TNA Conley Interview

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  • 8/14/2019 TNA Conley Interview


    Interview of Bob Conley by Jim Capo

    B ob Conley actively supported PatBuchanans presidential bid onthe Reform Party ticket in 2000.More recently, he supported RepublicanCongressman Ron Pauls presidential bid.He is now running for the U.S. Senate inSouth Carolina as a Democrat .

    Though he is still largely ignored by theestablishment media, Bob Conley has al-ready won the Democratic primary and hisname will appear on the ballot in Novemberas the Democratic nominee. His primaryvictory should be added to those of JohnMcCains and Barack Obamas on the listof improbable but notable outcomes thus farin 2008. On a shoestring budget, and withonly a few months under his belt in his newparty, Bob Conley won his primary race

    against Michael Cone, a Charleston lawyer,by 1,049 votes out of 147,287 cast.

    The commercial pilot, professional engi-neer, and flight instructor is now up againstLindsey Graham, the Republican incum-bent, who in the current Congress (to date)has scored a mediocre 56 percent in T he N ew A mericAN s Freedom Index, a con-gressional scorecard that rates all membersof the House and Senate based on their ad-herence to the Constitution. Conley oftenrefers to Senator Graham as McCainsMini Me and Grahamnesty (a monikercoined by Rush Limbaugh). Graham wasone of the key Republican senators whotried (unsuccessfully) to push through theMcCain-Kennedy immigration reform(read: amnesty) bill last year.

    If a Democrat running to the right of the Republican seems a bit odd, it shouldbe kept in mind that the Republican Party

    has been moving to the left. In fact, manyRepublicans are neoconservatives whopromote a corporate-socialist-internation-alist agenda under the banner of Repub-lican conservatism. Neoconservatism hasbecome so prevalent within the Republi-can Party that some conservatives have leftthe party in disgust. For example, formerGOP Congressman Bob Barr migrated tothe Libertarian Party and is now the Lib-ertarians presidential nominee. PastorChuck Baldwin is running for presidentunder the Constitution Party banner. AndBob Conley, the engineer-pilot-pragmatist,with a signature flattop haircut, thinks hehas a better idea: run and actually win asa Democrat. Since his plan has worked sofar, we caught up with FlatTop Bob toflat out ask him, Whats up?

    T he N ew A mericAN : With your conser-vative views, why are you running as a

    Democrat and how were you able to winthe Democratic primary for the U.S. Senatein South Carolina?Bob Conley: I had a simple opening mes-sage for voters, Im the Democrat yourgrandfather voted for. The BlueDog isthe wave of the future. The New Democratis the Old Democrat. You can campaignand win as a Democrat on a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, traditional values,

    fiscally conservative platform. The 2006elections proved this. Jeffersonian idealscan still win in the party that Jeffersonfounded. Outside of a few elitist, urbanitewhite folks, the message of Ted Kennedydoesnt play in South Carolina evenamong rank-and-file Democrats.

    TNA: You have described yourself as aJeffersonian Democrat. How do youdefine that term?Conley: A Jeffersonian Democrat believesin small government; he believes that thegovernment that governs least governsbest. Like Thomas Jefferson, I believe thatgovernment power must be limited andthat those entrusted with exercising thatpower must be held in check. As Jeffersonput it, we must not put confidence in man,but bind him down from mischief by thechains of the Constitution.

    TNA: You have also called yourself aLarry McDonald Democrat. Whats a

    Larry McDonald Democrat?



    Bob Conle y

    The NewDemocrat

    According to Bob Conley, the Democrat nominee for theU.S. Senate in South Carolina, The New Democrat is the

    Old Democrat. And that Democrat is pro-life, pro-SecondAmendment, and fiscally conservative.

  • 8/14/2019 TNA Conley Interview


    Conley: A champion of the Constitution.Larry McDonald, a member of Congressfrom Georgia, was a modern JeffersonianDemocrat. He served in the U.S. Housefrom 1975 until 1983, when he disap-peared on Korean Airline Flight 007. Dr.McDonald was a traditional SouthernDemocrat, and was the most conservativemember of that body. In fact, he was chair-man of the John Birch Society.

    TNA: You mentioned earlier that a Dem-ocrat whos pro-life, pro-Second Amend-ment, pro-traditional values, and fiscallyconservative can win. What are a coupleof the other issues you are campaigningon?Conley: The U.S. has suicidal immigra-tion problems that must be fixed; amnesty

    is not a solution, and will only exacerbatethe problem; the importation of foreignnationals to take Americans jobs anddrive down wages must stop. Im run-ning against the occupation of (not war in) Iraq. We need to end the occupationnow.

    TNA: How fast is now?Conley: As rapidly as is consistent with thesafety of the troops. Complete redeploy-ment may take three, six, or nine months,but must begin now. I would be surprised if

    the process takes more than a year.I also support our veterans. Compare

    our treatment of our honorable veterans tohow we treat dishonorable bankers on WallStreet with subsidies and bailouts. Corpo-rate welfare has to end. Im a reemergenceof the traditional Democrat: think WilliamJennings Bryan.

    TNA: What role do you see the Federal Reserve Board playing in our growingeconomic debacle?Conley: The Fed is a banking cartel thatshould be abolished. It is a major part of the problem. It will never be part of thesolution. I support constitutional money including Lincolns Greenbacks. Wehave to free ourselves from the Fedsdebt-based money. As noted Austrianeconomist Murray Rothbard said in re-sponse to what should happen to the Fed,It should just go away!

    TNA: You also support the FairTax. Whyis that?

    Conley: Three points: First, it will do awaywith the IRS and move towards repeal of the 16th [income tax] Amendment. Sec-ond, the special breaks for the corporatelobbyists will go away. And third, SouthCarolina has lost so many textile jobs toCommunist China, it will help level theplaying field on international trade. Thatis, it will allow our domestic manufactur-ers to compete under the so-called freetrade agreements. It will counter the taxpenalties Duncan Hunter talked about inhis presidential campaign. Hunter used afootball analogy to describe the 17-percentsubsidy Communist China gives their ex-porters while at the same time penalizingour producers 17 percent. Team U.S.A. isdown 34-0 on the scoreboard at the startof the game and this doesnt even take

    into account the Chi-Coms devaluation of their own currency.

    TNA: How do you reconcile your Jef- fersonian principles with the fact that theFairTax is supposed to be revenue neutral

    that is, the federal government would collect as much money under the FairTaxas it does now?Conley: We did not get to where we aretoday in one step. The FairTax eliminates,among other things, the income tax andpayroll taxes. This is a step in the right

    direction. Once that is accomplished, thenext step to reduce the size of the federalgovernment is by cutting spending thenpaying off the national debt, then reducingthe tax rate.

    TNA: Getting back to your upset primaryvictory, how were you able to pull it off without mega bucks for advertising?Conley: Our victory was just a lot of hardwork along with lots of dedicated volun-teers. Everywhere we went we handed out alot of business-card-sized pass-along cardsto build name recognition. We went wherethe votes were, and where I could connectwith enough voters to win. Our goal washalf plus one; we received half plus a littlemore than five hundred! I do believe Godhelps those who make the effort.

    TNA: What is your strategy for beating Lindsey Graham on November 4?Conley: We need more name recognition,and that will take at least a little bit of money, by no means parity with Graham,

    but between 10 and 20 percent. Remem-ber, Tom Coburn was outspent 11:1 in his2004 primary race for U.S. Senate in Okla-homa, but through a grass-roots effort hewon the primary and went on to win theSenate seat in November. And through ourown grass-roots effort here in South Caro-lina we will win this Senate seat. Certainly,we think there will be an increased turnoutfor Obama in South Carolina. Graham hasbeen declared the worst Republican sena-tor, and is widely despised; we need totake 10 percent of his base, and believe

    we can take at least 25 percent.

    TNA: Do you see a Ron Paul-type candidateon the horizon in the Democratic Party?Conley: I am that candidate. n

    24 THE NEW AMERICAN SEpTEMbER 15, 2008


    Bob Conley discussingpolicy with a builderin South Carolina.