Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lisa Sméagol/Gollum Murkowski: IT'S MY PRECIOUSSSSSS! MINE MINE MINE!

In the general election Tuesday, November 2, there will be two major party candidates for United States Senate on the ballot:

Joe W. Miller, Rebublican, and Scott McAdams, Democrat.

As we grow closer and closer to the election, Joe Miller's candidacy is in the throes of a self-induced melt-down. He has demonstrated that he is a fraudulent, lying, hypocritical grifter with an ethics problem.  See details in my previous post.

Scott McAdams on the other hand, has been steadily more and more impressive.  
Starting out as the sacrificial lamb offered up by the Democrats against Lisa Murkowski, the "assumed" Republican nominee (and we all know what happened there), McAdams has become a viable candidate.  
He's knowledgeable on the issues, and gives a straight answer to a straight question. As of October 19, McAdams has raised over a million dollars - and over 88% of that is from small donors.

Scott's campaign is focused on Alaska, because no matter what Joe Miller might say, this race isn't about building a Berlin Wall around America or getting rid of "unconstitutional" federal programs (most of which Miller's taken advantage of).

It's about having a reasoning, reasonable U.S. Senator who will represent Alaska in Washington DC, not some ring-wing nut-job ideology.

Which brings us to write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski.  
The fly in the ointment, if you will.
The Gollum in the punchbowl.

In J.R.R. Tolkien's middle-earth fantasy works (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings) a hobbit named Sméagol came into possession of the "One Ring."  Slowly, The Ring's malevolent power transformed Sméagol into Gollum, a pathetic, evil creature totally enslaved by the ring... and when Tolkien's protagonist, hobbit Bilbo Baggins "relieved" Gollum of the ring, Gollum went apeshit.  He was willing to engage in any sort of treachery to regain and keep it... exactly like Lisa Murkowski and the Senate seat she lost.

You can almost hear Lisa screeching, "Thief! Thief, Baggins Miller! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever!!"

Refusing to accept her surprising primary defeat to Miller, Murkowski has acted as the spoiler in this race. She has engaged in a slash and burn write-in campaign that distorts her record, utilizes gigantic sums of money from industry and corporate PACs, and attempts to siphon Democrats and rational, thinking voters away from McAdams, the only sane candidate in the race.

The fact of the matter is, in the last couple years, Murkowski's votes are no different than Joe Miller's votes would have been.  Without having Ted Stevens' coattails to ride on, Lisa has marched lock-step with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel, whose only agenda is to keep President Obama from accomplishing anything.   
She is a stalwart of the "Party of No," and most of her "no" votes were to detrimental to Alaska.

When she's not bashing Miller, or painting herself as a quasi-liberal to seduce Democrats, she's repeating her "McAdams can't win" litany.  She's wrong.

If you're a Democrat like me, there should be no question at all about how to vote.  You have a candidate, and if he wins, a Senator of whom Alaska can be proud.

But if you're a moderate , thinking voter (even a Republican), please don't get sucked into Murkowski's shell game.  Don't allow the "McAdam's can't win" mantra to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

McAdams can win, but rational voters of every party affiliation, or no party affiliation, need to support him.

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.