Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

October 19, 2010

ALASKA'S MILLER SEES VALUE IN EMULATING COMMUNISTS.... We talked at some length yesterday about extremist Senate candidate Joe Miller's (R) event at an Alaska middle school yesterday, which culminated in the candidate's private security team "arresting" Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger. But let's not overlook what Miller had to say at the event itself.

Yesterday, Miller spoke to (who else?) Fox News about the incident, and justified the forced detention of a journalist by saying Hopfinger was "unruly" in asking the candidate questions. The so-called "constitutional conservative" seems to have forgotten that reporters pressing political candidates is entirely legal, even when the candidates are Republicans.

But Miller has not yet been asked to explain one of the answers he provided during the event itself, in response to a question about dealing with immigrants to enter the U.S. illegally.

Anchorage blogger Steve Aufrecht was there and is among those today who are criticizing Miller's response that Communist East Germany is a good example of a nation achieving border security. He quotes Miller as saying: "The first thing that has to be done is secure the border.... East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow. Now, obviously, other things were involved. We have the capacity to, as a great nation, secure the border. If East Germany could do it, we could do it."

Now, as a rule, right-wing candidates don't look to East Germany for inspiration. During the Cold War, East Germany was communist.

Indeed, Miller may not realize this, but East Germany "was very, very able to reduce the flow" because there was a heavily-fortified wall intended to keep people from fleeing the country, not enter it. Reducing the "flow" is easy when no one wants to go in, and no one's allowed to leave.

What's more, the border was protected by well-armed East German soldiers, all of whom were ordered to open fire on anyone trying to sneak past them.

In fairness, I don't imagine Joe Miller really wants to duplicate Cold War tactics, with Americans emulating the communists -- but then again, I'm not certain exactly what he has in mind, either. One of the downsides of fringe extremists winning Republican primaries for key public offices is that no one's really sure what the public will get if they win.

In Miller's case, his limited professional background includes allegations of professional misconduct. As a candidate, we've heard him talk about eliminating the minimum wage and unemployment benefits, and looking to communists for guidance on immigration policy.

In the Year of the Nutjob, this somehow seems par for the course.

Steve Benen 8:35 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

Bookmark and Share

...I don't imagine Ken Miller...

Oops. You're confusing Joe Miller with another dickless, plastic phony.

...there was a heavily-fortified wall intended to keep people from fleeing the country...

Strictly speaking the wall was to keep people from entering West Berlin, within East Germany. The border between East Germany and West Germany was a militarized frontier where the superpowers anticipated the next battle would be fought.

Posted by: Grumpy on October 19, 2010 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

What I find equally disturbing is that two of the members of Miller's security team are active duty Army personnel (see article @ adn.com).

These two soldiers are stationed at Ft. Richardson, and per the AK Army spokesman, had no permission for this off-duty work. I'm disturbed that a candidate is utilizing military force to arrest journalists.

Posted by: Neicie on October 19, 2010 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Build the dang fence!

-and a moat, with alligators, and barbed wire, and land mines, and a bounty on scalps, and, and. . .

Posted by: DAY on October 19, 2010 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how many Republican donors have illegal immigrants working for them?

Posted by: Haystack Calhoun on October 19, 2010 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

He seems to have learned about dealing with a free press from East Germany.

Posted by: Stephen on October 19, 2010 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

But shoot on site is an excellent policy for the U.S.!

Please, think of all the poor innocent WASP's!

Posted by: mikefromArlington on October 19, 2010 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, you search in vain for any undying principle on the right. Because what really matters is one tribe winning. This is Survivor for "real" Americans.

Posted by: walt on October 19, 2010 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

I must be getting old. I remember when conservatives thought the Berlin Wall was a bad thing, and not a model to be emulated.

Posted by: Don K on October 19, 2010 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

@ DAY:
don't forget "sharks with frickin' laser beams!"

Posted by: mellowjohn on October 19, 2010 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

East Germany may have been communist, but in reality was totalitarian fascist. Just as Joe Miller is a Fascist. This election may elevate a core group of fascists to Congress, and Miller's campaign tactics may become quite ordinary as his many allies will feel empowered.

George W. Bush with his appointments to SCOTUS and destruction of the economy has greased the road to corporate dictatorship, and they won't pretend anymore.

Posted by: rrk1 on October 19, 2010 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

My first thought when I heard this (he actually said it days ago as well at a different venue) was "is this to keep people out, or keep people in?"

If this country ends up being run by lunatics like him, his prorprietess (palin), and their ilk, they will need to erect that fence to keep people in, the sane will be leaving in droves.

Thank goodness there wasn't a fence keeping me in Alaska -- I could not wait to leave that crazy lunatic-ridden hellhole, even if it meant moving to Texas. And given how frustrating it is living in TX (Rush Limbaugh at the effing post office?), that is really saying something about how insane Alaska is.

Posted by: TX SMR on October 19, 2010 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

This is almost painful. The purpose of the heavily fortified border East Germany built towards the West was not to keep people out, but to keep them in. In other words, it was essentially a prison wall.

There were two reasons why that border worked so well: the East German regime had a huge security apparatus to spy on its own citizens and to deter them from deviating from the party line; and when that failed and somebody dared to cross the border without permission, the East German border guards were under order to shoot on their fellow citizens.

Quite a standard Miller is aspiring to.

Whatever happened to 'Tear down this wall'?

Posted by: eserwe on October 19, 2010 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Miller is a Genius. Yes, build a wall around Alaska, close the airports, and keep all of the Alaskans locked in permanently, especially, former Mayors of any city within Alaska.

Joe, that wall in Berlin was never designed to stop Westerners from heading East. You appear to have your directions crossed. I walked into East Berlin in '58 through the Brandenburg Tor. I could not have done that crossing once the wall went up. Nor could Easterners cross to the West, which was the intent, and not in trying to stop me.

Posted by: berttheclock on October 19, 2010 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

What is it with the teabaggers emulating totalitarian regimes for fun and votes? First it's Richard Iott in Toledo playing dress-up as a Waffen SS soldier, now this guy and his Berlin Wall fantasy and Vopo-style enforcers at town halls.

Maybe they got the GOP catch-phrase of "more freedom and limited government" garbled into "limited freedom and more government."

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on October 19, 2010 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

But... but... I thought Saint Ronnie said to tear down the wall. Now Miller wants to rebuild it? These people are so confusing. And confused.

Posted by: josef on October 19, 2010 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

In 1951 Eric Hoffer wote "The True Believer" in which he argued that on the extremes, both left and right, totalitarian attitudes hold rein. (By the way he was awarded the Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan.)

In 2006 John Dean, Nixon's White House Counsel, applied Hoffer's ideas to the current crop of "conservatives" in his book "Conservatives without Conscience".

Both are worth reading.

Posted by: Marc on October 19, 2010 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

The road to environmental and ecological collapse well be well prepped by the cultural, social, and governmental kind. The "freedoms" of many can only be preserved by finding their agency in communal destruction. Extreme individualists engaged in pathological group think and action.

Posted by: lou on October 19, 2010 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

What is really disturbing is the participation of active duty military in the Miller campaign. I would like to know if there are any consequences. My guess is none. Obama himself announced that we have to be forward looking and not look back when it comes to the rule of law.

Posted by: Ron Byers on October 19, 2010 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

"The True Believer" as in Truxton Spangler in "Rubicon" or Dick Cheney, played by Richard Dreyful in "W" placing American flag pins on the map of Iran.

Posted by: berttheclock on October 19, 2010 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

They did that in El Paso in the 90's put one border agent every 10 feet or something like that. It stopped illegal immigration, it also killed business in downtown El Paso. The INS was forced to remove them.

But, That is the only way. Aside from fixing the economy in Mexico... Which may have more to do with the exploitation of Mexican workers by American Corps than anything else.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on October 19, 2010 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

As always, it requires a republican to point out the effective ways of doing things.

Miller is sort of right! Combine his perspective with that of Sharon Angle and we can start to understand what a truly effective method could be to keep the illegals out.

1) Build a wall along 100% of the Canadian border.
2) Plant land mines on the Canadian side of the wall.
3) Build guard towers every 200 meters on the U.S. side of the border.
4) Station pychopaths in the towers, armed with automatic weapons and given permission to shoot at everything that moves on the other side.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on October 19, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

I never, ever, ever thought I would miss William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, or Richard Nixon. But all of those guys were paragons of reason and empathy next to these vacuum-headed John Birchers. Whatever Buckley's faults were, he really understood the evil behind the Berlin wall, of making people spy on each other, of imprisoning everyone, of diminishing freedom until it was actually nothing but a slogan to be shouted.

What do Miller and Palin value, other than praise and money?

Posted by: Rathskeller on October 19, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan would be so proud, "Mr Miller, Put up that wall !!"

Posted by: ScottW714 on October 19, 2010 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Miller has also admitted to criminal misuse of state property (computers), but he thinks it's okay because he did it on his lunch break.

If the Republicans can lose a Senate seat in Alaska, they can lose anywhere. They can lose everywhere.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on October 19, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

I've always felt that it was the government's hyper-conservative tactics of recreating history, suppressing the press, limiting people's freedoms, demanding loyalty, and ruling with an iron fist that laid the groundwork for the ultimate downfall of the Soviet Union and not the basic tenets of, you know, communism.

Posted by: chrenson on October 19, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

A little more historical context. Not only were the East German soldiers under order to shoot, they DID shoot, and killed, people who tried to escape. The estimates vary - due to re-examination of East German records, but the total may be between 500 an 1100 innocent people killed trying to flee East Germany. We also need to remember that the border strip was mined, so that a number of people were murdered or maimed that way.

And to add further to the atrocities committed: soliders who did shoot, and kill, people, were awarded medals and pay bonuses. Anyone who visits the former Berlin wall and sees the memorials would know this, and find it very moving. ANy real candidate for US Senate might have a clue; any real journalist might also. The fact that he could bring this up without being really grilled is appalling. It also ignores the historical context of much of the cold war, and in a way, trivializes the service of US and Allied military people who served in Europe.

THis is absolutely totally pathetic.

Posted by: bigutah on October 19, 2010 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Come to think of it, you know who else is able to secure their border? North Korea. If they can do it, we can do it!

Oh, and so can Latveria. I want America to start producing Doombots to station on the border. If we don't take the lead in Doombot technology, China will.

Posted by: BrendanInBoston on October 19, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone doubt for a second that modern conservatives would oppose erecting East German style fortifications just north of the southern border and paying the guys in the towers bonuses for every Mexican they machine gun in the kill zone? Can anyone really imagine Limbaugh, Beck, Malkin, and all the Cheney spawn and minor radio loons doing anything other than working themselves into an near-orgasmic frenzy at the prospect?

Posted by: Another Steve on October 19, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Someone needs to explain to Joe Miller that America is a Great Country because we don't shoot our citizens when they try to leave...

... and East Germany WASN'T a Great Country exactly because they did.

Posted by: Lance on October 19, 2010 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

What's more, the border was protected by well-armed East German soldiers, all of whom were ordered to open fire on anyone trying to sneak past them.

I think it's pretty obvious that he means there should in fact be a shoot on sight policy on the US-Mexico border. It's loathsome. But it's not like he "doesn't realize it." He openly wants it.

Joe Miller is bad news. I think he's the scariest of the crop. Most of the rest of them are either morons (Angle, Buck, O'Donnell) or quirky (Paul, Angle, O'Donnell). Joe Miller is a smiling authoritarian douchebag. And he reminds me of the coked-up guy in _Die Hard_ who rats out Bruce Willis.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on October 19, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

...."...East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow..."

Uhh, I don't seem to recall anyone trying to GET INTO E. Germany ,,,

Posted by: cwolf on October 19, 2010 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Why does the Tea Party hate America so much?


Posted by: Zorro on October 19, 2010 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I realized America is in a pretty bad shape these days, but I didn't know it has to prevent its people from fleeing to Mexico...


Posted by: Vokoban on October 20, 2010 at 6:07 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if there is enough room in Alaska's mental hospitals to put all their nutty politicians back in. Maybe they have East Berlin-style walls built around them so nobody can get in and that is why they are out there campaigning.

Posted by: Alex on October 26, 2010 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK
Post a comment

Remember personal info?



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly