Unreal: Senate GOP decides not to strip Murkowski of seniority on Energy committee after all; Update: It's a matter of "good taste," says Hatch

I’m baffled.

A GOP source in the room tells CNN, despite anger towards Murkowski, the conference decided not to even take up the question of the Senate Energy Committee post because “there was a sense that she’s resigned her leadership post, she lost her primary, she will probably lose her race, and she’ll be gone. She will not be ranking [Republican] because she will not be here.”

This, despite strong words from colleagues like Sen. John Cornyn a day earlier, who was among many Republicans who predicted they would remove her from the committee post.

Yeah, she’ll “probably” lose, but one way to help ensure that she loses is to send a message to Alaska voters that she won’t have any advantage over Miller next year in terms of pork-production for the state if she’s re-elected. All they had to do today to achieve that was vote to knock her down to the bottom of the totem pole. And they refused. And not only did they refuse, they’re refusing to say why. The best excuse anyone can come up with is that there aren’t many days left in the legislative session, as if that had anything to do with anything.

I want an explanation. Did they leave her in place out of simple personal affection? Even though … she didn’t even bother to fly in for the vote?

Update: Ace speculates that they’re afraid to push her too hard lest she vote with the Democrats in the lame-duck session. Isn’t she going to do that anyway if she loses to Miller? By definition, she’s a sore loser. Seniority won’t mean anything to her during the lame-duck if she knows she won’t be around next year to enjoy it.

Update: One other thing. If Murkowski somehow let them know that she’d vote Democratic in the lame-duck if they stripped her of Energy seniority — I’m not saying she did, but if — then the caucus should reveal that to the world so that fencesitting Republicans in Alaska know exactly what kind of snake they’re dealing with here. It’s amazing to me that they were promising to boot her yesterday and, 24 hours later, suddenly they’ve reversed themselves and don’t want to talk about it. Spill it.

Update: Hatch has been kissing a lot of tea-party butt lately in order to avoid a Bob Bennett scenario of his own in two years, but I’m not sure it’s going to save him. A new bon mot:

But with the committee unlikely to conduct any further business this year and the act seen as largely symbolic, Republicans decided not to add insult to her injury at the hands of Joe Miller, the tea party-backed candidate who beat her in the primary.

“We all respect the system, and she still is a Republican senator,’’ said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah.) after the closed party caucus. “It’s just a matter of good taste. We decided to keep the status quo as long as she’s a senator.’’