How Abortion Might Be Alaska's Dealbreaker

The Anchorage Daily News says the three-way Alaska Senate race is being defined by the abortion debate. But we thought the culture wars are over! Never mind, social issues might might work in Democrats' favor, so let's run with it.

In Alaska, we have anti-choice Tea Partier and the guy on behalf of whom Sarah Palin spent all morning writing a Facebook note (sorry, "Face book post"), Joe Miller. And we have pro-choice Democrat Scott McAdams, previously thought to be a long shot, except no one knows how not-exactly-pro-choice, not-exactly-anti-choice incumbent Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign is going to go.

You'll recall that it's widely believed that a parental consent measure on the Alaska ballot helped ramp up turnout for Miller in the primaries, putting Murkowski in the bizarre position of being a political scion and two-term incumbent running an underdog campaign. Her views on reproductive rights are either middling or muddy, depending on your perspective: she's for rape and incest exceptions, and to save the mother's life; voted to oppose federal funding; and opposes late term abortions. She said recently,

"The labels have never been clean or neat," Murkowski said. "The pro-life people don't think I'm pro-life enough, the pro-choice people don't think I'm pro-choice enough. I think I probably represent the vast majority in the middle."

Now, national Republicans have pitched in to hold abortion against Murkowski (and nominally McAdams) once again, with this commercial:

McAdams is gamely attacking Murkowski from the pro-choice side, citing her low ratings from NARAL and Planned Parenthood. As for Miller himself, by the standards of this year of extremist, total-prohibition candidates, his belief in an exception to save a women's life makes him almost pro-choice in comparison. (But not really). We'll see where it gets them all soon enough.

Abortion, Not Economy, Defines Alaska's 3-Way Senate Race [ADN]