Harry Browne's Campaign Journal October 16 31,
Monday, October 16, 2000 Dallas
The phone awakens me at 9am. I've slept for 11 hours and I feel like a new man. No fever, no ache. Apparently, all I needed was a good night's sleep. I'm relieved to know I'm still in one piece and ready for a day's work.
The only problem is that there's not much I can do. My luggage hasn't arrived. My computer has an hour or so of battery power left, and the AC power cord is in my luggage which is somewhere in the western hemisphere. I have no clean clothes, nor any of the paperwork I could be attending to. So Steve and I go to the mall and I get a haircut.
Our travel plans are changed. Since we've missed a day in Washington, tomorrow we'll go straight to St. Louis where the third Bush-Gore debate will take place.
In the evening, our luggage still hasn't shown up. So I go to bed early, hoping the luggage will be here by early morning so I can get some work done before leaving for the airport.
A while back, I mentioned in this Journal that the airlines get blamed for problems caused by government. I'd say about 75% of the problems with air travel are caused either by government-owned airports (lack of gates and ticket-counter space, as well as poor baggage-handling facilities) or by the federal Air Traffic Controller System (flight delays).
Even the other 25% of problems probably would be reduced considerably if it were possible for new competitors to come into the market and pressure existing airlines to improve their service. But a lack of gates at the government airports makes it virtually impossible for a new airline to get started in the business.
One of the worst failings of the airlines themselves is poor training in public relations. Employees apologize inappropriately in a general way, while almost never apologizing in a personal way.
When flights are late, when passengers are kept sitting on a runway for hours, when passengers are inconvenienced in other ways by the poor government facilities, the airlines issue abject apologies (and pay enormous costs in restitution). They never point out that it wasn't their fault. It's almost as though they think they'll be punished if they say anything bad about the airports or the Air Traffic Control system.
And those apologies are always issued in a general, collective way a single declaration to the multitude of passengers. What you almost never get from an airline is an individual apology or even sympathy to you personally for any problem you encounter. When you wait forever in line at the ticket counter, no one says, "I'm sorry you had to wait so long." When you can't get the seat selection you ask for, no one says, "I'm sorry we can't accommodate you." When your baggage is lost or late getting rerouted back to you, no one says, "I'm sorry you're having to put up with this."
An airline employee needs to learn only two simple lessons: (1) No one likes to be inconvenienced; (2) if inconvenienced, anyone will feel a lot better if you just show a little sympathy. It amazes me that, in such a "people" business, I'm not aware of any airline whose employees are noticeably well-trained in public relations.
Perhaps if the government airports didn't make it impossible for new competition to enter the field, more airlines would worry about their employees' public-relations skills.
WorldNetDaily published a letter to the editor today from Ed Croker under the heading, "Trouble in America?" The letter said only, "The solution is simple: Harry Browne."
The traffic at our website continues to climb. Today we had 22,697 different visitors.
Today, the Daily Campus, the newspaper of the University of Connecticut, published an article by Jonathan McMurry, in which he urged fellow students to vote for me on the grounds that Al Gore will win Connecticut no matter whom they vote for.
The article says in part:
All of the other presidential candidates are arguing over which one is best qualified to run your life. They all claim to know the proper manner in which you should live, how much of your own money you should be allowed to keep, where and how your children should be educated, which health insurance plan you should have, and how to manage your retirement savings. Through "targeted" tax cuts, drug wars, "reform" of education, and much more, Bush, Gore, Nader and Buchanan all seek to expand the power government has over you. They are intent upon taking your freedoms away one at a time. They are quite arrogant, aren't they?
But Harry Browne and the Libertarians want you to be free. Libertarians say that you own yourself and that you are best qualified to make decisions about your own life. . . .
A million votes for Browne could scare the bejeepers out of the Republicans. It might even force them to shape up and become the party of small government, personal liberty and defense of the Constitution. Please be one of those votes. If you want small government, vote Browne. (For more info check out www.harrybrowne.com and www.lp.org).
Yesterday Darrell E. McGuire had an excellent article published in the North County Times, a daily newspaper published just north of San Diego. The article points out that the presidential debate demonstrated that only pro-government views can be heard in the national media, and it urges readers to vote Libertarian.
On 10/15, Lycos.com asked the following question: "Whom would you rather have handle the Middle East crisis?" The poll elicited 17,896 votes, with the following result:
Harry Browne 45%
Tuesday, October 17, 2000 Dallas & St. Louis
I awaken at 6am. I call downstairs and learn that the luggage arrived in the middle of the night. It's sent up, and I immediately plug in my computer to get it recharged.
I have a 20-minute radio interview with C.J. Russell and Chris Schaeffer at WUPS-FM in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The two of them seem to agree with everything I say. We run through Social Security, abortion, the Drug War, and welfare and they're with me on all of it. So I bear down on the wasted-vote issue, pointing out that you'll never get smaller government by voting for people who are proposing more government.
Then it's 25 minutes with Jerry Bowyer at WPTT in Pittsburgh. I was on with him recently, and we talked about the issues. But because he's a staunch Republican, he wants to talk about the wasted-vote issue and the danger of splitting what he imaginatively calls "the anti-government coalition" as though anyone but Libertarians are proposing anything specific to reduce government.
However, he begins the interview by asking what we Libertarians stand for, and tries to commit me to the most extreme positions possible such as abolishing drunk-driving laws. I point out that we're trying to limit the federal government to the Constitution, not settle all the problems of society for evermore. He says, "So you do believe in compromise then?" I say, "That's no compromise, it's a simple recognition that you can only do one thing at a time. The difference between a Libertarian and a Republican is that a Libertarian would never accept a compromise that would make government larger, while a Republican will accept anything he thinks will help him get elected."
We then turn to the wasted-vote issue. I say, "You'll never get smaller government by rewarding someone for making government bigger; it's an impossibility." So the rest of the interview is an argument over whether George Bush is proposing to make government smaller. To him, Bush's 2% idea for Social Security is smaller government. I tell him that the 2% won't be your money; it's just a small part of the 15% Social Security tax in the hands of the government, subject to government rules.
He tries to defend it by saying, "You mean if this plan goes through, you won't take advantage of it by investing your own money in something better than Social Security?" I say, "How can I answer that? George Bush refuses to tell us what options will be available. He refuses to discuss any of the details. But you're so eager to defend him, you'll believe the best even though you know he has no intention of making government smaller." There's just one caller, who also defends the Republicans.
Steve and I head for the airport, and catch a plane to St. Louis a flight that transpires uneventfully.
Upon arrival in St. Louis, we rent a car and drive to Jefferson City, the Missouri state capital. On the way, we stop for lunch at Denny's the official Oasis of the Browne for President campaign. This is our first meal at a Denny's in a month, and the withdrawal symptoms have become intense.
At the state Capitol, Missouri LP Communications Director Jeanne Bojarski has set up a press conference for me to state my objections to my exclusion from tonight's debate. But last night the Missouri Governor died in a plane accident. So the turnout is less than the invitation responses had promised.
Jessica Finn of KLIK radio is there and records my remarks, along with those of Phil Horras, the Missouri Lieutenant Governor candidate. Also present is Josh Flory of the Columbia Daily Tribune, plus reporters from the Jefferson City News-Tribune and the Missouri News Service.
Another reporter in attendance is Jim Wolfe, who has his own news bureau. Afterward, he invites me into his office in the Capitol building. He says he read The Great Libertarian Offer and agreed with all of it. We talk for about 20 minutes about the campaign.
Steve and I drive back to St. Louis and check into a hotel. In the evening I have a 40-minute interview with Gary Nolan on the Radio America network. He tells me his wife was called by a pollster who asked whom she was voting for Bush, Gore, Buchanan, or Nader. When she said "Harry Browne," the caller said her vote would be entered as "other." We spend a good deal of the time in the interview talking about the wasted-vote issue.
Today WorldNetDaily ran my article "The Character of George Bush," in which I point out that Bush's character doesn't give him an edge on Al Gore.
A Christian Science Monitor/TIPP poll released today has me at 1% along with Pat Buchanan. Ralph Nader is at 3%.
Wednesday, October 18, 2000 St. Louis
Back to a full day of interviews. I will stress the wasted-vote issue in each of them. We are at the point in the campaign where some people who had intended to vote for me may weaken in their resolve because of an intense dislike for either Al Gore or George Bush. And there may be others who know of us and agree with us but who have assumed all along that they'd vote Republican or Democratic in order to influence the outcome. I must try to persuade all these people that the only vote that will further what they want is a Libertarian vote.
The first interview is with John Quaintance at WJCW in the Tri-Cities in Tennessee. He is very supportive, although he doesn't say he's voting for me. Over and over I come back to the importance of voting for what you want; otherwise, you give up all chance of ever getting it.
Next is a half-hour with "Lionel" on his Internet show. We talk about how politicians treat the concept of the "national interest" as a blank check for the President to use the U.S. military whenever it suits him politically. I make sure to make a strong close to the interview, stressing the importance of voting Libertarian if you really want smaller government.
Then it's ten minutes with J.Z. and Cheryl on WLHR-FM in Panama City, Florida. They are friendly, but she knows nothing about Libertarians and asks a lot of basic questions. I get time to emphasize the importance of not wasting your vote.
My next interview is with Larry Ahrens at KKOB in Albuquerque. He is very friendly, although non-committal. He asks what the greatest misconception people have about Libertarians might be. In effect, I say it's the misconception that you can get to a Libertarian America by voting for anyone other than a Libertarian.
Steve and I drive to Washington University in St. Louis. At the scene of last night's Bush-Gore debate, I am to be on the Fox TV News network for a brief interview outside the debate building as though I were standing among the wreckage in the aftermath of a disaster. Come to think of it . . .
While waiting for the interview to begin, I listen through my earpiece as a couple of U.S. senators discuss the performance of the candidates in the debate. One of them says (and I'm not making this up), "The real winners of the debate were the American people." Almost immediately afterward, a news report says the American people are selling their stocks en masse, driving the Dow Jones downward several hundred points. I guess the American people don't like the prize they won.
When the interview begins, I'm on with David Asman. The interview is only five minutes, but it goes very well. I end with a passionate plea to make America a free country again, and to quit settling for the crumbs that people like Al Gore or George Bush offer us. This is my fourth interview with David Asman. Fox TV News has been very good to us. Fox and C-SPAN have been by far the most accommodating TV networks.
On the way back to the hotel, I try to have an interview with Glenn Klein at WTAN in Tampa. Unfortunately, my cell phone's signal keeps dropping out and we have to postpone the interview.
Back at the hotel, I'm on for 30 minutes with Kirby Anderson, Penna Dexter, and John Driggs who are filling in for Marlin Maddux on the 300 stations of the USA Radio Network. They run down some of the issues. On each one I try to point out that neither the Republicans or Democrats are offering anything we should want. A caller asks whether I support vouchers, and I explain that I think they're a way of letting government take over the private school system. When Kirby Anderson says he guesses I would favor Bush over Gore, I point out that I didn't vote for 30 years precisely because there was nothing to choose between Republicans and Democrats. And by voting for either of them, I would be endorsing their big-government proposals the last thing I would want to do.
Next is an interview with Eric von Wade at KEYS in Corpus Christi, Texas. Before the show, his producer tells me that Eric is a Republican. When the interview begins, he seems to find my proposals for Social Security, the income tax, and restoring constitutional government intriguing. He agrees with a great deal of what I say and gives me every opportunity to say all that I want.
Steve and I head for the airport. On the way I have an interview on my cell phone with Michael Goetz who broadcasts from his website www.you-on-tv.com. He asks a lot about how I came to decide to run for President. At the end of the interview we get into the Drug War, and the hypocrisy of former drug users like Al Gore and George Bush wanting current drug users to spend time in prison. He agrees that it's wrong.
He asks whether I "party" that is, whether I do drugs. I say no. He asks if I've ever used drugs. I say that I smoked marijuana four times in the late 1960s but nothing since. By this time I'm on a rental-car bus at the airport and some people on the bus are listening my statements.
I try to bring the interview to a halt, but Michael plows on. "Why did you quit smoking marijuana? Because you were going to run for President?" Of course not, that was 30 years ago; I had no idea I'd ever run for President. "Do you smoke or drink?" I like wine. I don't smoke now, but I enjoyed smoking for 25 years. Finally, I get him to wrap it up and end the interview.
We're going to New York, but the flight is about 90 minutes late taking off. We arrive in New York about 11:30pm. We're supposed to be picked up by a car provided by the History Channel, on whose network I will do an interview this Friday. However, we can't find the driver. We finally hire another car and driver, and we head for downtown Manhattan to a hotel where the History Channel has provided rooms.
Unfortunately, the street on which the hotel is located is closed for construction. Our driver takes us all around the area, looking for a way to get close to the hotel. Finally, we call the hotel and a bellman meets us about two blocks from the hotel and wheels our bags to the hotel. We arrive at the hotel at about 1am, and I get to sleep about 2am.
Thursday, October 19, 2000 New York City
I'm in New York and have a full morning of interviews. The first is with Doug Stephan on the Radio America Network. He introduces me by saying, "I'm not voting for George; I'm not voting for Al; I'm voting for Harry." A little later, referring to Libertarians in general, he says, "What you stand for is where most Americans are." We talk mostly about the lack of coverage the campaign has received from the national political pundits, but I try to emphasize the immediate importance of voting Libertarian.
Next is a 20-minute interview with Tom Reagan and Ted Shredd at WEDG-FM in Buffalo. This is another show with a pair of drive-time comedy hosts who are more open-minded about politics and who would love to get government out of their lives. One of them begins by saying that the debates were a lovefest in which the two candidates agreed with each other on all the essentials; they argued only over the details. As the interview progresses, I see that they're for legalizing drugs and getting the government out of as many areas as possible. I close with a strong plea to quit voting for those who are making government bigger.
Shortly afterward I have a taped interview with Laurie Voorman on WTPN-FM in Portland, Maine. She says she's pretty much of a Democrat, and knows little about Libertarians but she becomes intrigued when she hears what we want. She says, kiddingly, "You're not as wacko as I've heard," and goes on to agree with a lot of what I say.
Then I have a 20-minute taped interview with Jacolyn Jones Ford at WUTK-FM, the campus station at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She asks a lot of pertinent questions, and I get to cover everything I want to say. After the interview, she says she voted for me in 1996 and plans to do so again this year, and so she was especially eager to do this interview.
In the afternoon I'm on for 40 minutes with Glenn Klein at WTAN in Tampa. He's a Libertarian who does a terrific job as a talk-show host, entertaining and explaining the benefits of liberty. Again, we push the importance of voting Libertarian this year. Glenn tells me he's a body-builder and the latest issue of Muscle Media contains an article that's an excerpt from my book How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. Imagine: Harry Browne in a body-builder magazine.
Later I have a phone interview with Ethan of the Daily Vidette, the campus newspaper at Illinois State University. We cover all the basics, including why people should vote Libertarian.
In the evening I'm on for an hour with Susan Bray on WWDB-FM in Philadelphia. She announces on the air that she's been voting Libertarian since 1980, and will vote for me this year. We have a good discussion of the issues and why voting Libertarian is important.
Friday, October 20, 2000 New York City & Washington
After a good night's sleep, the day begins at 9:30 with a 10-minute interview with M.J. and B.J. on WFLZ-FM in Tampa Bay. They are two morning comedians covering the western Florida area. They respond well to my message of wanting them to be free. We talk about what happens when you endorse big government by voting for a Republican or Democrat. They are very cordial, abandoning their jokes after the first minute or so.
Then it's 35 minutes with Larry Lanoue on WSUB in New London, Connecticut. He is very sympathetic obviously a Constitutionalist who also likes Howard Phillips and Pat Buchanan, and who wishes we'd all get together. The callers are all sympathetic as well, and the show gives me an opportunity to push the importance of voting Libertarian.
In the afternoon I go to a midtown TV studio for a taping of History Center on the History Channel TV network. It is a half-hour show, hosted by Steve Gillon. The other guests are John Anderson, who ran for President as an independent in 1980 (and somehow got on all 50 state ballots) and David McReynolds, the Socialist Party presidential candidate.
This episode is a discussion of problems facing third parties and third-party candidates. But I get the opportunity to press my issues. Especially valuable is the last segment, when the host invites each of us to make the 90-second closing statement he would have made had he been in the Bush-Gore debates. I use my time to emphasize that voting Republican or Democrat is giving up, while voting Libertarian helps make it more likely you'll get smaller government in the future.
The History Channel has provided a car for us, which now rushes Steve and me to LaGuardia airport to catch a plane to Washington, D.C. We arrive about 3 minutes too late to catch the flight but we're rebooked for another flight an hour later.
At the Washington airport, we're met by Perry Willis, Jennifer Willis, and Stephanie Yanik. We then try to hurry through bad Friday-evening traffic to the Ronald Reagan building in downtown Washington. When we get to the building we go through basements, corridors, and hallways to get to the scene of the Judicial Watch third-party debate. This building must have cost a billion dollars or more. When we finally arrive at the debate scene, Laura Carno, Robert Flohr, and Jim Babka are there to meet us.
This debate is the one that Al Gore originally agreed to attend but now has withdrawn from. George Bush never did accept the invitation. With Gore and Bush both out of it, Pat Buchanan reneged on his acceptance and Ralph Nader doesn't show up for anything. So that leaves just Howard Phillips, John Hagelin, and me.
I have said from the outset that I'll debate anyone above or below me on the ladder as long as the debate is carried on national television. And since C-SPAN is here to televise the debate, I'm glad I'm here. (The debate isn't being carried live, but will be shown on Sunday.)
The moderator is Jim Bohannon, a liberal talk-show host. The questioners are Blanquita Collum, a talk-show host on the Radio America network; Paul Rodriquez of Insight Magazine; Joseph Farah, publisher of WorldNetDaily; and Armstrong Williams and Ellen Ratner of America's Voice Television.
I believe the debate goes very well. I have the opportunity to make several impassioned speeches.
When Howard Phillips makes a stirring diatribe saying he'll order U.S. attorneys to close down all the abortion clinics and arrest abortionists for murder, he gets a standing ovation from some of the audience. When the noise dies down, I say, "Well, there goes federalism. Is Howard going to send U.S. attorneys out to enforce murder laws, robbery laws, and other laws that are no business of the federal government?" I then go on to reiterate a point I've made several times during the debate that government never delivers what you want. If you want to end abortions, you're going to have to find a more satisfying way than by depending on government.
After the debate, several people approach me to say that they found themselves looking at government in a new way as a result of my statements.
Saturday, October 21, 2000 Washington, D.C. & Macon, Georgia
I'm up early, so that Jim Babka and Laura Carno can take me to C-SPAN for the Washington Journal. I have an entire hour for an interview with George Hager. It goes very well. We take a lot of calls 15 or so giving me an opportunity to keep coming back to the importance of voting Libertarian if you want to get smaller government.
From C-SPAN, Jim and Laura take me to the airport, where I meet up with Steve Willis. We catch a plane for Atlanta, where we'll meet Michael Cloud.
At the Atlanta airport there are about 30 Libertarians to greet us with signs and banners. It's a wonderful welcome. Steve gets a rental car, and we join about a dozen cars of Libertarians to drive to Macon in a convoy for today's rally.
The trip takes about 90 minutes. When we arrive at the auditorium in Macon, the program is already in progress. Local Libertarian candidates have been speaking. When it's our turn, Michael opens the proceedings. There are around 200 people present, over half of which are at their first Libertarian event.
My speech goes well and the audience is very enthusiastic. The fund-raising is a bit below par, but we're glad to be there in Macon for the first time. There are reporters from two TV stations present, as well as two print reporters.
Steve and I drive back to Atlanta stopping along the way to eat at a Denny's the Official Dine-and-Dash restaurant of the Browne for President campaign. We arrive at the Atlanta airport in the early evening and eventually board a plane to return to Washington, D.C.
We arrive in Washington at 11:30pm. Steve heads for home and I take a taxi to my hotel in Rosslyn. I get to bed around 1:30am.
I've found that I've lost all track of time during the past few weeks. Someone mentions a recent event on the campaign trail and I can't remember whether it was a day ago, a week ago, or a month ago. Some events that seemed to have happened some time back may actually have occurred yesterday or the day before.
I also find that time seems almost frozen lately. For a long time I had mixed emotions about the time remaining until election day. I wanted the election to be as far away as possible, in order to give us time to implement additional tactics and projects but at the same time I was looking forward to the end of the campaign and the resumption of my normal life.
Now it is too late to implement much of anything new, and so I can't help but look forward to the conclusion. But time seems to be standing almost still. It seems like months ago that I realized we had only four weeks left, and here we are still with over two weeks to go.
Sunday, October 22, 2000 Washington, D.C.
Today the Santa Barbara News Press ran an excellent article by Randy Alcorn entitled "Tired of gray in presidential models? Try Browne." It presents all our arguments for voting for freedom, rather than choosing between what Alcorn calls the "dull gray" models available from the two major parties.
Today the Austin American-Statesman runs a very nice staff article on my candidacy, listing my proposals very objectively. The paper also runs an article on Nader, Buchanan, and Browne again listing my proposals in a good light.
I get up at 7am. Steve and Jim Babka pick me up at 8am to take me to Meet the Press. Unfortunately, today a marathon race is being run in the Washington area, and so it's difficult to find an open path to the studio in downtown Washington.
We take a very round-about way. We're supposed to be at the studio by 8:30, as the show begins at 9 (although I probably won't be on the air until 9:30). About 8:40, the producer calls Jim on his cell phone to find out where we are. It turns out we're closer than we thought, and we arrive at the studio a few minutes later.
But, of course, it's "hurry up and wait" (as we used to say in the Army). We're ushered into the Green Room. The first half of the show will have William Bennett and Jesse Jackson arguing about the Gore-Bush campaign. I meet them, and they go out to the set to argue for a half-hour about the same stupid things that Gore and Bush argued about in their debates. Is Texas a slum? Does Al Gore lie a lot? Is the Pope a Catholic?
You probably remember the campaign we inflicted upon Meet the Press over their excluding me from their "Third Party Debate," having only Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan on the show. We immobilized the show's voice-mail and email system with thousands of phone calls and emails.
On top of that, a week ago Tim Russert was on C-SPAN's Washington Journal. During the show, Brian Lamb mentioned that C-SPAN had received over 150 emails from viewers wanting to ask Tim Russert why he didn't have me on his show. He gave the usual lame explanation that they couldn't have all 255 registered presidential candidates on, and so they focused on the two with the most support. Then a caller pointed out that only seven candidates were on enough state ballots to win, and that I had as much support as Buchanan does.
Apparently, the powers-that-be decided to throw in the towel sort of. Two days later, the producer called Jim Babka and invited me on the show. But instead of having a half-hour to myself, as Nader and Buchanan have each had during the campaign, and instead of being on with Nader and/or Buchanan, I would be on with Howard Phillips and John Hagelin. This allows Meet the Press to say they've given me a platform, while at the same time making the point that I'm in the bottom tier of candidates making their decision to have Buchanan and Nader on alone seem justified.
So here I am. Although I've done two debates with Hagelin and Phillips this year, this is the first show that's treated me as one of three lower-level candidates something that happened regularly in 1996.
The show itself goes okay. I don't feel I'm completely fluent in the English language today. I do manage to turn some questions to my points why voting Republican/Democratic is giving up, that I'm the only candidate that believes you can run your own life, and the big issues I always stress. I would give myself a B+ for content and a C+ for delivery. (While watching Bennett and Jackson ahead of my segment, I mentally gave each of them a D.)
Having just listened on Friday evening to John Hagelin droning on about "proven solutions to national problems," listening to all that again doesn't set too well with me. But this is the price of representing a growing party. I look forward to the day when our candidate doesn't have to pay such a price.
When the show ends, for some reason all four of us remain seated at the table on the set. A waiter brings in orange juice and several selections of food. Russert starts eating and there's some small talk. I decide to light into Russert, asking him "So why didn't you have me on with Nader and Buchanan knowing that I had as much support as Buchanan?"
In the give and take that follows, I get the expected responses from Russert: "You're here now, aren't you?" "We can't have five guests on at once." (Courtesy restrains me from saying that he knows and I know that Phillips and Hagelin don't count.) "I'm the only Sunday host who's given any attention to third parties." And so on.
I say he's overlooking the one authentic man-bites-dog story of this campaign. A celebrity candidate, Pat Buchanan, has received $16 million in taxpayer money and wide press coverage, while a complete unknown who turned down federal money and has about 1/50 the press coverage is running even with him in the polls. Isn't that news? Russert says it is, and that's why I'm here. (It isn't why I'm here; if it were, he would have said something about it on the air.)
Finally, I ask him why he doesn't point out publicly that the only reason America seems to be a two-party country is because the two parties in power have maintained that power by using the force of government to impose ballot-access laws, limit campaign donations, raid the government treasury to run their campaigns, and exempt the Debate Commission from campaign and income-tax laws so it can promote the politics of the two main parties. Russert agrees whole-heartedly but doesn't answer my question as to why he never points this out on the air.
I tell him that I bear no hard feelings but that I'm baffled as to how Meet the Press makes its decisions regarding what is news.
A little later in the day, Stephanie Yanik takes Steve and me to the Washington National Airport (a.k.a. Ronald Reagan Airport) to catch a flight to Louisville. I've written before about the government airports whose facilities are overly congested because they're so far behind the demand for air travel. But at least today we'll be flying out of a brand new, up-to-date terminal at the Washington airport.
We arrive at the airport to find a very long line of people waiting to check their luggage with the curbside skycaps. I go inside to see whether the lines are shorter at the ticket counter. Alas, the lines there are over twice as long.
We finally get to the front of the curbside line. But when the skycap enters our names in the computer, we're told we have been selected "at random" to go through special security procedures. This means our bags must go through an X-ray machine inside the terminal, and our bags must be earmarked and kept off the plane until the airline verifies that we have boarded the plane (in case we're trying to plant a bomb on the plane).
Although passengers are supposedly selected "at random" for this procedure, lately it seems to be happening to us quite frequently. Apparently it is because so many of our flights are booked just a day or two in advance. This supposedly fits the profile of a bomb-planter (just as you fit the profile of a money courier if you deplane from the flight first or last or in the middle).
After it's been decided that we aren't terrorists, we head for the gate. The concourse is overflowing with people. Andrew Galambos once said that a traffic jam is a collision between the abundance of cars built by free enterprise and the limited roads built by government. We seem to have a similar situation with airports.
Our flight to Louisville doesn't have a regular gate. We have to take a bus from the terminal to the area where the plane is waiting on the tarmac. But the bus can't go now, because a helicopter is due to take off nearby with an emergency medical patient. However, nothing happens either with the helicopter or the bus.
Eventually the bus moves anyway, even though the helicopter hasn't taken off. We make it to the plane a small one, very claustrophobic. And we're off to Louisville.
What a good weekend with four national TV appearances. We didn't have weekends like this in 1996. Our press staff has done an admirable job. And all the TV interviews seemed to go well.
When I get into my Louisville hotel room, I turn on the television and see Friday's third-party debate on C-SPAN. It seems to go as well as it did at the time Friday evening. But when I give my impassioned closing statement telling people why they must vote only for smaller government the screen shows my name as "John Hagelin, Natural Law Party presidential candidate."
The Gods must be crazy.
Monday, October 23, 2000 Louisville
At 9:30am, I have a one-hour interview with Dimitri Vassillaros at WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia. He begins by saying, "I'm a Libertarian, I'm voting Libertarian, and I urge everyone to vote Libertarian." The first part of the discussion is centered mostly on the lack of press coverage for Libertarians. But we finally get more to the issues and the importance of voting Libertarian.
Several last-minute Louisville interviews are arranged. We drive to Channel 11 for a brief soundbite plugging tonight's event. Then we return to the hotel and I have a 5-minute interview with Jesse Malone on WFPL-FM, the local NPR station. Both plug the evening's event.
Then I'm on the phone for a radio interview with Jim Dexter on KTKK in Salt Lake City. Also on is a local Libertarian candidate whose name I don't catch. We cover all the basics and take some calls.
Pamela arrives at the hotel. She has driven up to Louisville from Nashville, so we can have a day together.
Or at least be in the same room, since it will be a busy day. I have an interview in front of the hotel with Tony Hyatt of WAVE-TV, Channel 3. We talk for about 5 minutes, and I get to plug tonight's event.
Then Steve, Pamela, and I drive downtown to WHAS, where I have two interviews. the first is ten minutes of soundbites with Caleb Browne of the Kentucky News Network, which feeds news items to radio stations around the state. The second interview is 15 minutes in-studio with Terry Meiners of WHAS. Although he offers no opinions during the interview, off the air he seems very supportive of Libertarians. The interview goes well and we learn later that it brought several extra people to the evening's event.
The evening rally draws about a hundred people, 60-70% of whom appear to be brand new. The fund-raising is below average most likely because of the high percentage of new people. Butch John of the Louisville Courier-Journal is there and interviews me before the program begins.
This afternoon CNN's Talk Back Live! show debated the relative merits of the Gore and Bush tax plans. However, the show ended by displaying an email from a viewer who said the only decent tax plan was that of Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne who wants to make government so small we don't need an income tax at all.
Tuesday, October 24, 2000 Baltimore
Steve, Michael, and I fly (uneventfully) to Baltimore from Louisville. Pamela drives back to Nashville.
We check into the Hyatt Regency by the harbor. For a change, my room has a beautiful view a wonderful panorama of the waterfront.
After we arrive I have a 20-minute interview with Glen Klein on KTAN in Tampa Bay. He has made it clear that he's voting for me, and he spends a good part of the interview urging his listeners to do the same. He's a very entertaining host, and is undoubtedly doing us a lot of good.
Then it's close to a whole hour with Joe Hueter at KBOI in Boise, Idaho. Joe is very supportive, the interview goes very well, and all the callers are very friendly to our positions.
Later I have an hour with Reggie Rivers at KHOW in Denver. This is the first time I've been on his show, and it moves along nicely. He gives no opinions on what I say, but I have the opportunity to cover everything I want. We take a lot of calls. None are hostile, but some are unsure about some areas of Libertarian positions.
(According to Doug Scribner, immediately after my interview is over, Reggie Rivers says on the air that he wishes he could vote for me, but that he's already cast an absentee ballot for Al Gore. Another station host enters Reggie's studio and asks, "Are you the same guy who said earlier that Harry was too far out' and you wouldn't vote for him?" Reggie acknowledges that he has much more in common with the LP than with other parties. The other host says he's 35 and has never voted before, but he's excited about the LP and will be voting for me.)
Then it's a half-hour with Charles Goyette on KFYI in Phoenix. Charles begins by saying he's not sure who he'll vote for but that he's positive he won't be voting for Harry Browne. I ask him why not, and then he reminds me that I'm not on the ballot in Arizona. We discuss that briefly and then go on with the show. It's obvious that he wishes he could vote for me.
(In the Journal for September 27, I mentioned that Peter Orvetti interviewed me for Web White & Blue. That was incorrect; the interview was for Peter's online political publication, Orvetti.com.)
Today the San Francisco Examiner ran an article by Scott Winokur that begins, "What can you say about former Lafayette resident Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party's candidate for president, except that he's a likable fellow with terrible ideas that would send this country hurtling backward 200 years?" It goes on from there, attempting to make me look like a loony. (On Friday, the Examiner will run four letters criticizing the article and supporting me from Gerald T. Cullen, Jerry Pico, Stephen J. Holly, and Jim Lesczynski.)
Wednesday, October 25, 2000 Baltimore
The day begins with an interview with Jack Murphy at WKZL-FM in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is friendly and genial, as this is a morning drive-time show. He challenges some of my positions, but is generally sympathetic.
Then I have a speech before the Maryland TrainingServer User's Group, arranged by Libertarian Ted Bayer. I speak to about 150 people for a half-hour or so on the subject "The Government's Role in E-Training." I begin by saying, "Our subject is the government's proper role in e-training. There is no proper role for the government in e-training. And now I'd like to open up the meeting to questions." Of course, I didn't end my speech there. I went on to compare advancements in the free-market computer industry with the downhill slide in government-run education. When the question period arrives, there are two critics who speak up for big government. The rest of the audience seems pleased with my presentation.
In the afternoon I have a 30-minute interview with Zoh Hieronimus. She is an LP member with a popular show on WCBM in Baltimore. We spend a good part of the interview bearing down on the wasted-vote issue pointing out that you not only waste your vote when you give it to Republicans or Democrats, it's actually self-destructive. You're encouraging the very opposite of what you want.
Then it's a 30-minute interview in the hotel room with Jay Apperson of the Baltimore Sun, writing an article on the campaign for tomorrow's paper. He attended the noon speech, and intends to be at the event here tonight. We talk mostly about the difficulties of overcoming the legal problems Republicans and Democrats put in the way of third parties.
Later I have a 30-minute interview with Tim Constadine at WGUF-FM in Naples, Florida. He is very sympathetic to all our positions, as are most of the callers. The wasted-vote issue becomes very important, and so I bear down on that.
After that I have a 30-minute interview in the hotel room with Lou Panos, a gracious, 75-year-old gentleman from Patuxent Publishing, which owns a string of newspapers in Maryland. I have no idea what he'll write but he scrupulously takes down the things I say.
My last interview is by phone with Maria Recio of the Knight Ridder News Service. She is very impressed with the showing that we've made and with the fact that we're doing as well as Pat Buchanan despite having far less money, less name recognition, and less press coverage. She says her article will appear within the next week.
Our evening event goes very well. There are about 130 people present, of which at least 50% are first-timers. The fund-raising goes very well. Steve Willis has driven home to the Washington area to spend an evening with his wife, and so Laura Carno and Jim Babka have driven to Baltimore to fill in for him at the event.
Today the Wall Street Journal published my article "Do You Want Smaller Government?" on its editorial page. It also published an article by Ralph Nader. It offered the same privilege to Pat Buchanan but he declined it. (My article will be reprinted on www.LewRockwell.com tomorrow.)
Today we received an email from Bob Loop of Wichita. He said:
I have gotten 10 people to vote for Harry. I know its not a lot but every little bit helps. Harry is correct that his voters come from all walks of life. Two of the converts were Republicans, two Democrats, two were Green, one Independent, and the last three were non-voting punk rockers (like myself). The punkers are the most excited and are telling everyone they know about Harry and his ideas. I think the more non-voters we reach, the stronger our message becomes. Keep speaking the truth Harry, it can't be ignored forever.
Brit Hume of Fox TV News ran our IRS ad on his political news show today. He trimmed the website address off the end of the ad, however.
Jack Dean reports that yesterday we had 31,585 different visitors to the website. Today the figure was 31,369. It wasn't very long ago that we broke 20,000 for the first time.
According to Joe Lolli, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform (a large conservative organization) said on the air this evening that "The Libertarian Party is 2½ times the size it was just four years ago. If I lived in one of those firm and secure' states the ones that neither Gore or Bush is fighting over I'd vote for Harry Browne!" He apparently said this on Dave Ramsey's syndicated radio show that Joe heard on WTMA in Charleston, South Carolina.
Thursday, October 26, 2000 Philadelphia
The day starts at 9am with a 20-minute interview with Pete Michaels and Tory Gates on WCOJ in Coatsville, a suburb of Philadelphia. The hosts apparently are unfamiliar with libertarian ideas, and so they give me free rein to talk about what the government has done to health care and education. I ask, "Does anyone listening to this show really believe that if Al Gore or George Bush is elected that in four years our schools will be safer, or your child will be learning more, or that the cost of education will go down?" At the end I get a chance to plug tonight's event and plead with listeners not to give up and vote Republican or Democratic.
Laura Carno drives Michael and me to Philadelphia. We stop to eat breakfast at Denny's the Official Home-Cooking-Away-from-Home venue of the Browne for President campaign.
On the way I start an interview with Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. However, the signal on my cell phone keeps fading and we postpone the rest of the interview until I get to the Philadelphia hotel. Once there, we resume the interview. At the end, he says he's been a libertarian for about 25 years and wishes me well. His article is to appear either this Sunday or the following Sunday. (In another article, published today, Bill refers to me as "the official presidential candidate of this column.")
In the car I also have an interview with Jill Balderas of Feature Story News, which is distributing a feature on third-party candidates to South African Broadcasting, and will also put the interview on the Public Newsroom page of the www.PublicInteractive.com website. However, we too get way-laid by a weak cell signal, and we have to finish the interview after I get to my hotel room.
The evening's event attracts about 150 people an enthusiastic crowd, of which about 70% are new to Libertarian events. The fund-raising goes well, especially considering the large proportion of newcomers.
The Wisconsin Libertarian (the newsletter of the Wisconsin LP) reports that Richard Steuven of the Egan Brewing Company in DePere has renamed his Brown Ale beer Harry Browne Ale for the duration of the campaign. Next door to his brewery, a restaurant has included the following on its list of beers:
HARRY BROWNE ALE: Tired of the same old song from both sides of Big Government? Tired of handing over nearly half of your income in taxes, and getting virtually nothing in return? Then it's time to vote for a real change: the Libertarian Party. Presidential Candidate Harry Browne has a plan that will reduce the federal government to its constitutional limits, eliminate the federal income tax, and replace it with nothing, and generally get government off our backs. For more information, visit http://www.lp.org or call (800) 236-9236, or talk to your friendly neighborhood brewer at Egan's. Oh, about the beer . . . its our regular Nut Brown Ale renamed for the duration of the election season.
Today Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. published an article on WorldNetDaily that includes the statement, "Harry Browne may not get the votes, but his radical platform represents mainstream thinking far more than conventional political opinion is willing to admit."
Friday, October 27, 2000 Philadelphia
Jack Dean informs me that our LibertyWire subscriptions are now over 17,000.
A big line-up of interviews today six before noon.
The first is at 8am about 15 minutes with Larry Wachs and Eric von Hessler. I was on their show a couple of times during 1996 when they were in Los Angeles. Now they broadcast from WKLS-FM in Atlanta. Their show is for young people, with rock music and comedy. In 1996 they were both enthusiastic supporters of my campaign. Now, however, Larry has turned negative. He still wishes I would become President, but he sees no hope and he's not voting. (He says it's because he's a felon, but it's never clear whether he's joking.) Larry also says the Libertarians can't win because they don't promise enough goodies for the voters failing to recognize that the Republicans and Democrats have lost the power to promise anything significant, while Libertarians are offering to set people free from the income tax and Social Security. Eric is still a strong supporter.
Larry says that one vote can't possibly change the outcome of an election. I point out that this is a good reason to vote for what you really want getting government out of your life and that voting provides an emotional release, a chance to feel you've made a statement for what you want.
The next show is 10 minutes or so with Tim Right and Amy Sinclair at WMGX-FM in Portland, Maine. I've never spoken with them before, and I'm happy to discover that they are very supportive. They both seem to think Gore and Bush are no choices at all. They want to ask questions about my favorite movies and such, but it's easy to keep pulling the conversation back to the importance of voting Libertarian. Tim says he knew little about me until he looked at our website and discovered how much he agreed with us. Off the air after the interview, Tim shows further support and says he'll continue to plug the campaign.
Then it's an hour with Andy Johnson on WJGR in Jacksonville, Florida. Andy's attitude, as well as that of most of the callers, is that Al Gore and George Bush are generally worthless. All of the callers are supportive, although a couple are still on the fence about voting Libertarian; some of have just made the decision to vote Libertarian and call in to announce it.
In the studio with Andy is Doug Klippel, a Jacksonville Libertarian. He talks about the voter outreach the local Libertarians have done. He says they went to a George Bush rally and passed out Harry Browne brochures to the people standing in line, waiting to get in. Andy asks him if the Republicans resented this, but Doug says the people were very receptive saying they'd seen me on television and agreed with a lot of what I propose.
Next it's a half-hour with Neal Boortz, the popular Libertarian talk-show host on WSB in Atlanta. He has been plugging our campaign tirelessly on his local and national shows. We talk about reaching young people, and why it's important to vote for what you want.
Immediately following, I'm on for 25 minutes with Ron Stewart on WDAY in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is supportive of every Libertarian position raised in the conversation except perhaps on immigration. The callers seem more conservative than libertarian, but none of them wants to argue with me.
The final show of the morning is 25 minutes with John Stokes on KGEZ in Kallispell, Montana. Without saying he'll vote for me, he's very supportive. There are no callers, but we cover a lot of issues in a brief period. We both stress the fact that George Bush will win the state easily, so a vote for Bush or Gore has no meaning whatsoever. But a vote for Browne will count just as much as a vote from California or New York in helping us get the million votes that could make the press and public pay more attention to us in the future.
In the afternoon, I have a 45-minute interview with Herb Shaindlin on KFQD in Anchorage, Alaska. He's the first contentious host of the day. He sounds like an elderly, old-time Democrat. He says that if he'd been allowed to keep his Social Security tax and invest it himself, he wouldn't have put away a dime for his old age. I tell him he has my sympathy for his weaknesses, but that this is no excuse for locking responsible people into a financial swindle like Social Security.
I point out that politicians operate on a "worst case" basis. Because some people won't take care of their own retirements, all of us must be locked into a bankrupt scheme like Social Security. Because some people will abuse drugs, all of us must lose the protections of the Bill of Rights. Because some people will misuse guns, no one can will be allowed to have a gun to protect himself.
I then have a free hour giving me the opportunity to go to a nearby mall and pick up a couple of gifts for Pamela's birthday tomorrow.
In the early evening, Steve, Michael, and I drive to Haverford to the home of Mrs. And Mrs. Jeffrey Yass for a private fund-raiser.
We get there early, and they've set aside a room for me so that I can talk for an hour with Michael Reagan on his syndicated show. He has always been very good to me. But in the opening segment he seems obsessed with the question of why I would go through the travails of running for President when I have no chance to win. I can't get him off the subject. At the first commercial break, he comes on the line to say hello to me privately. I say, "I can see you've decided to vote for Bush." He asks why I think that. "Because you're treating me much differently from ever before. You're trying to make people think a vote for me is an exercise in futility." He doesn't confirm or deny my suspicion. But he does get off the futility kick for the rest of the show, and we have a good conversation.
The fund-raiser goes very well. There are about 30 people present. They walk in with checks in hand. We raise $28,000 almost $1,000 per person. This is the sort of fund-raiser private meetings where wealthy people invite their friends and business associates I had hoped at the outset of the campaign that we would have far more frequently. One of the unfortunate failings of the campaign was that we just didn't have the manpower to arrange more of these.
Tomorrow Steve, Michael, and I will go our separate ways. I will fly home to spend Pamela's birthday with her (and also celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, which actually is November 2nd, when we'll be apart). Sunday I'll get some work done at home, and be back on the road again on Monday.
Monday, October 30, 2000 Indianapolis
After two days at home, celebrating Pamela's birthday and getting some paperwork done, I'm up today at 6:45 for two early shows. I'm not aware as yet that today may be one of the most frustrating days of the campaign.
The first is a half-hour interview with Laura LeBeau at WAAV in Wilmington, North Carolina. She says she's strongly against the Drug War, but otherwise is non-committal in her comments. She gives me every opportunity to state my views and to urge people to vote Libertarian.
The second interview I do as Pamela drives me to the airport. It's about 15 minutes with Mancow Muller at WKQX-FM in Chicago. He says that every time I'm on his show he thinks he should vote for me instead of Bush, but later wavers. At one point he launches into a tirade about Bill Clinton's recent statements that the Republicans have never apologized for impeaching him. He goes on and on about what a louse Clinton is. I say that Bill Clinton is the best thing that ever happened for the Republicans, because Clinton diverts everyone's attention from the fact that the Republicans are doing nothing to reduce government. Because of Clinton, the Republicans have the perfect excuse for their own failings. And all they have to do is point to Bill Clinton and you'll get mad enough to vote Republican. Meanwhile, government continues to get bigger, more expensive, more intrusive, and more oppressive. He agrees that I'm right.
I catch a prop plane from Nashville to Indianapolis. At the airport I'm greeted by a dozen Indiana Libertarians. Also there are cameramen and reporters from the local NBC and CBS TV stations. I have a very brief press conference on the spot, answering a half-dozen questions from the two reporters.
Mark Rutherford, the Indiana State Chair, and Brad Klopfenstein have done a good job of making the day worthwhile. They enticed the two reporters to the airport, and they've arranged other media for the day. In addition, they've already appeared on some shows themselves plugging my coming to Indianapolis.
We then head into Indianapolis for a full day of media. In the car I get a call on my cell phone from a producer at the Fox News TV network, wanting to do a "pre-interview" for an interview on Fox News TV tonight. I didn't know I had such an interview, but I'm glad to hear of it. I ask what show it will be, and she tells me I'll be on with Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor, a big show. (I was on it once before with guest host Michael Reagan.) This is a real coup, and it makes the day doubly attractive as I'm already scheduled to be on Nightline tonight, although I'll have to share the spotlight with Howard Phillips and John Hagelin. The Fox producer asks me a number of questions about the campaign and seems especially pleased with my brief, sound-bite answers.
In the city, I have a 10-minute, in-studio interview with Steve Simpson at WIBC. Although the time is brief, we cover a lot of ground.
We then go to eat lunch at the Press Club, where we're joined by John Fritze of the Indianapolis Star, the leading daily. He asks questions while I eat. He says the newspaper will have someone at tonight's event.
Then Steve Willis, Michael Cloud, and I check in at our hotel. I have to spend an hour on the phone with the computer company, as my laptop stopped working again Saturday morning on my way home to Nashville. The company finally agrees to replace the computer, and will send a technician and computer to me in Portland tomorrow. However, since I don't know where I'll be staying in Portland tomorrow, the support technician is to call me back in an hour to get the address to which to send the replacement computer.
I then have a half-hour phone interview with Stan Solomon at WZL in Indianapolis. He's always been very friendly to Libertarians, although he's non-committal about his voting intentions. I point out that Indiana is solidly for Bush and so your vote for Gore or Bush will have no effect on the outcome, while a Libertarian vote will help us get the million votes we need to get the attention of the press and the public.
Then it's a short interview in the lobby of the hotel with Anthony Swinger of Metro Source Radio News a service providing news to Indiana radio stations. We go through all the usual topics the issues, why you should vote Libertarian, and what it's like to run for President.
At 4:50pm, a car arrives to take Steve and me to the ABC-TV station in Indianapolis for a taping of Nightline.
It's now a half-hour past the time I was supposed to hear from the computer company, and so I call back using my cell phone in the car. I, of course, get a different support technician and he finds no record in the company's database of my earlier conversation with the other support technician. This one says the computer is out of warranty and couldn't possibly be replaced at this late date. I go round and round with him, and he advises me to wait for the first technician to call back as scheduled (which never happens). Another day of computer work lost.
I go into the TV studio for the Nightline interview. I will be appearing "remote" from Indianapolis, John Hagelin will be on from Seattle, Howard Phillips from South Carolina, and host Chris Bury will be in New York. I'm outfitted with a lapel mike and an earpiece over which the producer explains that we'll be on for one segment of about 7 minutes, minus 30-60 seconds for Chris Bury's introductory statement. That means I'll have about 2 minutes.
And even though I'm even with Pat Buchanan in the polls today (each at 1.0%), I'm about to be wedged into a segment with two candidates who have penetrated the public consciousness far less than I have (in fact, each is at 0.1% in the Rasmussen Poll). I don't mind the idea of appearing in a full-fledged debate on national TV with Phillips and Hagelin, where I can make extended statements and let the world know what we're offering. But to squeeze in a few sentences in what could easily be labeled "The Loser Segment" seems to me to be both demeaning and a waste of time.
To add insult to injury, there's a technical problem in New York and I have to sit here and wait. Howard, John, and I engage in chit-chat as the minutes pass. On Meet the Press last week, John Hagelin said his party had almost a thousand candidates running nationwide. I ask him how he arrived at that figure. It turns out there are only about 200 Natural Law Party candidates, the rest are from the Independent Party of New York and other parties with whom Hagelin hopes to create a coalition. And, even then, the total is far less than a thousand.
The wait goes on, and it's now getting close to the time I should be at the Fox station for the O'Reilly interview. I'm beginning to think I should forego my 2 minutes of fame with Hagelin and Phillips in favor of 7 minutes of combat with Bill O'Reilly.
Suddenly I hear Chris Bury's voice in my earpiece, as he introduces the segment. Then he says, "Gentlemen, we'll get to your platforms in a moment, but first I'd like to get a sense from each of you of what it's like to be a third-party presidential candidate on the road, without an entourage, without any standing in the polls, without any recognition." Oh Lord, half the time will be wasted talking about what losers we are.
He starts with Howard Phillips, who goes on and on about the reception he's getting as the only candidate who is solidly pro-life, pro-Constitution, and so on. Bury tries to interrupt him, but no one interrupts Howard. Finally, Bury calls a halt to the taping and says we'll start over. He tells Howard to stick to the question at hand, that we'll get to his platform later. Another couple of minutes have been wasted and I'm still not at Fox for the O'Reilly show.
We begin again and again with Howard. When they get to me, I point out that I'm doing as well in the polls as Buchanan, but I don't make as much out of my one-minute answer as I should. The interview goes on from there, with very little accomplished. I notice, however, that the segment lasts longer than the scheduled 7 minutes.
Finally it's over and Steve and I race out of the studio to a second car and driver waiting to take us to Fox. We get to the Fox station a block or two down the street, but the front door is locked and we can't get in. Steve calls the producer in New York and we discover that we're supposed to be at a different station. Fortunately, it's only a half-block away, and someone is waiting for us at the door.
I rush into the studio, get a mike and an earpiece, and we begin the interview almost immediately just after the producer tells me that we'll be covering Social Security and the Drug War. What happened to the pre-interview questions about my campaign?
We cover Social Security quickly and then turn to the Drug War. As usual, Bill O'Reilly is overbearing never letting me finish two complete sentences in a row. He says that 70% of child abuse involves drug use. I have no idea what he's talking about, as I've never heard such a statistic. There's no point in arguing it with him, however, because I have no statistics at hand with which to refute him. Whatever I say, he keeps coming back to child abuse. Finally, I say, "Well, 100% of drunk-driving involves a car. So should we outlaw all cars?" He says, "Of course not," as though I've said something irrelevant to his child-abuse point.
Suddenly, the interview is over. He thanks me for being on. I say, "Thank you. And if you want the real story on drugs and other issues rather than this comic-book version come to my website at HarryBrowne.org." The comic-book reference apparently catches him off guard, and he says, "Er, yes, go to his website."
Two big national TV programs, and I don't feel I have much to show for either of them. (Later in the evening, I see the Nightline interview and discover that they've edited it cutting off each of the three guests in mid-thought. The only lines I was satisfied with seem to have landed on the cutting-room floor.)
(Many Libertarians have complimented me on giving as good as I got with O'Reilly. But the problem is that I never turned the conversation to the current campaign. The interview could have taken place in 1998 or 2001, as it didn't have anything to do with voting Libertarian possibly intentionally on O'Reilly's part.)
From the TV studio, Steve and I drive to the hotel for the evening's event. It's a big evening. About 200 people are present 40-50% of whom identify themselves as attending their first Libertarian event. The fund-raising is below average for the size of the audience, but the crowd is quite enthusiastic.
Tuesday, October 31, 2000 Portland, Oregon
Steve, Michael, and I are each up early to catch a plane to Portland. When we arrive at the airport I have a half-hour interview with Gene Roberts at WWCN in Estero, Florida. He is quite friendly and sympathetic, but he wants to dwell too long on the question of whether the American people really want what Libertarians are offering.
We get on the plane and take off for Minneapolis (where we'll change planes for Portland). I immediately go to sleep and, for once on a plane, it's a deep sleep. I awaken a little later, aware that the plane is descending. It turns out that something's wrong with the plane and we're returning to Indianapolis. We land, and take off again about 30 minutes later. Finally, we reach Minneapolis.
While there, I have a 30-minute interview on my cell phone with Tom Fudge at KPBS-FM, an NPR station in San Diego. He is apparently a liberal, and we get bogged down talking about issues rather than the campaign itself. My cell phone keeps losing its signal and I have to call him back three times.
Fudge says we Libertarians seem to think we're the intellectual heirs to the Founding Fathers. I say we're a lot closer to them than the other parties are. I also point out that the passage of the income tax amendment gave the politicians the resources necessary to convert the government from its original conception to an all-purpose government that can meddle in our lives.
A caller says I seem to be nostalgic for a time of slavery and other inequalities, and asks whether I would do away with Affirmative Action and the Civil Rights Acts. I say I'm not nostalgic for any time, but that the real issue is whether we're going to live in a free time or whether we're going to be owned by people like Al Gore and George Bush, who can decide how much of our earnings they're entitled to, who can have free access to snoop in our bank accounts and email, who can regulate the size of our toilets and force us into swindles like Social Security.
The interview is cut short prematurely by another failure of the cell-phone signal. I haven't given out my website or any reasons to vote Libertarian.
We get on the plane for the 4-hour flight to Portland. We've accumulated enough Frequent Flyer miles for all three of us to fly first-class, which we try to do on transcontinental flights but too often don't succeed. The trip is uneventful.
Upon arriving in Portland we rent a car and head for the hotel. In the car, I call the computer company to resume my struggle to get my laptop replaced. I'm fortunate in connecting with a sympathetic technician. I'll wind up talking with him off and on throughout the day. He gets authorization for a replacement computer. But since the model I have is no longer produced, it will have to be custom-made, requiring 30-60 days. That obviously won't do. So the final decision is that they'll fix it again this time replacing virtually every part in the computer. And it will be done on Thursday. If that doesn't fix it for good, the authorization for a replacement will still stand and I can wait on the replacement until after the campaign is over.
The lack of a functioning computer is an enormous drawback. I can't send and receive email with the campaign staff. I can't write articles for WorldNetDaily and other venues. I can't write this Journal. I have no access to a tremendous amount of reference information locked inside my non-working computer. That material is also in my desktop computer at home, but that doesn't help me on the road.
Interspersed with my conversations with the computer company, I have a number of interviews. The first is with Mark Coll, a gun-rights activist on KHNC in Denver. We talk about more than just gun rights, however. And I point out that you can't trust people like George Bush or Al Gore to restore your right to bear arms for two reasons. First, they've already made it clear that the government has a right to restrict gun ownership differing only on the specific restrictions. Second, they don't believe in any of the rest of the Bill of Rights, and so they can't be trusted to guard any of your freedoms.
I then have an Internet "chat" on America Online. The host relays questions to me over the phone, and I reply orally as a typist puts my remarks online. This time I have a very speedy typist, and it's very easy for me to provide succinct, punchy soundbite answers.
In the early evening I have an hour on the air with Bill Manders at KMJ in Fresno. He's a genial host and we get along well. He appears to be quite libertarian but unwilling to call himself such. We get calls from supporters and also from people questioning my views but everyone is civil and respectful. I keep pushing the importance of voting Libertarian. At the end of the hour, there are still calls backed up that we didn't get to. I tell him he's libertarian enough to take care of the rest of the callers.
Later in the evening I have a half-hour conversation with Brian Wilson at KSFO in San Francisco. Brian is a forthright Libertarian who is quite popular in the Bay Area. He touts Libertarian candidates at every turn. The show goes quite well.