11/05/2010 03:29 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

If only Alaska's Joe Miller had been what he said he was

Upwards of 60,000 Alaskans clung to the myth of Joe Miller on election night in Alaska despite the storm of revelations that followed the Senate candidate's victory in the August GOP primary, and there is something noble about that. Yes, there were some cynics in the Miller camp, old-school, party-line Republicans who cared not a wit that Miller was something of a modern day "Soapy" Smith.

"Sarah Palin in pants'' is how one of them, who is not a Palin fan, described him. But Miller was the GOP's guy, the winner of the primary, the man chosen by the party faithful, and by God, the thinking among this group went, 'If that's what they party faithful want, then it is the responsibility of a party member to hang in there, hold his or her nose, and cast the Miller vote'. But these people were a minority.

Voting for Miller was a lot easier for most of the 70,000 Alaskans who blacked in the oval of the Yale-educated lawyer from Fairbanks by way of Kansas. They believed. They took Miller for what he claimed to be -- a sensible conservative. I refuse to use that Palin-spawned label, "commonsense conservative," here. I've spent much of a lifetime writing about people dead in the Alaska wilderness because sense isn't common.

Miller, to his credit, didn't really seem to buy that common-sense idea either. All campaign long, the first words out of his mouth were that he was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Yale Law School. Old, established, elite, East Coast institutions, these are two of the best schools in the world. They aren't in the practice of counting on common sense to help young people get ahead in life. They are in the practice of teaching people to think. And Miller excelled at both institutions.

What the hell happened afterward became the big question of this year's election. What the hell was Miller's story in Alaska?

Read the rest here.