What to Watch for When Virgil Goode Debates Tonight

Here is what I will be watching for when Virgil Goode debates tonight. Does he style himself as a mainstreamish candidate who was disgruntled with his ex-party and happened to capture the nomination of a third party, or does he style himself as the spokesman of his new party carrying the Constitutionalist banner even when doing so will force him to take unpopular positions? To some degree (but not entirely) this is a question of whether to Virgil Goode this campaign is about Virgil Goode or the Constitution Party. Was the Constitution Party a convenient and available vehicle for Goode, or is he really a convert to a Constitution Party way of thinking?

My hunch is the former. This is based on several things. His initial website blared his intention to save Social Security. He mentions the Fair Tax on his issues page. He has so far failed to fully embrace non-interventionism. Etc. A lot of Tea Party style Republicans would be comfortable with his issues page and candidate comparison page. There is no “radical” Constitutionalism in it. His opposition to NAFTA, his mention of the North American Union, his opposition to US soldiers under UN command, his opposition to birthright citizenship, etc. clearly signal to a lot of Constitution Party types, but these issues tend to distinguish him in kind as much as they do by degree. He is running as a more populist/paleo/Buchananite candidate, but is he running a hard to the right of Romney campaign?

In the back of my mind in asking this question is whether Goode is attempting to maintain his viability for a future GOP or independent run, or is he all in with the CP. (Goode is, as my Mom would say, no spring chicken so that factors in. He may not be planning a future run due to his age so this may be more of a last hurrah.)

In a related question, who is the audience of a third party debate on C-SPAN? Will there be a large contingent of undecideds who are genuinely considering a third party vote, and if so what percentage of these will be conservatives who are trying to decide between Romney and Goode and/or Johnson and liberals who are trying to decide between Obama and Stein or Anderson? Or will the audience mostly be partisans who tune in to root for their candidate? There may be some data on such things, but my hunch is the latter.

So who will Goode be pitching to? Will he be pitching to undecideds that he doesn’t want to scare off with budget slashing Constitutionalism, or will he be pitching to hard right true believers who are still skeptical of him?

This dynamic also applies to Gary Johnson, who is considered by many hard core l/Libertarians to be insufficiently plumb line, but I have the sense that l/Libertarians have come to terms with Gary Johnson more so than right-wing Constitutionalists have come to terms with Virgil Goode.

My advice to Goode, were he to solicit it, would be to run against Romney as insufficiently conservative every chance he gets. Turn every question into a reason why Romney is unacceptable on the issue. He could play to both potential audiences by doing this. He doesn’t necessarily have to embrace purist Constitutionalism, although some nod that this or that program is unconstitutional on enumerated powers grounds would be appreciated. Goode’s opponent in this debate is not the other three candidates except Johnson to some degree. His opponent is Romney. And his audience, which I suspect is more likely to be exposed to his performance in discussions about the debate than by actually watching it, is conservative but wavering Romney supporters. People he can convince that Romney is so unsound on the issues from a conservative standpoint, that they are willing to say “Aww screw it” and cast a protest vote against Romney, especially in states that are safe one way or the other.


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25 thoughts on “What to Watch for When Virgil Goode Debates Tonight

  1. Pingback: Red Phillips: What to Watch for When Virgil Goode Debates Tonight | Independent Political Report

  2. Hawthorne

    It would seem Goode and Johnson would me making a case to rally Ron Paul sympathetic activists folks to back their parties, pay dues, and involve themselves locally, in local issues.

    One would think, particularly if Merlin Miller were there, Johnson could reach out to the more Leftish sorts that might tune into this sort of thing and explain the potential of a right-left alliance, particularly at the local level, while Miller could present a more holistic approach, to ecology and environment.

    Goode’s best bet is to do some damage in a state, but I agree with you, it looks like Romney has already closed that door.

    Though, Red, I suggest watching the debate in the character of being a cynical strategist for a Jesse Ventura Independent run in 2016. Think of yourself as an operative looking to write a few short position statements around a couple of issues.

    If these candidates to some degree repeat the popular phrases of their activist base, might be a constructive exercise.

  3. Feltan


    If Goode establishes that he is “running as a more populist/paleo/Buchananite candidate” that will be good enough for me at this juncture. I sure would appreciate any of the enumerated powers discussions at the debate tonight, but I’d settle for someone who isn’t quite perfect, but that I think is telling the truth.

    If Romney wins, I fully expect that he will abandon virtually any pretence of being conservative once in office. He says what he needs to in order to get elected; and as governor he did damn well what he pleased once there.


  4. Nate Weinstein

    Hmmmm… The comment sections here seem to be going a little slower than usual. Perhaps the Holocaust denial conference in Iran is tying up the schedule of most of the regulars around here?

  5. Pingback: Red Phillips: What to Watch for When Virgil Goode Debates Tonight | Socialist Agenda WebzineSocialist Agenda Webzine

  6. RedPhillips Post author

    After watching the debate, I think I may have been over thinking Goode, I’m not sure he is making some calculated effort to split the difference. I think Goode doesn’t really understands his new audience, which makes sense because he hasn’t lived with it. His audience has been mainstream conservatives and Republicans, and I think he thinks he is still speaking to that same audience.

    His answer on the drug question was very problematic. There are a lot of conservatives who don’t want to legalize drugs and for whom the idea is a non-starter. That is why you say drug are a state issue, which they are. But as a Constitutionalist you have to acknowledge that federal drug laws are unconstitutional on enumerated powers grounds.

  7. Nate Weinstein

    Red Phillips,

    Our nation once decided to leave the slavery question to the states as well, thinking that no state would actually go forth and legalize the enslavement of the African-American people, and we all know how that played out now don’t we…

  8. Kyle Kopelovich


    What’s next? Leaving foreign policy to the states? HA! We’d have 50 different foreign policies and terrorists would exploit that. No, What we need is one united foreign policy of kicking terrorist asses!

  9. Nate Weinstein


    Why not just leave child rape to the states as well? What happens when all the pedophiles move to one state and pass laws to legalize it? Red Phillips views on states rights will take our nation down a chaotic slippery slope of moral decay.

  10. Kyle Kopelovich

    Nate Weinstein,

    The argument you just posted regarding pedophilia is inherently homophobic. Are you saying gay marriage will lead to pedophilia? Sorry Nate, But most men that molest boys and have gay sex are heterosexual white christian males…Not gays.

  11. Nate Weinstein


    Perhaps you should re-read my comment. I never said most pedophiles are gay men. That would be an example of a stereotype. Most pedophiles are actually just like you described them and everyone already knows that.

  12. Timothy Yung

    Nate, child molestation is a states’ issue already and so is murder. Most sexual crimes and murder are prosecuted on a state level. Based on your logic we should eliminate all state governments and just have all 50 states combined into one federal state.

  13. Kyle Kopelovich


    Sorry for misreading your comment. I must have mistook it for something it wasn’t. It’s just sometimes the overbearing anti-American liberalism of this site gets me flustered and i lose my reading comprehension.

  14. Nate Weinstein

    Timothy Yung,

    What you are saying is not true. Are you telling me that the FBI is powerless to bust a child pornography ring? Based on your logic everything should be legal even arson and racism.

  15. Nate Weinstein


    I know what you mean. Sometimes I start to feel a little down after reading some of these liberal articles and comments so I just pop a handful of Cialis and wash it down with a few swigs of Jack Daniels and I feel great.

  16. Nate Weinstein


    I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel a little down after reading some of the liberal articles and comments on this site so I just pop a handful of Cialis and wash it down with a few swigs of Jack Daniels and I feel great!

  17. Kyle Kopelovich

    Timothy Yung,

    I think that the the federal government should be more powerful in order to step in where states aren’t doing their jobs in prosecuting the law. So if a state legalizes pedophilia, xenophobia, and misogyny, the federal government shouldn’t step in and enforce equality and democracy on that state? Ever heard of the concept of a “rogue state”?

    BTW – Your last name is spelled wrong.

  18. Pingback: Third Party Debate Commentary | Conservative Heritage Times

  19. Jared

    “Our nation once decided to leave the slavery question to the states as well, thinking that no state would actually go forth and legalize the enslavement of the African-American people,”

    lol….is this guy for real? 8 out of the 13 original states that ratified the US Constitution were slave states. Furthermore, the US Constitution itself acknowledges slavery in the “three fifths” clause. Thus, slavery was already legalized throughout most of the “nation” from the time it was founded, which proves that your statement quoted above is a complete falsehood with no logical basis whatsoever.

    I’m not even going to bother with the rest of your drivel in this thread.

  20. Pingback: Scott Galupo on the Third Party Debate (With Reference to Virgil Goode) | Conservative Heritage Times

  21. Timothy Yung

    Nate, you might be a troll but I will respond to yo as if you are not. The flip side to your question is what if the federal government legalizes something that the state governments object to. I believe the worse kind of child abuse is abortion. Roe v. Wade was the Supreme Court overrule state laws against abortion. Many states have laws against abortion that have been overruled based on Roe v. Wade. What if there was a Supreme Court decision that gave child abusers the right to abuse child and ruled that states could not restrict that right. The anti-slavery parties like Free-Soilers and the Liberty Party used state’s rights to outlaw slavery when the federal government allowed it. They also used state rights to refuse cooperation to the fugitive slave act passed by Congress.

  22. Pingback: What to Watch for When Virgil Goode Debates Tonight | ThirdPartyPolitics.us

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