Libertarian Presidential Candidate Plans Colorado Stops
by Ari Armstrong, August 20, 2004
The selection of Michael Badnarik as the Libertarian candidate for President was an unusual affair, as R.W. Bradford of Liberty has reported. Widely regarded as the least likely candidate among the top three to win the nomination, Badnarik nevertheless seemed to be the strong second-choice candidate for many at the LP convention. Because all LP candidates must be selected by at least 50% of the voting members, Badnarik pulled off an underdog victory.
One of the first things I learned about Badnarik is that he was a strong early supporter of perhaps the worst Libertarian candidate in history. While I have not heard Badnarik explicitly condemn that former LP member and candidate, neither have I heard him offer subsequent support for him.
At the Colorado LP convention on April 5, 2003, Badnarik said of mandatory vaccinations, "You bring your syringe and I'll bring my .45, and we'll see which one makes the bigger hole." However, there was never much of a push to vaccinate anyone other than emergency responders.
Bradford notes a few other peculiarities about this candidate: "Badnarik... hadn't filed income tax returns for several years. He moved from California to Texas because of Texas' more liberal gun laws, but he refused to obtain a Texas driver's license because the state requires drivers to provide their fingerprints and Social Security numbers. He has been ticketed several times for driving without a license; sometimes he has gotten off for various technical legal reasons, but on three occasions he has been convicted and paid a fine. He also refused to use postal ZIP codes, seeing them as 'federal territories'... He proposed that convicted felons serve the first month of their sentence in bed so that their muscles would atrophy and they'd be less trouble for prison guards and to blow up the U.N. building on the eighth day of his administration, after giving the building's occupants a chance to evacuate."
On the whole, though, I suppose Badnarik is no stranger than the others running for President. As Bradford notes, he has since toned down his rhetoric. And on most domestic issues he's pretty solidly pro-individual rights.
The most controversial of Badnarik's substantial proposals is his position on foreign policy. The LP's isolationist foreign policy strikes me as obviously inadequate. While I've been skeptical of the war in Iraq, I also recognize national defense can't be limited in practice to the area within U.S. borders. The threat of rogue nations gaining nuclear weapons is a very real one.
Badnarik, though, echoes the rather thin theory that nobody will do us harm, so long as we maintain strict military isolationism: "The U.S. military presence in the Middle East has been used as a justification for several terrorist attacks, including the September 11 tragedy... How long can politicians pretend to be surprised when terrorist threats turn into bloody reality? How many more innocent Americans have to lose their lives before U.S. policy makers come to their senses and stop interfering in other nations' affairs?"
While I agree that foolish interventionism has created many of the foreign-policy problems we now face, that doesn't imply that all interventionism is foolish or unwarranted. Specifically, I think the government -- which, after all, has the responsibility to protect individual rights -- needs to subdue terrorists throughout the world. Terrorism is a key issue in this year's presidential election, and I'm not persuaded Badnarik has a handle on it.
Yet, despite his quirks and his lack of a foreign policy, Badnarik generally advocates Constitutionally limited government and individual rights. He's coming to Colorado, giving residents a chance to decide for themselves the value of his campaign (or simply witness the mechanations of LP politics). I continue to be amused by Badnarik's statement from 2003: "I explode in a blinding flash of truth and understanding." We shall see.
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[September 1 update: Michael Badnarik will appear on Peter Boyles's TV show on September 8 from 7-8 pm. Boyles will host a one-on-one conversation on KBDI Channel 12.]
The state LP relates some information about Badnarik's schedule in Colorado. Scott Graves notes Badnarik will speak in Colorado Springs on September 7. Graves relates: "[A]t 6:30 PM he will be speaking from the gazebo on the south of the Pioneer Museum, 215 S. Tejon Street, where he will speak of his vision for the future of our country. In the past if you wanted to see a presidential candidate you had to go to Denver but Michael Badnarik wants to see as many Libertarians as possible here in Colorado Springs! ... Michael Badnarik is a strong candidate who is crossing the country this election season to get your support. Those who argue that Libertarians have no chance of effecting change in this country haven't met Mr. Badnarik. Newspapers across the county, including our own Gazette, have written of his chances of spoiling this election for George Bush... Those to the left who want to see an end to the war in Iraq will find support for that position in Badnarik where they will not find it in Kerry. His optimism and energy are resonating with the disaffected youth who have walked away from the politics as usual we get from the major parties."
BetteRose Ryan writes, "Presidential candidate Michael Badnarik will be the featured speaker at a fund raising dinner to be held at the Boulder Broker Inn on September 9, 2004. The cost of the dinner, which will start at 7:00 PM is $70.00... An exclusive cocktail hour will be available for a small number of dinner guests at an extra cost of $30.00. This will be your chance to get up close and personal with the presidential candidate. Doors open for this event at 6:00 PM. Other speakers at the dinner will include actor / musician Dave Mitchell... and Tony Ryan, a retired Denver Police Lieutenant who has given talks on various topics such [as] 'Common Sense in Law Enforcement' and 'What Happened at Columbine.' Checks should be made out to Michele Poague, who has taken on the financial liability of this event. ALL net proceeds will go to help the Badnarik campaign. Please mail the checks to Michele Poague; 21079 E. Mineral Dr., Aurora, CO 80016. E-mail inquiries can be sent to BetteRose@aol.com. Please include Presidential Dinner in the subject line. Phone calls can be made to BetteRose at (720)341-2193 or (605)336-2985 and Michele Poague at (303)358-6047."
Following is a press release about another event:
LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TO SPEAK
LOUISVILLE, Colorado. -- AUGUST 11, 2004 -- Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian Party's Candidate for President of the United States, will be in Lafayette, Colorado on SEPTEMBER 9, 2004, attending a brown bag lunch and speaking on the issue: "The Constitution: why we need it more than ever." This event will take place at the Rocky Mountain Center for the Musical Arts from 12:00 - 1:45 pm, is sponsored by several East County Libertarians, and is being coordinated with the Badnarik Colorado campaign tour and the Libertarian Party of Colorado (www.lpcolorado.org).
Political candidates don't often come to this area, so we anticipate a fair amount of interest in this event. In our Post-9/11 world, Constitutional issues have become matters of great concern and security-focused legislation often leaves us wondering if the rights guaranteed in the Constitution will be kept safe as well.
Michael Badnarik has been studying and teaching classes in the U. S. Constitution since the 80's, and in his position paper on Civil Liberties (see www.badnarik.org) he states:
"The history of our nation is the story of a government constantly attempting to outgrow the Constitutional box we put it in and of a people struggling to stuff it back into that box."
Voters seeking a more in-depth understanding of the Constitution and how it applies to modern times should not miss this opportunity.
Event cost is being kept to $10 to cover the lunch, and make it affordable for as many people as possible, and monies collected are not contributed to the campaign. Confirmed reservations are required, and must be made before Sept 1, 2004. Contact Eva Kosinski, at 303-666-5872 (home) for reservations (please include a reminder callback number), or send email (email is preferred -- please put "Badnarik Lunch Reservation" in your subject header) to: email@example.com.
Box Lunch Choices are: (please indicate your preference when making your reservation)
Turkey & Swiss
All lunches include sandwich, side salad, fruit, and Italian dessert non-alcoholic beverages will also be provided
PLEASE REMEMBER, RESERVATIONS MUST BE MADE BY SEPTEMBER 1, 2004