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Who's really to blame for failed U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller's meltdown?

Scott Woodham
Aaron Jansen illustration

TO: Joe Miller
CC: Russ Millette
Subject: Unknowns

Dear Failed Republican U.S. Senate Candidate,

We The Concerned think congratulations are in order after the recent leadership change in the Alaska Republican Party. Congratulations!

Sure, sure, we know you've denied being responsible for “the coup,” but we think that's just more of the trademark, extreme modesty Alaskans have come to expect from you. The alternative -- that you're still waging a paranoid, covert war against ideological enemies deep behind enemy lines -- is just too creepy for us to consider.

We also know you're excited about the election of Russ Millette to the party's top post. Randy Ruedrich's ouster must be especially sweet for you. According to disciplinary documents released by court order during your campaign for U.S. Senate in 2010 -- as well as press reports at the time -- you've been working toward that goal since at least 2008. You may recall that's when you went on your Fairbanks North Star Borough co-workers' computers to rig an online political poll to gauge support for overthrowing Ruedrich, then got caught.

RELATED: Joe Miller's paranoid attempt to overthrow the Alaska Republican Party

Talk about persistence! Here's to four years of hard work finally paying off!

The election didn't go your way, but by gum we The Concerned admire your sticktoitiveness in working for change in the Alaska GOP. We even said as much when we wrote in November 2010 to support any efforts to find employment after your Senate campaign ended. How'd that work out anyway? You're apparently doing just fine even though your legal bills must be getting pretty big by now.

You've said via your lawyers that you've been spending $10,000 a month on attorney fees for over a year now, maybe longer. This litigation dates back to October 2010. That's when media outlets, Alaska Dispatch first among them, sued the Fairbanks North Star Borough for public access to information that would either validate or destroy rumors that were swirling around to the effect that you -- a little-known figure in Alaska politics -- might not be cut out for the U.S. Senate.

But only the claims you've filed against those you think were responsible for exposing your wrongdoing are still active today and costing you, the borough and others all of this money.

You kept saying during the 2010 election that you wanted to come clean and answer any questions about your past, but you never did. At every opportunity you stymied inquiry. Members of your personal security detail even handcuffed and detained Alaska Dispatch's editor when he asked you about it at a campaign event. Remember that? Ah, good times.

When the matter moved into the courts, you fought disclosure every step of the way. All over something that should arguably be public information, even if you hadn't been running for U.S. Senate. After all, if a government employee was disciplined for misusing government equipment to a personal end, shouldn't the public know about it?

Either way, to us it seemed you were hoping to be relaxing in a Senate office before any information came out. Few had any real knowledge about why you left the borough or what your superiors had written in your employment file. But you surely did. And we can see now why you tried to prevent voters from learning about it prior to the election.

A judge ruled that a heavily redacted set of borough employment records you didn't want anyone to find out about had been public records all along. The case is continuing because, among other things, of claims you're pursuing against the borough to recoup the money you've spent in 2010 trying to keep your nefarious actions as an employee of the borough from seeing the light of the day.

Alaska Dispatch is still a party to the suit, and though your attorneys have asked to depose one of its staffers, it isn't directly involved in the dispute between you and the borough and others. But the expenses continue on Dispatch's end, tens of thousands of dollars to date. The matter is on track to appear before a jury in early 2013, but we have no idea what purpose that would serve or how it would help you contribute to Alaska's politics.

Let's assume for a second that a jury finds in your favor, finds that someone indeed torpedoed your Senate run by inappropriately divulging parts of your record as a public employee that should have been kept private. No evidence of that has been presented whatsoever, and some have argued Alaska and borough law provide no basis for your claims, but let's assume you can prove it all in court and that the jury agrees with you. What exactly would you claim as damages? The Senate seat? How much is one of those worth anyway?

Maybe you'd claim damage to your good name, ability to continue making a living in politics or in private law practice? If anything, it was your handling of the whole affair -- your repeated stonewalling of legitimate but uncomfortable questions --that did more damage to your future in Alaska politics than any alleged leak. And in fact, maybe you think a trial would provide an opportunity for you to fight the appearance of government corruption -- that's right in your political wheelhouse, isn't it? Think of all the support that would drum up!

We're not sure you get this (and judging from how much animosity you've continued to express toward the media and some fellow Republicans, you probably haven't), but the court-ordered release isn't why you lost that election. Not the media, not members of the Republican Party, and certainly not voters. Your political platform isn't even the reason you lost. Alaskans are probably more receptive than most other Americans to notions of tiny government, great personal responsibility and East German-style border fences. But no matter where they stand politically, Alaskans can't stand fakers or shysters. We can't believe we have to tell you this, but you're the one most responsible for your campaign's implosion.

Lurking in the shadows, conducting huddled conferences with conventioneers but taking pains to avoid any public connection to their victory, and acting terrified and defensive when members of the press ask what you're doing, is not the way to go about repairing the damage you did to your reputation among the Alaska electorate in 2010. We don't know the best way forward for you, or even if you even want to hold public office anymore, but we know more of the same skullduggery and denials ain't it. It can earn you a "blue ticket" in this state.

We believe that you do indeed want to work in politics, and some of us even think you're acting out of a sincere desire to better our nation and state. But why creep around so much? Aren't openness, transparency and inclusion the new standards of Alaska's GOP political machinery, as Millette has said since being elected? A new set of ideological standards are supposed to be forthcoming, and as we understand it, woe shall befall any Republican who doesn't fall into line. But surely working for what you believe are positive changes isn't anything to be embarrassed about, is it? Why all the subterfuge?

RELATED: Joe Miller's paranoid attempt to overthrow the Alaska Republican Party

Given the shake-up at this year's convention, it's no wonder you feared for your life in 2008. Now we completely understand why you tried to convince the Fairbanks North Star Borough to install extra security measures in the office you worked in part-time. All those Republican-masquerading types would have felt really threatened if they'd known what was coming their way.

Of course, as you noted at the end of a post-convention teleconference you led recently, the work's not completely done for people who love liberty. If there isn't a quorum at another convention in Anchorage on June 9, Millette noted, “we'll have to have another attack.” And that concerns us. Maybe in your head you really are still waging a secret war against fellow Alaskans you think are your enemies.

Good luck with all that,

The Concerned

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