UPDATED: When former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin first endorsed Joe Miller on June 2 in his race for the U.S. Senate seat against incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the tone of that endorsement could be described as civil. She was careful to make it less about Murkowski and more about Miller. Less about competence and more about competition. Less about personality and more about principle. In her Facebook note, which is how Palin does these things, she also made sure that she dispelled rumors of personal animus between herself and Murkowski.
"Though the media has tried to portray some sort of feud or bad blood between Lisa and myself, such is not the case," she wrote. "I've always wished her well, but it is my firm belief that we need a bold reformer who is not afraid to stand up to special interests and take on the tough challenges of our time." (**see below for background)
That was Sarah then. And to go back further, the Sarah a year ago went so far as to donate $5,000 to Murkowski through her PAC, the maximum she could have given.
But today is another day, as they say, and a new Facebook face emerges with a totally different tone. This one doesn't bother to talk about how she wishes Lisa well, or even about the value of competition. This one goes for the jugular. This one repeats every criticism leveled against Murkowski by Miller and the far right, makes note of the fact that Murkowski was "given her Senate seat by her father," and accuses Murkowski of talking "one way in the Last Frontier and then vote the opposite way in the Beltway." And that's just for starters.
In her note, she delights in repeating that the Huffington Post called Murkowski "center-right Democrat." (Side note: strange that she would call attention to that piece, as it was written by local lawyer Don Mitchell in a column about how upset Sarah was that Lisa got the Senate seat. That piece also says that Palin came across as "immature" and "uninformed," and the least impressive of any candidate interviewed by Frank for the seat. Read it all here. )
The Facebook note nails Murkowski for co-sponsoring a cap-and-trade bill, for voting with Democrats over 300 times, and for refusing to repeal Obamacare, repeating the controversial snippet of a KTUU interview where Murkowski said that repeal "is not the answer." It's a quote that Miller has used over and over in his campaign, and it's one that the Murkowski camp has repeatedly called foul on. It was taken out of context, they say. In fact, Murkowski just voted to repeal Obamacare. (Watch the latest dust up here).
It criticizes Murkowski's 2006 vote on an immigration bill, which, ironically was a bill co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain. Sen. Ted Stevens also voted for it. Finally she calls on her followers to "raise $1,000 for each of the 30 years this senate seat has been locked in by the Murkowski family."
I'm awaiting a call back from the Murkowski campaign. I'll update as soon as it comes.
In an email, Sen. Lisa Murkowski's spokesperson Steve Wackowski said about the Facebook endorsement, "Lisa was supported by her mentor and partner in the Senate, Ted Stevens. He hosted events for us and raised money for the campaign. We'll take that over a thousand facebook posts."
***Background: 2002, when Frank Murkowski left his Senate seat to become Alaska's governor, it was up to him to choose a replacement for his seat. Palin, who had lost the Republican primary to be Alaska's lieutenant governor, nonetheless then campaigned hard for Frank Murkowski in the governor's race. She was shortlisted for the seat. He chose his daughter, Lisa, instead. Hence the feud rumors...
Contact Amanda Coyne at amanda(at)alaskadispatch.com.