Palin, Tea Party Quiet on Joe Miller Power Grab

What happened to listening to the will of the people?


Joe Miller, the Alaska Republican Senate nominee who--virtually everyone but him now agrees--lost his bid to Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, is starting to resemble the jilted suitor who refuses to get the message. Thursday he asked a federal judge for an injunction preventing the state from certifying Murkowski the winner. He wants a bunch of Murkowski votes tossed out on minor technicalities.

Miller, it seems, is bound and determined to become a U.S. Senator, the will of Alaska voters be damned. And here I thought the Tea Party movement, which gave us Miller, was a response to out of touch pols who refused to listen to the voters. So why aren't Tea Party leaders--especially, their Alaskan godmother, former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin--voicing their outrage at Miller's naked power grab?

[ See editorial cartoons about Sarah Palin.]

According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (great name):

Miller's lawsuit claims Alaska law requires voters to write in a candidate's name as it appears on a declaration of candidacy, or the last name of the candidate, to cast valid ballots.


Murkowski has a lead of about 10,400 votes. Miller had challenged 8,153 of the ballots counted for Murkowski, but he would still be behind even if he won every challenge.

However, Miller in an affidavit Thursday said the Division of Elections began its hand count of write-in ballots a week earlier than scheduled.

"Consequently, my campaign team and I were forced to pull together volunteer observers at the last minute, and did not have time to adequately and fully recruit and train them before counting began," he said. "As a result, an indeterminate number of ballots with candidates' names misspelled were counted without being challenged during the first several days of counting."

Miller said he intends to request a re-count.

In other words, Miller does not seem to dispute that a plurality of Alaskan voters cast their ballots for Murkowski. It's not like there's a Lisa Mercowsky who was also in the race and there's some dispute as to which candidate the ballots were meant for. He's just saying that if someone wrote in Lisa Murkowsky, their vote shouldn't count.

Look, I understand that you run a race to win (" Hello! You play to win the game!"), but at some point fundamental principles--like, oh I don't know, having the consent of the governed--have to trump desire for power.

Now in Miller's defense, he doesn't actually think voters should be involved in selecting their senators. He favors repealing the 17th Amendment, which allows for direct election of senators. ( And he's not alone.) So in trying to ignore the will of Alaska's voters he is a least standing on principle.

[ See a slide show of 12 ways Republicans want to change the Constitution.]

But what of Tea Party leaders like Palin? Do they endorse the notion that Alaskans should get Joe Miller whether they want him or not? Really isn't Miller's position that he knows better than Alaskan voters what is good for them? If that's what Palin and the Tea Party crowd believe then that's fine--but they should speak up.