Tucson resident David Nolan is running as a Libertarian against U.S. Sen. John McCain, Democrat Rodney Glassman and Green Jerry Joslyn. The Libertarian Party was born in Nolan's living room in 1971, when he hosted a gathering of unhappy Young Republicans who broke away from the GOP. He's served as the national chairman of the party and ran on the Libertarian ticket for Arizona's Congressional District 8 in 2006.
What made you get into the Senate race?
It was clear that the Libertarian Party ought to have someone in the race. Here is a candidate, John McCain, who represented his party as the most recent presidential nominee; he's running for reelection and there's clearly a great deal of dissatisfaction. I didn't decide to enter the race until April, and of course, by that time, the level of opposition to McCain within his own party was greatly evident. It seemed that it would be foolish not to run someone, and I was clearly the most qualified, available candidate for the Libertarian Party.
What are the big changes that Sen. David Nolan would push for in Washington?
Obviously, cut spending by at least 50 percent and hopefully as much as 75 percent. Stop the bailouts and cut spending across the board. You have to deal with the entitlements problem. We have created a monster that is eventually going to gobble up our entire federal budget and, beyond that, our entire national economy, with the built-in growth of entitlements under Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The Social Security program, which was started in 1933 or 1934, was never intended to allow roughly a quarter of the population to live off the other three-quarters. ... We have to cut back on military spending. Most of our military spending is not on the defense of the United States, it's on maintaining troops and bases all around the world. Afghanistan and Iraq alone have cost approximately a trillion dollars and are expected to cost $2 trillion more in terms of long-term benefits for injured veterans. All of that was paid for through borrowing. The Bush tax cuts ensured that all the wartime funding was funny money.
You're credited with having co-founded the Libertarian Party. How did that come about?
That came about because a group of then-Young Republicans were fed up with Nixon and didn't like what he was doing for a whole lot of reasons. We watched him go on television on Aug. 15, 1971, and announce that we were demonetizing the dollar and imposing wage and price controls, which had never been done before in the absence of a declared war. (Vietnam was not a declared war; it was basically a power grab.) We thought, naïve kids that we were, that the Republican Party was all about the ideals of Barry Goldwater. Well, we learned it was more about Richard Nixon and his cronies, and we looked at each other and decided we needed a new party.
What do you make of the Tea Party? Is there a new political party forming here or is it something else?
It's something else. The first Tea Party demonstrations that I know of took place, I believe, in Phoenix in 2007 and they were organized by Ron Paul supporters to protest the rise in government spending and indebtedness under Bush. They were an anti-Bush phenomenon to begin with. Nowadays, everywhere you go, it's all "Obama is the devil," "Obama is causing all our problems." Well, I'm no fan of Obama and from the Libertarian perspective;he's certainly doing all the wrong things, but you can't claim that our entire economic crisis can be laid at Obama's feet.
Anyhow, the Tea Party is not a political party. It was never intended to be a political party. It was intended to be a grassroots protest movement ... And what's happened, of course, over the last couple of years, is that it's been taken over more and more by Dick Armey and his FreedomWorks group, which is a Republican front group.
The Tea Party split about a year ago into two major factions: The Armey/Palin faction and the Ron Paul faction. The Armey group has pretty much taken over most of the larger Tea Party organizations around the United States. They get Sarah Palin out there on stage mouthing her usual platitudes and they really don't like Ron Paul, because Ron Paul doesn't toe the Republican Party line and he doesn't tell people, "You've got to vote Republican because everybody else is evil." Ron Paul tells it like he sees it. He's the last remaining honest man in American politics, at least at the congressionally elected level.