I have seen a lot of people writing about Lisa Murkowski’s decision to wage a spoiler write-in campaign, to try to prevent a Tea Party-backed GOP candidate from winning the general election.
Most of the writers look at it, incorrectly, in terms of Sen. Murkowski’s personal psychology. For example, they say she feels miffed about losing a seat that is supposed to be hers by right of inheritance. This motive may exist, but it is trivial.
In Illinois, there has long been an expression which describes the relationship between the two political parties: The Combine. Chicago Tribune writer John Kass seems to have originated this expression. See, for example, this article: In Combine, cash is king, corruption is bipartisan. Kass quoted former Illinois Senator Peter Fitzgerald: “In the final analysis, The Combine’s allegiance is not to a party, but to their pocketbooks. They’re about making money off the taxpayers,” Fitzgerald said. Kass went on: “He should know. He fought The Combine and lost, and the empty suits running the Republican Party encourage their friendly scribes to blame the social conservatives for the disaster of the state GOP.”
America, welcome to Illinois.
The way it works is this. The Democrat party is the senior member of the Combine. The GOP is the junior member of the Combine. The game is exactly the same, and whoever is up, or whoever is down, based on the random behavior of those rubes, the voters, does not matter. The game is always exactly the same, and the people who are in on the game, from either party, have a shared stake in defending the game.
The Combine is a term that should be more widely used in Illinois. It is also a word that should be more widely used in the USA in general.
Lisa Murkowski’s family, and her career, exist because of the Combine. Her interest is in preserving the existing game. She is preserving her stake and her family’s stake in a game they have benefitted from. There is no mystery about this at all. There is no need for psychiatry to understand why she is trying to stop Joe Miller. He threatens the game. It has nothing to do with the label “Republican.”
UPDATE: The GOP Senate leadership is respecting the primary result. Good. Mitch McConnell is reported as saying: “I informed her that by choosing to run a campaign against the Republican nominee, she no longer has my support for serving in any leadership roles, and I have accepted her letter of resignation from Senate leadership.” CORRECTION: I had previously, incorrectly said Murkowski was being from her committee positions. Big difference. My error.