Another segment of our continuing coverage of third party candidates features Boston Tea Party candidate Tiffany Briscoe. This does not constitute any endorsement or agreement by me of any kind unless otherwise stated.
Update March 10, 2012: It appears Ms. Briscoe misrepresented her qualifications to the Party. She has been dropped from the ballot and replaced by "none of the above". Her answers will be kept below.
Candidate name: Tiffany Briscoe
Vice President: Kimberly Johnson
Party: Boston Tea Party
These answers were written by Briscoe herself, but ultimately e-mailed to me by a staffer due to technical difficulties. She intended to reply directly to me. I give her credit for this. Many of my previous emails were answered by staff members.
Please explain your party, who you are, and what's important to you in this campaign. This does not need to be more than a few sentences.
Additionally, please provide us with some information on your ballot access. Best guesses are fine. How many states do you expect to be on the ballot in? And will you seek write-in candidacy in any more?
I am simply a concerned citizen, as well as a small businesswoman that is negatively amazed by the scope of the federal government, which is hurting through regulation, taxation, and control our society in general. I believe that we are going through the worst crisis in humanity because it is marking the end of a system that needs thorough reforms, but has no reformers from the inside. I am running for the Presidency of the United States because I believe freedom, prosperity, and peace, are all the necessary parts of a new vision for America.
The Boston Tea Party is one of the fastest-growing political party in the United States. It was created in 2006 following the disappointment by some of the Libertarian Party's move to the right. And it has been joined, since then, by more than 2,000 people. Its platform is plain and simple, and supports reducing the size of government at all levels, which is a true libertarian goal. I was chosen following a convention back in December as the nominee of the party for the 2012 election cycle, together with my running mate Kimberly Barrick, from Arizona.
When it comes to ballot access, we are actively campaigning every day to get on as many ballots as possible. Back in 2008, the party was able to get on three states' ballots, and we are estimating the number to go as high as fifteen to sixteen in 2012. But this will mean a lot of work for our campaign and the party. Moreover, most of the other states will be accessed through write-in.
You support abolishing the Department of Homeland Security and oppose the wars we are currently fighting. Would you be willing to fight a truly defensive war, and if so, what qualifies as "truly defensive"?
The Department of Homeland Security needs to be abolished to both respect fiscal sanity and the Constitution. It is obvious that there is little constitutional authority for such a large government agency. As for all the wars we are fighting overseas, I support ending them as soon as possible because they are bankrupting us and are only threatening our national security by creating more enemies. Iraq -which, despite what President Obama is saying, is still going on- is pointless, while our goals in Afghanistan -destroy Al-Qaeda, has already been achieved.
Now, do I believe war is sometimes necessary? Of course. The role of the federal government, if it has any, is to protect the nation from foreign threats. A truly defensive war is necessary, and this doesn't necessarily mean we need to wait to be attacked first to retaliate. If we have clear and reliable information about an attack from a foreign source, we need to take military action to avoid as many civilian casualty as possible. But in a real world, rare are the ones that would dare to attack the United States and the best defensive foreign policy is one of free trade and the promotion of peace.
You state that additional immigrants would not deny current American citizens jobs. So, would they be creating new jobs? What economic effects would this have?
Believing that immigrants take away jobs from American citizens is ignoring the true facts. From 2000 to 2008, the unemployment rate in the United States was never larger than 6% and was flying around the 5% rate most of the decade. Yet, the immigration situation was the same as today (in fact, we didn't even have a wall prior to 2006, so the flow of immigrants was much larger.) Immigrants bring in new skills and work opportunities, while offering new consumers, producers, and workers to our economy. This is the best stimulus we can hope for.
I congratulate you for trying to fix our country's financial situation through balanced budgets. But Congress will be less than pleased about it. How would you work with them to actually accomplish the task? Or, as a third party candidate, are you just trying to raise awareness about issues like this, and not actually get elected and have the power to solve them?
I'm not sure about your claim that Congress won't be "pleased" about a balanced budget. At the end of the day, Congresspeople do not inherently want to raise deficits. But they do so because they have a lot of voters to convince through corporate and individual welfare, while satisfying certain industrialists through an interventionist foreign policy. Moreover, the current debate about deficit reduction is ridiculous. Republicans want to reform entitlement and non-defense spending, while President Obama and Congress Democrats swear to cut nothing besides Defense.
What this country needs is a leader that is able to show that compromise includes unsatisfactory results on both sides of the political spectrum. But slashing spending in all aspects is necessary for the future of our country and voters understand that. Moreover, term limits for Congressmen and women is required to reduce corruption and lead "special interests" to have less power in budgetary decisions.
You wish to end the minimum wage. Will the free job market prevent Wal-Mart from just paying its employees pennies per hour? Or could companies just pay their workers practically nothing?
If there is one thing that the free market is good at, it must be fairness. Consumers in a free market are always protected and in the job market, consumers are workers. Prior to the Great Depression, there was no minimum wage in this country, yet the 1920s encountered some of the steepest wage raises in history. Businesses are always seeking more workers and the latter are attracted by higher wages, not lower. If a corporation such as Wal-Mart decides to pay next-to-nothing wages to its employees, then I guarantee you all of them will flee to higher-paying companies that would benefit from such a worker move.
But what I want to focus on, is that the minimum wages laws are probably the most discriminatory laws currently written in our federal books, as economist Milton Friedman pointed out. Minorities and young people are the most hurt by minimum wage, as small businesses are discouraged to hire less-skilled workers. Lifting the wage control would allow young adults and teenagers to begin early an entrepreneurial career, while creating better situations for businesses in low-income neighborhoods.
What is your view on First Amendment rights? How far does free speech go? Does it extend to pornography? Hate speech? Obscenity? One candidate told me that even if Klansmen or Nazis were peacefully protesting in front of the White House for weeks on end, he would not attempt to eject or arrest them, and would make sure nobody else did either. Would you also go as far as to say that?
The freedom that individuals have to express themselves is one of the most important one for humanity. Free speech moves societies and challenges establishments in ways that politics can't possibly achieve. This is why our Founding Fathers chose to separate the State from speech, religion, and expression. Of course, in a free society, some people will entertain unconventional speeches, and even hold terribly controversial positions. But it is up to society to change this, not some government bureaucrats. Nazis, Klansmen, Marxists in the United States are all part of the American society and should not be excluded from the rights others enjoy because of their political views, however wrong they are. Free expression was not elaborated to protect those ideas everybody agree with, but rather these unconventional views. As long as the protest is peaceful, it should be acceptable.
What is your view on same-sex marriage? Should we federally legalize it, ban it, or use civil unions for gay couples? Or do you feel it is a state's right's issue? If you answer the last one, please respond with what your position would be if you were running for Governor instead of President.
Marriage should not be decided on the federal level. There's a reason why our Founding Fathers never mentioned this issue in the Constitution: they believed local communities were more able to regulate the issue than the federal bureaucracy. I do not want to legalize it, nor ban it, nor use civil unions for same-sex couples. This is strictly a state issue. But on a personal viewpoint, I believe it is wrong for the government to be involved in the business of regulating loving relationships. Were I to be Governor of my home state of Maryland, I would get the state completely out of the marriage business and let private entities, such as churches and casinos, take care of it. I would care about my own marriage and if someone, somewhere, decides to engage in a same-sex marriage, I wouldn't care whatsoever.
Are there any other issues not mentioned above that you wish to elaborate on? This is basically the equivalent of the college admissions essay "Make up an essay question and answer it", except that I'm not looking for a long essay, only a paragraph or two.
I believe that more freedom is the best system for America to prosper. And as President, I will try to use freedom-based principles on most issues. For instance, health care is in dire trouble, and the best we can do is to enact free market reforms and repeal all regulations, control, and subsidies for this sector of the economy to get back on its feet. The same can be said about education. The problem is that our federal government is a large bureaucratic apparatus with as many as 1,300 government agencies. We have lost our title of "economically free nation" to New Zealand, Singapore, and Canada.
We need to change the system for a new vision for America. And time is running away, we're hitting the edge of the current system.
Briscoe seems like a good alternative to the Libertarian Party's left. I don't view that as a bad thing at all. It depends on who the LP endorses. Gary Johnson is further to the left than some others seeking the nomination. But Briscoe definitely seems like a good candidate going forward.
I agree that we need to fight defensive wars, and ONLY defensive wars. As for the free trade argument, that's another thing most of us don't realize. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor due to tariffs we imposed on the Japanese. If we practice free trade and non-interventionism, we can avoid many conflicts.
I'm inclined to agree with Briscoe on immigration, but I'm less optimistic with regards to the balanced budget. That being said, it needs to be done, and you'd run into that problem with everybody who wanted to balance it. That being said, I sincerely hope Tiffany is right.
I also agree with Briscoe on First Amendment rights. I'm not sure I'd put Marxists in the same class as Nazis and Klansmen, but I'm glad you think they have an equal right to free speech.
As for gay marriage, I feel a simple act of Congress could eliminate any legal definition of marriage. Therefore, Briscoe's stated goal for what she'd want in her state could be achieved nationally.
Overall, I think Briscoe is a good choice for libertarians who lean to the left instead of the right. I'll be reposting this later in the Election season, and will be better able to compare her to the Libertarian Party's ultimate nominee.