By Alexandria Blute
CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik speaks to students on the Mall yesterday afternoon. Badnarik spoke about his hopes of eliminating the IRS, legalizing marijuana and reducing the reach of the federal government.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, September 3, 2004
Candidate for president delivers 2 speeches at UA
Legalization of marijuana, loosening of immigration laws and levying of vetoes on proposed government bills were some of the many subjects tackled by libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik during two separate speeches on campus last night.
While only a handful of students attended a rally at Old Main organized by the Pima County Libertarians and the UA student group Campus Libertarians, about 50 people turned up for a second forum that was organized and publicized by ASUA.
Badnarik told both crowds if elected president, he would work to protect the liberties of all U.S. citizens. That, he said, entailed abolishing many government agencies, doing away with government regulations on gun control and ensuring that gay marriage be legalized.
The candidate told supporters that he believes many of the government's regulations, agencies and policies are unconstitutional.
If elected, Badnarik said he would immediately take measures to eliminate the IRS, pull troops out of Iraq and veto any laws Congress might make which would re-instate the draft.
"Libertarians believe that the Constitution actually means something. We believe that the Constitution puts limits on government," Badnarik said. "Most of what government does is unconstitutional."
While the candidate answered questions from supporters as well as those who opposed his views at both forums, the Mall rally was more informal than the ASUA event.
On the Mall, Badnarik even joked with his audience about his stance on the legalization of marijuana, saying that he thought pizza companies should file a lawsuit against the government asking for the drug to be made legal.
"(Pizza companies) would have sold millions of dollars worth of pizza if people were just sitting at home getting the munchies," he said.
Badnarik said that he did not believe U.S. prisons should be filled with people who committed what he called "victimless crimes." He said crimes like drug possession do not infringe on other peoples' liberties.
Nick Bauman, treasurer of the Campus Libertarians, said he appreciates the candidate's stance on personal liberties. The psychology freshman said he hoped that Badnarik's message would resonate with young people who are notorious for their absence from voting booths nationwide.
"I think this candidate is big on freedoms and I think people my age, 18 to 24 - that's the range that doesn't vote - I think they're still in the stage where they're more idealistic. They don't like people telling them what to do because they are adults," Bauman said.
Other students, like undeclared freshman Todd Comi, weren't totally taken with the Libertarian's message.
"I'll always be independent," said Comi, a sociology freshman, after listening to Badnarik at the rally at Old Main. "Because no matter what party's leading the nation, the system's not going to support the kids. We don't have a voice at all - until you turn 65 and get involved with interest groups."