By Peter B. Gemma
Tom Hoefling of Iowa is the presidential nominee of America’s Party, and was its standard bearer in 2012. Hoefling ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for a seat in the Iowa House in 1998, and was a GOP candidate for Governor in the 2014 Iowa Republican primary where he received 26,300 votes, about 17 percent, against Terry Branstad the five-term incumbent Governor.
In his 2012 campaign, Hoefling was also the nominee of the American Independent Party of California. America’s Party was ballot qualified in Florida and Colorado that year, and Hoefling received (according to Wikipedia), a total of 47,941 votes on both ballot lines. He lost bids to be the nominee of the California AIP and the Constitution Party earlier this year.
Tom Hoefling is listed by Newsmax as one of “America’s Top 100 Most Influential Pro-Life Advocates.”
Peter B. Gemma: I appreciate your taking time for this interview. You have said that the core of your candidacy is to, “dismantle all governmental programs, agencies, or laws which are immoral, unconstitutional, or unnecessary.” Where would you start?
Tom Hoefling: I would start with all of them. The country is bankrupt, and on the brink of complete insolvency. The Congressional Budget Office warned us four years ago that by the year 2025 the entire federal budget will have to go to pay for the unconstitutional “entitlement” programs of the New Deal and the Great Society, and the interest on the debt that has been accumulated because of our continued spending on unconstitutional programs and agencies, with nothing left over for anything else. We have no more time to wait to begin to deal with this. We can’t afford one term, or two terms, of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, who have both already told us in no uncertain terms that they will continue to sail this ship straight onto the rocks.
Gemma: Abortion is an issue you repeatedly address. As President, you vowed to, “order the closing of every abortion facility in the country.” Why is pro-choice/pro-life so important to you? How can the Executive Branch close private businesses?
Hoefling: The assertion that all men are “created” equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, starting with the right to life, is the cornerstone of our form of government and our claim to liberty. Abortion not only destroys that cornerstone, it destroys every single clause of the stated purposes of our Constitution, and violates the explicit, imperative equal protection and due process requirements of that Constitution, and the constitutions of all of our states. Government exists to protect our individual rights, starting with the right to live. Every office in the land, at all levels, exists, before anything else, to protect the lives of the people, all of the people. The presidency is no exception. In fact, as the individual charged to be the Commander-in-Chief, the Chief Magistrate, that duty falls especially hard on the President. These “private businesses” as you describe them are committing mass murder, genocide. Whatever rights they have as “businesses” in no way outweigh the supreme rights of those they are slaughtering every day.
Gemma: You’ve asserted that, “Planned Parenthood and other abortionists are mass murderers and cannibals. At this point, there is no doubt about this.” What do you mean by that?
Hoefling: It’s pretty straightforward. Not only are the abortionists quite obviously committing mass murder – the death toll is now around sixty million, at least – they are parting their victims out and selling their body parts. That is cannibalism, by definition.
Gemma: You also maintain that, “Humanism is the death of humanity.” What is your thinking on this?
Hoefling: All you have to do is look at the history of the last century to see the obvious destructive fruits of man-centered humanistic ideology. Folks should read Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. It’s all spelled out.
Gemma: The America’s Party platform calls for, “the repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment. Its enactment greatly reduced the power of our state legislatures and state governments and damaged our system of federalism.” Tell me more about that position.
Hoefling: The ill-advised passage of the Seventeenth Amendment severely damaged the carefully balanced distribution of powers put in place by our founders. It deprived the states of their rightful representation in the Congress, especially in areas like judicial and executive office appointments, foreign policy, treaties, and national defense. It also deprived the people, since the offices that once selected the Senators are much closer to the people, and therefore much easier to hold accountable.
Gemma: What are your views on illegal immigration? Are you in sync with Donald Trump on that issue?
Hoefling: I don’t trust Donald Trump’s word on anything. I have made it clear that as President I will declare our open borders to be a clear and present danger to the sovereignty and the security of the United States, and then swiftly deploy our military forces to secure our country. I will keep them there as long as I am in office, or until the Congress does their job and has funded the building of all needful barriers, and the deployment of sufficient civilian resources to do the job.
Gemma: According to America’s Party platform, “We support the elimination of the federal income tax and the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment.” Why? What would you replace it with?
Hoefling: The income tax is immoral and stupid. I would replace it with a national sales tax that treated everybody the same, and those taxes would be collected by the states. All but a tiny handful of the states already have the simple, non-intrusive, efficient system in place to do this. It would be relatively easy to do, and our children and grandchildren would thank us.
Gemma: You have stated that, “Donald Trump is corrupting the church, and I fear the results of a further-corrupted church far more than I fear the horrible results of a Hillary Clinton presidency.” You’ve also said that, “I’m speaking directly to Christians right now: [Trump] despises you.” Tell me how Trump is worse than Clinton.
Hoefling: All one has to do is read a little bit to see the damaging effects Trumpism is already having on the church and on conservatism. It’s rampant, and it’s disgusting. Some of these people will never get their credibility back. Trump is corrupting them in a way that Clinton could never do.
Gemma: You have also said that you want to, “put control of our elections back into the hands of We the People.” What is your idea of election reform?
Hoefling: Paper ballots, controlled completely at every single stage of the counting process by “We the People.” No more party primaries. Write in votes only. No other government involvement in the process. Our elections are supposed to belong to the people, not to politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers.
Gemma: Do you favor abolishing the Federal Reserve? Why?
Hoefling: Yes – the Fed is a monstrosity, neither man nor beast, i.e. not private, and therefore subject to the control of a free market, and yet not fully governmental either, and therefore subject to real control by the people and their representatives. The Founders gave the power over monetary policy to Congress, as they should have. That’s the system we must restore. Of course, if we’re going to do that, we had better start electing people to Congress who actually understand money issues.
Gemma: Why do you oppose the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana?
Hoefling: Because I don’t believe that a drug-addled nation is going to be able to govern or defend itself.
Gemma: Tell me about your running mate, Steve Schulin of South Carolina.
Hoefling: Steve is a long time friend and co-warrior in the cause. He is one of the co-founders of America’s Party, and has been a reliable stalwart throughout our party’s history. He and I don’t always agree on everything, but we completely agree on the core principles. Since we don’t always agree on every jot and tittle, though, I greatly appreciate having Steve on my team. He helps keep me honest and humble. It’s never a good idea to surround yourself with yes-men, and Steve is by no means a yes-man. He’s one of the best and brightest people I’ve ever met.
Gemma: I understand the Hoefling-Schulin ticket is on the ballot in Colorado and Louisiana, and is officially recognized as a write-in option in 22 states. However, America’s Party was taken off the ballot in Florida and Arkansas. What happened in those states – will you be contesting those decisions in court?
Hoefling: The number of states where we will be a recognized write-in is going to be in the high thirties, so your number was garnered from premature sources. Arkansas certified us for the ballot, and then kicked us off, because the Secretary of State’s office gave our grassroots volunteers the wrong petition form and instructed them wrongly. In Florida, we did everything exactly the same way we did things in 2008 and in 2012, and received assurances that we would once again be on the ballot. The statute did not change in the last four years, but an attorney in the Secretary of State’s office reinterpreted the Florida Code concerning what constitutes a national political party, and at a late date informed us that they were removing our ticket. It remains to be seen if we will be able to muster legal challenges to these injustices. Our folks are trying.
Gemma: Are there any other candidates running for office under the America’s Party banner?
Hoefling: America’s Party is what we call a “meta” party. In other words, we are partisans only for principle. We don’t care what party banner candidates run under, as long as they have proven to be completely committed to the core obligations of the oath of office.
Gemma: The party website states, “America’s Party endorses candidates based on principle, not party affiliation.” Has the party endorsed any candidates for state or local office?
Hoefling: Over the years, we have endorsed quite a few, and some have won, such as Tom Shaw of Iowa [an incumbent Republican State Representative,] and Gordon Klingenschmitt of Colorado [an incumbent Republican State Representative.] But we are still a ways from endorsing full slates of candidates, because we’re still in the process of training up a new generation of leaders. That takes time.
Gemma: The party website stresses that “We don’t want your money.” According to FEC records, America’s Party has $62 in the bank. How do you conduct business – such as phone service, travel, printed materials and website maintenance?
Hoefling: We decided soon after the creation of America’s Party that we didn’t want the money and fund-raising interests anywhere near our principles or our system of political accountability, so we implemented our “no donations” policy. Conservatives have poured billions of hard-earned dollars into national political organizations in our generation, and that money has been used mostly to raise more money, or to prop up the GOP, or as leverage against the grassroots. We’re tired of it. So, instead, we urge our people to send their money directly to candidates, or to the grassroots activists out in the trenches, where 100 percent of the money will go to fulfill its intended purpose. As far as how we conduct business, for many years, we have been perfecting the means of using the vast array of free resources that are readily available to all of us today. If the Founders could win our independence using hand-written letters delivered by men on horseback, certainly we can rescue and sustain the republic when today we all have smart phones, and computers, and the internet, and free social networks, and free email, and free telephone conferencing, and free web radio, and free web audio, and so much more.
Gemma: You founded the party in 2008 to support Alan Keyes’ candidacy for President. Is he still involved with America’s Party? Has he endorsed you?
Hoefling: No. He has not been active in any party that I’m aware of for quite a few years now.
Gemma: Finally, your platform and many of your campaign posts seem to reflect the positions of the Constitution Party and its nominee Darrell Castle. Are there serious differences?
Hoefling: Yes, there are serious differences. Mr. Castle is a paleo-conservative/libertarian who most often emulates Ron Paul. I am a straight-up-the-line conservative, in the Reagan/Keyes mold. Castle has taken quite a few of what I consider to be extremely faulty positions espoused by Ron Paul, on abortion particularly. His assertion of the Tenth Amendment concerning abortion suggests that he follows the Gerald R. Ford/Ron Paul idea that states’ rights trump everything. I vehemently disagree with that, since our natural rights precede and supersede all human laws and human governments, and because the Constitution absolutely requires the states to provide equal protection for the right to life of every person. It’s not optional. If he doesn’t believe that, he and his supporters should stop asserting the Tenth Amendment, since it doesn’t apply. And, he hews to the Ron Paul claim that Congress can strip jurisdiction from the Supreme Court over abortion when in fact the Constitution gives the court original jurisdiction in matters that have to do with the states. Congress has no authority to amend the Constitution willy-nilly. The problem with the court is not one of jurisdiction. It is that the court refuses to fulfill its primary duty by equally-protecting every innocent human life. It is up to the Congress and to the President to check and balance them in this regard. From interviews of his that I’ve listened to and watched, Castle seems to have completely surrendered to the claims of the judicial supremacists. He has also folded his tent in terms of protecting the essential institution of civil marriage. Perhaps it’s because of his legal training, I don’t know. But, in any case, these things are nonstarters for me and for our people across the country. That’s why Castle picked up almost none of my supporters when the CP nominated him.
Gemma: One more thing – I have read that you like to compose poetry. Would you share one?
Hoefling: Sure – this is from 2009:
For Freedom’s Way
For freedom’s way the patriots bled, The crosses mark our honored dead.
More clearly than mere words e’er may
That field lays out their final say
No greater love, they gave it all,
In answer to man’s highest call.
But don’t forget that most returned.
To them we owe esteem they earned.
And last of all, remember this:
Our LORD betrayed by one mere kiss.
For from within true danger lies,
Though carefully as friend disguised.
So fight my friend, from where you stand,
For freedom rides on every man.