What makes Virgil Goode run?

The third-party presidential candidate makes his case

Topics: Virginia, Virgil Goode, Constitution Party, 2012 Elections,

Constitution Party presidential nominee Virgil Goode may not have the name recognition, money or organizational strength of Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, but there’s an outside chance he could swing the presidential election. The Virginian served six terms in Congress, first as Democrat and later as aRepublican, and still has fans in the battleground state, where Republicans are concerned he’ll siphon off enough conservative votes from Romney to hand Obama Virginia, and potentially, depending on how the rest of the map works out, the presidency. He’s polling at only about 2 percent, but the state GOP is concerned enough that it’s suing to try to remove him from the ballot.

Goode, who was recently profiled by the Washington Post, doesn’t fit neatly into any political box. He holds some conservative ideas that progressives will consider kooky — like his plan to put a moratorium on immigration until the unemployment rate falls — but he has a populist streak: He’s firmly against special interest PAC money and has no time for Paul Ryan’s plan to voucherize Medicare. He spoke to Salon for the first installment of our Better Know a Lesser-Known Candidate series. Our conversation has been lightly edited for brevity.

So how’s the campaign going?

Well, we’re working hard. Of course we don’t have the monetary resources of Obama or Romney, so that makes it an uphill battle. But we’re doing everything we can. A number of persons are dissatisfied with both Romney and Obama, and I think we’ll get votes from some people that probably just were not going to vote.

Some Republicans are afraid that you could hurt Romney in Virginia and potentially cost him the presidency. What do you say to them?

Well, most Republicans are going to vote for Romney. I’ve had very few Republicans who have said they’re going to vote for me. I have had some who said they voted for Obama last time, and now said they would vote for me. But these are old-line Democrats that would never vote for a Republican, so that’s not taking a vote from Romney. And we’re going to get votes from a lot of people that, as I said, weren’t going to vote, didn’t like the choices.

What makes you different from Obama or Romney?



Oh, many things. First of all, I’m for a balanced budget now. Obama’s budget was a trillion in deficit, and Paul Ryan’s budget was over $600 billion in deficit. In the area of jobs, we differ significantly. Obama slams Romney’s past performances and his job theory, and Romney does the same for Obama’s. One thing that would easily work — and I’m the only candidate that’s focusing on it — is not allowing so many foreign workers with green cards to come into this country. We need a near complete moratorium on the issuance of green cards until unemployment’s under 5 percent. They’re taking jobs from Americans, and when you have high unemployment you need to save jobs for those that are here, not bring in more foreign workers. Another difference is that I am for [congressional] term limits, Obama and Romney aren’t speaking out on that. The fourth difference is I’m not taking PAC money, and both Obama and Romney are. And we’re limiting individual donations to $200, except for me and some leftover campaign funds.

You’ve said the difference between Obama and Romney is the “difference between tweedledum and tweedledee.” It seems to me like there’s huge differences between them.

Well, on immigration, as I said, I’m the only candidate who’s willing to stand up to the influx of so many green card holders into the United States. I am the only candidate that’s willing to slash our foreign aid. George Bush provided a lot of foreign aid, Obama even topped that. And if you heard Mitt Romney up at Clinton’s Global Initiative, you’ll know that he wants to pull more money into foreign aid too. I disagree. And unlike Obama and Romney, I’d bring us home from Afghanistan, unless Congress is willing to make a declaration of war. The situation with Iran, it will take a congressional declaration of war before we go to war with them. And you’ve got a ton of areas where there’s just not that much difference between the two.

How would you describe your political ideology?

I’m a conservative, but with a focus on average people. For instance, I support Social Security and Medicare. And I disagree with Paul Ryan about the need to turn Medicare into a voucher program. Neither Obama nor Romney favors a true lockbox for Social Security. I do. You’ve got to cut everything in general fund, and you also need to cut defense. Republicans don’t want to cut defense, Obama will do it some.

Do you think you can win?

If I had 100 million people look at my website, we’d win the election. Or if I could get into the debates, which is never going to happen because of the Democratic and Republican control over them, we’d win the election too — because the majority of the American people, in my view, understand common-sense solutions.

If you had to pick one of the two candidates, or if it came down to a situation where you had a chunk of the vote and could swing it either way by dropping out and telling your supporters to vote for Romney or Obama, who would you go with?

Well, I’m not going to drop out. If it comes down to a choice between only Obama or Romney, I’d write in Virgil Goode, because Virgil Goode is the best choice for president.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>