by Krzysztof Lesiak
A few days ago, I submitted fifteen interview questions to Tom Hoefling, the founder of America’s Party, its candidate for President in 2012 (he received over 40,000 votes nationally), and a candidate for the Constitution Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, which will be decided April 13th-16th in Salt Lake City, Utah. Yesterday, Mr. Hoefling emailed me his responses. The full interview is below:
1) First of all, could you provide some background information about yourself?
Certainly. My entire biography can be found at my website, which is www.tomhoefling.com. But, in short, before anything else, I’m a Bible-believing Christian. Then, I’m a husband and the father of nine children, with three grandchildren so far. Politically, I’m a constitutional conservative. In terms of experience, I’ve been a conservative activist and consultant for approximately 25 years, at all levels of American politics, and have worked on campaigns, party-building, ballot access, political organizing, and political communications, at one time or another, in most parts of the country.
During that time, I have been a consistent advocate for the natural law moral principles of our national charter, the Declaration of Independence, and for the sacred sworn obligations of all who take the oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
In November of last year, I was named by Newsmax as one of the top 100 most influential pro-life advocates in America. I am the only presidential candidate who maintains a Tier One rating as a personhood pro-life leader with American Right to Life.
2) You are a founding member of the America’s Party, as well as its 2012 presidential candidate. Why do you feel there is a need for America’s Party (for example, why not just be a part of the larger Constitution Party only), in what ways does it differentiate from the Constitution Party, and how many state ballots is America’s Party on and in what states are you actively seeking ballot access?
I am the founder of America’s Party, a national political committee whose motto, among others, is, “we’re partisans only for principle.” In a real sense, America’s Party is the anti-party party. We make our electoral decisions based solely on proven adherence to the non-negotiable, moral, constitutional principles of our country, not based on party registration. So, in effect, all that America’s Party is, at its core, is a repository of the primary principles of the American republic, and a practical means for principled citizens to enforce real accountability on those we elect. We believe these two things – principle and accountability – to be absolutely necessary elements if we are to have any hope of rescuing, restoring, and sustaining America.
As yet, we have little in the way of direct ballot access. Our candidates have primarily run as independents in the several states, and/or under the banners of other parties, where that makes practical sense, and where no compromise of principle is involved.
I do expect to garner the California ballot line, with its 55 electoral votes, again this year via the American Independent Party. I also expect that if our forces are joined, together we will be able to add quite a few state ballot lines to the Constitution Party list in 2016, including my home state of Iowa with its six electoral votes.
3) What is your opinion on the candidacy of Donald Trump? Is Mr. Trump a conservative, and are you surprised that he has received support from some Christian leaders, such as Jerry Falwell, Jr?
Mr. Trump is a liberal. “Christian leaders” who support him should be ashamed of themselves, and other Christians should stop following their lead.
4) What are the four or five most important issues affecting the nation that you will be campaigning on?
The number one issue I always campaign on is that the nation as a whole has, sadly, turned away from God, and from the bedrock natural moral law principle that our rights come from God, not from any man, and that those rights are therefore absolutely unalienable. Until the American people return to God, and to moral principle, there is no hope of slowing down, much less stopping, our slide toward oblivion.
The second most important issue, which is related, is that the country continues to allow, under the color of “law,” the daily slaughter of more than four thousand innocent, helpless, defenseless little boys and girls in their mother’s wombs – a holocaust that is contrary to our national creed, contrary to every clause of the stated purposes of our Constitution, contrary to the explicit, imperative equal protection and due process requirements of that Constitution, in multiple Amendments, and contrary to the absolute equal protection requirements of all our state constitutions. Also closely related to the abortion question is the continued willful destruction by our elites of the crucial, God-created, God-defined cornerstone institution of our civilization, which is one man-one woman marriage. In short, without the natural family, and without posterity, there is no future for America. It’s as simple as that.
The third issue is our fight against the destructive, fallacious notion that judges are our rulers: that they are somehow supreme even over God, over the laws of nature, over our Constitution, over the other branches of government, and over every aspect of American life, contrary to all of the principles of republican self-government – with its necessary checks and balances – that are supposed to be guaranteed by our Constitution.
The fourth issue is the necessity of stopping the erosion of our national sovereignty, security, and borders by the globalists.
The fifth issue is the absolute necessity of stopping out-of-control growth of unconstitutional government programs and agencies, which threaten to bankrupt not only us, but our posterity as well – which amounts to the robbing of that posterity of their God-given, unalienable right to government by consent.
5) If you do not win the Constitution Party’s presidential nomination in April, will you run for the party’s vice-presidential nomination?
No. Not under current circumstances.
6) Now let’s get to perhaps the most pressing question. In a March 6th interview with ATPR, fellow CP presidential candidate J.R. Myers said the following about you: “Mr. Hoefling is more of a Neo-Conservative. This is why he’s not a good fit for the CP nomination. His past involvement has been damaging. Also, he’s spent the past eight years building a rival organization in opposition to the CP, and was involved in the California controversy with the American Independent Party.” Do you disagree with Mr. Myer’s assessment, and if so, why?
I’m not a neo-conservative. I am a constitutional conservative. I have no idea where Mr. Myers got such a notion. It’s certainly not based on anything I’ve ever said. He obviously doesn’t know me, or what I believe.
I had nothing to do personally with the AIP split from the Constitution Party. That division was already a fait accompli before I ever met most of the principals who were involved. I may have been in a position to benefit from it after the fact, but I didn’t have anything to do with the split itself. That was an internal conflict between Howard Phillips and the political successors of Bill Shearer after his death.
In any case, now, today, I’m offering the Constitution Party a way to, very possibly, heal that old rift and put the nation’s largest electoral prize, consisting of 55 electoral votes, back in the available column for the CP presidential ticket in 2016. I’m the only one in any real position to have any chance of carrying out that important peacemaking mission. I believe I can successfully bridge the divide between these parties, and add several more parties to the coalition as well, with the CP in the lead position.
If Constitution Party activists, America’s Party activists, American Independent Party activists, and American Party activists, will join forces around one principled conservative ticket in 2016, it’s obvious that we will all be much stronger than if we remain divided.
7) In a related matter, in a comment posted March 26th to ATPR, Mr. Myers questioned as to whether or not you are a member of the Constitution Party. Are you a member of the Constitution Party?
I’m trying in good faith to be a member. And, I’m trying to bring a substantial number of other activists – very good, very principled activists – into the Constitution Party as well, in my own state, and all over the country. Some of them, in those places where they are being welcomed, are already pitching in to help collect petition signatures and line up electors.
8) If you feel comfortable with sharing this information, would you be able to say how much money you’ve raised so far? Also, do you have any campaign staff, paid or volunteer?
I have a rather revolutionary view of money in politics. For a generation, conservatives have invested literally billions of dollars into national political organizations. Sadly, that money has mainly been used only to raise more money, or as leverage to completely dominate the grassroots from the national level. A number of years ago, we decided to tread a completely different path. Since not long after its inception, America’s Party has taken no contributions, and has expended no money. It’s all volunteer.
Since 2012, my presidential campaign has collected or expended no funds. Instead, we have returned to the historical model of the front porch presidential campaign, with the added tremendous benefit of the free modern communications capabilities that we all now have available to us.
According to the FEC, I placed at least 8th in the last general election – perhaps it would have been even higher if all the write-in votes had been tallied. This result was accomplished solely by grassroots means. Again, we spent nothing.
We’re not foolish enough to think that we can rebuild our entire political system, and save our country, with no money at all. It’s not that. We’re simply redirecting the flow of contributions away from the national level, urging contributors to instead send their precious, limited funds to deserving activists in the political trenches at the local level, or to worthy state-level political committees, where the money will be used 100% for its intended purposes, not to continue to line the pockets of the fundraisers and the professional political class.
In summary, we’re not only trying to restore the indispensable principles of the republic, we’re trying to remodel our practical political process, from the bottom up. We believe that this redirection of resources is one important way that we can, by example, restore government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The money men, the political consultants, and the media have had their way with us long enough, to our great detriment.
9) Do you support a noninterventionist foreign policy in line with the Constitution Party’s platform?
As I said before, I am a constitutional conservative. That means that as president I would use every constitutional power at my disposal to protect the sovereignty, security, and borders of the United States, and strive to maintain and enhance our ability to physically destroy any enemy that threatens our nation, our people, or our liberty.
For several generations, the self-serving machinations of our elites, who are almost uniformly globalists, have slowly but steadily eroded away our national sovereignty. I stand completely against them. I’m running for the presidency of the United States, not to be king of the world. As that great philosopher, Clint Eastwood, once said: “A man’s got to know his limitations.” The same is true of nations. We have neither the ability nor the responsibility to run the entire world.
Having said that, I would be duty-bound, constitutionally-bound, as president, to uphold our country’s treaty obligations, as long as those treaties are legitimate, have been ratified appropriately, and don’t violate the Constitution.
If I believe that any treaty to which we are now a party is in any way contrary to the rights, the interests, the security, or the sovereignty of the people of the United States, I would use the bully pulpit of the presidency as the means to persuade the legislative branch to revamp or revoke those treaties as quickly as possible.
People need to remember, this is not an area where the president is constitutionally-empowered to act unilaterally. Congress is granted great powers in the areas of declaring and making war, the ratification of treaties, and the conduct of our foreign policy. The executive and legislative boundaries of those legitimate powers must be respected. It’s an imperative of the presidential oath.
10) Are you familiar with the Austrian School of Economics? If so, what are you thoughts on this school of thought? In terms of the economy, do you support or oppose abolishing the income tax, the Federal Reserve, and how would you as President keep American jobs from going overseas?
Great questions. I’m quite familiar with the Austrian School of Economics, and I am an adherent. I believe that men like Aquinas, and Cantillon, and Turgot, and Say, and Bastiat, and the other originators of this supremely important school, put their fingers on the fundamental natural law moral principles of economics – founded in an understanding of private property rights and the divine prohibitions against theft and murder – that are absolutely indispensable to the creation and maintenance of any free and prosperous nation. I greatly admire their successors down through the centuries, right up to the present day – men like Menger, and Böhm-Bawerk, and Mises, and Hayek, and Hazlitt, and Rothbard, and others – for their strict adherence to principle, and their unyielding, consistent, personally-sacrificial opposition to the purveyors of the wicked, destructive doctrines of the Marxist and Keynesian state socialists, both in Europe and in the United States.
For decades, I have been a national advocate of the total elimination of the federal income tax, believing that system to be fundamentally immoral, destructive of liberty, and completely counter-productive in every economic respect.
The continuation of the unconstitutional monstrosity we call the Federal Reserve amounts to nothing more nor less than a gross dereliction of duty on the part of those we elect to represent us. If there is anything that should always be firmly under the direct control of We the People and our representatives it is monetary policy. The continued sacrifice of that control to the Fed can only lead, inexorably, toward tyranny and individual and national poverty.
The destruction of American jobs is primarily self-inflicted. It’s not caused in the first place by external competitors or enemies. Fix our monetary policies, replace our system of direct taxation with simple, efficient, non-invasive indirect taxation, remove the huge load of tax and regulatory burdens from the backs of our businesses, stop the torrent of unconstitutional debt spending, and we would quite naturally become once again far and away the most potent engine for prosperity and economic liberty in the entire world.
11) What are your views on the Israel/ Palestine situation? Do you favor either side in the conflict, or do you believe the U.S. should stay out of the issue completely? Also, what are your views on Islam? Would you favor banning Sharia Law?
My faith and world view require me to be a supporter of our ally Israel. But, of course, that does not mean that I think I’m running to be prime minister of Israel, or that I think Israel is perfect. I’m running for the presidency of the United States. Israel is a sovereign nation. They don’t want our charity, even if our Constitution authorized such charity, which it does not. They simply want us to act in a way that any good ally should act, and would prefer that we stop arming the enemies which surround them, enemies that have repeatedly attempted to annihilate them. But, in any case, it is in our national security interest that Israel remains an island of freedom and stability in the eastern Mediterranean.
While I bear no ill intentions toward the Islamic countries, I clearly recognize that their religion is also an overriding political ideology, one that is at its core hostile to America’s principles, one that has as its ultimate goal world domination. As president, I will continue to steadfastly oppose that aggressive ideology, both without and within our country, in every way that I can.
12) What are your thoughts on the War on Drugs? Do you favor continuing this government policy, or do you believe in either decriminalization or outright legalization of certain drugs, such as cannabis?
I believe that in our republican form of government, the people, as a sovereign body, have a right to legislate against those things that are destructive of our children, of the moral basis of our republic, and of our physical ability to maintain that republic’s peace and security. The recreational use of drugs falls into that category. I grew up in the Sixties and Seventies, and saw first hand many lives destroyed by drug use, including close family members. The destructive nature of recreational drug use at that time even deeply affected the fighting ability and cohesion of our armed forces. The fact is, a nation full of drug-addled minds is an easy prey for tyrants, from within and without.
If the cannabis plant has useful medicinal properties, as seems to be the case, we are foolish not to avail ourselves, out of a sense of mercy, of those legitimate uses, just as we do the poppy plant, among others. Also, hemp is one of the most useful plants in existence for the production of fiber. We’ve made ourselves poorer by not fully utilizing it.
However, if the medicinal or industrial use of cannabis is being utilized as nothing more than a camel’s nose in the tent for the legalization of recreational use, I think we should firmly resist that ploy.
13) Given that you ran against Virgil Goode for president in 2012, why should Constitution Party members support you as their candidate for 2016?
Virgil Goode is as fine a gentleman as you will find. He’s a great person. But, he is an unreconstructed Democrat when it comes to his continued support for the unconstitutional “entitlement” programs of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. When his support for those programs – even though he admitted to their unconstitutionality – was finally exposed during the three debates which were held in the run-up to the 2012 AIP presidential nomination in California, I ended up garnering a unanimous vote in my favor at their convention. In other words, I clearly represented the AIP platform and he did not. At the same time, I also represented the CP platform, which opposes unconstitutional programs such as this, while Mr. Goode did not.
14) There are some people who say there are theocratic elements in the Constitution Party. Is this the case? Would Biblical law and the Ten Commandments ever supersede the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, in your view?
In my two and a half decades in politics, I have rarely encountered anyone who is anywhere near what I would call a real theocrat. I would bet that most, if not all, members of the Constitution Party are, like me, small “r” republicans. In other words, they adhere to the exact same political philosophy held to by the republican founders of our country. The premise of that philosophy is – as laid out in the Declaration of Independence, and adhered to by principled westerners since the days of Cicero – that the natural law, the laws of nature and nature’s God, precede and supersede all man-made laws and constitutions, and that for our laws to be just, and work properly, they must conform to that higher natural, moral law. That’s what our founders meant when they said that we are “a nation of laws, not men.” That’s not theocracy, that’s America.
15) Lastly, what are your thoughts on some of your rivals for the CP presidential nomination, such as Don Grundmann, Scott Copeland and J.R. Myers?
My primary rivals for the CP nomination appear to be Mr. Copeland and Mr. Myers. I’m sure they are both fine people, with many good personal qualities. But, I don’t believe they possess the political experience, vision, message, communication skills, or political assets that will be required to sustain – much less build up – the Constitution Party as a real political force in America in the months and years ahead.
I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Hoefling for granting ATPR this exclusive interview. -Krzysztof Lesiak