In an interview earlier today, Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin made his case to Libertarians unhappy with Bob Barr as their nominee.
“I understand that some libertarians do not share my conviction that life begins at conception and that we need to protect it,” said Baldwin. “I understand that some don’t share our concerns on the moral issues, but I’ll say this to all the Libertarians and independents: If you believe that a secure border is critical to our nation’s survival, then I’m the only candidate for president in 2008 you can vote for.”
Baldwin continued: “I’m also the guy that has historically stood against the Patriot Act, from the beginning. I will never allow eavesdropping on private citizens without a court order. I’m going to stop the New World Order, the NAFTA Superhighway. I really believe that NAFTA and GATT and WTO and all those so-called free trade deals have torn our country apart.”
Gay Rights, Abortion, and Church-State
When asked if the federal government should pass laws restricting homosexual activity, Baldwin addressed his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment: “I have always opposed the constitutional amendment process for the purpose of defining marriage. I know this puts me at odds with some of my evangelical brethren.”
Baldwin said he does, however, support the Defense of Marriage Act: “Obviously I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and I believe that the Defense of Marriage Act properly recognizes that God-ordained institution.”
Earlier, IPR reported that Baldwin opposed DOMA and that he also opposed a national abortion ban. It appears we were wrong on both counts.
Baldwin says he supports Ron Paul’s Sanctity of Life Act, which would define an unborn child as being a “person under the laws of the country.” According to Baldwin, this act would immediately overturn Roe v. Wade and “end abortion on demand.”
But what about abortion that’s not “on demand?”
When asked what he would do as president if a state passed “permissive abortion laws,” he said that the Sanctity of Life Act would “settle the matter.”
On the proper role for religion in government, Baldwin said we are a “nation under God,” and as such, we have a “duty to our Creator” to acknowledge this fact. At the same time, unprompted, Baldwin said he supports the religious freedom of non-Christians and atheists. He said how someone worships God — or if they don’t at all — is “none of the federal government’s business, quite frankly.”
It’s important to note that Baldwin was not asked a question about church-state or religion, but offered the above in his general comments.
Sound Money and Free Trade
When asked about the Federal Reserve, Baldwin said: “I think it’s important that we return to sound money. I think that all the problems we’re facing economically are directly related to the Federal Reserve System and the fiat-money supply.” He also said that as president, he would make Ron Paul Secretary of the Treasury.
On trade, Baldwin says doesn’t think his position is “out of sync” with Ron Paul’s and that “maybe some libertarians don’t understand Ron Paul’s position.” Baldwin says he’s spoken with Ron Paul and that Paul is not opposed to tariffs, but only protective tariffs.
Baldwin says he would cut spending, repeal the income tax, and replace it with a 10% general tariff on all imports. He stressed that this would not be a “protective tariff.”
When specifically asked if he would support retaliatory tariffs or tariffs set at different rates based on country of origin, Baldwin said “I would support an across-the-board 10% general tariff on all imports.”
Immigration and Border Security
Baldwin was asked, “What should be the goal of immigration policy? Should it be strictly a national security matter or are their cultural and economic objectives? How does the government know how many immigrants is the right number of immigrants to let in?”
His response: “We’re the most generous nation in the world when it comes to immigration. We allow more legal immigrants into our country than all the rest of the world’s countries combined. Over one million immigrants a year migrate to this country, lawfully, including my chief of staff who came from Zimbabwe, Africa. I certainly support the immigration process, and it’s a very generous one, and it’s a very fair one.”
Baldwin stressed border security. He said we have open borders at both ends of our country and that the Canadian border might be more problematic than the Mexican border. “It is absolutely ludicrous that we would not secure our borders.”
But is it strictly a national security issue? Or are there economic and cultural concerns as well?
When asked “should all peaceable immigrants who come here to work be allowed in, or should there be quotas?” Baldwin said, “When you say ‘all,’ I’m not sure I understand the question.” He said there must be a “lawful process” to “assimilate immigrants into our culture.” He said he didn’t think we could bring in “everybody, unlimited numbers of people” without limits set by government officials.
IPR Reader Questions
“I do not support the regulation of the Internet by the federal government,” Baldwin said, in response to being told he received an “F” rating from a gambling-rights group, while Ron Paul received an A+.
When asked about specific legislation and if he specifically opposed government regulation of the Internet as it pertained to online gambling, he said, “No, what I said was I haven’t seen that particular bill. I’d have to look at it.”
Baldwin said he would be happy to debate leading third-party candidates such as Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney, and that he is “looking forward to debating John McCain and Barack Obama, as well.” When asked if he had a strategy to gain entry into the major presidential debates, Baldwin said he was “very hopeful” that his campaign would show the necessary credibility to the mainstream media that they would not be able to keep him out.
When asked about whether D.C. should be governed locally — and asked specifically about gay adoption — Baldwin said: “Under the Constitution, the District of Columbia is under the authority of the Congress, and I would have no desire to change that.”
Baldwin said figures he admired and would attempt to emulate as president included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson (“even though I would not agree with all of his spiritual views”), Patrick Henry, John Jay, and John Adams. Among modern figures, Baldwin said Ron Paul was one of his heroes.
When asked if he saw any movement among conservative Christians from default support of militarism to a more traditional conservative foreign policy, Baldwin said that the movement will definitely occur when he becomes president. “I’m going to put a stop to it,” Baldwin said, referring to foreign intervention. “As president, I would not send troops to invade and occupy a foreign country without a declaration of war from Congress — that is absolutely essential to our country’s future.” Baldwin says he’s on record as opposing the War in Iraq from the beginning, and as president, he will put in place a plan to get troops out of Iraq as “expeditiously and as safely as possible.”
Baldwin says he believes in the “founding fathers’ foreign policy that we should trade with all and have entangling alliances with none.” He also said he’s opposed to foreign aid.
The interview was conducted over the phone and recorded. A link to the audio will be provided as soon as possible.