Harry Browne's Campaign Journal August 2000
Tuesday, August 1, 2000 Santa Clara, California
The day begins early at 6:05am with a 15-minute interview with Doug Stephan on the Radio America network. He calls himself a libertarian and spends several minutes explaining why he thinks a Libertarian vote makes the most sense. We talk about the fact that the listeners as taxpayers have paid for this week's Republican convention.
Later in the morning Steve Willis and I go to the San Francisco Examiner. We have an interview with James A. Finefrock, editor of the editorial page. We're joined in a conference room by columnist Scott Winokur, reporter Jim Healey, and Lynn Myers Berger, a member of the editorial board. The Examiner is supposed to be the less liberal of the two San Francisco dailies, but this group is unable to imagine a world without government watching over every corner of our lives. The discussion is almost entirely ideological, and I can imagine what kind of article (if any) will result from it. As always, I leave thinking that one national TV show is worth a hundred newspaper interviews.
Steve, Michael, and I drive to San Jose. On the way I have a phone interview with Maya Suryaraman of the San Jose Mercury News. She's writing an article on the campaign for tomorrow's paper, and wants to know about our fund-raiser event tonight in Santa Clara.
When we get to San Jose, we head for the Mercury News, where I have an interview with editorial writers Philip Yost and Joanne Jacobs. The atmosphere is much friendlier than at the Examiner. None of my ideas shock these people, and they're also interested in such things as how we hope to get attention.
When we check into the hotel, I have a brief phone interview with John Kelly at KLIV in San Francisco, who is taping the conversation for airing later. He is quite friendly.
Next I spend about 45 minutes with Hillary Johnson, who is preparing an article on the campaign for Worth Magazine. She interviewed me at convention time in Los Angeles and Anaheim. She is following up with more questions, and has brought a photographer with her from Los Angeles. She says the magazine is interested in knowing more about my investment philosophy and how it ties in with my politics. As usual, when I'm asked personal questions, I try to answer in political terms.
In the evening, we have a fund-raiser at the hotel. Around 80 people show up and the proceeds are a little over $12,000 an unusually good result for the size of the audience. Hillary Johnson is there, and her photographer takes about a hundred photos while I'm speaking. Afterward, John Webster tapes a 10-minute interview with me for his Free & Clear program on KKUP in Santa Clara.
Today the Rasmussen Poll shows that in Georgia I'm running ahead of Pat Buchanan and close behind Ralph Nader. This is an indication of how valuable our Atlanta event was last week. It isn't just that 550 people attended but the press was there, it was well reported, and it inspired people to support what they really believe in. The Georgia figures:
George W. Bush, 42.0%
Wednesday, August 2, 2000 San Diego
We catch an early-morning flight to San Diego, eat lunch, and check into a hotel.
A camera crew arrives from KGTV, channel 10, the local ABC affiliate. Maya Nieshikawa interviews me for a 1-minute clip on this evening's news. She promises to give the details of this evening's event on the air. She asks three times why I bother to run if I have so little chance to win. I keep pointing out that you have to lay the groundwork first, and if we don't start doing that until we're sure to win, we'll never get government out of our lives. She's unfamiliar with Libertarians, but when I mention Richard Rider the Libertarian who is the best-known anti-tax advocate in the area the cameraman says, "He's saved me a lot of money."
The interview is played on the evening news, and then repeated all night long on channel 15, a sister station of the "headline news" variety.
I have a 5-minute taped phone interview with Ian Rose on the local Westwood One radio network. He will put some soundbites on news broadcasts on radio stations in this area and plug this evening's event.
That's followed immediately by a half-hour phone interview with John Wood of WRCW in Akron. Before we go on the air he mentions that he watched our convention on C-SPAN and was very impressed. He also saw me on the Washington Journal show on C-SPAN the next day. He says that a woman called and asked what I would do to protect children from pornography on the Internet. I said, "Either you take responsibility for your children or you turn the job over to politicians like Bill Clinton. I think you'll do a better job." John says he was hooked at that point. The interview itself is a lovefest, as he is very supportive and urges his listeners to take the ideas seriously.
Our evening fund-raiser draws about 90 people, but the fund-raising total is less than normal. However, the speech goes well and channel 10 and channel 61 are there to cover it. After the event is finished, Raoul Lowery Contreras of channel 61 tapes a 10-minute TV interview with Richard Rider and me.
Thursday, August 3, 2000 Irvine, California
I have a 20-minute phone interview with Amy Glenn of KTBB in Tyler, Texas. She is very friendly and very small-government minded. I mention that I saw a soundbite on the news of Colin Powell addressing the Republican convention, in which he said, "Our children are the future of America" to which Amy responds, "Duhhh what an original thought!"
The subject of education comes up, and I ask the listeners, "Do you really believe that if George Bush or Al Gore is elected President that your child's school will be significantly better in any important way next year or the year after?" Amy thinks that's a good point.
A caller says she will vote for me if I promise that Al Gore won't get elected. Amy says, "If you vote for George Bush, Al Gore still might be elected." I ask the woman calling whether she wants smaller government or government to continue growing. She says she wants much smaller government. I say that you must then realize that no Republican or Democrat is going to do anything to make government smaller, and the first step toward smaller government is to stop supporting the people who are making government larger. If you vote for George Bush, you are endorsing all his plans to expand the federal government's role in education, step up the Drug War, and burrow the federal government more deeply into health care. Only if you vote Libertarian will it be unmistakable that you want smaller government. Amy jumps on this point and says, "That's right! He won't care what your reason is, he'll figure you're endorsing his call for more government. Only a Libertarian vote would send the message you want."
It looks like we've found a new friend.
Michael, Steve, and I drive north to Irvine in Orange County, and check into the hotel. Steve and I then proceed to the Orange County Register probably the most libertarian daily newspaper in America. There we meet with three of the editorial writers Cathy Taylor, Alan Bock, and John Seiler. The conversation is very friendly and supportive almost the exact opposite of my hour with the editors of the San Francisco Examiner on Tuesday. They ask how much I hope to be able to achieve this year, what kind of reception I'm getting, and other strategic questions as well as questions on specific issues. I'm pleased to see all three of them taking extensive notes.
Immediately afterward I go into a studio in the same building for a 30-minute TV interview with Leslie Leyton of the Orange County News Channel. It's a taping for a show to be broadcast on the weekend a few weeks away. She is very friendly and tells me that her husband is a Libertarian fan.
Back at the hotel I have a 10-minute phone interview with Larry Elder of KABC, Los Angeles, who's broadcasting from the Republican convention in Philadelphia. It gives me a chance to plug tonight's event in Irvine. He, I, and a caller all agree that the Republicans are nothing more than Democrats in drag, promoting bigger federal programs in their convention speeches.
I have a 30-minute phone interview with Melissa McDonald on the Tennessee Radio Network, covering 85 stations. She is very friendly, making it a premise of the interview that what we're trying to achieve is obviously desirable. She allows me to plug the candidate event we'll be having in Nashville this Saturday.
Hal Eisner of KCOP, channel 13 in Los Angeles, brings a cameraman to our fund-raiser in Irvine. He begins taping in my room as I'm typing these words. Then we turn on the TV to George Bush's acceptance speech. He and I sit on the edge of the bed and discuss the speech as the camera records our words. I point out the arrogance of George Bush's remarks. When he calls for "prosperity with a purpose," he's saying you aren't allowed to be prosperous unless you use your prosperity for the purpose he thinks best that everything must be managed by George Bush to serve his ideas of what is good for the nation for the Fatherland, in other words.
I also point out that the convention audience isn't cheering George Bush because they believe he's going to improve America. They're cheering because they think he's going to win the Big Game for them, after their having lost the last two games. For Republican and Democratic activists, it's no longer a case of what's good for America, but whatever they think it will take to win the election.
Then the cameraman tapes me heading downstairs to the evening fund-raiser. He tapes the first few minutes of my speech for a program to be broadcast later this evening or tomorrow. I have no idea what will finally show up on the screen.
The fund-raiser itself is well-attended with about a hundred people who are very enthusiastic. The fund-raising goes well. Art Olivier gives a nice speech and then introduces me. Later we introduce the dozen or so Libertarian candidates in attendance.
Friday, August 4, 2000 in Transit
This morning I have a one-hour interview with Tony Trupiano, guest-hosting for Armstrong Williams on the Talk America Radio Network. He is very complimentary, comparing my convention acceptance speech favorably with George Bush's. Tony has become a good friend of Libertarians as have so many talk-show hosts. We need to help them by calling into talk shows, calling attention to Libertarian solutions to topics of the day, labeling those solutions as Libertarian, and urging people to vote for me and for Libertarians all up and down the ticket.
In the afternoon, I catch a plane to Nashville, arriving late in the evening.
Today Bobbie Battista on CNN's Talk Back Live! show says, "I had to read this e-mail from Carl, who said that, If the Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne had one tenth the coverage of Bush-Gore, he would be 100 times as popular as they are now, especially among unregistered voters.'"
Bobbie goes on to say, "Carl, if you're a regular watcher of Talkback, you know that we had Harry Browne on last week for almost the whole hour. And you know what? it was one of the highest rated shows we had that week."
Saturday, August 5, 2000 Nashville
Today the Tennessee LP has a "Meet the candidates" event at a convention center in nearby Smyrna. State chairman Richard Pearl has organized it and done an excellent job. About a dozen Libertarian candidates for federal, state, and local offices are there, and around 200 people wander in and out during the 3-hour event. I give a 20-minute speech and the other candidates give shorter speeches. There are a number of new people in attendance, brought in by their Libertarian friends.
Sunday, August 6, 2000 Nashville
Today Rasmussen Research reports that yesterday's poll has me dead even nationally with Pat Buchanan:
George Bush, 48.0%
Jim Rongstad emails the website to say that Tony Snow on Fox News Sunday interviewed Pat Buchanan today and pointed out that Buchanan isn't outpolling Libertarian Harry Browne, even though Buchanan has much higher name recognition.
The polling numbers will fluctuate, and I may go above or below Buchanan. But it's significant that I'm doing as well as two very well-known celebrities who get extensive news coverage.
Now is the time to capitalize on our growing popularity. We need to raise more money to step up our advertising coverage, generate more events that are truly news, get more national TV appearances, increase the number of requests people send to talk shows and pollsters to include me, write more letters to the editors, and have more people calling into talk shows to point out that Libertarians want to free listeners from the intrusions of government.
We're moving up, but the movement will stop the moment we do.
Monday, August 7, 2000 Little Rock
Before catching a plane, I have a half-hour phone interview at 7am with Pete Ferrand at WNTK-FM in New London, Connecticut. He seems to know little about the Libertarian Party or me, but he also seems genuinely sympathetic to the ideas once they're presented to him. When I mention that in six years of doing interviews, I haven't come across anyone who can point to a single government program that has actually delivered what was promised for it, he replies that there's the National Weather Service and then adds, "even though it doesn't do as good a job as private industry would." (Strangely, whenever I ask for an example of a government program that actually works, about the only answer I ever get is the National Weather Service.)
On the way to Little Rock, I change planes in Memphis. Walking through the terminal, a stranger smiles at me and says "Hello." This is becoming a lot more common now. A few days ago, a man in another airport called to me, "Good luck, Harry!" On the airport subway in Atlanta, a man asked to have his picture taken with me. Nothing like this happened prior to the LP convention, but now it's happening more and more frequently.
As I get off the plane in Little Rock, my cell phone rings with a call from Joshua Weinstein, a reporter at the Portland (Maine) Press-Herald. He's writing a story to appear in advance of my appearance there Sunday afternoon. He sounds young and quite friendly to what we're doing (but you never know with a reporter). He's very careful to make sure I get a chance to say whatever I think is important, and he says he'll provide all the details of our Sunday event in his article. (The article will appear later in the week, and it does plug the fund-raiser and provide an accurate picture of our message.)
After arriving at the hotel, I have a 30-minute interview with George Putnam at KIEV in Los Angeles. I can remember living in L.A. and seeing George delivering the TV evening news in the late 1950s and thereafter. He's been a fixture in L.A. for decades always ending his broadcasts pointing to the flag and saying, "Here's to a better and stronger America." He's interviewed me before, but not in several years.
Today his voice sounds older, but the Putnam personality is still there. And a wave of nostalgia engulfs me as he asks questions, making it a little harder to focus on my answers.
He and a caller both say they agree with everything I'm saying, except about the Drug War. The caller says he will support Libertarians at the polls only when we have a chance to win; in the meantime, a vote for me is a vote for Al Gore. I say "No, a vote for me is a vote for freedom, while a vote for George W. Bush is a vote for big government. You know and I know that two years after George Bush is elected (if he is), your child's school will be no safer or more educational, health care will be no cheaper, no more effective, no more accessible, no more user-friendly. In fact nothing will have changed at all except the government will be bigger. So why would you want to endorse that with your vote?"
Soon after the Putnam interview, I'm on the phone for a scheduled half-hour with Ray Lincoln at KARN in Little Rock to plug this evening's personal appearance. A mix-up about who was to call whom causes the interview to start ten minutes late. But I do get to plug the evening's event and we cover a number of issues in a hurry.
Ray asks what I think about Al Gore's selection of Sen. Joe Lieberman to be his running mate. I say that I hate to sound like a broken record, but all Republican and Democratic politicians are cut from the same cloth; they all believe they know how you should live your life for the benefit of the Fatherland.
In the evening we have a fund-raiser at the hotel. More than a hundred people show up, and they are very enthusiastic. I tell them I'm particularly happy to be here because Arkansas was one of only 12 states I didn't campaign in during the last election, and one of only 16 states I haven't visited this time. The fund-raising goes quite well, and it's obvious that Arkansas is on its way to becoming one of our stronger states.
There are two reporters there. One is Michael Rowett of the Democrat-Gazette, the state's largest newspaper. He interviews me before the event and then stays through the speech. (His article in the next day's paper is quite informative, reporting accurately the main points of my speech. It begins by saying I "contended that [I'm] the only candidate who doesn't want to tell Americans how to run their lives.")
The other reporter is from one of the city's TV stations. He takes scrupulous notes, but I never find out what he says on the air.
The event is certainly a success, and Matthew Richard, Gerhard Langguth, and Karl Kimble have done a terrific job getting a good crowd out. But they're not finished. They also help line up some good media appearances for tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 8, 2000 Little Rock
The day begins at 7:10 with a 10-minute phone interview with Gary Christopher at WLIS in Saybrook, Connecticut, and WMRD in nearby Middletown. The interview is to provide soundbites for news broadcasts, and it allows me to plug our event there this Thursday. In the brief time we have, Gary asks the three most important questions: What do I hope to achieve by running? Why will I be in Connecticut? And why should someone vote Libertarian?
I then have a 20-minute phone conversation with Tommy Smith and Big Dave on KMJX-FM. It's a typical morning show with two comedians. Like some of the other comedian shows, they ask all-important questions like: How do I like my hamburgers? And which do I prefer football or baseball? But I also have plenty of opportunities to get my points across. As I understand it, this is the top talk show in Little Rock.
The day continues with a 45-minute interview with Don Roberts at WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota. I've been on with him before and he's very supportive. He seems to have his callers very well trained because they all ask short, to-the-point questions, and we go through 12-15 of them in the final half-hour.
Steve Willis and I drive to station KARN for a one-hour interview with Pat Lynch. He's a character very funny. He says he may vote for me because he knows that no President will ever do everything he promises. I ask him what it is that he doesn't want me to do. He says he doesn't want me to try to solve the pollution problems by taking land out of the hands of the government. He never really explains why he thinks the government is a better protector; in fact, he's very skeptical of government. He also thinks both Gore and Bush are bozos.
The show is being broadcast over the Internet, and one caller from California says the press never asks any really pertinent questions of the other candidates. The caller says he was watching "Hardball" yesterday evening, and he thinks it should be renamed "Lovefest."
The caller wishes reporters should ask such questions as "Where in the Constitution do you have the authority to do the things you're proposing?" I chime in with, "And who should pay for the prescription drugs or other goodies you're proposing to give away? Someone has to pay for them. Who will have to go without something he's earned in order for you to play public benefactor?"
I also say to Pat, "If you get a chance to interview Bush or Gore, I certainly hope you'll ask either of them, Do you think you'd be a better person today if you had spent 10 years in prison for your youthful indiscretions?'" He loves that one.
Just before the end of the interview, a camera crew arrives from Channel 7. I think they're there for something to do with the station, but it turns out they're there to follow me around. They tape a little of the radio show, and then a reporter interviews me in the lobby of the station. We talk mainly about gun rights and why we need to get rid of all the gun laws. He says they're planning to be at tonight's 2nd Amendment rally in Hot Springs.
It seems that we're steadily getting more and more news coverage at least on a local level wherever we go. Newspaper and TV reporters are showing up at our fund-raisers and other appearances.
We then drive to Main Street in Little Rock, but we can't find KMJX-FM. We call the station and discover we're supposed to be in North Little Rock. We arrive 20 minutes late for an interview with Michael Langley, but fortunately it's being taped for broadcast this weekend so there's no harm done.
Michael is an excellent interviewer. We cover a great deal of ground in a half-hour interview. I keep coming back to the point that if you want smaller government, you have to resolve to stop supporting those who are giving you big government.
In the evening, Steve and I drive to Hot Springs, about 60 miles from Little Rock. During the day, several people had warned us that the traffic would be terrible, and so we set our departure time earlier and earlier. As it turns out, there's virtually no traffic and we arrive more than an hour early.
We're here at the Hot Springs Convention Center for a Second-Amendment rally staged by the Dixie Southern Shooting Association. My appearance was arranged by the local Libertarians. Before the rally begins, Bobby Sisk of KTHV-TV, channel 11, the local CBS affiliate, interviews me for a minute or so.
About a thousand people are in attendance, and they are very enthusiastic also very Republican. Governor Mike Huckabee introduces Wayne LaPierre, the executive director of the National Rifle Association. Although all the speakers were warned in advance not to be political, he stresses the need to send a message to Al Gore on election day that we reject his attempt to take away our guns.
I don't have a speech allotted. Instead the rest of the evening is a panel with Huckabee, LaPierre, a Republican state official, a Republican Congressman, a Republican woman running for another Congressional seat, a Democratic state Senator who is challenging the Republican Congressman, and me.
The first question posed to all panelists is two-part: (1) Does the Second Amendment apply to individuals (rather than just militias), and (2) does it allow for exceptions for particular types of firearms. LaPierre has set the tone by saying that the Clinton administration should be enforcing the existing gun laws, rather than proposing new ones. The other panelists pretty much accept that approach as a given.
I'm the last to answer the questions. I say that the Second Amendment obviously applies to individuals. And if it didn't, the Ninth Amendment would clearly protect an individual's right to defend himself because nothing in the Constitution has taken that right away.
As to the second part of the question, I say "the Amendment doesn't allow for exceptions or else it would have read that the right 'to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, unless Congress chooses otherwise.' And because there are no exceptions, I disagree with my fellow panelists who say the existing gun laws should be enforced. Those laws are unconstitutional. Those laws are wrong because they put you at a disadvantage to armed criminals, to whom the laws are no inconvenience. And saying those laws should be enforced is a statement that the Second Amendment isn't absolute, and that there's nothing wrong with reasonable' gun controls. This allows your favorite politicians to compromise on new laws and then claim victory for preventing something worse. I want to repeal all the existing gun laws." This brings heavy applause from the audience.
When questions are posed from the floor, about a third of them are directed to me. When one of the questioners says he's fed up with Republicans and Democrats, and will vote for third parties, he's applauded by a fair share of the audience.
When we get back to the hotel, I have a final interview of the day with Steve Lavelli at WBZ, the big talk station in Boston. He is a congenial interviewer and we get along well. Once again, gun rights come up.
He says that whenever he mentions Libertarians to someone, it seems the person says something like, "Those are the people who don't believe in rules and think you should be able to own your own tank if you want." I say, "That's not true. We do believe in rules. We insist that when you drive your tank, you always stay on the right side of the road."
One caller tries to pin down the host on what he thinks of my ideas. Lavelli tiptoes around the question by saying he thinks my ideas are important enough to warrant being on the show. But the caller keeps asking him for a more explicit opinion (which he doesn't succeed in getting), saying he believes in Lavelli. I say that I believe in the caller; I think he can run his own life without help from the likes of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, or George W. Bush.
Wednesday, August 9, 2000 Nashville
After flying home from Little Rock, I have a 15-minute interview with Keith Shortall in the news department of Maine Public Radio. He will put together a short feature that will go to six NPR stations in Maine. The chief purpose of the interview is to plug Sunday afternoon's personal appearance in Portland. Keith wants to know why I'm coming to Maine. The reason, of course, is because that's where Libertarians can get a good-sized audience for me.
Immediately afterward, I have a 30-minute interview with Ed Flynn at WATR in Waterbury, Connecticut, to plug the fund-raiser there tomorrow night. Ed has become a good friend of the campaign. He is very strong on restoring constitutional limits on the federal government. The interview goes very well.
Kelly Beaucar from ConservativeHQ.com calls to keep up-to-date on the campaign. I fill her in on the poll results, the good turnouts at the personal appearances, and the running of our TV ads but she knows most of this already from reading LibertyWire. She tells me that my candidacy is the one most talked about on ConservativeHQ's forums.
Thursday, August 10, 2000 Hartford, Connecticut
The day starts in Nashville with another typical morning show Crocker & Mike (Jim Crocker & Mike McCardell) on WGAN in Portland, Maine.
One of them begins by noting that my bio says I like "good food and wine, sports, television, and fiction." He says, "You have my vote on that score alone." He also mentions that his wife is a Libertarian, while he is a Republican. However, he seems to be a somewhat libertarian Republican, finding most of what I say to be quite compatible with his own thinking. The interview lasts about 10 minutes or so, but yikes! I forget to plug Sunday's personal appearance in Portland.
I catch a plane to Boston, with a plane change in Cincinnati. While waiting for the second flight I have an interview on my cell phone with Tom Scott at WELI in Hamden, Connecticut, near Hartford. Perhaps to make up for my lapse in the last interview, I plug tonight's event in Hartford twice in the 10-minute interview. Tom says he's a Republican, but he's very friendly to my positions.
I arrive in Boston and Steve Willis meets me at the airport. We drive to Newton and pick up Michael Cloud, driving on to Cromwell, a suburb of Hartford and the scene of tonight's fund-raiser.
Before the event I do a 30-minute phone interview with Angela Keyton, a Libertarian at KOOP-FM in Austin. We run through the issues, but also focus on why people should vote Libertarian.
The fund-raiser goes very well. James Madison and Andrew Hall have done a terrific job helping to get a good audience and the local radio interviews have helped as well. About 120 people are in attendance, and very enthusiastic. I'm particularly glad to be here, as I haven't campaigned in Connecticut since 1995. This is the 36th state I've visited this time around, compared with 38 states in 1994-96.
Tonight, again, we have a PBS camera crew in attendance, along with reporter Julie Rubenstein and cameraman Mark Siesinki from WTNH, Channel 8, of Hartford. There's also a reporter from a nearby newspaper (whose name and paper I didn't get). We no longer have to plead for coverage; we've earned it. We're now in the same league in the polls as Pat Buchanan just not generating the same kind of controversial news. But we are already attracting the press to fund-raisers. And shortly I'll be doing major non-Libertarian events that will generate as much news as Buchanan or Nader can provide. We are moving up.
Friday, August 11, 2000 Boston
The day begins with two contrasting shows. The first is an hour with Joe Fondren at WRJM-FM in Ozark, Alabama. Joe is a "good ol' boy" a slow-talking former politician. He begins by saying that if the election were held today, he'd vote for me. The conversation is very relaxed, but very enlightening. He makes the point that when you pass a law you should assume that the worst people in the world will administer it that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. He makes several other perceptive observations about government.
The second show is the exact opposite. It is an hour with Alan Nathan on 65 shows of the Radio America network. Alan is an intense, fast-talking, hard-driving talk-show host. I can't relax for a second. He says he agrees with a great many Libertarian ideas but that we take them to too much of an extreme. As an example of what he means in practice, he says he believes fully in gun rights and the Second Amendment, but he sees nothing wrong with the Brady Bill and a 3-day waiting period. I'm never able to get him to explain why he bothers to say he supports the Second Amendment when he believe it's okay for the government to impose gun-control laws like the Brady Bill. The best explanation he can give is that innocent people should be allowed to own guns, but that waiting periods are necessary to keep the crazies from owning guns (as though the gun laws accomplish that).
Over and over in the show, I make the point that he thinks he's going to get laws that take things just as far as he wants them to go, but no farther but that these wonderful laws are going to be fashioned by people like Teddy Kennedy or Jesse Helms, and administered by the likes of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, or George Bush, and that politicians will never confer with him to determine how far they should go and no farther. When you give politicians the power to do good, you're automatically giving them the power to do bad and even if you think you have a "good" President today, the power you give him will be there to be used when a bad President replaces him.
A high-powered show like this is a big challenge not just in having to think quickly to deal with a fast-talking host, but in having to go beyond answering his questions and objections to work in the points I want to make why one should vote Libertarian, and why it's a mistake to think you'll ever get what you want from government.
I think I handled the show pretty well, but at the end my nerves are jangled from the intensity.
Steve, Michael, and I drive to Boston. On the way, we stop for breakfast at Denny's the official restaurant of the Harry Browne for President campaign.
On the way to Boston, I have an interview on my cell phone with Gene Burns on WMEX in Boston. Gene is a long-time Libertarian and a great asset to our cause. He understands libertarianism completely and explains it eloquently. In addition, he is one of the most able talk-show hosts in the world. He has a beautiful voice, beautiful articulation, and a beautiful command of the English language. I enjoy listening to him even when he's delivering commercials. It's like listening to a lovely piece of music.
During the course of the show, we get a caller from Texas who's listening to the show on the Internet. I say to Gene, "Isn't this amazing? I'm on a cell phone traveling between Connecticut and Massachusetts, talking to you in San Francisco on a radio station in Boston, and we're conferring with a caller in Texas. Isn't technology wonderful?" Gene agrees, but a few moments later my cell signal is lost and the connection is broken. So much for technology.
We arrive in Boston and head for the Boston Herald, where I have an interview with reporter Karen Crummy. On the way to her office, I run into Don Feder, who wrote a silly, anti-Libertarian article before our convention in which he said it was appropriate that we meet near Disneyland, since Goofy would make a good Libertarian presidential candidate. I have no interest in talking with him, but he wants to socialize. I finally tell him it's unfortunate that he's so insecure in his beliefs that he can't deal with opposing beliefs seriously, but must resort to sophomoric ridicule. If he were serious, he would have reported our ideas, presented our reasons, and then explained why he disagreed.
The interview with Karen Crummy seems to go very well. She appears to be in her twenties and apparently quite receptive to libertarian ideas. But who knows what will appear in the paper? (Unfortunately, nothing shows up in Saturday's paper, so the interview is no help to our Boston fund-raiser. However, it may still produce an article later.)
Back in the car, I'm on my cell phone with Dave Stone of KEWS in Portland, Oregon. The 20-minute conversation goes quite well, as we quickly run through my favorite issues the Drug War, gun rights, Social Security, and the income tax.
Still in the car, making our way to our hotel in Lexington (a suburb of Boston), I'm on the phone with Jeff Jacoby, filling in for Jay Severin on WTKK. Jeff is a conservative-libertarian columnist with the liberal Boston Globe, and was recently suspended for three months for making a trivial mistake in one of his columns. He starts the interview by saying he voted for me in 1996 and expects to do so again this year.
One caller asks what I have to offer gay voters. I say I want the power to impose values taken away from the government so that gays will no longer be afraid of Christians and Christians will no longer be afraid of gays.
Early in the evening I'm in Newton at the New England Cable Network a TV network covering mainly the Boston area, but also transmitting to other parts of New England. I have a 10-minute live interview with Amanda Rossiter. She apparently doesn't know too much about Libertarians, and so she asks questions fed to her by the producer in the control room. She's quite content to let me dominate the interview and cover the issues I want to discuss.
From there Steve and I head to Boston. On the way, I have a 45-minute interview on the Gary Nolan show on the Radio America network. Tonight's guest host is guess who Michael Cloud, our chief Libertarian fund-raiser. He asks me such confrontational questions as "What does a Libertarian stand for?" Michael does a good job as host.
Now we're in Boston at the home of David Brudnoy, one of Boston's top talk-show hosts. He is an LP member and an outspoken Libertarian. The interview, on WBZ, is of course very cordial with some joking and a lot of important points covered.
I get back to the hotel in time for an hour interview with Brian Wilson at KSFO one of the two big talk stations in San Francisco. I'm especially happy to do this show because a mix-up caused me to miss Brian's show earlier in the year. Apparently, there are no hard feelings because Brian introduces me as "My guy for President."
Among other matters covered in the show, I have the opportunity to make the point that the Reform Party brouhaha wouldn't have occurred if it hadn't been for the $12 million stolen from the taxpayers and promised to the party by the federal government.
This has been some day beginning at 9am and ending at midnight. Ten interviews, ranging from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon. Of the eight radio interviews, six of the hosts said they intended to vote for me. And these shows were all on networks or major stations in their cities. In addition, I was able to plug tomorrow's personal appearance on the four shows broadcast in this area.
Before I go to bed, I get some more good news. In North Carolina, the state party has been running our "Battered Voter" ad, and they report that they're getting increased donations on their website.
Roger Ailes, President of the Fox TV News network, was interviewed on C-SPAN today. In response to a caller, he said he would assure that the network provides more coverage of the Browne campaign. (He will make good on his promise, as we're contacted almost immediately by Fox News to do an interview next Tuesday.)
And the ABC Evening News showed an email from a viewer requesting more coverage of our campaign.
Lastly, Aaron Biterman in Wisconsin wrote to say that he nagged the Arizona Republic's website to include coverage of me with the other four presidential candidates. He received a response from Kim Kaan, the Online Editor, saying, "I have since added Harry Browne and other third party candidates to our Election 2000 page. Thanks for the suggestion!"
A great deal is happening as a result of people like you taking the initiative to write to websites, networks, and publications and calling into talk shows to spread the word about the campaign. Thank you!
Saturday, August 12, 2000 Boston
I'm awakened at 10am with a call from the Gun Owners Action League program on WORC in Worcester, Massachusetts. Apparently, I'm scheduled for an hour on the show but I wasn't aware of it. I'm constantly amazed that, with so much going on, things like this don't happen far more frequently. Our press staff, Jim Babka and Robert Brunner, are tremendously efficient.
I quickly come to life and the show goes well. Tom La Roache does a nice job of interviewing, and we cover all the important topics not just gun rights.
That's followed by a short interview with John McDonald at WGAN in Portland, Maine. Although we don't have much time, I do get a chance to plug tomorrow's event in Portland.
Then it's 20 minutes on the phone with Alice Jackson, editor of the daily Franklin Review Appeal, the newspaper of the town in which I live in Tennessee. She is writing articles for next Sunday's paper on both Pamela and me.
Pamela was interviewed in our home on Thursday, and she says the editor was very friendly and very sympathetic with what the wife of a national candidate must go through. My interview today goes very well. Alice makes the point during the interview that she strongly opposes the Drug War. That, of course, is becoming more and more the common viewpoint.
In the afternoon, we have our fund-raiser at the hotel in Lexington. About 200 people show up about 35% to 40% of whom say they've never been to a Libertarian event before. We get an excellent reception and the fund-raising goes very well. We're indebted to Laura El-Azem, as well as the energetic Massachusetts Libertarian cadre for a good event.
Sunday, August 13, 2000 Portland, Maine
As the Rasmussen Poll continues to fluctuate day by day, I'm down to 0.8% today while Buchanan jumps up to 1.7% from 1.1% yesterday.
Steve, Michael, and I get up early to drive to Portland. Upon arrival, we go to WGME-TV (Channel 13). Julene Britt interviews me for three minutes in the parking lot. It is a taping, and will be on the air sometime later in the day.
From there we head to WCSH-TV (Channel 6), where I have a live interview with Shannon Moss that lasts 2-1/2 minutes. Although it is brief, I'm able to get in everything I want including a plug for our fund-raiser later in the day.
After checking into the hotel, Steve and I go back out to WPXT-TV (Channel 51) for another interview this one with Mollie Halpern. It, too, is brief no more than five minutes but I have the opportunity to say everything I want.
Then it's back to the hotel for today's event, starting at 4:30 in the afternoon. Cameras are there from Channels 6 and 51, as well as from a group broadcasting on cable access stations. Also there is Mal Leary from National Public Radio and Joshua Weinstein of the Portland Press-Herald (who gave us a very good article earlier in the week).
Around 120 people are in attendance. Mark Cenci and Duke Harrington have done an excellent job putting this event together. When Michael asks how many people have never attended a Libertarian event before, about half the audience stands up. Fred Staples, the local Libertarian Congressional candidate, gives a fine introductory speech. Then I speak, after which Michael does his usual superlative job of raising money.
The appearances of this week have all been successful. Laura Carno has done an excellent job working with local Libertarians in each area, setting up truly professional events.
After tonight's event, several of us go out to dinner. Afterward, I have a late-night radio taping. It is with Dennis Hutchins, a young man who has made the two-hour drive from Bangor to interview me. The tape will air on WQCB-FM and some other stations in the north end of the state. We talk for about 20 minutes, as he asks a series of prepared questions. At one point, he stops the tape to tell me, "Right on!"
When we're finished, he explains his own political position, which comes from the left. He says he faces the dilemma of wanting to vote for me but that this might wind up helping George W. Bush get elected. I don't say a word. After he describes his feelings about this and that concerning the situation, he concludes by saying, "I guess I really have no choice; I have to vote for you."
Tuesday, August 15, 2000 Nashville
I arrived home early yesterday morning, and was able to spend a good part of the day with Pamela, for the first time in a while.
Today, I have a pretty full schedule of interviews. It starts with 20 minutes with Craig Anderson and Laura Borne on stations KMND in Midland and KRIL in Odessa, Texas. Craig begins by asking what I thought of President Clinton's speech last night at the Democratic convention.
I say that Clinton apparently thought he needed 45 minutes to explain to Americans that they're better off. He reeled off statistics, programs, and anecdotes to make his case. But the only people he was impressing were those in the audience at the convention people who think this presentation is going to help them win the Big Game a third time in a row.
In fact, if most people were noticeably better off than they were eight years ago, he wouldn't have to cite anything; people would already know that their lives had been improved dramatically. If I should somehow be elected President I expect that at the end of four years most families will have a net increase in their take-home pay of over $10,000 a year because of the income and Social Security taxes would no longer exist. Voters would know without my telling them that they now could afford to have their children in private schools, or that they're able to support their churches and charities in a much more significant way, or that they had finally been able to start their own businesses. I wouldn't have to cite the nation's economic statistics.
Their cities would be safer with an end to the Drug War and the end of federal interference with law enforcement. I wouldn't have to recite crime statistics; they'd know their neighborhoods were safer.
The length of President Clinton's recitation was a tip-off to its meaninglessness. (It also was misleading. Although I didn't mention it on the air, the average economic growth rate during the Clinton years has been 3.0% per year; from 1900 to 1970, it was 3.5% per year, even averaging in the Great Depression. So, contrary to what he said, the Clinton years have been far from the most prosperous in history.)
After the radio interview, Pamela and I drive to the other side of Nashville, so I can do a remote TV interview with Fox News. David Asman interviews me for about five minutes. I get in all the important items, and before concluding he's thoughtful enough to ask for my website address.
When I get home I have an hour interview with "Uncle Todd" (Walter Turner) on WWBG in Greensboro, North Carolina. He has a 3-hour show, and he says he's put all the commercials in the other hours, so that we can talk uninterrupted. He is very friendly and we find a lot to joke about while discussing all the important issues and why people should vote Libertarian. The show goes very well.
Then it's an Internet interview with Holly Kernan of the Real Politics website. She records a conversation with me for posting on their site, www.RedBand.com, in about two weeks. She challenges me on many issues and it's a very interesting discussion, lasting about 40 minutes or so.
When she asks who our target voter is, I say, "You." She says, "Me?" I say, "Yes. Don't you want to be free to live your own life without George Bush or Al Gore telling you what to do free from regulations, free from officious bureaucrats who think they know more about what's good for you than you do, free to keep every dollar you earn, instead of seeing your money squandered by politicians on pork-barrel projects?" I never do get an answer from her, but it's obvious that she gets the point.
Later I have a 15 minute interview with Jason Mullins at WKPT in Kingsport and the Tri-City area of eastern Tennessee. It is a taped interview, and before we start he says, "I've been a lifelong Republican. I knew about the Libertarian Party before, but I didn't really look into it until a few months ago. And now I support you completely." Needless to say, the interview is very friendly.
The last interview of the day is with Pascale Burton, a reporter on KLBJ, a news station in Austin. She records one interview for airing Thursday morning, to plug our Thursday evening event in Austin, and a longer interview for airing a couple of weekends from now.
A USA Today article on August 3 indicated that the Bush website had 114,000 different people visiting it during July, while the Gore website had fewer than 80,000. However, today Jack Dean reports that our website had 108,861 different people visiting it during July only 5% fewer than the Bush site.
And we had 42,290 different people visit our site just last week alone. We are currently getting 38,307 visits each day (from new and repeat visitors). The website has proven to be a resounding success. We want to keep expanding it with new items as often as possible. Everyone on the staff is already stretched to the limit, but Geoff Braun seems to be able to keep adding new elements that give people reasons to return to the site.
Today we received a message from Tom Rowland, in which he mentioned:
This morning, . . . I made 5 copies of your Why Harry Browne makes an interesting guest' from the Press Pages of the web site and mailed them to the 5 biggest news organizations with a little post-it note saying, FYI. In case you haven't heard...Tom Rowland, voter.'
Everyday, without fail, I am posting to a chat room, sending an email to a major talk show or a major news organization or writing a letter or as many of these as I can get in. If we can get 40,000 minutemen to do the same, I am convinced it will make a difference.
I'm convinced it will make an enormous difference if only 1,000 people will do what Tom is doing.
Sometimes people ask what motivates me to keep going when we seem to have such a long way to go. The main answer is: Progress. We keep getting bigger, more visible, stronger, and more popular. And we keep getting more people like Tom Rowland to help us.
For example, look at this email I received today from Bill Staab of Dallas:
I've been a Democrat for 15 tears (years). . . .Your speech at the Libertarian Convention moved me in a way to make me think about our government and what its doing to us. Two weeks after the convention, and after many hours of looking into the Libertarian Party, I sent in $25 and joined.
I joined because like you, Harry, I think freedom is worth fighting for. You have many supporters and volunteers standing beside you catching and deflecting those stones being thrown at you, and it would be an honor and a pleasure for me to stand beside you and help you catch those stones.
Emails like this are pouring in from people who want to help us.
Wednesday, August 16, 2000 Houston
Up at the crack of dawn (although dawn doesn't seem to crack for me) to catch an early flight to Houston. Steve Willis and Michael Cloud arrive in Houston at about the same time, and we head for the hotel.
Once there I have a phone interview with Charley Jones at KRLD in Dallas. I was on with him during the last campaign but this is the first time this year. He talks very fast and is very business-like, betraying no support or hardened opposition. But at the end of the interview he says, "I took the test on your website, and it looks like I'm a libertarian."
Steve and I take a rented car into Houston in the boiling heat apparently somewhere in the high 90s. It may have been a pretty hot summer, but somehow today seems to be the hottest I can remember. Combined with the too-little sleep I got last night, the heat makes me drowsy.
We arrive at KHOU-TV for an interview, only to learn that the necessary camera crew is out covering a fire. we have a full schedule for the rest of the day, so we can't wait for the crew to return.
We go on to KTRK-TV, the ABC affiliate, where I'm interviewed by Cynthia Hunt. She is a young, intelligent reporter who appears not to have been exposed to libertarian ideas much. She has genuine questions of concern about how various functions can be handled once they are removed from the government. When she asks, "What happens to the poor without a safety net?" I say, "Just what happens now they get looked after by people who really want to improve their lives, not by bureaucrats who want to make them permanent wards of the state."
After some difficulty navigating the Houston streets and Houston traffic, Steve and I arrive at Rob McKinnon's studio for a 30-minute interview that will be broadcast later on his ITEN.net Internet network. (If we find out when it will be broadcast, we'll let you know.) Rob is very agreeable, and takes pains to explain why people should vote Libertarian. He says, "I hope to call you Mr. President' someday."
Sometimes I coin soundbites and then forget about them. He reads one to me that I must have said a couple of years ago. Regarding Republican plans to privatize Social Security, Sen. Phil Gramm estimated that it would take 60 years before you would be completely free of the system to which I said, "So if you believe in reincarnation, the Republican plan is for you."
At Rob's studio, I call Ken Hamblin ("The Black Avenger") for a 15-minute radio interview on 130 stations of the American View network. He apparently hopes I'll join him in giving a Republican spin to Democratic claims regarding health care, education, and such but I manage to turn the conversation to the real improvements we Libertarians want to make. He is very respectful and says he wants to talk with me regularly during the campaign.
When the interview is over, the producer Angela Wilkes comes on the line to let me know she agrees with me and is going to vote Libertarian. This is a fairly common occurrence. In addition to our deep penetration of the Internet community, we seem to have a very receptive audience in radio engineers and producers, as well as TV cameramen.
We leave Rob's studio and head for the hotel. The traffic is a mess. I have a one-hour interview coming up with Jim Engster on 15 Louisiana radio stations, so I do it on my cell phone. Jim doesn't claim to be a libertarian, but several times he refers to the LP as America's third largest party. We go through about two dozen calls during the hour. None of them is hostile. All the callers are either supportive or genuinely seeking answers to questions regarding how Libertarians would handle various concerns.
When we finally make it back to the hotel, I get to cool off with a shower. Then it's downstairs for our evening event. About 80 people show up, and they're very enthusiastic including the 50% of them who say it's their first-ever Libertarian event. Michael raises enough money for four showings of our ads.
Today we begin sending out daily press briefings, called Browne Briefs. These are simple one-page faxes and emails going to more than 2,000 reporters, journalists, radio-TV hosts, and producers. Each release contains a simple one-paragraph soundbite from me on some current topic. We hope that soon we'll be able to transmit my daily schedule, and to expand our coverage to include the U.S. Newswire which reaches the wire services, Internet search engines, and hundreds of websites.
This coverage can do a great deal to expand the thinking of those media people who still think this is a 4-way race. It also should lead to far more discussions of my candidacy when I'm not present. However, our ability to generate and keep up this kind of coverage will depend on the level of financial support we receive from donors.
Although Pat Buchanan certainly deserved to be in the news last week because of the bar-room brawl in the Reform Party, the truth is that I'm most likely generating more real news than either he or Ralph Nader is. They normally get into the news only when they appear on the Sunday political talk shows (which don't invite me yet). But I'm talking to tens or hundreds of thousands of people almost every day. And we will expand on that as we proceed.
Today's soundbite in the Browne Briefs was a takeoff on Jesse Jackson's chanting at last night's Democratic convention that "Gore is more." I pointed out that Al Gore is more more government, more regulations, more failed government programs, more taxes, more of everything you've come to know and love about the federal government.
Thursday, August 17, 2000 Austin
Today's plane isn't until 11am, so I have the luxury of sleeping in until 8.
We have a very tight schedule in Austin today, and when the plane is a few minutes late it puts us behind for virtually the entire day. We get in a rented car and head for the first appointment at KVUE-TV. There I have a 15-minute, leisurely, friendly interview with Jerry White.
We hurry from there to KXAN-TV for an interview with Rich Parsons. This one is virtually a carbon-copy of so many interviews I've had covering a few issues, why one should vote Libertarian, and why we're in a much stronger position this year than in 1996. Both this and the KVUE interview are tapings, from which the reporter will put together a short feature for the evening news.
While at the station I have a very brief interview with Bob Crowley of the Texas State Radio Network.
Yesterday I complained about temperatures in the high 90s in Houston. Today in Austin it's 103. I don't see how it could possibly be any hotter. I pray that Al Gore is elected soon, so we can get rid of Global Warming. I'm sure with his scientific knowledge and ability to force people to toe the line he can do the job in a year or two at most.
In the car I have a short phone interview with Gary Susswein of the Austin American Statesman. He is friendly but non-committal.
We hurry to KLBJ for a one-hour live radio interview with Jeff Ward. He makes it clear from the start that he intends to vote Libertarian this year. I feel my answers in this interview are a bit long-winded, but generally the interview goes well. And later tonight I will be told over and over by newcomers attending our event that they heard me on this show.
When the interview ends, Pascale Burton comes into the studio. She interviewed me earlier in the week by phone for the station's newscast. She tells me she took the SelectSmart test (SelectSmart.com) and found she was far closer to me than any of the other presidential candidates.
At the hotel I have a 20-minute in-person conversation with Julie Nolen of The Daily Texan, the University of Texas newspaper. She has a photographer with her who takes dozens of pictures. Julie doesn't ask anything about education, so I point out to her that a college education is so expensive for her because the federal government has run up the price with all its subsidies.
Steve and I grab a quick bite in the hotel restaurant before the event. While we eat, Clark Paterson interviews me for the Austin Review. He is a Libertarian who at one time was an LP candidate.
The evening's event is a great success. Over 200 people show up, and they are very enthusiastic. The fund-raising goes extremely well. David Eagle, a local Libertarian, has done a wonderful job of rounding up a large audience. When Michael asks those attending their first Libertarian event to stand up, about 40% do so.
Friday, August 18, 2000 Dallas
We arrive in Dallas to discover that it's even hotter here than in Houston or Austin. It's apparently about 106 degrees.
We check into the hotel and immediately head for the city for a TV interview.
On the way, I'm on the phone with Lindsay Parker on Bloomberg Boston PM on WBNW. Bloomberg is a financial service that has a TV channel and also provides a continual stream of investment news and quotes to computers. This is a pure talk show, however, and I've never been on with Lindsay before. She describes herself as a liberal, leaning toward libertarianism. The interview lasts about 30 minutes, we discuss mostly social programs, and her liberal background doesn't prevent her from seeing that government economic programs can hurt the poor, and that they also provide the avenue for politicians to interfere with our personal lives.
We arrive at KDFW-TV, the Fox channel, for an interview with Tim Ryan. We talk on camera for about 15 minutes, and he seems to understand libertarian concepts easily. His questions show a sympathy with what we're up against as a third party. But I'm not looking for sympathy so, as usual, I try to keep bringing the conversation back to what we're offering people and how important it is for them to vote Libertarian.
After getting back to the hotel, I have a 20-minute interview with Kevin McCarthy on KLIF, a big talk station in Dallas. He says he's with us on the Drug War, but thinks we have a tough road ahead to bring people around on that issue. I point out that public opinion is already moving rapidly against the insane War on Drugs. He points out that George Bush will carry Texas easily, and so the wasted vote issue is meaningless for Texans. He advises his listeners to vote for me, as he intends to do. (This evening I will find out that at least a dozen people attend our event only because they happened to hear about it on this show.)
Steve and I head for the Dallas Morning News for an interview. After being kept waiting well past the appointed time, I'm about to tell Steve we should move on especially since print interviews are so unproductive. But almost immediately the person we're supposed to see comes out, apologizes, and ushers us into a conference room. It turns out I'm there to meet with the whole editorial board Rena Pederson, the Editorial Page Editor, plus editorial writers Jim Mitchell, Debra Decker, Henry Tatum, and Ruben Navarrette.
Tatum says nothing during the 50-minute meeting, but all the others ask questions and seem surprisingly friendly and sympathetic. I have no idea what they'll write, if anything, but the meeting is very interesting. They understand what I'm saying, they get the few political jokes I make, and they seem to agree that I'd be an interesting addition to the debates.
After the meeting, Ruben Navarrette remains in the room and tells me that his experience as a talk-radio host leads him to believe that young people are a very fertile field for our ideas. In most cases, they haven't become emotionally attached to any party, and they find both Social Security and the Drug War to be bad news. None of this is new to me, but I'm encouraged by Ruben's desire to help. We intend eventually to test ads on MTV.
Steve and I get back to the hotel just in time to get something to eat before the next interview. It's 5pm and we haven't eaten anything all day. However, the hotel restaurant isn't open and we have to drive nearby to Denny's the official Fine Dining Experience of the Browne for President campaign.
I get back to the hotel and talk for 20 minutes with Larry Marino on KIEV in Los Angeles. He's a conservative who agrees with me on virtually everything but the Drug War. And I can't help but think that, given 15 minutes to discuss the Drug War alone, he'd come around on that as well. The interview goes well.
The evening's event attracts about 130 people, at least half of whom are attending their first Libertarian event. Brian and Clint Zoch, our volunteer coordinators in the area, have done a good job of bringing out an audience. Given that so many of the people are brand new, the fund-raising goes particularly well. Camera crews are there from three stations Channel 4 (Fox), Channel 5 (NBC), and Channel 33. We hold a mini-press-conference before the event, with me answering four or five questions. And then the camera crews film me talking to the arriving guests, as well as the first few minutes of my speech.
Saturday, August 19, 2000 New Orleans
Michael and I fly to New Orleans to attend the Louisiana LP convention. Michael Perkins has done a terrific job of reviving what was a moribund state party. When I attended last year's state convention, only about 35 people were present. At this evening's banquet, there are close to a hundred.
At the banquet I speak on why I believe we have a good chance to achieve liberty during the next decade, and Michael fund-raises for the state party.
Sunday, August 20, 2000 New Orleans & Nashville
I awaken early to do a radio show. It is 25 minutes with Doug Clifford at WSKY-FM in Gainesville, Florida. He is very friendly, and the interview is uneventful.
Afterward I fly home to Nashville. My laptop decided to stop working a couple of days ago, and I spend a couple of hours on the phone with Dell Computer trying to discover what's wrong. We never do find out, and the quest is postponed while the company sends me some upgrades.
The rest of the evening I spend writing and catching up on the email that I missed the past few days.
I find that my appearance on Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect is confirmed for Thursday night. I have mixed emotions about doing this show. The good side is that it's a national TV show that's watched by a lot of people. I was on it in 1996. Later, a young liberal woman told me that she and her friends all voted for me because they saw me on Politically Incorrect and thought I was the most honest politician they had seen.
The bad side is that it is a typical chaos show in which I'm unlikely to be able to deliver three sentences in a row without being interrupted. And unlike in a typical interview, I probably won't be able to steer the conversation to the areas I want to cover. I'm at the mercy of the host. The best I can do is relax and just make the most of whatever opportunities I get.
I receive advice from friends that I should dress for the show a bit more casually than I usually do. However, I don't think that's the best idea. Most of the public who see me in any circumstances will see me only once. If they're going to remember me, I don't want them to remember me as a casual candidate but as someone they can envision as President. It's okay for George Bush or Al Gore to wear an open collar and cowboy boots occasionally, because most people have already seen them in presidential attire. But this may be the only exposure I have to much of the audience.
I think this is important for all LP candidates to bear in mind. We are presenting what to many is a very radical message. It's important that this radical message come from people who seem to be very reasonable. We must present a dignified, non-threatening appearance.
I receive some encouraging emails. Art Matsko, who distributes our literature, says he's currently shipping 10,000 copies a day of our introductory brochure. John Doebler, who was at our Dallas event this past Friday evening, has passed out over a thousand brochures himself.
Pat Wedel writes to say, "My husband & I took his parents to see Harry Browne in Austin last night. They have been die-hard don't waste your vote' preachers ever since Larry & I started voting Libertarian. When we took them home last night they both said they are seriously thinking of voting for Harry. Hallelujah!"
Insight magazine (a conservative weekly published by the Washington Times) conducted a poll of its online readers, asking "If the presidential election were held today, would you vote for any of the major third-party' candidates?" The results were:
Pat Buchanan, Reform Party: 29%
All told, 56% said they would vote for one of the candidates running for president outside the Republican and Democratic parties.
Since Insight is a conservative magazine, it isn't surprising that Pat Buchanan received the most mentions. But it is surprising that his lead isn't greater.
On August 17, The Rasmussen Poll asked voters the following question:
In addition to Al Gore and George W. Bush, several candidates are likely to be on the ballot in nearly all 50 states. These include Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader, Harry Browne, and Howard Philips. Should all of these candidates be included in the Presidential Debates?
Almost half, 46%, said yes, 37% said no, and 16% weren't sure.
When voters were asked whether individual candidates should be included, these were percentages of the respondents saying yes for each candidate:
Ralph Nader, 42%
I receive a nice email from Richard Gilbert in Buena Park, California. He says,
Last night I was with a group of friends and I was reading to them the section about what Mr. Browne would do on his first day in office from The Great Libertarian Offer. When I finished they all exclaimed, That's it. I'm voting for Harry Browne.' And two of them immediately went online and ordered the book for themselves. They'll read it and tell others like I did.
We are making a great deal of progress, and more may be on the way. A lot will depend on how much money we can raise. I want to get our advertising message to every American, to reach every journalist, to promote our personal appearances and double the audience sizes again, to arrange more appearances on national TV shows.
Tuesday, August 22, 2000 Nashville
This very long day begins at 6:20am with a 10-minute radio interview with "Jack and Sharon" on a morning drive-time show on WFLA in Tampa Bay. Jack says, "What do you do to try to dispel the idea that Libertarian means libertine?" I say that Libertarians are actually the opposite of libertines. We believe people must be free so that they can be responsible for what they do. Politicians like to shield people from the consequences of their acts, turning them into irresponsible libertines.
Sharon asks whom I would vote for if I weren't running. I say I wouldn't vote for anyone if there weren't a Libertarian candidate, because a vote for George Bush or Al Gore endorses their plans to make government bigger, more expensive, more intrusive, and more oppressive. If we want smaller government, the first important step is to stop supporting those who are making government bigger.
The second interview is 20 minutes with Phil Paleologos on the Talk America Radio Network. As always, he is very supportive. He asks me to answer only "good" or "bad" to a list of government programs. As he itemizes the programs, I of course say "bad" to each of them progressing to "very bad" and "very, very bad."
Then I'm on a tiny pirate station in Adrian, Michigan. It is called Radio Free Lennawee, with no call letters. It's a Christian station and Martha Farnam is the host of this show. A Congressional candidate from the U.S. Taxpayers Party calls in. He tries to sell the idea that the founders meant the 1st Amendment as a vehicle to promote the Christian religion in government schools even though there were no government schools at the time. He says the Bible should be taught in government schools. I say that if he succeeds in getting government to promote religion, it will be religion as practiced by the likes of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Teddy Kennedy, George Bush, and Newt Gingrich. Is that what he wants?
Next is another conversation with Lionel, this time on his Internet show. He always asks me to recite the Great Libertarian Offer for him. In our half-hour interview, a good deal of the time is spent talking about why you should vote Libertarian.
I then have a 30-minute interview with Davis Rankin at KURV in Edinburgh, Texas. A caller says he's sympathetic to libertarian ideas, but I overstate the case when I say there's virtually no difference between Al Gore and George Bush. I ask him to cite some differences. He says George Bush wouldn't say "there's no controlling authority" (referring to Al Gore's defense when accused of making campaign calls from the White House). I ask how George Bush's attitude on that will improve the caller's life and get government out of it. The best he can say is that he'll be more serene knowing there's an honest man in the White House.
Now it's 25 minutes with Austin Hill on KTKP in Phoenix. He seems to think Americans want such programs as Social Security. I suggest that he go out on the street and ask the first ten people he meets whether they'd like to be free from Social Security so they could handle their own retirement money. I bet that at least seven out of ten would say yes.
It's now 10am, and I've already had six interviews. This is going to be a long day.
I have a very interesting hour-long interview with Kelly Stevens on WROW in Albany my first interview with her. She likes it when I say I want to reduce Congressional pay to $400 per year with no retirement benefits, so that Congressmen would spend only one month in Washington every other year to pass a budget, and then go home to real jobs.
A caller says the Ayn Rand Institute has condemned the Libertarian Party because public opinion isn't ready for freedom and must first be made to understand reality. (I don't know whether the caller's description of the Institute's position is accurate.)
I tell him there are many good libertarian educational organizations, but they reach only people who've already decided to seek out libertarian ideas. The LP and Advocates for Self-Government, on the other hand, are the only national organizations I know of that take the initiative to go to the public and seek out new prospects; the others deal mainly with existing libertarians. It is after the Libertarian Party has exposed people to libertarian ideas that those people seek out other organizations. The LP is working to change public opinion, while most organizations are working to back up those whose opinions are already pretty much in line with ours.
Also, some people look down on the LP because they assume a political party will compromise, while other organizations can remain true to libertarian ideals. Actually, just the opposite is true. Many libertarian think tanks advocate partial privatization of Social Security (without letting people choose to drop out completely), tax cuts instead of repealing the income tax, freedom for medical marijuana but not a complete end to the Drug War. Meanwhile, Libertarians are out front boldly showing people how much better off they'd be by getting the government completely out of these areas.
Next it is 30 minutes with Jeff McAndrew on KFIZ in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. During the conversation, I mention that you know more about what's good for your life than Al Gore or George Bush does; you know better what you need than Bill Clinton or Newt Gingrich does; you care more about your life than any politician does. When gun control is brought up, I say that "Lives get saved when people can defend themselves; lives get lost when people are defenseless."
Then it's an hour with Glenn Klein on WTAN in Tampa Bay. He doesn't call himself a libertarian, but he certainly sounds like one. He introduces his show as "promoting maximum freedom." He says he likes the consistency of the Libertarian Party. His wife is on the show, and she tells me she agrees with us on economic freedom, but wonders whether we need government to enforce social justice. I ask her why she agrees with us on economic freedom, and she says it's because the government messes up everything. I point out that you're asking that same government to enforce social justice. Glenn ends the show saying, "I want to take this opportunity to endorse your candidacy for President."
After lunch, Pamela and I drive to the other side of Nashville to tape an 8-minute segment for The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News TV network. Michael Reagan is the guest host. I don't consider it one of my best performances, but it goes well. Michael has always been very good to me, and today is no exception.
While I'm at the studio for the videotaping, a reporter from the Nashville Tennessean is snapping photos of me for an article.
Upon returning home, it's back to the phone again. First I have 10 minutes with Dave Jaconette on WKZO in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Although he doesn't overtly support me, he obviously knows a lot about the Libertarian Party, and seems to approve of what he knows.
Then I have a 20-minute interview with Joe Bonni of the Boston Weekly Dig, an "alternative" newspaper. Joe is a libertarian, and one of the producers of a big anti-Drug-War rally at which I'll be speaking next month.
My final interview of the day is with Stan Solomon at WXLW in Indianapolis. He has Brad Klofenstein, the full-time director of the Indiana LP, and Mark Rutherford, the state chair, in the studio with him. They've been on for the preceding hour, and now I'm on for 30 minutes. Stan has always been good to us, and today is no exception. But he asks how I'd feel if I got enough votes to throw the election to Al Gore. I tell him I'd be tickled pink; maybe it would make the Republicans stop taking your vote for granted.
Thirteen interviews today. Some were in smaller markets, but we probably reached hundreds of thousands of people on radio alone, and that much again on The O'Reilly Factor.
I received an email today from Toby Olvera, saying
Recently, the University of Florida chapter of the Florida League of Student Libertarians (FLSL) painted what we contend is the World's Largest "Harry Browne for President" sign on a roadside wall reserved for people to paint murals on. At 40-60 feet long and 9-10 feet high, if not the biggest sign, we are still confident it ranks right near the top! The sign reads "Harry Browne: Libertarian for President" and includes the website address and phone number.
Today David A. Ricks of Miami has a letter published in USA Today. It is in response to a letter in which a reader said he won't vote because he finds neither of the two main candidates appealing.
David says, "I say to him: Stop and take another look. In this election, there are not two, but five candidates who will be on the ballot running for president. I myself will be voting for Libertarian candidate Harry Browne." The letter goes on to urge ending the stranglehold the Democrats and Republicans have on politics in America.
Wednesday, August 23, 2000 Los Angeles
I'm up at 5:45am to catch an early flight to the Burbank airport, near Los Angeles. I see a "Browne for President" yard sign at the entrance to a Nashville freeway. It's the first yard sign I've seen for any presidential candidate this year.
When I get to the airport, I find my connection through Dallas is going to be two hours late. But I luck out. The direct flight to Los Angeles leaves in 20 minutes and I not only get a seat, but I get an exit-row seat, giving me extra leg-room. I arrive in Los Angeles a couple of hours earlier than planned, but eat up one of them taking a taxi from the L.A. airport to Glendale, where we'll be having a fund-raiser this week. I'm here to be on Politically Incorrect tomorrow night, and we've arranged other events around that.
When I arrive at the hotel, there's a fax from the show providing some instructions and the topics planned for the night I'll be on. They are (1) people losing interest in the Internet, (2) legalizing sexual surrogates for the disabled, (3) a defamation suit against a radio program for offering to give away "black hoes" (garden tools) to listeners, and (4) an organization that grants wishes to dying children saying it will no longer grant wishes that involve hunting. I read the transcript of Ralph Nader's appearance two nights ago; almost the entire show was devoted to lionizing him and discussing his favorite topics while I get sexual surrogates. Well, we'll see.
I have a 30-minute phone interview with Mike Bung of KXEL in Waterloo, Iowa. He seems intent in asking me question after question about Al Gore's campaign, but by now it's easy for me to turn any question into a discussion of my topics.
Then I'm on the phone with Bonna de la Cruz of the Nashville Tennessean. We talk for about a half-hour. She is very friendly, but apparently skeptical about the power of the Libertarian message.
Next up is a 30-minute interview with Tony Trupiano on the Talk America Radio Network. Tony is very supportive. We run through several issues and take one phone call which is from a recent convert to the Libertarian Party who is concerned about the party's stand on immigration. Among other things, I point out that a free country has no fear of anyone coming in or going out. But a welfare state necessarily is scared to death of rich people getting out and poor people coming in.
My last show of the day is an hour with Tim Stellman on WSHA-FM at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. There are actually two or three students in the studio asking questions. Their questions indicate that they've been taught well that government must take care of us, but they seem to respond with open minds to my answers. As the program progresses, it becomes obvious that the students are more libertarian than I thought. They mention that they've been reading on the air material from my website and the LP's press releases.
I'm receiving a lot of emails about yesterday's appearance on The O'Reilly Factor all favorable. One is from Corey Schimmel who says, "I just saw Harry Browne on The O'Reilly Factor, and all I can say is Bush just lost a vote! Go Harry!"
Thursday, August 24, 2000 Los Angeles
I'm up at 6:30am to write some radio commercials, to be recorded this morning.
My first interview is scheduled for 10 minutes at 7:35am with Eliza Sonneland at KTSA in San Antonio. She refers to me as "my personal hero" and tells what she goes through when she asks people to vote for a Libertarian President. She runs through the objections she gets on the environment, taxes, and other issues.
Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, the program was a little late getting to me and now she wants me to stay on for longer than was scheduled. But this morning I have another interview scheduled right on top of this one, and I have to cut this one short.
The next interview is with Mark Roberts at the news department of WEKC in Birmingham. We tape a 7-minute interview, running through all the issues quickly. He reveals his own Republican leanings, maintaining that the Republicans are for smaller government even though, as I point out, they didn't criticize a single government program during their recent convention.
Steve Willis and I drive into Hollywood to a sound studio where I record six 1-minute radio ads. Four ads are on the wasted-vote issue, one is on the Drug War, and one is on the gun laws. We probably will run the wasted-vote ads on shows with Libertarian hosts during the last few weeks of the campaign. This will be our opportunity to try to keep people on our side from caving in at the last moment and voting for someone else. (The ads will be on our website sometime soon.)
Afterward, Steve and I stop for breakfast at Denny's the official Eat-and-Run facility of the Browne for President campaign.
From the sound studio, we go to a TV studio where Mark Selzer, a local Congressional candidate, tapes a cable-access TV show. We have a 30-minute interview, and Mark does an excellent job of hosting the show. We also record another 15-minute interview to be inserted in a future show.
Back at the hotel, I write some soundbites for our daily press briefings. And then it's back on the phone with Rick Knobe at KSOO in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Rick is obviously supportive, pointing out how much money is wasted on the Drug War. He asks whether this is an issue I get "sucked into" and I say that conservative talk-show hosts sometimes think they can discredit me with the drug issue but in fact most Americans already think the Drug War is a failure. The Drug War is typical of most government programs violating the Constitution, failing to achieve anything it promises, causing more harm than good, and increasing its budget with each failure.
In mid-afternoon, a car arrives at the hotel to take me to the Politically Incorrect show. Steve Willis, Jack Dean, and Geoff Braun of the campaign staff go with me.
Upon our arrival at the studio, the producer briefs me on the show. And, yes, they are planning to focus on the non-political issues listed in yesterday's memo plus the social meaning of the large audience for the final episode last night of the Survivor TV show. It doesn't look like a promising venue in which to provide reasons to vote Libertarian.
One of the show's staff introduces me to a couple of her friends one of whom has apparently been soliciting votes for me wherever he goes.
The other guests are Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, a Republican pollster who often appears on talk shows; Sharon Lawrence, a TV actress; and Tim Stack, a comedian whose now-defunct show Nightstand (a spoof of Oprah-type shows) I used to see occasionally and enjoy. Before the show, I talk with Kellyanne, who tells me that two of her employees were thrilled that she was going to be on the show with the Libertarian candidate. Tim Stack says he looked at my website and says "I really like your politics."
The show begins with a discussion of what the Survivor show tells us about what we want in leaders. Bill Maher says we want manipulative, slick people who can get things done as leaders. I say I don't want a leader; I want 250 million leaders, each running his own life. When I ask, "Don't you think you can run your life better than George Bush or Al Gore can?" I'm greeted with applause.
In the second segment, we discuss the lawsuit over the "black hoes." Sharon Lawrence and I debate this, and I maintain that if you give government the authority to make decisions regarding what people can say, why can't they stop Sharon Lawrence from saying something someone else considers offensive? I'm able to make libertarian points, and the audience responds positively, but we're a million miles away from discussing why anyone should vote Libertarian.
In the commercial break before the final full segment, Bill Maher says we'll cover one of the other topics on the proposed agenda. I remind him that he devoted the whole Monday show to topics that Ralph Nader relished, while on this show we're discussing nothing but trivia. Maher says to the producer, "We'll talk about libertarianism for the final segment."
And we do. It's terrific. I get to talk about the income tax, Social Security, the Drug War, and foreign policy. Tim Stack reads a line from my website saying that before the first World War a 10-year-old girl could go into a drugstore and buy heroin. Everyone listens without interrupting as I say that this freedom meant that little girls didn't buy heroin because it wasn't forbidden fruit. It was only when the Drug War started that criminal gangs began to ply little girls with heroin, cocaine, and other drugs.
During this segment Bill Maher is more forceful in endorsing libertarianism than I've ever seen him. He says to me, "You're my guy." And in answer to a question he says, "Would I vote for Harry? Absolutely I would." To this a large part of the audience cheers.
As it is a taped show, I get to see it on the air later in the evening. Although it wasn't perfect, it was far better than I had hoped for. My only regret is that I failed to mention the website address.
Today AntiWar.com published my article "What Is War?." The article was mostly a reprint from my book Why Government Doesn't Work.
Friday, August 25, 2000 Los Angeles
The day begins at 8am with a 30-minute phone interview with Jaz McKay at KKAL in San Luis Obispo, California. He says he has progressed from being a Socialist to a Democrat to a Republican and now a Libertarian, voting for me in 1996. At one point we talk about negative advertising, and I point out that Democrats and Republicans can no longer promise to dramatically improve the lives of people in any group, so they have to campaign on the theme, "I may be bad, but I'm not as bad as the other guy."
During a commercial break, Jaz tells me that in publications of the radio industry he's seen ads in which stations advertise for libertarian-leaning talk-show hosts.
Next is an interview with Fred Andrle on WOSU in Columbus, Ohio. We go over a number of policy issues and as yet I haven't urged anyone to vote Libertarian. So I take the next policy question and use it as an example of why you will never get smaller government unless you vote Libertarian. At the conclusion of the interview, the station doesn't hang up the phone and so I listen to Andrle's ensuing remarks. He gives a strong explanation of the failures of the Drug War, and when a caller challenges my views on the environment, Andrle defends the Libertarian position.
I then have an interview with Alex Jones of Genesis Communications, broadcasting on the Internet and through short-wave stations. He's conspiracy-oriented. I point out that although we may have different explanations for how big government came about, the only way you'll get smaller government is to vote Libertarian. He agrees and says, "I think Harry Browne is a great choice."
My last interview of the day is with Suzanne Lee on WNTA in Rockford, Illinois. She is quite friendly toward libertarian ideas, and the interview is otherwise uneventful.
Michael Cloud arrives from Atlanta, where he did fund-raising at a rally for local candidates with radio host Neal Boortz as the featured speaker. Michael, Steve, and I are joined by our webmaster Geoff Braun and we drive about 20 miles to Woodland Hills for the evening's event.
About 115 people are in attendance. One of them is Penn Jillette, of the magic team of Penn & Teller. For five years Penn also wrote a very readable column for PC Computing magazine a column that was semi-humorous and semi-libertarian. He tells me he voted for me in 1996 and plans to do so again if I don't mess up my speech tonight. (Actually, his words were slightly more rustic than that.) Art Olivier, our esteemed Vice-Presidential candidate, is there and he provides a gracious introduction to my speech.
The evening goes well. About 40% of the audience are at their first Libertarian event. Aaron Starr did a good job of getting a crowd out on short notice. Although we prefer not to stage events unless we have a large audience guaranteed in advance, we do schedule some events in a hurry when I will be in the area for an important event such as, in this case, my finding out only a week ago that I would be on Politically Incorrect.
Today Justin Raimondo of AntiWar.com publishes a hit piece on me entitled "Browne on Maher Libertarian Sells Out'" The article focuses on my policy of targeting foreign leaders who attack us, rather than their innocent subjects.
On Politically Incorrect, I said (taken from the ABC transcript):
But the interesting thing is that it is against the law to kill Saddam Hussein, but it is not against the law to kill millions of Iraqi citizens who may hate Saddam Hussein as much as we do. I would reverse that.
If we got in trouble with a foreign country, the first thing I would do is go after the leader. I would put up a reward of $1 billion for the person who can kill that leader. And it would be available to Americans, to foreigners, to the dictators' wives or palace guards, anybody.
Raimondo's article tried to make it appear that I would use assassination threats as a way of imposing my will on foreign countries when in fact the policy is designed as a means of dissuading a foreign leader from attacking us. It is part of my overall foreign policy that prohibits intervening in the affairs of foreign countries. Raimondo knows this, as my policy is spelled out in detail in both Why Government Doesn't Work and The Great Libertarian Offer.
In The Great Libertarian Offer, I make my use of the assassination policy very clear:
Please understand the limits of this proposal. It isn't a way to force dictators to change their spots or accommodate the U.S. It is only a means to prevent a direct attack on America. If the dictator withdraws his threat, the U.S. would withdraw the reward.
If our government followed a libertarian foreign policy, it's unlikely that any foreign ruler would want to threaten us. So it's unlikely that any such reward would ever be posted. But if a foreign ruler were tempted to threaten us, the fear of assassination would be more likely to deter him than the fear of losing some of his civilian subjects to U.S. bombs.
If you don't believe that's true, if you think assassination isn't nice, what is the alternative? Is it to kill thousands of innocent foreigners and to assure the deaths of innocent Americans?
That to me is the cruelest, most reckless approach.
But in his article, Raimondo says, "This is precisely why the rest of the world hates us, and justly so: because even the nice Americans, like Harry Browne really a well-meaning kind of guy, quite likable if a trifle slow have the supreme arrogance to see themselves as naturally wielding the power of life and death over the rest of humanity." In the process he puts words in my mouth, surrounding them with quotation marks as though they are authentic a ruse that's been used on me frequently over the years.
Why would Raimondo misrepresent my views? Because he's afraid I might take votes away from peace-loving Pat Buchanan.
Yesterday the Jacksonville (NC) Daily News ran an editorial on my candidacy. It began with, "Looking for a refreshing and challenging change of pace from the Republicans and Democrats? Check out Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party's nominee for president." The rest of the editorial sounds as though it was based on one of my recent personal-appearance speeches, although I haven't been in North Carolina recently. Although Jacksonville, North Carolina, isn't one of America's major markets, the editorial is an example of what we're looking for increased discussion of my candidacy when I'm not present.
Saturday, August 26, 2000 Los Angeles
No interviews today, so I get to catch up on sleep. Then I think I have a chance to get up-to-date on my email and other writing chores. But I'm having problems with my laptop and my email service, and I wind up with less productive time than I had expected. After a third conversation with the Internet Service Provider, I'm able to download my email for the first time in three days, but I still have problems with the laptop itself.
In the late afternoon, we have an event at the Glendale hotel. A little over a hundred people are present, but the fund-raising is sub-par. Otherwise, the event comes off well. Again, nearly half the audience indicate that this is their first Libertarian event. The actor and game-show host David Ruprecht, who appeared with me in our campaign videotape and who joined the LP at the national convention in July, is on hand and says a few words prior to my speech. Art Olivier again introduces me.
Claudia Peschiutta of the Glendale News-Press, the local daily, is at the event and she interviews me immediately afterward. During the week she published an accurate and helpful article about my candidacy, which alerted readers to today's appearance in Glendale.
On the weekends, Fox TV News reruns some episodes of its opinion shows from the week. Today they showed several times the O'Reilly Factor episode with Michael Reagan interviewing me.
Sunday, August 27, 2000 Detroit
I'm up at 5am to catch an early-morning plane to Detroit. It's a through flight with one stop in Dallas, taking 7½ hours. Fortunately, I have more than enough Frequent Flyer miles to upgrade to first class.
Upon arrival in Detroit, I'm surprised to find about 40 Libertarians waiting to greet me at the gate. Barbara Goushaw and Fred Collins have arranged my schedule, and they take me to the home of Ben and Annina Bachrach for a fund-raiser for Greg Stempfle, who's running for State Representative. I say a few words, and then we go to a banquet staged by Brass Roots, Michigan's big pro-gun organization. There are a little over 300 people at the banquet, hosted by Jon Coon a long-time leader in the Michigan LP. I'm the featured speaker. Apparently, my remarks help to persuade a few people to vote Libertarian this year.
Monday, August 28, 2000 Nashville
Another early flight today, but this one is taking me home for the day. Tomorrow I'll be off again for New York, but at least I'll have a few hours at home.
Today's Nashville Tennessean has a lengthy article about me starting on the front page above the fold. In fact it's the second most prominent article in today's paper. It is the article for which Bonna de la Cruz interviewed me by phone last Wednesday. It is a very friendly, respectful article. There are a few misquotes in it, but nothing serious. I don't know why the Tennessean decided to do this now. There is no news "hook" to the article, and they already ran a profile of me when I made my candidacy official last February.
Our proficient webmaster Geoff Braun tells me that our Internet site is receiving a steady stream of requests for information from people who heard about us from Neal Boortz' radio show on WSB in Atlanta (an hour of which is broadcast nationally). Neal joined the LP at our 1998 national convention, and since then he's been a Libertarian ball of fire using his show to promote the party and my candidacy.
Jack Dean has let us know that our website traffic is way up. We have had
173,253 different visitors so far in August, as opposed to 108,861 in all of
Jack Dean first proposed in late 1995 that I write this campaign journal. I began writing it in January 1996 with the title "On the Campaign Trail" and stopped writing it on November 12, 1996. I resumed it in February of this year when I made the official announcement of my candidacy. As this has helped me keep in touch with you and pass on news you might not otherwise hear, I'm very grateful to Jack for the idea.
Tuesday, August 29, 2000 New York
Pamela and I are up at 5:30 to catch a plane to New York. This is the first trip in several weeks on which Pamela has accompanied me, and it is a lot more pleasant for me.
To save several hundred dollars on the air fare, we fly into Islip Airport, way out on Long Island. There we meet Steve Willis, who has flown in from Baltimore. A car and driver also are there to take us to Manhattan. The trip takes about 90 minutes.
On the way I have a 30-minute phone interview with Mike Scinto at WDAO in Dayton, Ohio. My cell-phone connection is broken twice as the car goes through tunnels. He asks a lot of good questions, but takes no particular stand on any of the issues.
When we get to Manhattan, we realize that a clerical error has caused us to be booked at the wrong hotel in the wrong part of the city. We are supposed to stay at the Excelsior, a recently remodeled hotel on West 81st Street that is surprisingly inexpensive for such a nice hotel. Instead, we're at Broadway and 27th, in a hotel that costs as much but is far from as nice. In fact, the air conditioning in our room doesn't even work, and it's a very muggy day. So we quickly make arrangements to move to the other hotel.
But first I have four more interviews to do. One is 30 minutes with Paul Harral, Jack Z. Smith, and J.R. Jill Labbe of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. They are very friendly, and one of them is quite happy with my intention as President to disarm the Capitol guards until the Congressmen restore to all Americans the unconditional right to defend themselves. As usual, however, there's no way to know what will come as a result of the interview.
(As it turns out, J.R. Labbe writes a wonderful article, published on August 31, presenting our ideas accurately and saying, ". . . his voice is one that needs to be heard. It would be a loss to the American people not to see and hear him during the presidential debates. Line 'em all up Bush, Gore, Nader, Buchanan and Browne and let the voters hear what they have to say." The article is reprinted the next day in San Diego's North County Times as an editorial, and apparently also in the Panama City [Florida] News Herald.)
Next is a 20-minute phone conversation with Timothy Pajak of HRWire, a magazine and Internet site. The publication is for Human Resources officers in corporations and others interested in health care and retirement plans. He says he likes that I said on Politically Incorrect last week that we shouldn't look for someone to "lead" us, but instead America should have 250 million leaders each responsible for his own life. He seems very friendly toward libertarian ideas.
I then have a 30-minute interview with Ralph Bristol at WSPA in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Before I go on the air, his producer says he happened to be surfing his TV set in July when he came across my acceptance speech at the LP convention. He became engrossed and decided he was pretty much a libertarian. A lot of my interview with Bristol concerns foreign policy and a missile defense. He seems to be quite in sync with a non-interventionist foreign policy. In the last minute of the show, he brings up the Drug War. I say we should schedule another interview and give that subject the time it deserves. He agrees.
The final interview is supposed to be 30 minutes with D.L. Stewart at WHIO in Dayton, Ohio. However, they have a problem with their phones, and we're about 15 minutes late getting started. He begins by saying, "The Democrats want to take our money and give it away; the Republicans want to take our money and keep it. What do Libertarians want?" I tell him that Libertarians want to stop the politicians from taking our money in the first place. He says, "What an extraordinary thought!"
Because of the late start, I stay for an extra 10 minutes or so. We get a number of calls almost all from supportive people. One man says he was a Democrat for many years, but he wasn't really for the Democrats, he was simply against the Republicans afraid of the Religious Right. But now he has decided to be for freedom and the Libertarians.
After the final interview, we check out of the hotel and move uptown.
Wednesday, August 30, 2000 New York
A lot going on today. We have to get up at 5:30 (do some people really do this willingly?), as we have to drive all the way back out to Long Island for a short TV interview. (Don't ask why we didn't do the interview yesterday when we were on Long Island; that's just the way things work out sometimes.)
On the way to Long Island, I have three brief radio interviews on my cell phone. The first is with Jim Thompson a newscaster at WGCH in Greenwich, Connecticut. The interview is only about 5 minutes long, but it goes very well covering all the basics.
Then it's Jim Turner at WDBO in Orlando. Before I go on, Kirk Healy, the producer, says, "We're all in your corner. You're our man." And he suggests that I invite Jim Turner to join the LP during the interview. I do so, but Jim doesn't respond. However, he does plug next week's appearance in Orlando.
Then it's "Carmen & Chris in the Morning" on WSSR-FM in Tampa. Carmen says she's a registered Libertarian and she's on my side all the way. We talk mostly about Social Security and she responds to most of my statements like a member of the Amen Corner.
We arrive at the News 12 station in Woodbury. This is a large cable channel covering Long Island. My interview is live at 8:15, and it's only 5 minutes long. But it will be replayed throughout the day. The woman who interviews me asks a question that leads me to talk about repealing the income tax. Without hearing a word I said, she then says, "I understand you also want to repeal the income tax." So much for an involved conversation. Walking down the hall after the interview, I pass a man who says, "I'm voting for you."
On the way back to Manhattan, I have a phone interview with Brian Weiss of George magazine's website. He's a young man who sounds almost like a Libertarian, as he anticipates my answers to many of his questions. He's either libertarian-leaning or a very perceptive reporter. Either way he ought to have a promising future.
Another cell phone interview is 5-7 minutes with the Kevin & Bean Show on KROQ-FM in Burbank, California. They have a morning rock & roll show for young people, which is the kind of show I always enjoy being on. Both hosts are very sympathetic to the ideas I express, and I have the opportunity to say everything I want.
Then we're at the Fox News Channel for a 5-minute interview with Linda Vester. She asks a couple of questions, and then I barrel forward and take over the conversation covering everything I want to get into the interview. She seems quite willing to let me do so. On the way out, one of the engineers tells me she'll be voting for me.
Later in the day we go to WABC for a radio hour with Sean Hannity of Hannity & Colmes. He is a staunch Republican, but whenever I talk with him he seems to be more critical of the Republicans than before. He still will vote for George W. Bush, however. Today I keep repeating that voting Republican means you're giving up that you don't ever expect to be free because it's obvious that Republicans will never allow you to be free to live your life as you want.
In the second half of the hour, as I'm making this point, we suddenly lurch off into a discussion of the military and of foreign interventions a discussion that lasts about 20 minutes. This in fact seems to be the only area where Sean actually expects George Bush to do something Sean wants use the military to keep the whole world in line. I try to point out that none of the previous foreign adventures have delivered on their promised benefits, but I don't get anywhere with him. I hope I scored more points with the listeners.
In the evening I'm on for 45 minutes with Brent Johnson of The American Sovereign show, an Internet broadcast. He is very good to me beginning by saying, "No other candidate is so well spoken." He seems especially happy with my statement to disarm all the guards protecting the Congressmen. The callers are all positive.
The final event of the day is one segment on the Hannity & Colmes TV show on the Fox News Channel. Both Sean and Alan have been very good to me with a standing offer to be on the show whenever I'm in New York. Usually Sean uses his time to challenge me on any of my views that might be considered anti-conservative, and then Alan challenges me on my anti-liberal views. Tonight it's different. Sean asks me to elaborate on the views he agrees with, and then Alan asks me to elaborate on the views he agrees with.
At the end of the segment, all three cameramen applaud. Last time I was there, each of them came up to me afterward to say he was voting for me. The Floor Manager of the show (who also works on The O'Reilly Factor) is Jenna Sowards, a staunch libertarian and supporter.
Thursday, August 31, 2000 New York
My first interview isn't until 10am, so I get a good night's sleep. I talk with Jeff Kats, an avowed Libertarian on KXNT in Las Vegas. He pushes the Libertarian message throughout our 15-minute conversation, which covers two segments.
Since he's a Libertarian and counting on me to carry the flag, I feel a little embarrassed in the first segment because my words don't seem to flow easily. But everything begins to fall in place in the second segment, and I become very passionate saying that you'll never get smaller government in your lifetime if you don't start voting Libertarian.
Then I go down to the hotel lobby for a one-hour interview with Joseph Guinto of Investors Business Daily, the Wall Street Journal's chief competitor. He has taken a train from his Washington office to New York to interview me. He is writing a series of articles, one on each of the principal third parties. We cover the issues, as well as why someone should vote Libertarian, our campaign strategy, and just about everything else under the sun. Of course I have no idea what will show up in his article.
Some time back, Steve and Jennifer Willis heard Catherine Crier make a remark against the Drug War on her Court TV program. They wrote to her, enclosing a press kit and both the video and book of The Great Libertarian Offer. This eventually brought about a scheduled interview. However, the first date was canceled when it became impossible to set up a remote interview.
Today we have a rescheduled interview. So Pamela, Steve, and I head to Court TV. I used to watch her show when she was on the Fox News Channel, and I have always admired her interviewing skill. She never betrayed her own views on any significant matter, so I don't know what to expect when I enter the studio. To my surprise, she makes it clear before the interview begins that she thinks highly of libertarian ideas. She says she hopes I get into the debates because otherwise this year's race is very boring.
The 10-minute interview itself goes beautifully. In the first minute, I say, "I want to set you free to live your life as you want to live it not as Al Gore or George Bush thinks is best for you, or best for the Fatherland. After all, you're the one who earns the money, you're the one who gets up every day and goes to work. Why should they be taking your money and deciding how much of it they're going to let you keep for yourself? Why don't you decide how much of it you're going to give to them?"
To this, she says enthusiastically, "Yes! Yes!"
We cover repealing the income tax, getting the government out of Social Security, and ending the Drug War. She adds her own comments to explain why each of these steps would be beneficial. At the end she insists that I come back for a longer interview. Happily, we've found a new friend.
On the way back to the hotel, I have an interview on my cell phone with Charles Pappas, who is writing articles on me for Salon and GreenMagazine, both Internet publications. He is a financial reporter for each of them and he's interested in how my proposals would affect saving, investing, and retirement. He asks what I would do about Alan Greenspan. I say I'd try to help find him a new job, because there's no place in the Constitution for the Federal Reserve System and no reason to think politicians know what the proper interest rate should be.
A technician comes to the hotel to fix my ailing laptop computer. Afterward it seems to work as it should.
The last interview is a 10-minute taping with Randy Ford of the Tennessee Radio Network. He provides news features for 80 stations in Tennessee. He will arrange my comments into soundbites for news items that will be played throughout the day tomorrow. We cover the basics, and he asks whether there's anything we've missed. I say we covered everything, but Pamela calls "The website" from across the room and I add that.
We are scheduled to fly home tomorrow for one day, keeping this evening available for any last-minute interviews that might arise. But since nothing has come up, Steve obtains flights for us tonight and we make a hurried dash to the Long Island airport and catch a plane home giving us an extra night in Nashville.