Murkowski goes rogue

Murkowski’s willingness to defy Republican top brass after a bitter fight to keep her seat may mark a pivot point in her career as she emerges as a real maverick foil to Sarah Palin, the conservative idol who put Alaska politics on the national map. And while conservatives who helped oust Murkowski from the GOP ticket in Alaska may howl about her being a “Republican In Name Only,” Murkowski could enjoy a powerful perch as a much-sought-after moderate in an almost evenly divided Senate…

And most notably Murkowski has gone on-the-record multiple times to express her disdain for Senate tea party champion Jim DeMint, setting her up as a potential opponent to the new caucus of conservative-leaning Republican senators — like Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah — heading to Washington in January…

Ivan Moore, an Alaskan pollster who also pens a column for the Anchorage Press, pointed to Murkowski’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” vote as a sign of a new “Lisa.”

“There’s a new paradigm now, and with it comes a watershed political moment for her personally,” Moore wrote, noting that 60 percent of Murkowski voters in the last election supported repeal. “She has made her position quite clear—she supports repeal of DADT…. Good for her, I reckon. I think she has conclusively detached herself from her former allegiance to the right and is charting a new course. DADT was her first real test and I think she passed.”