Joe Miller’s discomfort with the ‘extremist’ label

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”?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.