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Missouri's 7th Congressional Seat: Libertarian Kevin Craig

The mid-term election is Tuesday, and one of the most passionately-fought races is for Missouri’s 7th Congressional seat. Three men are in the race: Republican Billy Long, Democrat Scott Eckersley, and Libertarian Kevin Craig. KSMU invited all three candidates to talk about where they stand, and what they’d do if elected. Here, we hear from Kevin Craig. KSMU's Jennifer Moore reports.

Moore: Kevin, thank you very much for joining us today.

Craig: Well, I appreciate the invitation. You know, third parties don’t always get coverage from the media, so I’m really grateful for the invitation.

Moore: You’re very welcome. You’re running to be a representative of the people of Missouri’s 7th Congressional district. Tell me, what two issues would you make your top priorities in office?

Craig: Well, I think most people in Missouri, and all three candidates running, have said that a top priority is cutting government spending.

So, I ask the voters in Missouri to ask, ‘How can you use your vote to maximize the chances that there will ever be a cut in government spending?’

Republicans have been promising to cut government spending for decades, and they never do. The Republicans, even when they controlled all three branches of government under the Bush Administration, didn’t cut a single dime. And the Bush administration actually doubled Bill Clinton’s education budget. And it used to be the hallmark of conservatives that they didn’t want the federal government dictating educational policy in local schools. And yet the Republicans have expanded federal control over schools. And that means, for example, the federal government telling us here in southwest Missouri that our local public schoolteachers can’t teach students that the Declaration of Independence is really true.

Moore: Explain to me what you mean by that. I saw that on your website.

Craig: You can teach a student that a bunch of dead white males used to believe that the Declaration of Independence is true. But as far as the actual proposition—like the idea of the existence of God, the idea of moral absolutes, the law of nature and of nature’s God, the idea that we’re all going to face God as the Supreme Judge of the World, and the idea that our rights, to put it in modern terminology—the Declaration says ‘endowed by our Creator,’ but today we might say it’s the product of ‘intelligent design’—you can’t teach those things because they violate the alleged—the myth of the ‘separation of church and state.’ And that’s what conservatives used to all agree on, that we don’t want the federal government imposing the religion of secular humanism on our local schools.

Moore: Well, let me jump in right there if I might—you’re talking about the phrase ‘separation of church and state’—a phrase that was actually coined by Thomas Jefferson, but is not found in the Declaration, as you say. But in Congress, how do you plan to create law that falls under your campaign theme of “Liberty Under God,” without establishing a particular religion, which, as you know, is prohibited by the first amendment? And can you give an example of legislation that you might sponsor which could walk that fine line?

Craig: Well, most of the legislation I would sponsor would simply be repealing previous legislation. I can hardly think of any legislation I that would sponsor that would actually require the federal government to take a positive effort to do anything. Mostly, I would repeal regulations which I believe impose a religious world view. But I would just say we need to abolish a lot of federal laws which are imposing the world view that may not be the world view that people here in southwest Missouri believe.

Moore: Your website – www.kevincraig.us – says you are the only candidate, quote, “following the example and principles of America’s Founding Fathers, working to abolish the federal government, the greatest enemy of ‘Liberty Under God.’”—end quote. What do you mean when you say you would both follow the principles of America’s Founding Fathers, and abolish the federal government, since the Founding Fathers were the ones who created our federal government?

Craig: Well, good question, and I appreciate the spirit of the question. I think that if you think about this, you would conclude that every single person who signed the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, if they could travel through time and look at the federal government today, would say that the federal government is much worse than the government that they abolished under the Declaration of Independence. There’s no rational or meaningful connection between the federal government today and the Constitution. And a lot of legal scholars have admitted this—they’ve said, ‘You know, we’re not really a Constitutional Republic like the founders invented. What we are is an ‘administrative state’—that’s what they say our new form of government is. It’s a government by bureaucracy.

And Madison, the father of the Constitution, James Madison, said that the very essence of tyranny is when one government body makes the laws, adjudicates the laws, and enforces the laws. And yet most of our lawmaking that’s done by the federal government is done through bureaucracies. That’s basically the essence of tyranny.

If you pay one penny in personal income tax, you’ll find out that the government is actually taking more than 50 percent of everything you earn. And the Founding Fathers would say that’s crazy.

And then we have, of course, the government telling local schools that we can’t even post a copy of the Ten Commandments on a classroom wall.

I’m really confident that every single person that signed the Constitution, if they were here today, would say that we need to repeal the Constitution and abolish the government it created.

Moore: What is your solution for bringing jobs to southwest Missouri?

Craig: Well, like I say, if you pay a dime of income tax, you’re paying more than 50 percent of everything you earn going to the government. And the government is very, very inefficient at creating jobs.

If we would abolish a huge section of the Pentagon’s budget, and a huge section of a lot of other bureaucracies which are unconstitutional and wasteful and harmful, we would have a lot more money that we’d be able to invest in businesses here, whether means going to a restaurant and making it possible for the restaurant to hire another chef or waitress, or having more funds to invest in the stock market, and invest in America’s means of production and so forth.

It’s basically cutting government spending, and allowing Americans to keep their own money and invest it in ways that they think are going to bring about a higher standard of living.

Moore: Kevin, tell me what would be your priorities in America’s foreign policy?

Craig: Well, if you are opposed to the US foreign government going around the world with predator drones, and bombs, and imposing a democracy, or imposing a dictatorship—usually, in the last few decades, the federal government has been overthrowing elected democracies and putting dictatorships in their place. In the [first] Iraq war, for example, a former Secretary of State was asked if she thought it was worth it that we had killed more children as a result of our sanctions than were killed in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and the government said, ‘Well, yeah, it’s worth it…’

Moore: Madeleine Albright, you’re referring to.

Craig: Yes, yes. What is it that’s worth hundreds of thousands of innocent non-combatant civilians being killed by the federal government? I don’t think there’s anything that’s worth that. So, foreign policy? If you are against military intervention, if you want to really slash the defense budget, I don’t think there’s any clearer choice in this race, that you should vote for the Libertarian party candidate, Kevin Craig.

Moore: Kevin Craig, Libertarian Party candidate for Missouri’s 7th Congressional District, thank you very much.

Craig: Thank you very much for the interview.

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You can hear an interview with Democratic candidate Scott Eckersley by going to our website, www.ksmu.org, and clicking on "Road to the Capitol."

KSMU made requests to the Republican candidate, Billy Long, over the course of a week.

On Friday morning, a spokesperson for Long, Royce Redding, said if KSMU provided the questions we would ask Long in advance, there was a chance we might be able to interview him.

Redding was informed that KSMU does not submit questions prior to any interview. Long did not get back to us by the news deadline.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.