Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Lisa Murkowski touts Republicans’ future

FAIRBANKS - What a difference a year makes.

That was the message delivered by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to more than 150 people at a Republican fundraiser in Fairbanks on Saturday, saying a shifting national mood gives the GOP a chance to have a historic showing in 2010.

"We've got the Democratic Party absolutely scrambling," she said.

Murkowski, with the help of Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, as emcee, offered the keynote speech at the Fairbanks Republican Women's annual Lincoln Day Dinner. The mood was a marked difference from early 2009, when Murkowski said things looked downright gloomy for Republicans.

Along with a Democrat in the White House, Republicans had just lost 30 House seats and seven Senate seats to the opposition. Some of the Democrats' biggest successes came in states that the GOP previously dominated.

But Murkowski said a year of Democratic missteps has given Republicans an opening to reclaim that ground as voters send a message to Washington.

She said those bungles - most notably forcing health care reform on an unconvinced public - have helped emphasize GOP principles of limited government and independence.

"There's a saying in Washington that good policy makes good politics. ... The policies advanced by the Republican Party are the policies that are in sync with the American people," Murkowski said.

Murkowski said the tone of American politics has shifted dramatically in the past year, and it will be up to Republicans not to squander the moment.

The U.S. Senate seats that once belonged to President Obama and Vice President Biden look like they could switch to Republicans, and even the seat that once belonged to Sen. Ted Kennedy is in the hands of the GOP.

"Today, it's the other party that's doing a fair amount of soul searching," Murkowski said.

The comments got an enthusiastic reception from the crowd at the Princess Riverside Lodge, which gave standing ovations at the beginning and end of Murkowski's speech. The event repeatedly returned to themes of freedom that Murkowski said were embodied by GOP leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. "That's a source of strength, and it's clearly a source of responsibility," Murkowski said.

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Source: By Jeff Richardson. Originally published in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on February 21, 2010