20 August 2008

The Presidential Candidates: Brad Lord-Leutwyler

"Do they think we are stupid?" this candidate asks. "They" are the Democrats and Republicans presenting themselves as agents of change. To them, and to us, he says:

"CHANGE" does not mean replacing a republican with a democrat, regardless of their gender or race. That's not change, that's just more of the same. If we want "change" then WE MUST CHANGE.If we want something different, WE must ACT DIFFERENTLY. We need to stop falling for hollow slogans. We need to wake up and realize that the major parties created this mess and have a vested interest in perpetuating it.

Bradley Lord-Leutwyler is a former lawyer who teaches "Logic and Critical Thinking" at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He claims to be "the ONLY legitimate 'rock star' candidate," based on his experience singing and playing guitar, drums, and keyboard in various unnamed bands. His previous political experience is limited to twice getting elected a residence hall president at Oregon State, but he contends that "experience is a false issue.

"The experience that counts," he insists, "has nothing to do with coming to the table pre-corrupted." People who boast of their superior experience, he says, are exactly the people to blame for the nation's current predicament. Instead of appealing to experience, "A President should be SMART: Ultimately, he is the decision maker. A president needs to know what he does not know, and surround himself with people who are EXPERTS in their fields to supplement his knowledge base, and to educate the President."

BLL (forgive the abbreviation) makes a lot of the team he'll convene to advise him. "Our team will be composed of the smartest, most capable expert advisors," he promises, "ENERGY policy will be designed by EXPERTS, not oil companies, AND IT WILL NOT BE DONE IN SECRET! Science policy will be made by SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS, not religious fanatics. Military policy will be informed by the BEST military minds, not by life-long professional bureaucrats with defense industry ties. Laws will be enforced by the BEST LEGAL MINDS, not by people whose sole qualification is that they agree with the president about theology."

Maybe it'd be presumptuous of the candidate to tell us exactly who he'll invite to join his team. Maybe he expects that, once elected, any expert he thinks of will respond to his call. In any event, since he doesn't name the advisers he'll have, his candidacy must stand or fall on the merits of his own ideas.

On Iraq, BLL will initiate a swift withdrawal but will maintain American bases there. "Having a stick in the region which can provide measured, rapid-responses to conflagrations which ignite so quickly is critical: had we had a stronger presence in the Gulf region in the late 80's and early 90's, Saddam never would have invaded Kuwait in the first place. We need to make certain that the efforts of our troops are not thrown in the waste basket because politicians make specious arguments for false peace." Meanwhile, he'll pursue normalized relations with Iran while doing everything possible to prevent the country from acquiring nuclear weapons. Having a high regard for Persian culture, he would prefer to accomplish this peacefully.

BLL goes to the trouble of detailing how he'll respond if the country is hit by another major terrorist attack. He'll identify primary perpetrators and secondary conspirators, bringing the first group to justice "that they don't deserve" while subjecting the second to severe sanctions. He'll give those time to work before considering military options, equating his approach to treating a tumor until it goes into remission rather than poking at it to make it go away.

At his website he has an alphabetical list of issues, inviting readers to submit more as the campaign progresses. He hasn't yet posted his positions on some important issues, steering well clear for the most part from economic issues. On his homepage, however, he lists his priorities as "Provide universal healthcare -- Reform education -- Declare war on poverty -- Secure the borders [and] Reform the Tax Code."

BLL has decided to accept money from individual donors, and no more than $25 per person, which you can donate through PayPal via a link on his webpage. He has promised to go without health insurance as President until every American gets the same health plan the government itself enjoys.

Lord-Leutwyler's campaign blog hasn't been updated since last March. He appeared on a local NPR program earlier this month, but the link to it is currently down. The most recent sample of the man in his own words I can offer is this video from February.

Using Lord-Leutwyler's own logic, you could eliminate him from contention. Since he intends to depend on experts, why not ask the experts, if we knew who they were, who'd they like to see as the next President. Of course, experts are just as likely to be partisan as anyone else, but if we asked them to think outside the box we might get some interesting suggestions. I just suspect that none of them would name Brad Lord-Leutwyler. This isn't to penalize him for his lack of celebrity, but knowing him better now than the experts do, I have to say that he has nothing special to contribute by running. He's just another person acting on a reflexive response to the failings of the American Bipolarchy. Convinced that no alternative exists, he declares his own candidacy. There ought to have been another step: research into the possibility that he could make himself more useful by joining and shaping an existing movement. You can judge him for yourselves by looking here.


crhymethinc said...

On the issue of experience, I find myself asking exactly what "experience" did our founding fathers have when they ripped a group of disparate colonies from the clutching claws of King George to found a new democracy? Most of them were farmers, merchants or professional rabble-rousers. And yet, here we are.

Samuel Wilson said...

Your point is valid, but your example raises another problem for people like Lord-Leutwyler. You mention founding fathers, but there are too many people like BLL who can't seem to think beyond being the singular founding father for a new era. BLL isn't the worst offender because of his willingness to consult experts, but you get the impression from a lot of these independent candidates that they don't see anyone they can form partnerships and coalitions with. In their minds, it's the Bipolarchy or "me." An ability to work with others and a record showing some sort of leadership would go a long way toward meeting any kind of "experience" requirement without requiring anyone to sell out to the two-party system.