from Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review:
Complacent conservatives should learn the Murkowski lesson
If we are so busy “owning the libs” that we ignore the libs festering within our own ranks to the point where “our party” agrees with 90 percent of what the libs want, isn’t it time we focused on cleaning our own house?
The biggest news of the day outside the Kavanaugh cloture vote in the Senate is that one Republican, Lisa Murkowski from the solid red state of Alaska, voted against him. Suddenly, conservative commentators, writers, fund-raisers, and noisemakers are appalled by her behavior and reminiscing about the 2010 primary, when Joe Miller successfully wrestled the GOP nomination away from Murkowski, only to lose to her in a write-in bid for the general election. Some have focused on GOP establishment figures helping Murkowski behind the scenes to win in the general election. But what everyone seems to miss is that there was another challenge in 2016, after six more years of betrayals from Murkowski, including voting for almost all of Obama’s judicial nominees. The fact that so many of these “professional” activists don’t even recall that election is itself problematic.
A healthy conservative movement would have ensured that McConnell and party leaders denied Murkowski support for the GOP nomination in 2016 after she left the party in 2010, was pro-abortion, and failed to exhibit a modicum of support for anything in the party’s platform. Yet our side, always lacking the ability to walk and chew gum at the same time, was so fixated on Trump and the liberal reaction to Trump – and the reaction to the reaction – that it missed the trend of nominating more liberals than ever to the House and Senate. We all are painfully aware of how we paid for complacency in 2016. That complacency continued into this year, when all we cared about was the Democrats and the media and we allowed many seats to fall into the hands of RINOs. This is why almost all the victories we’ve had were that things Trump was able to do without Congress.
Joe Miller managed to secure the Libertarian Party nomination to challenge Murkowski in a four-person race in the general election of 2016. As I noted in my endorsement of Miller, he had a terrific shot at winning, given the dynamics. Indeed, Murkowski only got 44 percent of the vote. Miller had a strong showing at 30 percent, but had not a penny to his name because no conservative organization, much less the party establishment, focused on him.
Don’t give me the excuse of party labels. Everyone knew that Miller was really a conservative Republican using the other party for ballot access and that he would be a solid vote for all Trump’s nominees. Everyone knew where Murkowski was on judicial nominees, and indeed, Miller warned about this very outcome on my podcast during the 2016 election.