The Murkowski-Palin-Peltola political love triangle is a curiosity in the “Only in Alaska” category: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, endorsed hardline Democrat Congresswoman Mary Peltola during Alaska Federation of Natives convention, an annual gathering that happened in Anchorage last week.
Sarah Palin, one of Peltola’s Republican congressional challengers, also poured on the love for Peltola. As she has done in the past, when she has aligned herself with Peltola, Palin professed to the AFN audience her affection for her Democrat friend and said she loves everything about her and wishes she was a Republican.
“This is the toughest campaign because of her,” said Palin, pointing at the crowd favorite Peltola during the congressional candidate forum at AFN, and expressing her angst about having to run against someone she admires. “We are in Mary’s house and I know that. I just wish she’d convert to the other party, but other than that, I love her.”
Switching parties would make Peltola an odd-fit Republican, more like a Murkowski, whose positions are often to the left of the party and who has, because of her anti-Republican votes, been formally asked to leave the Alaska Republican Party.
Peltola is far from having a record that could even be considered moderate. She is a die-hard leftist with a record of being pro-taxes, anti-oil, anti-gun, and pro-abortion (she calls that “pro-freedom”). She’s not the Republican that Nick Begich is, most certainly — he is pro-Second Amendment, while Peltola believes the Second Amendment is for hunters. He’s pro-resource development, and pro-family, including the gestating members of the family. And he has a history of supporting conservative causes.
Peltola’s known positions and votes on topics of “freedom and family” are out of step with where the majority of Alaskans are at. She became a member of Congress in August nonetheless, through the ranked choice voting system, and has a multi-million-dollar nationally fueled campaign underway that plays to her likability, and focuses not at all on her actual stance on issues: She’s anti-ANWR development and anti-resource economy in general, except for fish; with fish, it’s really just fish for tribes that is her driving message. For Peltola, it’s about growing government and getting more entitlements, as her party platform also promotes.
The bond between Palin and Peltola goes back to the time when both women were serving in office — Peltola in the House and Palin in the Governor’s Office, and they were pregnant at the same time. Palin, who has always been pro-life, never doubted she’d bring her disabled child into the world, but for Peltola, it was a choice — she could have aborted her own child with a clear conscience. The two do not share pro-life principles.
Thus, a triangle of women political veterans has emerged that places friendship over policy, and get-along-go-along over principle: Palin is hardly a Murkowski fan, and Murkowski doesn’t care for Palin, and yet both of them have zeroed in on Peltola as their favorite congressional candidate.
Palin posed for hug-photos with Peltola at AFN, as she has at almost every forum she’s attended. Wearing an iron cross necklace, which drew fashion criticism from poorly educated leftists over its use in Nazi Germany as the highest military medal — Palin also showed off her arm tattoos for the cameras to bond with the attendees. (The iron cross is an edgy symbol to wear, but is also used by motorcycle and rock music, but dates back centuries to European monarchies and military uses. Read more about it here.)
Palin has come around on that issue of ranked choice voting: Before August, she told her followers “do not comply,” on the ranked choice ballot, but now she says, “rank the red,” meaning Republicans, until the new election experiment in ranked choice voting can be reversed. It’s a disconnected message, since Palin is putting the “pal” into play in what appears to be an effort to support Peltola.
Recent polling shows that Palin is running slightly behind Begich for that coveted second-place slot, which can only overcome Democrat Peltola if people who vote conservative rank the Republicans — even if they don’t like the other Republican. But the real poll comes on Nov. 8, when voters will make up their minds about who can best represent them in the only seat that Alaska has in Congress.