"When Chuck Baldwin is sworn in as president of these United States," says Chuck Baldwin, "the new world order comes crashing down!" The 56-year-old Baptist pastor, columnist, and radio talk-show host has run for elective office only once before, when he was the vice presidential candidate of the Constitution Party in 2004. This year he heads the ticket. Here the presidential candidate discusses the issues and his long-shot campaign.
The New American: Let's begin with a very basic question: why are you running for president?
Chuck Baldwin: I was asked to put my name in nomination by members of the Constitution Party and after a lot of thought and prayer, I decided to do that. At the convention, the delegates selected me by 74 percent to 24 percent over Dr. Alan Keyes and so, obviously, I believe that I am here by the providence of God.
TNA: By what or whose providence, then, are the other candidates in the race?
Baldwin: Well, I'll let them decide that for themselves.
TNA:I've heard you refer to the two major parties as the "big box" parties. Does that mean they're like large retail chains, both selling the same products?
Baldwin: There's no question that, especially in 2008, the difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is hard to really notice. I think that's one of the reasons why so many people are interested in our campaign this year, because on so many of the really salient issues of the day, there is virtually no difference between the Democrats and the Republicans.
TNA: For instance?
Baldwin: Well, immigration. If you look at the issue of illegal immigration, neither John McCain nor Barack Obama has any intention of securing America's borders. I will secure the border. That is a commitment. That is a conviction. I think when you look at the way both of the two major parties are facilitating the new world order that's being built, you see that there's no difference, whether it's the NAFTA superhighway, NAFTA, WTO, GATT, the North American community, or the United Nations - there's no difference. Both the Democrats and Republicans, and especially these particular standard-bearers, are championing America's merger into global government. I, on the other hand, am opposed to all that.
I really believe the battle this year is not between Republican and Democrats, it's not between liberals and conservatives, it's between Americans and globalists. And John McCain and Barack Obama are both globalists. And I'm an American. I will put America first.
TNA: Why do you believe we should withdraw from the United Nations?
Baldwin: The United Nations is a sinister organization whose goals and objectives are not the goals and objectives of America. It was started by communists, and it is still pretty much maintained and controlled by communists, Marxists, and socialists of all stripes. It has done nothing for America. It has dominated our foreign policy over the last many decades. It has been the precursor for endless war, nation building, and empire building. It sacrifices our sovereignty, and if I'm president of the United States, we can get out of the United Nations.
TNA: And it would have to get out of the United States?
Baldwin: They would have to look for another home because their rent is up in New York City.
TNA: I wonder if Mayor Bloomberg is aware of that.
Baldwin: Well, I would love to be able to pick up the phone and tell him -personally.
TNA: I've heard you speak very admiringly of one of this year's Republican presidential candidates, Ron Paul. Do you agree with him that we should get out of Iraq?
Baldwin: Yes, I do, as soon as possible.
TNA: And Afghanistan?
Baldwin: Yes. As an occupation force, for sure. However, I would seek from Congress passage of Dr. Paul's Marque and Reprisal Act, which would allow the president to use whatever private or other forces are necessary to seek, find, and bring to justice or destroy these rogue terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda.
TNA: You said "whatever private or other forces." You would use -mercenaries?
Baldwin: If that was deemed to be in the best interest of the objective, I would not be adverse to that. And also I'm talking about special operation forces that we would have at our disposal and utilizing perhaps friends from foreign forces for whatever accommodations are necessary.
TNA: Should we pull out of all the countries where we have troops stationed? I believe the number is 130.
Baldwin: For the most part, yes, though I would hesitate to say absolutely every place. I would need to analyze all those places, but the vast majority of our foreign bases where American troops are stationed, I would close and bring the troops home.
TNA: From Korea, for example?
Baldwin: Well again, I'm not going to bind myself to specific places at this point without having the opportunity to sit down with our strategists and military commanders and so forth. The Constitution Party is firmly on record as saying that we need to bring our troops home from all parts of the world. We do not need to have troops stationed in 130 countries, that is for sure.
TNA: What do you think of the way the president and the two major party candidates for the office have responded to Russia's invasion of Georgia?
Baldwin: I think it's typical. John McCain is already doing saber rattling, talking about sending troops or the United Nations sending troops or whatever. Two wars is not enough, I guess. Now we want a third war. And then if we attack Iran, we want a fourth war. You get the idea that these guys are hungering and thirsting for war. It's not in America's best interest. The only thing that perpetual war accomplishes is to further facilitate America's entrance into a new world order. Perpetual war is a tool of the globalists to enslave us.
TNA: What about NATO? Should we call an end to that alliance?
Baldwin: Absolutely. We should get out. I think NATO at this point is more of an act of provocation than it is an act of security, and I'm in favor of America getting out of NATO. I would favor disbanding NATO and let the states of Europe decide how they want to defend themselves.
TNA: That position is often called isolationist. How would you define isolationist and are you one?
Baldwin: No, I'm not an isolationist at all. An isolationist, as I understand it, would be someone who wants to cut off any and all communication and discourse and negotiation and trade, etc., with foreign nations and I certainly do not subscribe to that. From the founding, we've been a nation that's sought to be at peace with the nations of the world. I believe in free and fair trade with all nations as much as -possible.
TNA: Are you a free trader or a fair trader, and how do you distinguish between the two?
Baldwin: I believe these free-trade deals, as they are called, are a curse to America. NAFTA, GATT, WTO, FTAA, CAFTA - all of them are tools of globalists to sacrifice American independence and sovereignty. They have destroyed our manufacturing base in America. Our manufacturing plants have gone to Mexico, China, and India, thanks to NAFTA and related trade deals. Our economy has been devastated, especially in the Midwest, in places like Michigan and Ohio. There are people working three jobs just to try and put food on the table. It's terrible, and it's a direct result of NAFTA and these other free trade deals that both the Republicans and Democrats collaborated to bring into existence.
TNA: But wasn't it cheaper for companies to manufacture in, say, Mexico or India or wherever before these free trade deals?
Baldwin: In some cases, yes.
TNA: So woudn't it have happened anyway?
Baldwin: There's always going to be a market for foreign countries whenever they're able to compete in an open market. And Americans are going to be willing to pay for those products. We don't have to create free-trade deals that sacrifice American jobs in manufacturing in order to accommodate the quality products they're willing to export to the United States.
TNA: Should we have protective tariffs?
Baldwin: No, I'm not for protective tariffs. First of all, we've got to eliminate the 16th Amendment. And the IRS and the income tax. The second thing I would seek to do would be to eliminate excessive federal spending. I would do what Newt Gingrich promised to do back in 1994 and then failed to do. I would eliminate those same federal departments that he named - the Department of Education, the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Commerce, etc. - as well as the many other agencies where spending could be severely reduced or eliminated altogether. So I would slash federal spending and bring it down to levels that are constitutionally valid.
And what I would propose is an across-the-board, general 10-percent tariff on all imports and that would meet the Constitution's prescription for financing the federal government — duties, imposts, tariffs. And it would supply the needs of a limited federal government, as the constraints of the Constitution require.
TNA: Have you run the numbers on that? Do you have an estimate on how much revenue a 10-percent tariff would bring?
Baldwin: I don't have hard numbers on that. But Ron Paul does, and when I am president, I will appoint him as Secretary of the Treasury.
TNA: Would a 10-percent tariff price any foreign goods out of our market?
Baldwin: I don't see how it could. You now see some of the countries are putting tariffs of 30 percent or more on American goods. It certainly hasn't affected trade from that end. So I can't imagine a 10-percent tariff would price anyone out of existence.
TNA: But how do companies here pay the prevailing wage, meet all the environmental and OSHA regulations, and still compete with companies that are paying workers 58 cents a day or whatever it is in China?
Baldwin: There are far too many government restrictions, mandates, and regulations placed upon business by the federal government. OSHA, for example, is an egregious burden on the backs of industry. When you look at the kinds of rules, regulations, etc. that are placed on companies, all that translates into dollars. I think it's important that we allow companies to be able to compete at pretty much an equal footing, and our government is not doing that. And that is what has created the situation in the minds of many in corporate America that they are not able to do business in America anymore. This is why many of them are forced, or at least they feel forced, out of America and start opening plants in Mexico and elsewhere.
TNA: How would you secure the border?
Baldwin: I would use whatever force is necessary. Our Border Patrol and Customs people are severely outgunned, outmanned, and outequipped. I was shocked when I was on the border to discover that our Border Patrol people do not even have night-vision equipment. They don't have GPS equipment. They're under constant attack from drug traffickers, gang members, and drug dealers who are often equipped with fully automatic weapons. However bad you think it is on the border, it's 10 times worse than that. And George W. Bush takes National Guard troops from America, and he sends them to Iraq and asks them to guard the borders of Iraq. And he leaves American borders wide open. That is absolutely insane as far as I'm concerned.
TNA: The argument is often made that the jobs the illegals are taking are jobs that Americans won't take.
Baldwin: Yeah, Americans won't take those jobs — at 50 cents an hour. My son owns his own construction business and, of course, he obeys the laws of our country. He pays the workers what they're worth. He pays their insurance and Social Security and all the things that he's required to do as an employer. He files their taxes. And then you go down the street and here's another contractor. And he's paying people under the table with cash. He's paying no taxes. He's paying no insurance. And so whenever the two men are called to bid a job, my son's bid is maybe 50 percent higher than the other guy's bid. Well, guess who gets the job. And for the Democrats to say they want illegal aliens because they want their votes and for the Republicans to say they want illegal aliens because they want cheap labor - as far as I am concerned, it is a despicable display of people who are willing to put personal interest above the overall interest of the country.
TNA: As I understand it, you're not against building the fence, but your focus is on increasing the security forces.
Baldwin: That's right. A fence takes a lot of time. A lot of time and a lot of money. And my goal after I'm sworn in as president is having the border secured within 30 days.
TNA: Some have argued that we could do all the drilling we want and it won't lower oil and gas prices for another decade or more, and then only by a few cents. Are they right?
strong>Baldwin: No, I don't think they are right. I do believe that it's critical that we drill. It's critical also that we find alternative energy sources. I believe in solar power and wind power. We need to develop alternative energy sources, there is no question about that.
TNA: Would you favor tax incentives for that?
Baldwin: Yeah, absolutely. But the point is that to say we shouldn't drill because it's not going to help — look, my understanding is that we have more oil available to us under Alaska than we do in the entire country of Saudi Arabia. We've just discovered huge oil deposits, natural-gas deposits, as well as coal in the Dakotas. We know where much of it is in the Gulf of Mexico. We can use shale and so forth to meet our energy needs. All this is available to us right here in this country. I believe we can do it in the next four years, so we would be able to have those energy needs supplied.
TNA: Where do you stand on the war on drugs?
Baldwin: I believe that as president, I would have the responsibility to keep drugs from crossing the borders, and I would do everything in my power to keep drugs out of America. Once they come into the country, drug enforcement falls under the rubric of law enforcement, and the Constitution gives no authority to the federal government for domestic law enforcement. That is the responsibility of the state and local communities. So I believe that the drug war has been used by the federal government many times excessively, to the point where individual rights have been abridged and abrogated. I think the propensity for overreach is too great.
TNA: As I understand it, U.S. planes are going over and bombing poppy fields and whatever in Colombia and other places. Should we be doing that?
Baldwin: If the government of that country were to ask for the assistance of the United States, in particular where the vested interest of the United States is at stake, then I think that there is consideration there. But if it's a matter of the United States arbitrarily taking upon itself to invade the air space and the sovereign territory of another country to do whatever it wants to do unilaterally, then no. Absolutely not.
TNA: How would you define America's vital interest in terms of whether we should or should not go to war?
Baldwin: Whenever the American people and property are faced with imminent danger.
TNA: The argument made before we went to war with Iraq was that we can't wait until the danger is imminent.
Baldwin: Well, I disagree with that whole concept. George W. Bush introduced a brand new doctrine to America. It's a doctrine that our Founding Fathers repudiated. It's a doctrine that generations before us historically had repudiated. We have always believed that the only time that war was necessary was whenever the threat was imminent and we had to fight in a defensive, lifesaving situation. The idea that we will attack you first, the idea of a preemptive war on nations, that's brand new to the American nation and something that George Bush and Dick Cheney and his cabal of neocons introduced to the lexicon of our people. And it's a dangerous doctrine because it leads to further expansionism, further adventurism. It leads to further manipulation of foreign affairs. It leads to war, acts of provocation; it creates more crises than it solves. When I'm president, the Bush doctrine on preemptive war will become history.
TNA: You've said you're the only candidate in the race who's 100-percent pro-life. Senator McCain says he is pro-life. Is he somewhat lacking in that regard?
Baldwin: That's putting it mildly. Senator McCain's record on life is like his record on gun control and the Second Amendment. He has come out in favor of embryonic stem-cell research. He has, throughout his career in the Senate, voted for the appropriation of funds for the United Nations. All over the world, the UN is the chief proponent of abortion. He's also voted to appropriate funds for Title 10 funding, which funds abortion on demand, domestically and overseas. President Bush and the Republicans have appropriated more money for Title 10 abortion funding than even President Clinton did when he was in office.
I think the same thing is true for the Second Amendment. The fact is, the Gun Owners of America, if you look at their report, grades (McCain) an "F." It doesn't get any worse than that. John McCain wanted to eliminate the sale of guns at gun shows. He called it the gun-show loophole. Well, the freedom to keep and bear arms is not a loophole. It's a right preserved in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. John McCain doesn't believe that. He is also the one who gave us the McCain-Feingold (Campaign Reform Act), which is one of the most unconstitutional, anti-First Amendment pieces of legislation that I can ever recall.
TNA: One reason many people who believe as you do and might want to vote for you end up voting for the "lesser of two evils" is that they believe, especially on the right to life, they've at least got a better chance to get some good Supreme Court nominees out of the Republican nominee for president than they would under the Democrat.
Baldwin: Well, first of all, the Republican Party has dominated the Supreme Court nominations ever since Roe v. Wade. In fact, it was a majority Republican-appointed court that passed the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion on demand. The Republicans hold the majority on the court today. The idea that by electing Republicans you can get constitutionalist/pro-life justices is a joke. John McCain, in particular, is the same man who voted for Stephen Breyer. This is the same senator who voted for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Anyone who thinks that by voting for John McCain you're going to get strict constructionist, conservative justices on the court is living in a fantasy world.
TNA: Now the man you defeated for the Conservative Party nomination, former Ambassador Alan Keyes is out there running for president. He's 100-percent pro-life, isn't he?
Baldwin: Yes, as far as I know, he is. But how can he turn around and support the United Nations, which he does? That I find, again, paradoxical. I really don't understand how you can be pro-life and support an organization that is concretely pro-abortion. I believe that position is one of the reasons why I was given the votes at the nominating convention instead of Alan.
TNA: Do you find that philosophically, you differ a great deal from the Libertarian Party?
Baldwin: Yes, I do. That's why I'm not a libertarian. Historically, libertarians believe in open borders. Historically, the Libertarian Party believes in free access to drugs of all sorts, and I don't subscribe to that. They take no position on abortion. They take no position on "gay" marriage. And I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I support DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party presidential nominee, has supported the Patriot Act. Of course, he's said he has serious problems with that now. I opposed it from the beginning and I would seek to eliminate the Patriot Act if I were president.
TNA: Your website cites a poll that purports to show that 47 percent of the voters said they would be willing to support a third-party candidate this year.
Baldwin: That was a Fox News survey, that's right.
TNA: But you're out there and Bob Barr is out there and Alan Keyes is out there. The folks on the right who are dissatisfied with what the Republicans and Democrats are offering are split in so many different directions. Isn't there some way to get them all together?
Baldwin: Well, they could all vote for me. And you know, ballot access is a major factor. We plan on being on the ballot in over 40 states. Libertarians will probably be on the ballot in over 40 states. Alan Keyes will be on the ballot probably in no more than two or three states. So when you look at ballot access, there are really only a few players. How many will have the opportunity to gain 270 electoral votes? When you look at it that way, it's the Republicans, the Democrats, the Libertarian Party, and the Constitution Party - and that's about it.
TNA: What percentage of the population do you believe is not yet aware that Chuck Baldwin is running for president?
Baldwin: You tell me.
TNA: I would guess it's 90 some-odd percent. And you're almost locked out when running as a third party in terms of media attention. Do you really believe you can be elected president this year?
Baldwin: Yes, I do. And I say that because I don't believe in chance and I don't believe in luck. I believe in Divine Providence and, you know, anything can happen. If you could have asked the Founding Fathers what chance they had in their effort to break free from the greatest military power in the world, Great Britain - what would their answer have been? If you were an oddsmaker in Las Vegas, what kind of odds would you have given Washington and Jefferson? They had no chance as chances go. But in the providence of God, we know what happened.
And my favorite quotation is from John Quincy Adams, who said, "Duty is ours; results are God's." And that's all any of us can do, just do our duty And that's what I'm doing in 2008. I was called to this and I'm doing my duty. I've answered my country's call. And what God chooses to do with this act of duty is up to Him.
Interview of Chuck Baldwin by Jack Kenny