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Root, meanwhile, claimed the award for the greatest show of candor by a presidential candidate in a debate when he was asked to explain his donation to Joe Lieberman, whose combination of hawkish foreign policy and big government domestic views make him anathema to libertarians.
“I’m a businessman above all else,” he boasted unapologetically. “About two years ago, a very good friend of mine gave me $1 million for my business, and he was bundling checks for Joe Lieberman, and said, ‘By the way, would you make an investment in Joe Lieberman’s campaign?’ And I wrote a $1,000 check as a sign of friendship for someone who gave my business $1 million.”
ROOT SCORED SOME POINTS with the crowd when he declared the fight for school choice “the civil rights issue of our time” and railed against the Republican Party’s intrusion into people’s bedrooms on abortion, gay rights, online gambling, and medical marijuana. But he elicited boos when he called for sealing the border until the nation could figure out what to do with immigrants who were already here, given the existence of the welfare state.
Gravel won his most applause of the night by retorting, “The people I’ve met, the immigrants, they don’t come here for welfare. They come here to work.”
Barr did his best to argue that one of the legitimate roles of government was “to protect the sovereignty of the nation” and he called for all immigrants to undergo a basic background check, a test for communicable diseases, and to show identification.
On foreign policy, the candidates were asked whether they thought any wars since 1991 were justified.
Root, who said he used to support a hawkish foreign policy, but came to realize it was incompatible with a small government, said he only supported the first Gulf War, to which Gravel responded that the U.S. could have removed Saddam Hussein from Kuwait diplomatically. The only war he supported in the 20th century was World War II, but he said it was only made necessary by World War I.
During the debate, Barr, who voted for the Iraq War, said he didn’t think any intervention since 1991 was justified. But pressed by TAS contributor John Tabin after the event, he said he supported U.S. action in Afghanistan.
No doubt to the disappointment of some libertarians, all three candidates took a stand against kiddie porn.
AFTERWARDS, I ASKED Gravel to discuss his views on health care. He said I could find his proposal in his book, before cautioning, “But my health-care plan isn’t going to pass Congress. Nor is any other. There’s no money.”
He said he would “empower the American people so they could make a decision” about what health-care system they want.
“Do you think it’s the government’s role to give people health care?” I asked.
“Well, I don’t know who else could give people health care,” Gravel said. “Government is like a tool, a tool for our collective activity.” He described government as being like a hammer, which could be used when we need it, put aside, but also has the power to kill if not reined in.
“Do you think people have a right to health care?” I followed up.
“Yes, I think people have a right to a sound economy, to health care, and to education,” he insisted. “Yes they do, because they have a right to freedom. You can’t have freedom unless you have the other three. How are you going to be free if you have no money? You’re not free — you’re just a drunk in the street. How are you going to be free if you’re sick? You’re sick like a jerk. How are you going to be free if you’re dumb? You’re too dumb to participate in freedom. Freedom means education. Freedom means health care. Freedom means a sound economy.”
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.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?