Joe Miller, the GOP establishment and Sarah Palin-backed candidate for Senate in Alaska, appears on his way to locking up the support of an Alaskan militia coalition, a recent report by Salon's Justin Elliott finds.
"It's safe to say that Joe Miller is a friend of patriots," Norm Olson, commander of the Alaska Citizens Militia, told Elliott. "His beliefs and platform favor Second Amendment rights as well as the power of nullification when the federal government intrudes into the private lives of Alaskans."
Elliott then highlights a brief rundown of the group's website, which turns up a list of 17 "acts of war." Included on the contents: "firearms restrictions or other disarmament," "mandatory medical anything," "federal patrols," "taking control of children under duress or threat," "federalization of law enforcement," and "surrender powers to a corporation or foreign government."
With these bullet points in mind, militia members might take solace in Miller's appearance on ABC's "Top Line," in which he seemed to shrug at a recent video that showed his supporters marching with assault rifles.
"It's not unusual to walk into a Wal-Mart, or to walk into a gas station, and see people carrying guns," Joe Miller explained. "You know, it's not unusual in political rallies, it's not unusual in parades, to see that type of thing. Probably though, in the lower 48, it does raise some eyebrows."
While Elliott paints Miller's apparent coalition as significant, he reports that it certainly isn't all-encompassing, as some other militia members appear averse to government's penchant for "run[ning] things" in any form:
Schaeffer Cox of Fairbanks, Alaska Peacemakers Militia (what he calls a "pro-violence, anti-aggression" group), told Salon in an interview that he personally knows and likes Miller, but he doesn't consider himself a supporter. "He's going to try to run things in a more conservative way, but he's still trying to run things -- so he has the same fundamental problem of all the other politicians," Cox said.
The Alaska Dispatch has since followed up on the Salon story, noting a missed point and seemingly taking exception to a recent characterization of the piece by a Politico reporter:
It's important to note that the Salon article omits two facts that would give greater texture to the report: Schaeffer Cox founded the Second Amendment Task Force, and according to a March report from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, was still leading the group then. And Olson recently stepped down from a bid for lieutenant governor on the Alaskan Independence Party ticket.
And incidentally, Ben Smith of Politico thinks this story contributes to the growing national legend that is "the ever-entertaining world of Alaska politics."