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Interview with Richard Lamm, former Governor and 1996 Reform Party Primary Candidate

1. On July 9, 1996 you announced your campaign for the Reform Party’s presidential nomination. The next day Ross Perot announced that he would be running too. What was your reaction to his announcement?

I was surprised and offended. He had said to me directly that he was not going to run. Sure I was naive but I was surprised at his dishonesty.

2. You were initially promised the mailing list of the Reform Party’s 1.3 million members, but was later denied as the Reform leadership stated that it would violate campaign financing laws, however Perot had access to the same list. Do you believe that the Reform Party unfairly favored Perot and do you believe that you would have had a better chance of defeating Perot had you had access to the list?

The Reform Party clearly favored Perot and I should have had access to the list. I doubt, however, that it would have made a difference.

3. In your announcement speech you stated five rules for the next millennium as stopping injustice for the next generation, ending taxation without representation, stopping reckless borrowing, establishing a self-responsibility ethic, and restoring trust in the government. Considering the past twenty years are there any that you would like to add now?

I would put in avoiding climate change which I believe is the chief threat to humankind.

4. In 2000 the Reform Party had a major schism between Pat Buchanan and John Hagelin and a court case over who would receive the $12.5 million in matching funds. In the general election Buchanan took 0.4% of the vote with 449,895 votes. What was your opinion on Pat Buchanan and his presidential campaign, what do you think was the primary reason for the fall of the Reform Party, and do you believe that the Reform Party would have fared better had you been the 1996 nominee?

I wanted nothing to do with Pat Buchanan. I do not think the party would have done much better if I were the candidate. My (our) whole purpose was to find some well known and respected candidates to take on the two party system. One governor was not enough and we recognized that. My dream was to get John McCain and Bob Kerry of Nebraska to make up the ticket. Two medal of honor winners, etc. It would take a powerful and visible ticket to succeed. (If that) I did not originally get involved in this movement to be the candidate. We were a bunch of reformers in search for a candidate who could not find the right team.

5. Even though no Reform Party presidential candidates has won an election a former member has been. What is your current opinion on Trump?

A malevolent narcissist who is a great danger to our future.

6. Recently another third party candidate, former governor of Massachusetts and former Libertarian vice presidential nominee Bill Weld, has announced that he is running against Trump for the Republican nomination. How do you think he will fare and can you tell us if any of the current Democratic candidates stand out to you and the possibility of them defeating Trump in 2020?

I have come to see Trump as such a threat to our future, that I would discourage any third party candidate. I believe Ralph Nader elected George W. and the stakes are far higher now. Trump is a nation-threatening President who must be defeated. In the 1990s, I thought the only way to fiscal sanity was a 3rd Party movement. Neither political party can bring fiscal stability to our nation but we cannot risk another Trump term.

7. Over the past twenty years there have been many prominent third party presidential candidates such as Ralph Nader, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Evan McMullian and even in your state of Colorado the Constitution Party came in second in 2010 when Tom Tancredo ran under their banner. During those years have there been any third party candidates that stood out to you or you have supported?

No. The Republican party was the last 3rd party movement to succeed. (1860) and while I think we will see another success, it will take political turmoil or a very dynamic leader.

8. Finally what have you been up to other than working at the University of Denver?

I spend my time quietly teaching and reading on my patio.


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  1. SocraticGadfly SocraticGadfly May 1, 2019

    Dick Lamm … first climate change neoliberal … can stay in his duopoly hellhole.

  2. Tony From Long Island Tony From Long Island May 1, 2019

    Socratic Gadfly . . . . last denier of reality? Can stay in this sauna we call Earth while the rest of us try to figure out some answers. You sure you didn’t vote for Drumph?

  3. Seebeck Seebeck May 3, 2019

    When Dick Lamm was governor of Colorado, he was known for being a lousy governor and for telling seniors they had “a duty to die and get out of the way.”

    Why this schmuck still gets any attention since he is a repulsive human being is unknown.

  4. Tony From Long Island Tony From Long Island May 6, 2019

    I’m not defending the guy, but you are using that quote out of context. It was directed to people who are “terminally ill.” Was it a bit uncouth? Sure, but if you want to criticize a guy, do it honestly.

  5. Seebeck Seebeck May 7, 2019

    Nope. It was not in reference to the terminally ill. It was in reference to seniors in general. I remember it well, because it almost put the kibosh on my family moving to Colorado, because my grandmother, in good health at the time at 67, was steaming mad over it, and none of us blamed her one bit.

    The reality was that the recession in Colorado from the early 1980s until TABOR passed in 1992 was almost entirely of his making. I grew up in most of it. he was called Governor Gloom for a reason: he was simply terrible.

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