Antone Blansett of Springdale, Arkansas is a libertarian supporter of Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), and is an active member of his Campaign for Liberty. He refused to support the 2008 McCain/Palin ticket because “A vote for McCain is just another vote for Obama with about 8 years of delay. I want a real change!” He served as a Staff Sergeant in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Debate: Should Conservatives Support Libertarian or Third Party Candidates
BLANSETT: I am supporting both Trevor Drown and Ron Paul. They are an alternative to the “lesser of the two evils” theory followed by many Republicans. That type of thinking has brought us to where we are today. If Ron Paul runs again he will be a major candidate. He won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and that gives you a good clue to who’s going to be the GOP nominee.
Ron Paul lost by only 1 vote to Mitt Romney, not one percent, but one vote at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Some people call him a crackpot, but he may very well be the next president. He’s been on the “I told you so “tour for the last two years. The GOP calls him a crackpot because he won’t vote for something that isn’t directly authorized in the Constitution. Shouldn’t the rest of the 534 crooks, liars and traitors do the same? What is so crazy about Trevor Drown or Ron Paul? You guys need to do your homework!
HILTON: We should be grateful for Trevor Drown’s military service but it is foolish for anyone to throw away their vote on a third party. Congressman John Boozman (R-AR) has established an outstanding track during his ten years on Capitol Hill and I can not imagine why any conservative would oppose him. I do not understand why Trevor Drown is running, and he is wrong to maintain Arkansas is filled with liberal Republicans.
I read his recent interview and I am glad he has now clarified some of his positions. He is not a 9/11 Truther or a Birther, but unfortunately many of his supporters are in those categories. Arkansas Republican are not advocating the stimulus or Obamacare, but Trevor says: “The Republican’s have abandoned the conservative beliefs of Arkansans. The Republican party has not shown me any reason to be part of them. In Arkansas, they clearly do not represent the conservative voice and across the nation they have strayed from their core beliefs. I will not be a part of any organization that has a situational ethics and leadership problem.”
He also says 90% of his Senate staff will live in Arkansas. It sounds good but it is definitely not practical. Jim DeMiint does not do that.
BLANSETT: In the 2000s, the Republican Party committed the same sins as the Democrats; spending money they didn’t have was a big one. Instead of owning up to it, they have become even more embedded with big money corporations. Your comments are proof you take my vote for granted, much as the Democrats take the black vote for granted.
I talk to people all over the state at gun shows, because I am a gun rights activist. They all tell me the same thing. Some of them are Republicans who are tired of the same type of government we had in the early part of this decade and they are definitely fed up now. Some of them are Democrats who have been left behind by their party, and will vote for anyone who has their conservative beliefs and convictions. Political parties change over time, mostly because they are forced to by people who refuse to march in lock-step.
Quit putting me in a box and understand why I am upset with Boozman. I want the government to work for ME, not some corporation! And not only will I vote for Trevor, I will go out and campaign for him! People like you give me the energy to help him win!
HILTON: Federal spending is a major problem and it is the number one reason why Boozman should be elected. He has a decade long voting record to prove he is a deficit hawk. He has consistently opposed big spending programs. On all of the big issues in this campaign, Boozman is on the conservative side. He was against the stimulus, Obamacare, cap and trade, union card check and cash for clunkers. He has been a fiscal conservative when Republicans and Democrats have been in power.
I believe national security should be our number one priority so I am often not a fan of the conservative organization Citizens Against Government Waste. For discussion purposes I will use their ratings. Lets look at the 2009 CAGW scorecard for the entire Arkansas delegation. Senators Pryor and Lincoln received a 7% and 15% score. In addition to Boozman, the state has three Democratic Congressmen: Vic Snyder 0%, Marion Berry 2% and Mike Ross 3%.
Rep. Boozman has an 82% score and clearly has the “conservative beliefs and convictions” you mentioned. But why does he score 82% and not 100%? Because he would not vote to cut the budget for the drug, national defense and homeland security. Boozman was right and CAGW had the wrong position on those issues. He did not vote to cut the weapons systems needed by our troops.
BLANSETT: Boozman voted for TARP. Enough said! TARP didn’t work. Only approx. 30% of the money was used and we still lost homes, jobs and markets. TARP was the same as Obama’s stimulus bill. In fact, the Bush admin. threatened martial law to pass TARP and Boozman said nothing. The Bush admin. went to healthy banks and forced them to take TARP money on the threat of IRS, bank audits, etc. So, when you say that 93% was paid off, I don’t doubt it when the banks returned the 70% that they didn’t spend. They had 2 yrs to pay back 13%! And as Roy said, Trevor hasn’t gotten one dollar of union money.
HILTON: Boozman did vote for TARP and he would have been totally irresponsible if he had voted against it. I am glad he had the wisdom not to join the lawmakers who wanted to do nothing. They were willing to let the U.S. Banking system fail and to let the American economy go down the tubes. 93% of the money from Bush’s TARP has already been repaid with interest. In the end TARP will break even or result in a profit.
I really should not be focusing on the accounting cost. Once again, I believe TARP will make money in the end, but that was not its purpose. Even if it lost money, Boozman still made the correct decision. TARP worked, the credit markets were unfrozen, the price of borrowing came down and banks were able to raise private capital to replace the TARP funds. America avoid another Great Depression. Thank you, Congressman Boozman.
BLANSETT: TARP didn’t work. Only approximately 30% of the money was used and we still lost homes, jobs and markets. TARP was the same as Obama’s stimulus bill. In fact, the Bush administration threatened martial law to pass TARP and Boozman said nothing. The Bush administration went to healthy banks and forced them to take TARP money on the threat of IRS, bank audits, etc. So, when you say that 93% was paid off, I don’t doubt it when the banks returned the 70% that they didn’t spend. They had two years to pay back 13%!
HILTON: All of your statements are wrong, and I have no idea where your strange statistics come from. They certainly are not factual. There is no connection between Bush’s TARP and Obama’s stimulus. All of TARP will be paid back, but none of the stimulus will be returned. That was especially true of Citigroup, GMAC and Bank of America. TARP prevented a repeat of the runs on Bears Stearns and Lehaman Brothers that occurred when big institutional clients were worried that they could fail and decided to pull their money out. America was facing its worst financial crisis in decades.
The government would not have bailed out banks if they did not need the money. On October 14, 2008, $125 billion was distributed to nine banks which represented 75% of all assets held by U.S. banks.
Furthermore, President Bush never threatened martial law. That is a complete and total lie and is only found on libertarian and conspiracy theory websites. TARP was designed to unfreeze the credit markets and it worked. When credit started flowing again they raised private capital and repaid the government. TARP was never designed to be a jobs program.
BLANSETT: TARP was a bailout of big banks and corporate America. It did nothing for average Americans. I am also not in favor of all the spending programs Boozman voted for. Putting a noose on the neck of the taxpayer is practically criminal. We need infrastructure here in Arkansas but alot of that can be done on the local level.
Our taxes are certainly high enough. I have reservations about using other people’s money for things we can provide ourselves. What has he done for Russellville? Nothing, I grant. He is just another big government Republican. Because of Republicans like Boozman and the liberal Democrats we’re in a mess that may not get cleaned up.
HILTON: Before his election to Congress, Boozman’s spent 24 years at the Eye Clinic in Rogers, Arkansas. That is not corporate America but it is the type of small business experience which is needed on Capitol Hill. Once again, the Boozman voting record over ten years demonstrates you are wrong. According to the American Conservative Union it is almost impossible to be more right wing. Trevor Drown is a good choice for you. You support Ron Paul and you refused to support the Republican Party in 2008. Trevor is being promoted by the Libertarian Party of Arkansas, and he just addressed one of their gatherings.
They promote extreme isolationism and a foreign policy that is dangerous to America’s national security interests. They are well to the left of the Democrats on those issues. Trevor is foolish to believe the Arkansas Republican Party is overrun by liberals.
BLANSETT: By voting for TARP he proved he is a big spending corporate Republican.
HILTON: As I told you, TARP will make a profit and it saved our economy as well as the pensions and annuities of many average Americans. Boozman is committed to cutting government spending and reducing government waste. It is not talk, it is action. Boozman has already returned over $1 million to the taxpayers from his Congressional operating budget. The statistics you are quoting about TARP are from Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty and they are not accurate.
BLANSETT: Where do you get your evidence that libertarians observations aren’t backed up by data? Libertarianism is the most scientific of all political theories. The most important economists adhere to it.
HILTON: Once again, this is complete nonsense. The Libertarian Party believes in the Austrian School of Economics which is totally ignored with good reason by mainstream academia. The standard economics texts used on the university level do not even mention it. There are no more than 75 scholars worldwide who follow the Austrian School while there are over 20,000 economists in the American Economics Association.
Mainstream economists use the scientific method, but the Austrians reject it. Mainstream economists make heavy use of statistics, but the Austrians claim they have little value. Mainstream economists believe in fiat money, while the Austrians believe in the gold standard. Libertarian economics is a small cult.
BLANSETT: I get my data from the history of America and the Republic that subsumes it. I am a true republican because the Republic was founded by the liberals now known as libertarians. We adhere to the original ideas of the Republic. Non-interventionism, free markets, small government, fiscal responsibility, individual rights and self determination. The same qualities of our Founding Fathers.
If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. “The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.” Ronald Reagan, 1975 What you preach is Progressive neo-Conservatism.
HILTON: I completely disagree with your distorted history. It is absurd to claim our Founders who fought the American Revolution were at all similar to the anti-war and isolationist libertarians. I do not accept all of your “original ideas of the Republic.” The Founders rarely agreed on anything and they were divided into two distinct camps from the beginning. These groups both accused the other of undermining the goals of the American Revolution.
Many of the debates we are having today date back to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. This resulted in the 85 Federalist Papers. Alexander Hamilton wrote 51 of them while James Madison is the author of 29. Alexander Hamilton wanted an activist government. He pushed for the creation of a central bank, which was in effect the first Federal Reserve. Hamilton and the Federalists wanted a funded debt and an excise tax on distilled spirits.
They were supported by George Washington, John Adams and John Marshall. They wanted a strong federal government, a mixed economy with manufacturing, and a flexible interpretation of the Constitution. Many of them were sympathetic to Britain’s war with France.
On the other side were the Republicans with James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in the forefront. They wanted states’ rights, an agrarian society, a strict interpretation of the Constitution, and many of them admired the French revolution. Even the strict constructionists were flexible. Jefferson was the inspiration behind the Louisiana Purchase. The Constitution has no express grant of power to the federal government to purchase new territory.
The arguments between the Federalists and the Republicans regarding the Constitution’s “necessary and proper” clause, and Washington’s neutrality proclamation of 1793 are still occurring today. Finally, Ronald Reagan supported democratic resistance movements and Ron Paul opposed him every step of the way. Reagan believed in a foreign policy of freedom. Ron Paul advocates a foreign policy of isolationism and failure.
BLANSETT: You are clearly a neocon progressive. Non-interventionism isn’t isolationism. It is the opposite. Our past actions besmirches of a move toward imperialism, which is the opposite of a republic, and we are a republic. Foreign policy of a republic is simple. People in other countries solve their own problems and we let them.
By the way, I was and am for stopping commies from taking over this country and unfortunately, we’ve failed. I used to be a member of the GOP until they became as liberal as the Democrats. I didn’t leave the GOP, it left me! I didn’t vote for McCain, I voted for Baldwin out of conscience.
HILTON: Wrong again, what you call non-interventionism is the same thing as isolationism. The foreign policy of the Libertarian Party is completely opposed to the Republican Party’s freedom agenda. This was outlined by Ronald Reagan, and the keystone of this foreign policy is assisting democratic resistance and free market movements. This is what Reagan did in Afghanistan and Nicaragua when he was strenuously opposed by the Libertarians. Ron Paul emphasized his extreme opposition to Reagan when he was the 1988 Libertarian Party candidate for President.
Reagan called for “A crusade for freedom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation. For the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny . . . Our mission is to preserve freedom as well as peace.” Once again, libertarians are firm opponents of the freedom agenda.
The libertarian interpretation of a non-interventionist is someone who ignores the lessons of the 20th century. They wants to end America’s system of collective security, which probably would have avoided both World Wars I and II. Ron Paul and many libertarians advocate U.S. withdrawal from the UN, NATO, the World Trade Organization and practically every other international organization.
Despite all of the potential terrorists who have recently been captured, they wants to abolish the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. Libertarians acknowledge Afghanistan’s responsibility for 9/11 and in 1991 Ron Paul admitted Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, but in both instances they wanted to do nothing in response.
BLANSETT: I am not an isolationist. I think that the U.S. government has no business telling foreign countries, just like individual sovereign states and the U.S. citizenry what to do in their own country. We don’t respond to foreign countries telling us what to do, so don’t tell them what to do.
HILTON: So you thought it was wrong of the League of Nations in 1938 to pass a resolution condemning Nazi Germany for the persecution of its Jewish citizens? You thought it was wrong of the UN in 1988 to pass a resolution condemning Saddam Hussein for using chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds?
Your isolationist attitude completely repeals the UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Genocide Convention. I am glad gross human rights violations are not being ignored. America should not ignore all evil in the world.
The Bush administration was correct when America became the first nation to declare that the situation in Darfur was genocide. The United States was correct to take action against the ethnic cleaning in the former Yugoslavia. I am glad we told the Serbian dictator to stop the killing, close the rape camps and we had him arrested for the slaughter of 7,000 innocent women and children who were seeking refuge in a UN “Safe Haven.” Morality means nothing to the libertarians. All they can say is “solve your own problems.”
BLANSETT: I am no anti-semite. I am a Christianized Jew, goy. I am for our troops and would never turn my back on them. You obviously support those Republicans who would take away our guns, abort babies, shove national health insurance down our throats, take away our Bill of Rights, and allow for kids to be instructed in sodomy by teachers who’ve been vetted by North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Not me.
You probably support the Patriot Act but it doesn’t protect anyone. It makes it more difficult to find terrorists. If you lose your needle in one particular haystack, why would you look in all of the other? You wouldn’t and that is what it does.
The Department of Homeland Security should be abolished because it has made all of the problems in the Security Sector worse by creating more bureaucracy. The real reason you dislike libertarians is because we are Constitutionalists. The GOP can’t stand that.
HILTON: There are very few liberal Republicans left. The only ones I can think of are the two ladies from Maine and the Governor of California. Libertarians do not realize that national security must come first. We can never compromise the safety of the nation. We will recover from Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), but Ron Paul and the libertarians are a dagger in the heart of our national security interests.
You would never understand this because you oppose the Patriot Act. As recognized in the Declaration of Independence, the first responsibility of government is to preserve the lives and liberty of the people. Within the boundaries of the Constitution, the Patriot Act has been an enormous success in stopping the people who want to kill Americans on U.S. soil.
Because of this legislation for the first time the FBI and the CIA can work together. Various federal law enforcement agencies are now collecting and sharing information, and they have gained access to information and communications of terrorists that was not possible in the past.
Before the Patriot Act, the FBI and the CIA were prohibited from communicating. The legislation enabled the monitoring of conversations among multiple terror suspects more quickly and efficiently. It was necessary because terrorists often discontinue their phones lines or change cell phones frequently.
It gave law enforcement agencies permission to listen in on any phone being used by a terror suspect. Prior to the Patriot Act’s passage in October 2001, law enforcement could wiretap only a landline — and authorities needed to acquire separate court approvals for every phone line they tapped. The Patriot Act recognizes modern technology, and blackberries and disposable cell phones are no longer safe for them. Voicemail can be accessed through a search warrant rather than a court order.
In March of this year FBI director Robert Mueller said the Patriot Act was “exceptionally helpful.” Instead of providing a single example of the Patriot Act being misused, opponents make frightening, unsubstantiated claims that the Patriot Act is a virtual roll back of the First Amendment
BLANSETT: I agree with you that national security comes first. We must secure the Republic from all enemies. True, too true! I’ve seen too much combat to say otherwise. I oppose the Patriot Act for the reason that Americans shouldn’t be eavesdropped on by their own security apparatus. The Patriot Act is unconstitutional. That is what I’ve sworn to uphold and defend. All the bad things aside, I think you are a patriot like myself but misunderstand libertarians. I know that I did. If all they did was to catch the terrorists by listening in on their conversation, I might halfway agree. But they’re not.
HILTON: Your allegations regarding the Patriot Act are wrong, but I have often heard similar false statements from members of the Libertarian and Constitution Parties. They are claiming the Patriot Act allows the FBI to conduct unconstitutional activity by secretly recording telephone conversations and conducting searches when there is no probable cause of crime. This is nonsense.
A surveillance or search is ordered only if a court finds there is probable cause to believe the target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Another outrageous libertarian claim is that the Patriot Act subjects political organizations to surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and criminal action for political advocacy.
The Patriot Act was passed in 2001 and this has never happened. Greenpeace has never been investigated for “domestic terrorism” because of the Patriot Act. The truth is that the definition of “domestic terrorism” is extremely narrow. Individuals and groups would be eligible for surveillance under this definition only if they engage in criminal wrongdoing that could result in death. Law enforcement has to demonstrate their conduct is related to a specific terrorist related intent. The only people who should fear Patriot Act are terrorists.