Democracy in Cuffs Courtesy of Joe Miller’s Constitutional Conservatism

Reporter Handcuffed by Joe MIller Thugs Until Police Rescue Him
Reporter Handcuffed by Joe MIller Thugs Until Police Rescue Him

Expect to see more of this if Republicans win in 2010.

Republican candidates feel they are beholden to no one. And really, they’re not. After all, the money that supports their campaigns is not grassroots money, but corporate. It’s the money of a few rich white guys who feel privileged above the “inalienable rights” we supposedly all possess as Americans.

President Bush was like this too. He was impatient of questions. He didn’t like answering them at all. John McCain took it to a new level, however. McCain wouldn’t even let questions be asked. Now we have Republican candidates ducking interviews and debates or declining to appear on any network save FOX News and refusing to release required information on personal or campaign finances.

When questioned, Republican candidates adopt the role of victims, pretending that a liberal media elite is engaging in a witch hunt. They are creating a narrative in which the asking of questions is demonized. Even asking a question of them is wrong, an attack.

Doesn’t it sound like they’re just a little too sensitive?

Now we have another escalation of this tendency, and it’s a disturbing one. A reporter being roughed up and put in handcuffs for trying to ask Tea Party luminary a question. The victim here (we should be clear at the outset who the victim is) happens to be a reporter from the Alaska Dispatch. His crime? He tried to question Senate candidate Joe Miller.

Here is the video from the Anchorage Daily News:

According to Politico, Joe Miller “announced last week that he would no longer take questions about his past employment and personal history.” Apparently, other subjects are forbidden as well.

Isn’t that what journalists are supposed to do? Ask questions?

Remember, FOX News doesn’t have reporters. Their definition of a reporter is someone who reports the company line in sound bites. Don’t ask questions; just believe.

Sunday night in Anchorage we saw something ugly. Something that ought to disturb all of us. Tony Hopfinger was trying to do his job. He asked Miller if he had gotten in trouble for playing politics while employed by the Fairbanks North Star Borough in 2008.

Mr. Miller’s response? Two security guards, Miller’s hired-thugs, bumped chests with the reporter in an effort to intimidate the journalistic integrity out of him and impress upon him the Republican way of doing business.

Mr. Hopfinger was pushed against a wall and handcuffed.

Just like that.

For asking a question.

He didn’t threaten Mr. Miller. He didn’t point a gun at him.

Hopfinger said, “It was like a car accident and I had to ask, ‘How did this happen so quick? Why am I in handcuffs.’”

The Miller campaign response was to release a statement made by William the security guard who did the intimidating.

“The Dispatch reporter repeatedly pushed a camera into the face of Mr. Miller. He continued to aggressively pursue him. I told the reporter several times that he needed to stop and that he was trespassing. He ignored me. He then proceeded to stalk Mr. Miller and even shoved an individual into a locker. Based upon this trespass and his assault, we detained him and escorted him from the premises.”

Miller himself, quick to identify the constructed Other as the problem, dismissed Hopfinger as a “liberal blogger”:

“While I’ve gotten used to the blog Alaska Dispatch’s assault on me and my family, I never thought that it would lead to a physical assault,” Miller said. “It’s too bad that this blogger would take advantage of a ‘Town Hall’ meeting to create a publicity stunt just two weeks before the election.”

CNN reports that Hopfinger told them that “he did push the security guard after he said he was pushed.”

Hopfinger (on right) talks to police

Thank goodness for the police, who responded and removed the reporter’s handcuffs, and promised to investigate.

The “private person arrest” is legal in Alaska, according to police. That doesn’t mean it’s justified. What is clear here is that Mr. Miller does not like questions and he responded by silencing the questioner by the surest means at his disposal.

Hopfinger expressed his disbelief, saying, “Joe Miller wants to be a U.S. Senator and he is going to have it a hell of a lot tougher with journalists in the beltway than he is with local media,” Hopfinger said. “I was just doing my job.”

But in Republican America you can’t do your job, Mr. Hopfinger. You’re a dinosaur. The GOP does not want journalists, it wants propagandists. Toe the line, say what you’re told to say, and never, ever, ask questions.

It might expose to the light of day something a Republican somewhere would just as soon remain in the dark.

Image Courtesy of Jill Burke of Alaska Dispatch

28 Replies to “Democracy in Cuffs Courtesy of Joe Miller’s Constitutional Conservatism”

  1. And we all know where Joe learned these tactics — he uses the same lawyer as her and now he uses the security team owned by the far right wing proud bigot and hater Eddie Burke, who gives Sarah special time on the air to spread hate and spew venom about cancer victims she doesn’t like.

    This is so outrageously absurd, I’m rather speechless. They say they’re for the constitution huh? They say they stand for freedom?

  2. There is a real disconnect between their rhetoric and their actions. Like you say, it is hard to see where exactly the latter support the Constitution. Muslims aren’t a real religion so don’t deserve First Amendment protections and “liberal bloggers” aren’t real journalists so freedom of the press doesn’t apply; they’re nothing but pests to be beat up and terrorized into silence.

  3. I’m shocked! Why hasn’t “Do you love your freedoms”? Sarah Palin Joe’s Friend stood up against this atrocity?
    Well, b/c what they say is all BS. They want Their freedom to say and do as they please including silencing people who question them. Hmmmm, historically we have seen this before…Oh yes Nazi Germany!
    Vote TBags you are voting for fascism and the return of Nazi Germany! Oh yes Joe had a quote yesterday at this public event that suddenly was “Private”….
    Something like “If East Germany can do it, we can do it!” and he was talking about Illegal immigration!

  4. Yes I am afraid it is very much like Nazi Germany. These are typical Brownshirt tactics, rough up the opposition, intimidate them and eliminate any possibility that your candidate will have to address the issues.

  5. Yes, it’s funny how first they demonize the blogger/journalist/citizen, then justify disdain, then literally begin physical detainment….and their base eat it up. This is how things like Nazi Germany happened. It’s the slow boil.

    Wake up, America. This isn’t a left or right issue. This is an issue about the laws that protect our freedoms and maintain our democracy.

  6. This is it in a nutshell, Hank:

    “It might expose to the light of day something a Republican somewhere would just as soon remain in the dark.”

    We’ve seen this from several TP-backed candidates:

    *Paladino in NY
    *Angle in NV
    *O’Donnell in DE
    *Rand Paul in KY

    They want to govern, but they do not want to be questioned about anything. They scream and holler about following the Constitution and about transparency, but these are only meant for others. The whole TP movement is about getting stealth candidates into office who will rubber-stamp anything the Republican Party and their corporate sponsors want.

  7. Miller is simply modeling the values and conduct of the Founding Fathers — you know, such as when John Adams had Ben Franklin shackled to a tree for having the temerity to try to interview him for an article he was writing in the Pennsylvania Gazette.

    What do you mean that never happened? Are you telling me that the Founding Fathers — that the tea party klan professes to idolize and emulate — did not believe in running from, or illegally imprisoning members of the press? Shocking.

  8. Boy this story went viral very quickly.
    At a PUBLIC forum (tea partytype) a reporter attempts to question Joe Miller and is “arrested” and handcuffed. NOT by the POlice…but by his band of hired thugs. When the “real” police arrive, they release him.
    Joe Miller is just another Republican thug, unqualified and trying to gain an office because he wants money and power. Are there any qualified people running as Republican TBigots?
    I guess you have to be stupid AND a hater in order to belong now. I pity the old style Republicans – who are being tarred and feathered as racist bigoted antieducation haters.

  9. DISGUSTING. The Tea Party is a vile, law-breaking bunch of bigots. Joe MIller knows better. He’s a lawyer for god’s sake.

  10. Uhhh, the so called “victim” admitted to the initial assault and battery. I know common sense isn’t a strong point for you liberals, but seriously…

  11. You’re talking about the Union thugs right? Like the ones who beat up Kenneth Gladney. Or the Obama supporter who punched a kid in the back at an Obama rally because he yelled out “You’re a liar!”. Yes, very troubling times…

  12. Have you ever been to a tea party rally, or do you solely rely on getting your “facts” from MSNBC? You charge that they are “law-breaking bunch of bigots”, but can you provide evidence to substantiate this claim?

  13. How long ago was it that a student was tasered at a speaking by John Kerry when he tried to ask a question…?

  14. Also, do you really want to open up the “not releasing personal and campaign finance records” can of worms considering the current President…?

  15. I’m all for a nice lather regarding political excess, but this is a ridiculous rendering of what happened.

    Clue: Mr. Miller was not even around when the arrest took place.

  16. Whaat? The way I heard it, Mr. Miller arrested this man illegally, insulted his mother, kicked a puppy, and shared a beer with Osama Bin Laden.

  17. The evidence is here that 911 was done by microsoft trying to avoid being broken up and of course Bush win let microsoft now oracle off the hook for anti trust crimes..they use slave and foreign labor so these muslim terrorists all work for microsoft, we figured it out…they even outsource their thug labour…cannot ignore oklahoma city, waco, texas where bush from with his pal timothy mc veigh and imperative that democrats escalate false war rhetoric and start prosecuting civil war crimes of microsoft and its ilk..this is a civil war, FOX was caught raiding the Bagdhad museum NAZI style because that is what is going on, militias..they caught David Duke that Bush released from prison before his time stealing from Lockheed and Boeing, with pal lets not forget Wen Ho Lee shares an address with ELI LILLY maker of schizophrenic medication HALDOL with Bush secretary of defense, DONALD RUMSFELD…FURTHER, I GREW UP IN REAGANS CHURCH FOR OVER 40 YEARS AND EVANGELICAL KU KLUX KLAN MILITIA MILITANTS ATTACKED REAGANS PASTOR, TOOK OVER THE CHURCH WITH MELISSA GILBERT AND PAT BOONE KU KLUX KLAN MEMBERS WITH BUSH IRAN CONTRA DRUG DEALER HOSTAGE ARMS DEALER CROOKS PROFITEERING OFF THEIR STAGED WAR MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, ADNAN KASHOGGI AND SULTAN OF BRUNEI, THEN TOOKOVER FRANCE AND AIRBUS CRIMES WITH CARLA BRUNI ETC I CONTINUE TO BE HELD HOSTAGE BY JERRY BRUCKHEIMER PALS WHO STOLE MY PROJECT WITH FOX X FILES POSING AS FBI I WENT TO FOR HELP, STOLE EVERYTHING AND TV ABC DISNEY SHOW, WITHOUT A TRACE FOR TRACINDA CORP, SPENCER TRACY BIG FISH FILM AND DANNY DEVITOS, ALABAMA PRODUCED FILM, BIG FISH, ETC L.A. TIMES DID MAJOR ARTICLE IN 1998 EXPOSING FOX INTENTIONS TO DEREGULATE AND TAKEOVER MEDIA THAT TED KENNEDY WAS TRYING TO STOP, AND WHY IS NOBODY ASKING WHY REPUBLICANS LET POPULAR REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE COLIN POWELL AND SON HEAD OF FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION FOX RAN SLIP SHOD OVER ILLEGALLY MICHAEL POWELL AND SO MUCH MORE…I HAVE BEEN FALSELY ARRESTED AND TORTURED, RACKETEERED BY REPUBLICAN KU KLUX KLAN EXTREMISTS CONFEDERATES…GET REAL, THIS IS CIVIL WAR AND NOTHING SHORT OF PROSECUTING THESE FASCISTS WILL WORK ESPECIALLY COME ON A GERMAN POPE NOW IVE SEEN EVERYTHING…A GERMAN POPE….

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