After Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Senator Lisa Murkowski made it clear that she meant it when she said she would not favor installing a new justice until after Election Day. “For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election. Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed,” she announced on Sunday.
A mere two days later, Murkowski returned to the microphone to remind us that there is no such thing as a principled Republican in the age of Trump. Despite lacking a backbone, Murkowski managed to stand outside the Capitol on Tuesday and destroy whatever may have been left of her reputation among reasonable people as she proceeded to make a mockery of her earlier emphatic declarations.
Before joining her fellow Republican sycophants for their weekly policy lunch, Murkowski told reporters that “this process is moving forward with or without me” while maintaining that she does “not support” it. Shen then cut to the chase: “I know everybody wants to ask the question, ‘will you confirm the nominee?’ We don’t have a nominee yet. You and I don’t know who that is. And so, I can’t confirm whether or not I can confirm a nominee when I don’t know who the nominee is.”
Murkowski’s disgraceful political doublespeak came a day after Senator Lindsey Graham ripped the hinges off the door to hypocrisy by writing a letter to Democrats proclaiming that the Senate should “proceed expeditiously” to replace Ginsburg. Apparently, Graham forgot his words before the last election: “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.” He also seemingly forgot how he implored us to “use my words against me.”
By executing such a colossal about-face, Graham, who would oversee confirmation hearings as Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, cleared the way for Murkowski to make her lily-livered hedge and stay on her GOP colleagues’ good side. Murkowski may not come across as a cheerleader for Trumpism or an ardent apologist for Trump’s worst behavior. However, like other so-called GOP moderates, Murkowski has reminded us that she remains a loyal Republican soldier in Trump’s army.
When Murkowski does the right thing, it is only because she believes it helps her politically. In these final weeks before the election, we need to keep our focus on the many productive things we can do to replace this trash heap of a government in January, such as getting out the vote, and we also need to keep our sanity. Pinning our hopes on spineless, flip-flopping Republicans will guarantee disappointment. We must get our country back, and we will do so despite these shifty enablers.