Hopefully you know that this is a Left-leaning blog. On a whole range of issues, Texas Leftist espouses what most would consider to be “Liberal” values, and those values tend to be more on the Democratic side of the current political spectrum.
All that being said, I really miss the old Republican Party. These folks used to be real politicians, and they used to care about actual issues. The Reagan-era GOP had vigorous disagreements with Democrats, but at the end of the day, they got together, laid all of the harsh rhetoric aside, and came up with common-sense solutions to our problems. Sure, both parties have always had extremes, but there used to be enough sanity in the Republican Party to do the real work of government. This is not the case today, as the Republican party has devolved into a phony coalition between scared Republicans and TEA party members carrying the party name, which I prefer to call TEApublicans. Whatever you choose to call them, one thing is clear… the Republican Party as we know it is over. It’s this takeover of the GOP that has led to most of the dysfunction in Congress, and in many ways is the whole reason for the current government shutdown and default. Now that’s not to say that there aren’t still sensible people on Capitol Hill, but those precious few wouldn’t dare oppose the TEApublican caucus.
In the Senate, slightly more sanity abounds. But even there, most Republican members live in such fear of drawing a primary challenge that even they can’t always do what they know is best for their constituents. So we have to count them in the TEApublican camp too.
But thankfully, there remain a few people on the Right that have both common sense and political courage. In the midst of complete government chaos, Texas Leftist felt it was time to highlight said lawmakers, and remind readers that things don’t have to be the way they are now. One REAL Republican came to mind.
And that Republican is Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.
To be clear, I don’t agree with Senator Murkowski’s views on everything, but I have often admired her courage on Capitol Hill. She’s on record wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act… we’re never going to agree with that. But what Senator Murkowski was not willing to do? Shut down the government because she didn’t get her way. Here’s a quote from the Fairbanks News-Miner…
“As bad as I believe this health care law is for our nation, shutting down the government means lost paychecks for gas, rent and grocery money for thousands of Alaskans who work for the federal government and vital services for our veterans, seniors, children and disabled,” Murkowski said in a statement late Monday. “My opposition to the Affordable Care Act doesn’t mean we stop legislating.
“We need to get work. Shutting down the government doesn’t help anybody — and it has a harmful ripple effect on the larger economy,” she said. “It is time for the president and Senate and House leaders to come together and find a solution to fund the government.”
Again, for the record, I support the Affordable Care Act and it’s implementation… I am not advocating Senator Murkowski’s position here. But I am thankful that she is courageous enough to stand against the TEApublican caucus and speak from a point of common sense.
Of course Murkowski has earned the ability to be independent. The true TEA party faction within Congress is a small number of lawmakers, but most Republicans will not oppose them because they fear a “nightmare scenario” of drawing a Primary challenger for the next election. In essence they care more about their own reelection than they do about what is best for their constituencies, which is why we’re in this shutdown/ debt ceiling mess in the first place. But that nightmare scenario is one that Senator Murkowski has already endured. In 2010, she lost the Republican Primary to Joe Miller, a TEA Party challenger and favorite of Former Governor Sarah Palin. Knowing now that Miller had the full support of the Republican Party establishment, almost everyone concluded that Murkowski’s political future was over. But they were wrong… Murkowski launched an historic write-in campaign to keep her seat, and won the election without even being on the ballot. Instead of being controlled by the voices of extremism, the Senator put her constituents first. Whatever your political ideology, you have to admit that it took some brass to do this. Brass that is decidedly missing from the TEApublicans of the 113th.
We spend a lot of time on the Left painting the GOP with one broad brush… all of them are terrible, all of them are intransigent, all of them are dangerous… and sure, a bunch of that criticism is deserved. But I suspect that if more people in Congress were like Senator Murkowski, the government would not be the train wreck that it is today. Let’s hope more messages like hers start to sink in. If they don’t, we’re all in trouble.
Thanks for the leadership Senator.