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Miller: Shut down federal government if that's what it takes

Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller tells the editors of the conservative National Review he's so opposed to government "business as usual" that he'd back a Republican shutdown of the government to force the Obama administration to make fiscal compromises. Miller told NR that in his recent D.C. meetings with GOP leaders, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell "reacted in a positive way" to the shutdown idea if Republicans gain control of Congress.

(The GOP shut down the government twice during the Clinton administration but never won wide public support for the move. McConnell's office today issued a statement saying he has not called for shutting down the government but wouldn't say if it's an option McConnell would consider.)

From National Review:

Should he win the seat, Miller pledges to be a different kind of Republican. "I'm not going to be a co-opted senator, I can tell you that much," he begins. "That's the mandate of Alaskans: to get things done and to change the direction of D.C."

Nonetheless, he says he's impressed by the party's leadership and its potential incoming freshman class. "I think there's an understanding that the mood of the nation has changed in such a way that there is not going to be toleration of business as usual. If that means shutting down the government, so be it. I mean, we'll do what it takes," he says. "I think that we will have enough like-minded people coming into D.C. that we're actually going to be able to accomplish something."

Miller also expressed support for a military reaction to Iran's nuclear weapons development, but one that wouldn't involve Iraq-style nation building.

As a freshman senator, Miller would not sit idly on the backbench, quietly complaining about fiscal policy. The debate over America's role in the world, he says, is another argument he'd like to join. "I'm dramatically opposed to a feel-good foreign policy," he says. "This idea of going in and imposing democracy in other countries doesn't mesh with my understanding of what the common defense is. So, I think that we have to be much more focused on the threats against our nation - that we use that club a little bit more. Nations like Iran need to understand that if they don't end their WMD programs in response to sanctions, then we will do what we can militarily to take care of that. But that doesn't mean that we're going to go in and change their government. I just think that that spreads us too thin. Fiscally we can't afford it, but at the base of it, I don't think it's constitutionally authorized."

Miller on Supreme Court justices and other Obama administration appointments:

Miller, a staunch admirer of Justice Antonin Scalia, says that the GOP needs to beef up its opposition to President Obama's judicial nominees. If he were to make it to the Senate, Miller would not have a clear preference for committee spots, but he does note that even if he's not on the Judiciary Committee, he will eagerly step up and scrap with Democrats over the Court. His party's "lack of backbone" in confirmation fights, he says, is dismaying. "Overall, we need more justices like Scalia and [Clarence] Thomas on the bench, and fewer like [Elena] Kagan."

Read more from the National Review's Miller interview.

The Juneau Empire today looks back at Miller's 2004 campaign for a state House seat, finding that he moderated his conservative views in the general election (which he lost to the incumbent Democrat). Running in the Fairbanks district that includes the University of Alaska campus, Miller supported more government spending on education. "On a candidate questionnaire at the time, Miller listed his legislative priorities as education (K-12, university), public health, public safety, resource development and transportation assets, in that order," writes the Empire.