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The damage Joe Miller is doing by dragging out the fight

Almost a month after election day, and a week after the very last vote was counted, Alaska senatorial candidate Joe Miller is still pushing his case in the courts and still trying to win. This despite the fact that even if his contested votes were counted, he still wouldn't overtake his opponent. So why won't he give up the fight?

Some of his ardent supporters argue that he's a principled leader trying to defend the electoral system, which they allege has been compromised. (Mind you, the Republican party in Alaska has called it a "free and fair election" and state election officials have called Miller's claims "baseless.") But they seem to be missing the point that, in the process, Miller is breaching more leadership principles instead.

First, the fight creates added work for election workers and state officials that could be directed elsewhere. That would be understandable if the numbers weren't reportedly so clear (according to this story, Murkowski holds a 10,328-vote lead over Miller, even including the 8,159 "problematic" ballots). But since the chance of a Miller win now appears to be so slim, his fight risks looking more like a self-interested stand on principle than the best use of state resources.

There stands at least a possibility, too, that his efforts could jeopardize the interests of Alaskans. Murkowski's campaign said last week that if the race isn't certified soon, she could lose her seniority and committee positions if she isn't officially declared the winner and sworn in before Jan. 3, when the Senate selects chairmen and ranking members.The potential, at least, for Miller's fight to sacrifice more power for a representative of Alaska runs the risk of making Miller appear to be putting his own interests ahead of his constituents.

In addition, Miller's strict interpretation of state election laws appears to be baffling. According to Murkowski's attorneys, Miller's lawyers are arguing that the state should not count a vote that reads "L. Murkowski," for example, because it was not written as just her last name or does not read exactly as it appears on a declaration of candidacy. This sort of overly severe reading of the election rule risks making Miller appear unable to make common-sense interpretations, a top quality in any leader.

Miller's quixotic effort could soon reach the point of being more than detrimental to his own reputation--even tea party activists have said he risks damaging his own future political prospects--but could also be detrimental to the people he hoped to call his constituents. And when it comes to principles, none matters more than putting the greater good first.

By Jena McGregor

 |  November 29, 2010; 7:39 AM ET |  Category:  Bad leadership , Government leadership , Public leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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TO: Hazmat77 who wrote:
“So, apparently contesting ballots is just bad .... I wonder how many of you Demoids believed this when it was Al Gore in Election 2000?”


It’s really a challenge for republicans to wise up, even in the smallest way.

There is a difference between counting votes that have been cast, and throwing votes out.

Apparently, Republicans only believe in disenfranchising voters until the outcome looks the way YOU want it to look, and NOT the votes tallied out.

In Miller’s case, all of the votes have been counted, and Murkowski got the most votes.

Miller’s only hope depends entirely on how many Murkowski votes he can have thrown out.

Take Bush / Gore Election 2000. Had Bush’s connections in Florida not thrown out over 20,000 Gore votes, Al Gore would have won Florida and thus would have been POTUS.

To be fair, if Al Gore had won his home state of Tennessee, then Florida wouldn’t have mattered because Al Gore could have won the election without Florida, had Gore won Tennessee.

Get it?

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 1, 2010 1:00 PM

Aside from the fact that his ego is getting in the way, Miller has the backing of Senator deSmet who is trying to derail Murkowski, even though she is in his party. You would have to ask DeSmet what game he is playing. He seems to be trying his best to take away her Senate Committee positions. It remains to be seen what she will do as payback, and how detrimental that will be to South Carolina.

Posted by: FredinVicksburg | December 1, 2010 12:49 PM

To: perryrants who wrote:
“Why is it that when it comes to politics, one must roll over and give in quickly?
in any other American endeavors that are really important to us such football (overtime), baseball(23 innings and still counting), basketball (double-triple overtime), food eating contests, beer bong contests, it is fight until you cannot fight no more and then fight on.”


It’s one thing when the score is tied, and another when the other team has more points.

In this case Murkowski has more points, and Miller’s only hope depends entirely on how many Alaskan voters he can disenfranchise.

If the tables were turned, would you want Murkowski to continue her only job of disenfranchising voters, or would you tell her to “fight on”?

The People of the State of Alaska made their choice, and it WASN’T Miller.

The guy looks crazy, he talks with his full set of lower teeth, and he’s probably one of those nuts who won’t go away.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 1, 2010 12:48 PM

FLYFISHER2 Ha ha you said Repugnican -- name calling is so funny maybe next time rite in ALL CAPS cuz that's funnier maybe like DEMOCRAPS cuz its' funny too you must be rilly smart

Posted by: jobro1 | December 1, 2010 12:24 PM

So, apparently contesting ballots is just bad .... I wonder how many of you Demoids believed this when it was Al Gore in Election 2000?

Posted by: Hazmat77 | December 1, 2010 12:19 PM

He's a very dangerous character. I hope Lisa Murkowski has armed protection from his thugs. If he doesn't get his way he might have her killed.

Posted by: cllr | December 1, 2010 12:09 PM

Is Floyd Brown still working for the Miller team?

Posted by: snowyphile | December 1, 2010 11:08 AM

Joey just cannot accept the fact that his rugged,stomp on the opposition self lost, is defeated, and should run back to mama grizzley for advice. Both he and mama G are pitiful!

Posted by: fairness3 | December 1, 2010 10:09 AM

The Tea Drinkers' Party candidate Joe Miller behaves like a baby. We the Swedish people think the Tea Drinkers are nasty, obnoxious and lazy.

Tea Drinkers Party members:
1. Display ha-ha-ha ignorance of the U.S. constitution they always claim to defend
2. Threaten violence when voters democratically reject Tea drinkers

Posted by: Whispers | December 1, 2010 9:46 AM

This doesn't surprise me at all. The GOP reaped huge gains this election cycle precisely because of the collective hissyfit of the Tea Party over Obama's election in the first place.

This is how they react to any loss. They so cavalierly reach for any shred of evidence--no matter how silly it looks--that some sort of election fraud must have taken place.

This sort of pretense and fantasy allows them the delusion that they didn't really lose. Just as even at this stage they still look back to 2008 and insist that George Soros somehow pulled one of the greatest electoral frauds in history in their vain attempt to de-legitimize Obama and cling to the delusion that they never really ever lose an election.

If you want to uderstand this Tea Party penchant for fantasy, just listen to Rush Limbaugh. In his delusional little bubble, conservatives have never, ever lost an election. It must have been stolen from them. The most exalted expression of Limbaugh's fantasy is found in his own oft expressed words: "I am not going to retire until every single American agrees with me!" Now that is an arrogance surpassing even Lucifer's.

Posted by: jaxas70 | December 1, 2010 9:43 AM

This seems to be a trend with teapartiers. Whine till you drop, behave badly when you don't get your way and God help us all if you lose. I'm sure there are very sound members of this movement with honest intentions but they are being drowned out by the loud, obnoxious and the just plain crazy. Yep, we would want you in Washington.

Posted by: sassafrasnewport | December 1, 2010 9:13 AM

HEY JOE...MAN UP! Accept defeat and move on. Maybe you should chug on over to mamby-pamby land where maybe we can find some confidence...you jackwagon. You sound like a cry baby. God Bless America! Thanks.

Posted by: rusty6 | December 1, 2010 8:25 AM

Most comments I read on these blogs (is that what this is?) are for the most part irrational rantings. But, I feel I must commend the "America to stupid for democracy" for being both cogent and succinct. I genuinely fear for the future of our nation.

Posted by: puzzelbear | December 1, 2010 7:53 AM

The whole point of the Tea baggers is to make government dysfunctional. No candidate or appointee is too incompetent, no position too irrational for them. Miller's just following the script.

America: Too Stupid For Democracy

Posted by: chicolini1 | December 1, 2010 3:30 AM

Joe Miller is a phony who has lived off the government dole for years, is currently unemployed, needs government funded health care for his family, is a wannabee tough guy with no moral compass. If he is what the Teabaggers want to represent them, God help them. They ballyhooed the wrong person, he's looking out for himself only, and he'll make a very lousy politician.
Alaska can do better than Palin and Miller and should. These two self-serving egotists don't give a darn about Alaska or its people. They want the celebrity and big bucks that come with it.
The Teabaggers have already been exposed for the frauds they are by the deceitful way they voted for Palin's lumbering daughter on DWS. Their face book and twitter comments have been published for everyone to see them bragging about how they gamed the system so one person could vote more than 200 times using phony telephone numbers. Palin thinks winning by any means, even when you cheat to do it, is a good thing.
Miller needs to be a man, get a job, support his family and stop using government money to support his family.
The more he whines the more stupid and self-centered he looks. Please good people of Alaska, I know there are educated people amongst you who actually possess integrity and care about our country. Hunt down good people like yourselves. fritz

Posted by: papafritz571 | November 30, 2010 11:56 PM

Joe Miller needs government paid health insurance for his brood, since he has not other visible means of support for his very large family. That's why he's fighting so hard Simple as that.

Posted by: gottabeanon1 | November 30, 2010 11:16 PM

Joe Miller cannot realistically expect everyone to spell everything correctly all the time. It's just not going to happen. Not even Joe Miller spells everything correctly all the time.

There are numerous cases of errors appearing on printed ballots, and these ballots have been used anyway. Courts have allowed the use of these flawed ballots. Without problems.

Joe Miller is NOT 'standing on principle', he's just a sore loser whose ego won't let him give up.

JOE----IT'S OVER!!!!!! TRY AGAIN NEXT TIME!!!!! Spend your time teaching people how to spell before the next election. Have your volunteers fully trained BEFORE THE ELECTION!!! You've got no 'standing' here. **It's over, Joe. Let it go.**

Posted by: momof20yo | November 30, 2010 6:55 PM

I hope MIller holds out for months. It shows just how small he and supporters (including his mentor Sarah) are. I absolutely love it!! Go Joe! Challenge all those votes in a away that makes you and Sarah look like the JERKS you are.

Posted by: Freethotlib | November 30, 2010 6:38 PM

The "other american endeavors" you mention are sports contests. This is different. It is an election to determine the will of the voters. NThe Alaska election laws allow write-in candidates, so Sen. Murkowski was free to run. The people who voted expressed their desire for her to serve another term. This is different from a contest. Flouting the will of the people is antithetical to our form of government.
That said, I am happy with Miller keeping Murkowski from taking her seat for every bit as long as Al Franken was denied HIS senate seat. Goes to show what Republicans really think of our republic.

Posted by: Lamentations | November 30, 2010 5:54 PM

I hope "Lonesome Joe" holds out for months! It means one less Repugnican vote in the Senate. It also shows that these Tea Potty clowns care as much for their fellow countrymen as Newt and his boyz with their "Contract On America," and their promises of budget cuts and term limits. Keep the lawsuits comin' Joe!!!

Posted by: flyfisher2 | November 30, 2010 4:39 PM

She lost the primary, that should have been the end of this discussion but the Party wanted their way not matter what the people wanted.
Go Joe!

Go Joe? He lost because the Voters of AK voted for Lisa Murkowski. It's that simple right Winger. The Rethuglican Party didn't have a say. Whew!!

Posted by: aunkmaa | November 30, 2010 4:08 PM

She lost the primary, that should have been the end of this discussion but the Party wanted their way not matter what the people wanted.
Tea bag logic at its finest. Fact:
The PEOPLE wanted their way, no matter what the PARTY wanted.

Posted by: steveinva | November 30, 2010 3:41 PM

How dare we hold Government to the same standards they require when us common serfs complete Government paperwork?
Sorry, I watched the WA Governer's battle a couple years back and realized that those in office do NOT care about us - just keeping themselves in power.
She lost the primary, that should have been the end of this discussion but the Party wanted their way not matter what the people wanted.
Go Joe!

Posted by: REBEL-1 | November 30, 2010 3:29 PM

why is it that when it comes to politics, one must roll over and give in quickly?

in any other american endeavors that are really important to us such football (overtime), baseball(23 innings and still counting), baseketball (double-triple overtime), food eating contests, beer bong contests, it is fight until you cannot fight no more and then fight on.

Posted by: perryrants | November 30, 2010 2:30 PM

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