Murkowski warns Palin: If you want my seat, prepare for war

Two young pols, one with presidential ambitions, the other the daughter of the man her rival beat to become governor, vying to inflict a career-ruining defeat upon her rival. It’s not a primary race; it’s a Lifetime movie of the week.

If it happens, I shall demand to be transferred to Hot Air’s Alaska bureau, that I might taste the drama firsthand.

Murkowski, up for reelection in 2010, is nervously awaiting word on whether John McCain’s former running mate will run against her in the GOP primary. But she says Palin is the one who should be nervous.

“I can guarantee it would be a very tough election,” Murkowski said in an interview…

That argument is not lost on Murkowski, who points to her rising seniority in the Senate and her ascension to the top Republican spot on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, replacing retiring Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.).

“One thing that Alaskans clearly appreciate is seniority,” said Murkowski, who was appointed to the Senate in 2002 by her father, who had just won the governor’s race. “If she were to kind of move me over, if you will, to run for national office again at the expense at this seniority that’s been built, I don’t know if Alaskans would look too favorably on that.

Are Alaskans that attuned to the vagaries of committee assignments? Sufficiently so that they’d rather have seniority on the energy panel than send to the Senate the most famous proponent of drilling in America, who can drive the issue simply by leveraging the media’s obsession with her? If yes, they’re not crazy: Remember, it was Hillary’s inability to convert her celebrity into meaningful power that supposedly drove her to accept the State position. If Palin tries this, though, it almost certainly means she’s going to pass on 2012 and concentrate on 2016. Otherwise, what’s the point? She’ll endure one death match in 2010 to knock off Murkowski — only to turn around immediately and face another in the GOP primaries? Granted, Obama went almost directly from a Senate campaign to a presidential campaign, but (a) he had two years in between to build some very nominal national experience and (b) he desperately needed to raise his media profile before taking a crack at the Democratic nomination. Palin wouldn’t have time for (a) and doesn’t have to worry about (b). If she’s serious about challenging The One, her best bet is running again for governor. If not, bring on the drama.