Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tom Knapp: Libertarian for Congress, Missouri's 2nd District

The main thing I like about Tom Knapp is that he is honest enough to follow logic where it goes, and he's willing to change his mind when the facts call for it.

Tom initially argued that Libertarians should rally around Barr/Root because they represented the party's legal selection and should have the chance to prove themselves by running a real Libertarian campaign.

He gave them three strikes and then withdrew his endorsement.

I don't agree with him, but I respect the hell out of him for, first, taking and unpopular position, and--second--when the facts proved his position wrong (by standards he had set himself), he didn't waffle. He said, "I was wrong."

As a Libertarian candidate for Congress, Tom is not mincing words, either.

Here he is on immigration:

"Know-Nothingism" is a perennial trend in American politics. It's a convenient tool for drumming up baseless fears and turning those fears into money and votes. Unfortunately, even a few Libertarian candidates for public office have yielded to the temptation to exploit it.

Unlike my opponent, US Representative Todd Akin, I decline to cater to the politics of fear. I support the most "open border" policy possible. Peaceful individuals should be able to cross the border "through the front door" at any port of entry with no more scrutiny than you or I receive when we board a bus or enter a bank (which, if you think about it, is considerable scrutiny -- surveillance cameras are endemic to American society now and facial recognition software linked to databases of known criminal suspects is becoming more and more common).

And foreign policy:

Like all of you, I watched in horror as the World Trade Center Towers fell on 9/11. Like all of you, I thirsted for revenge against the vicious terrorists who murdered 3,000 innocent civilians. And, like all of you, I support defending the United States against those who would destroy it.

Unfortunately, our politicians used 9/11 as an excuse to continue and escalate the very policies which made those attacks not only conceivable, but inevitable. Rather than reconsidering a century of error, they chose to carry that error into a second century.

As well as marriage rights:

I oppose the political exclusion of families from the equal protection of the law, regardless of the gender composition of those families. It is logically impossible to be "pro-family" while simultaneously demanding that government suppress families.

My strong preference is for government to get out of the business of "defining" marriage -- and licensing it -- altogether. Marriage should be treated as a civil contract with no sexual orientation or gender identity exceptions by government, and any religious or spiritual ramifications should be left to those involved, in consultation with their chosen religious or spiritual advisors, to consider.

So long as government does "define" and license marriage, it is not constitutionally empowered to do so in ways that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Missouri's 2nd District is listed by most pollsters as safe Republican, the seat currently being held by neo-con Todd Akin, and the Democrats reduced to offering a motley collection of has-beens and stumble-bums in opposition.

Here's what Representative Akin is proud of having helped Dubya accomplish:

Congressman Akin supported the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. This legislation protects creditors from those who previously used bankruptcy as a tool to cheat their way out of debt....

With Rep. Akin's strong support, Congress passed and the President signed the "Real ID" Act...

Class action and broader lawsuit abuse reform are important for economic vitality and job creation. Congress has enacted a measure that specifically reforms current law related to class action lawsuits. It allows such suits to be moved from state to federal courts, reducing the potential for abuse of settlement awards by juries....

Akin has generally had a stranglehold on this district, polling in the 60-65% range in every election. Tom Knapp is moving forward in an attempt to engage him vigorously on the issues. An unrepentant neo-con who actually brags about helping to pass Real ID can only be met by someone with an equally unequivocal message.

How do you measure victory in such a race? Tom Knapp is seriously running to win, but I am equally sure he knows the score. What I am looking at here, however, is a Libertarian fully capable of offering a real alternative to Akin, who might well be able to shave a good 5% off his usually strong numbers.

Tom is another Libertarian worth your donation on July 4; I hope you'll consider his campaign.

Oh, yeah, and if I didn't mention it, he's a former Marine NCO--which should tell you everything you need to know about whether or not he's tough enough to go the distance.


Kn@ppster said...


Thanks for the plug! It's fairly obvious that we disagree on some things, but honest disagreement is far better than having to wonder where people stand.

You're right -- I know the score. No Libertarian is going to win in Missouris' 2nd US House District in 2008. However, there are myriad reasons for running a real ($5k to $10k) campaign here.

The 2nd is a "safe Republican district," but incumbent Todd Akin's numbers have been trending downward in the three elections since he entered the office: 67% in 2002, 65% in 2004, 61% in 2006.

In those three elections, no LP candidate received more than 2.1% of the vote. The LP candidate who can push upward toward 10% starts threatening Akin's majority. That could force him out for a fight, which is always good for Libertarians. It could also force him to keep his campaign money in his district, meaning that LP candidates in closer elections elsewhere don't have as tough a row to hoe.

Also, there's some natural "spillover" -- this district is in the St. Louis metro area, so anything positive I accomplish will get some media for the LP in the 1st, 3rd and 9th districts as well.

My goal is to at least double, and hopefully quadruple, participation in the LP primary in the district on August 5th. That should put a scare into the local Republican Party. Then I want to do the same in the general election.

If I can do that, the district will probably be a battleground instead of a "GOP gimme" in 2010. The Democrats will recruit a strong candidate in the 2nd instead of ignoring it, and another strong LP campaign can be the "balance of power" in a close election.

Tom Knapp

Steve Newton said...

It's fairly obvious that we disagree on some things, but honest disagreement is far better than having to wonder where people stand.

Actually, Tom, the things we agree on are far more important than our disagreements, which is the point I've been trying to make with Libertarians of all convictions.

We agree on the need to break the Demopublican hold on American politics.

We agree on the need to end American interventionism.

We agree on the need for restoration of civil liberties.

We agree on immigration.

We agree on same-sex marriage.

We agree on the war on drugs.

We agree at least in principle on taxation (although I haven't read your positions completely yet).

We agree on building a Libertarian political party nationwide.

We disagree in impeachment--I don't think it's useful or advised at the moment.

We disagree on tactics--you have withdrawn your support from Barr; I see Barr with much disdain, but believe he can be a useful tool to our purposes in 2008.

My point being: with so much to agree upon, there is absolutely no reason to allow our differences as Libertarians to tear us apart.

(Which is not directed at you, but toward many others.)