Former Republican Alaska Senate contender Joe Miller is considering a comeback, in part because he thinks America is now living under tyranny.
The Sarah Palin-backed tea party favorite shocked the Alaska political establishment in 2010 by beating incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the GOP Senate primary. But Murkowski decided to keep calm and carry on as a write-in candidate in the general election. She ultimately edged out Miller and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams to become the first senator since Strom Thurmond to win a Senate seat by write-in.
Since the defeat, Miller has been practicing law in Fairbanks, working on his political blog and traveling around the world. He told The Daily Caller in an extensive phone interview Wednesday that he has taken two trips to Israel and Europe since 2010. He also visited China.
But now he thinks it might be time to get back in the political fight as a candidate. In a post on his blog last week, he announced he is considering a run in 2014 against Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.
“The founders didn’t intend for the central government to have this degree of power,” Miller told TheDC.
“It is something that obviously in the wrong hands could be wielded in such a way that it absolutely would be tyranny in this country. … We need to take a stand against those things that are unconstitutional, that are contrary to what the founders have intended, and stop it.”
After mulling over his thoughts on the subject of whether America is living under tyranny, Miller changed his mind in a follow-up email to TheDC. America, he decided, is in fact living under tyranny, even if it is a soft tyranny.
“[I]f the EPA’s systematic obstruction of the development of Alaska’s trillions of dollars worth of resources at a time when many Alaskans are unemployed or underemployed isn’t tyranny, you tell me what is?” he wrote.
“To be sure, it is a soft tyranny,” he concluded, after listing other powers that the federal government has claimed which he believes are despotic. “But it is tyranny nonetheless.”
Civil liberties and gun rights are under threat and America is becoming a surveillance state, Miller explained. He believes the situation in the country “screams for action.”
“I really believe that in order for us to address that, it is going to require people that basically have backbones of titanium willing to stand up and say [that] this is the wrong direction for the country, similar to what we’ve seen with [Republican Sens.] Ted Cruz [of Texas] and Rand Paul [of Kentucky],” he said.
In February, a Public Policy Polling survey showed Miller losing a hypothetical matchup with Begich by 28 percentage points, but Miller doesn’t seem too worried.
“It’s an uphill battle. Every one of these races involving a reformer against ‘the Establishment’ is an uphill battle,” Miller said, commenting on the survey.
“We don’t have this in the bag. I mean, when we started out in 2010, I think Murkowski had a 70-plus approval rating, and we weren’t even on the charts. So we’re light-years beyond where we were, and so in that respect we feel pretty good about it, but there is lots of work to be done.”
Miller said his would-be 2014 opponent, Begich, “is an extremist — he really is a reflection of Obama.” Once Alaska understands that, he added, “the result will be certain: He’s done in 2014.”
According to Miller, Begich’s “support for Obama’s socialist state” is an example of his extremist views.
“I mean, he’s an Obamacare supporter. I mean, Obamacare is catastrophic to the American experiment,” he elaborated.
On gay marriage, which Begich came out in support of last month, Miller struck a federalist note, saying it shouldn’t be forced upon his state.
“The people in the state of Alaska have made it clear where they stand on gay marriage in its constitutional amendment we passed in the late ‘90s, and it’s the law of the land here,” he said. “And my perspective on that issue is that other states should not impose upon Alaska their view of what it should be.”
On immigration, Miller said he’s “against any form of amnesty.”
“I think there are ways to address the issue with illegal aliens that are in the country without granting citizenship,” he said. “I really believe that any approach that in any way rewards wrong behavior and puts, you know, people in front of others who are waiting is the wrong approach.”
The issue is personal for Miller. He says one of his daughters is married to a Mexican national in Mexico who wants to come to the U.S. “the right way.” But Miller says he would be open to some sort of pathway to a work-visa for illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.
On foreign policy, Miller, who attended West Point before earning a Bronze Star during the first Gulf War, said President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy has been “pathetic.”
“You know, we’ve talked about what’s happened in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood, Benghazi, Libya, when you talk about what he is doing currently in Syria – I mean, my perspective, you know, an American alliance or even, you know, a passive approach to the Muslim Brotherhood is the wrong thing,” Miller said.
“They are not our friend in the Middle East. They are not a force for reform — or, at least, the type of reform that the United States should have. And I think Obama has been wrongheaded in this, in his passive support for the Brotherhood.”
Miller says he is concerned about Iran’s apparent quest for nuclear-weapons capability.
“I want to make it clear that I do believe that the efforts being made right now — the apparent efforts being made right now — by Iran to develop nuclear weapons are something that ought to demand our clear attention, and resources should be devoted to making sure they don’t achieve or acquire a nuclear capacity,” he said.
But asked if he believes the U.S. should seriously consider striking Iran’s nuclear program militarily, Miller said the U.S. should back Israel if it decides to do so.
“Well, you know, I think the most immediate threat right now is probably to Israel, and if Israel decides that at some point Iran is at that point where it is going to develop a weapon … the United States should not stand in opposition” to an Israeli strike, he said.
Asked whether his foreign-policy views are more in line with Arizona Sen. John McCain’s than with those of the less interventionist Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Miller initially said he would “hate to pigeonhole” himself that way. But, he went on, “If I were to side with one or the other, I mean, obviously I’m more in line with Rand Paul than I am John McCain on a number of issues.”
Expanding upon his worldview, the Yale-trained lawyer said that while his Christian faith forms “the core” of it, “The Federalist Papers,” radio host Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny” and Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn’s “The Debt Bomb” are all books that have had an influential impact on him.
Miller said he will make a definitive decision on whether he will run “sooner rather than later.”
“I mean, we’re not going to wait, you know, months and months,” he said, sounding like a man who is leaning towards getting in the race. “You know, again, the type of forces that we’re going to face in 2014 demand early activity.”
As for whether he discussed the matter yet with Sarah Palin, Miller said he has not.
“I have not [talked to her], but certainly will contact her prior to making an official decision as to whether we’ll go forward.”
Until then, Miller will remain in Fairbanks, where he resides with most of his eight children. One will be following in his footsteps this summer at West Point, while two others are apparently martial arts enthusiasts.
“In fact, we were at a state championship last weekend, where two of my children took first place,” he said.