Wayne Allyn Root says he’s the Muhammad Ali of the Libertarian Party — he may talk big, but he can back it up in the ring.
Speaking to me before a forum for Libertarian presidential candidates hosted by Reason magazine at its Washington, D.C. headquarters, the Las Vegas odds maker shared his plan not only for capturing the party’s nomination at this weekend’s convention, but for winning the presidency.
Root isn’t delusional, Root said — he doesn’t expect to win it all this year. However, he claims he can appeal to the millions of online poker players who were fed up with the ban passed by the Republican Congress in 2006. Combined with the fact that he can attract home-schoolers as a home-schooling father himself and small-business owners as a businessman, Root projects he can win four million votes this year. Next election cycle, he’ll build up to Ross Perot type numbers, and by 2020, he’ll capture the White House.
On Tuesday, however, he had to survive the grilling of moderator Dave Weigel, the associate editor of Reason. Root shared the floor with former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, and former Alaskan senator and 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, Mike Gravel — three of 14 candidates running in the party’s wild nomination contest.
“I spent my entire adult life on television,” said Root in his opening pitch. “I like to think I’m a Ronald Reagan for the Libertarian Party.”
DESPITE ROOT’S REAGAN reference, the politician who was invoked most by the Libertarian candidates was Ron Paul.
“We are poised for a new birth of freedom,” Barr, the frontrunner, declared. “Inside the heart of every American beats the heart of a libertarian, and what we need to do is show the American people that that is mainstream. Ron Paul has shown us the way, but we need to build far beyond that.”
Gravel, a longtime liberal, has the steepest hill to climb to prove he belongs in the party. He huffed that he was prevented from participating in the later Democratic debates this cycle because he was “too libertarian.”
Not having much in the way of small government bona fides, he focused on harsh anti-war rhetoric and generic bromides about how “the American people sense that something is really wrong in Washington” and need “a party that stands for liberty and freedom.”
Weigel had each of the candidates answer for some of their deviations from Libertarian orthodoxy.
Barr explained why his political action committee has donated money to Republicans and a Democrat by saying that he has cooperated with a number of groups that have fought for one aspect of freedom, a list as diverse as the ACLU, the NRA, the American Conservative Union, and Americans for Tax Reform.
Barr said he would always “search for a commonality of interest to increase freedom” and had no problem donating to politicians, of any party label, who took stands for liberty on important issues.
Gravel was forced to justify his statements criticizing the Founding Fathers for making a crucial error in writing the U.S. Constitution.
“One of the real damages they did is they denied people the procedures to be able to make laws and amend the Constitution,” Gravel grumbled, describing the undemocratic nature of the document. “Freedom is participating in power. The central power of a democracy is making laws. We don’t make laws at the federal level in this country. We really don’t have freedom.”
He referred the audience to his book, Citizen Power, and argued that “representative government is broken” and proposed that Americans be allowed to “vote on all things that affect their lives.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?