Wikinews interviews former Congressman Virgil Goode, Constitution Party presidential candidate

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Official congressional photo of Goode.

Former Congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia spoke with Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn about his newly announced 2012 presidential campaign. Goode is currently seeking the nomination of the Constitution Party, a U.S. third party.

Goode served in the Virginia State Senate for twenty-three years. In 1996, he was elected to represent Virginia's Fifth U.S. congressional district as a Democrat, and was re-elected two years later. Goode left the Democratic Party before his second re-election campaign in 2000, and ran as an Independent. He joined the Republican Party ahead of the 2002 election, and was re-elected three additional times until his defeat in 2008. Since then, Goode has joined the Constitution Party, and has served on its executive committee.

The Constitution Party was founded in 1991 as the U.S. Taxpayers Party. Eight years later, it changed to its current name. The party advocates states' rights, gun rights, limited government, protectionism, and non-interventionism. It strongly opposes abortion and illegal immigration. In terms of voter registration, it is the third largest U.S. political party with 367,000 members. Pastor Chuck Baldwin won the party's 2008 presidential nomination, and appeared on 37 state ballots receiving 199,314 votes (0.15%).

Goode had been speculated to make a run for the party's presidential nomination since last year. In fact, the executive committee passed a resolution last spring to convince him to run. Goode filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on February 10, and announced his candidacy to the Daily Caller six days later.

The 2012 Constitution Party National Convention will be held in April. Other candidates seeking the nomination include former Savannah State football coach Robby Wells. National chairman Jim Clymer described Goode last summer as the frontrunner for the party's nomination.

To Wikinews, Goode affirmed his credentials for the presidency and shared his view on the Obama administration. Among other issues, he addressed immigration, spending, energy, and foreign policy.


((William S. Saturn)) First, I’d like to get some background. What are your proudest political accomplishments?

Virgil Goode: I served in the Virginia State Senate from December 1973 to January 1997. 23 years. Then I was in the United States House of Representatives from January 1997 to January 2009.

((WSS)) What exactly did you do during those years?

Goode: Well, in the Virginia Senate, I served on a number of different committees, and became familiar with the operation of the Virginia State government. And then the U.S. House of Representatives where I served twelve years, I became familiar with the operation of the federal government. I was on the Appropriations Committee for several congresses, and that helped with the understanding of the budget and the need that we have to make a serious cut in order to achieve balance.
One of my main points is to achieve a balanced budget, sooner not later, not five years down the road, not ten years down the road. We need to do that now.
I also understand the need for secure borders. And I am the only candidate that is in favor of totally stopping illegal immigration, and reducing legal immigration. Immigration costs this country billions of dollars. We should not be bringing in more green card holders while our unemployment rate is between eight and nine percent. We need jobs in America, and U.S. citizens first, and not bring in so many from other countries that take jobs from U.S. citizens.

((WSS)) Why did you decide to join the Constitution Party and seek its nomination?

Goode: I have been going to the National Committee meetings. I am a member of the National Committee of the Constitution Party, and I've attended about ten meetings. The Constitution National Committee, unlike the Republican National Committee and unlike the Democratic National Committee, was willing to take a stand and support the Arizona legislation to counteract illegal immigration. I think the federal government should be supportive of the efforts of states to deal with the problems, and of course the current administration does not. And the Republican National Committee did not do a resolution supporting Arizona like the Constitution Party National Committee.

((WSS)) If you win the nomination, are you concerned you will take votes away from the Republicans and help re-elect Barack Obama?

Goode: No. I think I’ll take votes from Obama. I just talked to the guy that filled my tanks with gas. I’ve known him for many years. He’s gonna vote for Obama — he was — but he says now, he’s gonna vote for me. So I think I’ll take as many votes from Obama as I will from the Republican.
I think when people focus on our campaign, we’re gonna get a lot of votes from both Democrats and Republicans. My campaign is only taking donations of $200 and less. That’s a grassroots campaign. Running a grassroots campaign should be very appealing to Democrats who do not favor the big money that’s backing President Obama. He’s lowering the ethics with big PAC donations , and he has maximum limit donations, which I believe is about $10,000 per couple now. Our limit is $200, so I think we’ll take votes from President Obama and with those who really want to balance the budget right away will vote with us too.

((WSS)) If you were elected in 2008, what would you have done differently than Obama?

Goode: I would not have pushed for Obamacare. I would have secured the borders, stopped illegal immigration, reduced legal immigration, done away with diversity visas, supported legislation to stop automatic birthright citizenship for those born of illegals that come into this country. And I would not have adopted the stimulus bill that he approved with all deficit spending. There are many areas that need to be cut. When I was in Congress, I was often among the lowest spenders of the Congressional expense money. We need to do that across all levels of the federal government. Instead of expanding government, we need to have less regulation, and encourage the private sector.
I also would have supported drilling off the coast. For example, I'm from Virginia. The Virginia General Assembly has passed resolutions indicating its support of drilling off the coast of Virginia. I would have allowed that instead of blocking it like President Obama. I will also support the Keystone Pipeline, which he is opposing. We need to have lower energy costs. Lower energy costs would do most to enhance jobs, and most little small initiatives done by the president in other areas.

((WSS)) Would you have ordered the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen?

Goode: I don’t know if the president ordered that. Our national defense forces found him and he was fought in parcel with Osama bin Laden, and I think they did the right thing in taking out Osama bin Laden.

((WSS)) But was it right to take out Anwar al-Awlaki?

Goode: Let’s make sure we’re taking about the same one. Is that the guy in Yemen?

((WSS)) Yes, the internet al-Qaeda leader.

Goode: I would want more intelligence than I have available to me right now.

((WSS)) Well he was an American citizen, so do you believe that we should treat American citizens overseas that are considered to be dangerous differently than others?

Goode: Well let me ask you this: Did President Obama order his killing?

((WSS)) I believe he did.

Goode: Well I want to know more facts before I say yes or no. Did he do an act that effectively renounced his citizenship? He may have and may have committed treason. So to answer that precisely, I would have to have more. I would have to be privy to the intelligence briefings that president Obama had and that the members of the House and Senate intelligence committees had. And I would like to also get the opinions of the members of the intelligence committee of the House and the Senate. And I would want to ascertain whether he was truly a citizen of the United States. Was he a dual-citizen? You don’t know that do you?

((WSS)) I don’t know for sure.

Goode: Yeah, I don’t either so I want to know more facts before I could say flat out one way or another.

((WSS)) Okay, let’s talk more about foreign policy. In 2002, you voted to authorize the Iraq War and you supported the troop surge in 2007. However, the Constitution Party platform opposes undeclared wars, and supports a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do you stand by your previous votes?

Goode: Now if I was voting on that situation in 2008, 2009, 2010, I would have said we shouldn’t go forward unless Congress debates the issue and declares war.

((WSS)) As president, how would you address the nuclear situation in Iran?

Goode: Well again, I would want to have more intelligence than I have about the status of their situation. And I don’t think the United States should commit an act of war unless Congress authorizes it.

((WSS)) How will you turn around the American economy?

Goode: Much greater energy exploration in this country, more drilling, the Keystone Pipeline, and hopefully bringing us independence with a surplus of energy production like that of Canada. Canada’s economic situation has improved significantly since they are producing so much oil, and they are going forward with that. And it has significantly helped Canada’s economic situation. And I believe that we need to be energy independent and we cannot do it by waving off so much oil from many areas of the United States and off the shores for exploration. We’ve got to go forward with that. And I also support alternative energies like wind and solar, and reduce regulations on them. But we can’t do what has been done recently because of the budget deficit in making loans and grants in seeking alternative energy forms.

((WSS)) My last question is what necessary freedoms are currently lacking in American society?

Goode: Give me an example of a necessary freedom, and I can answer your question.

((WSS)) Such as any of our natural human rights.

Goode: What’s a natural human right? I believe we need freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom of speech…

((WSS)) But do you believe any of those are being hindered right now in the United States?

Goode: I’m sure there are instances where they are, but I believe that our Constitutional rights as set forth in the bill of rights and in the amendments to the Constitution need to be preserved and protected.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.