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Joe Miller's victory celebration in Alaska is invitation-only

September 3, 2010 |  2:29 am


Joe Miller pulled off his upset Alaska primary election victory against Republican  U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a campaign calling for more transparency in government, but Miller's operation has been less than see-through in the days since Murkowski conceded.

In fact, opaque might be more like it. True, Miller and his Tea Party Express-financed message about ending government entitlements have been several-times-a-day fixtures on Fox News and, somewhat less frequently, the other big networks, but here in Fairbanks, reporters were barred from entering his victory celebration Thursday evening at the home of a supporter on the banks of the Chena River.

"No reporters, no cameras, no recordings," said a sign near the door, where dozens of casually dressed men and women, some with small children in tow, filed in for a handshake, finger food, and a chance to donate money to the 43-year-old hometown attorney who has turned Alaska politics on its ear.

Likewise, Miller said he would probably not be welcoming journalists to Saturday night's party with grass-roots volunteers. "Did you volunteer on my campaign?" he deadpanned when asked by a correspondent for permission to attend--then offered a wide, quick grin and an apology (but still no invitation).

Instead, Miller gave several quick interviews in his downtown law office/campaign headquarters, echoing his theme that the country is at a crossroads too dangerous to be left to the traditional, compromise politics of recent administrations both Republican and Democrat.

"We are at crisis point. I think anybody that sees this nation as being on stable economic or fiscal ground is fooling themselves. They've got their head buried in the sand, effectively. We're at a point now...where the entitlement state has driven us into insolvency," he told The Times.

Miller has been calling for gradually transitioning out of such federal payment programs as Social Security and Medicare, and has said he's not sure if unemployment insurance is constitutional. The government handouts have been counterproductive, he argues.

"It's driven us into a level of dependency which is not good for us economically. If you look at the Obama administration, it's just massive expansion of government control," he said. "I felt that somebody had to take a stand. And if you look at both parties, it seems they have a hand in this.

"Obviously, the Obama administration has lurched to the left, but if you look at past administrations, there's no difference in whether it's a Republican  or Democratic administration, it expands government, the only question is, how much. ...The  government cannot continue in the direction it's going and maintain its lead in the world today."

For Alaskans eager for face time with the new Republican nominee, Miller says he plans to show up at the State Fair on Saturday. All are welcome--even the mainstream media.

--Kim Murphy in Fairbanks, Alaska

Photo: Fairbanks attorney Joe Miller gave brief interviews in his campaign office along with his wife, Kathleen. Credit: Sam Harrel, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner