Seems that the Trump apparatus, in the person of the Secretary of the Interior, Ran Zinke, decided that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) needed to be reminded who calls the shots. -She was showing a little too much independence when she joined with Susan Collins (R-ME) as the only Republicans who refused to vote to advance the horrible, terrible Trumpcare bill to the floor of the Senate for debate.
Had opponents – Murkowski, Collins, and every Democratic Senator – prevailed we would have seen the end of the GOP efforts to take healthcare away from millions of Americans. This show of gumption got Trump and his minions all in a swivet because for some reason they think they have to keep their stupid propaganda promises to repeal that black man’s healthcare plan – although Trump, evidently, feels perfectly entitled to ignore the second part of his campaign promise – that it would be replaced with something “wonderful.”
Anyway, Trump sent his lackey Zinke to let the two Alaska Senators know that, thanks to Murkowski efforts to act like an independent agent accountable to her constituents rather than to his Orange Majesty, he’d be inclined to take it out on Alaska, which, because of its dependence on energy extraction, has close relations with the Department of the Interior. Didn’t do too much to scare Murkowski, though. She responded in a measured, but firm way – and, reportedly, thanks to her role on an important Appropriations subcommittee, put a hold on hearings for some of Zinke’s nominations for Interior Department posts.
What’s most amusing for those of us from Missouri, though, might be the reaction of our GOP Senator:
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), a member of the Senate GOP leadership team, on Thursday chimed in to say that any threats from the administration likely won’t work.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve seldom seen threats be very effective,” he told reporters when asked about Zinke’s reported threat to the Alaska senators.
I’m sure he’s right. The fact that both Senators went public immediately about the threat itself indicates that they’re not quaking in their boots.
If, however, the administration weapon against the Senators were being wielded by wealthy campaign donors waving their checkbooks, Blunt, one-time House bagman for Tom Delay, might feel differently. This is the guy who “built a formidable political machine by transforming lobbying cash into industry-accomodating legislation.” Just ask Monsanto what has worked with Blunt, the carrot or the whip?
But then again, Trump probably isn’t smart enough or temperamentally inclined to deploy those carrots with the subtlety carrot deployment demands.