Kavanaugh vote has damaged Murkowski’s brand



Like many Alaska Republicans, I had high hopes that, in the end, Sen. Lisa Murkowski would do right by Brett Kavanaugh and vote to confirm him. Many if not most of us really thought she would.

After all, she has been a reliable vote on past Republican Supreme Court nominees, most recently in favor of Neil Gorsuch.

I thought to myself, yes, she is often ponderous and indecisive on big, important votes, waiting until the dramatic 11thhour to announce her decision. And yes, the bigger and more important the vote, the more she seems likely to go against the sensibilities of Alaska Republicans.

But surely, she would get this one right. Wouldn’t she?

Surely, she would have the backbone to stand up to the left-wing pressure groups and the millions they spent on Alaska TV and radio ads in recent weeks.

Surely, when not a single shred of corroboration was uncovered by the FBI investigation into Ms. Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations from high school, she would consider that sordid matter closed and join her fellow senators, Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, in supporting an outstanding, high quality nominee.

Surely, she would understand the high stakes for Alaska, for our lands issues, for regulatory overreach, and for the very integrity of our nation’s judicial selection process.

Surely, she would remember that, at the end of the day, she claims to be a Republican.

Wouldn’t she? Wouldn’t she?

Nope. She didn’t.

I happened to be in Washington, DC when she voted “no” on advancing Kavanaugh to a full floor vote, and when she made her subsequent Senate floor speech.

Even from that far away, I could feel the emanations of shock and outrage from Alaska Republicans.

A number of friends and colleagues from other states have sent me messages to the effect of, “how could she?”

I really don’t know the answer. By way of explanation, all I can offer is my own observation that the more divisively partisan is the vote, and the further away is her next election, the more likely Sen. Murkowski is to channel her inner Democrat and vote accordingly.

It also appears that Sen. Murkowski was a no vote on Judge Kavanaugh early on.

Why? I can tell by the weakness of the excuse she offered in her floor speech – that Judge Kavanaugh was not temperamentally fit to be on the court. That his emotional self-defense of his character in the face of uncorroborated sexual assault allegations had created “an appearance of impropriety.”

Really? No kidding? She disqualified him because he is human? Because he was less than cerebral and circumspect in the face of the most scurrilous, most vicious, most hurtful, most family-damaging allegations ever to be levied against a Supreme Court nominee?

There is not a speck of evidence to support any of the awful allegations raised against Judge Kavanaugh, in fact there is a lifetime of impeccable behavior that stands in stark opposition.  Moreover, Judge Kavanaugh’s record as a federal judge is stellar, including on many issues of critical importance to Alaska. His intellect is excellent.

So our senior senator had to grasp at straws. With no other straw available to her, she grasped the “temperament” straw, the most subjective and insubstantial straw there is.

The trouble is, that straw is also false. There was no “appearance of impropriety” in Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony. There was only a deeply human appearance of searing pain and indignation.

There is no issue of temperament. Quite to the contrary, Kavanaugh’s entire career has demonstrated a sterling temperament.

The only questions of temperament and fitness for office in this whole disgusting affair lie with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, her fellow Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and our own Sen. Murkowski.

By voting no, Sen. Lisa has demonstrated an unwillingness to stand up to Outside-funded, left-wing pressure groups that make massive media buys in Alaska because they know she is likely to cave in to them.

A lack of political courage. Temperament.

With her no vote she has also endorsed the shenanigans of Sen. Feinstein and her fellow hatchet-wielding Democrats. They gave her the cover she felt she needed, and she promptly ducked underneath it.


On her, the viciously partisan tactics of Feinstein and Company worked, almost guaranteeing they will be used again, even though Murkowski decried the nastiness of the process in her floor speech.

You can’t have it both ways, Senator, denouncing the Democrats’ tactics while rewarding them with your actions.

When I saw the news of Murkowski’s Kavanaugh votes, I was more than outraged.  I was saddened; saddened, because I really like Alaska’s senior senator as a person. She is warm, gracious, and in her best moments she is a statesman and a fierce advocate for Alaska.

But at her worst, like she has been this week and is rather too often, she is maddening and embarrassing.

Sen. Murkowski probably thinks that four years will be plenty of time for her Republican primary voters to forgive and forget her Kavanaugh debacle.

I strongly suspect she is wrong, if she thinks that.  This is a defining, brand-damaging moment for her, one that conservative leaning Alaska super-voters who pay attention will never forget.

I certainly won’t.

Scott Hawkins is an Alaska business owner and a Republican. He was a candidate for governor earlier this year.


  1. Time to Welcome Back Sarah Palin. She’d make a fine Conservative Senator. And after all, she defeated Murkywaters father for governor, back in the day.

    • It won’t be Sarah. She doesn’t like the work. It’s easier being a rock star. OTOH, whomever is running against Lisa needs to start pretty quickly. Cheers –

  2. I suspect we will see a response in the future something like “What does it matter anyway, he got confirmed.” Sound familiar?

  3. An excellent analysis by Mr. Hawkins. I agree with him on every point, but particularly on the weakness of Senator Murkowski’s “temperament” rationale.

    • It wasn’t analysis. It was opinion. Anyone who calls the Fbi investigation thorough is pushing BS

  4. I wish she would have stepped up to and taken this type of stance against the judge in our own state to give a free pass to someone who admitted to kidnapping at sexually assaulting a native woman!

  5. Agree!! As many have already said; I wonder how “controlled” her temperament would be if this same angry mob of villains destroyed – forever – her 30+ years of professional career, character, and trustworthiness. Why isn’t she angry with her, “colleagues across the aisle”. What the left has done to Kavanaugh is nothing short of criminal!

  6. Dear Suzanne and like minded fellow Alaskans, I won’t forget, my friends won’t forget, and my friends of friends and their friends won’t forget. She has let us down. I’m coming up on 60 years of living in this great
    State and I will crawl to to the polls if I have to in order to vote for true conservative principles.
    Get out and vote. In person! Please! That is your power!

    • Don’t wait for the next election in 4 years she can do a lot more damage as an undercover Democrat to our State. The Republican party should start a recall.on the Senator.

  7. I think she got it right, actually. But for the wrong reasons. Of course Kavanaugh is going respond with emotion to accusations of impropriety. Placing herself in his shoes fighting off uncorraborated charges of infidelity or child abuse or drunken excesses and we’d see how dispassionate senator Murkowski would remain. His temperament is not an issue after that spectacle.

    Overlooked in all this drama however is Kavanaugh’s record of ruling against individual rights and freedoms in favor of the the NSA, domestic surveillance without warrant, detention without charge, and all those yummy things that the Patriot Act lets the government do to us. I would have voted against him for undermining the fourth and fifth amendments.

    Senator Murkowski will have to answer to the electorate down the road (if she is crazy enough to sign on for another six years of that kind of abuse) and I’d never vote for her. But I have to say that she was right in standing against Kavanaugh albeit for the wrong reasons.

  8. Some folks mental abilities mysteriously fall into decline at a relatively young age. Let us hope there is enough residual to see the need to gracefully retire before the deterioration becomes (more) obvious.

  9. “Overlooked in all this drama however is Kavanaugh’s record of ruling against individual rights and freedoms in favor of the the NSA, domestic surveillance without warrant, detention without charge, and all those yummy things that the Patriot Act lets the government do to us. I would have voted against him for undermining the fourth and fifth amendments.”

    I agree completely!

    I was going to add something, but you said it all!

  10. Even Senator Collins got it right. “A person is innocent until proven guilty”. Her entire almost 44 minute speech for why she voted yes for Justice Kavanaugh is available on YouTube. Listening to it is worth your time. This bedrock principle of our great country we expect, no demand, be applied to each one of us. This nomination process was a political hit job from the very start. We all saw it. Senator Murkowski, in my opinion, bowed to those who fill her campaign coffer. Having seen the standard of justice Senator Murkowski is willing to support, I can only assume she would apply it to any one of us or anyone else as well. I sure hope we vote her out of office in 2022.

  11. By listening to her explain her “no” vote, it kinda sounded like she’s covering up something, like the Democrats have some kind of hold on her, kinda like a blackmail vote in a way. Is she hiding from something? Is she afraid of some kind of leak of information? What does the Democrats have on her? What ever the case is, she has lost her ability to work for the Republicans of Alaska. She is “jumping Lisa” do to the fact that when the Democrats tell her to jump the isle, she jumps and always waits to the last second as to not tip off the Republican Party. Maybe it’s time for someone to start digging into Lisa life and find out what it is that so compelling and secretive that she can’t stand up and tell us how she is voting, that’s her job to inform us so that we can give our views on the matter. Not this hanging out in the hallways whispering and having her staffers lie to us about how she plans to vote on something. About six years ago I called her office to find out how she was going to vote on something, a few weeks later I received a letter from her office explaining how she was planning to vote, and I felt satisfied but when she voted she did just the opposite of what was said in the letter, that’s the first time I noticed “jumping Lisa”, I only wish that I had kept that letter as prof of her I jumping the aisle at the last second………

  12. Lisa is going to need all of the democratic votes she can garner in 4 years, assuming someone like Begich doesn’t run against her or that she is defeated in a Republican Primary. or she retires. I don’t think she will be re-elected ever again.
    Finally, thanks for a thoughtful and well written piece on Lisa. You covered the waterfront and you did it with class.

  13. Excellent article! What Sen. Murkowski did felt like a gut punch. With her vote she legitimized this vile spectacle which we just witnessed. My family and I will most certainly not forget in 2022. In ‘Game of Thrones’ the saying is, “The North Remembers!” This might just be the case here.

  14. I’ll bet she is just shaking in her boots about a few on here thinking they won’t forgive her. Sort of like when she didn’t support that last Republican who won the primary against her. She has just anchored her support of Alaskan Natives (who opposed Kavanaugh) by voting against him.
    And what a joke that some have suggested Sarah Palin may consider a run against her-has anyone on here thought of how Alaskans will celebrate “the quitter” running against Lisa??

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