If You Can't Repeal, Defund

MORE ON “MALICOUS MURK:” Little more than a week after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R.-Alaska) announced plans to wage a write-in campaign for the seat that fellow Republicans denied her renomination to, her colleagues responded. The moderate Alaskan relinquished her leadership position as vice-chairman of the Senate GOP Conference (conservative Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso was elected to the post) and colleagues ranging from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) to John McCain (Ariz.) have all strongly endorsed Joe Miller, the conservative who defeated Murkowski in the primary. GOP National Chairman Michael Steele also weighed in for Miller. In addition, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R.-Okla.) told HUMAN EVENTS last week he would attempt to get the National Republican Senatorial Committee to adopt a rule similar to that of the Republican National Committee requiring any candidate who fails to endorse a primary winner to return RNC money and refund contributions upon request. Murkowski has $1.8 million in her campaign kitty left over from the primary. Regarding Murkowski’s rogue stance, Miller predicted to HUMAN EVENTS that she “will now try to lurch to the left to shore up the support now coming her way from Democrats and the [Alaskan] native corporations.” A just-completed Rasmussen Poll showed Miller leading among likely voters with 42%, followed by Murkowski at 27%, and Democrat Scott McAdams 25%.

VOTE ON TAX RELIEF NOW, SAYS PENCE: As rumors spread on Capitol Hill last week that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would adjourn the House before there is a vote on the $3.9 trillion Obama tax increase, House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) made a passionate appeal to colleagues not to permit adjournment without an up-or-down vote on extending the ’01 and ’03 tax cuts. Declaring on the House floor that “the American people are hurting in the city and on the farm,” Pence urged colleagues to “have the debate. There’s a growing bipartisan majority in this House that is prepared to extend all tax relief for every American in this, the worst economy in 25 years.”

GOP HAS ENTHUSIASM EDGE: With six weeks to go before the midterm elections, Republican voters are far more excited about voting than Democrats. According to a just-completed Marist Poll, 46% of Republican voters nationwide are enthusiastic about voting in November, compared to only 30% of Democrats and 23% of independents. The oldest voters have the most enthusiasm about going to the polls—43% of voters 60 and older are eager to vote, compared to only 16% of those younger than 30.

INGLIS IRATE ON WAY OUT: Beaten for renomination by a lopsided 71%-to-29% vote in June, Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) has recently gone on the warpath against the party under whose banner he was elected to the House six times and ran for the Senate in 1998. In an interview with Mother Jones, Inglis—who was defeated by an opponent who slammed him for several non-conservative votes—said that calling Barack Obama “Socialist” was a case of saying “one outlandish thing after another about the President,” that one experience before an audience was “frightening,” and that Sarah Palin “seems to think that ignorance is strength.” Inglis went on to charge House GOP Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) with trying to “politicize” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and criticized what he felt were anti-Semitic feelings among the House conservative GOP establishment. (This charge has rarely—if ever—been made by anyone before, and Boehner’s No.2 man in the House GOP leadership, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, is Jewish).

ISAKSON BATTLES “MINI CARD CHECK:” On May 1, the National Mediation Board (NMB), which oversees employees of the airlines and railways, voted 2 to 1 that when workers in those areas choose to organize a union, a majority of those voting at a particular business is required rather than a majority of the entire organizing unit. “Mini card check” is what opponents branded the little-noticed NMB decision, which reversed a 75-year policy and tips the process to the unions, much as the union-backed Employee Free Choice Act would weaken the secret ballot in union elections. Last week, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R.-Ga.) denounced the NMB ruling and offered SJ Resolution 30 to revoke it. But his resolution failed by a vote of 43-56, with three Democrats (Nelson of Nebraska and Lincoln and Pryor of Arkansas) joining with all the Republicans present (only Murkowski was absent) to support the measure.

IF YOU CAN’T REPEAL, DEFUND: That’s what Rep. Tom Graves (R.-Ga.) wants to do with the healthcare legislation enacted by Congress six months ago. The newest member of the House (Graves won a special election earlier this year) has introduced H.R. 5882, which would deny tax dollars for the implementation of “Obamacare.” So far, 42 House members have co-sponsored the measure., a private organization dedicated to defunding the healthcare scheme, reported last week that it now has 125 Republican House and Senate candidates who have signed the group’s pledge to support denying funding.

HEY, CHARLIE—GIVE IT BACK! Two of the nearly 2,000 Republicans who contributed to Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s U.S. Senate campaign before he bolted from Republican to independent are serious about getting their money back. Last week, State Rep. Thomas Grady of Naples filed a suit on behalf of Linda Morton of Naples (who gave Crist $500 in his GOP days) and former U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas John Rood (who contributed $4,800 to Crist) asking a state circuit judge to order the rogue Senate hopeful to refund their donations. In Grady’s view, Crist violated a contract with GOP donors by switching to an independent bid and “they should have a choice.” Crist attorney Scott Weinstein told reporters he has countered with affadavits from individual Crist contributors who say they want no part of the lawsuit and want to have the governor use the money as he sees fit. Crist has so far raised $12.49 million in his Senate race with conservative Republican Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek.

GIBBS ON “DEMOCRATS’ ABRAMOFF”: Although there has been national coverage of the indictment of Washington superlobbyist Paul Magliocchetti for violating campaign finance laws, the name of the Democrat frequently likened to fallen Republican powerhouse Jack Abramoff apparently doesn’t mean anything to the President’s top spokesman. When HUMAN EVENTS Political Editor John Gizzi asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs last week if the President ever met Magliocchetti during Obama’s White House or Senate days, Gibbs replied, “The named doesn’t ring a bell.” When Gizzi pointed out that Magliocchetti worked for the late Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) for many years, Gibbs said, “The name doesn’t sound familiar.”