Marc Thiessen wants to know what the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is going to do for Joe Miller. Part of the “test,” he says, is whether the NRSC is “sending teams of lawyers to Alaska to challenge. . .write-in ballots.”
I can understand why the NRSC might want to have someone on the ground in Alaska to make sure Miller gets a fair shake as write-in ballots are challenged. Miller is, after all, the Republican nominee, and as such the NRSC should support him within reason.
But I hope Thiessen isn’t suggesting that the NRSC try to disqualify the votes of those who, for example, wrote “Murkowsky” instead of “Murkowski.” The people of Alaska have the right to select their own Senator. The NRSC should not be a party to the disenfranchisement of voters who chose Murkowski, but couldn’t quite spell her name correctly.
There are also pragmatic reasons why the NRSC shouldn’t be a party to a willy-nilly attack on Murkowski ballots. Even some of Miller’s supporters admit that Murkowski is likely to prevail. If so, she will remain part of the Republican Senate caucus.
That’s no reason why the NRSC shouldn’t support Miller to the extent he has legitimate grievances with the vote counting. But a litigation assault that pays insufficient heed to the merits might alienate Murkowski, with whom Republican Senators will likely have to work in the next Congress.
Thiessen, a Bush administration speechwriter whose work I admire, warns that “the Tea Party activists are watching.” But the right way for the NRSC to impress Tea Party activists is through the positions they take in Washington on matters of policy; not by attempting in Alaska to thwart the will of citizens who attempted to vote for a Republican candidate.
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