America, Black and Blue from Red and Blue

On third parties, the conservative movement, and 2012 America: The Constitution Party interview

By Ronald Glenn
America’s Right

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 jpanyard@comcast.net.

—————
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.

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Comments

  1. JEFF SCHREIBER says:

    This, I think, is going to be the ongoing debate here at America's Right and in the Republican Party as a whole — in order to preserve our freedoms and our morality, do we come together in the most convenient form (the GOP) by uniting behind what we have in common (principles of a limited government, fiscal conservatism) or do we divide because some of us believe that the religious angle and the morality trumps all?

    Robert Wallace has a piece coming through in an hour or two that makes the argument that leaving the GOP may be the only option. I encourage the discussion of this divide … because we MUST get past it somehow before 2010.

    In the meantime, I have a phone call to make to Mr. Clymer. Until I do so, I'd like to express my gratitude for taking the time to talk with us.

    – Jeff

  2. McLAME says:

    WASHINGTON – Sen. John McCain says his opponent in last year's presidential campaign, Barack Obama, has "done well" in his first five months in the White House.
    The Arizona Republican says that using a legislative scorecard to judge the presidency so far, Obama has achieved all his legislative goals.
    On the down side, McCain says that Obama's successes in Congress have come with little or no Republican support.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well you just lost my vote. I want the exact same things out of government as you down to every last detail except the religious dogma. I agree with your stances on every so called "religious" issue not because a god tells me to, but because reason and morality based on the success of the human species and the individual lead to the same conclusions. Don't exclude reasonable solid moral voters because they don't believe in your god. The party is based on the Constitution not the Bible. The only difference between us is you have rejected hundreds of mankind's gods, I have rejected only one more.

    John Thornton
    Dedicated reader of America's Right

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Thornton,

    I am curious to know what grounding you would offer for the "reason and morality" that lead you to these conclusions.

    If, as I infer from your comment, you do not believe in the existence of a supernatural, transcendant Creator, how would you explain immaterial universal invariable absolutes like morality and laws of logic?

    Are they human conventions? Are they determined by majority opinion? Or would you say they are they the perceived result of innumerable random chemical reactions throughout the course of evolutionary history?

    Basically, I am asking why you have such confidence in morality and reason in the absence of the God of the Bible.

    I ask these questions with sincerity, and I hope you consider the implications of your previous statement.

    Nick Cochran
    Dedicated Reader of America's Right

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wow… what a great interview!!! I wish they could win :(

  6. Jennifer says:

    Couple of comments:

    This party will not take votes from Republicans but he states many reasons why they would leave? Not getting that logic.

    "As recent polls show, a majority of Americans are pro-life."

    …Until their kid/mistress/etc. gets pregnant. Even conservative Christians are not what they used to be. As long as it appears that Christians look like hippocrites the left will continue to win. You cannot impose morality on someone if your not willing to live the way you talk.

    "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."

    Why don't Christians take marriage back? I am a conervative Christian who believes marriage is between a man and a woman and the church they attend. I also believe that marriage should NOT be a government institution. I am for the use of civil unions for all. I think the best argument to save marriage is to get it back into the church. Again our hippocracy knows no bounds. We are willing to marry a Christian to a non-Christian (spoken against in the bible) but somehow it is so much worse to marry a homosexual couple? Maybe if the church was really out to restore the relationship that God created for man and woman I could stand up for the logic behind their arguments.

    Sorry. ranting a little today and am typing fast so there are a lot of typos…..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Nick Cochran,
    It's very simple: history and evolution.
    The Bible was an attempt to remind the succeeding generations what had worked for mankind so far. Hygiene, monogamy, societal rules, etc. kept people alive and promoted population groups. These weren't gifts of god they were learned by trial and error and passed on in the interests of preservation of the group or tribe. The Constititution is like an addendum to the Bible only now we are interested in the preservation of the species.
    When completely polarized groups emerge, competing godheads are no doubt at work and the only way to progress past the dead end is war. This will be obvious to you, as you can see, since there is no way in a million years I could convince you that my religion (none) is better than yours. This is why all truly religious people must, absolutely must, always choose their religious group over their country or else their faith is a sham. You surely believe all Muslims, when push comes to shove, would side with a global jihad over their duty as Americans. And I'm sure you also believe that Muslim faith is not stronger, deeper or more true than your Christian faith. Therefore at some point, you and your like minded believers must also choose your faith group before your Constitutional group (country).We (freedom loving peoples) are on the crossroads with Islam now, then maybe 100-200 years from now, Christianity will be the inflexible ideology that must be extinguished to keep freedom and continued growth of the individual and the species alive. Just remember please: It's not the ideas or morality of the Bible (or the Koran for that matter) that are wrong, it's the complete deception used by those would take advantage of its truth to control others and limit freedom for their personal gain. I can think of no sin greater.

    John Thornton

  8. d.eris says:

    Nice work, Ronald. Many if not most partisans of the duopoly parties would prefer to continue ignoring third party solutions to ongoing political problems, and the possibilities contained in opening the national conversation to include voices outside the Republicrat/Demoblican divide. If you end up interviewing such a figure again in the future, consider getting their take on nuts and bolts issues surrounding third party organizing as well, ex. ballot access hurdles and restrictions.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It's very simple: history and evolution. The Bible was an attempt to remind the succeeding generations what had worked for mankind so far…These weren't gifts of god they were learned by trial and error and passed on in the interests of preservation of the group or tribe.

    So, if I understand you correctly, you believe morals are a set of rules society has agreed upon for preservation of the human species. This leads to the question, "Why ought we be interested in the preservation of the human species?"

    The only reasonable answer from your perspective seems to be self-preservation (i.e., do what is good for mankind so that I can survive). However, self-preservation (a.k.a. selfishness) seems a very unreasonable foundation for morality, which seems most often demonstrated in unselfish actions (e.g. self-sacrifice, serving, giving, forgiving). Are you saying that we ought to be unselfish (good of the tribe), so that we can be more selfish (good for me)?

    The Constititution is like an addendum to the Bible only now we are interested in the preservation of the species.

    I am quite certain those involved in the drafting of the Constitution would not agree with this statement.

    This is why all truly religious people must, absolutely must, always choose their religious group over their country or else their faith is a sham.

    I absolutely do choose my relationship with Jesus Christ over my country. However, I am currently blessed to be able to serve both my God and my country without significant conflict.

    Just remember please: It's not the ideas or morality of the Bible (or the Koran for that matter) that are wrong, it's the complete deception used by those would take advantage of its truth to control others and limit freedom for their personal gain. I can think of no sin greater.

    First, I agree that deliberate deception is wrong. Furthermore, I agree that truth can be abused for personal gain. However, that is not proof that the original is false. It simply means the original was misrepresented.

    Second, your statement assumes that limiting human freedom is wrong. On what do you base this assumption? From your earlier definition, I imagine you may say, "That's what has worked best in the past." But what if a future study revealed that less freedom and more centralized control was more beneficial to the survival of mankind. If less freedom was determined to be the most beneficial to the survival of the species, would you then fight for that as moral?

    Nick Cochran

  10. Gail B says:

    Jeff–Kathy's not the only one who's missing a comment.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Thornton and Mr. Cochran, both able debaters, to be sure, but I have to side with Nick.

    The whole basis for your argument, John, is the presupposition that you will have no god over you, so you come up with arguments and theories based on accepted speculations within your own "thought group". Perhaps you should read Dallas Willard's "Knowing Chirst Today" to gain a better understanding of the issues of morality from the opposing perspective, such as Nick seems to ascribe to.

    And I would like to add that, if you think deeply about it, it is only another manifestation of the fallen human nature that many more professing believers in Jesus Christ have not lived up to His teachings than have. It's all spelled out in Gal. 2:20, and few want to take their "faith" that far. Simply "believing" is in their self-interest and need not interfere too much in their lives as they want to live them; being crucified is a whole different ballgame and, if one is willing to go there, it produces the real thing.

    Old Bob

  12. Anonymous says:

    Bob and Nick,
    Obviously a Constitutional party with members as yourselves will be no improvement over the current parties since the freedom and advancement of humanity are not interests of yours. Prolonging the agony of man's bondage to myth is at the root of your concerns not the elevation of the human condition.

    In 1776 our fathers endeavored to retire the gods from politics. They declared that "all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." This was a contradiction of the then political ideas of the world where kings ruled as an extension of the hand of god. It was labeled pure blasphemy (and still is, the "Great Satan")– a renunciation of the power of gods in the POLITICAL affairs of men. It was in fact a declaration of the independence of the earth. It was a notice to all churches and priests that thereafter mankind would govern and protect themselves. POLITICALLY, it tore down every altar and denied the authority of every "sacred book." Spirituality, however, would not be abridged. Those who devised the Declaration adopted a Constitution for the great Republic where the priest was no longer a necessity. His presence was a contradiction of the principle on which the Republic was founded. He represented, not the authority of the people, but of some power above the people and to recognize this other power was inconsistent with free government. [Robert Ingersoll]

    "My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there." : Thomas Jefferson.

    You want to deny that the morality that is developed by the give and take, trial and error balancing of competition vs. cooperation in human interaction over the last 100,000 years or so is invalid if programmed in our genes by evolution, but yet it is identical to the morality that you program your children through fear of damnation.

    John Thornton

  13. SCRUBBED THOUGHTS says:

    I am missing a lot of comments, and thus am not in custody yet. Come on FEMA camps.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Good morning John.

    I hava an 8:00 AM appointment, so this will have to be short.

    First, I have no interest in a "theocracy" as a governing body. Fortunately, for a person of my beliefs, I find the Constitution as it stands to be just fine. But that is only a representation of a govenment that takes into account the fallen nature of humankind, so let's stick to that rather than turn this into a philosophical/theological debate. I don't think that that is what Jeff had in mind when he launched his blog (even though I'm the worst offender).

    But I do have one question for you; if it could be proven to you that the God of the Scripture really does exist, would you be willing to obey Him, or is it just a spirit of rebellion that shapes your thinking? If you can't say "yes" to that question, than there is no reason to even try to have a debate because you have already decided the issue for yourself and will continue to find "reasons" to distain the beliefs of those of us who do worship that God.

    And by the way, for all of his apparent governing wisdom, we should really exam the conflicts of decent morallity in his life before we use him as a reference for anything other than than that of a typically conflicted, unregenerate, person.

    Respectfully, Old Bob

  15. Anonymous says:

    Obviously a Constitutional party with members as yourselves will be no improvement over the current parties since the freedom and advancement of humanity are not interests of yours. Prolonging the agony of man's bondage to myth is at the root of your concerns not the elevation of the human condition.

    When did I say I had no interest in these things? This is clearly an assumption on your part, and it is a mischaracterization. I am very interested in promoting freedom and in improving the human condition. The difference is that I have a rational basis for my interest, whereas you have not yet demonstrated one.

    My morality is grounded in God's character as revealed in the Bible. "Good" is defined then as that which is consistent with His character (e.g. love, self-sacrifice, justice, prudence, forgiveness, faithfulness), while "evil" is that which is inconsistent with or a distortion of His character.

    God created human beings with freedom (or "free will"), and thus I believe it to be a good thing. Obviously we all abuse our free will (Romans 3:23), but the state of being free is a good thing. As an extension of this, I am also interested in freedom in the political context, and I seek government leadership who will promote freedom.

    I am also highly interested in improving the human condition. There are two levels to this, however. First and foremost, human beings need restoration to a right relationship with their Creator through accepting His gift of forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9). The second aspect of improving the human condition involves serving, loving, and caring for our fellow man, because every human being is valuable as a creature made in the image of God.

    I have just described both the grounding for my morality and the reasons why I am interested in preserving freedom and improving the "human condition."

    However, you have yet to give me a straight answer to the following questions regarding the grounding of your moral convictions:

    – Why ought we be interested in the preservation of the human species?

    – If less freedom was determined to be the most beneficial to the survival of the species, would you then fight for that as moral?

    Interested in your reply.

    Respectfully,
    Nick Cochran

    P.S. See this web site for numerous quotes from over 20 of our nation's founding fathers and their contemporaries, including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, and Noah Webster. You may be surprised at the depth of their Christian convictions and how they considered them to be absolutely critical to a successful government.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Nuts! When I'm a hurry, I always make mistakes. In the last paragraph of my last comment, I failed to mention that I was referring to Jefferson. He was a man of great intellectual capacity and wisdom in some areas, and total ignorance and htpocrisy in others.

    He created his own version of the Bible, by cutting out the sections he didn't agree with and keeping the rest. What hypocricy. The same is true of his actions regarding the obaminatin of slavery, and his view of the French Revolution was grossly naive and idealistic. If it had been his "innocent" head on a pike, he might have viewed it a little more realistically for what it developed into; a mob driven by a blood-lust.

    We need to be careful who and what we quote.

    Old Bob

  17. Anonymous says:

    Why was my pro-Jefferson comment scrubbed?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Bob,
    This is a discussion on the merits of a Constitutional party to replace those that have failed us by doing the exact thing Mr. Clymer seeks to do: making assumptions of the intent of the framers based on the agenda of his particular constituents. Jefferson and the rest were forming a new way for men to govern men that not only did not require supernatural authority, it abhorred it. They knew the lessons of mankind's history: Any time men elevate themselves over other men by virtue of a favored place in a god's mind, governmental failure and human suffering is certain. Your question is moot because the evidence is zero; I'm not Thomas. On the other hand, if a supernatural being of any kind appeared to the world, acknowledgment would be easy, obedience much more difficult, worship impossible. Discussing your god in terms of the USA government is irrelevant and delusional.

    Nick,
    Supporting your fellow man by the principles you have arrived at through Christianity is fantastic and certainly advances our evolution. Likewise, from any other religious ideology. However, writing the preference of one or another faith's morality into our Constitution is national suicide.

    - Why ought we be interested in the preservation of the human species?

    A better word would be advancement. Fighting against the nature of life to evolve and advance would be, even in you and your god's eyes, a sin. Are you so brainwashed as to have denied you and your children and their children's HUMANITY? Or are you simply a groveling shell for the soul inside that prays for the Rapture?

    - If less freedom was determined to be the most beneficial to the survival of the species, would you then fight for that as moral?

    In short, absolutely. Freedom means: the ability of men to decide with his fellow man the best path for success in the long run, without interference from men who claim to hear from silent supernatural powers.

    John Thornton

  19. Anonymous says:

    Is this America's Right or Old Bob's Right?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Time to change your webpage banner and remove the Jefferson memorial.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I caught that comment about "Is this America's Right or Old Bob's Right"?

    I guess I do "hog the stage" too much, and by now, everyone knows where I'm coming from, so you're probably right.

    I would love to dig a little deeper into John's specious arguments in favor of secular humanism, but that undoubtedly wouldn't change anyone's mind and, I agree, if off target from what Jeff has in mind for this blog.

    So, as they say, I'll "buzz off" for awhile and give everyone a rest. I've got plenty to do to keep me busy anyway; just became a great grandfather, I have a successful and growing software business to run, and I ain't getting any younger.

    The best to everyone who contributes to Jeff's blog. Good discussions and debates, regardless of which "side" you're on.

    Old Bob

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