Interview with Libertarian Presidential Candidate Wayne Allyn Rootby Stephen Littau
Liberty Papers: I’m here with Libertarian Presidential Candidate Wayne Allyn Root and Cornelius Swart of The Portland Sentinel
Portland Sentinel: Okay, so how did you feel about yesterday’s debate based on the rankings?
Root: I don’t think that really had anything to do with it. This is a very different crowd. The debate was not the same crowd as what’s going to be at tonight’s debate. That debate was all the more liberal candidates of the Libertarian Party.
I was the only candidate that is perceived as a conservative that had the chutzpah to show up and face down that crowd and I think they loved it. And I think I will be everyone’s second and third choice in that room. In matter of fact I know I’ll be lots of first choices, I got a whole bunch of tokens there but more importantly I have everybody’s second and third choices and that’s what’s going to win this nomination. No one’s going to win it on the first ballot.
Its going to be won more between the second and the sixth through eighth ballot. And I believe the likeability factor as a second or third choice of conservative Libertarian delegates will absolutely determine the final one. I’m very confident that I’m everybody’s second or third choice, because I’m friendly with everybody and I’m a good guy. And I think that’s very important. I know the issues, I’m the best communicator by far, I’m the best guy to put on national TV. I can put a positive face on this party’s vision and image.
I think everyone knows now for sure that I’m in no way, shape, or form [that I] am really the conservative candidate. I’m actually a moderate, mainstream, Libertarian who’s both right and left. I’m not threatening anyone to the left. I think before last night there were a lot of people who weren’t quite sure which camp I was in. Maybe they were worried I was in Bob Barr’s camp but its pretty obvious I’m not.
Portland Sentinel: How are you different from Bob Barr’s positions?
Root: Well, lets start with a different issue because, I’m not being a typical politician trying to dodge your question but I really mean this. It’s not issues that are going to determine the race. It’s going to be personality that determines the race. And that’s the most important thing you should look at besides the issues. I’m not saying the issues aren’t important but personality is 60% and issues are 40%.
Personality, the proof of that I’ll give you great examples from both the right and the left.
From the right: Barry Goldwater was the original founder of libertarian thought. Lot’s of the people in this party were disciples of Barry Goldwater in ’71 when this [Libertarian] party was founded. They based it on his philosophy. Now I know that there’s also Ayn Rand, Murry Rothbard, and it goes on and on, but the founders of this party, that circle were all Barry Goldwater disciples. Barry Goldwater was a great guy with a great message but he lost in a landslide. Sixteen years later Ronald Reagan took the same message and won in a landslide. Same message.
On the left: George McGovern had a liberal message and lost in a landslide. All these years later, who has the exact same message as George McGovern? Barack Obama, the most popular politician in America. He happens to be my college classmate, class of ‘83 at Columbia University. Barack has a great personality.
So whether you are from the left or the right you have to grudgingly admit it has nothing to do with the message it is the sales ability of the messenger. We are a nation that likes to hear positive message. Ronald Reagan would say things in a positive way and Barack Obama says a liberal message in the most positive way I have ever heard. Most liberals speak in a negative, angry, way. Barack Obama speaks in a happy positive way. He’s the Ronald Reagan of liberals and I’m the Ronald Reagan of libertarians. I did great at every part of the debate except when I brought up Reagan’s name. Mike Gravel went into a tirade about Reagan and blah, blah, blah.
He totally misrepresented my words! I went out of my way to say “I’m not talking about Ronald Reagan’s politics.” I’m not saying I defended what he did in office. I’m just saying that as a communicator, you have to grudgingly admit that the guy was fantastic and that’s the reason he won. It had nothing to do with his views, America liked him.
That’s my message. I can be the Ronald Reagan of this party. Not to say I agree with all of his politics, forget about the politics. Maybe I’ll want to change that for this crowd: I could be the Barack Obama of this party.
Liberty Papers: But are your policies the same no matter what your crowd is?
Root: My policy doesn’t change no matter what the crowd is. I tell it like it is. I mean look at last night. Every person in the Libertarian Party tries to tell me that we should have open borders. That would be fantastic if we could eliminate welfare, aid to dependant children, and Social Security and the other thousand myriad of things that people want to get from hardworking taxpayers. But, that is not the case. We cannot have open borders because we can’t allow that. For the time being, we can get an elimination of welfare for illegal immigrants. Until that day comes, where an immigrant can sign a paper saying “I’m coming to America and I’m willing to work as hard as can be and I won’t ask for any government aid or assistance.”
If they can do that, I can open up the borders to everyone in the world cause immigrants are the life blood of America. I love them. But until that day, we have to seal that border, secure the border, and make sure that the millions crossing the border that wants Social Security – that’s going to bankrupt this country. It’s a realistic answer.
I also went out of my way to say for those who are already here and committed the crime and yet I’m willing for them all to become citizens and give them a pathway to citizenship. I think that’s the right way to approach it. We just cannot allow the 15 million who are already here to become 45 million if they want welfare and Social Security. We won’t make it as a country unless you want tax rates of 90%. It doesn’t makes sense based on what libertarians want.
Libertarians say they want no government, or smaller government, lower taxes, no spending and let all immigrants in. Those two don’t make any sense at all unless you believe that no immigrants want welfare. That’s ridiculous! Because what statistics show is…
Liberty Papers: [Interrupting] Americans want welfare.
Root: Americans want welfare, that’s one. Number two, as soon as immigrants get here, I agree a lot of them are so hard working they have too much pride to accept welfare for about five years until they are taught by Americans that it’s no big deal and then they’ll want it.
In Las Vegas, where I’m from it’s a total lie to say they don’t want it. In Vegas, where I’m from I believe the number is 60% of every student in the Vegas school system gets free lunch and free breakfast and speak Spanish as the first language. Where do they get off saying they don’t get government assistance? That’s a total, complete lie. It’s a fabrication.
Liberty Papers: And we all do to some degree. It would be very hard to – most of us send our kids to government schools, we get loans from the government for college.
Root: I never count that. I would say that I’m the only guy – the only thing I’ve ever done that involves government assistance is to get a loan. But I paid it back. Once you it back with interest, that’s not government help, that’s like a bank loan.
Sentinel: Are you against public schools?
Root: I’m for them, not against them but I’m for choice. I’m for anyone having the right to take their property taxes into a voucher and decide whether they want home schooling, public school, private school, charter school, or parochial school. We should have a choice. I think the number one issue of my campaign other than making government smaller, and taxes lower is education. I’m the education guy.
Sentinel: What do you think of Gravel? Is he a libertarian?
Root: I don’t think Gravel is a libertarian in any way, shape, or form. I think he’s a big government liberal Democrat.
Liberty Papers: What do you make of his…
Root: [Interrupts] He wants ballot access [the "National Initiative"].
Liberty Papers: Yeah, okay I was going to ask you about that.
Root: He wants ballot access. Here’s the greatest argument for the Libertarian Party. Let me give you a right argument vs. a left argument. No matter if you’re a right or a left libertarian; this year masquerading as a Republican conservative, there are millions and millions of Reagan, Goldwater, conservatives who are available to vote Libertarian. They would vote for me or they would vote for Bob Barr by the way. On the left, there is no strategy that will allow us to track left voters. None. Because, Barack Obama is the most charismatic dynamic individual on the left and the people who think there is are dreaming. They are kidding themselves!
Now let me give you some proof that no ones brought up. Mike Gravel presents the anti-war message and he sat on the same dais as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the Democratic debates. Hillary Clinton got millions of votes and Barack Obama got millions of votes, and Mike Gravel got 26,000. No one is mentioning this. His message is a dramatic failure for Democratic voters.
So where does he think he can take votes away from Barack Obama? Its impossible. He proved it
Liberty Papers: There’s this one thing you said that really intrigued me. I’ve never heard anybody discuss this before: impounding.
Root: Yes, impoundment. Thomas Jefferson was the first who decided to or invented the idea of – the United States Congress said “lets spend $50,000 on a Navy.” Jefferson said “I’m going to impound the money because I don’t believe its authorized by the Constitution.
Since then, almost no president has ever tried it. Richard Nixon tried it on one federal program when he was in the middle of Watergate. He tried to impound the money but it was challenged in front of the Supreme Court. He lost based on one argument: executive power. I would make the argument that the oath of office that it’s the President of the United States – puts his hand on the Bible and says “I will uphold the Constitution.” I will seize it, impound it, and give it back to the taxpayers.
Liberty Papers: Now this is even if your veto is overridden, you can still do that?
Root: Correct. That’s my point. First you veto then it gets overridden you try impoundment. Then your going to have to go to the Supreme Court, let’s face it, and see how they rule. I would argue it’s not based on executive power but merely my responsibility to uphold the law. I cannot break the law.
Liberty Papers: And if that doesn’t work?
Root: We can say we tried.
Go to Wayne Allyn Root Campaign website to learn more about the candidate.