Alaska Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Joe Miller is a throwback to the extravagant youth of the Tea Party. He embodies the era when conservative Republicans, drunk with the opportunity to bludgeon Democrats with a weak economy, turned off their filters and began proudly touting their most radical plans to change the country. Indeed, at the height of the conservative movement’s wildest excesses, Joe Miller was the Tea Party’s Bluto Blutarsky — the 2010 Senate candidate most willing to offend and least concerned with how his actions would impact other people. He also lost to a woman whose name wasn’t even on the ballot.
Yesterday, Politico reported that Miller filed papers to run for Senate again. If his latest Senate campaign bears any resemblance to his first, it should be a window into an earlier time when conservative Republicans believed they could reveal pretty much anything about their core beliefs and still get elected to high office. Here, for example, are five things Miller called unconstitutional when he first ran for Senate in 2010:
- Social Security: Miller believes that Social Security is something the federal government “shouldn’t have gotten into” because, in his words, it violates the “mandates of the Constitution.” As an alternative, Miller proposed an economically impossible plan where Social Security would be replaced by state retirement programs. These programs, however, could not be sustained because there is no guarantee that people will retire in the same state where they once worked and paid taxes. Thus, the retirement programs in states with a high percentage of retirees like Florida would collapse under the burden of providing benefits.
- Medicaid: Miller also believes that federally subsidized health care benefits are unconstitutional. This belief, however, did not stop him from taking Medicaid benefits himself.
- The Minimum Wage: Miller told ABCNews that “there should not be” a national minimum wage because “that is not within the scope of the powers that are given to the federal government.”
- Unemployment Benefits: In July 2010, at a time when 9.5 percent of the nation was unemployed, Miller suggested out-of-work Americans should be stripped of federal unemployment benefits because such benefits are “not constitutionally authorized.”
- Child Labor Laws: Miller also suggested to the Fairbanks, Alaska News-Miner that child labor laws exceed the federal government’s authority. A unanimous Supreme Court rejected this view more than seventy years ago.
As a bonus, Miller also believes that his own Senate race should be unconstitutional. He supports repealing the Seventeenth Amendment, which provides that voters, not state lawmakers, will elect U.S. senators.