Harry Browne's Campaign Journal March 2000
Wednesday, March 1, 2000 Nashville
The day begins with a slip-up. An interview on KSFO, a big talk station in San Francisco, falls through the cracks. Somehow I'm not informed of it, and by the time the mistake was discovered it was too late for me to be on. Brian Wilson, the guest host, is very gracious about it and we will do the interview soon. I feel badly about the mix-up because the show's producer is a wonderful Libertarian who has done a lot to help the campaign. And add to that the number of Libertarians who were informed of the broadcast and tuned in.
The day continues with three good interviews. The first is with Doug Raymond in on WTKF-FM in Moorehead, North Carolina. I've been on with him before, and he's within a hair's breadth of joining the LP. He says he agrees with us on all the issues, but he wonders how strong the LP's commitment to the 2nd Amendment is. I tell him that when a Republican says he supports the 2nd Amendment, he means he won't give in and vote for a gun-control bill until the last moment. By contrast, a Libertarian will adhere to the Constitution on all issues at all times, so you can be sure we won't compromise in any part of the Bill of Rights.
The radio interviews continue with Kevin Starrett on KPDQ in Portland, Oregon. He, too, is very supportive, and the callers are all either supportive or inquisitive, with none the least bit hostile.
The final interview is with my friend "Lionel" (Michael LeBron). He is one of the funniest people in radio. I first encountered him when he spoke at the New Jersey LP convention during the last campaign. He had the audience in stitches for half an hour, talking about politics. He is syndicated on a number of stations in big markets across the country. He is unusually complimentary today, and the show reaches a crescendo when he says, "I hereby formally endorse Harry Browne for President of the United States."
I was to appear on Hannity & Colmes tonight, but Fox TV couldn't arrange a satellite hookup for me in Nashville. And I was really in the mood to get into a shouting match.
The interview I did earlier with ConservativeHQ.com. shows up on its site. Among other things, Kelley O. Beaucar says:
"Browne says first and foremost, the income tax needs to be abolished, as well as Social Security and federal control of health care. He brings to these bold statements an articulate plan that allows taxpayers to save the money they are paying to the government each year and enjoy more effective services that aren't hindered by the bloated bureaucracy that exists in Washington today."
The entire article can be read at: http://www.conservativehq.com/chq/displayarticle?articleId=369 (although Internet publications sometimes change article addresses or delete them entirely after a period of time).
For a campaign that must operate with far less money than the Republicans and Democrats have, radio is a wonderful medium. It provides the opportunity to talk with tens of thousands of people in one day. This is especially important at the beginning of the campaign when we must talk to the people who basically agree with us and recruit as many of them as possible to help us reach others.
Among other things, the LP presidential campaign must build name recognition for Libertarianism and the Libertarian Party. The LP hopes to have 2,000 candidates running this year for federal, state, and local offices. Their chances will be riding on several factors including whether the presidential candidate and the national LP can build name recognition for all Libertarians. We must get the word to most Americans that Libertarians want you to be free free to live your life as you want to live it, free to raise your children by your values, free to keep every dollar you earn to spend it, save it, give it away as you see fit.
We have the most appealing political message possible. The all-important question is whether we'll have the resources to transmit that message to every potential American voter. If we do, it's only a matter of time until we win.
Thursday, March 2, 2000 Nashville
After three hours' sleep, I'm up at 6:15am to do a 3-minute interview with Joe Galuski in the news department of WSYR in Syracuse. It goes well and quickly.
A half-hour later, I have a 45-minute interview with Mildred Gaddis at WCHB in Detroit. From the questions posed by the callers, I assume this is an inner-city station. Aside from two hostile callers, the atmosphere is very good. The callers either seem genuinely interested in finding out more about what we're offering or they already call themselves libertarians. The hostess asks me what I would do for urban America, and I say I would stop the Washington politicians from taking money from Detroit and spending it to clean up the air in Los Angeles, stop taking money from Detroit to build expensive housing projects in Detroit and other places projects that could be built so much less expensively if the money didn't travel to Washington.
She asks me about abortion, I tell her I'm opposed to abortion and so I don't want the government trying to stop abortions -- since the government fails at everything it tries. When she says Libertarians ought to be pro-choice, I tell her I don't like that term. Too many politicians proudly say they're pro-choice, but don't believe in a woman's right to choose to drop out of Social Security, or to run her own business free from federal mandates and hiring rules. (In the same way, most politicians who claim to be "pro-life" have no reservations about killing innocent people in Serbia or Iraq.) We believe in individual liberty, and Libertarians differ on the abortion question because an argument grounded in liberty can be made on either side of that issue. This is one of the few issues on which Libertarians aren't somewhat unanimous.
The final question of the interview is on the Confederate flag in South Carolina and what I would do about it as President. I say that if I lived in South Carolina, I'd probably be in favor of removing it, since I think too much is made of political symbols. But the President of the United States should butt out of the discussion. I'm sick of the President telling me how my retirement should be handled, what kind of health care system I must encounter when I visit the doctor, and imposing his values on virtually every area of my life. I'm running for President not Dictator and presidents should stop telling you how you must run your life.
The third interview is with Arlene Violet on WHJJ in Providence, Rhode Island. She is very kind in not interrupting me when I answer her questions. She asks some very relevant questions, giving me the opportunity to barrel forward with short answers on all the important issues. Two or three of the callers are contentious but not hostile.
Friday, March 3, 2000 Nashville
Tomorrow I'll be speaking at the Delaware LP convention. Our press secretary Jim Babka, together with our publicity firm Newman Communications, has lined up four Wilmington phone interviews for today, to help publicize the convention. The combination of a talented press secretary and a powerhouse P.R. firm is giving us coverage that goes far beyond anything we were able to do at any time during 1996.
The first interview is 15 minutes with Patrick Jackson of the Wilmington News Journal. He's very friendly, but who knows what he'll write?
The second interview is with John Rago on WDEL. He, too, is very friendly; he mentions that he read Why Government Doesn't Work and gets the LP's press releases. The interview lasts about 30 minutes and goes very well.
The third interview is with John Watson of WILM. He is very contentious, challenging me on everything. Still, he quickly acknowledges any of my points that make sense to him and he does a good job of interviewing. Also, a caller points out that John endorsed my being in the debates in 1996. John says I ought to be in the debates this year, and he also says the ballot access laws are a scandal. All in all, a good interview.
The final interview is with Chris Brugman of WMDM in Wilmington. He is very supportive and sounds as though he's on the verge of endorsing the Libertarian Party.
Saturday, March 4, 2000 Wilmington, Delaware
This morning I speak at the Delaware LP convention. I'm particularly glad to be here. In the 1996 campaign, I visited 37 states, but Delaware was one of those I missed. My speech isn't one of my best. I got to the hotel at 1:30 this morning and got just a few hours' sleep, after short sleep the night before. Normally, I can handle two nights of limited sleep (but no more); however, this time it certainly slowed me down.
After the speech, I'm interviewed by Ken Grant of the Delaware State News, a Wilmington daily. It's obvious from his questions and his knowledge that he's very sympathetic to Libertarians. However, when the article appears, it is perfunctory a one-sentence quote from each of the three presidential candidates at the convention, but nothing that would make readers sit up and take notice.
Steve Willis drives me from Wilmington to Washington for a brief, one-segment interview on Fox TV News. It goes very well. There are two interviewers (whose names I didn't catch) and they give me the opportunity to deliver the message my way. We probably will be putting this video clip on the website shortly.
Sunday, March 5, 2000 Nashville
During announcement week, I had two phone conversations with Jay Hamburg of the Nashville Tennessean, who contacted me after seeing the AP article. Some of his questions indicated he might be planning to run a negative article. But today the article is published and it is not only very friendly, it includes a lot of my message in the way I like to tell it.
For example, it says, "But he believes he has a winning message. That message includes repeal of the income tax, abolish the FBI, end all federal welfare spending, pardon all non-violent federal prisoners, stop federal government involvement in education and in personal issues such as abortion. I think everything revolves around a very simple premise that I want you to be free,' said Browne.
"'I want you to be able to live your life as you think it should be lived. I think you should be able to keep every dollar you earn spend it, save it, give it away as you think best. I think you ought to be able to raise your children by your values, not what Bill Clinton or Al Gore or George Bush or John McCain thinks is the way you ought to,' said Browne, . . ."
Meanwhile, we continue to hear of more major newspapers such as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch that carried the AP announcement article.
Monday, March 6, 2000 Nashville
I mentioned in a previous installment that Carlos A. Ball had translated into Spanish my article on the 2,000,000 American prisoners and the need to end the Drug War, and that the article had run in two Spanish-language newspapers. Today I hear from him that the translated article has also run in Miami's Spanish-language daily Diario Las Americas on February 24, and in Puerto Rico's daily El Mundo on February 26.
He also corrected my statement in the last installment that he is the "editor of a group of Spanish-language newspapers." Actually, he edits and translates libertarian articles and sells them to Spanish-language newspapers and magazines in the US and 12 Latin countries. He is helping to spread libertarian ideas far and wide. I first came across him at the Florida state convention last year, at which he gave an excellent speech explaining how the American Drug War was helping to destroy South America.
In the last installment I mentioned the problems I have dealing with show hosts who give long speeches leading up to a question, and then interrupt me almost as soon as I begin answering the question, sometimes piling more questions on. Tom Estrada-Palma sent me a useful suggestion: "I'd say, Please forgive me. I've known many very intelligent people in my life, but I've never met anyone smart enough to effectively answer two questions at the same time while being interrupted with still more questions.' Then go silent for as long as it takes for your persecutor to apologize and shut up so you can speak."
This calls attention to a technique that should be obvious, but too often gets overlooked: simply point out what's going on, rather than pretend it isn't happening. I can say, "I'm sorry but it just isn't possible to answer your 2-minute question in the 10 words you allow me before you interrupt. So before we continue, please tell me: are these rhetorical questions you're asking or do you really want me to answer?"
Another problem occurs when a host says, "We have only one minute left, so tell me . . ." He then goes on to use up 45 seconds making a speech that ends with a question. I now realize I shouldn't even try to answer a question under those circumstances. Instead I should say, "Sorry, but I can't answer a 1-minute question in 10 seconds, so I suggest you go to my website HarryBrowne.org for a proper answer."
Doug (no last name, poor fellow) wrote in response to my mention of a confrontation on the Drug War in an interview. "To conservatives who favor the Drug War, simply point out that it is their policies that have led us to drug anarchy, and that we want drugs to be regulated and controlled by doctors and pharmacists not gangsters and children. Yes I said regulated.' That is what the free-market is natural regulation. Your policy has given us an unregulated drug market, and Libertarians want the drug trade brought under control.
"Is it really your position to let criminals sell drugs to children? I want the drugs sold by doctors and pharmacists; you want them sold by drug dealers in schools."
This leads to another technique I like but don't use often enough: Ask the questioner what he wants. "Do you want to see the Drug War continue as it is?"
Whenever I've asked that question, I've gotten either silence for an answer or the ever-popular "We should start publicly executing all drug dealers; that'll stop em." That's easy enough to counter. Big-time drug dealers already risk life in prison; the death penalty isn't likely to be much additional deterrent. And if the policy did actually succeed in reducing the drug trade, think of the terrible precedent it would set. Soon they'd be executing people who sell cigarettes to children, then drunk drivers, then "dead-beat dads," and who-knows-whom after that.
Asking what the questioner wants is an effective technique. On many talk shows, a caller has gone on about some terrible conspiracy that's trying to take over the world. Instead of trying to show that what he's saying is really unlikely, I just ask, "So what do you want to do?" Very often there's no answer except sometimes that we must "wake up America" to what's happening. "And then what?"
If you ask the questioner what he wants, you usually provide a gentle demonstration that he doesn't really have a solution to the problem. Then when you offer your answer, the questioner doesn't usually argue with it.
Tuesday, March 7, 2000 Nashville
Today I sent to publisher LiamWorks the final parts of the manuscript for my campaign book, The Great Libertarian Offer. I started the book last summer and was continually derailed by more urgent tasks concerning the campaign such as producing the half-hour TV show. Now the book is done, and it should be in print by June so that it will be available for the final five months of the campaign. I hope the book will help us recruit the people who can provide time and money for us to get our message to every potential voter in America.
We are getting wonderful reports from people who have shown the campaign videotape to friends. Today Jennifer Willis, our dynamo of a Volunteer Coordinator, forwarded a note from Mickey deRham saying, "Received the tape the other day and showed it to a friend who is dyed in the wool Republican yesterday. She didn't even see the whole thing and she was sold. This gives a big boost to my fire to work for HB. This AM this friend was on the phone at 7:30, wanting to know how to get more tapes as she has already been talking and has a bunch of people in Vermont who are dying to see it."
The video is proving to be a powerful recruiting tool. As a videocassette it's an ideal way to introduce a friend, neighbor, or business associate to the basic ideas of the campaign. Since it's only 30 minutes, it can be shown when friends have gathered for some other purpose without anyone feeling he's been sandbagged into a brainwashing session.
Today is primary election day in California. I'm informed that popular Los Angeles radio host Larry Elder mentioned on his show that he had voted for me today. He is a true friend of Libertarians and a very effective ally.
Wednesday, March 8, 2000 Nashville
Out of bed at 6:30 for a 10-minute interview with Al Lerner and Richard Stevens on the Daybreak USA show on 350 radio stations. The interview goes well, as they let me answer every question fully.
Because I was working very late last night, I decide to go back to bed only to be awakened at 9 because Neal Boortz wants to talk with me on the air. He is a very popular Atlanta show host, and this is the hour he broadcasts nationally. During our interview, he complains that the media keep talking about 3rd parties without recognizing the most important 3rd party of them all the Libertarians. I say that we have to advertise, we have to flood newspapers with letters to the editor, flood the talk shows with calls, and make our presence known; no one is going to give us the coverage we want, we have to earn it by demonstrating that we can affect the outcome this year.
Next I'm on for one hour with a host I've never encountered before James L. Hirsen on the America Advocate show, broadcast on a few stations in Colorado, Tennessee, and California. It's obvious that he and his audience are constitutional conservatives. He asks politely why we need a Libertarian Party when the Republicans say they're for smaller government. I point out that Republican politicians treat "small government" as a slogan, not something they believe in or even understand. Consequently, they use "small government" as a justification for initially opposing something (which they may cave in on later), but then promote more government somewhere else without embarrassment such as with the Drug War or censoring the Internet or bombing innocent people. I then explain why force is both wrong and ineffective and why Libertarians oppose it across the board.
The host takes to the idea immediately, sensing that something better than Republicanism has come his way. He is very supportive throughout the show, as are the callers only one of whom indicates he's already familiar with Libertarians. We apparently have a new friend in James L. Hirsen.
Next, another host who is new to me Brent Johnson on The American Sovereign show, which goes out to commercial radio stations, as well as on the Internet and short wave. Here, too, is a constitutional conservative host and audience. After 15 minutes of Q&A on the issues, he says he could be listening to himself. He is very supportive and urges me to come back as the hour goes by very quickly. The callers are supportive. Some of them are obviously worried about various conspiracies, but the universal answer to concerns about any kind of conspiracy is to make the government so small that it doesn't have the power to implement anyone's conspiratorial designs.
My last interview of the day is an hour with another stranger George Noory on KTRS in St. Louis. He is very respectful, asks my opinion on many issues, and gives me a clear path to reply. The calls are very encouraging, with only one dissenting view one that was expressed in such a way that it took nothing away from my case.
Tonight on the Politically Incorrect TV show, Republican talk radio host Jack Burkman said to comedian Bill Maher: "The other night on my radio show, I had a guy named Harry Browne, who might be a friend of yours. He's the Libertarian candidate for president. His philosophy and it might be your philosophy is he wants to do away with every facet of the government that's not an immediate Constitutional function. I said, What about do away with the Department of Commerce? What about trade law? What about environmental law?' I believe in scaling these things back, but I sure don't believe in getting rid of them 100%. Neither does Newt Gingrich."
This is exactly what we want to be the opposition the defenders of big government cite when they want to make a point. Think how many people heard Burkman's statement that there's someone named Harry Browne, Libertarian candidate for President, who thinks we should "do away with every facet of the government that's not an immediate constitutional function." A lot of them are going to think that's a pretty good idea, and make a note of the name or wish they'd paid attention to it and do so the next time. The more often they hear statements like this, the sooner many people will be motivated to return to the polls and vote for dramatically smaller government.
Thursday, March 9, 2000 Nashville
Four interviews today. The first is a half-hour with Paul Irwin on WICR, an NPR station in Indianapolis. He is very friendly and even voices his own concerns about big government.
Then it's an alternative health show, "Mind Your Body," with Marcia Minor on WERE in Cleveland. I stress the federal government's intrusions into health care and she's happy to hear a candidate who wants the government out of the way.
I then have a one-hour interview on the I.E. America network with Michelle Laxalt, daughter of Paul Laxalt, the former Republican senator from Nevada. I was on her show during the last campaign, and she introduces me as "the integrity candidate." She and the callers all seem to be rabidly anti-Bush. I wonder how much they reflect rank and file Republicans around the country.
My last interview is an hour with David Gold on the Salem Radio Network. He calls himself a "Christian conservative-libertarian." Throughout the interview, he keeps telling his listeners that he and I are "kindred souls."
Four interviews and no confrontations. A pleasant, but strange, day.
Friday, March 10, 2000 Nashville
Just one show today. It's with Jerry Hughes, a conservative Constitutionalist with whom I've had a good relationship for the past three or four years. He bears down hard when he disagrees, but he's a very fair interviewer. He is quite supportive, as were most of the callers today.
In the March 6 entry for the Campaign Journal, I mentioned an email received from "Doug" providing some good ideas for arguing against the Drug War. Unfortunately, it came with no last name, and I didn't know how to track down the author. It turns out that it was Doug Scribner, Vice-Chair of the Orange County (California) Libertarian Party.
Sunday, March 12, 2000 Nashville
After taking a day off and going to bed at 2am, I'm up at 6am to do a 45-minute radio show with Peter Solomon on WIP, Philadelphia. It appears to be a typical Sunday "public service" type broadcast, with free commercials interspersed throughout. But everytime he tries to take a call from a listener, he loses the phone connection to me and the station has to call me back. This happens about six times during the broadcast. But the interview goes well, he gives me plenty of opportunity to answer questions, and he seems to understand the point that when you give politicians the power to do what you think is right you're automatically giving politicians the power to do what you think is wrong. After the interview is over, I happily jump back in bed and sleep like a log.
Monday, March 13, 2000 Nashville
The day starts with a repeat interview with Larry Marino on KIEV, a large talk station in Los Angeles. He is obviously a Republican and very contentious disputing my opposition to the Drug War, closed borders, and some other issues dear to the hearts of Republican pundits and politicians.
He, like so many people, keeps talking about Libertarians wanting to "open the borders." The point I keep coming back to is that the borders are open already. There is no way you can keep out of America people who are determined to get here. And every attempt to do so takes us closer to a police state making you and me carry national identity cards to be shown on demand, forcing employers to be responsible for verifying the citizenship of anyone they employ. And still the people will come just as the drugs flow across the border despite draconian efforts to stop them.
The principal solution to the immigration problem is to end the welfare state. Then the people who come will be the ones who seek opportunity and will do the work we don't want to do cleaning hotels, picking lettuce, and clerking in 7-Eleven stores in dangerous areas. Those who are looking only for a free lunch will have to look elsewhere.
The next interview has a smaller audience. It is with Kenneth John, a libertarian on WRMN in Elgin, Illinois. He does not seem to be a professional talk-show host, but he's an excellent interviewer completely at home in the medium. I remember how difficult it was for me when I had my own show to interview other people, but he does it very well. He brings up the point that the Drug War wasn't discussed at all in the Democratic and Republican primary debates, and probably won't be in October debates.
I mention something that I've raised in a number of interviews so far: It isn't necessary for the listener to decide today to vote for me, since there's still almost eight months to Election Day. But it is important that the listener decide whether he wants to see the Republican and Democratic candidates have to defend the Drug War, the income tax, and locking you into Social Security. If you want these issues to become part of the public discussion, the best thing you can do is support my candidacy, because that's the only way it's likely that any of these issues will be raised.
The next interview is with Glen Galaich on KWAB in Boulder, Colorado, also going out on a syndicated network and the Internet, taking calls from listeners across the country. His guest in the studio is Dave Baker, an articulate Libertarian Congressional candidate. Galaich apparently is a liberal all in favor of ending the Drug War, but finding it difficult to give up such concepts as "collective responsibility" and government (the nation's worst polluter) as the protector of the environment. He's a good host, however, and the discussion is lively.
The final interview of the day is at midnight with Joe Arnold at WHAS in Louisville. Although he doesn't agree with everything we stand for, he is very friendly and respectful. A Republican caller says he's a libertarian working for liberty as a Republican within the two-party system. I tell him that some Republicans have been trying without success to turn their party toward smaller government ever since the Eisenhower years. And I say that even if it takes a few years to get a Libertarian President, that's a better prospect than supporting Republican candidates and never getting smaller government.
I receive a message from a Libertarian who says, "I've been reading
through the Campaign Journal that Mr. Browne sends out
I apparently have given the wrong impression in this Journal. Without going back to count the shows I've done so far, I'd say that about one quarter to one third of the shows have had Libertarian/libertarian hosts, perhaps one half have had Republican/conservative hosts, and maybe one sixth to one quarter have had Democratic/liberal hosts.
Today's shows so far, for example, include two conservatives, one libertarian, and one liberal as hosts. The fact that they treat me with respect doesn't mean they agree with me. But I hope through frequent appearances to move them all in our direction.
It's also important that I do appear on shows that have largely libertarian-leaning audiences. The people hearing these shows need to be persuaded that their votes will be more significant if they vote Libertarian so that we can amass a total large enough to impress the press and the public, and thereby surmount the hurdle of irrelevancy that has stood in our way for so long.
Tuesday, March 14, 2000 Nashville
Only one interview today. It's 45 minutes with Jeff Santos on the Talk America Radio Network. He's a liberal, but very pleasant, and he gives me plenty of opportunity to talk. He wants to focus on how the poor will be taken care of. I keep stressing that almost anyone will take better care of the poor than politicians have. And I'm able to turn the conversation to Social Security, the income tax, and a little on the Drug War (which he wants to end).
A correspondent writes, "All these little radio stations are good but here in Maryland I have heard nothing of Harry. When are you going to get on the real media? Why don't you go to college campuses? Make some noise!"
Of course, these are not little radio stations. Most are networks of from 25 to 250 stations. In addition, most of these shows transmit through the Internet, making it possible for anyone in America to hear these broadcasts. Some shows reach as many as a quarter-million people (actually listening, not just in the market area). That's a huge audience a lot larger than will hear me at a college campus.
It is one thing for the candidate of a major party to speak at a college, or to prospect for votes in a restaurant or mall, or to stand outside a factory at 8 in the morning shaking hands. A candidate does that only because there are reporters and cameramen following him around, recording everything he does. The candidate hopes something he says will show up on the Evening News and in tomorrow's newspaper. But a minor candidate (and that's what I am temporarily, I trust) doesn't have anyone following him around. No one will carry my message to the public for me. So radio and TV are the best venues both for interviews and for advertising.
I hope we'll be at the point later in the campaign where the press is following me around wondering whether I'm taking votes away from the Democrats or the Republicans. But until then I must reach the largest audiences possible.
Today, Jennifer Willis, our Chief Volunteer Coordinator, informed me that our volunteer organization has exceeded the 4,000 mark. These are people who are writing letters to editors, calling into talk shows, putting up signs, passing out bumper stickers, showing the videocassette at meetings, and doing many other important jobs that add so much to the campaign. I'm amazed at how quickly this organization has been put together. Jennifer started work on it only last Fall.
And now we have some wonderful state coordinators who are building effective state-wide organizations. In Michigan, for example, Al Titran already has 75 volunteers, with six county coordinators and nine coordinators for Congressional districts.
But, of course, we need thousands more volunteers, and I know they're out there. If anyone can find them, it's Jennifer. But you could speed up the process by going to www.HarryBrowne.org and signing up.
Wednesday, March 15, 2000 Nashville
I'm informed that the Spanish translation of my article on the 2 million American prisoners and the Drug War ("La compasiσn' de los polνticos") has been published again this time at todito.com, an online Spanish-language news site (www.todito.com/paginas/contenido/fc03142000/nt881.html). The translator Carlos A. Ball calls todito.com "the Mexican equivalent of Yahoo, getting 600,000 hits per day, many thousand from Mexicans living in the U.S." The article refers to me as "Candidato a la presidencia de Estados Unidos del Partido Libertario." Well, okay.
My first show today is with Dave Ross, an amiable host on KIRO, Seattle's big talk station. We joke back and forth at the outset, but I begin to worry that people who don't know me might wonder whether my candidacy is meant to be a joke, so I start bearing down on the issues. Dave reveals no trace of his own political positions, but he does say he wants to see me in the debates. The interview goes very well.
My only other show today is with Chuck Morse on the American Freedom Network. He calls himself a small "l" libertarian, and begins by saying that a vote for me is a vote for Al Gore. I ask why electing Al Gore is any worse than electing George Bush. Either one will make government bigger and push back any reduction in government by another four years, so why not pave the way for a Libertarian candidate to win the Presidency in 2004 or 2008 by piling up a large Libertarian vote this year? In fact, Al Gore would be better for us as President because no one would be fooled into thinking he favors smaller government, as they might with George Bush. Bill Clinton has done us a service by showing people the true face of government and the way politicians abuse power. George Bush would also abuse power, but in a less obvious way.
Tom Curry of msnbc.com (affiliated with the MS-NBC TV network) publishes a nice article on the possibility that the campaign will fight the Federal Election Commission over the campaign finance laws. The article states the facts, quotes opposing opinions, and let's the reader decide for oneself. (The article is at http://www.msnbc.com/news/381798.asp.)
Thursday, March 16, 2000 Nashville
I am on a live 15-minute Internet broadcast with Tom Curry, who wrote yesterday's msnbc.com article. We cover the potential FEC suit, Social Security, and last year's bombing of Serbia. Although discussion of the FEC situation is new to me, the interview as a whole goes well. He does not betray an opinion one way or another on any of the issues.
I receive a message from Jim Merritt of California, telling me that he heard a brief radio commentary on the CBS Radio network by Dave Ross, whose Seattle show I had been on yesterday. Ross was talking about me, lamenting "the lackluster competition we might expect from Bush and Gore," and playing soundbites from yesterday's show. He said I'm attempting to get into the national presidential debates, and concluded, "What a debate that would be."
This, of course, is what we want to be talked about when I'm not present.
Friday, March 17, 2000 Nashville
I have a 30-minute radio interview with John Quaintance on WXBQ in Johnson City, Tennessee. It is the first time we've talked since 1996. He begins by saying, "I don't know whether you know that you and the Libertarian Party have a great deal of support in this area." John was quite friendly in 1996; now he appears to be completely supportive, winding up the interview saying, "Good luck to you in your journey, hopefully all the way to the White House."
In the evening I have a 40-minute interview with Jim Dexter, the hard-working chair of the Utah LP, on KTKK in Salt Lake City. He does a terrific job hosting the show, conducting the interview, and talking with callers. Not surprisingly, all the callers are positive. One is a 23-year-old getting ready to vote for the first time. I ask him whether he wants to put 15% of his income into Social Security, and he says he has no hope of ever getting any of his money back from Social Security. I say that's one reason to vote Libertarian. I ask what he thinks of the War on Drugs. He says it's an utter failure. I say that's a second reason to vote Libertarian. I ask whether he would like government to be a good deal smaller so he could be free of the income tax. He's all for it. I say that makes three good reasons to vote Libertarian. He says he will.
I then say to the other listeners, you don't have to decide today whom you'll vote for seven months from now. But if you'd like to see these issues debated in the campaign, support me now with a few hours or a few dollars every month.
Saturday, March 18, 2000 Chicago
This will be a long day. I'm up at 5:30 to catch a 7:50 plane to Chicago.
The Illinois LP is holding its state convention today, and I arrive about an hour before the luncheon panel that will present three LP presidential hopefuls. While waiting, I sit in on National Director Steve Dasbach's workshop on organizing a local LP chapter. It is excellent information, well presented. Steve later tells me that Bill Winter (the LP's Communications Director) developed the material, and that it's presented at the LP's traveling "Success" seminars. From what I saw, these are valuable events that help people learn to do the necessary nuts and bolts work to make a local party successful.
The luncheon panel features 20-minute speeches by Don Gorman, Barry Hess, and me. It isn't one of my best talks, but I'm able to get my points across. Immediately afterward, Steve Givot drives me to the airport, where I head for Atlanta.
I arrive in Atlanta in time to give the banquet speech at the Georgia LP convention. Nearly 200 people are present, and they sure look like winners. The Georgia party has come a long way, and now has a full-time director in Mark Moseley. My speech centers on "My First Day in Office" the things a Libertarian President could do all on his own, without waiting for Congressional approval. I say that on Inauguration Day I will pardon all federal non-violent drug offenders, non-violent gun-control offenders, and tax evaders; rip pages of regulations and executive orders out of the Federal Register; bring the troops home from overseas; make sure no American military personnel are under the command of international agencies; submit a constitutional budget; and order a carload of pens from Office Depot to veto all unconstitutional bills passed by Congress. And then I will break for lunch.
Monday, March 20, 2000 Atlanta
After a day off, mostly sleeping in an Atlanta hotel, I'm ready for bear again. I look forward to appearing on CNN's Talk Back Live show today.
My first interview is by phone with Lanigan & Malone on WMJI in Cleveland. They are generally sympathetic to my libertarian proposals, but they ask why they should trust me to be any different from the Republicans and Democrats who claim to be on their side. I tell them I've already qualified for federal matching funds and rejected them because I don't believe I should use their tax money to benefit my campaign. Each of them says, "Well, you've got my vote!"
Hunter Schaeffer and his father Jim drive me to the Atlanta Constitution for an interview with political reporter Tom Baxter. The interview goes well, although I expect the published result to be the typical obligatory interview of a presidential candidate full of details about my life and little of what I want people to know about my proposals. When I mention pardoning all federal non-violent drug offenders on my first day in office, he writes that down. I say, "I'm glad you made a note of that, because if there's one thing I want you to be sure to say in the article, that's it." He smiles and nods. It is important that we let all the people who have been affected adversely by the Drug War know that there's a candidate they can vote for by which to unequivocally protest the insane War on Drugs.
We go from the Atlanta Constitution to WSB for an in-studio interview with Neal Boortz. Neal is a very popular talk-show host who joined the LP two years ago and has been a great friend to the party. I am surprised and flattered when he refers to me as "one of my personal heroes." We have an hour on the air, and it is the hour that his show goes out on a national network. The first 15 minutes or so, it seems that we do a lot of joking about various things, and I begin to get concerned that we're not covering the important issues. But both he and I bring it around to the serious stuff, and we get some excellent calls raising good questions.
We discuss the presidential debates. I say something to the effect of, "At some point in a debate Al Gore is almost certainly going to lecture George Bush by saying, Repeat after me, George, I-believe-in-a-woman's-right-to-choose.' There should be a Libertarian on that stage to ask Al Gore, Does that mean you believe any woman has a right to choose to drop out of Social Security, or a woman with glaucoma or cancer has a right to choose to smoke marijuana, or a woman has a right to choose not to let you run her life for her?' That's why we need a Libertarian in the presidential debates to present a perspective voters will never hear otherwise."
While at the WSB studio, we get a call from the campaign office (off the air) saying that my appearance on the CNN show has been cancelled I've been "bumped" in the vernacular. Not only that, but I was rescheduled for the next day and then bumped again.
Curses, foiled again!
Tuesday, March 21, 2000 Nashville
Only one interview today. It is 45 minutes with Michael Stein, guest-hosting the Senator Phil Arthurholtz show (I don't know what he's a senator of) on WJIM in Lansing, Michigan. The host is very surprised at my positions and very supportive.
Wednesday, March 22, 2000 Nashville
I have a phone interview with Zack Coile, the political reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He is writing an article about the AntiWar.com conference near San Francisco this weekend, at which I'll be speaking. He says the main focus of the article will be Pat Buchanan's appearance, but he wants to get some idea of what I'll be saying.
I tell him that I don't write my speeches out in advance, read them, or memorize them; I prefer to speak as I feel in the words that come to me at the time of the speech and that I haven't yet decided on a general outline for the speech. However, I probably will include three important points:
1. All the military adventures of the U.S. government over the past few decades have involved the wholesale killing of innocent people people who may hate the Adolph-Hitler-of-the-day as much as our humanitarian-President-of-the-moment may hate him. No one discusses those innocent lives lost, the families destroyed, the homes leveled, the life's work bombed down the memory hole, or any other part of the "collateral damage" the warriors treat so lightly.
2. Whenever you give any President the power to act on his own, you are destroying the Constitution and giving any future President the power to engage in similar acts good or bad. It does no good to say the circumstances are different , because no one will ask you to define the circumstances. If you think Ronald Reagan acted rightly by invading Grenada or bombing Libya, you are saying the President of the United States at his own discretion is free to wage war against anyone he chooses, for any reason he chooses. He need not get a declaration of war, and America need not be threatened with attack. So you have no basis on which to object if Bill Clinton decides to bomb Serbia or cause innocent people in Iraq to die for lack of medicines and food from a U.S. trade blockade.
3. Many people have pointed out that war helps big government grow. But too few people have noticed that big government makes war more possible. By letting the politicians do anything they want without constitutional authority, we allow them to use foreign policy as their personal plaything to enhance their own power and prestige, to enrich the politically connected, and to deflect attention from domestic failures. If we really want to bring peace to the world, we must start by dramatically reducing the American government.
Thursday, March 23, 2000 Nashville
The day starts with a 20-minute interview on Good Day USA, a 250-station radio show. The guest hosts are Roberta Fascenelli and Mark Scheinbaum, neither of whom I recall having encountered before. They're interested in campaign finance reform. I tell them we're considering challenging the entire campaign finance system, and they aren't shocked in the least by this. Then when I give my usual 60-second summary of proposals for a Libertarian America, each of them interrupts to agree with my opposition to Social Security.
The interview I did with Tom Baxter in Atlanta on Monday is published today not just in the Atlanta Constitution, but throughout the Cox newspaper chain. As I feared, the article focuses on me as a person and what motivates me to run such an uphill race, rather than on the issues I want to stress. But the writer's sympathy for what I'm doing shows through in every paragraph, so I can hardly be upset about it. And, no, he didn't mention that I want to pardon every federal non-violent drug offender on my first day in office.
I receive an email from Hunter Schaeffer in Atlanta. Sometime back, he was listening to an Atlanta sports show, in which the host (for some strange reason) wondered aloud who the Libertarian presidential candidate is this year. Hunter contacted the show and he's arranged for me to do a 10-minute phone interview tomorrow.
Hunter also mentions that Neal Boortz received hundreds of emails and faxes from people thanking him for having me on his show Monday. Neal plans to replay the interview sometime in the next couple of weeks. Hunter says, "Neal even did a reenactment of your bit where you describe Gore chastising Bush about a woman's right to choose,' saying how much he loved that part!"
Friday, March 24, 2000 Nashville
A long day today. Two press interviews and five radio shows.
The first event at 8am is a one-hour radio interview with Jim Cates on WIBW in Topeka. In the studio with him is Dennis Hawver, Libertarian candidate for the 2nd Congressional district in Kansas. At one point the host asks Dennis about the Drug War. Dennis, who is a defense attorney, gives an eloquent statement on the harm that the Drug War has done to families and our civil liberties.
The host gives no indication of his own views. But near the end of the hour, he asks about foreign policy. I say I want to end the U.S. government's bullying of small countries, end having occupying troops in nearly a hundred countries as though we were the Roman Empire, end arming countries around the world, end the use of foreign aid as a way of bribing countries to temporarily cease their feuding, scale back the ability to annihilate any country in the world, and use private companies to develop the ability to defend ourselves against anyone's missile attacks. At the conclusion of my statement, the host says, "Amen to that."
Next I have a short interview on KATD in Concord, California. It is the "Jim and Susan" show, but today it's Stephen and Chuck. It seems to be a typical upbeat morning show, with plenty of humor. The hosts were given no background on me or the Libertarian Party, so they ask very basic questions. When I state my views on the Drug War, one of the hosts picks up the subject and adds comments of his own against the Drug War. At the end of the 15-minute interview, the same host says, "I will cast my vote for Harry Browne." As I can't tell their voices apart, I ask which one said that. It was Stephen.
The third interview is the kind we need much more of. It is a sports show with Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini on WQXI in Atlanta. Here we can reach non-voters who have shut their minds to politics and since the interview is brief, they have no incentive to switch stations and avoid this short political interview. I identify with the non-voters by pointing out that I didn't vote for 30 years because I knew that whoever was elected, Republican or Democrat, was going to make government bigger, more expensive, and more intrusive. One of the hosts interjects, "With more laws."
There's an echo everytime I speak, which makes it very difficult to focus. But even though it's probably the result of an engineer's mistake, I don't say anything about it as I need to practice working under the most unfavorable circumstances. Both hosts are very polite, and they mention that they're looking for alternatives to the usual politicians. I reply that Al Gore and George Bush are arguing over which one is better qualified to run your life, while I don't think either of them is qualified to run your life and neither am I. I point out that the more votes we Libertarians get this year, the sooner we will get big government out of our lives.
I'm interviewed by phone by John Wildermuth of the San Francisco Chronicle. He's asking questions regarding the speech I'll be giving tomorrow at the AntiWar.com conference near San Francisco. We get along fine and he seems sympathetic to everything I say regarding foreign policy, but who knows what he'll publish?
A second press interview is with Carl Winter at the Courier Post in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This is a different story. He wants to debate just about everything from how we wouldn't have railroads or the Internet without the federal government's help to how our roads would be run down without the federal government dictating to the states. However, he's sympathetic about the problems third parties have getting heard and on the ballot.
The next interview is with Barbara Simpson in San Francisco on KSFO, one of the two big talk-radio stations there. I've been on with her several times before, and she's always sympathetic. The first part of the interview focuses on foreign policy, because of the AntiWar.com conference tomorrow. Then we get into other areas. One caller asks what I would do about immigration along the southern border. I point out that the borders are open now, and will continue to be open no matter who is elected and no matter what is promised. If politicians get serious about closing the border, they will impose police-state controls on us (having policemen check us for citizenship cards) and they still won't stop the immigrants from coming. The only answer is to shut down the welfare state so that we no longer have to worry about people coming to get on the gravy train.
The final interview is with Peter Weissbach, on whose syndicated show I appeared several times in 1996. Now he is on Seattle's big talk station, KVI. As always, he is very sympathetic, although he disagrees on some points.
Today, I talked with two reporters and five radio shows. Although the newspaper interviews were helpful, they are far from the best medium through which to transmit our message, because we have to rely on whatever a reporter chooses to write. But the radio shows allow me to speak directly to the voters. And today's shows probably reached a half-million listeners plus all those hearing the Atlanta, San Francisco, and Seattle shows on the Internet.
Many of these listeners aren't likely to hear us in any other medium. They won't attend our events, they don't seek out our positions. But by reaching them through radio while they perform other tasks (driving or working), we get the opportunity to tell them there's a candidate and a party who want them to be free to live their lives as they see fit without Al Gore, George Bush, Bill Clinton, or anyone making major decisions for them.
Saturday, March 25, 2000 San Francisco
I'm up at 4:30am, as I have to catch a plane to San Francisco at 7:20. I forced myself to go to bed at 11, so that I would get a decent night's sleep, but I awoke at 2 and couldn't get back to sleep. I hope to sleep on the plane, but the connection via Dallas includes two planes with no leg room and no ability to rest my head on the back of the seat. Still, I manage to doze off.
It seems my biggest vulnerability as a campaigner is my inability to get enough sleep sometimes. I almost always seem to overcome the problem when doing interviews. But I'm never sure how a speech will turn out when I've gone two nights in a row with short sleep. And that's the case today as I arrive in San Francisco just before my speech at the AntiWar.com conference. In addition, there are so many bad things to say about war that I'm not sure which ones I want to focus on. And I want to provide a perspective that doesn't duplicate what other speakers might have said, and I haven't heard any of their speeches.
I settle on the theme that we must view war as one more government program. Our government is no more able to bring peace to the world, to be successful as the world's policeman, than it is able to stop drug use or end poverty. I mention that we have the strongest national offense in the history of the world, the ability to annihilate any country, but a very weak national defense with no ability to defend the country against anyone who can get his hands on a nuclear missile. This is typical of government programs, never delivering what they promise in this case, selling us defense but giving us everything but that.
And, happily, the lack of sleep doesn't affect me at all and the audience of a hundred or so receives the speech very well.
After my talk, I return to my room to do a radio show with a San Francisco college station, but a technical problem at the college causes the interview to be postponed.
I do my best to stay awake until 10pm, to do a radio interview. It is one hour with Erskine Payton on Erskine Overnight on the Equity Network. I don't recall ever talking with him before, but within the first few minutes he refers to me as "Maybe the last hope for this country and the Constitution." As the interview proceeds, he seems to agree with my positions on everything. He later sends me a tape of the broadcast with a letter offering to help the campaign.
Monday, March 27, 2000 San Francisco & Denver
After a lazy day resting up in a San Francisco hotel, I start the day at 6am with a half-hour interview with Larry Hughes on WEOK, Poughkeepsie, New York. The host is very receptive and takes everything I say seriously, giving me an excellent platform to offer my proposals.
Then there is a 10-minute interview taped with Deb Lawler, a newswoman at WBZ, the big talk station in Boston. She pretty much gives me free rein, allowing me to get all my main points in.
I then fly to Denver, where I will be speaking at an investment conference tomorrow. On the way into the city from the airport, I phone Carl Wiglesworth at KTSA in San Antonio for an interview. Unfortunately, the schedule didn't allow enough time for me to get to the hotel first.
Carl starts out by mentioning that he voted for me in 1996, and expects to do so again this year. One of the callers says he agrees with me on everything but will vote for Bush to keep Gore out of the White House. Carl and I each take a run at him, but neither of us succeeds in changing his mind. My approach is to tell him that by voting Republican he's giving up on ever changing anything because there will always be someone he considers bad that he will feel obligated to vote against. Instead, we must take the important first step toward what we want by getting enough Libertarian votes to make the country sit up and take notice of us.
Tuesday, March 28, 2000 Denver
I managed to get a good night's sleep even though today's first show is at 8:15.
It is a 40-minute interview with Simon Rose, an Englishman, on KRFU, Columbia, Missouri. He is sympathetic to libertarian ideas but he has a hard time imagining how America would operate without the government's hooks into everything. I'm not able to reassure him, but he acknowledges that he agrees more with us than with the Democrats and Republicans. All the callers are Libertarians. Although this is unusual, it isn't a bad thing. They don't sound like clones of one another; each raises a different point that steers me into a new area. And the calls undoubtedly help reassure other listeners that we have widespread support and may well make a much bigger impact this year.
Next is a 15-minute interview with George Brown on WTAG in Worcester, Massachusetts. As with many hosts, he doesn't reveal any particular sympathy for what we're selling, but he does allow me to make all my points. And when I realize that the interview is suddenly at an end, he allows me to squeeze in the phone number and website address before cutting me off.
I have a 15-minute interview with Nancy Rodriquez, a reporter for the Lawrence (Massachusetts) Eagle-Tribune. In the course of the conversation, she asks how roads would be built if the federal government were cut back. I point out that the federal government doesn't build roads; it only takes our money and doles it back to the most politically influential states, leaving the states to build the roads. Routing the money through Washington causes the cost to rise considerably. And I mention that letting the federal government use gas taxes causes money to be wasted on subway systems in Miami and Los Angeles, a boondoggle airport in Denver, and a ridiculous trolley system in Detroit. She then calls my attention to "The Dig" a giant federal boondoggle in Massachusetts that has cost overruns in the billions of dollars. Most reporters know the sins of the government; in some cases they only need to be shown that such disasters are inherent in the nature of government.
A 40-minute press interview follows with Scott Deacle of the Danville (Virginia) Register. He asks a lot of intelligent questions, and says he expects a story to appear in the paper over the weekend. One of his questions concerns whether it's worthwhile to do interviews with small newspapers. I say that it is, especially early in the campaign. If he makes it plain in the article that I and the Libertarian Party want the reader to be free to live his own life as he wants to live it, not as the politicians think best, it may help connect us with one or more people who could do a lot to bring about the eventual success of the party. As the campaign progresses and our time becomes more limited, we may have to ration the press interviews and focus on the areas where we can get the most votes. But at this stage, the most important job is to recruit the people who can help us reach other people.
At noon, I'm the luncheon speaker at an investment conference. This is one of the very few non-campaign activities I'll have this year. At other investment conferences I'll be giving political speeches, but this one is strictly on investments.
My final interview of the day is a half-hour with Mark Bernier on WNDB, Daytona Beach, Florida. I've been on with him before, and he's quite sympathetic. In one of the commercials he reads, he stresses that a company has created a new product with no help from the government. He asks me whom I would vote for if the only choices were the Republicans and the Democrats. I tell him that I would do what I did for 30 years abstain. Why would I want to send a message to either of those parties that I endorse what they're doing?
In the evening, I have dinner with two dozen Libertarians, arranged by Bette Rose Smith, the Colorado state chair. We have a question period afterward. I close by asking whether anyone there believes the great majority of Americans would be better off in a Libertarian America. Everyone does. So I point out that this means we aren't faced with a political problem or an ideological problem; we're faced with a marketing problem. We have to find the proper words to show people that our product is superior, and we have to have the resources to transmit that message to people. What we don't know how to say today, we'll know how to say tomorrow. So we should be very optimistic about the long-run prospects for liberty in America.
Late in the evening Mike Dunafon arrives at the dinner. He is running for Mayor of Glendale, a suburb of Denver, and he is coming from a campaign event. He is a good-looking, articulate candidate. His campaign appears to be a model of efficiency. They have produced a campaign video and newspaper and they've already collected 170 absentee ballots in a race that probably will have only 400-500 voters overall. The election is next Tuesday and they have plans to pick up voters and escort them to the polls. I hear a lot about grass-roots organizing and campaigning, but sometimes it amounts to little more than just running a token campaign. These people in Denver are serious, and probably have an even chance to win.
Wednesday, March 29, 2000 Denver
The first interview today is at 8am, with Jan Michelson at WHO in Des Moines. He's a very funny guy who must be a pleasure to listen to every morning. I've been on with him before, and he's very supportive although he usually plays the Devil's Advocate in a humorous way. As do so many, he raises the idea that Americans don't want freedom, they just want government handouts. I suggest that after the show he go out on the street and ask the first five people he encounters to name their favorite government programs and observe the blank stares. Ask the first five people what they think of the Drug War and see the contempt in which it's held. Ask the first five people whether they would like to escape from the Social Security system and see the positive responses.
My next interview is with Mark Silva of the Miami Herald. He is very friendly, but who knows what his real attitude is? He primarily wants to know how I hope to transmit the message. We discuss the avenues available to the campaign, the potential campaign budget, and the advertising possibilities. At the end, he asks whether there's anything else I'd like to get across. I say I'd like people to know there's a wealth of information about the issues at HarryBrowne.org, and also I want people to know that we want them to be free. He says, "That sounds like a good idea to me."
Another newspaper interview follows this one with Peter Lyman of the Syracuse Post-Herald. As sometimes happens with reporters, it turns into a debate about whether government helps or hurts people by intruding into education, health care, and various other areas. This is not what I want in an interview, and when it happens I always feel that I've failed to do what's necessary to prevent it. Because we're arguing about things I've given more thought to than he has, it's clear that I "win" the debate which means I've alienated someone. The object isn't to win debates, it is to win converts and that comes not from debating skills but from the ability to show people how their self-interest is furthered by libertarian ideas. When you win a debate, you almost always lose a prospect.
I give another speech at the investment conference. At the luncheon, the owner of the company putting on the conference makes it known how much he supports my campaign. His company is very successful, with nearly a hundred employees, and with several hundred people attending the conference this week paying several hundred dollars apiece for the privilege. He is a valuable addition to our cause, and typical of the kind of people who are now being attracted to the LP.
The schedule calls for my next show to be with Bob Smith on WXXI, a National Public Radio station in Rochester, New York. I remember my interviews with him during 1996. He is an unabashed liberal with an audience that mostly believes people starved in the streets until Franklin Roosevelt appeared and miraculously turned stones into bread. In 1996 he and his callers tied me up with discussions about all the terrible things that happened in America before government came to the rescue. The arguments were pointless and I finished each interview feeling that I had accomplished nothing.
But today it's different. Whatever question he raises, I'm able to answer quickly and then turn it from theory to practical matters affecting the individual's life. When he says big business is as much a danger as big government, I tell him that I want him to be free to choose whom he wants to deal with without big business being able to use big government to force its way upon him. When we discuss a totally private school system, he says he went to private school, didn't like it, and wouldn't want his children going through what he did. I say, "That's precisely why we need a private system so that you're not forced to send your child to a bad school. You should be free to pick the school that matches your values, not be limited to the one type of school the politicians think is best for your child."
I'm able to turn each issue, whatever his argument, to my desire to give the listener greater freedom and resources to pursue what he wants for himself. The same is true with the callers all of whom are opposed to my positions, but who provide the springboards for me to appeal to the other listeners who might welcome more freedom to make their own decisions. It's one of the best interviews I've had. We'll try to get a tape of it for our website.
Thursday, March 30, 2000 Nashville
My first interview today is with Bob Van Sternberg of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He is very friendly and we talk for about 30 minutes. He has spent time studying our website and getting background on the campaign. He seems to understand Libertarian political positions, and asks more about our campaign strategy.
However, when his article runs on April 6, there are several errors. Among them, he has my age at 70, instead of 66, mixes up some of my quotes, and confuses the Libertarian Party with my campaign. But he pretty much gets across the point that I stand for much, much smaller government.
Next is an interview with Kelly Beaucar of the Internet news site, ConservativeHQ.com. She's already written two articles on my campaign in the past month, and now wants to discuss our potential challenge to the FEC. I emphasize that we won't do this if our research indicates that we have no chance to win the case eventually. I point out how the current $1,000 donation limit is a repressive hindrance for small parties, while major candidates can get packages of donations amounting to $100,000 or more from large firms that want to curry favor with a potential President. I also emphasize that voters can decide for themselves whether reporting of donations is important by supporting candidates that report, if they want, or by ignoring the matter and allowing candidates to save considerable sums of money by skipping the reporting.
The interview is published on ConservativeHQ.com later in the day. The article generally is quite informative. Among other points made, she says, "He believes the secret' contribution list, much like secret ballots, would encourage more voters to give. But he doesn't foist his views on everyone, he explained, but believes that the practice of disclosure on all counts should be voluntary. Then, if voters feel strongly about disclosure and want to hold their representative accountable, they can seek out the candidate who is most candid with his or her finances at election time, he charged."
My third interview of the day is with Todd Hartley on KTAR in Scottsdale, Arizona. His show and website are called The American Resolution (www.AarShow.com). He picks an issue, in this case the legalization of marijuana, and interviews candidates or other political figures asking them to propose specific solutions to the issue. He broadcasts the interviews and posts the guests' solutions on his website urging his listeners/readers, if they agree with the solution, to write Congressmen and others to push for passage of it.
Of course, my solution goes beyond just legalizing marijuana to ending the entire War on Drugs. He understands this and sees no problem with it. We go over the entire subject non-violent people filling the prisons and separated from their families, the corruption of law-enforcement, the recreational drug industry in the hands of violent criminals rather than reputable companies and pharmacists, the destruction of the civil liberties of innocent people, and so on.
However, the following week I check his website and can find nothing on the subject or my appearance on his broadcast, which was to have been broadcast Sunday morning, April 1.
Friday, March 31, 2000 Philadelphia
The day begins at home in Nashville with a typical morning radio show that features two comedians helping people start their days. I've been on such shows before, and I think they're very valuable. They reach people who would never dream of tuning into C-SPAN or CNN, or reading about politics.
Sometimes I run into comedians who want to make a joke out of everything I say. But in most cases, the hosts take the subject seriously because they want to be freer, just as other people do.
Today I'm on WRFX in Charlotte, North Carolina. It's "The Big Show" with John Boy and Billy. John Boy begins by asking why I want to be President. I reply with my usual paragraph: "Because I want you to be free free to live your own life free to raise your children by your values, not those of the politicians free to keep every dollar you earn and spend it, save it, or give it away as you think best, not as the politicians decide." At this point Billy says, "No more calls, please, we have a winner."
The 10-minute interview is a big success. The two hosts love what I have to say, I get the chance to deliver all the main points, and I mention the website and the 800 number twice. They invite me to return periodically throughout the campaign. I will.
Later, Mark Smith writes a message to our website: "All my life I have been exposed to politics, and it's never made sense to me. My dad use to make me listen to Rush Limbaugh all the time, and he honestly was down right irritating. I have always had a dislike for politics and political leaders, until I heard Harry Browne talk on the John Boy and Billy show the other morning. What he said made so much sense. I can't believe there is a candidate for president that actually feels the way I do. I was instantly motivated to spread the word to all my friends, family, and anybody else I thought would be moved as I was. You are getting my vote, and I will continue to enlighten new people to your movement."
Later, Brian Thomson, who heard the show in Georgia, writes: "John Boy and Billy's audience generally consists of classic rock fans and NASCAR fans. Their audience is also generally not very interested in politics. Julie, one of my friends at work who heard the interview, said that she would register to vote now, just so she could vote for Harry Browne. She said that Harry made a lot of sense, and he said things in ways that I have always thought about them.' And to top it off, she asked me for a copy of The Great Libertarian Offer' video, and the Harry Browne Tabloid.' Before the interview, she had not been interested in looking at either of them! Thousands of non-political people, who never listen to talk radio, heard your message this morning. The Big Show' is broadcast on over 90 FM stations, and is even available on Direct-TV audio throughout Japan."
Another e-mail (signed only "Halo") says: "I first heard of you and your party this morning on the radio and for the first time I actually liked what I heard. It's the same stuff I have been saying all along!!!! I'm 18 years old and never thought of voting, but now I feel as though I can help make a change for the better. You got my vote Harry!! GOOD LUCK!!!"
These letters call attention to the tens of millions of people who will never watch C-SPAN or CNN, who will not watch or listen to a show that's going to discuss politics. We need to reach these people in non-political venues, and we need to appeal to their self-interest to tell them we want to free them from the politicians who want to run their lives, free them to raise their children by their own values (not those of Al Gore or George W. Bush), free them to keep the money they earn (not let the politicians divide it up).
After "The Big Show" I catch a plane to Philadelphia. Naturally, the flight goes west from Nashville to Memphis, before going east to Philadelphia. But I manage to get exit-row seats for the whole way, which allows me to stretch my legs and take a nap.
Laura Carno picks me up at the Philadelphia airport and takes me to King of Prussia for the Pennsylvania LP convention. There is an early-evening reception.
Later in the evening, Laura drives me to a TV station in Philadelphia for an appearance on Hannity & Colmes on the Fox TV News Network. This is about my sixth appearance on their show, and they are always good to me. Tonight Alan Colmes begins by asking, "If you're elected President, what will you do on your first day in office?" I'm surprised by the question; it's as though it was a planted question. I of course say I'll pardon every non-violent drug prisoner in federal prison.
Sean Hannity interrupts, as I knew he would, to say "Harry, you never take my advice. That's where you will always lose with the American people. I've debated you a hundred times on this and I don't want to go down that road. You stay lock stock on that, you lose 80% of the American people, Harry. They don't want to hear anything else you have to say."
I reply, "Five years ago I would have agreed with you even though I would not have changed my stand on it, of course. But today, the American people are coming around on this so fast it's making your head swim. Just go outside the studio and ask the first five people you meet, what do you think of the War on Drugs? Oh, it's a failure. Oh, God, it's a joke.'"
He says, "I agree it's a failure . . ." and then goes on to say we must work harder to make it succeed.
The interview is only one brief 5-minute segment, and it never gets off the Drug War. But that's okay. I want to spread my promise to pardon the non-violent drug prisoners far and wide hoping to reach as many as possible of the of millions of people who have been personally hurt by the Drug War. These include families and friends of prisoners, people hurt by asset forfeiture, the millions of people who smoke marijuana regularly, the medical marijuana patients, and many more. None of these people sees Al Gore or George Bush as a "less bad" alternative. Their only hope (once they know about it) is to vote Libertarian whether or not we can win to make a strong, unequivocal statement against the War on Drugs.
As the segment ends and the show heads to a break, I hear Sean Hannity say regretfully, "I didn't really want to get into that subject again." I suspect that they'll have me back again soon to talk about other aspects of the campaign.