Published On: Thu, Oct 25th, 2012

Johnson, Stein headline Third-party debate, which deals with issues ignored by Obama, Romney

Most voters didn’t know there was a Presidential debate Tuesday evening and most would only recognize Larry King’s name, who was not a participant, but the moderator.

King, who called the candidates “Don Quixotes” at the event sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to get more candidates on ballots.

The debate included candidates from four parties: Jill Stein of the Green Party, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian party.


The candidates answered six questions on topics including election reform, the war on drugs, the role of the military, the cost of college education and the National Defense Authorization Act.

“We cannot be the policemen of the world,” Mr. Goode said, followed shortly by Ms. Stein’s similar sentiment: “A foreign policy based on militarism and brute military force is making us less secure, not more secure.”

All four call for the repeal of NDAA.

“What we have seen through the Bush years, and now Obama, has been absolutely subversive and anti-American,” Anderson said. “There’s been no more anti-American act in our history than the NDAA. And in 2009, President Obama asked for the power to indefinitely detain people without charges, without trial, without legal assistance and without the right of habeas corpus. We are on the road to totalitarianism and that’s not an exaggeration.”

Both Johnson and Goode said they would write an amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress.

“If we don’t adopt term limits, you will always have a Congress that is always worried about the next election instead of what’s best for the country,” said Goode, who served 12 years in the U.S. Congress representing the state of Virginia.

The most diverse dialogue came on the question of education. Johnson, who is as fiscally conservative as he is socially liberal, argued the reason for the high cost of education is guaranteed government student loans.

“Because of guaranteed government student loans, no one has the excuse to not get a college education. And so because of that, institutions of higher learning are immune from pricing,” Johnson said.

The Libertarian nominee said if students were not able to pay the high cost of tuition and did not have government-guaranteed student loans, universities would drop the price to make it more affordable to more students.

Stein argued college should be “free,” and a system similar to the G. I. Bill for veterans should be adopted for everyone, because it proved to be beneficial in the past.

“For every dollar that we invested as taxpayers, $7 was returned in benefits to the economy, including more than enough revenue to cover the full cost of those tuition payments,” Stein said.

Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, agreed with Stein and added students should be allowed to declare bankruptcy on their government student loans – something they can’t do under the current system.

“You can charge a Maserati on a credit card and have bankruptcy, but not student loans,” Anderson said.

On most social issues, the candidates were in agreement – except for Goode, a staunch social conservative. On the question of the war on drugs, Stein, Anderson and Johnson each railed against the status quo and argued the U.S. wastes billions of dollars each year through law enforcement and incarceration for a fruitless cause.

All three argued for the legalization of marijuana and Stein, a medical doctor by profession, argued marijuana is physically safe substance.

“Marijuana is dangerous only because it’s illegal – not because it’s unhealthy,” said the Green party candidate, explaining the biggest dangers associated with the drug are the criminal elements that form as a result of its prohibition.

“Fifty percent of kids graduating high school have used marijuana, but that’s a family issue – not a courts issue,” the former governor of New Mexico said.

Only Goode, the Constitution Party nominee, argued the war on drugs was not a waste and said he would not support legalization in any form.

Because the debate focused on ideas and principles — rather than the candidates’ records and qualifications — the tone of the debate was genuinely warm, without any of the direct engagement or interruptions that have marked the Obama-Romney and Biden-Ryan debates.

UPDATE: King’s complete quote – “You’re all Don Quixotes in a way, but the windmills have a way of stopping and we have a way of saluting you just for getting into the fray.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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