Monday, October 18, 2010


I'd love to believe that this weekend's Joe Miller and Ken Buck incidents could have a significant impact, but I just don't see it in either case.


The editor of the Alaska Dispatch website was arrested by U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's private security guards Sunday as the editor attempted to interview Miller at the end of a public event in an Anchorage school.

Tony Hopfinger was handcuffed by the guards and detained in a hallway at Central Middle School until Anchorage police came and told the guards to release Hopfinger....

Hopfinger, who was holding a small video camera, said he was attempting to draw out a statement from Miller on why he was disciplined by the Fairbanks North Star Borough when Miller worked there as a part-time attorney. After Miller walked away, Hopfinger said, he was surrounded by Miller supporters and security guards and felt threatened, so he pushed one of them away....

Hopfinger said that after he shoved the man away, the guards grabbed him, cuffed his hands behind his back with steel handcuffs and sat him in a chair in the school hallway, Hopfinger said.

One of the guards grabbed Hopfinger's video camera. Later, Hopfinger said that when he got the camera back, the segment covering the span of the arrest was missing....

So we'll never see it, the way we saw the Carl Paladion/Fred Dicker video. Which means Alaskans who are inclined to vote middle finger this year will comfort themselves reverting to the just-world theory and believing the Miller campaign's spin:

The Miller campaign released a written one-paragraph statement from Fuller, then followed with a statement titled, "Liberal Blogger 'Loses It' at Town Hall Meeting." In that statement, Miller accused Hopfinger of assaulting someone and of taking advantage of the meeting to "create a publicity stunt."

He said his personal security detail had to take action to detain "the irrational blogger."

Oh, and of course the (probably) few voters who peel off from the tea party wingnut Miller because they think this is jackbooted thuggery will almost certainly switch their votes to Republican-until-recently Lisa Murkowski.

As for Buck, yeah, he said in a debate that homosexuality is a choice, and that to the extent it's innate it's like a tendency to alcoholism -- but who was planning to vote for him who was under the impression he was a social moderate? His opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest is already well known, as is his dismissive handling of a 2005 rape case. Who would have been in his camp before who won't be now?

These incidents are useful only outside the candidates' respective states, where they can help build a case that the teabaggers at the gates really are barbarians. Heaven forfend, of course, that the Democratic Party or the White House should try to make that case to swing voters -- instead, we still have the president droning on about how the current GOP is exactly the same as the Bush GOP, rather than infinitely worse.

But at least engaged politics junkies are getting the message. This might shake a few more people (those junkies or their friends) out of their apathy and get them out to vote. But it's too bad that so much more come of this, and won't.

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