Inside the Capitol

Sunday, July 26, 2009

7-31 Excitement in 3rd Congressional District

Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- What candidate would call a press conference to announce his choice of political party? For most candidates, that would be a dull ho-hummer. For Adam Kokesh, it's a major announcement.
In what promises to be an out of the ordinary 3rd Congressional District campaign, Kokesh promises to give us some excitement. He's already a registered Republican, so what's the big deal about deciding he wants to carry the GOP banner?
It's because Kokesh really is more of a Libertarian, in the vein of Texas GOP U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas, or maybe former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.
Johnson and Paul both decided that although the Libertarian philosophy is closer to their beliefs, it isn't possible to win running as a Libertarian.
There is a Libertarian Party. It has asked both Johnson and Paul to be its presidential candidate. But, almost by definition, Libertarians are not really party people. They are too independent minded.
So Kokesh is seeking the Republican Party nomination for Congress. Businessman Dan East of Rio Rancho won an upset victory in the GOP primary last year. He is yet to make up his mind on whether to run again.
Many Republicans would prefer to see East run again. Libertarians believe in individual rights for everyone. Republicans and Democrats believe in individual rights for everyone with whom they agree. Otherwise, those rights should be banned.
Kokesh might be hard to beat in a northern district GOP primary. He has been endorsed by Rep. Paul who raised tens of millions for last year's GOP presidential primary. He raised so much, he was having trouble figuring out how to spend it.
His secret was the same as Barack Obama's. Raise small amounts from many people through the Internet. With his first Internet blitz, Kokesh raised $25,000 in one day, mostly from out of state. He's raised another $30,000 since.
Democrat Ben Ray Lujan, the current holder of the 3rd District seat has criticized Kokesh for the amount of out of state contributors. But Kokesh counters that Lujan has received some large contributions from a number of out of state interests.
Other factors that could make Kokesh tough to beat in a GOP primary are that he's an ex-Marine with a tour of duty in Iraq. He's young, energetic and computer savvy. He's fluent in Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and all the other social networking sites.
And he has nothing to distract him from being a candidate. He calls himself a full time activist. He's a good public speaker and does it around the nation for causes he supports. He's also an organizer who has a cadre of volunteers who already are out making signs and placing them around the district.
But there are some things about Kokesh that Republicans won't like. Following his service, Kokesh became active in the Iraqi Veterans Against the War. Before his discharge, he demonstrated wearing part of his uniform, for which he was downgraded from a sergeant to a corporal.
A prominent far left Web site dubbed him "America's Favorite Marine." During the Republican National Convention last summer, Kokesh managed to get on the floor to heckle John McCain during his acceptance speech, for which he was removed.
He opposes the Federal Reserve System, he preaches that the Republican party has forgotten its roots and he wants to put the "Love" back in "Revolution." (Try spelling it backwards.) He thinks the recession is an illusion. And this may attract some Republican votes: he says federal income taxes are totally unnecessary.
Kokesh says his long term vision for America is a paradigm shift that will be more like a revolution. But a peaceful revolution. He says, "My political expression is the ultimate expression of nonviolence and rejection of the aggressive use of force."
Those in my generation have difficulty understanding some of what he says. But he has a following in Generation Y.
FRI, 7-31-09

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)



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