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Please begin with an informative title:

Joe Miller has been taking notes from Sharron Angle, Rand Paul and Ken Buck, and is upping the ante on the extreme rhetoric. On this weekend's Face the Nation, Miller suggested that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional.

Bob Schieffer asks:

"You have also taken some fairly controversial -- some would say very extreme -- positions," CBS' Bob Schieffer told Miller Sunday. "First you say you want to phase out Medicare. You want to privatize Social Security. I have to say there are a lot of people in Alaska who are on Medicare and are getting Social Security. Isn't that position going to be a problem for you in the election, in this general election?"
And Miller replies:
Well, yeah I would suggest to you that if one thinks that the Constitution is extreme then you’d also think the Founders are extreme. We just simply want to get back to basics, restore essentially the constitutional foundation of the country and that means the federal government becoming less onerous, less involved than every basically item of our lives and what that means is there does have to be some transition. [...]

We have to look at all the options that are out there, including privatization [of Social Security]. It’s certainly something that Bush championed...it is basically part of the crisis of leadership in DC to not look at Social Security and understand that there has got to be a solution posed.

So the Founders specifically excluded Social Security and Medicare and because they aren't in the Constitution they're unconstitutional? That surely can't be what Miller learned at Yale Law.

Miller had another couple of opportunities to address this today, when both ABC's Rich Klein and MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell gave him the chance to backtrack. He hedged a bit, but stuck with the basic story. Think Progress has the details:

Today on ABC’s Top Line, host Rick Klein asked Miller to expound. “Do you think those programs are constitutionally authorized?” Miller dodged, first — noting that his parents benefit from Social Security and Medicare — arguing that they should be preserved now, but “transition” to a privatization model in the future. Then, Miller again suggested the programs are not constitutional:
MILLER: I think we have to look at transferring power back to the states in such a way that states can then look at solutions that may be more appropriate. Then ultimately, when you look at the Constitution and you evaluate what the plan was originally, it was for states to take on more power than the federal government, particularly in the areas of, such as those things that may promote the general welfare. It was not a federal role.
Later on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell asked if Social Security and Medicare are “legal” and “should be mandated” by Congress and again, Miller dodged, saying, “I do believe that the Constitution mandates that we transfer power from the feds back to the states.”
In other words, tentherism, arguing against social progress as an infringement on states' rights.

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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 01:38 PM PDT.

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