On third parties, the conservative movement, and 2012 America: The Constitution Party interview
By Ronald Glenn
The third party. At a time when more and more people on both sides of the political debate feel disenfranchised and disappointed in their respective parties, the talk surrounding a viable third party is growing. Whether it be the Green Party on the left, the Constitution Party on the right, or the Libertarian Party on a completely different plane, whispers have become shouts.
Ten days ago, in an article I posted alongside Jeff and accompanying an interview I conducted with some of Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s supporters here in Pennsylvania, I mentioned that I’ve been looking into the role of third parties in America. One that is especially important is the Constitution Party, representing perhaps the most important religious conservative alternative to the Republican Party.
I wanted to talk about third parties, the conservative movement as a whole, and where the Constitution Party fits into the entire spectrum, so I went straight to the top. James N.Clymer, Esq., the National Chairman of the Constitution Party National Committee, was wonderful enough to answer some questions for America’s Right on these such matters.
His resume is too extensive to quote in full, but, in short. he has a B.S. in History from Millersville University, a law degree from Washburn University Law School, and was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1978. He has also run for state offices in Pennsylvania as a candidate for the Constitution Party and is a life member of Gun Owners of America. He has been interviewed on various national radio and television shows, including Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes and Glenn Beck’s radio talk show.
On behalf of all of us at America’s Right, I’d like to thank him for taking time from his busy schedule to answer some questions. As Jeff is fond of saying, this Web site certainly isn’t the biggest or most prominent place to find conservative thought on the World Wide Web, but I’d like to think we do a pretty good job. Still, it says a lot for a busy man like Mr. Clymer to go out of his way to answer questions.
Can you give a brief summary of the core values of the Constitution Party?
The core values of the Constitution Party include the following:
- Limited government and, as to the federal government, limiting it strictly to the constraints of the Constitution according to the intent of its framers.
- Recognizing that the primary duty of government is the protection of life, liberty and property, i.e. private, individually owned property.
- There are certain “unalienable” rights held by all humans and these rights come not from the hand of government but are endowed by our Creator. It is the duty of government to protect these rights.
- Every system of government must adopt some moral code as the foundation of its jurisprudence. We believe the US Constitution and the legal system that it instituted has as its foundation the moral code set forth in the Bible and as embraced by the Christian tradition.
There is always a heightened interest in in third parties during a presidential election, but that enthusiasm often wanes in the post-election loss to either a Democrat or a Republican. What does the Constitution Party believe it can accomplish in the four years before the 2012 presidential election?
By all appearances, this cycle is setting up as an anomaly from the normal as postulated in the question. Ever since the election, we have been getting increased inquiries and requests for information about the Constitution Party, far more than in past post-election years. My sense is that a far greater percentage of the voting public has concluded that both major parties are taking us down the road toward serfdom and are more willing than ever to look at an alternate party to reverse the trend. Our emphasis between now and 2012 is to build the infrastructure of state party organizations so that we have a much better organized army of volunteers able to effectively promote the candidacy of our presidential nominee in 2012 as well as make competitive races at all levels including state legislative, congressional and governor races.
Do you think it is unfair to say third parties consist of disgruntled voters who are guided more by their dislike of the current state of America than they are by working to create positive solutions?
The fact is that negatives tend to motivate people more than positives. Every direct mail fundraiser knows that getting people alarmed will raise more money from the masses than promoting an ideological goal. For most people it requires a strong emotion to get them to move away from the routine that they are used to and comfortable with. So, yes, the people who are motivated to break free of the dogma fed them by the two major parties are usually initially motivated by some strong emotion that is evoked by understanding the dire straits into which the Democrats and Republicans have alternately pushed us.
As they get involved in the Constitution Party however, they become increasingly goal oriented. Because the goals are to restore that which the government has many times wrongly taken away, a “positive solution” may in fact be undoing a wrong. I do not accept any implied premise that a positive solution must be action by government to solve a problem which it has no duty or right to involve itself with and which denies inherent rights to some to give special rights to others.
The fundamental political criticism against the Constitution Party platform has been that it takes Christian conservatives away from the Republican Party, which does nothing but help the Democratic Party. Is this criticism valid?
That criticism is not valid. To the extent the Constitution Party takes anyone from the Republican Party (or the Democratic Party or independents) it reflects the fact that the GOP has not delivered on its promises to the Christian conservatives. Lip service to a cause may placate believers in that cause for a while but when there is no action to advance that cause despite multiple opportunities, at some point the person is going to say you’ve had your chance and you didn’t deliver.
In the past they had nowhere else to go except to the Democrats and that is the lie the Republican leadership would like to keep foisting on the conservatives. History has shown that when the GOP breaks with its stated ideology in its practice, there comes a point where their constituency will cast their vote for the opposing party even if it believes less of what the conservative believe.
This is what happened in 1992 when they kicked out Bush 41 for Clinton and in 2006 when the Republicans lost control of Congress. With very few exceptions, the races lost by the Republicans could not be attributed to votes cast for Constitution Party candidates. In 2008 there were at lest two senate races where the loss margin of the Republican [Party] was exceeded by the votes cast for our affiliated candidate but the reason is the same. The conservatives are fed up with Republicans who claim to adhere to one set of principles only to advance another in practice and they will fire them one way or another. The Constitution Party provides an outlet for them to express their views by allowing them to vote for what they believe rather than merely voting against the one who betrayed them.
Readers of America’s Right have stated in many responses to its articles that the conservative anti-abortion platform must be abandoned by the conservatives, including the Republicans, or they cannot win a national election for the American presidency. Do you believe that is true?
Absolutely not. As recent polls show, a majority of Americans are pro-life. Republicans in the past who have won the presidency, did so because they were perceived as pro-life, even when they were not or at least were only marginally so, as in the case of both Bushes. There is a strong trend in the Republican Party to abandon the moral foundation of its ideology and attempt a secular, humanistic foundation to its platform that focuses on economic issues. I believe that strategy will hasten the demise of the Republican Party.
As you know, the issue of gay marriage is ready for battle in the state of Pennsylvania . Does the Constitution Party intend to have its voice heard on this issue in the coming months?
I of course speak for the Constitution Party National Committee as its National Chairman but I am not chairman of the Constitution Party of PA and I am less inclined to speak for the state party as to what its policy involvements will be. We in the Constitution Party adhere strongly to the belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman and should only be recognized as such by any government. Both the federal and state constitutions permit the jurisdiction of the courts to be limited by the legislature. It seems a better approach would be to limit the jurisdiction of the courts to preclude them from ruling on marriage rather than expanding the power of government through a constitutional amendment. Unless we address the root problem of courts exceeding their authority, liberty will not be advanced and the problem will not be solved by expanding the power of government.
If someone wishes to organize a Consitution Party committee at the local level in their area, what should they do to get a good start?
They can call the national office for proper contact and organizational information by visiting the website www.constitutionparty.com, the toll free number 1-800-2VETO-IRS or the local number (717) 390-1993, or in Pennsylvania call or email the state vice chairman, Jim Panyard, who heads up the PA organization and effort. He can be reached at (717) 832-4999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ronald Glenn has worked in real estate and law for more than twenty years. He now works in Philadelphia, and lives outside the city with his wife. Ron has been writing for America’s Right since January 2009.