Election 2012

Meet the Constitution Party's Candidate

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The Libertarian Party isn't the only alternative party to nominate an experienced politician for president this year. The right-wing Constitution Party has tapped former congressman Virgil Goode of Virginia, whose website says he's running to "Save America!"

The Constitution Party is basically a paleoconservative outfit, but to judge from Jim Antle's informative profile in the current American Conservative, Goode hasn't always been a proper paleocon. He's bad in the places where paleos tend to be bad, such as immigration; but in areas where they're better than the mainstream right, such as foreign policy, Goode's record is…still pretty bad:

Goode is not so good.

He voted for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. Unlike North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones, in Congress he never budged from these positions. He subsequently voted to make the Patriot Act permanent. When Goode voted against a congressional resolution opposing the surge in Iraq, he said he didn't want to "aid and assist the Islamic jihadists who want the green flag of the crescent and star to wave over the Capitol of the United States and over the White House of this country." Goode warned of "In Muhammad we trust" appearing on U.S. currency.

Antle reports that Goode's public views on these subjects have been "evolving in the Constitution Party's direction." Specifically, "He conceded he was wrong to vote for the Patriot Act and called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan." But the evolution doesn't sound like it's complete:

In our interview in March, Goode was somewhat equivocal about foreign policy. He emphasized Congress's constitutional power to declare war and opposed following the dictates of the United Nations. "We can stay in Afghanistan and the Middle East forever, and it won't make a difference," he argued. Goode said he was in favor of reducing the number of troops and bases overseas but against cutting veterans' benefits.

The former congressman was harder to pin down on his past record, however. "I still believe to some degree that Iraq had WMD," he confessed. Goode said we should "send Iran a clear message that if we are assaulted, we will meet it and trump it." That's not the same as calling for war with Iran -- under Goode's scenario, Tehran would be the aggressor -- but the tone is a bit off for someone who is leading a party that truly advocates a humble foreign policy.