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Murkowski should lead a Senate coalition

  • Author: Shannyn Moore
    | Opinion
  • Updated: August 12, 2017
  • Published August 12, 2017

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski at a Senate committee meeting in April 2016  (Zach Gibson / The New York Times)

Like it or not, Alaska is a political petri dish. It makes our polls irrelevant, creates nail- biter election nights that have ended in a coin flip onto a beaver pelt, and gave us a write-in election bid that rewrote history and disappointed the Strom Thurmond fan club.

There's a lot of talk of "let's all get along" in Washington, D.C., but not much walk. Alaska has a history of actually doing bipartisan work for the good of all. Ted Stevens was epic at making people adore him who disagreed with his politics. Joe Biden was one of his best friends.

After the Corrupt Bastards Club roundup by the FBI in 2006, a bipartisan coalition was born in our state Senate. The conditions had to be perfect — like an eclipse or that flower that only blooms for an hour — for it to come together. The Democrats had the minority, but they made Lyda Green, a Republican warrior from Wasilla, the president of the Senate in order to make a majority.

Those were some glory days of getting things done. The agreement to not legislate social issues was a relief. Oh, Fred Dyson would still figure out how to talk about abortion in his floor speeches, but considering he and his wife had fostered more than a dozen children, at least he was doing more than just yammering.

The Alaska House is now a bipartisan group. Our governor and lieutenant governor are from different parties. So, how do we export this concept of working together to Washington?

I think Lisa Murkowski should do it. I do. She could become the first female president if she took a few lessons from back here. I'm not kidding, nor am I campaigning for her to become the next president, but it would be less stressful than checking Twitter every morning to see if we're dropping nuclear bombs on North Korea. We spent three years bombing that country in the 1950s and killed almost 30 percent of their population. It's been done.

Maybe Lisa will read this, so here goes: Get a couple of your Republican buddies in the Senate. Susan Collins seems obvious, since she's not insane and also has moose in her state. Go have a come-to-Jesus meeting with the Democrats. I'll suggest Sheldon Whitehouse or Sherrod Brown, maybe even Bernie. (I know, he's like Madonna now. One name.) Tell them you would like to be president pro tempore and keep your leadership positions, and maybe Susan has another position she wants. Tell them it's time to get this show on the road.

My guess is it won't just be two senators who join up with a working group. Call yourselves the Freedom Loving Patriots' Club and you'll have a list. (When the Alaska Senate became a group, what had been a 9-11 score turned into 15-5.) Then Mitch McConnell could get a nice rest from the exhaustion that being so destructive must cause. His epic fail at repealing "Obamacare" was made possible by Murkowski and he isn't going to forgive her for it. She may as well leave him in the dust and get on with lawmaking.

Maybe you're thinking this is a crazy idea. I'm OK with that. It is. You know what else is a crazy idea? Airplanes. Somebody — well, a couple of brothers — thought that was a good idea and now we have overhead compartments, so don't act like crazy ideas don't work sometimes. That crazy takes you to Hawaii in February when you're as pale as a halibut belly.

Who knows when or if Robert Mueller is going to pull up Pennsylvania Avenue with a paddy wagon and orange jumpsuits, creating an "Oh, dear, God, who is running the show?" moment. For some reason, it makes me feel better to think an Alaskan would be in line for succession.

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 Send submissions shorter than 200 words to

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