Monday, October 16, 2000

Libertarian, Natural Law parties define growing numbers as victory

By Spencer Hunt
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

        COLUMBUS — Libertarian John McAlister and Natural Law Party member John Eastman have no illusions about their chances to win a U.S. Senate seat.

        With only 2 percent of likely voters supporting each candidate, according to the most recent University of Cincinnati Ohio Poll, they have no chance.

        Neither appears likely to emerge as a spoiler in this contest, given the wide lead that same survey gives to GOP Sen. Mike DeWine over Democratic challenger Ted Celeste.

        But both say they already have won something.

        “I don't think we've ever gotten 2 percent in that poll,” said Mr. Eastman, an environmental engineer who lost races for lieutenant governor in 1998 and for the state senate in 1996. “That's progress.”

        Mr. McAlister agrees. A former Goldwater Republican, the Gahanna insurance agent says Libertarians form the only political force challenging the GOP's growing moderate stance on government, social and legal issues.

        “I'm taking the long view,” Mr. McAlister said. “If we remain consistent as a party, eventually our ideas will be adopted by one or both parties — or more people will vote for our party.”

        As a Libertarian, Mr. McAlister's issues are consistent with his party.

        He supports eliminating the federal income tax, saying that would help reduce the size of the federal government, returning it to a body the founding fathers envisioned when they first wrote the Constitution. He also supports legalizing drugs to eliminate what he calls an expensive and ineffective war on illicit narcotics.

        “I cannot find any passage in the constitution that gives the federal government the right to say what you can and cannot put in your body,” he said.

        Mr. Eastman also is loyal to Natural Law issues.

        He supports an intervention style approach to social problems, such as health care reform. The Natural Law Party program, for example, would alter Medicaid to cover treatments and practices to help people stay healthy and avoid getting sick.

        “An elderly person with hypertension cannot get $200 for a treadmill, but 2 years later he can be paid $50,000 for triple bypass surgery,” Mr. Eastman said. “That makes no sense.”

        Natural Law Party candidates also support programs that would ensure a clean environment, pesticide-free foods, and an education system “that empowers the creative genius in every child.”

        The party also supports transcendental meditation as a method to help solve problems and relieve stress. Though Mr. Eastman said he supports the meditation plank in his party's platform, he said it is often misinterpreted as the party's sole issue.

        “Our party has such a common sense message,” he said. “When I talk to people about it, they say “Well, of course.”


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