Clarifying the Liberty Article about Badnarik
by Ari Armstrong, October 11, 2004
Michael Badnarik, the Libertarian candidate for President, campaigned in Colorado September 7-9. I talked with him on two consecutive days (September 8-9) at two college campuses. Then I wrote about Badnarik's campaign and submitted the report to Liberty magazine for publication. (I also wrote a brief account of Badnarik's Colorado tour for this web page.) The Liberty article appears in the November, 2004, edition. However, after I submitted my original text, editing changes introduced a few problems that I wish to address here. My notes follow the order of the article as published.
The published story in Liberty claims, "Badnarik... spoke in person to no more than 200 people during all his campaign stops combined." In my original text, I wrote "he spoke in person to perhaps fewer than 200 people during all of his campaign stops combined." The printed claim indicates a degree of certainty that I did not have. The reason my count was uncertain was two-fold. First, I did not attend all of Badnarik's campaign stops, and thus I relied upon rough estimates from others who did attend. Second, the stop at the Auraria campus on September 8 was held in the middle of a busy walkway, with students constantly coming and going, and thus I could only roughly estimate the number of people with whom Badnarik spoke.
The printed story claims, "In Colorado Springs, Badnarik met with the editorial board of the major daily paper, appeared on local television news broadcasts, spoke on an AM radio show, recorded remarks for a television station on the western slope, and was interviewed on the local public station." This isn't quite right.
In my original text, I wrote: "...I caught up with him [Badnarik] at campaign stops at the Auraria campus in Denver... During the Auraria stop, Badnarik shuttled over to a local TV news station to record brief remarks for a station on the western side of the state... That night, Badnarik was scheduled to appear on a local political television show, Colorado Inside Out with Peter Boyles." Badnarik was in Denver for these events, not Colorado Springs.
Then, later in my original text, I added, "In Colorado Springs, Badnarik met with the editorial board of the major daily, appeared on one of the local television news broadcasts, and spoke on a popular AM radio show. He recorded remarks for a television station on the western slope and spoke with Kopel [who substituted for Boyles, as was noted elsewhere] on the local public station. He joined two Denver radio programs, including a popular morning rock-station talk show. The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Boulder's Daily Camera, and Longmont's Times-Call all covered him. On the whole, the media were quite friendly." I was summarizing his media appearances throughout Colorado in this paragraph.
The printed version states about Badnarik, "His natural bravado made him a hit with the state LP, helping him overcome his outsider status: one well-organized fundraising dinner brought in close to $12,000 for the campaign."
However, in my original text, I never claimed Badnarik had "outsider status," or that he overcame this status, or that the dinner was "well-organized." Instead, I wrote, "Michele Poague, who with sister BetteRose Ryan has organized numerous state LP conventions and events, reports a fundraising dinner brought in close to $12,000 for Badnarik's campaign."
The printed version cites a letter Rick Stanley sent to a Colorado judge that resulted in a felony conviction. The letter threatened to have the judge arrested by the "Mutual Defense Pact Militia."
The printed version of the article states, "Unsurprisingly, Stanley was charged with threatening a judge and sentenced to six years in prison."
The sentence did surprise me. As I've mentioned to others, I thought Stanley would get a few months in prison, perhaps over a year, plus probation. I thought the six-year sentence was severe. Here's what I wrote in my original text: "This [letter] is what resulted in Stanley's felony conviction and six-year prison sentence."
The printed version states, "Rick Stanley has become more and more unbalanced since then , but Badnarik has continued his support." In my original text, I didn't comment about Stanley's supposed regression of balance. I did write, "What surprised me is Badnarik's continued public support for Stanley during his campaign this year." By the phrase "this year" and the context of the article, I was specifically referring to Badnarik's comments on a Colorado television program and additional comments to me. The phrase "has continued" indicates a continuous activity dating back to 2002, and I didn't want to make that claim.
The printed version of the article mentions Stanley's "Million Gun March" that would, "if need be, trigger a 'Second American Revolution'." However, in my original, I mentioned this only in the context of quoted text written by Stanley. I chose not to discuss the "Second American Revolution" outside that context, because Stanley subsequently said that "Revolution" would be political in nature. I would not have intentionally discussed the "Second American Revolution," outside of the text written by Stanley, without offering some additional context.
The printed version states, "Badnarik seemed unaware of Stanley's recent statement that Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard should be 'indicted [for treason]'..." This isn't correct. I wrote, "I asked Badnarik what he thought of Stanley's comments about putting Allard on trial for treason and then hanging him. Badnarik said he wasn't aware of those comments." There's a difference between a seeming unawareness and a direct claim of unawareness in answer to my question.
The printed version states, "He [Badnarik] also had not seen some of the emails Stanley had been forwarding, one of which referred to Mexican immigrants as 'trash'... and another of which called for 'Summary Street Trials'..." However, in my original, I made no claim about whether Badnarik has seen those e-mails. Also, in my original text, I emphasized the point that those e-mails were distributed by Stanley but written by some other party. I also pointed out that Stanley subsequently said those e-mails were sent out only for discussion.
The printed version states, "Badnarik was visibly shocked to see on Stanley's webpage an article (written by somebody else) that contemplates murdering Jews in an American Holocaust." In fact, Badnarik saw a printout of that article that I showed him; he did not see it "on Stanley's webpage." Here's what I wrote in my original: "Then I showed Badnarik an anti-Semitic article posted on Stanley's web page as of that day (again written by a third party) that contemplates murdering Jews in an American holocaust. Badnarik was visibly shocked. He agreed the comments, and the posting of those comments, demand a clear denunciation. 'Fighting for your rights is one thing,' Badnarik said, but those comments are "inciteful'." I felt it was important to give Badnarik a chance to denounce the article, and he did so.
The printed version obscured my review of Badnarik's position on Afghanistan and Iraq. The printed version states, "Badnarik would not have sent troops to Afghanistan or Iraq. But, he said, the United States is perfectly justified in sending troops into other nations for the purpose of capturing suspected terrorists and bringing them to justice."
Here's what I wrote in my original: "Would Badnarik have sent troops to Afghanistan or Iraq? No, not to take on the governments there. But, he said, the U.S. is perfectly justified in sending troops into other nations for the purpose of capturing suspected terrorists and bringing them to justice." The important distinction is that Badnarik wants to use troops only to capture terrorists, not overthrow governments, and that could potentially apply to Afghanistan and Iraq as well.
Concerning Social Security, the printed version states, "Furthermore, like Harry Browne, he suggested paying off Social Security dues by selling federal lands, but also said he wants to replace Social Security with a Cato-style 'privatized' system of accounts."
Here's what I wrote in my original: "Furthermore, he suggested paying off the Social Security dues by selling federal lands (think Harry Browne), but he said he wants to replace Social Security with a Cato-style 'privatized' system of accounts. Yet these accounts still involve government mandates and regulations. Isn't forcing people to contribute to a fund, even one over which they have some control, still 'theft?' (As I've argued, people should be allowed to drop out of the Social Security system without being forced into a new system of mandated, regulated accounts.)" My original version makes more clear the nature of my criticism.
Even though an editor introduced a few problems into the text, my article contains a wealth of information about the Libertarian candidate. Support Badnarik or oppose him, people should at least know what he's said and done on the campaign trail.
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Extra: following are more of the things Badnarik said while in Colorado. This material was cut from the Liberty article.
We should "reduce illegal aliens by making it easier to come here."
"In a democracy, you have no rights. In a republic, your rights, your property, is sacred."
"It's not my job to decide what sources of energy are the best -- it's up to consumers."
"Gays have the same rights everyone else does... Gender and race are inappropriate distinctions for deciding who has rights. Individuals have rights, gays are individuals, ergo gays have rights." After noting marriage licenses were once used to restrict interracial marriage on the grounds that "culture will crumble" otherwise, Badnarik added, "It was a lie... You're a bigot if you support a Constitutional amendment" to ban gay marriage.
"I want to eliminate the IRS... We want to eliminate it [the income tax], and we're not going to replace it with a national sales tax."
"I should appeal to anyone who believes in Constitutional government, individual rights, and the right of property. That should be 95% of Americans."
"Social security is very much like the Titanic with the propellers up in the air."
"You can't intimidate me -- you don't like my answer, too bad."
In reply to a question about whether Badnarik plans to move to New Hampshire with the Free State Project: "If necessary, yes. If I get to be president, you won't have to move to New Hampshire, because there will be 50 free states."
"I don't owe anybody anything, other than to not violate their rights."
"Am I generous? Yes, to a fault... I literally can't give anymore, because there's nothing left to give."
In response to a comment about the presidential salary: "Between Bush, Kerry, and me, I'm the only one who needs the money... I'll forego $300,000 of it in order to cut the budget."
"Everybody has the right to buy whatever education they can afford." He said there should be "private education across the board," which would result in lower costs and better quality.
"We're going to get rid of individual welfare, we're going to get rid of corporate welfare -- it's theft."
Drawing an analogy about taxes and theft to fund health care: "If you come into my house and try to take my money, you're going to need twice as much health care."
Discussing the possibility of debating Bush and Kerry: "I will chew them up and spit them out. I can change the course of American politics forever... Nobody knows more about the Constitution than I do, not even George Bush and John Kerry... If nothing else, just for the entertainment value, I should be in the debate."
"Washington, D.C., is also the nation's murder capitol, because people can't defend themselves."
"Growing up, my mother told me to floss only those teeth I wanted to keep. I'm here to tell you to fight only for those rights you want to keep."
"I'm not stealing votes. I'm earning votes for liberty."
"I'm the only candidate who wants to eliminate the war on drugs."