Craig Anthony Miller: PA…Healthcare Wacko Nut Job Of The Week. He’s Got His Screw Everyone Else!
Lebanon resident's confrontation with Specter draws national attention, much like 'Joe the Plumber' in the '08 presidential campaign.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
BY MONICA VON DOBENECK firstname.lastname@example.org
This Guy Has More Spin Than A...
Has the angry man who confronted U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter at Tuesday's town hall meeting in Lebanon become the "Joe the Plumber" of health care?
At least for the moment, Craig Anthony Miller is the face of the health care debate -- as Joe Wurzelbacher became the face of opposition to then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Miller, 59, a blue-collar worker now living on disability, rushed toward Specter and yelled, "You're trampling on the Constitution! ... You and your cronies do this all the time" before leaving the hall.
The Lebanon man appeared on an MSNBC news show Wednesday morning and a talk-radio show out of New York City. His picture was on the front of Wednesday's New York Times and made other papers, including The Patriot-News. A video of him is on YouTube.
While Miller said Wednesday he would have preferred Fox News over MSNBC, "any place to get the word out" is good.
Miller said he went to the town hall to speak to Specter not only about his skepticism over health care reform, but about his feelings on the cap-and-trade plan, global warming, and what he called "the president's czars." He said Obama has named 31 czars, while the U.S. Constitution doesn't allow anyone to be named a king, czar, or other terms that denote royalty.
When told that advisers to presidents as far back as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan have been informally referred to as "czars" -- shorthand terms such as "energy czar" and "drug czar" were first coined by the media -- Miller asserted "wrong is wrong."
"How can we trust him with a health care bill if he won't keep his oath of office?" Miller asked. "He's supposed to obey the Constitution. Thirty-one times he broke that."
That is why he was so angry when he failed to get one of the 30 numbers allotted for speaking time at the town hall.
"A week before, I called Arlen Specter's office and spoke to one of his people," Miller said. "I wanted to make sure I would have at least five minutes to speak. I was told it was an open forum, and I'd be able to get the mike. Then they hand out 30 cards."
Because the crowd was so large, Specter's staff randomly handed out 30 cards to people who would be allowed to ask questions.
"I asked, 'Why am I even here? I'm leaving,'" Miller said. "I take a couple of steps and a big bruiser gets a hold of me and says, 'Sit down.' That's when I sort of lose it."
Specter allowed Miller to say his piece, then Miller left the hall. When he got outside, he was met by television cameras.
Specter said Wednesday that when confronted by people who come at him hard, it is best to move toward them and ask them what they want to say.
"I wasn't going to throw him out and have that in the story," Specter said. "That would have been worse than canceling [the town hall meeting]."
Miller said he has only become active in politics the past couple of months, when he started writing letters to the editor.
He has been on disability for four years because of heart problems and fibromyalgia.
Before that, he worked many jobs, most recently at Murry's Steaks.
He is covered through his wife's health insurance plan, which she got working at Hershey Foods Corp. and which they maintained after her recent retirement. He said he has been content with the Highmark Blue Shield plan, which is one reason he would like insurance to remain with private companies.
Miller knows his disability payments are covered through a government-run plan.
"I'm not against all government programs," he said, "just those where they are stepping in where they don't have to step in. Their main job is to take care of those citizens who don't have a voice."
He believes it is government interference that prevents doctors from prescribing medications strong enough to control his pain and let him go back to work.
Miller, who said he learned of the town hall meeting from a newspaper item, likes to watch Fox News and enjoys commentators Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.
He said he thinks Obama wants to set himself up as a dictator for life.
"He has set up a shadow government and plans on crossing the Rubicon," Miller said.