Exclusive IPR Interview: Virgil Goode Makes His Case to Ron Paul Supporters

Freelance writer Peter Gemma (cf. http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_22_3/tsc_22_3_gemma.shtml and http://www.quarterly-review.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/QRGemma.pdf) talked policy and politics with Virgil Goode, the presidential nominee of the Constitution Party. Goode, who received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, served in the Virginia Army National Guard (1969-1975), as a member of the Virginia Senate (1973-1997), and in the U.S. House of Representatives (1996-2008). Gemma was acting a special corespondent for Independent Political Report.

 

IPR: Thanks Congressman for taking time off the campaign trail to talk with the Independent Political Report. What’s the latest news from the front lines?

Goode: We just got back from gathering signatures in Delaware for ballot qualification. It’s a small number in total that we need; about 600. However, those who wish to see our name on the ballot must change their registration. Believe it or not, the county registrar of voters actually calls people to say “are you sure you want to change party your affiliation?” We have to be triple sure petition signers understand the process.

IPR: What’s next on the roll call of states that you are targeting for ballot access?

Goode: Well, of course I’m working hard here in Virginia to get the Constitution Party on the ballot. Even this far from November and without any serious campaigning, political surveys show that we’re pulling five percent of the vote. We need 10,000 names on our petitions, which means we’re working overtime to get 18,000-20,000 signatures to be sure we cover the usual disqualification ratio.

New York is a big challenge: we must have 15,000 signatures—that means securing 25,000-30,000 names. That’s quite a hurdle, but the good news is that although there is a small minimum number needed in each county, the preponderance of the names can be collected anywhere—in other words in areas where we have the most volunteers.

We’ve also set our sights on California where the American Independent Party, which is not affiliated with the Constitution Party, already has a line on the ballot. Their state convention is slated for August and I will be there for a few days talking with party leaders and grassroots activists about having the AIP endorse the Virgil Goode-Jim Clymer ticket. California is among several states we’ll be visiting on a tour of the West including Utah, Wyoming, and Nevada.

Overall, I’m, hoping the Constitution Party ticket will be an option for voters in 40 states, even if in some cases Goode-Clymer are listed as Independents because party qualification is so difficult. But let me add this as a disclaimer: we have or plan to have lawsuits challenging unfair rules for 3rd parties in several states. Georgia is in the works right now.

IPR: It’s likely Ron Paul will not be endorsing 3rd party candidates this year as he has done in the past. His campaign has flatly ruled out any support for the Libertarian party nominee, and many political observers see Congressman Paul’s ultimate goal as building a Republican base for his son, Senator Rand Paul, to run a national campaign in 2016. In the meantime, millions of Ron Paul supporters are up for grabs come November. What will you do to reach out to them?

Goode: Ron Paul has been a friend from my first days in Congress. I learned a lot as a member of his Liberty Caucus in the House. I understand his interests in his son’s viability as a presidential candidate, but I’m always an optimist: I’d welcome Ron’s support. However, you’re right Peter—we should plan to face reality and capture the Ron Paul constituency on our own. Just look at the issues Ron has run on: audit the Fed, the gold standard, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. That’s our platform! Campaigning on the issues that matter most to those who believe in the Constitution will resonate with Ron Paul supporters. I think we might just pay a visit to Tampa during the Republican Party convention and talk with some of Ron Paul’s best organizers and grass roots leaders. When the Republicans crown Mitt Romney, we’ll be right there recruiting constitutionalists to our banner.

IPR: Let’s talk about some issues that would appeal to Ron Paul voters, starting with what you’ve just mentioned.

Goode: It’s clear we must reverse the Nixon administration’s decision of taking our currency off the gold standard. Just think of how reliable the dollar would be today if it were backed by gold, protecting citizens from hyperinflation and other economic catastrophes caused by government manipulations.

Regarding the Federal Reserve, they have put us trillions in debt because of bailouts and loans here and abroad. That’s with help from their allies in Congress and the U.S. Treasury of course. The Fed refuses to disclose the details of its so-called “emergency” lending. This kind of secrecy must stop. I fully support the Constitution Party’s language addressing this issue. We specifically call for a monetary system as spelled out in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. The voluntary choice of using of silver and/or gold in individual states, such as legislation just considered in Virginia, is something I think should be part of our new emphasis on states rights.

As far as a non-interventionist foreign policy goes, let me say this to begin with: I’ve learned a lot in my years as a member of the Executive Committee of the Constitution Party. Some votes I cast in Congress were not well matched with Constitutional principles. I oppose the Patriot Act provisions and the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] that trample on the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. I do not believe we should be involved in wars that have not been declared by Congress as specifically provided in the U.S. Constitution, so we must come home from Afghanistan. And I don’t think we can afford—nor is it strategically necessary—to have military bases all over the world. We owe too much money to underwrite the stationing of so many troops all around the world. Finally, I am against placing our armed forces under United Nations command.

IPR: Can you address some domestic issues?

Goode: Let me just add one thing about the military. Of course I want the U.S. military to be the strongest and have the cutting edge weaponry necessary to keep us number one in the world. That does not mean however, that the Defense Department automatically gets all the monies it wants—which is always more than its budget the previous year. America is broke. We must balance the budget immediately which means every aspect of government spending must be assessed, cut back, or cut out. In the Goode administration, the Defense Department is on that list.

The children of illegal aliens are now granted automatic citizenship. That’s wrong and must be addressed right away. This is central to my opposition to granting amnesty for any and all illegal aliens. And I go a step further: legal immigration must be cut back too—Americans with talent and experience must be put to work first before we import foreign job takers.

When I was in the Virginia Senate, I co-sponsored a bill urging our congressional delegation to vote against NAFTA. It’s bad for business and a challenge to America’s sovereignty. Our trade surplus with Mexico is now a trade deficit. When I was in Congress, I co-sponsored legislation to repeal NAFTA. These free trade treaties are exporting U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas. In my area of Virginia we were once known as the sweatshirt capital of the world but not now—the textile industry all across America is suffering because of NAFTA and similar treaties.

I was the co-chair of the Second Amendment Caucus during part of my tenure in Congress and received “A” ratings from National Right to Life, the NRA, Gun Owners of America, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), as well as the Christian Coalition on family issues.

IPR: Finally, why didn’t you run for re-election to Congress? You always had a strong support base—elected and re-elected as a Democrat, Independent, and Republican—and you lost by just a few hundred votes as part of the Obama landslide in your area of Virginia.

Goode: I’d be a very lonely voice in the wilderness, and the establishment parties wouldn’t give me much leeway to pursue a constitutionalist agenda. Here’s an example of how things work in Congress. Along with Walter Jones [R-NC] I was among a very few Republicans opposed to a free trade treaty—the House Republican leadership really put the pressure on us to change positions but we refused to go along. Now you know that every Congressman gets certain monies allotted to their districts from the federal gas tax to be used for road and transportation projects. The funding recommendations go through the House leadership. I suppose it was just a coincidence, but that year the districts Walter and I represented received half of the anticipated allocation. I had several such coincidences when I was in Congress.

I want to take our Constitution Party message across the nation—more people are ready to listen to it than ever before. The Ron Paul supporters, the Tea Party movement, home schoolers, and so many constituencies will vote for the Constitution Party if we give them the chance. That’s why we’re working hard to get ballot access. Jim Clymer did so well in Pennsylvania running for U.S. Senator in 2004: he received over 200,000 votes! Now he’s organizing people to get us on the ballot for the 2012 presidential campaign. Of course we are already on the ballot in many states, like yours in Florida. That’s our starting point, but we’ve got quite a challenge ahead. My work with the leadership and the grass roots activists of the Constitution Party has convinced me that only with an issues-oriented campaign—as opposed to the slick establishment candidates—we will make history.

IPR: I appreciate your time Congressman.

Goode: Thank you Peter and the Independent Political Report for the opportunity to say what’s on my mind.

 

 

52 thoughts on “Exclusive IPR Interview: Virgil Goode Makes His Case to Ron Paul Supporters

  1. Trent Hill Post author

    Learning since he left Congress, I’d say.

    Anti-Patriot Act, Anti-NDAA, Non-interventionist, Pro-Gold Standard, and Anti-Federal Reserve. Ron Paul supporters couldn’t ask for much more than that.

  2. Gene Berkman

    We know that Congressman Goode voted in favor of the Patriot Act. How did he vote when the Congressmen Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders proposed to amend the Patriot Act section that allowed the federal government to demand information from booksellers and librarians about what books a patron may have bought or checked out?

    The Paul/Sanders amendment had several Republican co-sponsors. Was Virgil Goode one of them?

  3. Richard Winger

    Good journalism.

    It is somewhat alarming that he didn’t say anything about Illinois, where the deadline is only a month away and the Constitution Party isn’t very far along and doesn’t have any paid circulators. The Constitution Party got on in Illinois in 2008. There is a lawsuit pending against the June deadline which may win.

  4. Trent Hill Post author

    Berkman–I don’t know. Look it up, you seem to know more about it than I do.

    What I do know is that he opposes the Patriot Act now.

  5. Timothy Yung

    Now this is the type of campaigning that Virgil Goode needs to do. He has been focusing mainly on immigration which is important but not the only issue out there.

  6. Gene Berkman

    The Freedom to Read Protection Act of 2003 was introduced as HR 1157 by Rep Bernie Sanders and Rep Ron Paul, with 152 co-sponsors, including such Republicans as Jeff Flake, Wayne Gilchrest, James Leach, Ray LaHood and John Duncan.
    The list is @ http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d108:1157:./list/bss/d108HR.lst:@@@P

    The list is alphabetical, so it is easy to see that Rep Virgil Goode IS NOT A CO-SPONSOR.

    Ok, Trent, he opposes the Patriot Act now, that he is out of Congress. Did he ever do one thing in Congress to limit its reach? A simple enough question.

  7. Gene Berkman

    @ 9 – the link does not work right if you click on it, but if you cut & paste the whole link into your browser it will show the list of Co-Sponsors for the Freedom to Read Protection Act.

  8. Trent Hill Post author

    Gene–Goode not co-sponsoring doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have voted for that bill.

  9. just asking

    @9, good question. Goode was in Congress until 2009. Goode voted to extend the PATRIOT provisions that Barr fought to sunset. Goode also voted against “Freedom to Read” in 2005 when it finally was voted on as an amendment to another bill.

  10. Trent Hill Post author

    No one is denying Goode supported it. He himself states that his time with the Executive Committee of the CP is what convinced him to come around to Ron Paul’s way of thinking.

  11. George Phillies

    @4 not to mention Goode’s party’s stands on abortion, gay marriage, and other social issues. For many of the people to whom he is speaking, he is a natural fit.

  12. just saying

    @15 – They weren’t mentioned because “abortion, gay marriage, and other social issues” are much more important to you than they are to “Ron Paul supporters.”

    Ron Paul supporters primarily care about the issues mentioned in @4 – “Anti-Patriot Act, Anti-NDAA, Non-interventionist, … Anti-Federal Reserve.”

  13. RedPhillips

    “Ok, Trent, he opposes the Patriot Act now, that he is out of Congress. Did he ever do one thing in Congress to limit its reach? A simple enough question.”

    Gene, I get where you’re coming from. After the fact conversions are easy. But in the grand scheme of things, the point is not to punish people for past behavior. Since the point of being a third party candidate is largely rhetorical, the question is can he credibly make the right case now. He is not as credible as someone like Baldwin who was right from the beginning, but is he credible enough? Will he take hold of the issue and make it seem like he is genuinely on board? He’s getting there. I see this as progress.

  14. NewFederalist

    I thought this was a good interview on balance. I have always felt he might turn out to be the CP’s Bob Barr but this interview makes me wonder if his “conversion” might be more genuine. I still prefer Johnson but if he were the only choice in my state besides Obama and Romney I could vote for him.

  15. William Saturn

    Good interview.

    I wish Goode would come out against the War on Drugs. I remember reading on the CP questionnaires that he supported it, so I hope he changes his view on that issue as well.

  16. Peter Gemma

    @ 16
    the very first thing Virgil said in his acceptance speech was an apology for his misguided votes. He’s very willing to address the issue openly and often … I don’t know what else can he do beyond putting his name and reputation on the line to forcefully oppose the Patriot Act etc.

  17. paulie

    Ron Paul supporters couldn’t ask for much more than that.

    Better position on entitlements would be a good step.

  18. paulie

    They weren’t mentioned because “abortion, gay marriage, and other social issues” are much more important to you than they are to “Ron Paul supporters.”

    Ron Paul supporters primarily care about the issues mentioned in @4 – “Anti-Patriot Act, Anti-NDAA, Non-interventionist, … Anti-Federal Reserve.”

    Depends on which Ron Paul supporters.

  19. paulie

    the very first thing Virgil said in his acceptance speech was an apology for his misguided votes.

    iirc supporting the wars and surges was not one of the things he apologized for. He has moved somewhat in an anti-interventionist direction, but may need to go further down that road.

    He certainly hasn’t changed on SS, medicare, etc.

  20. Gene Berkman

    OK Red, and Trent:
    If an abortion doctor performed dozens of abortions, then claims he changed his mind and now opposes abortion, how easy would it be for him to get the Constitution Party nomination?

    How about if he were also a Congressman, and always voted in favor of taxpayer funded abortions, before he “changed his mind.”?

  21. Trent Hill Post author

    “Better position on entitlements would be a good step.”

    He takes the same position as Paul. Entitlements must be protected for those who have already paid into Social Security and such.

  22. Trent Hill Post author

    Norma McCorvy was part of the landmark Roe vs. Wade case that cemented abortion as a legal right in the U.S.

    She’s a hardcore pro-lifer now and would be more than welcome at a CP event, I guarantee it.

  23. paulie

    He takes the same position as Paul. Entitlements must be protected for those who have already paid into Social Security and such.

    I don’t think so. Paul wants to reform entitlements, and ultimately move to a private sector system. Goode wants to preserve current entitlements, forever as far as I can tell, and I haven’t seen any evidence that he wants to reform them.

  24. paulie

    Norma McCorvey can be portrayed as a victim. Would the same hold true for an abortionist/pro-choice on abortion Congressman?

  25. RedPhillips

    “then claims he changed his mind and now opposes abortion, how easy would it be for him to get the Constitution Party nomination?”

    It would depend on their judgement as to the sincerity of the conversion and to some extent distance in time from the conversion and track record since the conversion. This cuts both ways for Goode. He did at least, unlike Barr, join the party a couple of years before seeking their nomination. As for time distance from conversion, he seems to be making a slow crawl. This strikes me as progress from some of his pre-nomination statements.

  26. Peter Gemma

    Dr. Bernard Nathanson (Google him) was a founder of NARAL and performed thousands of abortions. He changed his views based on medical then moral issues, and became an effective crusader for the rights of the unborn. He was no victim. The larger question than one issue or another is where and why does one put up a “NO CONVERTS NEED APPLY” sign.

  27. paulie

    He did at least, unlike Barr, join the party a couple of years before seeking their nomination.

    Barr joined the LP in 2006 and voted LP in 2004. He was on the national committee in 2006-8. Johnson just switched back to the LP, but he did also join in 1993 and at some point in the 1980s as well.

  28. paulie

    Dr. Bernard Nathanson

    I was trying to think of that name, thanks.

    He wasn’t in Congress, but I do agree that we can’t assume the CP would want nothing to do with him if he had been.

  29. Peter Gemma

    Changing one’s mind, especially on important issues, can very well be a sign of maturity – it’s really what you DO after a profession of conversion. Virgil could have simply gone home in 2008 and maybe in an interview after he retired say that in looking back he might have done some things differently. Instead, he joined the CP, got familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the party – learning more about the vital issues at stake – and put his name in the presidential sweepstakes. Running for president might sound like a heady ego trip, but it costs time, money, and a good piece of your reputation. In a perfect world it would be lovely to have a candidate spotless and strong. Instead, there is Virgil Goode who has to speak about the Patriot Act etc. just about every day – I think his conversion will prove to be an asset to the CP.

  30. paulie

    It’s done. Check your email. Then look for the login link, bottom left of IPR front page.

    If you are up for doing more of these that would be great.

  31. RedPhillips

    “Barr joined the LP in 2006 and voted LP in 2004. He was on the national committee in 2006-8.”

    You’re right. I was giving him less credit than he was due. I guess what I was thinking of was that he threw his hat in relatively late in the game.

  32. Pingback: Virgil Goode Making Progress on Non-Interventionism | Conservative Heritage Times

  33. R. D. Holland

    …Update from an in-the-trenches grassroots worker collecting signatures for Congressman Goode in VA and NC…. Virgil Goode is well thought of in this part of Virginia, and just a button and a poster and a clipboard and a simple “will you sign a petition to get Virgil on the ballot” is about all you need to say. While I was surprised he did not mention Illinois, as another post noted, I also wished Mr. Goode had mentioned North Carolina, which has a June 14 petition deadline (85,379 signatures required). Vermont is another state with a June 14 deadline (1,000 signatures); Illinois has a deadline of June 25 (25,000 signatures); Texas, June 29 — but not sure if he needs 49,729 or 80,778 Texas signatures? Also, Indiana has a June 30 petition deadline (34,195). So it seems to me these are the “Top Five” right now…. And just curious, I notice on the 2012 “Petitioning for President” chart that Kansas requires 5,000 and Kentucky #5,000? If # = “partisan label permitted”, does that have any relevance? I’ve really got my sights set on North Carolina, because in my opinion he will pull alot of those Tarheel votes…. And any update on Goode’s chances of getting on the ballot in AL or CA?

  34. langa

    I’m guessing Paul’s supporters will end up doing what they did last time. Many will stay home on Election Day. Of the ones that do vote, some will vote for the CP candidate, some will vote for the LP candidate, some will write in RP’s name, a few will vote for Romney as the lesser of two evils, and a few will vote for Obama as the lesser of two evils.

  35. Richard Winger

    The Goode petition in Vermont is just about finished, and Goode expects to qualify as a write-in in North Carolina. In Kansas, it is possible the ballot-qualified Reform Party will nominate Goode. In California there is a fair chance the ballot-qualified American Independent Party will nominate him.

  36. Trent Hill Post author

    Im sure the Reform Party will nominate him. I suspect the AIP in California did. NC will qualify as a write in. I don’t think there’s any effort to qualify in Illinois.

  37. Austin Battenberg

    I think @40 nailed it.

    If you go to the Daily Paul, the commenters there are VERY fickle. Many are unwilling to even entertain the idea of Goode of Johnson. Many don’t even like Rand. And the guy who promoted the Blue Republicans began promoting a liberal Democrat who was making very positive statements about Ron Paul and about how he wanted to be strong on civil liberties and foreign policy and the Ron Paul voters jumped on him hard core.

    I love Ron Paul but his supporters are in no way an easy voting bloc to tame. But if it could be done…the possibilities.

  38. Trent Hill Post author

    Herding cats, they say. Ron Paul’s people are like herding cats who are on fire…in a snowstorm…with only a pair of chopsticks and some gum.

  39. Thane Eichenauer

    Given that Ron Paul is a hard act to follow and that while he may have suspended active campaigning he still is campaigning and still pursuing delegates and many Ron Paul supporters seem to think that the convention will be unconventional the task of persuading Ron Paul supporters is difficult at best.

  40. ATBAFT

    This Goode effort is great (sarcasm). Let’s see how many more ways we can split the small group of voters who generally believe in individual liberty and Constitutional law.

  41. Ad Hoc

    RD Holland – it’s triage. Some states (TX, NC and IN among them) need so many signatures that Goode has no realistic chance of getting close to that many. Thus he does not mention them. Some states, such as Vermont, are so easy there is no need to mention them. Goode is concentrating on a small number of relatively difficult states that he hopes to realistically make a major push and get on the ballot in, because he knows he has limited resources and can only do so many.

    Illinois is a special case in that they may qualify if there is no challenge with less than the statutory requirement, but if there is a challenge Illinois is probably in the too difficult category due to the large number of ways in which a signature, circulator and/or notary can be challenged and knocked off and the deplorable state of the election database.

    I think Goode’s list makes sense.

    If # = “partisan label permitted”, does that have any relevance?

    It means if they use the independent candidate method rather than the party method to get on the ballot the candidates can still have a party label on the ballot next to their names.

  42. Ad Hoc

    And any update on Goode’s chances of getting on the ballot in AL or CA?

    AL: very good chance as an independent candidate.

    CA: the only realistic chance is to get the AIP nomination. I’m not sure how likely that is, but a petition or registration drive would be far too expensive/difficult.

  43. Pingback: Virgil Goode Makes His Case to Ron Paul Supporters » Constitution Party of Florida

  44. paulie

    This Goode effort is great (sarcasm). Let’s see how many more ways we can split the small group of voters who generally believe in individual liberty and Constitutional law.

    Goode opposes some of the top issues of the Johnson campaign such as marriage equality, marijuana legalization (I think Goode opposes that – I’ll have to check), possibly others. Johnson likewise disagree with the anti-migrant and protectionist focus which is primary for Goode. I don’t really see it as splitterism.

    Given that Ron Paul is a hard act to follow and that while he may have suspended active campaigning he still is campaigning and still pursuing delegates and many Ron Paul supporters seem to think that the convention will be unconventional the task of persuading Ron Paul supporters is difficult at best.

    True.

    I’m guessing Paul’s supporters will end up doing what they did last time. Many will stay home on Election Day. Of the ones that do vote, some will vote for the CP candidate, some will vote for the LP candidate, some will write in RP’s name, a few will vote for Romney as the lesser of two evils, and a few will vote for Obama as the lesser of two evils.

    My guess as well.

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