U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is teaming with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to clean up the indulgent and secretive excesses of so-called political Super PACs. She's pledged to take on the project early in the 113th Congress, and co-authored with Wyden an opinion piece on the subject published in the Washington Post.
In their piece for the Post, released late Thursday to reporters, Murkowski and Wyden explain:
"This influx of unregulated political cash stemming from the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision spawned a particularly vitriolic political cycle. Groups on both sides dumped some $6 billion into tearing down candidates for public office. The anonymity of much of this spending encourages ads that lower the level of political discourse and makes it harder, not easier, for Americans to make informed decisions.”
However before you start thinking to yourself, "Finally a Republican who is ready to break ranks and think for herself, remember this:
Murkowski has herself benefited greatly from a Super PAC. Back in 2010, when independent expenditure groups got the green light to go hog wild, she was in a heated battle to keep her Senate seat from going to Alaska's tea party-backed challenger, Joe Miller. Miller won the primary, but Murkowski chose to stay in the race and mount a write-in campaign. With the help of a Super PAC called Alaskans Standing Together, largely funded by Alaska Native corporations reliant on federal money streams, Murkowski won re-election.
I am unable to put my suspicious nature concerning Lisa Murkowski aside (Remember she is the Senator who allowed energy lobbyists to write her a bill for her and also attempted to hamstring the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases.), however I will say that she has broken ranks with the Republicans before, and I would expect that she will do so again as she may have one of the most primary proof Senate seats in the country.
After her trouncing of Joe Miller's vaguely bearded ass in 2010, I would be stunned if anybody from the right wanted to challenge her nomination again. And as for the Democrats, as much as it pains me to say, there just isn't anybody that I believe can really give her a run for her money.
So essentially Murkowski is free to finally vote her conscience. I don't expect that her conscience. will line up too well with most liberal ideals, but I also don't see her going all Teabagger on us either.
The only possible fly in Murkowski's political ointment is the fact that the Joe Miller crowd is now running the Alaska Republican Party.
As you know our elections are not exactly democratic so the people in charge of the vote tally (The Republicans) is also in charge of the outcome of our elections. However it would be an incredibly risky move for the Miller teabaggers to try and steal an election from Murkowski, who would have the support of the old Republican guard plus many Independents, not to mention more than a handful of liberals whose respect she earned by kicking Miller's ass.
Oh well, time will tell, but my money is still on the fact that Murkowski is, for all intents and purposes, essentially bullet proof. Which means that she could conceivably become one of the most influential members of the Senate.