Editorial: Escaping the pack on presidential endorsements

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Just in case you've come to believe that all of the reviled "mainstream media" march in predictable lock step, we take you back to Oct. 26, 1980 and another pivotal election in this nation's history.

What follows are excerpts from a three-part editorial series explaining the Journal Star's endorsement for president:


"We have discussed in editorials the past two days why we find it impossible to recommend that Jimmy Carter be re-elected and why Ronald Reagan is not a reasonable alternative.

As for Rep. John Anderson, he is hardly even a factor in the election anymore. The premise of his independent campaign was flawed from the start. It was that, since the Republican Party didn't want him as their candidate, everybody else might. That made no sense at the time and has made less and less as the months have slipped by. ... He wants big government in spades; we don't.

That, in fact, is becoming the overriding domestic issues of our time: how to get government off of everybody's back, to lower the tax burden, to end unbalanced federal budgets - which, we hope, will help bring down inflation and appalling interest rates - to quit creating new cabinet departments, to stop strangling industrial production with rules and regulations.

We are suffocating ourselves with government of all kinds. America, like Gulliver, is being tied up by millions of little people in the Congress and the bureaucracy - most of them, like the Lilliputians, well meaning but afraid of what the giant might do if left unrestrained.

The only political party that proposes to do anything significant about this is the Libertarian Party, and we would like to see it get a big vote.

Not that we think Ed Clark, the Libertarian candidate for president, is the best man in this country to occupy the White House. He is a candidate with a perfectly respectable background, but he has no governmental experience and couldn't accomplish much of his program without a cooperative Congress, which is made up largely of people committed to the bureaucratic status quo.

Clark, a graduate of Darmouth and Harvard Law School, is a 50-year-old attorney from Los Angeles who has become convinced that the Libertarian Party - which will be on the ballot in all 50 states - offers a solution to the dual problem of big government and high taxes. The solution is simply to cut the hell out of both ...

... Don't worry about wasting your vote. Was it a waste to vote for John C. Fremont in 1856 when the Republican Party first put forth a candidate for president, running on a policy against the extension of slavery? He didn't win, of course, but the party's next candidate - Abraham Lincoln - did.

No doubt bloated government and stifling taxation do not constitute as formidable an issue as slavery. But it's the biggest issue we've got.

The Libertarians, who want to cut $200 billion in specific programs from the federal budget, believe ... that government should exist to protect citizens against bodily harm and to repel an invasion by a foreign power. Get rid of any law that interferes with individual rights. Do away with most government regulatory agencies ...

You don't have to agree with every plank in the Libertarian platform to vote for Clark on Nov. 4. We don't agree with a lot of them; we're not calling for anarchy. For that matter, nobody who votes for Carter or Reagan will agree with everything in the Democratic or Republican platforms.

The important thing is to send this message to Washington: We're mad as hell and we won't take it anymore.

Out of frustration with the unwillingness of either one of the major political parties to recognize this widespread yearning in American society, we recommend a Libertarian vote for president."


Alas, Ed Clark would not prevail, receiving 921,299 votes - 1,064 of them from Peoria County - compared to winner Ronald Reagan's 43.9 million, runner-up Jimmy Carter's 35.5 million and John Anderson's 5.7 million. Interestingly, Clark did the best in Alaska, where he finished third with almost 12 percent of the tally. No Libertarian since has done better on a national stage.

Fast-forward 28 years, through deregulation and regulation, through tax cuts and tax increases, through Republicans and Democrats, and Uncle Sam today is more obese and more indebted than ever. And a third party in this country still hasn't gained any traction.

Another Nov. 4, another election day. Will anything ever change, other than Americans are "mad as hell" and "won't take it anymore"?

Peoria Journal Star