Should Just Anyone Be Taken Seriously?

I know this is a touchy subject among many involved with minor party politics, but it’s something that’s been bothering me as of late and I was wondering what your opinions are.

Should parties (particularly the big three minor parties) just allow any random person to announce that he or she is a Presidential candidate? And then be allowed to address state conventions and meetings, and be permitted to be nominated on the convention floor?

I realize that people who are members of minor parties often feel on the fringe of the political world and have fought with exclusionary debate commissions and some honestly absurd ballot access laws. So turning around and imposing standards internally seems unnatural to people.

But look at Daniel Imperato for example. Does anyone know anything about this guy and the claims that he makes?

There was just a very skeptical newspaper article about him in the post before this one… but at the same time basically lumping him right in with the LP.

Now I’m quite sure has hasn’t spent $2 million on his campaign as he claims. His last FEC report shows that he loaned his own campaign $250,000. Then, he turned around and wrote checks for $125,000 and $5,000 back to HIMSELF. Except, he loaned himself the $250,000 in March after already (somehow) paying himself $125,000 in January. How does that even work?

Unless maybe the whole thing is fradulent… and frankly I’d almost bet that his account is empty and these transaction occurred only in his mind.

The purposes listed for those checks to himself were “National Travel” and “Staff Salaries” on the form. Not that he could actually steal his own money, if any money even changed hands in all of this. But this is more suggestive that he’s a con-artist rather than a Presidential candidate.

Or maybe I’m totally off.

Heck, Imperato’s campaign website looks better than the ones from most of the other “serious” candidates out there. He issues tons of insane press releases and his business dealings seem highly questionable… but he’s got all sorts of videos from speeches in front of mostly empty rooms on there, and he was on the local news in South Florida and C-SPAN.

I know the major parties their fair share of nuts, but they aren’t allowed to participate at party functions for the most part. Randy Crow, Saint Michael Jesus Archangel, and Oloveuse “Ole” Savior are not going to be given time at state conventions or allowed to win delegates to the national convention. The Dems and GOP simply don’t allow their crazy candidates to define the party in the media because the party doesn’t do anything to lend them credibility.

What about Constitution Party candidate Don Grundmann and his weird obsession with the movie “The Matrix” as some kind of justification for his campaign? Or what about David Hollist? The first sentence of his rambling 6,000 page manifesto is “I’ll try not to waste your time.” Too late, the California Libertarian convention gave him a half-hour to make his case at their convention for why he should be President.

Should these types of candidates really be given equal treatment and equal billing with the more serious ones out there? What do you think? Is there any way for minor parties to attract a better crop of Presidential candidates and also to be more selective about who can participate in the process at such a high level? I’m curious to hear some feedback on this.

36 Responses to “Should Just Anyone Be Taken Seriously?”

  1. Anthony Distler Says:

    Mike Gravel was allowed to debate at the Democratic Primary debate, and most people would consider him fringe. I don’t know if everyone should be allowed “equal time”, especially if the candidate seems like a nut. But, you have to remember, being in third parties, we’re going to attract our fair share of nuts. That, unfortunally, how things go. However, it’s up the party at large to make sure these nuts don’t become their nominee. So, should they be allowed to give their case? Yes. Should they be given a half an hour at a convention? No.

  2. globalist_elitist Says:

    In my opinion, TPW should not given equal weight to these obvious nutjobs in comparison to guys like Kubby and Phillies, or the general activities of the LP, GP, and CP. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cover them at all. Part of the fun in following third parties is enjoying the obviously mental presidential hopefuls and other colorful characters.

    As for the major parties not allowing their kooks to take the stage, apparently you missed Mike Gravel in the Democratic debate. Oh, and a nutjob named Ron Paul is going to be debating in the GOP debate the day after tommorrow.

  3. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Well…... there are nuts and then there are nuts. Gravel was a former U.S. Senator and Ron Paul is a current Congressman. And Paul has raised over $600,000 for his campaign so far.

    Dave Hollist has never been elected to anything, has no money, no supporters, and no coherent message.

    Fair points about the TPW coverage… and I think that’s what we’ve been trying to do.

  4. Joe Says:

    I would rather alternative parties err on the side of allowing some candidates I might consider nutty an opportunity than offer cookie cutter candidates. Everybody’s idea of who and who isn’t nutty is going to differ. For example, I worked with Don Grundmann at Valley Forge and found him to be quite sane. That doesn’t mean that I agree with everything on his campaign’s website, but if I lived in California I would almost certainly vote for him rather than his Democrat and Republican opponents. It is my understanding that he has received the endorsement of the American Independent Party more than once, so why would you expect them not to allow him to address their conventions in the future?

  5. Richard Winger Says:

    Very few oddballs have the resources and know-how to travel around to the various state party annual conventions. I would say anyone who does should be given a forum at those state party conventions. Do those Constitution Party individuals mentioned in the post go to the bother and expense of visiting the various state Constitution Party conventions?

  6. Trent Hill Says:

    Don Grundman was the Senate candidate twice.

    And he did better than some guys in the past.
    However…his campaign website demonsrated why he can’t break 75,000 votes.
    The Matrix? Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie…but it isn’t exactly a talking point for political discussion. I honestly think that debates at the LP,CP, GP should be open to anyone…but the National Committee should vote on who to invite.

    Richard,

    No,they dont/wont. Nearest I can figure..we’ll have two main candidates: Jerome Corsi and Alan Keyes.

  7. Jason Gatties Says:

    You must remember that the campaign is still in it’s early stages. These “less credible” candidates will get weeded out eventually. Look at Chapman, he was fun for a laugh for a bit but he bailed out.

    I don’t have a problem with these “nuts” addressing state conventions. You must remember that not every party member, regardless of the party, has internet access. So by seeing these nuts live, they are less likely to support them when it matters most, nomination time.

  8. Kurtis Oliverson Says:

    On the money-ethical issue mentioned in the original post, the loaning of money to one’s own campaign fund is a common and completely legal and ethical practice.

    In my experience as a candidate, it’s best to loan money to one’s own campaign, rather than to give it out-right. That way, if any of that money is left over after the election, the candidate can get it back, which is perfectly ethical, since he was the source of it in the first place.

    The law merely requires, for accounting purposes, that all money spent on campaigns be accounted for, as to its source, including money that the candidate used out of his own pocket. When the candidate gives or loans money to his campaign account, he’s merely ensuring that the state knows whence the money that was spent on his campaign came.

  9. Cody Quirk Says:

    If Don Grundmann wants to compete with Jerome Corsi or anyone else, he should be allowed to. Candidate competition can be a heathly thing for third parties-IN MODERATION!

    Those that only compete to cause trouble or create strife and division, especially if it could ruin a party- shouldn’t even be given the light of day by a party’s leaders at all.

  10. Sean Scallon Says:

    I’m having this same argument over on Liberty Post with GOP flunkies who want to keep Ron Paul out of the upcoming SC debate. My view is that you should have criteria, otherwise you would have to put 20 podiums on the stage to accomodate everyone but not criteria so stringent that candidates that are elected officials or former elected officials, that have at least a functioning campaign headquarters. that have filed all the proper paperwork with the FEC and have actually raised some money and have a presence on the internet or functioning websites, should be allowed in, at least in the early debates.

    If Fox gets its way 2/3rds of the GOP fiueld wouldn’t be able to be in their debate. Talk about establishment.

  11. Joey Dauben Says:

    Personally, the fact that the LP has as its “front-runners” a Chicago Kubby and a Philadelphia Phillies is kinda laughable.

    Where’s Gary Nolan at these days?

    Wayne Allyn Root is my guy—if Paul doesn’t get to at least the Texas primary. I’ll personally attend the national convention to make sure Root gets the nod.

    But as far as covering these guys, Austin, I think you should allow your contributors to do it; don’t run your name in the ground because you interviewed a Libertarian who likes to wear diapers at 32 (myspace.com/elondria).

    I honestly loved Mike Gravel on the Dem debate stage. That guy was hilarious. And he was right most of the time. We need more Mike Gravels and less Dave Hollists and Gene Chapmans.

    And my God, we definitely need to get rid of all of this 9/11-One World Government-Conspiracy crowd (at least publicly; privately, they do what they want).

    And how come there isn’t an effort to actually recruit presidential nominees who actually have elected office experience under their belt? Jore would be perfect for the CP presidential nomination, as would Don Gorman for the LP; at least those guys have been elected before.

    We can’t even show America that LPers and CPers can run a city, and yet we want to devote media attention (and expect the media to cover) to guys who want to run our country and its gigantic, billion-dollar-a-day defense system? Hahaha.

  12. Austin Cassidy Says:

    I wasn’t being critical of him for loaning money to his campaign. I was critical because the dates made no sense, the payments to himself were not itemized like a normal campaign would be, and he was claiming to have spent $2 million when he’s actually spent only about $200,000.

    He has received no outside donations despite obviously requesting them on his website. That sounds like a guy with no real supporters.

  13. Trent Hill Says:

    Rick Jore is a member of the legislature, and it would probably not be smart to keep him from that job. However, considering the recent information about term limits…maybe he should be considered for Veep, or Governor’s candidate?

  14. Richard Winger Says:

    Rick Jore is not only term-limited, there is no scheduled Montana regular legislative session in 2008 (although there could always be a special session). Probably his legislative service is all finished. By the way, I had no idea Alan Keyes is interested in the Constitution Party presidential nomination in 2008. Had that been reported? It seems to me as though it’s big news.

  15. Robert K Stock Says:

    As long a candidate follows the rules of his party he should have equal access to party functions.

    At every British election you see candidates from Tory, Labour, Liberal Democrat and other real political parties standing next to the candidates of the Monster Raving Looney party who usually dress as a clown. Everyone knows they are joke candidates, but they have followed the rules and deserve to be heard. The joke candidates do get votes and British democracy is not diminished by their inclusion.

    If I were a Democrat I would think of Gravel as a long shot but not a nut job. He would get my vote. Ron Paul will get my vote in the Republican primary in Oklahoma. The Libertarian party does not have ballot access in Oklahoma so I may not vote for anyone for president in 2008.

    Dave Hollist is a baffoon and other candidates may well be con artists specializing in political scams. The members of each party should have the chance to decide this for themselves. Keeping nut jobs out of the process only fuels conspiracy theories.

    Let every declared candidate speak and be judged by all. The morons and nut jobs identify themselves. The thoughtfull members of the third parties will easily dismiss them.

  16. Joey Dauben Says:

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but any member of the CA LP who allows a crook like Allen Hacker to be appointed to anything within that structure doesn’t have a cold chance in hell of ever getting any credibility; let me rephrase: maybe not EVERY LP member in CA, but the people who allowed Hacker to assume a leadership role after the CD-10 Debacle should be barred from the party for good.

  17. rj Says:

    “I know the major parties their fair share of nuts, but they aren’t allowed to participate at party functions for the most part. Randy Crow, Saint Michael Jesus Archangel, and Oloveuse “Ole” Savior are not going to be given time at state conventions or allowed to win delegates to the national convention.”

    Didn’t LaRouche win Democratic delegates in 2000 in Arkansas? They were taken away from him, but if we assumed for a second it was some random nutjob and not a man convicted of a felony, does anyone think he or she would not be allowed to keep those delegates.

  18. Andy Says:

    “Trent Hill Says:

    May 1st, 2007 at 1:59 pm
    Don Grundman was the Senate candidate twice.

    And he did better than some guys in the past.
    However…his campaign website demonsrated why he can’t break 75,000 votes.
    The Matrix? Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie…but it isn’t exactly a talking point for political discussion.”

    A guy in California gave me some of Don Grundman’s campaign literature. I’m not an American Independent Party (ie-Constitution Party) member but from what I saw of his literature I liked the guy.

    I’m not sure what exactly it is that he’s said about “The Matrix” but I think that movie serves as a good metaphor for the political system in this country.

  19. Andy Says:

    “Wayne Allyn Root is my guy—if Paul doesn’t get to at least the Texas primary. I’ll personally attend the national convention to make sure Root gets the nod.”

    I’ll personally attend the LP National Convention to make sure that Wayne Root does NOT get the nod.

  20. Andy Says:

    “Joey Dauben Says:

    May 1st, 2007 at 3:51 pm
    Don’t take this the wrong way, but any member of the CA LP who allows a crook like Allen Hacker to be appointed to anything within that structure doesn’t have a cold chance in hell of ever getting any credibility; let me rephrase: maybe not EVERY LP member in CA, but the people who allowed Hacker to assume a leadership role after the CD-10 Debacle should be barred from the party for good.”

    I agree with you here. I’d be leary about having Allen Hacker in any kind of position in the LP.

  21. [email protected] Says:

    Most of the state Libertarian Parties bend over backward to be inclusive of all candidates … and that’s a good thing! The people who attend their state conventions are the same people who go to the national convention as the delegates who will choose the presidential nominee, so letting the candidates get in front of them at the state level makes for a more informed nomination process.

    There are safeguards, although not draconian ones, against “freak hijackings” of the national convention. Any formally qualified candidate can be nominated and seconded from the floor, but in order to receive stage time for nominating and seconding speeches, participate in the candidate debate, etc., a candidate has to jump through some hoops and demonstrate at least a minimal level of support—collecting delegate signatures, etc.

  22. Richard Winger Says:

    LaRouche earned a delegate from each of two states in 1996, and they were taken away from him by Democratic Party national rules. He had easy sailing in presidential primaries in 1996 because he was often Clinton’s only opponent. He didn’t get enough votes in 2000 presidential primaries for any delegates.

  23. Joey Dauben Says:

    I’d like to see a How-To Guide on how to run for president as a third party candidate; are there filing fees to even announce for president? Are there fees to be included on each state ballot?

    Just some general info on how to run a (for me, a future) presidential race.

  24. Richard Winger Says:

    Joey Dauben, telephone Richard Winger at 415-922-9779

  25. Bill Wood Says:

    Well, Doug Stanhope has quit the campaign. He has whole story on his MySpace page.

  26. Chuck Says:

    Damn, Bill. You beat me.

    Yeah, Stanhope has dropped out. He was my man for the nomination…I guess it’s either Root, Kubby or Phillies at this point. Maybe Gary Nolan will magically appear a few months before the convention and run again…fingers crossed.

  27. Trent Hill Says:

    “By the way, I had no idea Alan Keyes is interested in the Constitution Party presidential nomination in 2008. Had that been reported? It seems to me as though it’s big news.”

    No,it isn’t official yet Richard. Its simply speculation. However, if he doesn’t run for the CP’s presidential nomination: I’ll eat my hat.

  28. Jay Matthews Says:

    “And how come there isn’t an effort to actually recruit presidential nominees who actually have elected office experience under their belt? Jore would be perfect for the CP presidential nomination, as would Don Gorman for the LP; at least those guys have been elected before.”

    Agreed Joey, I’ve thought Ed Thompson would be a decent LP candidate when compared to the current crop.

  29. Cody Quirk Says:

    I still can’t believe Brad took Gene Chapman’s candidacy seriously in those previous articles he wrote of him.

  30. Bri Says:

    Trent Hill Says:

    May 1st, 2007
    “By the way, I had no idea Alan Keyes is interested in the Constitution Party presidential nomination in 2008. Had that been reported? It seems to me as though it’s big news.”

    No,it isn’t official yet Richard. Its simply speculation. However, if he doesn’t run for the CP’s presidential nomination: I’ll eat my hat.

    ==>I’ll be eagerly anticipating seeing this footage, Trent Hill eating his hat. Keyes isn’t running for President and definitely not Constitution Party. Any Keyes campaign speculation is a phoney as Chuck Baldwin’s “doctorate.” I have more respect for guys who paid $200 for a doctorate from a diploma mill than I do for Chuck Baldwin and his putting on airs.

    The powers that be have already anointed Corsi as the CP’s Presidential candidate. Corsi’s only opposition is Don Grundmann and he’s been given little to no coverage by the CP’s national committee. It won’t be long before the CP begins its state ballot access drives with Corsi and their pre-chosen running-mate.

    Bri

  31. John Richards Says:

    I don’t know why you are so quick to brand Imperato as a nut job. He’s new to the Libertarian Party, not nuts. He very well may be nuts. But time will tell that not 5 appearances at state Libertarian Party conventions.

    The fact is the guy has obviously done something right because people are writing about him. He’s making noise. And really does anyone think that “established” candidates such as Phillies or Kubby have a REAL chance to become president without any money?

    Ross Perot didn’t fundraise to start his campaign in 1992, he wrote a $50 million check. If Imperato wants to write a $2million check or a $250,000 one then you at least you know he’s serious about the whole thing. And really isn’t what we want is someone who is serious about the whole thing?

  32. Bill Wood Says:

    Sorry about that Chuck. I agree with you ,looks like Root, Kubby and Phillies, but I would add Karen Kwaitowski to the list.

  33. globalist_elitist Says:

    John - The point is that there isn’t any evidence that he has $2 million or that anything he says about himself is true. He has not spent $2 million on his campaign. According to Austin, all he’s done is write checks to himself, which he may or may not have even cashed.

  34. Citizens For A Better Veterans Home[s] Says:

    Richard, the Secular Saint of 21st Century American Democracy!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  35. Trent Hill Says:

    “==>I’ll be eagerly anticipating seeing this footage, Trent Hill eating his hat. Keyes isn’t running for President and definitely not Constitution Party. Any Keyes campaign speculation is a phoney as Chuck Baldwin’s “doctorate.” I have more respect for guys who paid $200 for a doctorate from a diploma mill than I do for Chuck Baldwin and his putting on airs.”

    I’d be willing to stake my Puppy-dog on it (he’s a chocolate lab,7 weeks old). Keyes will run,as the CP nominee.

    Also, Corsi definetly is not annointed as you claim. At least half the Executive Committee is “holding out for something better”.

  36. Andy Says:

    “John Richards Says:

    May 2nd, 2007 at 6:12 am
    I don’t know why you are so quick to brand Imperato as a nut job. He’s new to the Libertarian Party, not nuts. He very well may be nuts. But time will tell that not 5 appearances at state Libertarian Party conventions.”

    From what I’ve seen thus far from Imperato, he doesn’t appear to have much knowledge about libertarian philosophy or the issues. If he is so new to the LP that he doens’t even understand what the party is about, then why would he seek the party’s nomination? Did he just open up the phone book for political party’s and happen to turn to the “L” section?

    “The fact is the guy has obviously done something right because people are writing about him. He’s making noise. And really does anyone think that “established” candidates such as Phillies or Kubby have a REAL chance to become president without any money?”

    Steve Kubby and George Phillies have both been around the Libertarian Party for a long time. I don’t think that anyone believe that they have a real chance at being elected president, but at least they actually know what the party is about, unlike Imperato.

    “Ross Perot didn’t fundraise to start his campaign in 1992, he wrote a $50 million check. If Imperato wants to write a $2million check or a $250,000 one then you at least you know he’s serious about the whole thing. And really isn’t what we want is someone who is serious about the whole thing?”

    Yeah, but we also want somebody who is serious enough to understand what the issues and the party are about prior to seeking the nomination.

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