Between them the various wings of the Demopublican Party offer three Senators who all fully support the military-industrial complex, an interventionist foreign policy, and the continued creep of government into virtually every aspect of our personal lives. If there is a significant original idea between them, I can't find it. Clinton and Obama--when they actually talk policy--admit that the differences separating them are distinctions of nuance. McCain offers his own brand of perpetual pandering that is neither conservative nor moderate, but clearly aimed at purchasing votes anywhere he can find them.
I have spent a lot of time examining the available candidates in the Libertarian Party, and while I see a lot of divergent personalities (as well as the basic split between Radical and Reform Libertarians), I see only one candidate for whom I could vote for President and be comfortable if he actually reached the Oval Office.
That candidate is Dr George Phillies.
His is virtually the only well-considered foreign and military policy being advanced by any candidate in any party that is a rational and pragmatic departure from our current regime of empire-building and interventionism.
Look carefully at the answers he provided to my interview questions, and which he publishes on his campaign website.
Who else is saying this:
The cold war is over. The Soviet Empire has ceased to exist. When the Cold War ended, America should have contracted its military to match its defense needs. We maintain a huge fleet in the Atlantic, an ocean that borders only on friendly countries. That fleet makes no sense. Our military spending is half the world's total, and most of the rest is spent by our allies; that spending makes no sense. There should be massive cuts in defense spending.
Dr. Phillies is also a strong advocate not only of fiscal restraint, but of bringing our out-of-control government spending back into some semblance of balance:
The first step to a prosperous America is restoring fiscal sanity to Washington.
Uncle Sam is 9 trillion dollars in debt. In Fiscal 2006, the on-budget Federal Budget Deficit was $484 billion. General Accounting Office simulations show that by 2040 interest on the national debt will consume the bulk of Federal taxes. If we go on like this, we will become a third-world banana republic.
Our only hope is a President who points at Federal program after Federal program, corporate welfare scheme after corporate welfare scheme, and says the same four words "We can't afford that."
Those words got our grandparents though the Great Depression. Those are the words that will restore fiscal sanity to our Republic.
Phillies is a strong champion for civil liberties as well:
The Bush administration illegally listened to phone calls and read emails of millions of Americans, probably including you. Those warrantless searches were crimes. I'll do my best to ensure that everyone who committed these crimes goes to prison.
I will vigorously encourage Congress to repeal the Military Commissions Act, which violates the right of trial by jury, the so-called "Patriot" Act, the RealID act, and other laws that endanger your freedom.
I will order all Executive branch employees to comply enthusiastically with all Congressional requests for documents and testimony.
Torture is a felony. Under a Phillies Administration, torturers will be despised prison convicts, not honored Federal employees.
I want Uncle Sam out of your bedroom and out of your private life. Uncle Sam should care whether his soldiers shoot straight, not whether they are straight. Uncle Sam has no legitimate role in the abortion issue, and neither does your state government.
He's strong of GLBQT rights, having won the endorsement of Outright Libertarians:
From his interview in The Advocate magazine, to his one-liner response to a marriage equality question at a debate in socially conservative Fresno, California -- "We've already solved that problem in Massachusetts" -- we can tell that Dr. Phillies would never try to rationalize anti-LGBT bigotry as a way to "grow" the Libertarian Party. He recognizes that Liberty is impossible so long as the boot of big government remains on the neck of any disfavored minority group.
I shouldn't have to say this, but Dr Phillies is not the perfect candidate.
He has little or no experience in running a government (not that Clinton, McCain, or Obama do, either).
His campaign style and rhetoric can be a bit . . . pedantic.
I think he needs to take a good long look at his health care and education positions. The first is a grab bag of ideas, not a policy, and the second has little substance beyond, "First, we'll abolish No Child Left Behind."
But what George Phillies does have is a strong view about America's place in the world, and a commitment to government that both pays for itself and stays out of my private business. That's enough to make me look past some of the weaker areas.
There are two possible reactions I'm expecting to this endorsement.
1) I expect my Demopublican friends to suggest that I'm wasting my vote by giving it to someone who doesn't really have a chance to become President. So be it: it's mine to waste, and I'd rather vote my principles than vote for the lesser of two evils, which is--as someone always reminds us--still evil.
2) I don't necessarily expect Dr Phillies to come out of Denver with the LP nomination. Mike Gravel and Bob Barr are trying to suck all the air out of the convention center, even though neither of them is really a Libertarian. Mary Ruwart retains a strong, core following of Radicals, despite the child pornography misstep; and meanwhile--in the background raising money--there's also Wayne Allyn Root, who was the front-runner until a few bigtime (OK, medium-sized) names joined the fray. I'm not sure what Root is, but I don't think he's really a Libertarian.
Dr Phillies has picked up some strong showings in State events, notwithstanding all of his competition, and under the LP rules second and third choices will matter. He could walk away with the nomination.
I sincerely hope he does.
I'd like to have the opportunity to walk into a voting booth and pull the lever for George Phillis.