Dave Hodges

More About: Politics: Libertarian Campaigns

David versus Goliath

Meet Richard Mack. Richard Mack is a cop. He is a salesman. Mack is a member of the middle class. He lives in the small community of Safford, Arizona and he loves America and her traditions. Richard Mack is also the Libertarian candidate for the United States Senate seat presently held by Jon Kyl.

By any stretch of the imagination, Mack's candidacy is a long shot. Mack's opponents, Jon Kyl and Jim Pederson, are spending millions for the privilege to serve in the United States Senate. While Kyl runs on image, Mack is running on the real issues. You will not likely see Mack on television or hear him on the radio. The campaign coffers of Sheriff Mack reveal a sum of less than a $1,000. Campaign signs, which promote Mack's candidacy for the Senate, are conspicuously missing from the State's roadways. Lacking the services of a fulltime campaign manager, Richard Mack is presently running his own campaign. Mack's media appearances are as rare as a bad financial month for Jon Kyl's stock holdings in Exxon. Further, Richard Mack lives in the rural area of Graham County. Therefore, he does not have a large local constituent base from which to draw upon.

In summary, Sheriff Mack has no money, very little political support and no real media exposure in his bid for the Senate. These factors should spell doom for Richard Mack's candidacy. Couple these facts with the notion that due to an ever-growing presence of citizen political apathy and meager political participation, politics has become a game of special interests and name recognition. In fact, more Americans vote for American Idol than vote for the American President. More Americans can name more American Idol contestants than Bush cabinet members. How can Richard Mack ever hope to win?

Thank you for coming, Mr. Mack, but the race is over for you and it is time to fold your cards and go home and let the real candidates spin their fleeting promises in order to appeal to as many of the voters as possible.

What a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in where image is everything in this age of corporate special interest politics. The Kyl's and the McCain's of the political world have sold their American soul and your children's heritage to big oil, the pharmaceuticals and military industrial complex in exchange for huge sums of campaign donations which they are betting will win them the battle of name recognition with the voters.

Politicians like Kyl and McCain understand how the political game is played and they have astutely positioned themselves to continue to be victorious because they have the means to win the name recognition game. Kyl's entire political platform stands on 30 second sound bites and a plethora of campaign signs and television ads that permeate the landscape and the media. What does Kyl stand for? We will really never know. But what we do know is that he stands for what the all-to-busy and largely uniformed public wants to hear while the incumbent Senator continues to be financially rewarded for his political loyalty to the United States of Multinational Corporate Special Interests. One would expect that the vast political machine of Jon Kyl will run over Richard Mack like a jackrabbit trying to cross the road on I-10.

Since he has more money than God, the other candidate, Democrat Jim Pederson, does not appear to be owned by any special interests as he is largely funding his own political campaign. In his political ads, Pederson professes to be for everything that Kyl is not (e.g., reasonable gas prices). Pederson emphatically states that he is for standing on the issues and not letting special interests dominate his political actions. Please note that we have heard this rhetoric before with politicians like Congressman Trent Franks who falsely promised to not take PAC money. However, unlike Franks, Pederson appears to mean what he says and has put his money where his political mouth is. This sounds good, but a deeper analysis of the Pederson campaign raises some unanswered questions. Specifically, where does Pederson lie on the critical issues? From Pederson's ads, I know what he does not like. Yet, this is where my understanding of candidate Jim Pederson ends.

Reminiscent of John Kerry 2004 campaign strategy, maybe Jim Pederson has a plan, or maybe he doesn't. Pederson's strategy seems to be one of making the public mistrust Senator Kyl and hope that this is enough to sway the vote in his favor. I agree with Pederson on one point; Kyl's behavior is so egregious that it should be enough to spark an anti-incumbent fervor against him.

Pederson's campaign reminds me of Monte Hall's old "Let's Make a Deal" game show. Just exactly what are the Pederson policies? Do the Pederson policies lie behind door number one, door number two or door number three? IF he is elected, which door will be opened and more importantly what will we get? It is hard to be certain.

So on one hand, we have Kyl who has the powerful backing of special interests. And with Pederson, we have a candidate who is successfully carving up the wholesome image of Kyl for his egregious conflicts of interests and special interest loyalties. Yet, Pederson's campaign ultimately lacks a substantive vision for the future of the nation. Pederson's campaign team might do well to consider the old axiom that effective criticism is best followed by action.

IF we did not have a system of legal bribery (i.e., campaign donations), which results in more media exposure, the race for the Senate might have a very surprising outcome. The underdog might actually prevail. Former Graham County Sheriff, Richard Mack, is not stranger to the role of underdog. In 1994, Mack filed a law suit against the Clinton Administration and their gun control legislation in response to the unfunded mandate which required State law enforcement officials to conduct weapons background checks on proposed gun buyers at the expense of the State. In 1997, Mack was vindicated when the Supreme Court ruled against Clinton for violating States rights because State law enforcement officials were being pressed into the service of the federal government in the controversial Brady Bill.

I am not as impressed with Mack's 1997 victory over Clinton's unconstitutional gun grab as I am by Mack's determination. I remain very impressed that Mack persevered against Clinton in the face of some very derisive, initial publicity. However, this did not deter Richard Mack from doing what was right for the American people on the issue of States rights. Of course, when Mack won his law suit in the Supreme Court, the press changed their tune, ever so slightly. Does Mack have courage? It is an easy question to answer. In his face-off with Clinton, he risked a 10 year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine for daring to challenge the law. Where does Richard Mack get his courage? The 53 year old, Richard Mack, was a cop. Enough said. In his career in law enforcement, Mack also served eight years as the Sheriff of Graham Country.

I have long felt that the country would be better served if teachers and cops were in charge of government. Both groups are largely honest, care about people and are used to following the rules. This is something that is sadly lacking by our "say anything, promise anything" politicians such as our present senators, Kyl and McCain.

With Richard Mack, you get a man who is true to his word. If the voters of Arizona were to know the man, instead the bought and paid for persona of Kyl, Mack would likely sweep to victory. Don't think that his opponents do not know this fact as well. In fact, if the voting public were to know what prominent politicians have begged Richard Mack to NOT run for Kyl's seat, they would have to ask what Kyl and the establishment is afraid of. Unfortunately, Mack is holding these names in confidence because he promised not to reveal these names in private conversations with these same politicians. Mack has proven to be a man of his word.

Kyl is truly worried about the upcoming election as he is calling in the heavy artillery in a last gasp to win re-election. Henry Kissinger recently paid a fundraising visit to the Kyl household in order to shore up his slipping campaign. With his pro-United Nations agenda and the omnipresent globalist mentality of this American sovereignty snatcher, 'O'Henry's" endorsement should be the "Kissinger of Death" for ANY political candidate. But again, Kyl is counting on voter ignorance and hoping that simple name recognition will carry the day.

Pederson's recent ads have struck a cord in the Kyl camp as we are beginning to see Kyl's fellow glass-house resident, John McCain, throwing stones at Pederson in a series of recently run political hatchet ads. Kyl is desperate and if Mack's message were to ever be heard by all of the Arizona voters, Kyl would be looking for a real job early next year.

What does Mack stand for? Unlike his opponents, this is an easy question to answer:


•Border Security

•Second Amendment Rights

•Opposition to the undeclared and illegal war in Iraq

•States Rights and the prohibition of unfunded Federal mandates

•Following the Constitution as the rule of law

•Keep all Americans as citizens of the United States and instead of the United Nations

•Governmental Fiscal Responsibility

•Reigning in the IRS and its abusive policies

•Curtailing unwarranted government surveillance on its citizens

Richard Mack hopes that his campaign will appeal to the 40% of Arizonans that do not presently vote because of apathy or disgust with the present set of politicians. His campaign slogan is representative of this fact. "Richard Mack for Senate: A Reason to Vote for a Change"

Unlike Jim Pederson, Mack has actually held elected office and has other substantial political experience. For example, he has served as Pat Buchanan's Arizona campaign co-chair for the Presidential race in 1996. Despite authoring five books and being honored by several national organizations (e.g., NRA Hall of Fame), Mack is not a man of substantial financial means. He is not the son of an admiral nor was he born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Shopping centers do not bear his name. With Richard Mack, "What you see is what you get". Because Mack must work for a living, he would have to live with the laws that he would saddle the rest of us with.

If the veil of apathy was raised for seven short weeks, we might be calling Richard Mack, Mr. Senator, come this November.

The price of apathy is indeed steep. Come post-election November and we return Kyl to the Senate and the price of gas begins to, once again, escalate to new record levels, Arizonans will once again be reminded that "what you don't know" can and often will hurt you.

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