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

Miller questions GOP 'courage and leadership'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/31/art.miller.cnn.jpg 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. Wait

    Why is he referring to himself in the third person?

    For someone who is claiming to bring something new to Washington, he uses the same old schtick. He sounds like Bob Dole – well, minus the insane Beck Ramblings of socialism. But of course, he's smart enough to say he won't touch "entitlement" programs like Social Security.

    September 1, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    In the even the Rs win (house or senate) it will be funny watching the Orange Man or the Turtle try to herd them into a bunch.

    Think about it. Picture it in world politics. ha ha ha ha ha

    September 1, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. bbrooker

    Amazing how this country's future is in the hands of a swath of toothless retired hillbillies glued to Fox News. Amazing, sad, and a tolling bell warning the end of this country is near.

    September 1, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. Kevin

    I find it very interesting that many of those who don't like what Mr. Miller have to say don't offer an alternative solution. They are quite content to label him and anyone who thinks like him as a nut-job or whatever their label-dujour.

    The government is bascially bankrupt and has no chance of getting back on financial footing unless it starts dismantling the many entitlement programs that have been built up during better times.

    Unfortunatley, there are way too many people out there that have gotten comfortable living on the government dole and can't imagine having to support themselves by working and saving.

    I want all of you that think the Government should be paying for you or your grandma or whomever to remember that the government couldn't do that unless they held a gun to the heads of working people and threatened them with prison unless they gave some of their hard earned income for redistribution.

    Forced charity is nothing short of looting and it is not what America was or should be about. If people want to VOLUNATARILY give a portion of their money to charities that help others then that is their business and God love them. But to use the goverment as a redistribution agency and, worse yet, a fairness enforcer is morally wrong.

    And before some of you remind us that some people inherit their wealth let me address that too. When the money belongs to someone else and you take it (Whether they earned it or won the lottery or their dad gave it to them or they found it in a coffee can buried in their back yard) you are stealing.

    Stop the looting!!!

    Read Atlas Shrugged and see the moral decay associated with a society that feels it's ok for the government to pick the winners and losers.

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

    This guy Miller is a total nutjob.

    September 1, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    BTW, if the conservatives had brains in their heads, they would gently muzzle fellow members like "Liberals Are Poison" whose misinformed vitriol is a clear sign to everyone else that you people are nutjobs.

    Note to conservatives: don't you get it? Miller gets away with it because he hides it all behind a nicely tailored suit, anchor-man hair, a winning smile and nice sounding, albeit purposefully misleading, rhetoric. You' dbe doing youselves a favor to learn how to be better scumbags.

    September 1, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. MN Hockey Mom

    Careful Miller, your crazy is showing!

    September 1, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. DJ in TX

    Let's see, Alaska, under the late Senator Stevens, got back over $5 for every $1 they sent to Washington. So, if he is so "fiscally conservative" is he going to stop that? I'm a Democrat, not liberal, but you have to give it to Stevens, for what he did for Alaska. Murkowski continued what Stevens had started.

    What will Joe Miller do for Alaska? He's talking about America, but I haven't heard him say what he is going to do for Alaska. Is he now NOT going to try and get earmarks for his state? We;ll see how long that last.

    BTW – outside of extending unemployment insurance, please tell me what entitlement programs have been expanded? Oh yeah, these "entitlement" programs have been expanded – the VA (I'll concede it is run poorly, has been for years) – Education – tax cuts for 95% of Americans. Yeah, those "entitlement" programs have been expanded.........................

    September 1, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Robert

    go wipe behind your ears Miller, you're rather wet there. then shut the heck up.

    September 1, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. larry

    Miller is a piece of Dreck. I'm switching to Bud.

    September 1, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. guest

    I am an Alaskan Democrat who voted for Lisa Merkowski because she seemed to try to make a fair decision and I shed a tear when she did not make it. I happen to live in the same town as Sarah and from quotes from acquaintances of hers over the years it seems apparent that she suffers from a Narcisstic Psychiatric Disorder. One who must always be in the limelight and cannot take criticism from anybody. It seems obvious that one of the reason's she quit as governor was that she was beginning to get some criticisms and so she runs. It is amazing how things in our state calmed down with her replacement governor, it was not one big hulabulu after another. So lots of luck Joe Miller, if you think you know our state better and a lifetime Alaskan.

    September 1, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. katiec

    Another republican irresponsible radical running for office. He is another one who wants to dissolve SS.
    Alaska gets more entitlements and money from the federal government than any other state. Do not imagine the people of Alaska would want to give that up but who can tell how peole will blindly vote today.

    September 1, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Tonic

    Are all these Teabaggers so rich that they don't need any Social Security or Medicare when they are older? Even if they are, do they really want to watch their retired friends who aren't wealthy suffer as those programs are ripped away? So strange.

    September 1, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. Rickster

    Democrats fail to understand that the federal government was never meant to be involved in our daily lives. It should have very limited powers. But democrats are so weak and helpless that they want the government to take care of them every step of the way throughout their lives. The federal government needs to sit quietly in the corner and get out of the way except for national security and very few other responsibilities. Democrats have weakened the country and failed miserably for the past 50 years.

    September 1, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. El Gordo

    Stan, you are entitled to your social security checks. The money you paid into social security was not a savings account for you. According to the law and to the courts, Social Security is a tax that is used to support those who are currently employed. I work and pay Social Security tax. Some of my money goes to you. When you were working, you paid that tax to support those who were retired at the time.

    It is an entitlement program and a welfare program – like Medicare or Food Stamps. It is America's most successful welfare program. I am proud of the good Liberals who created it, like Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson.

    September 1, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. yoyoma

    if enough of these people come into power, the end of the USA will arrive. a loose collection of states will remain with little power to do anything as one cohesive unit. so think before you vote...

    September 1, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. BeverlyNC

    We have another uneducated nobody from the state of Alaska who belongs to a Republican extremist group criticizing President Obama???
    No, it's not the moron Sarah Palin. It's ANOTHER lunatic Republican who no one has ever heard of, has no education, and never accomplished anything.

    They sure make them stupid in Alaska!

    September 1, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    The GOP and the Tea Party are moving this country toward Fascism.

    The GOP and theTea Party are bad for America. They are a step backwards.

    September 1, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "I find it very interesting that many of those who don't like what Mr. Miller have to say don't offer an alternative solution."

    You're kidding right? LIberals are throwing out so many solutions it's not even funny. The GOP remains 100% silent on new and innovative ideas. How do we know? Name them. Th eGOP clearly knows how to broadcast its ideas. It has done an outstanding job selling people on fabrications like "death panels," McCarthyistic misapplication of the concepts of socialism, and even nonsense such as Obama being somehow entirely responsible for and (apparently) the first President ever who has ignored the illegal immigration problem.

    Liberals come out with new ideas...say things like "single-payer" and even Obama has throws it out before it even gets put on the table because of the need to mitigate the partisan attacks from the viral, bloviating societal parasites from the extreme right wing, who won't entertain anything if (a) it would perhaps be effective and therefore be considered success by the Dems or (b) it isn't tax cuts or 100% debunked trickle-down economic rain dance. The GOP's/conservatives' game has been to do NOTHING whatsoever but foster failure so they can blame it on Obama and the Dems. We're talking about people who had the unmitigated gall to propose a "budget" that was 3 pages long and CONTAINED NO NUMBERS!!! It's a cruel godd-mn joke that we're even having conversations like this.

    September 1, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. kmp

    God help this country if some how this country is handed back to the Republicans. What have they done in the past 10yrs that was good for this country, name one thing? While I agree that the Dems aren't perfect, they at least think of the American people, while still pandering to their own agenda seeekers.

    I just want to give a shout out to all you Republicans I am still waiting for my trickle....oh wait I got it but it was the other trickle.

    September 1, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. The Big J

    The rhetoric from these "FAR RIGHT" people is getting OLD! If the world & its problems were as SIMPLE as their SOUNDBITES, why don't they TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORNS & CLEAN UP AROUND THEIR OWN BACK YARD FIRST???? I, for one, am getting fatigue from hearing the same old right wing NON-SENSE!!!!

    September 1, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Ancient Texan

    Kevin- You said it better than anyone else! If John F. Kennedy were alive today and wanting to run for office, he'd be called a right wing Republican. Go figure. What's going on in Washington and our nation is radical insanity.

    September 1, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Sorry, edit:

    "I find it very interesting that many of those who don't like what Mr. Miller have to say don't offer an alternative solution."

    You're kidding right? LIberals are throwing out so many solutions it's not even funny. The GOP remains 100% silent on new and innovative ideas. How do we know? Name them. Th eGOP clearly knows how to broadcast its ideas. It has done an outstanding job selling people on fabrications like "death panels," McCarthyistic misapplication of the concepts of socialism, and even nonsense such as Obama being somehow entirely responsible for and (apparently) the first President ever who has ignored the illegal immigration problem. Yet where is the public discourse abotu all the new ideas the GOP keeps throwing out there? Hmmm? Why can't anyone name some and discuss all the NEW ideas the GOP has proposed that we try as a nation in order to fix out problems? Go ahead...make a list...I dare you.

    Liberals come out with new ideas...say things, e.g., like "single-payer...it works in other countries" and even Obama throws it out before it even gets put on the table because of the need to mitigate the partisan attacks from the viral, bloviating societal parasites from the extreme right wing, who won't entertain anything if (a) it would perhaps be effective and therefore be considered success by the Dems or (b) it isn't tax cuts or 100% debunked trickle-down economic rain dance. The GOP's/conservatives' game has been to do NOTHING whatsoever but foster failure so they can blame it on Obama and the Dems. We're talking about people who had the unmitigated gall to propose a "budget" that was 3 pages long and CONTAINED NO NUMBERS!!! It's a cruel godd-mn joke that we're even having conversations like this.

    September 1, 2010 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Hugo

    I would find it hard for a Republican not to win any seat in Alaska. For those that have never been to Alaska, it is predominantly comprised of people that do not care or want government control over their every action. They are typically free spirits and full of the pioneer spirit of freedom and liberty. They do not need State or Federal government to suckle them, they take care of themselves... That is why there are not a lot of libtard's in that State, they would die off in the long cold winters.

    September 1, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. David Evan

    Who the heck is Joe Miller?

    Alaskan for celebrity?

    Can he, unlike Palin, hold an intelligent conversation on the issues?

    September 1, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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