her own party, having faced a legal challenge funded in large part by the NRSC, Murkowski seems to have little appetite for party discipline. She is still a Republican, in the Republican caucus, but has apparently decided to play the role of a reverse Lieberman -- caucusing with her old allies, but doing whatever possible to undermine their discipline and cohesiveness.
Hopefully we continue to get more of this Murkowski in the years ahead. For now, let's enjoy her votes and smugly note that none of this would've been possible without our teabagger friends. For all the energy they brought the GOP, they assuredly cost their party control of the Senate. And that's not even including Murkowski's welcome transformation.