Jim Antle’s article on Virgil Goode (post below) is the occasion for this Daniel Larison blog post. Larison is skeptical.
The Constitution Party is often the default third party alternative for antiwar conservatives. If one wants to vote only on foreign policy and civil liberties, the Libertarian candidate will usually be acceptable (though that wasn’t really the case in 2008), but the Constitution Party theoretically gives dissident conservatives of various stripes a vehicle to express their dissatisfaction with the Republicans on a wider range of issues. Antiwar conservatives unwilling to cast a protest vote for someone as socially liberal as Gary Johnson can usually rely on the Constitution Party to nominate someone credibly opposed to unnecessary foreign wars while still being conservative on most or all other questions. As the profile explains, Goode fits the second part of that description, but not the first.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t make for much of a protest candidacy if the third party candidate can’t make his differences with the major parties sufficiently clear. I have no objection to most of what Goode says here on foreign policy, but that remark about believing that there were WMDs in Iraq in 2003 is such a bizarre and unnecessary error that it brings me up short every time I read this article. The best part is when Goode qualifies his belief in the existence of Iraqi WMDs with the phrase “to some degree,” as if hedging on a demonstrably false belief made it less ridiculous. I don’t know why anyone would still be saying this in 2012. It certainly makes no sense for the nominee of a party that was opposed to the invasion of Iraq to repeat one of the worst pro-war lies. If he is hoping that this claim might make his past support for the Iraq (invasion) seem less obnoxious, he is mistaken.
The problem with the WMD argument all along was that even if we knew with absolute certainty that Iraq had WMDs, that still would not have constituted a sufficient casus belli for war. Invading Iraq because they had WMDs that they might use is still preventive war.
Crossposted at IPR without the editorial content.