Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Catching up to Nick Coons

Elsewhere on the Internet I just wrote to Nick Coons that I'd like to brain-scan him. There's not much chance of that, not least because I'm not that kind of scientist, but I did get to ask him a few questions three weeks ago before I temporarily fell out of the 'blogosphere.

Nick Coons is an entrepreneur living in Tempe, CEO of the Red Seven Computer Co., and currently seeking the Libertarian Party's 2010 nomination for U.S. Congress in the fifth district, currently represented by (Democrat) Harry Mitchell. Just when I thought the Libertarian Party was doomed to irrelevancy even in its own movement--or at best to serve as refuge for ideologues and knuckle-draggers and a means for such people to burn out the youth--it adopted a respectable platform and nominated Bob Barr for President of the United States. If Coons does what he says he intends to do, he may similarly return the Arizona Libertarian Party to a level of relevancy it hasn't known in decades. Unlike most of the AZ LP's candidates save Rick Fowlkes (who was chased off by the knuckle-draggers), he's running a real campaign, on issues of relevance to the public (besides the Federal Reserve stuff...), and has set (relatively) high fundraising goals.

Here's hoping he raises the bar. (It's worth noting that word has it that Coons is running on a sort of "ticket" and pooling some resources and manpower with the eminently credible Joe Cobb; two real Libertarian campaigns is probably more than twice as good as one.) Duverger's law or not, Libertarian Party candidates who are a credible threat, who will attract the marginal libertarian voter away from the Democrat or Republican, and who effectively communicate a libertarian (market liberal) response to the day's concerns, will move politicians and policy in a more libertarian direction.

Unfortunately, my ability to take complete, let alone legible, notes during a phone interview has declined since I last played "real journalist" (1999-early 2000), and to make things worse, Nick Coons has a very fast manner of speaking--which isn't to say he's a fast-talker. What I have is below:

B. Kalafut: Why are you running?

Nick Coons: I primarily want to have a platform to talk to people; as an individual it's difficult to be heard--I'd like to explain ideas. But if I did happen to win my primary goal would be to reduce the size and scope of government.

B. K.: Since Mitchell is a Democrat, why not run as a Republican?

N. C.: In my particular district, there are five or six Republicans in the primary. I've been to Republican meetings, and seen what they see as necessary to have party support. Candidates need to have been promoting their party to show they are loyal. I'm no Republican as far as they're concerned.

Ron Paul is a special case, since he originally ran as a Republican in the 1970s. But back then, someone with those sorts of ideas could win as a Republican. I don't know if that is still true.

B. K.: What are your goals for the campaign?

N.C.: I would like to get a double-digit percentage of the vote: 10%, 15%. At least I'd like for the votes I receive to be greater than the difference between the two other candidates....I'd like to make other candidates take notice of libertarian issues.

B. K.: How are you doing on fundraising?

N.C.: Fundraising is yet to come. I've received a few hundred dollars, and am just starting an account. Most of this was unsolicited. One of my small-business clients came into our retail store, which was unusual, saying "I'm here to give you a check."

B. K.: And what about a campaign organization? Do you have staff lined up? Volunteers?

N.C.: Right now I'm working with people locally who want to do campaign management as a career and are just starting out, but as volunteers, at least for now. Many Libertarian candidates worry about going over the reporting threshold; I'd like to raise at least six figures.

B. K.: Any challengers in the primary?

N.C. Warren Severin [perennial Libertarian candidate in the 5th district--BSK] and I spoke recently, and he said he wouldn't oppose me. Nobody else has declared a candidacy.

B. K.: Supposing you were elected to Congress, what committee assignments would you request, and would you caucus with the Democrats or Republicans to get your assignments? What would be your legislative goals in the first term.

N.C. I haven't yet thought about caucusing and have to do more research about committees. I'd like to be on the Finance Committee like Ron Paul; my economic side is my stronger side.

Are you familiar with Downsize DC? I'd like to see the Read the Bills Act passed. On economic issues, I support Ron Paul's "honest money" bills, which would repeal legal tender laws and allow consumer choice of currency...the Fed has no incentive to make the money supply stable...people will shift away from a weaker currency to a more stable currency."

B.K.: Where are you getting your ideas about monetary policy?

N.C.: I've been getting a lot of information from Joe Cobb, from Ron Paul, and from Peter Schiff.

B.K.: Any other first-term legislative priorities?

N.C.: I support the Enumerated Powers Act, which requires that Congress must specify the clause or clauses that justify passage of any law. Much of what makes it through Congress is unconstitutional. I'm not sure if this will stop that, but at least it'll expose it a bit more.

B.K.: Anything else to say about the campaign at this point?

N.C.: Not too much. The campaign has barely started. All of the social-networking tools are set up--YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.

The two major parties don't seem to have a lot of credibility left. They say nice things while campaigning, but don't actually do most of these things. There's a very bad track record. People like to think they get something if they vote for the winner, but a vote isn't a bet. You're looking to ensure that you have the best person for the job.

There was some interesting discussion of monetary policy in there, but it's largely illegible in my notes. Call it "redacted by accident"--playing "straight journalist" is not like riding a bicycle.

Good luck to Nick Coons in his campaign!

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