Simple truths

Posted: Sunday, August 01, 2010

Lisa Murkowksi and Joe Miller are both running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Republicans therefore have a decision to make as to who will represent them in the election, and, most likely, in Washington, D.C. Whenever we are given two choices, we all compare and contrast those options.

Murkowksi's most significant accomplishment in her life, thus far, is to be appointed to the U.S. Senate by her father.

Miller's most significant accomplishment may be graduating from West Point, winning a Bronze Star in Iraq, graduating from Yale Law School, or being a husband and father to his eight children. I lean toward the Bronze Star, but after having our second son, facing enemy fire seems less frightening than keeping track of eight children. Yikes!

Murkowski has made a habit of canceling every public appearance that Miller is attending. This is a sound policy for an incumbent when running from, or rather, against a challenger.

Miller, meanwhile, is attempting to have debates and public dialogues with Murkowski at every opportunity, all, to this point, in vain. Murkowski has developed the very successful skill of seeking the middle ground on spending, health care, immigration, abortion, and the environment. She learned the politician's art at her father's table. She has made many friends in Washington and is looked to as a moderating influence on her Republican party, giving her status even within the ranks of the Democratic establishment.

Conversely, Miller is a warrior, trained in battle and in the law. He believes that to compromise on federal spending, to compromise on giving up more power to the federal government, immigration, health care or the rights of the unborn is wrong, and to do these things is to hasten the end of our great nation because they all lead to spending more money, money the government does not have.

Instead, he wants to go to Washington, not to compromise, but to fight. To fight for our state, our Constitution and for the future of this country.

Additionally, an earlier letter made some curious attacks on Miller. Curious because they are so easily disproven with a few free minutes and access to the Internet. Even though such letters are typically outside any editorial control (and should be so) glaring errors such as those in Brown's fiery, yet inane, letter should be pointed out. Specifically, Brown attacks Miller's standing as a trial judge, stating a U.S. Magistrate Judge is not a judge, when, in fact, the federal court system website defines a magistrate judge as a "federal trial judge." Additionally, state magistrates may be authorized to act as district court judges in trial situations. I know this because I too am an attorney.

Moreover, Miller was actually appointed to fill an acting District Court Judge position in Fairbanks in 2002 and has signed hundreds of orders in the state and federal systems as "Judge Miller." Even the name plate on both the federal and state benches said "Judge Miller."

Additionally, Brown's logic is fatally suspect when he attempts to label Murkowski's appointment by her father to her seat in the Senate as an "albatross around her neck." Brown, I can only surmise, thinks we are unaware of the fact that by giving her incumbent status her father virtually assured her of continual re-election, because U.S. Senators win re-election around 90 percent of the time and survive primary challenges at an even higher rate. Because of her incumbent status and the privileges accorded to her as a sitting Senator, she has been able to amass almost $3 million for her re-election campaign. I certainly admire the brass required to spin such an advantage into an "albatross," but I fail to respect its complete lack of accuracy.

Finally, also in the interests of disclosure, Miller has asked me to provide counsel to the campaign after he came to Barrow last month and I drove him around town and introduced him to friends and fellow townsfolk. In answer to the unasked question, yes, Miller did eat some fermented muktuk, but that's another story.

• Robert Campbell is an attorney in private practice in Barrow



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