Interview with Richard Baugh

Helen Shibut

This past week I interviewed Richard Baugh, the current mayor of Harrisonburg. Baugh is up for reelection in November. Most JMU students are fairly ignorant of the responsibilities and scope of our local government, and in this interview Baugh gives us a look at some of the projects he is involved with.

As a libertarian, I worry about the size of government at all levels, and local government is no exception. In this clip, Baugh discusses his reasoning for hiring a new food and beverage vendor for the city-owned golf course and voting to raise the meals tax.

The sound quality is rather poor, but the interview should be intelligible throughout. Thanks for understanding!

Madison Liberty does not endorse political candidates at any level.


Meet More Libertarians

Helen Shibut

As a libertarian, sometimes it can feel like meeting politically like-minded people is impossible. When I worked in Karen Kwiatkowski's congressional campaign in the spring, I went to dozens of Republican events, which were dominated by people who had a drastically different view of the Republican Party than I did. Some were already avid Romney supporters, and others were more liberty minded but felt that the Republican Party could turn itself around and get back to being the party of small government. I tend to think we need a different approach.

The Rocktown Libertarians are a group that meets once a month and is made up of people who believe that the two major parties are so far gone that America needs a third party to step up and be a responsible alternative.  Going to their meeting last night was a breath of fresh air for me. If you're interested in attending a meeting, contact Marc Montoni at

If you need Gary Johnson signs, posters, or bumper stickers, please feel free to email me at .  Madison Liberty does not endorse candidates at any level, but I know that a lot of our readers are actively campaigning this year, so feel free to let me know if you need help getting materials. 

Photo courtesy of Marc Montoni. 


Madison Liberty Hosts Judge Gray

 Helen Shibut

           Madison Liberty hosted Libertarian vice presidential candidate Judge Jim Gray Monday and he spoke to a mid-size gathering of students and locals about the campaign he and presidential candidate Gary Johnson are running.  Though most polls suggest Obama and Romney will take the large majority of votes, Gray said the two are “running to win” in a year when many Americans are feeling disillusioned with the two major parties.  An important part of the Libertarian Party's strategy is getting Johnson, a former governor of New Mexico, in the presidential debates and Gray in the vice presidential one.  This would raise awareness of the real issues and prove to Americans that there is a strong third choice, according to Gray.  He also said that he and Johnson are “more qualified” than any of the other candidates, especially on foreign policy issues.

            Gray went on to argue that the Libertarian ticket is the only one with a serious plan to end the tremendous deficit spending of the last several years, and that a Johnson administration would “hold [Congress’] feet to the fire” when it comes to making real cuts and balancing the budget immediately, in 2013. 

            Audience members had a chance to pick up Gary Johnson palm cards, posters, and other promotional materials following the speech, and Judge Gray remained on the Commons for more than half an hour after speaking to answer questions and pose for photos with supporters.


Paul Ryan Comes to the Valley

Helen Shibut

On Friday, I had the opportunity to see Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds.  While waiting for Ryan to arrive I spoke with Andy East, an ardent Ryan supporter who works at a packaging supply company in the area.  East said he’s voting Romney- Ryan because they “[support] agriculture and the family culture deeply rooted in the valley, and smaller government.” Most of the people in the crowd seemed to agree—many wore hats that said “Coal=Jobs” and nearly everyone was decked out in Romney gear. In his speech, Ryan, like pretty much every major politician in recent memory, spoke about his goal of energy independence.  He called the coal industry a “jobs machine,” to great cheers from the crowd. 

Ryan also discussed a need to cut federal spending for both the benefit of future generations and the economy today.  To my disappointment, he failed to mention any cuts, and instead reiterated his belief that the United States needs a still-stronger military.  Ryan’s statement that he and Romney “believe in peace through strength” made it sound like our enormous military presence worldwide is keeping us safer, when recent events seem to indicate otherwise.

The high point of Ryan’s speech was his criticism of the Federal Reserve’s pledge of more quantitative easing, which will inevitably lead to more inflation.  Ryan’s statement that “sugar high economics is no substitute for pro-growth economics” was on point and gave a libertarian like me something to agree with him about. 


Battle of the Conventions

Helen Shibut

            The conventions are over, and I’m sure you’re all very upset that you’ll have to wait an entire four more years for more.  But don’t worry—the 2012 fun isn’t over yet!  We still need to pick a winner, or shall I say,  a not-the-worst loser.  Take a look at my scoring.

+2  The Republicans get a couple points for Romney’s above-average-for-him speech in which he finally mentioned his Mormon faith and gave some background about his family.  He was obviously trying to combat those pesky rumors that he’s actually a robot, and I think he dispelled that fear for many Americans. I really wish Romney had used Clint Eastwood’s talk-to-the-chair routine.  That would’ve really showed off another side of him.

-1  The Republican Party blatantly brought out of every woman they could drag to Tampa in an attempt to get rid of the War on Women stigma.  Ann Romney’s speech was solid—in fact, most of the speeches were—but I couldn’t help agreeing with Nancy Pelosi (shiver) when a few days later she asked at the DNC “Where are the women?” speaking of the Republican Party.

-[a lot] Where was Ron Paul?  A tribute video isn’t enough for the man who made the gold standard and Audit the Fed cool to a bunch of college students, who usually have to see the Internet being attacked to care about politics. And what was with the bigwig Republicans not even counting (or for that matter, seating) all his delegates?  Clearly the party thinks smart people don’t vote.  I hope third parties and write-ins send them a big message this November. 

Total Score: somewhere in the negatives

+1 Obama’s speech wasn’t his best, but it was better than most of what we saw at the RNC.  He focused on the question of whether he or Romney could be trusted to do a better job (a legitimate question) instead of whether he’s actually been making progress. He mocked the Republicans over unpopular tax cut proposals.  The audience loved it, but I still think he got upstaged by Michelle.  Good for her.

+3 Bill Clinton made his most ringing endorsement of Obama yet.  Clinton apparently has gained significant popularity since his time out of office, and even though the economic policies he promoted while in office look nothing like Obama’s, he managed to tie them together into one big package of hope and responsibility.  Forward!

-5 Maybe this is unfair because of my more general opinion of Elizabeth Warren, but I thought her speech was tired and depressing.  However, she made the very true statement that Americans have been “fooled by student loans and cheated on mortgages.”  She neglected to mention who was responsible for the trickery (who dolled out those loans and mortgages?), but framed America’s problems as evil pranks pulled by big, fat capitalists. 

Total Score: -2, which is probably enough to beat the Republicans this round.  But really, is anyone a winner in these convention charades? Madison Liberty doesn't endorse candidates of any party, and neither of these conventions made me resentful of that rule.