It’s ironic, but when I debate back and forth across today’s political divide, the one thing that members of the Tea Party Movement consistently love to point out is that their candidates stand or fall on principles. Thus it is alleged that the movement’s quasi-heroic candidates prefer to go down to defeat rather than compromise or deviate from those very deeply held, almost solemnly enumerated principles. Well for one Tea Party star in particular, Alaska’s Joe Miller, the principle of honesty seems to be missing from his litany of deeply held, immutable beliefs. You see Miller, as per recently released records was: “disciplined for using three co-workers’ computers for political purposes and initially lying about it when he worked as a part-time lawyer for the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2008” And what was the purpose of this unauthorized use of other people’s workstations? Nothing less than an attempt to influence an online opinion poll for the Alaska State Republican Party Chairmanship. Miller eventually admitted, “he was using the computers to vote with “different URLs” in an online poll about the state’s Republican Party chairman, Randy Ruedrich, whom Mr. Miller wanted removed. Mr. Miller cleared Internet cache files from each of the computers. He also used his own computer to participate in the poll and then cleared his cache. After initially lying about the computer use, he eventually admitted to it in a letter to his supervisor, Rene Broker, the lead borough attorney.” Joe Miller eventually resigned from his position at the Boro in the wake of disciplinary action, but only after denying the charges while having deleted years of e-mail that would have included public records.
While we’re on the topic of Joe Miller, how about his hypocritical stance on the constitutionality of unemployment insurance. Miller believes that there are no enumerated powers within the Constitution that provide for this benefit. From his interview on Fox News:”Why are unemployment benefits unconstitutional?” asked Fox News’ Chris Wallace? “The Constitution provides enumerated powers, answered Miller. I guess my challenge is to anybody that asks, show me the enumerated power. And then look at the 10th amendment that says if it’s not done in the Constitution, it’s a power that belongs to the state and the people…When pressed on what he would do for the poor if elected, Miller struggled to provide details.” However, the controversy does not end there. If Miller has such an aversion to the social benefit that is unemployment insurance than why did he abide his wife’s reciept of unemployment compensation after she lost her job for violating nepotism rules?
Another area of federal spending that Miller publicly opposes is farm subsidies. But privately he was more than happy to be a recipient of the very benefits that he is now opposes. How you say? Well as it turns out Miller had received an agricultural subsidy on farmland he once owned in Kansas. Yet, true to form as with the situation surrounding his unauthorized computer use, Miller tried to dance around the farm subsidy issue until he gave up and came clean on this as well. To wit: “Until Monday night, the campaign had also dodged questions as to whether Miller had received federal farm subsidies for land in Kansas, where he once lived. After Alaska Dispatch received Miller’s farm subsidy records under the Freedom of Information Act and told the Miller campaign about them on Monday, Miller’s staff confirmed he received federal payments for 140 acres of cropland he owned in Kansas between 1990 and 1998. Like the vast majority of farmers in that region, Joe received payment from the USDA in exchange for managing his crops according to government standards,” said campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto in an e-mail Monday night.”
So, once again, what are the voters supposed to believe? They consistently hear Tea Party candidates preaching the virtues of fiscal rectitude, personal responsibility, smaller government, low taxes, ad infinitum while some of these same candidates are engaging in or have engaged in the very behaviours and activities that they so routinely oppose in their rhetoric. Miller is not the first member of the Tea Party Movement, nor is he likely the last, to be swept up in this type of controversy. The question that begs asking now is how many more of these revelations are going to surface after next Tuesday and then what are all of those who worked so hard for the movement supposed to do when they are stuck with having elected these political charlatans who where supposed to help them take their country back and make it a better place? We’ve already seen charges of hypocrisy levelled at Sharron Angle and Michele Bachmann related to their positions on government provided health care and their own families benefiting from these programs. That said, who should be surprised by the fact that Joe Miller is now revealed to be a serial hypocrite? The only remaining questions are who will be the next Tea Party personality found to be in the same quandary and just how many of these ticking time bombs presently exist within the movement?
Steven J. Gulitti