Interview with Alaska Senate Candidate Joe Miller

Interview with Alaska Senate Candidate Joe Miller

By John King, USA - September 2, 2010

KING: One of the more fascinating and sometimes controversial dynamics in the campaign is the success of tea party campaigns against the Republican establishment in big Senate races. Rand Paul is now the Republican nominee in the state of Kentucky. He's an ophthalmologist. He was not the establishment candidate. He beat the Republican leader's candidate in his home state of Kentucky to be the Republican nominee. If you move further to the west, Ken Buck is a Princeton grad. He was not the Republican establishment candidate. He's now the tea party favorite and Republican favorite in the state of Colorado. In Utah, Mike Lee knocked off incumbent Republican senator Bob Bennett at the state convention. Mike Lee, the tea party backed-candidate, now a Republican nominee. Now Sharron Angle is the candidate in Nevada. And Lisa Murkowski, a Republican of the dramatic upset Joe Miller. He was a judge once. He's a Yale-educated lawyer. He has lots of issues with the Obama administration and the Democratic agenda. I asked him first and foremost, what is the message to the Republican establishment?


JOE MILLER (R), ALASKA SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, there's an opportunity to lead this nation out of the crisis it's in. I believe the Republican Party is well suited to take that up. The question is whether or not there's the courage within the leadership of the party to seize the moment and to recognize that the only way out of this is to get out of the age of the entitlement state. To return power back to the states, recognize the central government is broken and get the government focused on the areas, the enumerated powers that it should be doing. And the Republican Party can do it. It requires courage, because it's not the status quo.

KING: What about the current leader in the United States Senates, Mitch McConnell. Murkowski was a member of his leadership team. Is he the man to get the message? Or do you think the Republican Party needs a new leader?

MILLER: I know anybody that embraces this message can move it forward. It's going to be up to the people of this great nation. I believe the party should embrace the message. I think it's the future of the nation. Let's wait and see what happens.

KING: If you come to Washington as a member of the Senate, you'll have to vote for funding of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our viewers should know you have a bronze star from serving in combat in the first gulf war. Grade the president's message last night?

MILLER: Probably a "d." Anybody did that did not support the surge should not be taking kudos for the ultimate result.

KING: You often mention the fiscal sanity. I want to introduce our viewers. You have web video up explaining what you view as the central tenant of your candidacy. I want them to this listen.

MILLER: Our nation stands at a cross roads. It's careening towards socialism and insolvency.

KING: Socialism? A lot of people would agree with you on insolvency, but you may get a feisty debate on the socialism part. Give me specifics of what you mean by that.

MILLER: What do you call it when you say almost 20 percent of the federal economy is going to go under the thumb of the federal government through Obama care? That is nothing but socialism. The government is clearly marching in that direction. The entitlement state is far too large. We have to take a different direction in the nation. If we don't call it what it is, we aren't going to be able to change it.

KING: You call yourself a constitutional conservative. The Democrats call you extremists out of the mainstream. I want to throw all the labels out and go through the issues and let you explain what you would do. You say social security, for example. It is the government retirement program of the country. You say the founding fathers could have never imagined it. What now? If you come to Washington and have a social security program, you have millions of Americans who depend on it, what do you do to change it?

MILLER: My parents are dependent on it. Their primary source of income comes through social security. The primary health care provisions come through healthcare. This is not Joe Miller comes to D.C. and social security is gone. What Joe Miller does do is get the government back from the fiscal brink, back from bankruptcy, so we can ensure the contrasts we've made with our seniors, that we can honor those. We are talking about shifting those dramatically from those receiving payments. There's got to be a move outside of the system. Ultimately we want to transfer power back to the states so the states can take out the mantles of the programs if they so desire. In the shorter term many plans have been proposed that can move the shift or shift this away from government control into, you know, a sector where we can protect the funds. If it's a privatized system, for example, I can ensure that I put my money in an account that the government is then not going to steal from. I'm 43. Dated is the social security system. I don't expect to see much of that. Because the government has stolen from me. Most Americans recognize that system is broken. They understand there has to be a change longer term to ensure you can have something when you do retire, rather than depend on IOUs.

KING: It is an issue that can be easily demagogued. I want to issue a statement. Joe Miller says anybody in the system or close to the system is fine. We won't do anything significant to change your benefits. How about an American after he was sworn in Washington. Will that person grow up in America with there is not a federal social security program if you got your way?

MILLER: Absolutely. No demagoguery there at all.

KING: If you had to? A sentence or two describe Barack Obama, what do you say?

MILLER: Bad for America. He's one of the major forces moving this country towards socialism. It's the wrong direction for America. This is bipartisan problem, but he's at the front of it. The growth of stimulus programs, the growth of basically government bailouts to industries that are failing, it's not the American way, it's not the free market way. And it's killing the competitive edge. We are special as a nation. We have constitutional rights. Our view is that the founders have it right. They come from god. Government can't take them away. We restrain government so government cannot infringe upon the rights. When we're a top-down system, what's really coming out of the Obama administration, we put that all upside down. Instead, the government becomes sovereign rather than the people. The answer to the crisis is not government, it is the people. It's rejuvenating the country in such a way we can be a leader in the world again. We lost that concept. Our president put the country down, not advanced it in the nations. I would suggest for you bad for America is an apt description.

KING: Governor Sarah Palin was helpful to you. She did a robocall to help turn out votes. She has popularity in Alaska. If Governor Palin was to run for Palin runs in 2012, would she get backed by Joe Miller?

MILLER: She is absolutely a force to be reckoned with absolutely. I absolutely will support her in her endeavors.

KING: Mr. Miller, thanks for your time today. We'll check in with you over the next nine weeks.

MILLER: Thanks, John. Appreciate it.


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