There are probably better ways to inspire confidence in a candidate’s prospects when he’s in free fall than to call him a lost cause. But that’s exactly what Sarah Palin did to one of her favorite tea partiers last night.
“Joe Miller - do not give up. It’s you against the machine. This is it. ‘Lost causes’ are the only ones worth fighting for,’” Palin tweeted, quoting famed Scopes Monkey Trial attorney Clarence Darrow.
It seems unlikely that Palin is aware that Darrow was a big wig at the American Civil Liberties Union given her penchant for scoffing at…civil liberties. And one wonders whether Palin knows that, in the Scopes trial, Darrow defended John Scopes, who violated Tennessee law by teaching evolution. But there you have it.
Taking notice, Miller responded with a famous quote of his own. Like any journalist-arresting tea partier, Miller quoted Revolutionary War soldier John Paul Jones. “I have not yet begun to fight.”
After a barrage of scandals, Miller has taken a dive in the polls in the Alaska Senate race. The TPM Poll Average gives incumbent Lisa Murkowski (who’s running as an independent write-in candidate after losing the GOP primary) a 40.4-29.5.-23.1 lead in a three-way race between herself, Miller, and Democrat Scott McAdams.
However, conservatives are fighting dirty on Miller’s behalf, and at the last minute dumped scores of names on to the write-in ballot in the hopes of bamboozling voters intending to back Murkowski.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.