Archive for October 26th, 2010
A redacted set of documents from Joe Miller’s personnel file were released by the Fairbanks North Star Borough this afternoon. In the event, Miller decided not to appeal Judge Burbank’s decision, and to permit the documents to become public. While the details are important, the heart of what they say is this: Miller has blamed the victims, lied, lied again, and lied yet a third time. He has permitted those who support him to lie and mislead. He has permitted those who support him to slander and besmirch Jim Whitaker, whose earlier report was correct in every material detail. And yet people still trust this liar, and apparently will still vote for him. It passes WC’s understanding.
Miller did use his colleagues’ work computers at the Fairbanks North Star Borough Law Department to try and “stuff the ballot box” in an unspecified poll. He did so without their knowledge or consent, and attempted to conceal his activities. His clumsy efforts to conceal his misconduct included deleting the cache files on their computers. The effort was clumsy because it immediately demonstrated someone had done something to the computers. All this happened at a time when he was the only person in the office.
When confronted with his actions, Miller initially denied it. He lied. He said he hadn’t used the computers. He had.
He changed his story. He admitted he had used the computers, but lied about what he had used them for. He claimed it was for a proper purpose. It was not, and he knew it was not.
Caught in the second lie, he blamed his colleagues for failing to secure their computers: he blamed the victims. But his colleagues, of course, were entitled to trust him. The work premises were secured; he was the only one there. And blaming the victim for your crimes is despicable. “They left the money laying there where anyone could take it.” Or, “She was dressed like she wanted it.”
Only when called out for breaking his colleagues’ trust did he admit that in addition to using his colleagues’ computers improperly, he had used them for an improper purpose. Twice improper, actually. For a personal purpose and for a political purpose.
He had also used them for what may very well have been a criminal purpose. He had set out to inject false and misleading data in a poll. WC has already noted how closely that matches the elements of a Class C Felony, Criminal Use of a Computer, AS 11.46.740.
Miller permitted his fellow Republicans to call Jim Whitaker a liar, when Whitaker came forward with the truth. Randy Ruedrich, Glen Biegel, Mike Rostad, Ralph Seekins; all attacked Jim Whitaker, Miller’s former boss, accusing his of distorting the facts, siding with President Obama and telling patent lies. Miller knew Whitaker had told the truth. Miller permitted the false and improper attacks on Whitaker despite knowing they were wrong in every way.
Miller even filed a complaint against Jim Whitaker, accusing him of violating the law. It was another kind of deceit, another effort to keep the truth form coming out, or to punish and intimidate anyone who came forward with the truth.
Miller famously announced he wasn’t going to answer any more personal questions. That, too, is now revealed as a kind of lie. It wasn’t that his privacy had been invaded; it was that newspapers and bloggers were getting too close to the truth, and Miller used stonewalling to avoid embarrassment, to avoid telling the truth.
Miller has played the voters for fools. He assumed that his misconduct and his lies would never become public, or that if they did, they wouldn’t matter. But voters are only fools if they choose to be. WC thinks that the average voter’s reaction will be outrage.
Miller, in a transparent effort to defuse the pending impact of release of his redacted personnel file, has minimized the event. But Miller’s lies, both about the event and about covering up the event, should make even the most unthinking Tea Party voter ask himself, “How can I believe anything this guy says?” That voter should ask herself, “Is he lying to me now?” Ralph Seekins, however much WC may disagree with his politics, has no patience with lies. What will Ralph Seekins do now?
In his email confession to his boss, Rene Broker, dated March 17, 2008, Miller wrote, “Lying was wrong, and there is absolutely no excuse for it. I accept whatever punishment you feel is appropriate.”
Lying is still wrong, Mr. Miller. And the lies, half-truths and deceptions since March of 2008 involve still more lies. WC isn’t in the business of punishment; that’s the job of District Attorneys, juries and judges. But you absolutely do not deserve the trust, confidence or votes of Alaskans. WC questions your fitness to be a lawyer. But WC is absolutely certain you are unfit to be a U.S. Senator.
WC and his loyal readers took a day off from politics; alas, the election is so close that only one day may be permitted. WC now returns to Election 2010 in general and Joe Miller in particular.
President Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk that said, “The Buck Stops Here.” Passing the buck had the same meaning in 1948 that it has to day. The guy in charge can’t pass the buck – or the blame – to someone else.
Joe Miller doesn’t understand this. At least four times now, he has blamed his staff for what appear to have been his mistakes, but, and more importantly, he doesn’t recognize that a mistake by staff is, in every sense that matters, his mistake.
Example #1: Calling Lisa Murkowski a Prostitute.
Miller sent out a Tweet saying, “What’s the difference between selling out your party’s values and the oldest profession?” Of course, Miller blamed the Tweet on a staffer, and denied it was aimed at Murkowski. But voters aren’t required to place their brains in escrow for national elections. Of course he said it. And blamed a staffer.
Example #2: Tweeting About measuring for Drapes.
Miller visited Washington, D.C., chiefly to accept contributions from national PACs, but incidentally to visit what he regarded as “his” office. He tweeted out, among other things, that he was going to “do some house hunting” while visiting Washington D.C. That absolutely sounds like Miller to WC. Someone on Miller’s staff recognized that might just be a trifle arrogant, and an anonymous staffer was once again blamed for the “inappropriate tweet.”
Example #3: Handcuffing a Newspaper Editor.
Miller’s security goons infamously assaulted and handcuffed Anchorage Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger for asking him questions Miller didn’t want to answer. At first, Miller accused Hopfinger of assaulting someone and of taking advantage of the meeting to “create a publicity stunt.” Since then, he has backed away from the security goons completely.
Example #4: Refusing to Allow Julia O’Malley to Remain.
Anchorage Daily News columnist Julia O’Malley tried to attend a Miller “Meet and Greet” event on October 21. Her primary reason was to watch Miller interact with his supporters and maybe interview those supporters. She was thrown out of the event by a Miller campaign worker who wouldn’t identify herself. Four days later, O’Malley got a response to her blog post, “The policy of the Miller campaign is that reporters are welcome to all public events. The staff member in question was under the mistaken belief that the Thursday night event was just for volunteers and not open to the public.” (This policy would come as a surprise to Tony Hopfinger, WC suspects.) Once again, Miller blames a staffer.
It’s never Miller’s fault, even though it is his campaign. The buck never stops with Miller. If he’s elected, God forbid, he gets to pick a staff. His current campaign staff is easily the biggest group Miller has ever attempted to supervise. And his campaign has been plagued by missteps, bone-headed mistakes and horrible judgment. Not just the four examples here. WC thinks the decision to try to hide his personnel file, the decision not to answer “personal questions,” and the lawsuit against former Mayor Jim Whitaker reveal more than Miller might intend about his dubious management skills.
And his even more doubtful ability to hold himself accountable.
Yet another reason why his election would be a disaster.