Let's Meet The Biggest Loser Candidate In America. His Name Is Carl!
Look at this bunch of . . . (Photo courtesy of Loser4Liberty)
Peel your eyes off the Republican presidential primary train wreck for a moment, because all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly are up for election this fall. Most of the districts are gerrymandered to shit, but one of a handful of competitive races is in the proud and centrist 10th Senate District. The incumbent for whom the district was drawn, moderate Republican John Watkins, is retiring after holding the seat since 1998. In recent years, the district has gone for President Barack Obama twice, and Democratic Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner both carried it when they were elected to the US Senate.
Four candidates are vying for the seat: 1. a dreamy young GOP lawyer who is on the Richmond School Board, 2. a filthy rich Democrat who is a real estate developer and a county supervisor, 3. an independent community organizer who used to be a county supervisor, and 4. our subject today: Libertarian Carl Loser.
Unfortunately, his last name rhymes with "hoser," so it's kind of a John Boehner or Koch brothers situation as far jokes go. Nevertheless, he's embracing the confusion and using the slogan, "Vote Loser, Win Liberty." He's got a sweet video in which his campaign manager raps about liberty:
With lyrics like "Education for my kids, jobs for my peeps / no need to rob or peddle drugs in the streets," it almost sounds like Loser is actually in favor of government doing something to provide education and jobs -- is that a Libertarian message? Oh, but then we see the candidate shooting at a gun range, so it's OK. Maybe the education and jobs will all flow from legalizing hemp. And what other party will give you an amateur rapper touting "Freedom to marry / Freedom to carry"?
Last month, a state-level advocacy group for children's issues and the local public broadcasting station hosted a candidates forum. It was mostly candidates reciting their talking points as they related to the questions they were asked and trying to show how they love kids the most. Loser, however, made the forum worth the price of admission (free), deftly taking a question about the rate of foster children aging out of foster care as an opportunity to pivot to his wheelhouse (weed):
Democratic candidate Dan Gecker's face is priceless when the camera pans to him at the end of Loser's spiel.
Later, Loser said teachers who complain about their pay should just go work at private schools so they can get paid better. After audible eye-rolls and gasps from the audience, he briefly backtracked, then charged forward to explain that teachers actually get paid an artificially high wage because the government, not the market, is setting their wages. Looks like he's not courting the teacher-union vote.
Carl Loser generously took time from his campaign to sit with Yr Wonkette and tackle some of the thorniest issues facing the commonwealth and the nation today. A lightly annotated transcript follows.
I'm going to run through a laundry list of issues, and you just give your really brief pro/against position.
Pro, only pro, I'm actually the only candidate right now that is pro-guns in my district
That's a tough question. I'm not for a black market, so I guess you could say I'm for, but I don't like incentivizing it either.
Pro-choice, but I don't believe in incentives. [No more buy two get one free, ladies.]
Voter ID laws
I think it really defines with - I do agree with I.D.s for voters, but I think it could be reformed a lot. I would like to see it come to your cell phone or computer one day. Some sort of identification is definitely good. Photo I.D.s, if you have a social or something, you can use that for your login, something like that. I'm a little in between. [What has this guy gotten himself into?]
Are you talking about like. . .
Unions [What else could I have been talking about?]
I'm for individual liberty, so I guess yes. I'm not opposed or for it. It should just be open. The state should not be involved with that.
That's a great question. I actually think speed limits are something I'm not necessarily for. I actually believe the speed will limit itself by traffic as well as the situations such as weather and other variables that a natural free market would be able to respond to.
Let's talk a little about national stuff. You paying attention to presidential primaries?
A little bit.
Anybody you like?
I don't really like any of the Democrats or Republicans, honestly. If I had to choose, I like what Trump is doing. I don't like his policies. I like what he's doing. He's really splitting and changing the way voters think. Kinda opening the minds of voters to new ideas. Whether I agree with him or not, that's something totally different, but I do think what he's doing is phenomenal.
What about Rand Paul, you think he's a real libertarian?
Well, he's not a real Libertarian because he doesn't carry the Libertarian card. He's not even a little “l” libertarian because he does believe in force in some directions, which goes against the non-aggression principle, which libertarians believe.
How about the Tea Party in general, you into the Tea Party thing, or you don't like them because they're a wing of the Republicans or you don't know what they even stand for?
Believe it or not, before it got really corrupt and way out there, I used to be Tea Party, not as a Republican, just as limiting taxes and getting the government out of our lives, and I think that's where it really originally belonged, and I was a part of that movement. But then when they started getting religion and other issues involved, I kinda stepped away because I didn't really like that. And I found the Libertarian Party was kinda what I really stood for in the first place. It was kinda just a step to it.
At the candidate forum that WCVE held last month, you suggested that the government shouldn't be involved in education --
-- and it was a forum about the kids, so they were talking a lot about education. What are the appropriate functions of government, particularly at the state level?
I believe in one's life, liberty, and property goes as far as another's life, liberty, and property. As long as you're not infringing someone's life, liberty, or property, you should be able to do as you please. I do believe some kind of interference should exist, whether government or private entities, when it comes to someone's life, liberty, or property being infringed. When it comes to state government right now, looking on a step-by-step. I do think we need to limit, but it has to be a slow process because if we just get rid of everything or get rid of most socialistic policies, it's just gonna go nuts. So it's gotta be a slow but steady process and moving that direction. [a la Lloyd Dobler]
So, like, roads?
I love the idea of adopting a highway, but I love it on a bigger scale, where for instance, we could just say a corporation like McDonald's, or even smaller corporations such as a local donut shop, says, “OK, we're gonna own this part of the street right here.” And that way, they can put their logo on their side of the street and control that. And the thing is if the street starts looking bad, then who looks bad in the first place? It looks bad on the business. So the business idea would be to make sure their streets look good. No litter, make sure everything looks spotless on that street. I do believe in roads, obviously. I think that's something we do need. We need transportation, but we need a reform and that's something I'm looking for.
What's your take, if any, on the redistricting process?
Redistricting needs to be nonpartisan. Most people say bipartisan. Nonpartisan is where it should be. I don't even think Libertarians, as well as independent parties, should be in the process. I think people who are not affiliated with candidates, as well as not very political typically, they should be the ones involved. Maybe younger people or students or people who are trying to learn about politics, but don't really know. Of course, you're always gonna have biases, but I think we need a large group of people who do not typically vote one way or the other or any way, and that way they can make a difference.
Some kind of independent panel?
Yes, yes, independent panel, yes.
Which was a bigger motivation in your decision to run: your libertarian ideology, or your disgust with the two-party system?
That's tough. Those are both actually the reasons I run. There's no one reason you run, but if I had to choose one, I think it's my libertarian ideology. People are done with the two parties anyway. My ideology is way more important than the two parties. They're just a show.
Following up on that, if you were to be elected, what could the people of the 10th district expect from a Senator Loser, someone trying to forge compromise between the parties, or someone who's casting largely symbolic votes informed by ideology?
I don't think either is really the answer. There's a better answer than that.[Points for rejecting the false dichotomy] Someone could say that I'm a candidate that's advocating for different ideas besides the normal ideas that Democrats and Republicans typically have. For instance, right now there's 40 senators total, Democrats and Republicans. They all advocate for the same typical things: education, jobs, better economy. Do I agree with that? Yes, but I haven't seen any change. So my idea is to bring other variables to this as well as those. And that's ending prohibition of cannabis. Any other prohibition, such as prostitution, and legalizing gambling. Those are individual liberties and should be left to the people's responsibility, not the government's. So those are things I'm also bringing to the table. I'm also the only pro-gun candidate, so I'm very for safety and defense. Unfortunately, the police cannot be there at all times, or at the times you need them at the right second. They're always there, but it's not typically at the right second that you need them, when they're robbing you or shooting you. I do think safety in your household is definitely priority.
I had prostitution on my list. I had to scratch it off because you got to it.
[Laughing] Yeah, prostitution is something I'm -- excuse me, I don't want to say I'm for prostitution, I do think it's an industry that should not be a black market. I do think the free market handles and makes it a safer market. And I am for individual liberty. And I believe in one's life and one's property and one's liberty should be able to choose what they want to do with their body, as well as selling it if that's their choice. I think there should be a better avenue for that than the black market.
I have another question that kinda goes back to when we were talking about how you'd work in the Senate. Would you caucus with one of the two parties?
I never thought of that, honestly. I don't know if I would. I would have to really decide on that. I think I'd have more power or more control by being independent because they're both going to look to me for my decision, because I could be that 21st vote. That's what makes me very important.
I've got some numbers. Robert Sarvis was the Libertarian candidate for US Senate in 2014 and for Governor in 2013. In your district, when he ran for Governor, he got a bit over 10 percent of the vote. Then in the Senate race in 2014, he was down to 3.5 percent, just 2,252 votes. Given that you're in favor of gambling, where would you set the over/under for you in this race, percentage wise?
I really think that I'm going to get around 10 percent of the vote. My goal is 20 percent. I won't be surprised if I don't win. I think the establishment parties will win, but I'm certainly trying to advocate for new voters and get new voters involved that normally wouldn't vote. So for instance a lot of my age group, I've found, from 18 to 26 or 27, they do not vote that often, and I've been really trying to get people my age to vote, so that's been something I've been focusing on.
Do you like to hunt and fish?
I actually don't do either. Kinda weird, I know. I'm actually one of those people for the 2nd amendment because I believe guns for tyranny. Guns for a tyrannous government. I am for hunting and fishing. I come from Long Island, New York, and never had the experience. I did fish when I was younger with my dad Upstate New York, but I don't do it now.
So you've never eaten a fish out of the James River?
No, I have not.
Would you eat a fish out of the James River?
Probably not. [Thanks to the Virginia Department of Health, we know it's safe to do as often as twice a month, depending on the fish]
Who was your favorite founding father?
Thomas Jefferson. I love what he stands for. Everyone always goes back to that thing, “Well, he was a slaveholder,” but I love where he stands. I think times were different then, and I think now he would not be a slave owner in this time. Other than that, I think Thomas Jefferson is by far my favorite founding father.
Fuck/Marry/Kill: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison
I'm sorry can you say that again? [show him the Fuck/Marry/Kill question on paper] That's a difficult question. Well. [Laughter]
You know you're in Virginia; you can play to the home crowd.
I guess I would marry Madison. One of the founding fathers of our Bill of Rights, his wife was Dolley Madison, so I guess I would marry her. I guess it would be, I hate saying this word, but fuck Martha Washington. And I hate saying kill, also, but Abigail Adams.
Yeah, it's a tough game, and you have to make tough choices.
That's kinda how I thought that was going to pan out, to be honest with you. Have you made any mistakes in your campaign?
Absolutely. I make mistakes all the time. I'm just a person, and I think that it's really about looking to the future. I'm 25, and I'm not a career politician. That really makes a big difference on that.
What lessons have you drawn from any mistakes you've made?
Just keep looking forward and keep your head up. That's really what it comes down to. People are going to say stuff about you, and you're going to have haters. That's part of the game, I feel.
At the forum, was that a stunt bag of weed or the real deal?
It was a stunt, it was a stunt. I considered a real bag of weed, but I figured it wouldn't look good getting arrested.
I was there at the forum in the spill-over room, and when you did that, I saw a bunch of public broadcasting employees go in to the bathroom, and almost immediately, I heard all the toilets flush. [This is a complete fabrication on yr Wonkette's part. We have no reason to believe employees of the Community Ideas Stations are anything but law-abiding citizens.]
That's great. Apparently my campaign manager Corey, when he heard that, looked over at the Chesterfield, AKA Arrest-a-field, Police Chief, and he's absolutely against cannabis. And I think he was going to get ready to get up and arrest me. From what I understand, [Corey] said his person sitting next to him said, “Just sit down, if anything we'll get him at the end if it's real.” But he kinda looked upset.
Yeah, that would have been a much better publicity stunt if he had tried to arrest you for a bag of grass. Anything else you want to say to the people of the 10th?
November 3 is the election, and I hope I can earn your vote over the rest of the campaign.
Follow Fitzgerald on Twitter (@ChestyFitz). He's new there and still trying to figure it all out.