Monthly Archives: September 2008

A Simple Common-Sense Solution to the Economic and Banking Crisis that Does Not Fleece the Taxpayer- “Just Say NO!�

I've stated for months now on hundreds of talk radio shows across the USA that Republicans and Democrats have morphed into the same party- I call them big and bigger, dumb and dumber. McCain and Obama offer the same ideas- just with a slightly different right or left tilt. They both stand for corporate interests. You think only Republicans stand for Wall Street? Check the facts. Obama has gotten millions of dollars in contributions from corporate welfare queens like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. You think Obama stands for change? When Obama is done with America, all we'll have left is change.

The reality is that Obama TALKS about change. Just like McCain talks about being a fiscal conservative who believes in smaller government and lower taxes. It's all just the usual talk at election time. I call it the "November political con game." The politicians simply spout the same lies and broken promises to get elected every November.

In the end, both McCain and Obama are beholden to the same status quo- lawyers, lobbyists, corporate interests, and bigger government at all costs. No one- but the Libertarian Presidential ticket of Bob Barr and Wayne Root- is looking out for taxpayers on Main Street. Perhaps that could be the reason Barr/Root hasn't raised any major corporate money. Perhaps.

The good news is we aren't beholden to the lawyers, lobbyists or Wall Street. We are free to tell the truth. Only one party- The Libertarian Party- is looking out for the common citizens and taxpayers- the ones without armies of big shot lawyers and lobbyists.

So here's the truth. Journalist and Author Bernie Goldberg had it right…Crazies To The Left, Wimps To The Right. Both major parties are badly failing the American people. Let's look at the facts as to how this financial crisis came about. The seeds were planted in the Carter and the Clinton administrations with the good intention of helping low income families become homeowners. It all started with The Community Re-Investment Act of 1977 (under Carter). The intent of the CRA was to pressure banks into making subprime loans so that levels of home ownership among minorities and low income Americans would rise. Things got worse under liberal do-gooder Bill Clinton. The CRA was re-structured and promoted even harder under Clinton. The concept was simple- banks were told to loosen credit requirements for low income Americans or face regulatory pressure.

While the concept was noble, history proves that anything that manipulates the free market with so-called “good intentions� is destined to fail. And once the politicians- those crazies and wimps- started to tinker (to make it “better�), it was destined to get ugly (ie not just failure, but wholesale disaster of epic scale). Entire bureaucracies called Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac were created, and a new game called subprime mortgage-backed securities was created by the politicians- that is, by those same crazies and wimps.

If you ever had any doubt about the deficiencies of politicians, you need no longer suffer that delusion. NONE of the lawyers who make up most of Congress know anything about economics. Neither does anyone on their staff- they are almost all lawyers and career bureaucrats who have never run a business, never risked their own money, never made a payroll, or created a job in their entire lives. They live their entire lives with public money (from the taxpayers). They get paid by public money (government paychecks), and use public money to fund all their ideas, pet projects, earmarks and spending bills. Someone else (taxpayers like you and me) pays every bill, funds every idea, pays their way through life.

But it gets worse- few executives on Wall Street know anything about business either. The Wall Street big shots- investment bankers, money managers, hedge fund gurus, analysts, brokers, traders- create nothing of value. Like politicians they spend most of their lives talking about business- not doing it. And like politicians what little business they conduct is with OPM (Other People's Money). They analyze and sell stock in companies that other people created. They give opinions on whether other people will fail or succeed. And they look to their friends, the politicians, for opportunities to make gobs of money without risk- situations where any risk is passed onto you and me, the taxpayers.

Once Congress created this new “easy money� game of subprime mortgage-backed securities, Wall Street started playing it according to the rules of the game, rules established by the politicians. And they played it to the max- with both fists.

Once the gravy train started rolling, millions of low-income families took advantage of the “free money.� They were able to qualify to buy homes for the first time in their lives and they did. The problem, of course, was that they couldn't afford to pay the mortgages, which they should never have gotten in the first place. Then, the defaults began. It's obvious that government isn't the solution to this crisis- as you can clearly see above- government is the problem. Ignorant, irresponsible and corrupt politicians looking to legislate “equality� caused this mess by relaxing credit standards to scandalous levels. And what a mess it is. If we are to believe the politicians and Wall Street gurus, we are facing financial Armageddon at this moment. Of course, if it's true, it's because they caused it.

It is important to point out that several years ago a group of concerned people in Congress saw the problems coming and attempted to rein in a program that appeared- for anyone who had even a basic understanding of business- totally out of control. Unfortunately, by that time it was too big and too powerful to slow down. The Wall Street guys, who were getting rich at this wonderful new game the politicians had created for them, also knew how to play the game of politics. They led the key Senators and Congressmen to the trough (follow the big money contributions right to the doorstep of Obama and McCain). Once they were all wallowing in it together, it was too late to fix it. So they all kept “partying like it was 1999� and prayed the disaster would not occur until they were out of office, or out of the CEO suite.

So the crisis has come. The first thing to happen, of course, is the politicians pointing their fingers, calling the Wall Street guys “greedy,� when they were only playing a game whose rules the politicians had established. Naturally, the politicians ignore the fact that in addition to being ignorant and clueless about business, they were equally greedy. How about the banking regulators that followed the politician's orders to encourage banks to suspend credit requirements so that low income applicants could own a home (they could not afford). Or “community activist groups� like ACORN that stoked the fires. There is more than enough blame to go around.

Enough of how we got here, enough of the blame game. Let's look at the solution that is being stuffed down the taxpayer's throats- with little or no explanation, accountability or oversight- by the same people who caused this mess. They are trying desperately to convince us that they have the solution- even though they caused this whole mess and to make it worse, did not have the foresight to see it coming. Here's their big brilliant solution- give $700 Billion to a former Wall Street guy (the ex-chairman of Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen), with an oversight committee made up of LAWYER LEGISLATORS. Then he'll use taxpayer money (yours and mine) to buy all the bad loans and bail out his rich Wall Street friends- using OPM (other people's money). Surprised? That's the only game that lawyers, politicians and Wall Street executives have played in their entire lives! What's wrong with this picture? EVERYTHING!

Now here's the part where it gets really bad- and the important thing to remember is that the financial guys on Wall Street knowing NOTHING about actually running a business. Now that we taxpayers own these billions of dollars (maybe a trillion) of bad loans, what are we going to do with them? The Wall Street guys say that's simple- you just hold the bad loans (or “paper� as they call it on Wall Street) until the market gets better and then you sell them. You see, for the financial types on Wall Street, the term "doing business" means moving money and paper around. That part is easy.

The hard part is what to do with the millions of defaults and foreclosures. Remember, there is a physical piece of property underlying these bad loans. When someone walks away, whoever holds the loan now owns a piece of property. When the banks and financial institutions own these mortgages, they have to take them over, fix them, and resell them. Who's going to do that when the taxpayers own them? Ah, here's where the politicians get involved again!

We are now looking at BILLIONS and BILLIONS more of our taxpayer money going to FOP's (Friends of Politicians)- mostly friends of the liberal Democrat-controlled Congress. Friends of Nancy Pelosi; Friends of Charles Rangel (who creates tax policy for the USA as Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, but recently was allegedly caught cheating on his own taxes); and of course, Friends of Obama- “community activist groups� (like the corrupt ACORN) who are going to be awarded HUGE contracts and government handouts to deal with the foreclosures (the actual physical property). These are the same people who caused this catastrophic crisis in the first place- by demanding that government force bankers to loosen credit standards for low income Americans in the name of “equality.�

What will these community groups do with all these billions of dollars of our taxpayer money? Since they have even less business acumen than legislators, and will have absolutely ZERO incentive to return the taxpayers' money from these properties, they will do what they always do- offer great deals to their friends and cronies. And the people getting the benefit of this theft of taxpayer money in the form of “can't lose sweetheart deals" will in turn give large contributions to the politicians who made it all possible. And you thought Wall Street was greedy? All the while, who is paying for all this- YOU, THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER! In this whole big mess it is the taxpayers- who bear none of the blame- who are the only ones on the hook for billions in losses.

So, what do we do? First it makes no sense to ask Congress to approve a bailout plan on 24 or 48 hours notice. I guarantee you that not one Congressman took the time to read the 400+ pages of this bloated piece of panic legislation. Or the financial acumen to understand the details of what they were reading, if they ever chose to read it. Think about that for a moment. Here we have the biggest taxpayer giveaway in history and none of our representatives bothered to read it or study “the small print� before voting on it. The devil is always in the details- so what exactly does the small print among those 400 pages say? I guarantee you it is a giveaway to special interest groups and a disaster for taxpayers.

My advice is to slow down, take a deep breath, and work on a plan that benefits the taxpayers on Main Street, instead of the politicians and their cronies on Wall Street. If this is truly so important that the fate of the entire U.S. economy hangs in the balance, why rush through a bad deal crafted on a few hours notice, and voted on without a discussion, debate or explanation to the American people?

My personal vote is to NOT do anything. Doing nothing is better than doing something bad that compounds the problem for generations to come. Let the free markets work. Let the companies who made the bad loans deal with them. If what the Wall Street big shots say is true, if these loans will rise in value over time, then let them hold them. If it's such a “sure thing� that the values of these loans will recover, then the bankers should take the risk, not the taxpayers. Of course, if the bankers and Wall Street big shots are wrong or worse- lying to the American people- their companies will fail. But last I checked, that's the very definition of capitalism. I did not realize that the difference between capitalism and socialism is that, in socialism the government nationalizes profitable companies, while in capitalism the government nationalizes failing companies. I guess that I missed that point in my economics class!

To bail bankers and Wall Street out is truly un-American. It is to socialize Wall Street and the American banking system. To make things worse, to give Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen what amounts to a blank check for his Wall Street buddies is a disaster for the American taxpayer- who bears no blame in this mess. The powers requested by Paulsen would mean yet another unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion of government by the Bush administration. But hey, what's the big deal about yet another violation of the constitution among friends?

I say NO to the bailout. I say NO to bigger government. I say NO to any more violations of the constitution. I say NO to believing that the government that caused this mess has the answers to solving it. I say NO to allowing big government and big corporations to bamboozle the American taxpayer into paying for a mess that we bear zero responsibility for. I say NO to voting for a bailout 400+ pages long, the details of which we know nothing about. I say NO to allowing ACORN and other “community activist groups� to benefit by billions of dollars off the misery they caused. And I say NO to the hysteria on Wall Street that says rejection of the bailout will destroy the American banking and economic system. Perhaps it's the same Wall Street big shots and bankers who helped to cause this mess, that are manipulating the markets to freeze credit and drive stock prices down until they get a billion dollar bailout. I say let them (and the free markets) clean up this mess. Leave the American taxpayers out of it. The American economy has weathered worse, and it will weather this one as well. It's time to draw a line in the sand. My answer is NO!

I know what the politicians will say to my answer- that it is simplistic. Well yes, my answer is purposely simple. It was created with the American taxpayer in mind. What made it possible to think of such a simple, straight-forward, fair answer that doesn't fleece the taxpayer? Well that's simple too- I'm not a lawyer. I'm not a lobbyist. I'm not a union boss. I'm not a government bureaucrat. I'm not a politician. I'm not a “Beltway Insider.� I don't spend my days and nights thinking of ways to fool or fleece the taxpayers.

I'm just a S.O.B. (son of a butcher), small businessman, home-school dad and citizen politician from the common sense, low tax, limited government state of Nevada. And I hope to be your next Vice President of these United States. God Bless America, and the people that made this country great- the citizens and taxpayers.

Wayne Root is the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee on the Libertarian Presidential ticket of Bob Barr/Wayne Root. His web site is: www.ROOTforAmerica.com

The Big Lie- The Lessons Learned from Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG

One of my heroes, Ronald Reagan, once said, “The 9 worst words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.� Well we're about to have what might be described as the greatest test of those words in the history of America. I was in New York over the last few days, being interviewed by the New York Times, which put me at Ground Zero for the cataclysmic events on Wall Street over the past 4 days. This is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression- and, to be on the streets of New York, and around my friends on Wall Street, was to see, feel, smell and experience the fear up close and personal. I have never before seen such smart and confident people in such panic.

But there is also a big story about political corruption going on in New York at this moment- one that has not hit the national radar yet. But I believe these two big stories go hand-in-hand to prove just how out of control our government truly is. They prove the folly of government caring about “the little guy.� They prove what I call “The Big Lie:� the idea that our politicians serve the people, or for that matter even care about the people. The government may be here to help- but it sure isn't here to help the taxpayers.

Neither Republican nor Democrats care about anything but themselves, big donors, big corporations, and of course preserving the current system that preserves their power. The big national news story was the disintegration of Wall Street behemoths like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG and many other household names rumored to be on the financial precipice (such as Wachovia). We are witnessing the worst financial meltdown of my lifetime- and perhaps any lifetime. And in response, politicians at all levels of government and the infamous Fed are giving away our money. Yes, I said our money- yours and mine. It is the greatest corporate welfare giveaway in the history of the world. The billion-dollar taxpayer giveaway started with Bear Stearns, then grew potentially to trillions of dollars with the federal takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Now, AIG is the next lucky recipient of the government-giveaway game. No sooner had the Fed decided to draw a line in the sand and allow Lehman Brothers to fail, than the politicians re-started the giveaway game for AIG. The Democratic Governor of New York David Patterson literally begged the Fed to intervene on behalf of New York-based AIG, only hours after the Fed stood firm against a Lehman bailout. Could that theatrical and hysterical plea by the honorable Governor of New York have had something to do with political donations from AIG to Governor Patterson or Democrat politicians in New York? Wouldn't that be a big surprise?

In any case, just as I predicted, the Fed has already broken its own Lehman Brothers precedent to intervene on behalf of AIG. After bravely holding steady and drawing a line in the sand, the political winds blew that line to bits in a matter of hours. Undoubtedly Gov. Patterson was the first of many political insiders to call the Fed begging for help on behalf of AIG. I'll bet that every politician who has ever taken a donation from AIG was instructed by their bosses (at AIG) to get on the line with the Fed to demand a bailout. So much for the idea of “government backbone.� Who is next in line? Automakers in Detroit? Wachovia? The list goes on and on. The tab for AIG alone is $85 Billion (with a B). But hey, what's $85 Billion among friends? After all, it's only the taxpayers' money.

The excuse for all this federal government intervention is that these companies were all deemed “too big to fail� and would induce “catastrophic systemic failure.� The reality is Lehman was no different than the rest of the group, and its failure- while unsettling and frightening to investors- was actually absorbed quite well by Wall Street. I'm ashamed of my fellow capitalist warriors. The Kings of Wall Street play with other people's money; take gigantic risks; ignore the worst-case perils; crow about capitalism while they are making huge profits; but at the first hint of failure, they run to government demanding that taxpayers on Main Street pay for their mistakes with government handouts, loans and easy money from the Fed.

My question as a small businessman is, who is bailing out Americans like me when I'm in financial trouble? Who in the federal government or Federal Reserve hands money out to millions of my fellow small business owners when we're suffering a financial crisis? Small business is the economic engine of America- creating the majority of non-government jobs (and 75% of new jobs). Where are the late night emergency meetings on behalf of small business owners in distress? Where is the expansion of Fed Funds for the owners of small businesses on Main Street? Where are the government guarantees when we fail?

So let me get this straight. The government takes 50% of our profits (as small business owners), and when we're in financial trouble, they give us back ZERO. But when a big corporation with expensive, connected lawyers or lobbyists is in trouble, that same federal government takes billions of our tax dollars to handout to them. Now, that's a great deal if you can get it.

So it's a double whammy to small business (and a double slap in the face)- when we're in trouble there is no one to bail us out; we have to keep paying taxes into the system; and our monies are used to bail out others with political connections; all the while, these billion dollar bailouts devalue our buying power with the dollars we have left. Something is just not right here.

Worse, small business owners are merely in trouble because of a slowing economy. It's not our fault that sales are down. But these big billion dollar companies like Lehman, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch and AIG are in trouble of their own making. They are run by big-shot CEO's, who've made reckless decisions and bad bets. Why reward them for reckless behavior? Doesn't bailing them out merely encourage them to take those same reckless risks again and again? Isn't the point of capitalism and unfettered free markets to allow the smart and successful to rise to the top, and to punish those who make dumb mistakes or irresponsible bets? When did we change the rules of the game? When did CEO's of the biggest firms in America become welfare queens?

Why should average American taxpayers be put on the hook for all the losses from reckless CEO's wagering on exotic financial instruments like derivatives? Few of my small business owner friends even know what derivatives are, or how they work. I only know that they were a way for greedy Wall Street egomaniacs to leverage investor money by a factor of 20 to 1 (or higher), to produce massive profits on investments that no one (including the Wall Street analysts, experts or CEO's) even understood. The risks blew up in their faces and now they want the American taxpayer to bail them out.

Well, who is looking out for our interests as taxpayers? Certainly not powerful politicians who are wined and dined by lawyers and lobbyists on behalf of corporate giants- then are handed a big fat campaign contribution at the end of dinner. Small business owners- that economic engine that creates the majority of jobs- cannot afford big-shot lawyers, lobbyists or consultants. We can't afford to wine and dine politicians. We can't afford to pay for Congressmen's vacations. Nor can we afford to legally bribe politicians with big fat donations. We're too busy working and trying to earn a living. So it should come as no surprise or coincidence that taxpayers on Main Street get the short end of the shaft.

That brings up the second big story in New York while I was there. It turns out that powerful Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel- who is CHAIRMAN of the Ways and Means Committee of the United States Congress (the group that determines tax policy for all of us) doesn't like to pay taxes himself. It turns out that he's owned a fancy home in a fancy Dominican Republic resort for years- allegedly without disclosing his rental income to either the IRS, or to Congress (on required Congressional disclosure forms).

If you or I did that it would be called “tax evasion� and we'd be sent straight to prison. But Charlie Rangel appears to be different than your typical taxpayer. He simply confessed (after being caught red-handed by the New York Post), agreed to pay a small fine, and now refuses to give up his powerful Committee Chairmanship deciding tax policy for the rest of the country. Can you imagine? He allegedly cheats on his taxes- commits a FELONIOUS CRIME- and he thinks that he deserves to keep his job deciding our tax laws.

How do these two controversies tie together? Anyone who now wants government to create more regulations and take more control over Wall Street has learned the wrong lesson from this crisis. Government is incompetent. Government knows nothing about economics or finance. Government doesn't care about taxpayers. When government needs money, they simply create more money by raising our taxes and printing more money (which dilutes the value of the American dollar). When government wants to create jobs, they simply raise taxes on some of us, to create unnecessary jobs for others.

And then there are the people who run the government- the Charlie Rangels of the world. These arrogant politicians create the tax laws to pilfer money from our pockets as taxpayers- then they break the very same laws themselves. They believe they are above the law. They believe that tax laws are for the rest of us mere mortals- the little people.

Why would we want the same government that has produced a $400 Billion budget deficit, and a $9.5 Trillion dollar national debt, to take more control of our financial system? Why would we want the people, who have managed Social Security and Medicare to the brink of financial ruin, to take more control of our financial system? Why would we want the same people who already oversee and regulate Wall Street, and have therefore presided over this catastrophe, to now create more rules and regulations? What would make you think that the very people who presided over the first mess, can now prevent the next one? Why would we want the Charlie Rangels of the world to take more power and control over our lives? Why would we want to elect politicians who promise to increase taxes again- so that they can use the additional money they've taken from us to bail out the next Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or AIG?

The only lesson to be learned from this financial crisis and Charlie Rangel's little “tax problem� is to take the power away from government. We must make government smaller. We must give politicians less power and control over our lives and finances. We must de-regulate, not add more regulations. We must lower spending and taxes dramatically to allow our economy to recover from this crisis. More taxes and regulations will only deepen the crisis. We must ask government to get out of the way. We must leave free markets free to profit and to fail. And if we want to avoid the next financial crisis, we must stop rewarding those who caused this crisis with their irresponsible decisions. We must stop bailing out and handing out taxpayer's money to those with the most powerful and expensive lobbyists and lawyers. Handing AIG more of the taxpayers' money when they fail is not the solution. Handing more power to Charlie Rangel is certainly not the solution. The only real lesson in this tragic story is that government doesn't have the solution. Government is the problem.

Both Republicans and Democrats are on record as supporting bigger government, more regulation, more power, more control over private markets and the American economy. Only the Libertarian Presidential ticket of Barr/Root supports smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, and more power to the people.

Wayne Root is the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee on the Libertarian Presidential ticket of Bob Barr/Wayne Root. His web site is: www.ROOTforAmerica.com.

A Day in The Life of a Third Party Vice Presidential Candidate

I get calls and emails every day from voters, fans and political junkies asking what it's like to run for Vice President of the United States. We rarely catch a glimpse of the real-life of our national candidates. We rarely see or hear about the hard work and sacrifice that goes into their campaign. We rarely see the human side. That goes triple for a third party V.P. They are rarely heard from again after the nomination. Well I've been the hardest working, most high-profile third party V.P. in recent history. When I do something (anything) I'm passionate about, I give one hundred and eighty percent. So I thought it might be a fun idea to educate voters about a day in my life and the challenges I face on a daily basis.

What a journey it is has been since I was honored with the Libertarian Party Vice Presidential nomination last May. I have traveled the country; sat down for hundreds of media interviews; and I have appeared nonstop on talk radio across the USA- sometimes as many as 6 to 8 radio shows per day. In just a 72 hour period this past week, I was a guest on a dozen radio shows- including UK national radio on “The George Galloway Show� (a former leader of Parliament), and then just 48 hours later Canadian national radio on “Adler On-Line with Charles Adler.� Tomorrow I'll be a guest on one of the most popular shows on New York radio “The John Gambling Show� on WOR Radio (guest hosted by Rita Cosby, formerly of Fox News and MSNBC). In between there were local radio station interviews across the USA. What a whirlwind! And certainly not your typical media schedule for a third party V.P. But then I don't do anything quietly.

But here's what's truly different about my campaign- unlike Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain or Sarah Palin, this isn't my full-time occupation. You see I am a citizen politician. I run for the 2nd highest office in the land, while I run my small business (35 employees). My business happens to be intense, high-pressure and centered around media (TV, radio, web). So while I run for Vice President off the United States and give hundreds of media interviews, blog interviews, and find the time to travel to events across the country; I'm also running a complex business as CEO; producing and starring on two national sports radio shows (heard on 41 stations across the USA); a web television show; analyzing and predicting the winners of sporting events for thousands of clients; and doing dozens of sports radio interviews a weekend.

Yes, you heard correctly- I'm the first Vice Presidential candidate in history to do media interviews where I'm asked to solve America's biggest problems- war, economy, taxes, illegal immigration, health care and education- then have to switch roles to do a different media interview (sometimes minutes later) to predict who will win the Super Bowl. And as a father of 4 young children, I also help my wife to run a family of six. Now that's a feat that I'd like to see my fellow candidates manage.

What is a typical day like? I sometimes start my day by awakening from a dead-sleep, to answer the phone at 4:45 AM, sit up in bed, and go straight into an important political interview with thousands of Americans listening…head to my home gym for a one hour workout (which I never miss)…then head off to manage my business for a full day's work…then rush to the airport…fly to a political event…get off the plane in a strange city, turn on my cell phone to find that I have 26 phone messages and 75 emails waiting…take a call within seconds from a radio station…do a radio interview in the car on the way to the political event…then arrive at the event to deliver a speech…get back to my hotel and answer 125 emails…before finally drifting off to sleep at 2 AM. Then I wake up to do it all again. R&R (rest & relaxation) is not a luxury afforded to either CEO's or national political candidates. And in a brilliant move, I have chosen to do both at once. LOL.

That's a pretty typical day in my life. But wait, it gets better! In the midst of all this, editors and reporters stick microphones in my face and try to catch me saying something stupid, or controversial, or just plain wrong. Occasionally (thank goodness, VERY occasionally) I give an interview I'd like to redo, or simply say a few words I wish I could take back. It has happened perhaps a half dozen times out of hundreds of interviews. That's a pretty darn good track record.

But can you imagine in the midst of that grueling schedule- where many interviews are given at 4 AM or 11 PM (or both on the same day), or after getting off an airplane (after a full day of work)- having to be perfect every time, or face criticism by readers or listeners or opponents or the media? Can you imagine being perfect hundreds of times, then having one sentence or one word taken out of context and used to denigrate everything you've done and everything you stand for? Can you imagine being perfect hundreds of times, then being criticized for one issue or opinion that one critic doesn't like? Can you imagine having each word you choose picked apart, just so a critic or political opponent can score political points? Can you imagine doing 100 great interviews, then getting slammed by critics for the one lousy one? Can you even imagine that kind of tremendous stress, pressure and responsibility? That's my day, every day.

Politics is tough, but now I understand why there haven't been any true “citizen politicians� since the days of our Founding Fathers (until I came along). Running a business, a large family, national TV and radio shows, and a national political campaign is a tough mix. Am I having second thoughts? Not a one. I'm loving every minute. I can't wait for 2012.

Just try to remember what my days are like the next time you start to criticize the way one interview, one sentence or one word sounded. Just try to consider the hours your candidate puts in; the personal and professional sacrifices he or she makes; the intense stress, pressure and time constraints they are operating under. It's grueling. Most of all, I miss the time I used to spend with my family. I wish I could spend more time with my new baby daughter Contessa. I miss playing football with my boys Hudson and Remington. I miss dinners with my oldest daughter Dakota (who gave my nomination speech for President of the United States on C-SPAN). Yet I do it- and love it- because I love the Libertarian cause.
It's my passion to spread Libertarian ideas for smaller government, lower spending, lower taxes and more freedom. Just be glad it's me out there, instead of you. And then be sure to VOTE! That's the only sacrifice we ask of you.


Wayne Root is the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee on the Libertarian Presidential ticket of Bob Barr/Wayne Root. His web site is: www.ROOTforAmerica.com.

The Audacity of Affirmative Action: Obama and the Libertarian V.P. Challenge

It's time to open up a dialogue and debate with America (and between Americans of different races) about a controversial, but important issue. This issue is affirmative action. Since the issue is centered around race, most white politicians are afraid to discuss it for fear of being labeled a racist. I am not most white politicians. Fear is not a word that affects my life.

As a person of color, Barack Obama can and has brought it up, largely unchallenged. I will challenge it. There is a second side to affirmative action - the white male perspective - that everyone is afraid to discuss for fear of being crucified by the bleeding-heart, guilt-ridden, liberal media types.

It's a natural debate to have, so let's have it. Barack and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum; we've lived lives inside different colored skin; had different experiences; faced different challenges, yet graduated from the same college (Columbia University Class of '83) on the same day, with the same major exactly 25 years ago. We now make history together- as the first college classmates to run on opposing Presidential tickets. And every step of the way, whether it's spoken or not, race has played a part in our lives, our experiences, and the way we formed our political opinions on issues of importance to the American people.

To me, affirmative action is a civil rights issue. But, I'm sure, not in the way Barack thinks of “civil rights.� You see the pendulum has swung past the midpoint where today my civil rights- as a white American- are being violated daily. I know, some of you are saying “Oh, poor, poor you.�
But, let's look at the facts. Many of the most important opportunities are affected by decisions based on race- who gets into colleges, law schools, business schools, medical schools; who is hired at the biggest corporations in America; who is hired for state and federal government civil service jobs (that come with incredible pensions and benefits); who is promoted at the workplace; who is awarded government contracts in the name of quotas, affirmative action, or that famous buzzword “diversity.� And in each case, if the decision or access to opportunity is based on reverse racism, it's wrong and a violation of our civil rights!

Reverse racism- no matter if the intent is to remedy some past wrong- is still racism. In each case it is a violation of everything for which America stands. To choose to exclude applicants who might be more talented, smarter, harder working, more worthy, but just happen to be white, in favor of those who happen to be black, is quite simply a travesty. It creates, not promotes racial disharmony. Ironically, affirmative action encourages this idea of “two Americas� that liberals talk about nonstop.

My parents taught me that two wrongs do not make a right. I was also taught that race should not and does not matter. Yet, the government says that it does- when they violate my civil rights calling it “just.� I call it what it is, reverse racism. How can you call it anything else when having a certain skin color gets you a job, salary or college admission? How can you call it anything else when the color of your skin gives you advantages, mandated by government? How can you call it anything else when decisions that affect the rest of our lives (for better or worse) are determined by race? In the 50´s and 60´s when this debate began, and it was people of color being discriminated against, it was called what it is- racism. Today, when it is a different color of people being discriminated against, how can it be called anything else! In my opinion, any form of discrimination is just plain wrong- whether the person on the receiving end is white, brown, black or yellow.

Talent, and a willingness to work, should determine every American's level of success. Achievement should be based on what's in our heads, the decisions we make, how hard we are willing to work- never on the color of our skin. No one deserves to be hired, fired, qualified, or disqualified based on their skin color. The only color that matters should be gray- the gray matter in our brains.

The liberal media will tell you that racism, as I've just outlined it, doesn't exist, or is somehow “just.� Let me tell you through my own experience and that of my college classmate, Barack Obama, just how WRONG they are. As I've already pointed out, Barack and I graduated from the same college, on the same day, with the same major, both from lower middle class families. Except for the color of our skin we couldn't have been more alike. I had good grades at Columbia, (B+ or higher) and good LSAT (Law School admission exam) scores. Good enough, I was told by my Columbia University guidance counselor, that I could gain acceptance into virtually any law school in America, with the exception of the Ivy Leagues (Harvard, Yale, Columbia). “Don't even bother to apply to your favorite choice Harvard- you just don't have the grades,� I was told. And, you know something, I accepted the fact that my grades weren't good enough, and that more qualified applicants should attend those schools.

Yet, Barack was accepted to Harvard Law School. Was it because of his grades, test scores, and college record? Or, was it because of the color of his skin? I think inquiring minds (and voters) have a right to know. My life (and grades) at Columbia are an open book. They are available for everyone to see. But, newspaper after newspaper has told me that Obama's campaign refuses to release his college transcripts. Why? What has he got to hide? That same Obama campaign never hesitates to mention in every media story that Barack graduated Harvard Law School with Law Review honors. But never even a mention of his Columbia undergraduate record. Why?

Now don't misunderstand me. I don't think any of this really matters 25 years later…nor should it. We all know Barack is smart and gifted. We all know he is the best orator since Reagan or Clinton (at least with a teleprompter). However, his grades of twenty-five years ago are very meaningful in the context of this argument.

With two classmates running on competing Presidential tickets, this is the perfect opportunity to openly discuss affirmative action- and why, in my opinion, it must now end. Barack supports affirmative action, I do not. Why? Because affirmative action has dramatically altered both our lives. What could be a more ideal forum for discussion and debate than comparing how it affected the lives of two high-profile college classmates running on opposing Presidential tickets?

People of color will tell you they are angry about being denied opportunities based solely upon the color of their skin. If so, don't I have a right to be just as angry if I had a better college record than Barack, but he was admitted to Harvard Law School, and I was not even considered good enough to apply? Did he have a right to jump over me, without regard to merit?

Barack and his wife (also a Harvard Law graduate) have made several controversial statements about race in America. Barack's pastor- a chosen “father figure�- has made racist and anti-Semitic remarks. Michelle Obama has commented that she has never until this moment (of Barack's nomination) been proud of America. Wouldn't it be significant to open a national dialogue on the topic of race and affirmative action? To find out if, in fact, America was truly “unfair� to the Obama family…or if in fact, this country has been extremely fair to the Obamas- perhaps even treating Obama and Michelle in a superior fashion to others- simply because of their skin color.

What if it turns out that I was the one treated badly by a system that bases decisions on the color of a person's skin? Is America comfortable with this double standard? After all, my family owes no debt to people of color. My family arrived in America at the turn of the 20th century. We were not here when blacks were sold into slavery. To the contrary, my relatives (of Jewish ancestry) were enslaved and murdered in many different countries because of their religion and race. Yet I've never complained once, never asked for reparations, never used past transgressions as an excuse to demand superior treatment today.

Interestingly, not only did my ancestors not participate in persecution, racism or slavery, we were victims of it ourselves. Worse, Obama's ancestors were never enslaved in America. His father came straight from Kenya to attend Harvard. Not exactly persecution in my book. My father was a butcher who barely graduated high school. Yet simply because of the color of his skin, Barack may have been treated better than me by Harvard Law School. Perhaps America was not only not so terrible to Barack, perhaps it bent over backwards to help someone that deserved no such special treatment.

Isn't this an issue that Barack demanded come out? In light of his pastor's racist comments, didn't Barack say it's time for an open and honest discussion of race? Shouldn't a white American be able to discuss this topic openly and honestly- just like a person of color?

Well here it is…and here I am. I'm putting it on the table once and for all. The time has come…the discussion is now open. I am not a racist. To the contrary, I've never judged anyone in my life because of the color of their skin. That's my point. Race should not matter. But it certainly cannot matter to only one group- while everyone else is forced to accept discrimination; accept a violation of their civil rights in the name of “equality�; and walk on eggshells about the topic for fear of being called a racist. It is time for good Americans to speak up.

The time (and need) for affirmative action is now over. Ironically the proof is that a black man stands a great chance of being elected President of the United States. Barack is living proof that being a minority in America no longer limits opportunity. Talent is all that should be used to determine what jobs we get; what promotions; what loans; what colleges we are admitted to; what government contracts are awarded. And someone who is bold enough and honest enough to point that out should be congratulated, not attacked, not shouted down, not called names. That person should not be called a racist, anymore than a person of color should (like Barack), if he brings up the same topic.

The NBA should serve as a great example of the folly and fallacy of affirmative action. If affirmative action is truly good for the goose, then it must be good for the gander too. Let's apply it fairly- to every area of inequality. Let's for example apply it to the NBA. Would any of us want government to mandate that the NBA be more representative of race in our society? Should the NBA be a certain percentage white, black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian? But of course that would be absurd. It would also be offensive and unfair to fans who pay top dollar to watch the best talent available in the world on the court. I would never want to mandate affirmative action in the NBA. The NBA should not be mandated 80% white. Nor should it be mandated 80% black. The color of the skin of the players should not matter. I simply want the best talent on the court- whatever the color of their skin. The same applies to boxing, football, hockey, golf, tennis, football, lacrosse, etc. Let only those with the most talent reap the rewards. Race should never again be a factor.

Well if you agree, why should lawyers, doctors, corporate executives, or government contractors be treated any differently? Why should college admissions be treated any differently? Why should the office of the President of the United States be treated any differently? The man or woman who occupies the oval office should get the job because of their talent, not the color of their skin. Affirmative action should not determine the Presidency- anymore than admissions to Harvard Law School.

That is why I think this is a perfect time, place and opportunity for an open honest national discussion and debate on affirmative action. That is why I've made this public challenge to my classmate Barack Obama- to prove that his grades were better than mine, and to thereby prove that he deserved to gain admission to Harvard Law School. I think Barack owes us all the opportunity to see his Columbia college transcripts. I seem to remember liberal critics of George W. Bush denigrating his Yale grades- until we found out that W's grades were better than either Al “I invented the Internet� Gore or John Kerry. Why was it important for the media to know W's grades? Why is no one in the media demanding that Obama release his college transcripts?

Well now we have a more valid and timely comparison to make. Two classmates from the same college class, same major, same graduation day, of different races, both desiring entrance to Harvard Law. One got in. One did not. Why? Did one benefit unfairly from admission criteria based on the color of his skin? And, if so, how can it be called anything but racism, regardless of the color of the skin of the one discriminated against.

One of my heroes Ronald Reagan once changed the world by forcefully demanding, “Mr. Gorbachov, Tear down this wall.� I now throw down the gauntlet to my college classmate. “Barack, take up my challenge. Show us your grades.�

Then, let's have a debate about race and affirmative action. Quite frankly, I believe Barack and I have the same goal- the elimination of racism. Who better than the two of us to face the topic head-on.


Wayne Root is the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee on the Libertarian Presidential ticket of Bob Barr/Wayne Root. His web site is: www.ROOTforAmerica.com.

Hockey Mom and Hunter Leaves Two United States Senators as Road kill!

That should be the headline in newspapers around the world this morning. A couple of weeks ago I took off my Vice Presidential hat to act as political commentator and pundit to critique Barack Obama's V.P. choice of Joe Biden. I called it a terrible choice, a bland choice, and strategically, a failure. As a matter of fact, strategically, BOTH parties blew it. If Obama picks Hillary (and her 18 million primary votes) he has a good chance of sitting in the White House. But Joe who? From Dela-where? The guy known for plagiarizing his speeches? After watching last night's Sarah Pallin performance, I can only say, now, that Obama's best shot at victory is if Biden plagiarizes Pallin's speech!

Now, don't get me wrong. McCain and the GOP also made a strategic mistake. Winning the Presidency is all about electoral votes. If McCain picks Mitt Romney, he probably guarantees himself the White House. Nevada (my home state) might be the crucial battleground state in 2008. If the Republicans don't hold it- they lose. PERIOD. Nevada is 25% Mormon (believe it or not). Nevada loves Mitt Romney. He won the GOP Primary here. McCain came in third (behind Ron Paul). 'Nuff said. But even more importantly, from a strategic standpoint, Romney gives McCain a great shot to win Michigan, too (his home state- his dad was Governor). Michigan is the ultimate prize with 17 electoral votes. Take Michigan from Obama's column- that's a 34 electoral vote turnaround. Obama cannot recover from that knockout punch. Bar the door, Katie; game, set, and match for McCain. And, as a bonus, McCain said the economy isn't his strong suit. It is certainly Mitt's (the $300 million dollar man). Weakness solved. But alas, it wasn't to be.

Enter, Sarah Pallin, stage right. Romney no longer matters. He, too, is road kill. Handsome, dashing, smart, but suddenly outed as boring. Huckabee was considered glib, colorful and funny- until last night. Compared to the hockey mom/pit bull Pallin, even he too is road kill. Guliani was considered a vicious New York pit bull, until last night. But, no one can play pit bull better than a beautiful, sweet, Hockey Mom. A pit bull, with lipstick and high heels. Good luck to Joe Biden. He'll need it.

A pit bull Hockey Mom just left most of America's most gifted male politicians (and orators) dead in the middle of the road. She sliced and diced Obama, last night, like a wood chipper. Obama's political career is lying in pieces, in a ravine somewhere in Alaska- with snowmobile tracks leading from the carnage.

Pallin's line about a “community organizer� being about the same as a small town Mayor...�except the mayor has responsibilities� was a hockey puck to Obama's groin. Then, she finished Barack off, by referring to his fake Greek columns being carted back to Hollywood. Ouch! I could hear every guy in Middle America screaming in laughter. With one line she emasculated Barack's entire fake career. Then, the hunter shot him once more for good measure with the line about Obama saying nice things to small town America to their faces...then badmouthing them when he's back in San Francisco. Did the body move on that last shot? Or was he already finished off? Hard to tell.

You've got to admire a hunter who can shoot that accurately in high heels. I could see every hunter, fisherman, gun owner, steel worker, and every working mom and housewife who has ever felt unrepresented or demeaned in Washington D.C., high-fiving and screaming in joy. Sarah Pallin was the star of “9 to 5� last night. The small town secretary gutted her male boss and took over the CEO job…with a smile and a wink.

She not only sliced, diced and embarrassed her political opposition, she defeated the entire media elite and the “Beltway Insiders.� She left them all gasping for air, on their knees, pleading for mercy from the professional huntress. Pallin's speech was a verbal fusillade to the imaginary heart of every elite liberal snob in America.

“The great community organizer� is on life support this morning wondering if anyone got the license plate of that Hockey Mom. About the only thing she left out was a little something with which I would have ended my speech:

“And to you, the elite media and press... Please keep writing lies, slanders, and half truth´s, about me and my beautiful children -- because, let me tell you something about small town people: we don´t live in just Wasalia, Alaska, or Mizzoula, Montana, or Sheep´s Creek, West Virginia…or Lyons, Nebraska. We also live in Detroit and Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Chicago, AND here´s some news for you....we even live in New York City... and every time you sit in your ivory towers and write your vicious, elite, smug lies, you send another thousand voters to me and John McCain. Keep writing; I beg you- keep writing.�

Yes, I think “Mrs. Smith is headed to Washington.� In real life. Sarah Pallin is playing Reece Witherspoon in “LEGALLY BLONDE� - except Sarah's brunette and she's got a hunting rifle. You remember how that ends don't you?

As Don King would say “Only in America.� But, isn't that what makes America great? Sarah Pallin isn't perfect. As a matter of fact, her personal life may be a mess. But who cares? She's charming and refreshing and, as we say back in New York, she has chutzpah! You gotta love her. That was a performance for the ages- with the gossip and rumor mills going at hyper speed, and the vicious D.C. press corp. literally on her heels, she walked onto that stage with ice water in her veins, pulled the trigger and hit the bulls eye. Dead Center! It can't happen in France. It can't happen in China. It can't happen in India (think caste system). It can't happen anywhere else. Only in America can a small-town gal and hockey mom with 5 kids get a chance to slice, dice and humiliate the most powerful men in the political world- and beat them at their own game.

Wasilla, Alaska 10
Washington D.C. and Chicago, Illinois 0
Game on.

From one S.O.B. (son of a butcher), small town boy, street-fighter, small businessman, home-school dad and citizen politician…to another- Congratulations Sarah for serving notice to the Hollywood, Manhattan and D.C. pompous, snobby elite class that it's time for real change. I'll see you in Washington D.C.

Somehow, I think, from this moment on, things will never be the same. Real Americans have served notice: we are taking back America. And, to the Obamas and Bidens and old school boys, I say- “be afraid, be very afraid!�

Wayne Root is the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee on the Libertarian Presidential ticket of Bob Barr/Wayne Root. His web site is: www.ROOTforAmerica.com.