When the Senate narrowly defeated the anti-contraception Blunt Amendment last week, only one Republican, Maine’s Olympia Snowe, voted against it. There was some talk that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) might also break ranks on this – since winning a write-in election in 2010, the Alaskan has been less inclined to toe the party line – but she voted with her party anyway.
Apparently, she now regrets it. The Anchorage Daily News’ Julia O’Malley sat down with Murkowski, who talked at length about her second thoughts.
What Murkowski told me I already suspected. She’s a moderate. She supports abortion rights and contraception coverage. She also doesn’t line up completely with the Catholic Church when it comes to birth control. She regretted her recent vote.
“I have never had a vote I’ve taken where I have felt that I let down more people that believed in me,” she said.
O’Malley asked, “If you had it to do over again, having had the weekend that you had with women being upset about the vote, do you think you would have voted the same?”
Murkowski replied, “No.”
Better late than never, I suppose. This would have been far more significant an issue if Murkowski had cast the deciding vote that allowed the Blunt Amendment to pass. Still, the fact that she voted against a proposal the senator knew to be an awful idea – in order to send an ambiguous “statement” – isn’t at all encouraging.
The next question is what the Republican senator will take away from this going forward. As O’Malley concluded, “Regrets are one thing, but real votes in the Senate are another. If she’s a moderate, she should vote like one. Otherwise, all her weekends in Alaska will end up like this last one: full of apologies.”