Senate GOP to deliver ‘consequences’ to Murkowski

SENATE GOP TO DELIVER ‘CONSEQUENCES’ TO MURKOWSKI…. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski recently and unexpectedly lost in a GOP primary to right-wing lawyer Joe Miller, prompting her to launch a write-in bid in the hopes of winning another term.

Murkowski’s Republican colleagues, of course, are less than pleased. The GOP caucus expects members who lose in a primary to throw their support to the nominee for the good of the party, and by late last week, Murkowski was forced to give up her position as a member of the Senate Republican leadership.

And today, the party will go a little further still.

Senate Republicans just said they will move [Wednesday] to strip Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, from her post as ranking Republican on the Senate Energy Committee.

Republicans say Wednesday they will vote to elect an acting ranking member and then the full GOP conference will ratify the vote.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman, John Cornyn, R-Texas, told CNN this is “the appropriate thing to do. When you chose not to accept the judgment of the primary voters and run as a write in… it has consequences.”

Another Republican came out of the Senate GOP lunch and told CNN it was clear Murkowski has virtually no support among her colleagues anymore.

Murkowski’s committee slot will reportedly go to Sen. Richard Burr (R) of North Carolina.

The party’s hostility towards Murkowski is a stark reminder that congressional Republicans do not take kindly to those who fall out of line. Indeed, it’s hard not to notice the differences between how the GOP is dealing with Murkowski as compared to how Senate Democrats dealt with Joe Lieberman under similar circumstances.

There are some differences, though, between Murkowski in ’10 and Lieberman in ’06 (and ’08), most notably the fact that Lieberman was far more likely to switch his allegiance to the GOP if Democrats imposed any penalties for his betrayals at all. I am curious, though, about the extent to which the Republican punishments for Murkowski might lead her to rethink her own commitment to her party. As GOP senators go, the Alaska senator is one of the less right-wing members, and recently, she’s begun characterizing Miller’s agenda — which isn’t completely out of step with contemporary Republicans — as “pretty radical.”

If Murkowski manages to win her write-in bid — it could happen — are we absolutely sure which party she’d caucus with in 2011?