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Lisa votes, and Charlie Brown kicks the football

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks to reporters after voting against a slimmed-down Affordable Care Act repeal measure on Capitol Hill in Washington in the early morning hours Friday. (Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)

For decades, people have wondered what Charlie Brown would have done if he had ever gotten to kick the ball Lucy had been tricking him with for years. I suddenly feel qualified to answer this question definitively. Charlie did the happy Snoopy dance! His eyes may have been a bit wet and he may have whooped too loud for neighbors at 2 a.m., but his joy was known.

OK. Maybe that was me during the vote to defeat the repeal of "Obamacare." There have been many times I believed Sen. Lisa Murkowski would do the right thing for Alaska and I'd run up to the football, only to be flat on my back with stars floating around.

Not this time. This time was magic. Thank you, Lisa Murkowski. My respect for her resilience against the political machine of her party is earned. People will see doctors, beat diseases, love and live longer because of her strength.

I realize you may have just rechecked the byline on this column to make sure you're reading this right. This week has been a crazy month, or at least it feels like it. I have found myself in tears of relief because of a brave vote, and defended oil companies. WHAT? I know! It's like the seventh seal has been opened and the Fourth Horseman is spinning brodies on the front lawn.

Well, dear reader, here's how I got to a place I never thought I could.

Sen. Murkowski read the same thing all of us did. The repeal of "Obamacare" would hurt the state of Alaska more than any other state. Apparently, our other senator didn't see the same reports.

Murkowski didn't like voting on something that didn't exist yet. That would be the "replace" part of "repeal and replace." She voted to stop that even though Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie to carry it forward.

President Trump tweeted about her and I didn't like that. It's like when someone in your family or hometown that you don't really get on with gets attacked by an outsider. You know what I mean. You defend them because they're yours. Her tweeted response was, "With all due respect, Mister President, I didn't come here to represent the Republican Party. I am representing my constituents and the state of Alaska."

I hugged that tweet of hers. After he'd come after her on Twitter, she still wrote, "With all due respect." That's taking a high road I would need a Google map to find. I decided to believe her and set myself up for another yanked football. Then something weird happened. Our senators were contacted by the secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke. Our state's economic future and development was being threatened by the administration.

I KNOW! That's insane! For all the time I've spent encouraging the former administration to put projects like Arctic drilling and the Pebble mine on ice, I was furious. How dare they try to put Alaska in a hostage situation so they could extort a vote out of our senator that would also hurt us?

As mad as it made me and so many of you, I thought for sure it might occur to the administration that with that kind of intimidation they might just lose Dan Sullivan's vote. Apparently, they knew better. Dan Sullivan voted to repeal our health care even after his comrade and adopted home state were put in the cross hairs. That says a lot more about who he is than what his campaign rhetoric will be.

The Western Values Project, a group that advocates for resource development, took notice. They want the records of interactions between our senators and Zinke. This isn't normal.

When Lisa Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine stood up to the biggest bullies in the business and joined with the Democratic minority, it gave courage to John McCain. Fifty-one Americans safeguarded our health care for the time being.

Our 26th president said something that I kept thinking of this week. Maybe Sen. Murkowski already has it written down on a sticky note.

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country."

Thanks for that, Theodore Roosevelt. And thank you, Sen. Murkowski.

Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.

The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary@alaskadispatch.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to letters@alaskadispatch.com. 

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