Joe Miller, known around Wickersham’s Conscience as “Bad Penny” for all the obvious reasons, has had yet another bad idea: recall Governor Bill Walker. Yes, Bad Penny, petulant poor loser, wants to recall the only adult in the room. Typical.
You’ll recall that Bad Penny surprised Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 Republican primary. And lost to her when she ran as a write-in candidate in the general election. He lost to Dan “The Carpetbagger” Sullivan in the 2014 Republican primary, too. Although, to be fair, he didn’t sue anybody that time, after coming in third.1
But Miller apparently can’t stand being out of the limelight, and now seeks fame and fortune (or at least notoriety and elective office) – and all those PFDs for his small army of kids – by going after Gov. Walker. Here’s a link to his website if you’ve the time, patience and stomach for it.
Never mind that Gov. Walker’s line item vetoes to the state budget cut more than the Alaska Legislature did. Miller accuses of “refusing to cut state spending.” Never mind that Gov. Walker all but invited the Legislature to override his veto, but the Legislature didn’t even take the matter up. Is Bad Penny going to try and recall all 60 legislators?
Miller accuses Gov. Walker of “stealing” “thousands of dollars from hard-working Alaskans.” Joe Miller is a lawyer. He knows that “stealing” doesn’t include cuts to the PFD. By Miller’s silly logic, Gov. Walker “stole” millions from the Internal Revenue Service. After all, the IRS is, by far, the biggest recipient of Alaska Permanent Fund Dividends. Alaskans get to pay taxes on their PFDs. Bad Penny is just indulging his penchant for hyperbole and pandering.
Miller claims, “The cold hard facts are this: Walker has no spine, no guts, he’s just a slick, typical politician who will do anything to keep the corrupt system rolling.” Now if Bad Penny has been paying attention the last two years, he knows that Alaska cannot cut its way to a balanced budget. It’s going to take revenue to keep even a reduced state government afloat. As powerful as a line item veto might seem to be to Joe Miller, it can’t cut entitlement programs, it can’t implement a state income tax and it can’t implement a state sales tax. The line item veto can’t revise the financial disaster that is HB 21, either. More meaningless hyperbole and pandering.
WC doesn’t mind when some beer-bellied white dude who dropped out of high school whines about losing his PFD. But Miller claims to be educated. He knows that in four years or so the state legislature is going to have to start spending the permanent fund unless the PFD is restructured and an income or sales tax is adopted.
Miller claims to be dead certain his claims about Gov. Walker are sufficient grounds for recall. WC is a lot less sure, and has worked as a municipal attorney a lot longer than Joe Miller, who was fired after his one, brief experience.2 The statutory grounds are narrow and the basis has to be specific: (1) lack of fitness, (2) incompetence, (3) neglect of duties, or (4) corruption.3 WC is pretty sure that if there is anyone in state government who has neglected their duties, they’d be the Republican Majority coalition.
Gov. Walker is the adult in the room. He’s the one who’s pointed out that the state’s financial and economic house is on fire. It’s the legislators who are failing to act. But there’s no political fame in attacking members of your own political party, even if, on the evidence, there’s no love lost between the mainstream Republican Party and Bad Penny.
All of the public polls report a strong majority of Alaskans recognize the fiscal crisis. Bad Penny’s protest rally in Anchorage drew a whole 19 people. So Bad Penny’s bad idea is likely to fizzle. And Bad Penny’s Republican buddies have set the bar for number of signatures pretty high. What is it about Alaska that it keeps attracting the Joe Millers and Sarah Palins, who keep rising like zombies from the political graveyard?
But most likely this is just Bad Penny acting like, well, a bad penny.