Wayne Allyn Root is a frequent political commentator and the 2008 Libertarian Party Vice Presidential nominee, who has recently announced that he is leaving the Libertarian Party to rejoin the GOP and will support Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.
Root has held several high profile roles in the Libertarian Party, including chairman of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee and an at-large representative on the Libertarian National Committee. Below is Q&A correspondence between TheBlaze and Root to understand why he was drawn to the Libertarian Party originally, and what led to his recent move back to the GOP.
Q: What were the issues and principles that drew you to the Libertarian Party originally that you did not see in either major party?
Wayne Allyn Root: I believe in economic and personal freedom. I was drawn to the Libertarian Party (LP) because I want government out of my life -- out of both the boardroom and the bedroom. I believe in the limited government promised by the U.S. Constitution. I want government to get out of the way of small business owners like me -- put fewer rules and regulations in our way and allow us to keep more of our own money. I want government to remember that it’s our money in the first place. I want politicians to support and motivate the taxpayers, the private sector, and small business -- the economic engine of America
I was never a fan of the Democrat Party. America has become a country pitting the makers and producers versus the takers. I’m a “producer.” I have started up businesses and created jobs throughout my career, the Democrat Party offers people like me nothing. They demonize and punish success.
However, far too often the GOP has given only lip service to smaller government, individual rights, and the Constitution. Once elected, they ignore those ideas and grow government just like Democrats. Look at the spending under George W. Bush. Look at the 25,000 new rules and regulations under Bush -- far better than Obama, but still terrible. Look at the growth of government and the rising debt under Bush. Look at the increase in compensation, pensions, and number of government employees under all GOP Presidents. That was precisely why I left the GOP.
But I believe with the birth and growth of the Tea Party, this is now changing. I was born to be part of the Tea Party, the Tea Party represents me. For the first time in a long while, I feel good about the GOP and I’m happy to say I’m back!
Q: You have announced that you will be stepping down from your affiliations with the Libertarian Party, and are now supporting Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney. Why?
Wayne Allen Root:I started as a S-O-B, son of a butcher; small businessman, home-school dad, Las Vegas oddsmaker, political newcomer and citizen politician. I didn't meet the image of someone you'd expect to see succeed in politics, yet found myself running for the Libertarian Presidential nomination, starting back 2007.
Great things happened and I was elected to be the Libertarian vice presidential nominee in 2008. The Bob Barr/Wayne Root Presidential ticket garnered the 2nd highest vote total in Libertarian history.
I was then elected to the Libertarian National Committee (LNC)- the governing board of America's Third Party. I was also elected chairman of the Libertarian National Campaign Committee (LNCC)- the equivalent of the RNC and DNC. I was honored to be re-elected this past May to both the LNC Board and LNCC Board and named by the governor of Nevada to the Judicial Selection Commission in 2010, one of only two Libertarians nationwide to be given such an honor. I am thankful to every Libertarian that voted for me in each of these elections.
But it was time to make a change. I’ll always love the Libertarian Party. I hope to work hand in hand with Libertarians like Gary Johnson and Libertarian Republicans like Ron Paul and U.S. Senator Rand Paul to move this country in the direction of smaller, less intrusive government, less spending, and lower taxes. But to effect change, I now realize it has to be done in a party that can get people elected. That’s the Republican Party.
This election is the most important of my lifetime, the most important in the history of America. The economy is in danger of complete collapse. Did you see the latest jobs report? Disaster. Have you seen that sales tax revenues in California in July were down a staggering $530 million versus projections? Disaster. Did you see petroleum sales nationally in July were down to 1996 levels? Disaster. Are you aware that "Help Wanted" ads are down to levels not seen since the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008--when the entire financial system was on the verge of Armageddon.
These are signs of an economic tragedy unfolding in slow motion, right before our eyes. This is what happens when you put a man in charge who despises business, who loves bureaucracy, who thinks government has the answer to every problem, who has never met a tax he doesn't love, and who has never run a business or created a job in his life. He isn't qualified to run a bodega or a Dairy Queen, let alone the U.S. economy.
It’s time to put our differences aside to save our economy and the American Dream for future generations. To do this, we need to join together in one big tent to support Mitt Romney now. Or we will lose our country.
Q: What are the positions of Mitt Romney, and in the current GOP platform, that may come in conflict with the beliefs of a libertarian-conservative, or libertarian-Republican, and how have you come to terms with these concerns?
Wayne Allen Root: First, I’m a positive thinker. I always see the glass as half full. For this election I’m only interested in the areas where Mitt and I agree. We have much in common.
Second, the only issues that really matter now are the economy, creating jobs, lowering spending, lowering the debt and deficit, reducing taxes, and saving capitalism. On these issues Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, the Tea Party, and myself are all on the same team, rowing in the same direction.
Third, this election is NOT about Libertarian versus non-Libertarian. It’s about capitalism versus big government progressivism and Big Brother socialism. Mitt Romney is a capitalist businessman, not a career politician. Above all else, I too am a capitalist businessman.
Mitt Romney believes in the same things I do- keeping businesses free from government intrusion, allowing small business owners to keep more of their own money, and rewarding instead of punishing investors, innovators, and job creators. Mitt Romney understands, as President Calvin Cooledge once said, “the business of America is business.”
Mitt understands that Obama’s rhetoric, constant threats, IRS intimidation, barrage of tax increases, 60,000 new rules and regulations, and the coming threat and added debt of Obamacare, have ground the U.S. economy to a halt. Mitt is a turnaround specialist. That is exactly what America needs right now. For all intents and purposes the U.S. economy is a very large and diverse failing company in desperate need of a turnaround.
I call myself a REAGAN Libertarian. Reagan's policies turned a Jimmy Carter economic disaster--just like Obama's--into the greatest and longest economic boom in world history- leading to the creation of over 45 million net jobs; over $60 trillion in private sector asset creation; and the greatest increase in GDP in American history. Reagan's Bull Stock Market created more wealth for America's families than any boom ever. It was all because of the largest tax cut in U.S. history- from 70 percent top rate to 28 percent. At this point in time Mitt Romney can be our Reagan- with an exceptional added benefit. Mitt is also one of the most successful businessmen and turnaround experts in America.
I do not agree with Mitt Romney or the GOP on every issue. But I’m willing to put my differences aside in order to take back our country from the grips of socialism and the abyss of economic ruin. There is no other choice. Our back is to the wall, and Obama’s defeat is that important to the survival of our country, our children, our economy, our freedoms, and capitalism.
Also, as a Jew turned evangelical Christian, and a lifelong supporter of Israel, I believe the very existence of Israel depends on Mitt Romney's election. Obama is throwing Israel under the bus with his policy towards Iran. If President Obama would make reckless threats like this before the Presidential election, can you imagine what he'd do after the election, if he never again has to face Jewish voters? I am confident that President Romney will be the strongest supporter Israel has ever had in the White House.
Q: If the Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson received the same amount of media coverage as either major party candidate, do you think there would be a significant change in polls? Where would you fall?
Wayne Allen Root: Gary Johnson is a good man. He built a fabulous track record as the Republican Governor of a Democratic state--New Mexico. He cut spending, cut taxes 14 times, turned a deficit into a huge surplus, and led the nation in vetoes. He’s a great fiscal conservative leader. But he’s not going to win this election. Right or wrong, America’s political system is not set up for third parties. It destroys them. It holds them back. It keeps them out of the game. It's difficult and expensive to even get on the ballot. They won't let you in the debates. This election is between Romney and Obama. And you know where I stand. Let me repeat myself- Obama must be sent to the unemployment line, or all of us will wind up on the unemployment line.
I'd like to someday challenge the U.S. Senate seat of Harry Reid in Nevada, and hopefully join the U.S. Senate “Tea Party Caucus” of Senators Rand Paul, Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee. I could see Gary Johnson soon winning a Senate seat in New Mexico and joining that caucus, fighting for the same things we believe in: smaller government, balanced budget, dramatic spending cuts, the elimination of unconstitutional government programs, and a flatter, simpler U.S. tax system.
Q: Do you believe that there is a voting block of libertarians still on the fence in this presidential election, that could possibly be won over by either major party. What could Mitt Romney do receive support from more libertarians? What could Barack Obama do?
Wayne Allen Root: Since my announcement on Fox News that I’m endorsing Mitt Romney and joining the GOP, I’ve gotten hundreds of emails from people calling themselves either "big L Libertarians" or "small l libertarians" who agree there is no other choice. They too believe this election is about capitalism vs. socialism. They too believe Obama is the most anti-business President in U.S. history and is leading us down the road to serfdom. They too think the damage Obama would do in a 2nd term would be the final nail in our coffin. They too agree that while Mitt Romney isn’t perfect, he's pro business, pro capitalism, and doesn't want to bury business owners under mounds of rules, regulations and taxes. I'd like to help Mitt Romney rely this message, with young voters, small business owners, home-school parents, Jewish voters, and of course with voters in my home state of Nevada.
As far as what Mitt could do to help me win over Libertarians; V.P. nominee Paul Ryan said recently that medical marijuana is a States' Rights issue. I wish Mitt would weigh in on the issue and agree. I'd like Republicans and Christians to understand that social issues are better decided by the voters at the state and local level. Let's get the federal government out of as many of these issues as possible. If Mitt simply said that alone--he'd have the potential to grab a large portion of Libertarian voters.
As far as Obama, he is a lost cause. No American who believes in economic freedom, capitalism, entrepreneurship, or smaller government should even consider voting for Obama. He is Exhibit A for everything wrong with government. In his entire life Obama has never met a tax he didn't love, a spending bill he didn't love, a rule, regulation or mandate he didn't love, a problem that he didn't think government could solve. He has as much in common with Libertarians as a tuna fish has in common with a violin.
Q: What issue do you believe should be of greatest concern for libertarians, libertarian-Republicans, or libertarian-conservatives in 2012?
Wayne Allen Root: The answer is simple. We must put all our other issues on the backburner. Without an economy, nothing else matters. The central issue of this campaign of our lifetimes is “Who owns this nation?” Does it belong to “we the people?” Or Barack Obama, his big government cronies, and his entitlement addicted voters?
Clint Eastwood said, "We own this nation." It's time for us to take it back. Our children’s future depends on it. Our businesses and jobs depend on it. The future of America depends on it. The future dreams and quality of life for my 4-year-old daughter, Contessa; 8-year-old-son, Remington Reagan; 12-year-old son, Hudson; and my 20-year-old daughter, Dakota (a student at Harvard, soon to be attending Oxford); all depend on this election.
The American Dream will not survive for our children if Obama and his socialist cabal are re-elected. None of the small business owners that I know can survive another 4 years of Obama’s policies. Our economy will drop off a cliff after the election. Why? My father put it best 40 years ago, “I’d love to hate rich people. But I can’t, because no one poor has ever given me a job.” Obama is destroying this economy, bankrupting businesses, and killing jobs by demonizing and taxing the business owners. That’s the only issue that matters- if your job, your business, your income, or your assets mean anything to you.