Joe Miller: You Know Who Was Great At Border Control? The East Germans

While the scuffle between a reporter and private security guards employed by Joe Miller’s Senate campaign is getting most of the media attention today, Anchorage blogger Steve Aufrecht noticed something that the candidate himself said at the forum where that scuffle took place:

I went to the Joe Miller town hall this afternoon at Central Middle School. It was an interesting session, about 175 people, and I was impressed with how courteous, for the most part, the audience was with several questions from people who were clearly not Miller supporters.

Most of what he said, he’s said before. I’ll try to post more on this later. But the comment that caught my attention most was one he made was in response to a question on illegal immigration.

Miller replied: “The first thing that has to be done is secure the border. . . East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow. Now, obviously, other things were involved. We have the capacity to, as a great nation, secure the border. If East Germany could, we could.”


It’s an odd analogy to say the least, especially considering the fact the Berlin Wall was designed to keep people from leaving the GDR, not to prevent them from entering it illegally, and that East German border guards had blanket authority to shoot to kill anyone caught trying to cross the border. Now, obviously, I don’t believe that Miller wants to mimic the East Germans, but it is odd indeed to select that nation as an example of responsible immigration policy.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Michael says:

    but it is odd indeed to select that nation as an example of responsible immigration policy

    He wasn’t using them as an example of responsible immigration policy, he was using them as an example of effective border security. In that regard, you’d probably be hard pressed to find a more favorable example.

  2. Vast Variety says:

    East Germany suffered from a number of successful escapes, so they weren’t entirely successful.

  3. nevrdull says:

    as someone who was acutally born in east germany this really makes me angry.

  4. tom p says:

    Lets see… How long was the East German border with West Germany? (assuming no EGs tried to escape to Poland) (a safe bet) Now how long are the US borders with Mexico AND Canada? Not to mention our thousands of miles of coast line?

    not only does the analogy not hold up, it is so utterly ridiculous that one has to question the intelligence of any Joe Miller voter. (if he could say something THIS idiotic….)

  5. wr says:

    Let’s see — he praises the efficacy of the Stasi, his security guards act like Mussolini’s brownshirts — no wonder tea partiers love this guy. They’ve gotten so sick of calling Obama both a commie and a fascist they’ve decided to get one of their own.

  6. sam says:

    Ah c’mon Michael. To borrow an image from Roy Edroso, your boy’s up there stumbling around with a bucket on his foot. We won’t think less of your loyalty if you admit that.

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    Ve haf vays hoff keepink dese vetbacks hout!

  8. Michael says:

    Sam, excuse me by, “my boy”? Hardly.

    Read what I wrote, it was far from a defense of Miller, rather it was an arraignment of the entire concept of effective border security as a desirable property of a state.

  9. Pug says:

    North Korea does a good job with border security, too. They just shoot-to-kill anyone found in a restricted area.

    That might work. We haven’t tried it yet.

  10. M. Bouffant says:

    Now, obviously, I don’t believe that Miller wants to mimic the East Germans

    Why would you not believe that? His friends/thugs/flunkies w/ the red ties & suits would probably be more than willing to shoot anyone near the border.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t understand why we should limit “shoot to kill” to the border area. There are guys outside working on the yard right now. Let me grab my gun!

    Miller’s an idiot and a Tea Partier.

    But I repeat myself.