Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

February 22, 2007

Meet Michael Charles Smith

by Stephen Littau

If the 2008 presidential campaign wasn’t about electing the first woman, African American, Hispanic, or Mormon president but rather about ideas, candidates like Ron Paul might have a fighting chance to be the next president. For the purposes of this post, I’ll pretend that this race is about ideas.

Ron Paul seems to be a fan favorite here at The Liberty Papers. I also have a great deal of admiration for Ron Paul. I hope that he draws a great deal of attention in the debates so that certain libertarian issues will be discussed that the G.O.P. front runners wouldn’t touch with a 10’ pole. As far as domestic issues go, I think Paul is right on the money…its some (but not all) of his foreign policy positions I have problems with (the same problems I generally have with the Libertarian Party platform in regard to foreign policy). More specifically, Ron Paul’s inability to understand the very real threats to the U.S. by Islamofascists makes it very difficult for me to endorse him or pull the lever for him.

So what is a liberty and small government minded person who also recognizes the threats of Islamofascim to do? The G.O.P. front runners (Giuliani, McCain, Romney, etc.) all seem to want to combat these threats but will also most likely continue to grow the government in much the same way as President Bush has. Ron Paul would work to decrease the size of government and restore some of our lost liberties but would cut and run in Iraq and leave America vulnerable (as would most if not all of the Democrats who are running). No good can come from a defeat in Iraq. There is at least one candidate who is perhaps even less well known than Ron Paul that might be a reasonable compromise between the G.O.P. front runners and Ron Paul; meet Oregon Republican Michael Charles Smith.

For those of you who are looking for the perfect presidential candidate, I have some bad news: there is no perfect candidate. But as I went through the list of things I am looking for in a candidate, Michael Charles Smith is about as close as I can find who reflects my views. Smith is not your typical Republican and certainly won’t be receiving any support from the Christian Right. Smith calls himself a “fiscal conservative” and “social libertarian.” By fiscal conservative he means that federal spending should only be used for functions specifically mandated in the U.S. Constitution (what a concept!), federal taxing and spending should be reduced in favor of state and local control, and the federal income tax should be abolished and replaced with the Fair Tax. By Social libertarian he means that he is pro choice, that illicit drugs should be de-felonized (not a complete withdraw from the war on drugs but a start), and that gays should have the same rights of marriage and be able to openly serve in the military.

In matters of war and peace Smith was opposed to going to war in Iraq but does not believe the troops should leave until the job is done. Though I did support the reasons for going to war with Iraq and continue to support the war, the president and the congress did not use the constitutional approach and was therefore; reckless and possibly illegal (I’ll leave that up to the lawyers to decide). Smith, on the other hand, actually believes the founders had it right in the first place. Smith explains:

Fundamentally, our approach to military engagement should be reset. The threshold for military commitment should be stringently limited to specific threats to Americans, not American “interests.” Any extended commitment of military force should require a formal declaration of war from the Congress. Discretionary commitments and preemptive justifications are too prone to political motivations and lack sufficient checks and balances.

Let’s honor the sacrifice of those who volunteer to protect our freedom by not carelessly putting them in harm’s way.

While I don’t think Smith would be as strong of a leader in the war on Islamofascism as Giuliani, at least Smith seems to recognize both external and internal threats to liberty in the United States. Most importantly, he wants to restore what he calls “constitutional integrity” by returning to a smaller government, less spending, returning more responsibility to the states, restoring the Bill of Rights by upholding church/state separation, civil liberties, and state’s rights.

Obviously, the chances of Michael Charles Smith being the next POTUS is a long shot (lack of campaign funds, name recognition, the MSM, the G.O.P. establishment, etc.) at best. He probably will not even qualify for the early primaries. Though I’m not prepared to give Smith my endorsement at this moment, I think he deserves some careful consideration by those of us with libertarian leanings. How great would that be to have not one but two ‘true’ Republicans in the Republican debates with the likes of Rudolf Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Duncan Hunter? Is it possible that perhaps one of the front runners might adopt some of the Smith and Paul platforms? In this 2008 beauty contest, this is probably the best we can hope for.

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  • http://www.smithforpresident.com/ Michael Smith

    Thanks for taking notice. Although my odds at the White House are slim, my hope is to get on the ballot in several states and pick up a few delegates to the national convention. My views probably don’t reflect the socially conservative majority of the Republican Party, but I think a significant block will support my traditional conservative view of government restraint. If I can take that message to the convention, with a delegate or two for credibility, I hope the Party will take note.

  • SteveB

    What about Smith and Paul getting together? That would be the RLC (Republican Liberty Caucus–Libertarians in Republican clothing, basically) dreamteam.

    I am a firm Ron Paul supporter, although I do not in any way think that we should simply ‘run away.’ I view him as the lesser evil. I wrote a comment on the RLC egroup which sums up my feelings on the issue.
    We were talking about the critera to use to decide if we were to give a candidate our endorsement. One member suggested that we disqualify anyone who voted ‘No’ on the (non-binding) Resolution to condemn the ‘troop serge’–although he qualified it with the disclaimer that it should not be a litmus test issue. Here is what I replied:

    A little background:

    October 10, 2002, H J RES 114 To Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq

    February 16, 2007, H CON RES 63 House Non-binding Resolution ‘Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.’

    The following voted YES on RES 63:

    *Castle (DE)
    *Coble (NC)
    *Davis, Tom (VA)
    Duncan (TN)
    *English (PA)
    *Gilchrest (MD)
    ^Inglis (SC)
    *Johnson (IL)
    *Jones (NC)
    *Keller (FL)
    *Kirk (IL)
    *LaTourette (OH)
    Paul (TX)
    *Petri (WI)
    *Ramstad (MN)
    *Upton (MI)
    *Walsh (NY)

    Those in *Bold voted YES on RES 114.
    Those in Normal voted NO on RES 114.
    Those in ^Italics were not in Congress at the time of RES 114.

    I share your feelings that this should not be a ‘litmus test’ issue. I don’t think you will get a broad consensus across the RLC that political pandering by our elected representatives is a good test. I do not think that Ron Paul is pandering…he has been anti-war from the beginning. I know little of John Duncan, but at the least he is consistent. He could possibly be as principled as Ron Paul.
    Bob Inglis is a complete unknown, so is ‘out of scope’ for this issue.
    The rest are simply panderers: If they really wanted out they would do as John Conyers suggested, and pass a binding resolution–and then de-fund the war. (Conyers voted NO on RES 114/YES on RES 63, by the way.)
    Those who voted yes/yes, are actually worse than panderers–at least in this retired military person’s mind–since you do not send troops over to fight and die to protect the interests of the United States, and then, start saying that the deaths of 3,000 or so of their comrades were in vain. They are willing to risk life and limb because they believe they are doing good. War is scary. It takes total dedication and commitment. A single hesitation or doubt can not just get a soldier killed, but a lot of his buddies, too. 
    They also fight to win. Not to a draw, Not to a whimpering withdrawal because the political will here at home is flagging. One of the reasons they fight to win, is that they know for certain that if the enemy is not defeated and disarmed, he will be back with a vengeance.
    The American people–with the complicity of the press–have let this be turned into a war on the terrorist’s terms. Think about it: Terrorism is by definition an Psychological Warfare tactic. Its only intent is to modify the targets behavior to a behavior that is more amenable to the terrorist’s goals. They cannot defeat us on the battlefield. They can only defeat us by destroying our will to fight.
    They are most adept at Psychological Warfare. Vietnam demonstrated to the world that one of the greatest weaknesses of a Constitutional Republic such as ours–with near instantaneous, widespread domestic availability of information from around the globe–is to propaganda. The North Vietnamese lost on the battlefield but won the strategic war of wills. 
    The only way the enemy can win is if we quit fighting. Our troops won’t quit; they know this stuff. But the enemy will know that terrorism works to attain their goals. So they will use it MORE. Not less. Combatants abandon tactics that do not work; they only continue to use tactics which do work. Since warfare of any sort always involves limited resources, the combatants even abandon less successful methods for more successful methods.
    If the American people had simply ignored all the anti-war propaganda, this war might well be over and done with by now.
    I personally was very ‘iffy’ on this war before it began–I am very much a non-interventionist–but now that we are in it and committed, I know we cannot stop until we win. I, like most in the military, do not like the war, but it must be finished. And we must win.
    Those who ‘voted for it, before they voted for being against it’ should NOT be endorsed by the RLC since they are either a) stupid for not understanding the realities of the situation, or, b) nothing more than con artists on the public dole.

    Yours in Liberty,

    –Steve
    sjburden@tampabay.rr.com

  • http://libertarianwiki.org/User:Thane_Eichenauer Thane Eichenauer

    The FairTax is a trojan horse.

    The problem is too much government which the FairTax proposal addresses not at all. The problem is not that sales tax is % better than the income tax.

    http://www.jpfo.org/fairtax.htm

  • SteveB

    Jeez,

    Just found two more typo’s: a v an, and no possessive on target’s.

    I will get this right eventually!

  • Carl Deen

    Let’s see if I understand the author. Without provocation, much like Germany did to Poland, the USA invaded Iraq, a country that was no threat to us; however, because, we did, we cannot admit our mistakes and withdraw. I suppose, by that reasoning, we must stay there forever at a cost of $500 billion and the lives of several hundred solders a year.

    According to the author, Islam is a threat to us; therefore, we must attack and meddle in their affairs. It doesn’t occur to the author that if you attack and meddle in their affairs, you make more enemies than if you leave them alone.

    Oh, I forgot; they hate us for our freedoms. Therefore, by using the war as reasons to turn the USA into a police state, they will stop hating us because we will have lost our remaining freedoms.

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