Live Debate Coverage

Right now (7:00pm Eastern) Libertarian Jeff Pawlowski and Independent Hector Castillo are debating the major party candidates for New Jersey governor.

You can watch LIVE online…

13 Responses to “Live Debate Coverage”

  1. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Pawlowski is doing alright, but clearly not as polished as Forrester or Corzine. Castillo seems all over the place. Forrester is the most appealing to my brand of personal politics, but I would certainly consider voting for Pawlowski. It’s just that I haven’t heard anything from him tonight that would pull me in to vote for him. Yet.

  2. Mike N. Says:

    I missed it! Anybody know if anyone has it available on the net?

  3. Tim West Says:

    Pawlowski needs to jump on Ben Brandon’s local poroperty tax exemption law in Dade Co, GA QUICK. In his very next appearance, he should endorse that law and promise to copy it in New Jersey.

    The answer he gave on property taxes ( second question ) was standard shrink government and your taxes wont be so high message was a throwaway answer, but would have been a BLOW OUT WIN for him if he had done that. Brandon’s tactic is brilliant and it works, and it will work for Pawlowski as well.

    He did very well, but the LP needs a actual legislative agenda to draw from across the country and adopt to their states as needed. He has a winner in Ben Brandon’s just passed law. USE IT - you will be amazed at the result.

  4. Tim West Says:

    and call it the Brandon Tax Break, give it a name they will remember that will draw the press in and make them look it up and write about it.

    This should be #1 in every appearance from here on out. Try to get a copy of the law from GA and study it.

  5. George Whitfield Says:

    Tim, that is an excellent suggestion.

  6. Mike N. Says:

    This was replayed on CSPAN2 today. He did a good job, I thought.

  7. Amani S. Says:

    ABC still has it available to watch.
    I did not find his preformance that good. I have to agree that the standerd answer is not good enough. A little bit of detail is needed. Though the Branden Tax break looks good. You can not just come out and say lets do it for our state. You have to do a little research. Can this be done on a statewide basis? Are you just taking the off the role or give the money back to them? How much money are we talking about?
    I was expecting alittle more seeing I have to send out my ballot in a couple of days.

  8. J.Locke Says:

    Pawlowski keeps generally repeating a mantra of “smaller, more open, less intrusive government” along with advocating an increase in the gas tax. This is not a message that has anything to do with libertarianism or Libertarian Party policy as set forth in its platform.

    The Libertarian Party was formed to give voice to the idea that government should be held to the same moral standards as individuals. In keeping with this idea, the Libertarian Party based its Platform on the principle of non-aggression: that no person may rightfully inititiate or threaten to initiate the use of force or fraud against any other person or property to achieve political or social goals.

    The Libertarian Party policy positions are fairly based upon the principle of non-aggression. That principle neither implies nor contemplates any consideration of either the “openness” or the “size” of government. The policy positions set forth in the Platform are based upon the idea that government must be limited to certain functions, those functions directly related to the protection of person and property from the initiated use of force or fraud by any individual against any other; additionally, in so functioning as a protector of rights, the government itself must not initiate force or threaten its use against third parties.

    The Libertarian Party platform also recognizes the need to gradually reduce government to its essential liberty/property protection function over time, and that the party’s candidates may take principled positions on policy issues that call for less than the immediate repeal of any government rule or abolition of any government agency that is not absolutely needed to serve that essential function.

    Pawlowski has suggested that he would support an increase in the gas tax as a method of paying for the building and maintenance of roads. This position is wholly unlibertarian, as it suggests that not only is road ownership and maintenance a core government function, but that (increased) taxes on gas may be used to fund this function. Note that there are at least three or more consistently libertarian policy positions that could be suggested in this context, none of which Pawlowski mentions at all. And apparently Pawlowski doesn’t see the inherent contradiction between his advocacy of higher gas taxes and a “smaller, less intrusive government”.

    One correct and relatively benign Libertarian stance on the issue is as follows: 1. The building and maintenance of roads is not a proper government function; therefore, a Libertarian administration will take prudent steps to gradually phase out the current public policy of government maintenance and ownership of roads. 2. Not all people who purchase gasoline at the retail level use it for operating a motor vehicle on a public road; therefore, the gas tax is not, strictly speaking, a public road “user fee” per se. Assuming it is not politically redirected to other uses as it has been in the past by administrations of both of the major parties, the gas tax is simply a dedicated sales tax. An increase in the gas tax, therefore, is just an increase in a dedicated sales tax. 3. A Libertarian administration would seek to lease public roads to private management companies who would have to realize their fee from actual user fees, and require a concurent annual percentage reduction in state gas taxes. All such lease contracts would contain an option to buy the subject road within ten years and a right of first refusal, thereby assuring that the lessee would have a stake in the ongoing capital worth of the leased road. 4. A Libertarian administration would also seek to influence federal transportation matching funds legislation and all other related federal public policy in a manner consistent with the eventual privatization of all current publicly-owned and operated transportation facilities and functions. (N.B. Libertarian economist and professor Walter Block, who has written extensively on the issue of “road socialism” or government ownership/operation of roads, is coming out with a new book outlining his recommendation and blueprint for immediate and total privatization of all roads. You can bet that he will not recommend an increase in the gas tax as an interim measure!)

    The above recommendation satisfies crucial Libertarian Party goals: (a) it informs the public of true, consistent libertarian principles; (b) it shows the public that the Party is serious in engaging in both the and short long-range development of sound, principled public policy; (c) it comports with our own internal need to remain faithful to libertarian principle while recommending public policy; (d) it attracts other serious activist-type consistent libertarians to the ranks of the Party.

    Pawlowski’s recommendation for the increase in gas taxes accomplishes none of these laudable and achievable goals; instead, it shows “libertarian” is just a synonym for “conservative populist”, a olio/hodge-podge of vaguely and disconnected policy proposals that may or may not directly or indirectly affect the overall size and purview of government.

    One note on the so-called “size” of government from a true libertarian perspective: the size of government is ultimately unimportant in and of itself. There is no absolute, inflexible, unchanging ideal size of government. If there exists a substantial threat to the rights of people, their persons and property, government must be of a size to fairly meet that threat. Notwithstanding the size of that government, whatever that size might be, it must not violate the right of its citizens on principle and through its policies. A limited government can be either larger or smaller depending upon the need to meet the perceived threat to individual rights; no matter how “small” a government is in size, it can be illegitimate if unprincipled.

    Pawlowski’s call for smaller government in and of itself is rather beside the point and is ultimately unrelated to any legitmate goal of the Libertarian Party. Smaller government is a traditional, conservative goal. That goal, as stated and without more, says nothing about the legitimate and illegitimate functions of government.

    Libertarians understand that a principled government doesn’t need to be “opened”. Its effects are plainly seen by all as a matter of course. And “openess” does not in any way legitimize any government not based upon principle. “Open government” is not a legitimate goal of the Libertarian Party. Libertarians also understand that government should not be “less intrusive” as Pawlowski suggests; rather, it should not be “intrusive” at all, if by “intrusive” one means that it violates the non-aggression principle as a matter of policy.

    Pawlowski’s campaign policy pronouncements thus far is just fine, if he were a nominee of the Conservative Populist Party. But he has been nominated and continues to be supported by the New Jersey Libertarian Party. One must at least conclude that one of two things is true, or maybe both: either the New Jersey Libertarian Party is no longer committed to the principled idea of limited government, or its membership by and large don’t understand how libertarian principle should be applied to public policy.

  9. J.Locke Says:

    Based upon the negative previews of the delayed-taped event, I did not watch the public ELEC debates between Pawlowski and Costillo last night. But the Star Ledger reported upon the debate, characterizing it as a “discussion” and not a “debate”, apparently at the behest of the participants themselves. In the discussion that followed, Pawlowski exposed his rampaging statism and reflected the final and complete ideological default of the New Jersey Libertarian Party. Here are some of the statements made by Pawlowski as represented by the Ledger:

    1. When asked about the shady way he “qualified” to be included in the public debates, Pawlowski said that he took his cue from Forrester and Corzine who showed him how to buy his way in to the campaign. Not only did he indirectly mock the ELEC rules and regulations thereby, but he also essentially made the moral relativist argument that whatever Forrester and Corzine did, he should do as well. Then he made some half-joke about his moral and ethical obligation to follow the lead of the two major party candidates. Pawlowski intimated that there is something wrong with using one’s own money to access the political process. Nothing could be more unlibertarian than the notion that individuals may expend their own resources to advance themselves in this manner. Presumably, if Pawlowski were governor, he would somehow limit by force of law the amount of money in political campaigns.

    2. When asked which of the candidates on the ballot he could vote for other than himself, Pawlowski answered “Costillo” because Costillo is “a man of substance”. Here he tells us that he has no interest in advancing the libertarian idea; in fact, ideas make no impression on Pawlowski whatsoever. Whatever is a “man of substance”? As opposed to what? As opposed to whom? Machievelli?

    3. When asked about road financing, Pawlowski indicated he would back an increase in the gas tax . . . a wholly facially statist recommendation for achieving a political or social goal, and completely inimical to the libertarian goal of limited government.

    4. When asked whether or not he would support gay marriage, Pawlowski said that “as a human being, he could not begrudge that to someone”. I’m not kidding: unless the quote is incorrect, that was Pawlowski’s answer. Not that the government has no business sanctioning or disapproving of any mutual, contractual relationship between or among consenting adults (the libertarian answer); not even that the denial of legal status to such relationships by the state represents a violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Privileges or Immunities Clause and/or the equal protection components of the NJ Constitution. No legal or philosophical position taken on the issue whatsoever. No awareness of his constitutional function as governor. None.

    5. When asked if he supported a free needle exchange program, Pawlowski said he opposed such a program BUT THE STATE SHOULD PROVIDE ANTI-DRUG EDUCATION. I’m not kidding: that’s his position. One assumes that Pawlowski would support higher taxes to fund this program, and would justify his support of the increase on the basis that it was a “user fee”. A fee charged taxpayers to pay for education of the “users”. Of course, Pawlowski should have taken the opportunity to insist that the government has no business dictating, controlling or regulating what any adult individual may produce or trade for or ingest into his own body, but that would have been the libertarian answer. Pawlowski should have said that government should do nothing to discourage private funding and sponsoring of a free needle exchange program and any privately-funded anti-drug (or pro-drug!) information. But that would have been the libertarian answer, an answer that recognizes limited government . . . and Pawlowski is no libertarian.

    6. Finally, and unless the Star Ledger report was incomplete, Pawlowski expressed his belief that New Jersey should have a state-sponsored voucher system for education. The correct libertarian position is that since the proper role of government is limited to the protection of person and property from the use of force, the government has no business at all in education, and should divest itself of all interest and involvement in that process. As an interim measure, a system of vouchers may help by adding some competition into the education monopoly, but a voucher system would necessarily violate libertarian principle, add more to the bureaucracy, and like all other government programs, likely inflict more harm on its intended beneficiaries than providing the current system.

    Plainly, Pawlowski is the poster-child for the collapse and ideological default of the New Jersey Libertarian Party. With the nomination of Pawlowski as its standard-bearer for governor, the NJLP has forfeited its legitimate claim or right to the label “libertarian”. It ought simply rename itself the “New Jersey Conservative Reform American Populist Party” in order to bring its label into line with its de facto ideology and its de facto political platform. If the NJLP had overtly intended to subvert the libertarian political idea by nominating an overtly pro-state candidate, they couldn’t have found anyone better than Pawlowski to accomplish that goal.

  10. Amani S. Says:

    The link to the Star Ledger article for the second debate:

    looking for a web feed.

  11. Jay Edgar Says:

    J.Lock/R.Paul/Bill Shetlik:

    Your rants are really beginning to not make any sense.

    Do you really believe that a candidate in New Jersey can state that we are going to have the state stop maintaining the roads and not be considered a looney? All one has to do is watch the debates and they will realize how full of it you really are.

    I remember once believing that you were somewhat intelligent, I even pushed to get you on the Pawlowski campaign team. But I was told by several people that if I got you involved they would all be resigning. I was told not to trust you.

    Boy was I wrong, they were quite right. And I come to find out that while posting made up slander and allegations here, you were calling the campaign phone pretending to be a friend of the campaign!


  12. Jay Edgar Says:

    The League of Women debate can be seen at

    Its easy to find faults in a small parts of Jeff’s wording, but I think he did a great job overall. I know I couldn’t have done better.

  13. R. Paul Says:

    Personally, I found no faults of any kind with Mr. Pawlowski’s wording. I didn’t even find any fault with his policies as stated.

    The only fault I found in his entire presentation is that the position he takes on the issues are wholly inconsistent with both traditional libertarian principles and the official, written, popularly-adopted Libertarian Party platform since time out of mind. As far as I can tell, he basically made it up as he went along.

    As a representative of conservative populism, Pawlowski gets an “A” for content, at least. As a representative of libertarian principles and policies as set forth in the official Libertarian Party platform, he gets a gentleman’s “F”.

    It would have been far better for the libertarian movement if Mr. Pawlowski had not participated in the debates. Everyone who saw and heard him and who was otherwise unfamiliar with actual libertarianism now has a complete misunderstanding of the Libertarian Party and libertarian principles.

    It is far easier to simply inform people of new ideas than to have to first disabuse them of wrong impressions and notions. Now that Mr. Pawlowski has transmitted all that erroneous information respecting libertarian ideas and the Libertarian Party, the next real libertarian candidate (should one happen to ever come along again) will have to disavow all that Pawlowski said in the debates.

    Too bad.

Leave a Reply