Bush? Kerry? Fuggedaboutit.

On Wednesday, October 27th I debated one of my left-leaning colleagues on the topic: "Which presidential candidate will best promote the general welfare?" Actually, it was more like a press conference. We each began with a ten-minute opening statement, and then the moderator asked us several questions. The audience of students, staff members and faculty peppered us with questions for another 30 minutes.

The following is based on most of my opening statement and responses to several questions.

For those of you who are rooting for a Bush defeat next Tuesday, history is not on the president's side.

First, every president who lost the popular vote has not been re-elected. John Quincy Adams was not re-elected in 1828, Rutherford B. Hayes did not run in 1880 and Benjamin Harrison was not re-elected in 1892.

Second, every president who initiated an undeclared war since World War II has not been re-elected. Truman did not seek reelection in 1952, LBJ dropped out in 1968 and Bush I lost in 1992.

Third, every president who has an approval rating less than 50% in June before the election has not been re-elected. Bush's approval rating in June 2004 was below 50%.

Fourth, consumer confidence is lower now than it was in 1980 and 1992, when both incumbents, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, lost their respective races.

And lastly, if the stock market declines between Labor Day and Election Day, the incumbent loses. The market would have to rally a couple of hundred points in the next few days just to get back to the nearly 10,400 level it stood around Labor Day.

If history is a guide to the future, Bush is a goner. History, however, is not a guarantor of the future.

During the presidential primaries Howard Dean said he represents the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. I am here today to tell you that I represent the Republican wing of the Republican Party: fiscal conservatism, limited government and a noninterventionist foreign policy.

A candidate for federal office falls into one of three categories.

He can support the status quo – high federal spending, high taxes, extensive regulations deficit spending, and war. Most Republicans and Democrats fall into this category.

He can support expanding the welfare-warfare state, more spending, more taxes, more regulations, and more overseas intervention. Many Republicans and Democrats also fall into this category.

And the last type of candidate wants to reduce the welfare-warfare state. Only a handful of courageous members of Congress embrace limited government. When I was a candidate for the United States Senate in 2000, I campaigned in the Republican primary calling for the abolition of most federal cabinet departments, substantial deregulation of the economy, massive tax cuts and a noninterventionist foreign policy.

I wasn't successful running against three better-funded career politicians.

Getting back to Bush's reelection bid. The Detroit News in its October 24th editorial, "For President: None of the Above", wrote: "Four years ago, the choice was clear. We endorsed George W. Bush based on his promises of fiscal conservatism, limited government and prudence in foreign affairs". The Detroit News concluded, "…we sadly acknowledge that the president has failed to deliver on those promises".

Four years ago I too enthusiastically supported George Bush because his rhetoric indicated he was going to govern like a Robert Taft Republican. We were wrong.

George Bush has given us Ted Kennedy's education policy, Dick Gephardt's trade policy, Hillary Clinton's healthcare policies, and LBJ's foreign policy. In other words, he has governed more like a big government Democrat than a fiscal conservative with a humble foreign policy.

George Bush has surrounded himself with the most dangerous people in the federal government, the neoconservatives, some of whom are former leftists. They believe that the United States government should spread "democracy" by force, if necessary. In short, they want to create an American global empire – in direct opposition to the Founding Father's vision for America.

Our country's guiding principle was "Commercial relations with all, entangling alliances with none". In fact, the founders were opposed to a standing army because they saw standing armies as a threat to freedom, liberty and prosperity. The incessant wars in Europe destroyed life, liberty and property. The Founders created a nation based on a simple principle – we the people are endowed by our Creator with natural liberty. They saw liberty as a necessary condition for peace and prosperity.

Unfortunately, the Founders' vision has been hijacked by the ruling elite of both political parties. They want to maintain the welfare-warfare state, continue the redistribution of income, and fund a massive military-industrial complex.

More than three decades ago, after President Nixon imposed wage and price controls and did not end the Vietnam War, I left the Republican Party, because I realized there is only party in DC, the Washington Party, composed of two rival gangs the Republicans and Democrats, who use the federal government to reward their special interest supporters. I rejoined the GOP in 1999 hoping to inject, especially here in New Jersey, a limited government view of the world. Members of the Republican Liberty Caucus urged me to make the case for liberty in the Republican Party instead of the Libertarian Party.

I was the Libertarian Party's 1997 gubernatorial candidate for governor and was the first third-party candidate in state history to raise enough funds to receive matching funds, thereby entitling me to participate in three debates with then Governor Whitman and Democrat candidate Jim McGreevey, the now disgraced governor who is resigning on November 15th after admitting to an extramarital gay affair.

In a second Bush term the welfare-warfare state would not be reduced. Therefore I cannot support a president who I thought would promote the limited government agenda I have been supporting and defending for more than three decades.

What about John Kerry?

John Kerry claims to have plans for healthcare, education, jobs, scientific research, the environment, or just about every aspect of life in America. He is, in short, a collectivist. And he wants to raise taxes. He also does not understand that our rights are not "afforded" by the federal government. Our rights come not from government but our Creator. In addition, he voted to give President Bush the authority to use force against Saddam Hussein. Therefore, his judgment is suspect, given his willingness to defer to the president the ability to wage war.

If I were a member of the United States Senate I would never give any president a blank check to use force overseas. Never, ever. The Congress has the constitutional responsibility to declare war. Senator Kerry's vote on this issue leads me to conclude he too would intervene around the world if he were to become president.

However, I would not put my head in the oven if John Kerry is elected president on November 2nd. In fact, a Kerry presidency and a Republican Congress would cause gridlock. Historically, gridlock dampens spending increase (just look at the Clinton budgets with a Republican Congress) and may just give us a foreign policy that would be more inline with the founders' vision.

On the other hand, when we had one-party rule in the 1960s, LBJ and the Democrats gave us the Great Society and the Vietnam War. In the 21st century, George W. Bush and the Republican Congress have given us a quagmire in Iraq, $400 billion budget deficits, accelerating spending, and the Patriot Act – polar opposites of a limited government agenda.

On September 11th we had the greatest national security and military intelligence failure in human history despite the most expensive and widespread military industrial complex. And this occurred under George Bush's watch.

The political elites have failed the American people. The federal government has a $74 trillion unfunded liability because of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We need to restructure the federal government and create an economic political environment based on the principle of limited government, free enterprise and nonintervention overseas.

How can we then promote the common good? If we adhere to a simple adage: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you". And if the federal government kept its hands out of our wallets, businesses, and all other private affairs, and minded it's own business overseas and renounced its goal of a global empire, we will have a more prosperous and peaceful America. Until our political culture embraces these principles, it won't matter much who occupies the White House.

October 29, 2004