This evening Free & Equal hosted a third-party debate. It was hosted by Larry King (currently the host of Larry King Now on Ora.TV) and broadcast by various media companies and on Cable TV by C-SPAN. This debate included the following 4 third-party candidates:
- Gary Johnson – Libertarian Party
- Jill Stein – Green Party
- Virgil Goode – Constitution Party
- Rocky Anderson – Justice Party
Overall the debate was great. There were a couple of logistics issues in the beginning but I’m sure they will have them worked out for the final debate next Tuesday. Free and Equal will use online voting from the results of this debate and the two winning third-party candidates will debate in Washington DC next week.
It was also refreshing to see the audience being allowed to clap/boo. Believe it or not this was not disruptive and made the debate feel more ‘alive’.
I will also say that Larry King has been the best moderator of all Presidential debates. He kept the candidates under control and was respectful. He also had a great line where he said “We’re on drugs”. I hope he does future debate moderation!
Instead of analyzing each question I will look at my impression of how well I think each candidate did. These are brief as they are just some highlights from my notes (tweets). And they are written with my bias, I’m not even going to pretend to not be biased.
Rocky Anderson – Justice Party
I honestly did not like Rocky at all. He lost me right away by stating that money is the root of all evil. No Rocky, money is just a tool used by people. He also went on for a while about how the US has the worse mortality rates in the industrialized world. I’m not quite sure about that. And Rocky said he basically agrees with Stein on all issues? Rocky was however the first to state (rightly) that only Congress has the right to decide when to go to war. After that it went back downhill for Rocky.
Virgil Goode – Constitution Party
Virgil is the candidate you would think a Libertarian would like, but he is completely wrong on a couple of issues. First he would stop all green cards and immigration until unemployment was ‘under control’. I just don’t see that as good immigration policy. Plus he supports continuing the prohibition of drugs. He would de-fund the war on drugs but expect states to pick up the slack. He got booed for this position! After that he have very little of relevance to say, it was mostly standard conservative stuff.
Jill Stein – Green Party
I liked Stein in the earlier IVN debate, but this time she didn’t really seem to show up. In fact she went blank during her opening remarks (I’m not faulting her for it, it’s a nightmare situation that can happen to anyone). Talking about wars she kept stating “wars for oil”. I though we had moved beyond that oil=war thing, it really didn’t work for her. She also lost me when she wanted to give all levels of education to everyone for free. The final place she really lost me was stating she would create and amendment stating that money is not speech and that corporations are not people. That was so far out there I really didn’t give her much attention after that.
Gary Johnson – Libertarian Party
Gary started strong by saying he has been pro-choice for everything. Plus he started out by referring to Obama and Romney as Tweedledee and Tweedledum. That was a definite crowd-pleaser! Gary also stated there has to be 100% transparency for candidates and politicians. Add to this an early attack on drone usage and Gary clearly won the opening remarks of the debate. Gary tackled the war on drugs well by stating drugs is a family issue and not a government issue. Gary Johnson also did well highlighting how our current foreign policies have a lot of unintended consequences. He also reminded everyone that after 9/11 the people of Iran held large demonstration in support of the US. Gary made a very good case that government subsidized higher education has driven the cost of that education too high. His rebuttal to Stein that “free has a cost” was spot on! And finally he stated wasting your vote is voting for someone you don’t believe in. That was completely spot on!
I also want to highlight that Gary Johnson gave a shout out to Ron Paul as his hero. This was a smart move on his part and showed respect the RNC never did to Ron Paul.