OPINION: Breaking news: Democrats want to close Alaska
That is how Alaska’s senior U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski described her reaction to President Joe Biden (or whoever picked out his socks that morning) acting on his first day in office to shut down the state’s resource development economy.
In other news Murkowski may have missed, there is gambling in Casablanca, puppies are cute, and Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.
Compare Murkowski’s reaction to fellow Alaska politicians.
There was caustic from Sen. Dan Sullivan: “Well that was fast.”
There was realistic from Rep. Don Young: “It is not surprising, though no less disappointing.”
Then there was fantastic from State Sen. Josh Revak, who bluntly noted what Biden just did to Alaska “without even the basic courtesy of first asking us to dinner.”
What is astounding is that Murkowski could pronounce herself surprised at all after 18 years in Washington, D.C., watching Democrats take every measure possible to hinder Alaska’s development including eight years under President Barack Obama and the entire Biden campaign during which he lied about his intention to ban fracking but made no secret he would halt activity on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain.
Surely she could not be so naïve as to believe she has earned any goodwill for Alaska just because she let Democrats Christmas tree her energy bill, denounced former President Donald Trump at every opportunity, repeatedly voted against his judicial and cabinet nominees, demanded he resign while supporting his impeachment, and most recently introduced a bill to repeal the so-called “Mexico City policy” banning taxpayer funding of international abortion.
Regularly praised by the entirely objective national press for her “bipartisanship” — which in Washington-speak means going along with Democrat policies — Murkowski has found her “my friends across the aisle” comity routinely met with a slap in the face on every single Alaska resource issue from ANWR to NPR-A to the King Cove road to the Roadless Rule yet still she never fails to ask for another.
But hey, no more mean tweets, right?
Maybe it would be too mean of Murkowski to ask Biden to his face what he has against Alaska Natives, whether they be Vietnam veterans or residents of the North Slope who have demonstrated for more than 40 years they can have an economy that respects the environment and provides the means to preserve their millennia-old traditions alongside the modern benefits of health care, education and basics such as running water the rest of us take for granted.
The North Slope Borough poverty rate is lower than the national average for a reason, and it isn’t from building solar panels as Yacht Captain/Climate Czar John Kerry would advise them to do instead.
Still, though, Murkowski persists in declaring herself shocked — shocked! — that the same party who granted sovereignty over entire neighborhoods in Seattle and Portland to avowed revolutionaries against the government would in turn deny sovereignty to Alaska Natives.
For all of her willingness to play footsie with them, Murkowski’s Democrat colleagues have not moved an inch, ever, in the direction of putting an extra barrel of oil in the pipeline, providing reliable transportation for rural communities or creating a single job outside the National Park Service in Alaska. They surely do not care about any Alaska Native opinions when those conflict with the Sierra Club.
Murkowski is up for reelection in 2022, and she may very well be immune to any challenges from her wide open right flank thanks to the forthcoming ranked choice ballot system approved this past November.
Someone with that kind of political capital and job security could put it to use by doing more than putting out statements of disbelief that Democrats would do what they’ve been saying they would do, going along with the game, accepting the narrative and collecting praise from the press for siding with the likes of Mitt Romney while thousands of her constituents’ livelihoods are at the mercy of a man who is starting his term where Woodrow Wilson ended his.
At this point, the truly astounding event would be Murkowski fighting for the needs of Alaskans at the expense of her carefully cultivated reputation as one of the “good” Republicans in D.C.
Andrew Jensen can be reached at [email protected].