Taken from comments on Susan Hogarth’s blog, here are George Phillies’ answers to Susan Hogarth’s questions to Bob Barr:
Support for the Libertarian Party and the libertarian message:
1. Why has the leadership PAC bearing your name continued to raise and distribute funds to support Republican congressional candidates in districts where a Libertarian either is or could be running even after you joined the LP’s governing board? Do you not consider recruiting and supporting Libertarian candidates to be an essential part of the LP leadership’s mission? Will your leadership PAC continue to support Republicans if you are selected as the LP’s presidential nominee?
My PACs contribute to real Libertarians. Freedom Ballot Access, the 527 organization that I lead, raised more than $18,000 for ballot access for Michael Badnarik. In addition, from 2000 through 2006, I published Let Freedom Ring and Libertarian Strategy Gazette, which between them cost around $3-4,000 to circulate beyond paid subscriptions, not counting an electronic readership far larger than the appermail readership. With Bonnie Scott, I generated the Liberarian Candidate Campaign Support disk, with about a thousand copies now in circulation among Libertarians across America. I’ve also spent close to $100,000 of my own money on my own campaign, including AdWards and Facebook campaigns that have generated more than 27 million impressions.
2. In a radio interview in Charlotte, NC this week, you indicated that Republicans should support you because your candidacy will bring out voters who are dejected by McCain, and will now vote for Republican candidates down-ballot. What will you do to promote Libertarian Party candidates down-ballot?
The most important thing Libertarians can do for the Libertarian Party is to kill off one of our opponent parties–the Republicans appear to be volunteering–so voters who believe in the two-party system view “Libertarian” as one of the two choices. By discouraging Republican voters from voting, so that all across America the Republican Party is as effective as it is right now in Massachusetts, we take a major step toward that end. Mind you, I would rathers realize that they are really libertariansm and positively choose our candidates, but I’ll take the smaller step of enying the Republicans their voters.
3. You have said that there are parts of the LP’s platform that you disagree with. Can you be specific? What parts of the LP’s platform do you agree with?
I am not seriously unhappy with our current platform. Gaps in the current platform need to be filled.
4. Why have you consistently sold yourself in interviews as ‘conservative’ rather than ‘libertarian’? Do you think that ‘libertarian’ and ‘conservative’ are the same thing?
“Conservative” is one of the three opposites to “libertarian”.My strategy is simple. The Nolan chart has four corners. We have a two-party first-past-the-post system. I want us to occupy one of the important corners. To do that, we need to reduce ‘conservative’ to one of the minor corners. To do that we convince voters that when they read ‘conservative’ they think ‘Bush Republican War Party’ and when they read ‘Republican’ they think ‘Bush conservative fruitcake war party’. We also minimize Republican strength among elected officials.
Questions about some of your antilibertarian votes in congress:
1. PATRIOT Act – you voted ‘for’ the Act. Would you vote the same way again? Do you think it was a mistake to trust the sunset provisions?
I oppose the Patriot Act.
2. Do you still support an anti-flag-desecration amendment to the constitution? How does this tie in with your ideas of federalism? How does it support individual liberty?
I condemn and reject the flag desecration amendment. Mind you, the thought of taking every politician wearing a flag lapel pin and arresting them for flag desecration is really amusing, but it is not libertarian.
3. DOMA – you have indicated that DOMA was an exercise in federalism (devolving power to the states), but this does not explain the part of DOMA that defines marriage federally as man-woman only. Do you stand by this definition? In your state, would you support a government definition of marriage as man-woman only?
DOMA is an abomination in the sight of the Founding Fathers. I am happy to live in one of the two states that allow gay as well as straight people to marry.
4. You voted for the Medicare Part D prescription drug boondoggle while in congress. Do you stand by this vote, or repudiate it?
Vote for a program that raises two trillion dollars in income to cover ten trillion dollars in expenditures? You’d have to be an idiot to do that. Unsurprisingly, the Republican wastrel spendthrift party did just that.
1. You talk about reducing U.S. military bases overseas, but not necessarily closing them. How many foreign countries do you think the U.S. needs to have military personnel in?
I would close the overwhelming bulk of our vast array of military bases in Europe and the Middle East. The Cold War is over. We should collect on the peace dividend.
Having said that, there are a few peculiar special cases not related to shutting down the warfare state. For example, we have active antipiracy ship patrols that actually get to shoot at real pirates. The air defenses of our 50 states include radar units in foreign countries. Our coastal naval defenses have similar issues. Our embassy guards have always been Marines.
2. Would you support an immediate end to the Afghanistan occupation? How long, as President, would you tolerate U.S. troops continuing to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan?
I would direct that the occupation of Iraq come to a prompt end. Moving a vast tonnage of equipment and supplies out of Iraq into friendly Kuwait will require a few months, not a few days. The actual troop movement at the end is far faster. Getting everything through Kuwait port and shipped home is the bottleneck. However, unlike several of my Libertarian opponents, I reject moving out more quickly by leaving large amounts of equipment or supplies behind.
We should inform the Afghan government that we will be leaving in a few months, that we will promptly be ceasing combat operations against other Afghani political factions, and that they will now be responsible for their own affairs.
There may be a small number of Afghani and Iraqi political leaders who will want to take political asylum abroad, and we should facilitate their travels.
3. You have made some welcome movement toward the idea of legalizing medical marijuana in a few cases, and have pointed to the Drug War as an issue where there should be greater state control. Aside from the federalism issue, do you support prohibition of marijuana (for any use) at the state level? Would you stand with Libertarian state-level candidates as a champion of ending prohibition?
The war on drugs has been a spectacular and expensive failure. It’s turned millions of Americans into felons. The racist war on drugs selectively disenfranchises huge numbers of African-American men–and that’s a major reason why Republicans support the War on Drugs. Even if the war on drugs were working, which it is not, we can’t afford it. Ask high school students: Which is it easier to get in school: Beer or pot? As my parents said when I was a little boy, prohibition was a total failure, and no one will ever be stupid enough to try it again. We should follow their sound advice.
4. You have indicated that you support the idea of federal government resources being routed to South America to support governments that are allies of the U.S. government’s Drug War. Why would you support this sort of interventionism in the name of prohibition abroad? How does this tie in with your idea of federalism?
I oppose American intervention in South America. Period. Full stop.
5. You have indicated that you support the idea of economic sanctions against Iran as a sort of diplomacy. Sanctions strengthen dictatorships and punish citizens of both nations. Why would you support this sort of interventionism abroad and at home?
I support having normal relations with Iran. Yes, five decades ago we did overthrow their democratically-elected government. Yes, three decades ago their students did capture our embassy. The people responsible for those acts are mostly dead of old age. They answer to a higher judge. It’s time to move beyond the past and have open trade and diplomatic relations with the Iranians.
6. Why do you support instituting an entirely new FEDERAL tax on Americans (national sales tax)? Is this the type of ‘federalism’ (or devolution of government power to the states) we can expect from you (i.e. a federalism of convenience)?
I am going to Washington to shrink government, not to give bureaucrats new ideas for more ways to empty your wallets. I will veto a major new tax on the American people.
7. You wrote ” Until all governments are willing to take a unified front to confront this problem, it is the duty of the federal government to secure our borders from criminals, terrorists and those seeking to take advantage of the American taxpayer.” Most terrorists, criminals, and freeloaders do not declare themselves as such at the border. How do you propose to separate the vast majority of people who want to come to the U.S. to labor honestly from these undesirables? Do you favor open immigration for all people who wish to come to the U.S. and who are not terrorists, criminals, or freeloaders?
I believe we should continue to welcome people who want to move to America. I have listed bad features of our immigration system that should be fixed. Unlike several ‘libertarian’ Republicans, I particularly welcome students from ‘terrorist’ countries, because there are few better ways to spread our subversive American message of Liberty than to infect their students with it.
I would remove the foreign terrorist threat by striking at its roots. We should stop invading foreign countries, stop propping up their tyrants, and stop giving foreign aid. When we do, the supposed terrorist threat will fade away.
I view border security as an indicator of our success. When the Libertarian message has triumphed, so that people around the world are as free and prosperous as they are in the United States, no one will care about border security, and these questions will vanish, just as they have vanished between Belgium and the Netherlands.