Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 6, 2010

JOE MILLER'S DISCOMFORT WITH THE 'EXTREMIST' LABEL.... While some of this year's more ridiculous right-wing candidates hope to win in November by hiding, extremist Senate candidate Joe Miller (R) of Alaska isn't afraid to talk to voters in public.

It's what he says in public that's bizarre.

Miller acknowledged that he supports abolishing the Department of Education because it is not authorized in the Constitution.

Now, that's not an exact quote, and it's possible the reporter paraphrased the candidate incorrectly, but if Miller opposes cabinet agencies that are not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, there wouldn't be a cabinet.

He called the idea of a living, changing Constitution "bullcrap," and said he would support an amendment for term limits as well as an amendment repealing the 17th Amendment, which allows for the direct election of senators by the public rather than by state legislatures.

In other words, Miller hopes Alaskans vote for him, but he'd prefer a system in which Alaskans wouldn't be able to vote on their own senators at all. He also wants a small, limited government -- which just happens to prevent voters from electing congressional representatives who've served for an arbitrary number of years. The public might want to re-elect some officials more than a few times, but Miller would like the government to pass a law that takes power out of voters' hands.

Miller also talked about the need to acknowledge states' rights when discussing his acceptance of farm subsidies on Kansas property he owned in the '90s.

The candidate said he was basically forced by federal government to accept the money, which also defined what he could grow there, a system he said creates inefficiencies and could be improved if states only gave farm subsidies as they see fit.

Wow, that government sure is powerful. It can force Miller to accept checks, sign them, and deposit taxpayer money into his bank account. That's pretty impressive.

Miller also reportedly expressed frustration about being labeled an "extremist." That's understandable. After all, he's just a right-wing lawyer who considers the minimum wage and unemployment benefits unconstitutional, thinks Social Security and Medicare should be privatized, rejects climate science, and wants to force a government shutdown next year.

Why would anyone consider this "extreme"?

Steve Benen 9:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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Comments

I guess if Alaskans could vote Palin into office, they could elect this fool, too, but why? Could it be because Alaska has the highest per capita consumption of alcohol in the country? Do they all get wasted on election day?

Posted by: hells littlest angel on October 6, 2010 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Could it be because Alaska ....

Maybe they feel guilty about the excessive federal $$$ that flow into Alaska (which they are forced to take and can't stop).

Or more probably it doesn't register with them that their lifestyle is subsidized by out of state taxpayers and their socialist distribution of money extracted from energy companies.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on October 6, 2010 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

That makes as much sense as any other explanation, H.L.A.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© on October 6, 2010 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

So - if the constitution is a static artifact; shouldn't he then propose an amendment that all amendments are un-constitutional and revoke all.

Wait - his action of proposing amendment contradicts his... chicken..egg... egg.. chicken.. poached.. scrambled? why cross road.... two men walk into bar, first one goes "ouch".. oi - my brain, my brain...

Posted by: sduffys on October 6, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

hla: When Sarah Palin ran for Governor, she ran as something of a moderate and mostly as 'not Frank Murkowski' which was enough to elect her.

But as Shannyn Moore points out -- http://shannynmoore.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/why-the-dscc-loves-sarah-palin/ -- the DSCC has given McAdams -- and many other candidates -- almost zero support.

If you look back to when Palin first announced she was supporting Miller, you'll see comments from a guy named Prup that this was already a pick-up opportunity, even if Murkowski had won -- because many of the Millerites and Palinistas would stay home rather than vote for a Murkowski. Once Miller won, we should have been all over it. Instead, we weren't even payiong attention -- and we still aren't.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on October 6, 2010 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

He probably thinks he has to talk about 2nd Amendment solutions to be considered extreme in this climate.

Posted by: Eric Root on October 6, 2010 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

sduffys, quite reasonably, asks:

"So - if the constitution is a static artifact; shouldn't he then propose an amendment that all amendments are un-constitutional and revoke all."

Ah, but that would then be changing the Constitution and that is, to quote a great philosopher:

"bullcrap."

I'm sure Miller has it all straight in his own mind and I am glad beyond all measure that I am not in that place.

Posted by: SoVeryConfused on October 6, 2010 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

The far right's hatred towards the 17th amendment may seem off-the-wall, but it's actually quite sensible from their perspective. They know that they're better able to exert influence by controlling state legislatures than by competing in big, state-wide Senatorial election contests, where there's wider public interest and their views are under closer scrutiny. Most state legislatures get little media coverage or public attention, so only devoted zealots have the time and patience to get their allies elected to them and to lobby for preferred bills and, they hope one day, Senators.

And, of course, for the moneyed interests funding the tea parties, state legislatures are a much more cost-effective way of buying influence than contributing to state-wide Senate campaigns. Also less risky - a bought legislator stays bought, while if you give money to a campaign there's always the annoyingly risky crapshoot of whether the guy actually goes ahead and wins the election.

Posted by: Basilisc on October 6, 2010 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

"I guess if Alaskans could vote Palin into office, they could elect this fool, too..."

In fairness to Alaskans, Palin's extremism was not as evident when she was elected in 2006 as it was two years later.

Posted by: Grumpy on October 6, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Miller, extreme?

Not this year apparently. Unfortunately. Frighteningly.

Posted by: Darsan54 on October 6, 2010 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I believe that our form of government- that Constitution thing, etc- has been called a "Grand Experiment". And we all know how experiments sometimes don't turn out the way we planned. . .

Posted by: DAY on October 6, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

As a native of one of the thirteen original states, I'd like to say that the idea that some rural bumpkin from what was Russian territory at the time the Constitution was adopted should somehow have the right to cast a vote in MY US Senate is, to put it mildly "bullcrap."

When Grizzly Joe shows me where in his static Constitution it authorized us buying that land from Russia, we can talk.

Posted by: biggerbox on October 6, 2010 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

"...Palin's extremism was not as evident when she was elected in 2006..."

But I find it hard to believe she wasn't "conspicuously unintelligent" way back then. It's not like she's suffered a head injury.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on October 6, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Alaska isn't mentioned in the Constitution either, so voting for Joe Miller is unconstitutional.

Posted by: qwerty on October 6, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

My favorite part is his support for term limits, although they're not in the Constitution either. The only limited term is mentioned in the 22nd Amendment which is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay late.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on October 6, 2010 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

[...]he's just a right-wing lawyer who considers the minimum wage and unemployment benefits unconstitutional,[...] Steve Benen

And here, too, the poor SOB had to swallow his principles, while the federal government shoved the money down his throat. Er... down his pocket.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/10/joe-millers-wife-received-unemployment-benefits-miller-called-not-constitutionally-authorized.php

Posted by: exlibra on October 6, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

"I find it hard to believe she wasn't 'conspicuously unintelligent' way back then."

Remember before Palin's debate against Biden in 2008, there was video of her 2006 debate performance? Complete sentences, coherent (if limited) thoughts. People were wondering, what happened?

Posted by: Grumpy on October 6, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

"Sarah Palin is a better debater than you think."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/01/why-sarah-palin-is-a-bett_n_130742.html

If Palin indeed bumped her head or something, the same thing happened to Joe Miller *before* he started his campaign.

Posted by: Grumpy on October 6, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

The Constitution allows for remedies to revise its doctrine. Even "strict consitutionalists" argue that if you don't like the constitution, ammend it. Now this clown considers even ammendments to the Constitution to be unconstitutional? What other ammendments does he deem unconstitutional? The 1st? Obviously not the 2nd, no, that one's sacrosanct!

Why do we have to reach the 17th before we deem it unconsitutional? Does that mean everything after it is unconstitutional? I'm confused.

Posted by: Stetson Kennedy on October 6, 2010 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

"Joe Miller wants to be the last Senator you ever get to vote for."

Posted by: KenS on October 6, 2010 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair to Mr. Miller, he may have meant that the Constitution does not authorize federal intervention in education. While the Constitution does not mention a Defense Department, it does authorize the federal government to have military forces.

Posted by: Colin Day on October 6, 2010 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Here's another question. If he doesn't believe in the 17th amendment or other changes to the original Constitution, he is also in favor of striking the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery, and the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed equality under the law and birthright citizenship?

Maybe some enterprising reporter will ask him this question, though I guess I shouldn't hold my breath waiting....

Posted by: arkadii on October 6, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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