September 1st, 2010
04:39 PM ET
11 years ago

Miller questions GOP 'courage and leadership'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" Alaska Senate Republican candidate Joe Miller said the Obama Administration and the GOP establishment are leading America in the wrong direction."]

Editor's Note: Watch CNN's "John King, USA" on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET for John King's full interview with Joe Miller.

(CNN) - A day after his opponent conceded the Republican primary for Senate in Alaska, Joe Miller took on both President Obama and the Republican political establishment Wednesday, warning that the nation is headed towards socialism and facing a dire fiscal crisis.

Incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski conceded to the Tea Party-backed candidate late Tuesday in what is considered one of the largest upsets of the 2010 midterm election cycle.

In a wide ranging interview with CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King, Miller criticized the growth of entitlement programs and corporate bailouts under the Obama administration, and described Obama as "bad for America."

"He's one of the major forces moving this country towards socialism. He is expanding the entitlement state. It is the wrong direction for America," Miller said in an interview that will air on CNN's "John King, USA."

Miller has made the threat of socialism a central theme of his campaign. In a new web video on his campaign website he warns that "our nation stands at a crossroads. It's careening toward socialism and insolvency."

However, he told King that he would not seek an immediate end to entitlement programs such as social security and Medicare.

"This is not a Joe Miller comes to D.C. and Social Security is gone, Medicare is gone. But what Joe Miller does do, and what those that I think are joining in this message do is get this government aback from the fiscal brink, back from bankruptcy so that we can ensure that the contracts that we've made with our seniors, that we can honor those," he said.

Yet he conceded that he "absolutely" would like to see an eventual end to a federal Social Security program.

"We're at a deficit. The trust fund is gone. It's full of IOUs. If this were a private pension plan the custodians of that pension plan would be in jail. But our government has raided that fund and it's completely gone," Miller said.

Miller, who has sought to establish himself as a Washington outsider throughout the campaign, called the fiscal crisis a "bipartisan problem," citing a lack of leadership in the Republican establishment.

"The question is whether or not there's the courage and leadership in [the Republican] 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, and recognize that central government is broken," Miller said. "The Republican Party can do it, but it does require courage because its not the status quo."

But there was one Republican for which Miller expressed strong admiration – former Alaska governor and Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin, who endorsed the previously unknown candidate, and is largely credited with helping him pull off an upset win against the Republican party-backed Murkowski.

"[Palin] was critical to the success of this campaign," Miller said. "She is absolutely a force to be reckoned with nationally. I absolutely will support her in her endeavors."

Filed under: Alaska • JKUSA • Joe Miller • John King USA
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. ex-repulican since McCain picked Palin

    Please, not another nut!!!

    September 1, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. Minesh - troy, MI

    Nutjobs from liberal loony wing are out in full force! Do you see any solutions on how to solve the USA fiscal crisis? No.

    SS and Medicare will have to be eliminated to balance the budget.

    September 1, 2010 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Liberals are poison

    Libs, get your worn out race cards and wave them around. Call him a racist, a bigot, a homophobe; we ALL know your playbook by now. You expect your "free" government checks, food stamps, public housing vouchers, free school breakfasts, free healthcare, etc.
    Liberals are the "real" party of " NO:" NO Pledge of Allegience, NO Nativity Scenes, NO Christmas anything, NO Ten Commandments
    on local/state/government buildings or courthouses, NO God on our currency, NO military spending, NO accountability, NO ethics, NO honesty, NO fiscal responsibility. And finally, NO birth certificate.

    September 1, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. norma

    Thank god Bush didn't get to privatize social security like he wanted to...can you imagine what your older relatives would be doing right now? Their pensions and 401K's are empty. The Social Security they paid into every year would look the exact same way – empty. Think of elderly starving to death, older parents needing the money their children saved for their children's college educations just to put food on grandma's table OR a long line of elderly at soup kitchens. You go and put a nut like this or Angle into office and see just how bad it can get in the great US of A. I pray for this country.

    September 1, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. leo

    Sarah Palin is a destroying force. She is helping to destroy the Republican party. She came to power in Alaska after accusing the Republican Governor of any number of negative things. And she unseated him. She helped Miller to beat an existing Republican Senator. So far she has not shown that her endorsement can do anything but shakeup her own party and throw existing republicans out of office. And when these far right candidates get into a match up with moderate Democrats in the general election they are going to scare the heck out of seniors, minorities and independents. Look at Angle against Reid in Nevada. Reid would have been beaten by almost any Republican candidate. But with a far right candidate like Angle he has a better than even chance at winning back his seat. Thanks to Palin and her influence that only reaches the right wing that votes as a block. Before we break out the Champagne lets remember that these Tea Party candidates have to win in a general election. And they won't have a strictly Republican Electorate in a primary.

    September 1, 2010 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. NVa Native

    How do these small minded self absorbed panty-waist goofballs get into politics?
    And where does this arrogance come from where they feel only they know "what true Americans are thinking or feeling".
    They think because they hear it on fox media or a "talking point memo" from the "bird-brain of Wasila" and it is some how more valuable than the mulititude of mindless right-wing gibberish sloshing around the dark pit that is the "I got mine, screw you" club for backward mobility?

    September 1, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. Video Guy

    This guy is a bigger nut case than his girl friend.

    September 1, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. PAUL

    Well another Tea Party Nut is arriving on the National Scene.

    September 1, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Jim

    Instead of abandoning the IOU's to Social Security from the general budget, why don't we abandon the money we owe to banks instead? Social Security has not run a deficit in its 70 years until this year and there is enough money in the trust fund to continue paying for 35 more years. It’s our military spending and our tax cuts to the wealthy that haven't been paid for. Let's abandon those things. The Social Security trust fund is our money that we put aside, it is not an entitlement.

    September 1, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Sissy

    Just like the GOP more Scare and Miller and the likes of you (Angle, Palin, and the rest of the Tea Baggers) are the ones that are trying to take over this country and do away with Civil Rights, Social Secuirity and Medicare......I hope the Alaskan people wake up and vote the Democrat in.......

    September 1, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. 8 Years of having a drunken driver at the wheel put America in the ditch, why would working Americans return the keys to the crowd drinking at the same bar?

    This should be fun to watch!

    The neo-cons encouraged this canker sore called the tea baggers and now they will have to live with them!

    September 1, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Congress stole our Social Security money- it isn't free- we pay into the sysemt to fund it. The same is true of Medacare.
    These are not give aways-they are truly entitlement -in this case meaning we paid for them – we are entitled to them!
    We are also entitles to leader that think of us first but that doesn't happen either.

    September 1, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. felicia

    This man is a fool.

    September 1, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    And this from a guy that takes oil revenue yearly in a socialistic state where each person gets thousands a year..

    He's pretty much a hypocrit.

    September 1, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Buddy

    This guy is a total bonehead.

    But,... Where were all these Republicans we're hearing from NOW, when Bush and Cheney were spending like drunken sailors ? When Bush and Cheney were killing our country by attacking a country that did NOT even attack us on 9/11 ??? Where were they when Bush and Cheney took us to the precipice of the 2nd Great Depression ?

    Now you found your moral compass ??? Don't think so. You Republicans preach values but you have none. You people are always being busted for Gay behavior after you say it's against God's word, and you get busted sleeping around on your wives, after you preach "Family Values" ??? Newt Gingrich cheated on his wife who was dying of Cancer ??? Anyone remember Larry Craig ? What do you say about Bush's friend Mehlman coming out of the closet ?

    Now you want the moral high ground ??? Don't think so.

    September 1, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. jake1969

    Minesh, most people receiving SS and Medicare worked their behinds off all their life and paid into both. We don't have to eliminate these programs so we can cut taxes for the wealthy. Heaven forbid we take care of the seniors of this country.

    And to the looney-tune who called the Dems the party of no, you pretty much listed a bunch of religious and moral value judgements. At least Dems view the government as a SERVICE PROVIDER while the Republicans view government as OUR DADDY WHO HAS TO GIVE US MORAL DIRECTION. I'll take the former view anyday of the week.

    Also, welfare to lazy, non-working people is a fraction of SS. The vast majority of SS recipients are middle class to poor folks who worked their tails off and earned it!

    September 1, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Liberalism is a mental disorder

    There are NO moderates in the Democratic Party. They can call themselves Blue Dogs all they want, but they always cower to Pelosi and the party line. Liberals always want Republicans to be moderate
    so they will let the Democrats get their way. Democrats never compromise and will take to the airwaves with the help of their
    co-conspirator media journolisto's to lie to the American public. When Fox News or the Cartoon Network have more viewers than CNN, HLN,
    and MSNBC combined, then you know your progressive numbers are dwindling.

    September 1, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Bowman

    Great we got a counter balance to all the loons that have been running our country into the ground since 2006. We are finally going to see representatives after November who are not anti-business and want to cut taxes and reduce spending. You can call him Senator – ha.

    September 1, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    ZOMG!!! Extremist ideologue spouts extremist ideology and rationalizes it with misinformation!!! Story at 11!!!

    September 1, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. shirley

    Wed, September 1, 2010 11:22:15 AMKoch's is funding the Tea Party Express and Joe Miller win.

    is also mounting evidence that Palin’s bread-and-butter, Fox News, has a cozy relationship with Koch money.
    This election, Alaska candidate for US Senate Joe Miller is being endorsed and pushed heavily by Sarah Palin. He is also receiving an amazing amount of support on a national level by appearing multiple times on Fox News and receiving most of his financial backing from an organization called the Tea Party Express. According to the campaign finance reports at the Federal Election Commission website, the Tea Party Express (Our Country Deserves Better PAC) as of August 23 has spent a TOTAL of $560,175.98 on Joe Miller’s campaign.

    Over half-a-million bucks on an unknown Senate candidate from Alaska…and interestingly enough, HE MAY BE THE ONLY CANDIDATE THEY ARE FUNDING!

    In August 2009, it was reported in Talking Points Memo and the Washington Times that “Americans for Prosperity” helped launch the Tea Party Express’s trip across America with further assistance from FreedomWorks (Dick Armey’s organization that was formed from the split of Koch group, Citizens for a Sound Economy). Most Tea Party Express events are put on in collusion with what they call the “American Grassroots Coalition.” These include Koch Industry founded and/or funded organizations.

    Even without the funding ties, this attempt at a coup in Alaska’s Senate race is the modus operendi for organizations run/funded by Charles and David Koch. Per The New Yorker article:

    By 1993, when Bill Clinton became President, Citizens for a Sound Economy had become a prototype for the kind of corporate-backed opposition campaigns that have proliferated during the Obama era. The group waged a successful assault on Clinton’s proposed B.T.U. tax on energy, for instance, running advertisements, staging media events, and targeting opponents. And it mobilized anti-tax rallies outside the Capitol—rallies that NPR described as “designed to strike fear into the hearts of wavering Democrats.” Dan Glickman, a former Democratic congressman from Wichita, who supported the B.T.U. tax, recalled, “I’d been in Congress eighteen years. The Kochs actually engaged against me and funded my opponent. They used a lot of resources and effort—their employees, too.” Glickman suffered a surprise defeat. “I can’t prove it, but I think I was probably their victim,” he said.

    I took a look at Joe Miller’s latest campaign disclosure. Of the over $283,000 he has raised, $103,000 came out of his own pocket, $5,000 came from SarahPAC, and $174,000 came from individual contributions both inside and outside Alaska. However, this is dwarfed by the over $560,000 used towards Miller’s campaign by the completely-outside-and-corporately-influenced Tea Party Express. That’s half-a-million dollars from ONE organization. According to the Murkowski campaign, there is no 527 or any other group providing anything like that kind of money to them.

    I fear that giving Joe Miller a “win” will only encourage these organizations to replicate this experiment again-and-again across this country…in states where (not so coincidentally) Koch Industries has a business interest. And the Koch brothers have gotten away with a lot of this because their business is privately owned. With the SCOTUS “Citizen’s United” ruling, corporations can now get in the act and won’t even need to do this secretly.

    Perhaps the ONLY issue anymore should be working for publicly-funded elections.

    -funded politicians / elections are arguably the biggest threat we face as a democracy today.
    I’m an American. I have one vote and a legal limit as to how much I can spend to support my views. Mr. or Ms. American Corporation Owner should also have only one vote, and an equal legal limit on how much they can spend to support THEIR views. The corporation itself is NOT an American citizen, any more than my house or car or anything else I own is a citizen.

    September 1, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    Social security is solvent almsot through 2040. Look it up. If the $140K cap didn't exist, it would be solvent indefinitely. Look it up.

    September 1, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. John

    Yes here another dumb republican,seen too take right after Saran Palin. Surely Alaskans can't be dumb enough too vote for this dumb ass.

    September 1, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Stan

    Having paid into SS for 40 years I am not entitled to it ....I have earned it. This uneducated, thoughtless blather is just a further sign that people like Miller and Palin are out to cut our noses off in spite of their faces.
    Playing to the fears and bigotry of a segment of our population seems to be the in thing for Republicans and is the surest way to bring about the demise of the Republic. .

    September 1, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Eric

    Just saw the bit on the news about the active shooter scenario playing out at the Discovery Channel building in MD.

    What are the chances the media will label this guy a "radical leftist eco-terrorist," which he actually is?

    Don't hold your breath.

    If he were slightly to the right of Joseph Stalin, the media would tag him as a "radical right wing teabagger who hates black people!!!" and then they'd launch into a comparison of him, Timothy McVeigh, the North Dakota mountain men militias, the "racist" citizen-border-control Minutemen Project, the KKK, and Eric Rudolf... and that's before they blame his terrorism on "hateful talk radio."

    But since the guy is a leftist, we instead hear crickets from the MSM... like how they handled the leftist who flew his plane into the IRS in Austin in February.

    Edwin R. Murrow rolls in his grave at the state of what passes for "journalism" today.

    September 1, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Gail

    Isn't Alaska a socialist state?

    September 1, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
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