01 September 2008

The Presidential Candidates: Frank McEnulty

In March, the New American Independent Party nominated McEnulty for President by majority vote in an "instant runoff primary." To complicate things a little, McEnulty received the vice-presidential nomination of the Reform Party in July, as the running mate of Ted Weill, whom I'll deal with eventually. McEnulty has decided to suspend efforts to get on the ballot for president in states where the Reform Party already has ballot access. Elsewhere, he'll run at the top of the NAIP ticket.

What is the New American Independent Party? It appears to stand less for a set of policies than for a set of regulations for politicians, which are listed here. Members are dedicated to term limits, opposed to pay raises for public officials, and demand some distance between the political and lobbying sectors. One wonders, however, why they don't forbid former public officials permanently from lobbying.

The NAIP was founded in November 2004, making McEnulty its first presidential candidate. The party is also endorsing candidates in congressional races in several states. They are committed to campaign and ballot reform, including public financing of candidates, instant runoff voting, and voting rights for most ex-cons. They prefer fair trade to free trade, oppose outsourcing of both jobs and technology, and want to limit American businesses' ability to import foreign workers on special visas. The founders opposed the invasion of Iraq and generally oppose the neocon agenda. They make a point, however, of criticizing Senator Obama's reputed willingness to negotiate without conditions with leaders who are known to support terrorism.

The party defines itself in opposition to "corporate special interests:

We must put an end to the corporate special interests. The two major parties have put the interests of the huge national/global corporations before the interests of the American people. The current Bush administration has been the worst in our nation's history of marrying public policy with Corporate interests. Corporate interests have their hook in every single Bush administration agency. The President and Congress need to return to serving the people, and not the corporate and special interests. When the President and Congress fail to serve the people, they should be held accountable.

The NAIP is committed to energy independence and environmental sustainability. They take the controversial position that population control is an essential party of sustainability. They make an environmental argument against illegal immigration alongside the usual ethical and economic arguments. They don't advocate mass deportations, but believe that if laws are enforced against the employers of illegal immigrants, the people themselves will go back to where they came from, or stop crossing the border.

The party insists on the separation of church and state and goes to the trouble of informing us that 57% of members are pro-choice, while 43% are pro-life. They disclaim any position on capital punishment, but believe in harsher penalties for crimes in which weapons are used, while steering non-violent offenders toward mandatory public service. They oppose any "defense of marriage" amendment to the Constitution, while leaving discretion on related questions to the states.

McEnulty describes himself as "a regular guy." He has an MBA and has been the president and chief financial officer of Meghan Matthews Incorporated, a clothing company, since 1996. He claims to be "Right on the Issues You Care About," including energy independence, a "logical solution to immigration," and "personal responsibility." On that last point, he takes the conventional conservative position, exhorting people to "get away from this victimhood mentality" even when something is "truly someone else's fault." In foreign policy, he follows Theodore Roosevelt's proverbial advice to "walk softly and carry a big stick." On homeland security, he says, "In some ways the Patriot Act is the scariest thing to happen to the civil liberties of the American People since the founding of our country. Not all provisions of the Act are bad, but I think it was cobbled together too quickly and may be far too overreaching in the long run."

McEnulty doesn't appear to have a video presence online, but he's been giving interviews and participating in debates on internet radio. Here's a link to a debate from July involving him, Brian Moore of the Socialist Party and a candidate I've missed in my first alphabetical sweep, Charles Jay of the "Boston Tea Party." I'm going to have to investigate Mr. Jay and get a profile up for him. As for McEnulty, I'm left wondering how he got involved with the NAIP. He prevailed over a field of candidates including one we've already encountered, Jon A. Greenspon, and a fellow named Richard Clark who put up plenty of YouTube content. There's a story to this that hasn't been told yet, but for now I feel that I can't yet pass judgment on a party that's just getting off the ground, except to say that McEnulty has already passed one hurdle that many independent candidates haven't even attempted. He's gotten two different groups of people to endorse him. Here's his website.

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