Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Curious Case of Joe Miller

Over the last few weeks I've watched (admittedly, with some glee) the US Senate candidacy of Joe Miller unravel.

Mr. Miller shocked the powers that be in the national GOP, and all the election-watching pundits, when in the August primary election, he wrested the Republican party's nomination from Lisa Murkowski.

Miller's victory also stunned many Alaskans, myself included.

With a huge "gulp," the national GOP accepted him (what else could they do?) and NRSC actually sent him money.

Prior to the Primary Election, not much was really known about Mr. Miller. He was endorsed by self-anointed political power Sarah Palin... and, just like Palin, Miller's rhetoric consisted of Tea Party talking points, espousing the  "cut government spending, go back to the Constitution, no more socialism, blah blah blah."  
With the funding and assistance granted him by the Koch brothers through the Tea Party Express, Miller's campaign launched a series of attack smear ads against incumbent Republican Murkowski, accusing her of being a closet liberal, a RINO (Republican in name only), and cited all her "votes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi" (whom ALL Republicans, Tea Party or not, love to demonize).

Not that it was exactly true, of course.
It didn't matter that Murkowski has voted consistently with the GOP.
She did the bidding of Senate Minority Lead Mitch McConnell more than 90% of the time (even to the detriment of Alaska).  I'll have a post in the next few days dedicated to Senator Murkowski's candidacy, but in the meantime, if you'd like you can check it out here.

But for Joe, and the Koch brothers, this was not about anything as mundane as the truth.  It was about winning.

Unfortunately for Joe Miller, but fortunately for Alaskans (and America), his general election campaign  peaked just a little too soon.

Between the Primary election and the General election, Mr. Miller's past has caught up with him.

Since his arrival in Alaska, Joe has received medical benefits he's decried as "socialist." He's received free hunting and sportfishing licenses with a questionable claim of "indigence."  As a federal magistrate, he hired his wife... and then had to fire her because it violated nepotism guidelines.  Of course, she immediately collected unemployment, another  "entitlement" program he's repeatedly condemned as "unconstitutional."   So, one thing has become clear in the last couple months: Joe Miller is pretty damned good at gaming the system he publicly condemns.

Then, questions arose about Joe's activity during his employment as a part-time Fairbanks North Star Borough attorney in 2008.  According to what anyone can find out (much of Borough personnel records are sealed, and rightly so), Joe was the leader of an attempt to oust state Republican Party chief Randy Ruedrich.

As part of this effort, Miller used other employees’ computers at the Fairbanks North Star Borough for online polling.  He then cleared the memory cache on the computers he used, figuring that no one would be the wiser.  Of course, as any good IT techie can tell you, with a local area network like most municipal  governments use, that simply doesn't work.  Your tracks aren't erased.  Eventually, Joe was found out.

So Miller left the Fairbanks North Star Borough.  Whether Joe was terminated, asked to resign, or left of his own accord remains unclear, because as I noted - some parts of the personnel records are sealed.

However, Jim Whitaker, former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor (and big-time Republican) maintains that Joe was a hairsbreadth away from being fired.

So Miller's response to all this?  Like Republican / Tea Party Express-backed candidates Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell and Jan Brewer, candidates who have been brought to task for their hypocrisy, ignorance, or questionable behavior, Joe has blamed "the media" for his problems.

The facts reveal that Miller is a man severely lacking in ethical standards.  A man who who has repeatedly used the very system he calls corrupt, bad, and unconstitutional. A man who thought his own hypocrisy and engagement in fraudulent, if not illegal, behavior would never come to light.

Joe even went so far as to "draw a line in the sand" and refuse to answer questions about his "background and personal issues."  You know, questions about his hypocrisy and ethical problems.  

By Joe's twisted logic, Alaskan voters have no right to know about any of this before they elect him to an elite group of 100 Senators... one of the most powerful offices in United States.

Now, Joe Miller's campaign saga becomes even more bizarre.  
On Sunday, October 17, Joe sponsored a "town hall" candidate meeting at Central Middle School in Anchorage. The event was open to the public.  
After Joe finished with the audience in attendance, Tony Hopfinger, an editor and reporter for the online publication The Alaska Dispatch attempted to corner Mr. Miller, and persuade him to answer questions about the Fairbanks North Star Borough episode. 
Joe didn't want to be bothered with that, so employees of the security company Joe had hired (Drop Zone Security - which deserves a whole separate posting by itself) detained and handcuffed Mr. Hopfinger, telling  telling him he was trespassing.  At a public event.  In a public building.

Why Mr. Miller needed "security" is beyond me... except to keep reporters away from him.

By the time it was all over, the Anchorage police (who released Mr. Hopfinger) were called, Joe Miller and his campaign called Hopfinger a "left-wing blogger" (he's not - he's a free lance reporter/editor with some very solid journalist credentials), Miller claimed he was "assault" by Hopfinger (he wasn't), and the whole incident hit the national spotlight.

But one thing productive DID come from this event: As a spin-control measure, Joe Miller finally admitted to CNN he was indeed "disciplined" for his breaches of ethics while employed by the North Star Borough.  Of course Miller said this was all in the past and he's "moved on and learned from his mistakes."

I have news for you, Joe:  
So have Alaskans.


Kevin said...

Like your "Genuine Daft" Logo, and that's a great closing line. I'll bet the Yale Law admissions people are wondering whether there is a way to exclude the morally retarded, and whether it would be constitutional to do it.

Anonymous said...

Man, typical lib crap. He says the programs are unconstitutional for the Federal Government, and he wants them moved to State control. Get it right.

Wolfe Tone said...


It's fascinating that you would proudly proclaim that Miller "says the programs are unconstitutional for the Federal Government, and he wants them moved to State control."

What will THAT do to state budgets?
Isn't Miller all about less government?

Not so much, I guess.

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