I had planned to put up a diary today to discuss my stance on filibuster reform, but I have decided to push that back a day after last night’s development in Alaska’s Senate race.
For those who may be hearing for the first time, it appears that “security guards” working for my opponent, Joe Miller, manhandled and handcuffed a member of the press at a town hall, held in a public school, when the reporter/editor had the gall to attempt to ask Joe questions.
This behavior displays a disdain for the First Amendment and the Fourth Estate. A free press is the hallmark of a functioning democracy. While Joe Miller isn’t the government (much to his dismay), a candidate for public office has an obligation to answer press questions and not intimidate those who try to better inform the public. This extreme behavior is a reflection of the extreme views of the Tea Party Express, an organization that seeks to avoid the important questions about the America their strange theories would create. Fear and intimidation have no place in this or any other campaign.
Shutting the media out of a political campaign is un-American.
It is normal for candidates seeking public office to get tired or frustrated with the political coverage during the campaign. But it is entirely abnormal and unacceptable to run from or to intimidate the press. Those who seek political office must be accountable to the voters, which means answering questions posed to us.
I’ve held five town halls in this campaign, but as a big guy from a small town, I didn’t think I needed a security squad. As mayor, my "entourage" normally includes one of my three kids. I guess I don’t have the personality for hired muscle with Secret Service-like earpieces! Candidates need to be accessible to voters, not hiding behind a wall of bodyguards.
Alaska cannot afford to elect Joe Miller. His truly bizarre theories of the constitution and what America should look like in the 21st century would be disastrous in the United States Senate. While last night’s Town Hall was overshadowed by the dustup between Mr. Miller’s bodyguards and a reporter, something disturbing emerged in his answers to the friendly crowd.
When asked about immigration and border security, Mr. Miller held out East Germany as a great example of how border security should be done.That’s right, the communist East Germany of Berlin Wall fame.
Apparently, Mr. Miller was asleep not only during the days that the First Amendment was covered at Yale Law, but also during the days that communism and the Berlin Airlift were covered at West Point. I guess Joe isn’t a fan of Ronald Reagan and his demand: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
Come back later on tonight (7pm AK, 11pm ET) for my staff’s liveblog of tonight’s debate between Senator Murkowski and me.- Scott
A hat tip to AnnetteK for her diary on this topic, which includes a link to some disturbing footage of the altercation, from the Anchorage Daily News.
From staff: all we did was ask "How are you today?" and we got handcuffed! (We're clowns.)