29 July 2008

The Presidential Candidates: Bennie Lee "Ben" Ferguson

"My candidacy is unique in that I am the first offficial transgendered candidate for the presidency." Ferguson writes, "However, my candidacy transcends social issues." Working on a Master's degree in History while running for office, and concurrently running for Congress as a Libertarian, Ferguson has been an entertainment journalist and entertainer, and has seen much more of the world then many independent candidates as a touring performer. Ferguson might not necessarily be a legitimate candidate since he is the founder, and presumably the soveriegn, of the Kingdom of Fergus, a "micronation" created within the Hutchinson KS city limits as part of his college work. While Fergus is a "Kingdom," Ferguson regards the venture as part of the libertarian project. Maybe "Every Man a King" is also a libertarian principle.

Ferguson's globetrotting perhaps paradoxically resulted in "a deeply conservative political philosophy and a greater appreciation of the rights and liberties we enjoy as Americans." As a candidate, Ferguson is determined to "maintain a strong national defense and security for the United States, while at the same time ensuring the preservation of our basic civil rights and liberties." After eight years of the Bush administration, Ferguson notes that "At first blush, these objectives may seem incompatible, but to me this is the great challenge of our time. "

As far as the war on terror is concerned, Ferguson takes something like a plague-on-all-your-houses approach. In military terms, "Our goal in these conflicts should be victory and nothing less. Our government and the American people should do whatever is necessary to support our troops in the field and victory in these conflicts. Whether or not these conflicts are the result of ill-advised policy is beside the point. Having become involved, it is incumbent upon the United States to see these conflicts through to a successful conclusion." On the other hand, lest you take Ferguson for an Arab-basher or an Islamophobe: "the troubled relationship between the United States and the Arab world is largely the result of our government's unequivocal support for the state of Israel. Israel receives more U.S. foreign aid per capita than any other nation on earth. The state of Israel contributes nothing of significance to the security of the United States. On the contrary, American support of Israel is one of the primary reasons our country has become the target of choice for Islamic terrorists." Accordingly, "Ferguson will strive to end the disproportionate influence of the Jewish lobby on state and federal government. "

On the economy, Ferguson takes a realistic position on taxes, for a Libertarian: "It is often said in Libertarian circles that in regard to property taxes, for instance, that one never really owns real estate, but rents it from the government. Having said all of this, however, the taxation bureaucracy of the federal government has become too massive to reform in one fell swoop. And, in any event, we are no longer a nation of yeoman farmers with a laissez-faire central government. The best that can be hope for under the current circumstances is to support politicians who appear to monitor tax legislation carefully to see that the money is properly spent and roll back "tax and spend" policies gradually as the political situation warrants. " Ferguson also veers from libertarian orthodoxy on immigration (opposing amnesty) and the gays-in-the-military question ("The military is there to break things and kill people, not to advance the gay rights agenda.") Generally, Ferguson tries to balance ideological and pragmatic considerations, usually leaning toward the pragmatic.

Ferguson does not seem to be campaigning outside of Kansas, but is at least keeping up a schedule that you can follow through a campaign blog or press releases. A "video gallery" at his website proves to be empty, however. As a side note, I had to google Ferguson in order to find the site, as Project VoteSmart didn't list one. This makes me worry that VoteSmart itself isn't up to date and that I'm missing candidates. In any event, it's worth one's while to look up Ferguson, since despite the superficial eccentricity, he clearly has a sounder mind than many of his peers among the candidates.

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