My last diary on RedState was titled “Why I Support Joe Miller.” Soon after that I went silent.
One of the rules here is that we don’t support a non Republican candidate, nor do we deprecate one of our candidates once they’ve been selected in the primary. I reached a point where I could not support Miller any further, so I thought the right thing to do was go silent at that point.
Soon after that diary, things got really bad for the Miller campaign. I imagine a lot of folks here were following it. I’m sure you heard about the blogger getting handcuffed, the “I’m not talking” bit with the press, and all of the associated strangeness. I was getting increasingly bothered by the lack of any positive action by the Miller campaign in response to all of this, and I know I expressed that in a couple of postings. Nothing changed, and the campaign just got more and more bizzare.
There were two things that finally sent it over the top for me. One was that his answers to *everything* became more and more Palinesque. Nothing but vague generalities. The second and most important thing was the admission of using other peoples computers at work. The actual online poll thing is trivial, using others computers without their permission under their ip address, is unforgiveable. You just don’t do it ..ever ..even once ..no matter what. I’ve worked in I/T for twenty plus years, in everything from Fortune 50 companies and Big 8 consultancies, government, small business, and in any one of those places, bar none, someone who did that would have had security immediately escort them out of the building, never to return. Doing something like that is like writing a book under someone elses name without their permission. Reputation is everything. I’ll say this, he must have been one hell of a lawyer to be able to just get away with a short suspension. The kindest thing I can say about him is he clearly is unstable and has poor impulse control, the more likely is that he is an ethical reprobate.
None of this makes me feel great about voting for Lisa. A lot of what we learned about her from all this hardly painted her or our state in a good light. She clearly has a high sense of entitlement. I imagine if as now seems likely, she goes back to the Senate, she’ll become the third Maine twin. She didn’t bother putting any energy into the primary and helped set up this bloodbath. It’s hard to know what would have happened if she had not decided to run as a write in. I can’t imagine McAdams doing the oppo research that Lisa did, but, as I’ve said before, this entire state is a small town. We’re all no more than two or three degrees away from knowing everyone. The stuff about Miller wasn’t real hard to find. If it all came out, I think McAdams would have won. By Election Day, Miller was probably the third most unpopular person in Alaskan history, after Jimmy Carter and Sarah Palin. I imagine the Murkowski folks learned about most of this stuff between the end of the primary and the time she announced her write in. We also learned that there is almost no constituency in this state for economic conservatism. According to the pollster Dave Dittman, who had worked for Miller, and had a very accurate poll, said that Lisa had actually been ahead ever since she announced the write in. Of course, that is easy to say now, but Dittman has always been an honest guy. I suspect, though I have no verifiable evidence, that the vast majority of Miller’s support came because of his pro life stance. Basically, we’re a liberal welfare state that is anti abortion and pro gun. I think we’re really in for a rude awakening sooner rather than later.
We’re also in sad sad shape in the Alaska Republican Party. I’ve spoken to a couple of the younger guys and am going to try and get more involved on the inside, precinct committes, etc. We have to ..have to ..end this civil war. We’re killing ourselves. That Unity event never happened ..maybe once the ballots are finally counted, and emotions have cooled some, hopefully we can do something.
Though I’m not writing this as a commentary on the National Election (I think most of what can be said on that has been), I do think there are a few things that are relevant to the rest of the country:
It is very difficult (yet necessary) to sell economic conservatism to a population that has gotten used to being dependent. Seeing how tough it is here, I have to imagine it is even tougher than the lower 48. THAT has to be the next job of the Tea Party. Invite friends to meetings and rallys. Evangelize. Understand that though we may not need to run “squishes”, that the majority of non political people are squishes. That is not a put down, and we are lucky that, in a Center-Right country, the squishes lean Conservative, but you have to educate, and you have to make people realize that we are not “the other.” Miller lost in large part because he actually did become a scary candidate, but the Tea Party had some great candidates in the Lower 48. Many won, a few lost in impossible circumstances, and there were a couple of ..well …bad candidates.
Speaking of the Tea Party, this was all new this year and mistakes were made. Having said that, on balance, it was the best thing to happen to the Republican Party this cycle. Even an establishment doyenne like Peggy Noonan sees that. Without the Tea Party, this is a mediocre boring mid term correction, with a lot fewer pickups in the House. You can’t win without an energized base. The next thing the folks in the various Tea Partys (gotta remember this isn’t one unified movement) need to do is start actually developing talent. There were a couple of bad candidates this year. I actually think Miller and O’Donnell were the only dishonest Tea Party endorsed candidates, a few others just seemed in over their heads. Hopefully we’ve learned that just pissing off the left, or mouthing Constitutional platitudes, does not a solid or competitive or even trustworthy candidate make. This was too new to actually vet candidates. The best way to avoid that is by developing candidates from the base of people you know and trust. I hope to never ..ever ..ever ..again, learn more about the candidate I’m supporting from opposition research, than I learn from the candidate or his campaign. I hope most of you folks never have to either. Fbks, if you are still out there, I’d love to know what you and the folks in Fairbanks think.
Speaking of squishes (again, not in the sense of political moderates, but in the sense of the non political public at large), it just is not a winning strategy to run against the “lamestream media.” Look, I get it, you get it, we get it. What happened to Miller up here was a media lynching of an uppity conservative. OK, that is what they do. We can b**ch about it till the end of time on our political blogs, but that doesn’t change it. Angle and Miller both really blew it on that. You have to talk to them, you can’t just speak in slogans, and you can’t be seen spitting on them. They still have the louder megaphone. It’s also impossible to have any privacy. Yeah, everyone lies, everyone has skeletons in their closet. You still have to assume that anything more than one person knows, will eventually get out there. I don’t care if you don’t tell your wife, you had better tell your campaign manager, and be ready to deal. (Actually you really should tell your wife, a stunned reaction from her doesn’t look good to the media either). See previous comment about oppo research.
Obligatory Palin remark of course. All I can say is, while I think Sarah’s effect on this race was way overstated at least in the General Election (I don’t think she hurt or helped that much), this is an example of the type of divisiveness that a Palin run would bring. I repeat, we cannot have a candidate that scares that non political middle. You have to try looking at it from their point of view, not ours. We can likely win with a very conservative candidate, if they don’t scare those folks.
Finally, here is a link to an article by Craig Medred in the Alaska Dispatch. They were probably the main muckrackers in this race. Their editor Tony Hopfinger is the guy that got handcuffed by Miller’s security team. I think this ended up being a jihad for them and that they ended up getting obsessed. Having said that, this article is 100 pct true.