OPINION: Murkowski does right thing for wrong reasons

  • President Donald Trump talks with Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington on June 13, 2017, before having lunch with Republican Senators. From left are, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. Despite voting to acquit Trump in his impeachment trial, Murkowski called his actions “shameful and wrong.” (Photo/Susan Walsh/AP)

Among the many insightful quotes by the late Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, this one ranks at or near the top: “I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.”

As it applies to Alaska’s senior U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and her votes during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Friedman’s rule would be modified to the right people doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Murkowski, as she often is, was in the spotlight as a top target for Democrats and the media as one of the most susceptible to public pressure and an openness to go against her party; this time she was starring in a role as one of a rump minority in the Senate who could be persuaded to bail out and extend the pathetic case brought by the House of Representatives through issuing subpoenas to new witnesses.

One of the members of the pearl-clutching, well-I-never caucus that includes Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and the petulant two-time presidential loser Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, Murkowski never misses an opportunity to attack Trump despite enjoying all the perks, privileges and power that he and his coattails delivered to her in 2016 by winning the White House and preserving the Republican majority in the Senate.

“The President’s behavior was shameful and wrong,” Murkowski declared on Feb. 3, parroting the Democrat narrative of Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainians that inspired the weakest impeachment charges in our national history. “His personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation.

“The president has the responsibility to uphold the integrity and honor of the office. Not just for himself but for all future presidents. Degrading the office, by actions or even name calling, weakens it for future presidents, and weakens our country.”

The two topics Trump raised to Ukraine’s new president last July 25 with at least a dozen people listening in — the country’s interference in the 2016 election and the questionable relationship between the Bidens and Burisma — are in fact well-rooted and go beyond his “personal interests.”

Dating back to January 2017 through independent reporting, there is no question Ukrainian officials worked in concert with the Democrat National Committee in an attempt to influence the 2016 election in Hillary Clinton’s favor by providing “dirt” on former campaign manager Paul Manafort and even penning op-eds endorsing Clinton over Trump.

Through his own words, former Vice President Joe Biden openly bragged in 2018 that he threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid to Ukraine in 2016 unless they fired a prosecutor with an investigation against the most corrupt company in one of the most corrupt nations on the planet.

That company, Burisma Holdings, hired his cocaine-sniffing, stripper-impregnating, deadbeat dad of a son Hunter Biden to a $1 million per year gig on its board of directors in an obvious attempt to curry influence with the father who was in charge of Ukraine relations under former President Barack Obama.

The evidence of corruption in Ukraine is overwhelming, especially as it relates to oligarchs skimming the national treasury and aid dollars along with passing kickbacks to well-connected bureaucrats and hapless American political spawn like Hunter Biden, and it is well within the national interest to ensure that $400 million worth of U.S. funding isn’t simply being laundered to their benefit.

“Shameful and wrong” behavior? Not hardly.

To characterize the president this way in light of what we now know about how Obama’s FBI and CIA used a foreign-sourced piece of Clinton opposition research to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens and spark a three-year investigation of Trump is downright laughable.

Murkowski’s obsession with Trump’s mean tweets and lack of decorum as he’s accused alternately of being the next Hitler or a puppet of Vladimir Putin only plays into the hands of Democrats who hate him and would reverse all the favors and attention he has showered on Alaska since taking office.

Unlike his last two predecessors, Trump hasn’t gotten thousands of U.S. service members killed and maimed overseas.

Unlike his predecessors dating to Bill Clinton, he refused to accept the status quo of China taking advantage of us in trade at every turn while openly stealing American intellectual property and national security secrets, or to continue to allow the disastrous North American Free Trade Act to remain in place.

Unlike his predecessors dating to Ronald Reagan, he has refused to let our generous national spirit be abused by illegal immigration or continued a long-held presidential tradition of promising to secure the border as a candidate while holding no actual intention to do so once in office.

For all the talk about Trump being some kind of wannabe dictator, he’s never refused a court order or failed to obey one of the ludicrous nationwide injunctions that have been issued at a rate unprecedented in history and more importantly unrooted in legal precedent.

Not once during the Mueller investigation did he claim executive privilege. His son and his own White House counsel alone testified for some 50 hours combined. The closest the Democrat dream team of lawyers could come to an obstruction charge was him expressing a desire to fire Mueller.

That isn’t obstruction any more than wanting to punch Rep. Adam Schiff in the face can be considered assault.

Mean tweets? Please.

Murkowski is far too savvy of a politician to have just now realized that the Democrats will burn down every institution in an effort to get Trump.

They’ve spent years calling him a traitor in hock to Putin and doing his bidding.

They’ve had the majority back in the House for barely a year and have already degraded it through the bastardization of the impeachment power.

Their attacks on the Supreme Court have been a constant for the past two decades dating back to Bush v. Gore.

For goodness’ sake, Murkowski was in the audience at the State of the Union in 2010 when Obama took the opportunity to attack the justices to their faces over the Citizens United case and now she’s surprised that Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her unhinged cohort would target Chief Justice John Roberts?

The only reason Roberts was in the position of potentially being called upon to take a tie-breaking vote on witnesses was because Murkowski, Collins and Romney put him there by signaling a willingness to enable the farce brought to their chamber by the House.

And how can we forget the role Murkowski herself played in undermining the Supreme Court when she cast the lone GOP vote against Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 following the disgusting smear campaign run against him by citing his supposed ill temperament for daring to express his outrage over being accused of being a gang rapist?

She said it best in her speech announcing her intent not to convict Trump even while assailing her colleagues: “That level of hypocrisy is astounding even for D.C.”

On balance, Murkowski, like Trump, is good for Alaska and she deserves credit for doing the right thing on her votes against witnesses and conviction. But it would have been nice if she could do the right thing without stabbing her fellow Republicans in the back and lending credence to the Democrats’ madness in the process.

Andrew Jensen can be reached at [email protected].

02/05/2020 - 9:18am