From Thursday’s successful effort by Dan Fagan, Steve Aufrecht and others to get a lot of people to consider, or to actually sign up as write-in candidates in the November 2nd Alaska U.S. Senate election, through Halloween night, one strange aspect of Joe Miller and his campaign, or another, has dominated the major national web-based news aggregators:
1. Right wing talk jock Dan Fagan urges on his KFQD-AM Anchorage radio program, that people go down to the Alaska Division of Elections offices to file as write-in candidates for U.S. Senate, before Thursday’s end-of-day filing deadline. As complaints gather at KFQD‘s parent company, Dan is told to take Friday off. The Miller campaign then tries to pump this into an example of the heavy-handed Lisa Murkowski once again suppressing dissent. 160 people sign up, ,making it so that the Division of Elections will not have an easy task explaining to voters how to write in Murkoski’s name Monday and Tuesday, without also exlaining how to write in each name on the list for that office.
2. Anchorage TV station KTVA‘s planning for coverage of Thursday evening’s Joe Miller rally at the Denai’ina Center, and for an interview with Miller gets recorded accidentally by a message machine at the Miller campaign. The rally itself, hijacked by Sarah Palin and turned into a self-promotion tool, is another Tea Party rehearsal for Christo-Fascism. . . .
Alaska Dispatch writer Jill Burke comes out with one of the best articles to emerge that ties together new information from Miller’s personnel file release last Tuesday, with information already available and interviews with former Miller colleagues in Fairbanks. The portrait of Miller’s mental health is quite shocking, as is the new detail on his penchant for security people who can’t help but evoke remembrances of NSDAP SA thugs in the late 20s and early 30s Weimar Republic:
[C]onventioneers, including Simpson, couldn’t help but note the unusual companions Miller had brought with him to the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, where the meeting was held in 2008. She wrote in the Daily News:
Toward the end of the convention when it was apparent his fireworks had fizzled, in what can only be described as paranoid and bizarre, a security detail — yes, pretend Secret Service suits with Aviator glasses and earpieces — showed up to flank and apparently protect the silly, self-important Joe from a bunch of mostly middle-age Republican delegates who had voted against him and were now genuinely embarrassed for him.
Republican Andree McLeod — a Palin critic — also noticed Miller’s not-so subtle security detail: three men and a woman, each equipped with walkie talkies and ear pieces. They were friendly enough, she recalls, and although it was obvious they were shadowing Miller, they would only say they were “on a security job.”
McLeod doesn’t recall the name of the security guard she spoke with at the time, but recalls he was proud of his business, which he identified as Drop Zone — the same company that handcuffed and detained Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger after the Oct. 17 campaign town hall meeting at an Anchorage public school.
When Miller left the convention hall and headed to the hotel’s downstairs for a news interview, the guards followed and stood by at the door, McLeod recalled. When Miller went upstairs to another floor in the hotel, they stuck close and buzzed around him.
A short time later, McLeod noticed them guarding an elevator door, with one guard posted in front of the door and others on either side. When the door opened, out came Miller and the four security guards moved into a diamond formation around him — one in front, one behind him and one on each side — and they hustled Miller in a military-style march to a waiting SUV outside the Hotel Captain Cook. Once Miller and his entourage — which included Palin aide Ivy Fry, according to McLeod, were safely on their way — the guards cleared out.
“It was the most surreal thing I have ever seen,” McLeod said.
The mental health portrait of Miller in Burke’s article is even less flattering:
Days before he was caught using the borough computers for the poll, Miller had spoken openly with members of the borough office about a potential threat coming his way. The Alaska Republican Party was out to get him, Miller told them, and he warned them to be careful about what they did on their computers. Miller claimed a public records request was in the works aimed at scrutinizing employees’ computer use, adding that, if granted, he feared it might reveal child pornography on his computer. If any inappropriate material was found on his computer, Miller told them, they needed to know it would be the result of a sophisticated setup — someone hacking the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s computer system and planting inappropriate material on his computer.
It was just a few days later that his colleagues discovered something was amiss with their computers, which upset and unnerved them given the timing to Miller’s earlier warnings. Miller had been on their computers during lunch hour to vote in a political poll hosted on his own personal website. When they confronted Miller about it, he told one of his supervisor’s, Jill Dolan, “not to worry about it (and) that he was not on a bad site,” according to a written statement Dolan provided during the borough’s subsequent internal investigation.
The Miller campaign feeds a recording of a phone message mistakenly left at Miller campaign HQ to one of the sleaziest web denizens malpracticing today, Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart, who created the intentionally false story on Shirley Sherrod in July, created a web version of the taped call, with a dubious transcript of what was purported to being said in the background. As often happens when Breitbart breaks a story, it somehow made national news, even before many had a close look at the charges made by Breitbart’s site.
Sarah Palin goes on FOX News Sunday and falsely makes a string of claims about what the tape represents:
I’m saying that CBS reporters in the affiliate up there in Alaska on tape are saying, ‘Let’s find a child molester in the crowd as a supporter for Joe Miller; let’s blast that. Let’s concoct a Ron Paul moment there; let’s find any kind of chaos so that we can Tweet an alert saying, ‘Oh, there’s chaos. Joe Miller got punched.’ That’s sick. Those are corrupt bastards, Chris.”
As Sunday afternoon wore on, the authenticity of what Breitbart and the Miller campaign purported the tape to represent continued to be questioned, and some news sources finally realized that they’d been punked by Breitbart, Miller and Palin.
The questions about Breitbart’s Miller story have only served to fuel the growing outrage that this cad has been asked to provide content for ABC’s Tuesday evening and night election coverage. David Brock from Media Matters has challenged Palin and Miller to release the entire tape of the KTVA incident:
Sarah Palin has made serious accusations of journalistic malfeasance. Either Palin accurately described the tapes, or she did not. America’s news consumers need to know the truth about these serious accusations. The public in Alaska needs to know the truth so they are fully and correctly informed before they cast their ballots Tuesday. Palin has a responsibility to release the full, unedited tapes publicly and to all media.
What Breitbart, Miller and Palin succeeded in doing though, was to take the news cycle focus away from a brilliant piece of investigative journalism by Jill Burke, and hijack this important pre-election weekend from the world of solid journalism into the fantasy world so well represented by Palin, Miller and Breitbart.
They are so good at playing victims, there should be a special award.
Update – Late Sunday:
The conservative Public Policy Polling has just announced results of the most recent poll:
Miller 37% — McAdams 30% — Murkowski 30%
The most interesting finding:
Miller is winning despite having the worst personal favorability numbers of the three candidates. Only 36% have a positive opinion of him while 59% view him in a negative light. McAdams is by far the most popular with 50% rating him favorably to only 30% with an unfavorable one. Voters aren’t very enamored with Murkowski either, giving her a 37/53 approval rating.
How can McAdams be so much more popular than Miller yet still be trailing the race? It’s because 92% of the small group of voters that does like Miller is planning to vote for him. But only 56% of the voters with a positive opinion of McAdams are intending to cast their ballots for him, while 31% of them are going for Lisa Murkowski.
The high number of voters who like McAdams, dislike Miller, and are voting for Murkowski place the race in a whole different light than has been thought of the last few months. Murkowski’s campaign, rather than propping herself up at the expense of Miller, may actually end up propping Miller up at the expense of McAdams. You never know how things would have unfolded in a two way race but Murkowski seems to be taking a lot more voters away from McAdams than she is from Miller.
For what it is worth, this is the highest McAdams has polled.