Well, not THAT one.
But the former Rocky Mount congressman — who is now the Constitution Party candidate for president — will be in a debate with other third-party candidates next Tuesday in Chicago.
The four-way debate with Goode, Libertarian Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Justice Party candidate Rocky Johnson won’t be televised — but will be available online.
The debate will have some star power: The moderator is Larry King.
Yes, that Larry King.
“Organizers say at-home viewers will be encouraged to submit real-time questions on the social media like Twitter, where they’ll get King’s attention with the “AskEmThisLarry” hashtag”
For what it’s worth, I remember covering a debate among third-party candidates back in 1992, when the “real” presidential debate was at the University of Richmond. (That was the one where George H.W. Bush infamously looked at his watch).
Here’s the story I did back then:
Bill Clinton practices “ritual murder.” George Bush wages “genocide.” And Ross Perot is “a classical Mussolini fascist.”
Happen to miss those exchanges during Thursday’s presidential debate?
Then you also probably missed these solutions to the nation’s problems: Legalize marijuana. Lower the voting age to 16. Abolish the Cabinet, except for the departments of Defense and Justice. Promote “education for higher consciousness.”
Those were the highlights from Thursday’s other presidential debate at the University of Richmond, a four-way encounter among candidates (or their stand-ins) from the Libertarian Party, the New Alliance Party, the Natural Law Party and the Independents for Economic Recovery.
Granted, this one was smaller in scale than the big event. The whole shebang was squeezed inside the meeting room of a women’s dorm.
And there were certain logistical problems the main contenders didn’t have to face. IER candidate Lyndon LaRouche, for instance, is in prison. The Justice Department considers it a fraud conviction; his supporters call it a political persecution.
Either way, LaRouche is getting some political mileage out of his predicament. His posters proudly proclaim: “Lyndon LaRouche: The only candidate George Bush feared enough to put in prison.”
Nevertheless, there was still the ceremony expected of a presidential debate.
Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin, a physicist at Iowa’s Maharishi International University – named after the yogi who popularized Transcendental Meditation – arrived in an Olds 98 bearing American flags taped to the fenders and the party’s rainbow logo on the roof.
New Alliance Party candidate Lenora Fulani, a psychotherapist from New York, trailed an entourage featuring uniformed students from a military-style high school.
Souvenir hunters stalked the crowd. Newsday reporter Michael Waldman passed up Fulani’s pink, purple and green campaign badge. But he motioned toward a Natural Law Party supporter sporting a rainbow button. “They could quadruple their treasury by selling those.”
There even was media coverage, something these candidates don’t normally get a lot of. CNN was there. What more could you want?
And where the media gather, controversy is sure to follow. Libertarian Andre Marrou didn’t attend, and the rumor swept the press row that he wouldn’t stoop to appearing with what he considered mere fringe candidates. His stand-in would neither confirm nor deny.
Afterward, there was even spin control – of a sort. Louise Schwarz, a high school senior whose hair was dyed blood red, called Fulani the winner. “I was excited to see she supports legislation on animal rights.”
A pony-tailed Roy Scherer, who wore a T-shirt proclaiming “America Needs Another Tax Revolt” and described himself as “I do miscellaneous,” declared the Libertarian surrogate who had called for legalizing pot the clear winner.
“Legalize heroin. Legalize strychnine. Legalize everything and let people take care of themselves,” Scherer loudly proclaimed on the dormitory steps. “If you want to be a damn fool, that’s your unalienable right and if you’re a damn fool and you kill yourself, that’s just one less damn fool on the road out there with me.”
In between, the 200 or so students who showed up for the “alternative debate” were treated to a free-wheeling discussion that careened across some little-explored parts of the political landscape.
The Libertarians, who are fielding 1,300 candidates across the country and have even managed to elect some state legislators in ruggedly individualistic Alaska and New Hampshire, want to abolish virtually all government. “We believe not all problems can be solved,” said campaign strategist Steven Givot. “There will always be blind who cannot see.”
Fulani, who calls for a left-wing uprising to destroy the Democratic Party, wants to lower the voting age and spend 25 percent of the defense budget on AIDS research.
Debra Freeman, a Baltimore doctor who substituted for LaRouche, was the most outspoken. She warned of unseen forces who are controlling “the fascist” Perot. She called the death penalty “ritual murder” and lashed out at Gov. Douglas Wilder for condoning executions. “We’re seeing the murder of more unarmed black men by this administration than by the KKK.”
And then there was Hagelin, who spoke so softly he could barely be heard. He promised to slash the federal budget by two-thirds – without cutting services – by promoting “new knowledge” that would make government run more scientifically.
These aren’t fringe ideas, the speakers insisted.
“All we need,” said Libertarian surrogate Givot, wagging his finger at the CNN crew, “is that camera pointed at our candidate.”
Hagelin and Fulani were even more optimistic. They each predicted victory for their party in 1996, or at least by 2000.
LaRouche, however, may have to wait until 2004. That’s when he’s scheduled to get out of jail.