Republican Party candidate for President Michael Smith answered these questions for The Conservative President 2008.
1. Why are you running for President?
I’m running to represent a choice within the Republican Party that I believe is missing, yet represents the true ideals of the Republican Party: Respect for the individual and a focus on smaller government. Both parties have let interests with money shape their message, and Republicans have allowed the Party to follow the interests of big-business and social conservatives to the detriment of their principles.
Although it’s quite a long-shot, I figured I could represent that traditional view of conservative Republican values better than an “established” candidate who is trying to raise funds and “win” by being all things to all voters. My goal is to provide a voice to that segment of voters who want an alternative. Whether that segment represents a majority or not, they deserve to have a voice in the process.
I believe in the promise of the American Dream. I’ve achieved a reasonable amount of success through hard work and education but it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that the next generation will have a higher standard of living than their parents. I feel obligated to do what I can to change that legacy for my children.
2. Why should Republicans nominate you as their candidate for President?
We’ll, they probably shouldn’t nominate me. For a variety of reasons, I doubt that I’d be electable nationwide. But in the Primary process they should vote for me to represent a point of view that has been missing from the Party debate in recent years. The traditional conservative view of smaller government, and a more libertarian view on individual rights and personal accountability has been usurped in recent years by an aggressively growing government that increasingly infringes on civil liberties. We live in age of many challenges, but we should be much more cautious about the compromises we make in the name of security. Our $9 trillion debt and loss of wages overseas is a much more tangible threat to our way of life than any jihad, yet “islamofascism” is much more menacing in the public imagination.
3. You say, on your web site, that you are pro-choice and pro-gay rights so why should conservative Republicans vote for you?
Those views were good enough for Barry Goldwater, and I’m proud to share them. It comes down to a definition of “conservative.” Do we mean by conservative that we take a set of conservative social values and impose them on the general population, or that we are conservative in how we expect government to act upon a free people? My test is what I think of as the “turned table.” Some may advocate for the Ten Commandments displayed in schoolrooms, but how would they feel about the Qur’an? Some are comfortable with President Bush tapping phones without judicial safeguards, but how would they feel about Hillary Clinton exercising the same discretion? Some would like creationism taught in the public schools, but how would they feel about immaculate conception, transubstantiation, or reincarnation?
I’m concerned about any attempt to legislate morality. I believe the private choices of consenting adults should generally be left to the consenting adults – and that also includes the right to raise your children in a religious school if you like and to own a gun. Let’s be conservative in how we govern, and stick to the Constitution.
4. What do you see as a major issue facing America at this time?
I think our Nation’s economic health is much more shallow than commonly reported. The Bush administration recently claimed a 24% increase in the average standard of living. The problem is in the math; an average can be heavily influenced by extreme changes at the upper end of the range. The median household income over 2000-2004 actually fell. Our current National debt equates to roughly $30,000 for every American man, woman, and child. We need to cut the federal government dramatically and push programs to the state and local level where they can be managed responsibly at a level without the option of printing more money when they run out. Our tax system needs to be redrawn to abolish income taxes in favor of consumption-base taxes. This would provide incentives for earning, saving, and investment while putting America on a more level footing with our international competitors. I believe dependence on foreign oil and burdensome health care costs contribute to an economy that lacks security and deprives working Americans of opportunity.
5. If you lose the Republican nomination, will you run as a Third Party candidate for President?
No, I consider myself a Republican and would do my best to support the nominee and participate in the discussion however I could. I’m somewhat sympathetic to the Libertarian Party but I see more value in government than they seem to. I think traditional Republican values represent the best hope for American prosperity, security, and opportunity.