Using the Project Vote Smart list, and eliminating all the wannabe Democrats and Republicans now that the primary season is over, we start alphabetically with Stephen "Steve" Adams, an avowed independent. Adams is a software engineer at Lexmark International, and has worked there since 1989, shortly after earning his bachelor's degree in Computer Science. He has held no prior political office, but that's to be expected of most independents.
Regarding his public credentials, he writes: "I have held several volunteer positions in the United Methodist and Lutheran churches, serving mostly in the area of youth, for 18 years. On multiple trips and outings, people have trusted the lives of their children with me. What is more precious or valuable than one's children? " He's also affiliated with the Patriot Guard Riders, a motorcycle group that shields mourning families of fallen soldiers from funeral protestors of the Fred Phelps ilk.
On the war, he takes a reasonable position: First we must realize that no one who reads this site has the real facts. We hear the spin from the government and the media, but we don't know what's really happening over there. That said, we need to leave Iraq as soon as possible. Talk to the generals; speed up the timetable; but don’t set an arbitrary date just to make people happy. Stop the “cut and run” or “surrender” talk. We fought and won our war and the troops can come home proudly. They have done everything that we have asked them to and more. If a civil war is indeed raging, we are enabling it by protecting the borders from foreign invasion. Take away that protection and the Iraqi people must step up and deal with threats to their nations instead of fighting amongst themselves.
On the economy, Adams advocates a mandatory balanced budget and reduced spending funded by the "FairTax," i.e. the national sales tax advocated by Mike Huckabee among others. He supports undoing oil dependency by building more electric cars and hybrids and generating electricity by wind, nuclear and other means. Regarding immigration, he favors a more secure border and stronger penalties for employers of illegal aliens.
Adams is a committed Christian, and his faith influences his views on abortion and marriage, but he doesn't believe that the country is or should be a "Christian nation." He writes: "Jesus Christ himself would not make such a decision because he prefers people come to God out of their own free will." He emphasizes, however, that "separation of church and state" is an extra-constitutional concept that shouldn't stop the government from supporting faith-based good works.
Bob Hargis, Adams's running mate, is an EMT with a long history of helping the homeless and some international experience training EMTs in Africa. Adams characterizes him as "a great speaker, communicator and motivator."
Adams has an ambitious "First 100 Days" agenda, but everything else on his to-do list really depends on the first item: establishing a working relationship with a Congress likely to remain Democratic and Republican. His plan: "Meet with members of Congress personally to determine the best way to work together. Congress is responsible for representing the people of the nation in government and to others around the world. A positive working relationship with Congress is a necessity. Failure to obtain this relationship and failure of Congress to represent the people in an effective manner, consistent with the expectations of the oval office, will result in public record of actions. I will introduce a Congressional Report Card for every member of Congress. This Report Card will be available to everyone on the White House web site."
How does Adams propose to get to this point? He believes that his message can spread like a virus before Election Day: "An urban legend or other internet hoax can make it out to hundreds or thousands of people in mere minutes - no money, no party support. This is the nature of the internet and part of my plan. One email to the right person, one important mention of this site in the press or on the web - either can trigger huge results. Perhaps you are the link that sends the key email to your friends and family."
As the first independent candidate on my list, Adams is hard to judge. It's unfair to compare him with McCain and Obama, or even with celebrity candidates like Nader and Barr. By the standard I set up in announcing this project, I have to fault Adams as, from all appearances, a self-appointed candidate. It's not encouraging to learn that his campaign blog hasn't been updated since January, but there's no indication that he's abandoned the race. Out of fairness, and because I haven't really determined a rating system yet, I abstain from offering a verdict on Steve Adams. Instead, I refer readers to his main website.