Conservative thinker and comedic actor Ben Stein took to the pages of the Alaska Dispatch on Sunday to slam the state's Tea Party candidate Joe Miller as a brutish thug for having a private security detail handcuff one of that paper's reporters.
In an endorsement of incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowksi (R-AK), the longtime commentator made the case that detaining an inquisitive reporter simply because he is inquisitive is antithetical to Tea Party values. But Stein does it with a hint of intellectual elitism strong enough to seem out of place in what is ostensibly an appeal to salt-of-the-earth Alaska Republican voters.
A candidate as stupid as Miller, he writes, can't possibly have graduated from Yale Law School -- Stein's alma mater -- unless "he somehow slipped through the Ivied doors when they weren't looking."
Maybe Miller thinks he is boss of some kind of third world country and his mirrored sunglass-wearing Tontons Macoutes can just bully anyone who gets in his way.
That is not what the Tea Party is all about. It is certainly not what the GOP is about. It isn't even what the Democratic Party is about.
Can you imagine a statewide official doing this or allowing his guards to do this -- and not then sending out a full throated apology? Yet Miller is accusing the reporter of assaulting his guards, who, as apparently seen by witnesses, surrounded [editor Tony] Hopfinger and menaced him, and then cuffed him when he tried to escape. How stupid can a candidate be? How can this be happening?
Stein also expresses alarm with another Miller head-scratcher -- the candidate's declaration that the closing of the border by communist East Germany could serve as a template for how the U.S. handles the Mexican border.
By writing his piece for the Alaska Dispatch, however, he may have limited his own reach. After his security detail's brief detention of Hopfinger, Miller went out of his way to pin the blame on the paper and its hostile editorial staff. And at this juncture (certainly after the handcuffing incident) it may be that undecided voters see the Dispatch as a venue for anti-Miller content.