by Patrick Appel

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowsk is trailing Joe Miller, a Palin-endorsed Senate candidate with tea party roots. Weigel is all over the story:

The Palin endorsement got him uncritical national media attention. The Tea Party Express bought $500,000 in ads for Miller, which was the largest single buy in the state. Perhaps most importantly, the Measure 2 anti-abortion proposition was bringing out conservative voters.

Bernstein zooms out:

[T]hese primaries are sending a very strong message to GOP pols about the dangers of ever allowing any space to develop between themselves and movement conservatives. ... [T]he interpretation everyone's going to hear and believe is that ideological deviation, even very mild deviation, is extremely dangerous to one's electoral health.  Whether it's the New START treaty, or a compromise deal on the budget if the GOP controls at least one House of Congress next year, or any other issue, you can be sure that Republican pols who have to cast tough votes are going to remember Bob Bennett and Lisa Murkowski (and Arlen Specter, for that matter). 

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