Yesterday Anchorage newscaster Matthew Felling spoke with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) about her position on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and got this stunning response.  Does this signal renewed will among fair-minded Republicans to take back their party from radical-right Christians and tea party insurgents?  Does Sen. Murkowski represent a turning-point in Republican willingness to get behind a DADT repeal vote that the majority of Republican voters support?

Sen. Murkowski was recently re-elected by write-in votes, beating a Sarah Palin-endorsed tea party candidate.

Matthew Felling – The fact that you’ve been waiting to hear from them, and they have said — at least according to the polls out there — they’re okay with it. Procedural things notwithstanding, are you more likely to vote for a bill saying “I hear them. And if they’re alright with it, I’m alright with it?”

Sen. Murkowski – And I have said that I would work to make sure that as long as it is supported by the troops, as long as it doesn’t hurt the performance or the morale, or the recruitment — these are all things we have to take into consideration — I think we will see that play out in this report. If in fact don’t ask don’t tell is included in the Defense Authorization Act and we get to the point where we can move that bill through – I would not oppose the defense authorization bill because the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal of it is included in it. I have made the statement to others, that we’re in a different point in time. There is, more clearly, a level of acceptance in our communities at all levels of supporting and providing for that level of equality to the homoesexual community. And I think that’s important to recognize that.

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