Brad’s Interview with Potter & Perdue

The following is an interview I conducted with William Potter and Ray Perdue. Mr. Potter is the chairman of the Jefferson Republican Party and Mr. Perdue is the state chairman of the JRP of North Carolina and a columnist for LewRockwell.com

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TPW: Tell me a little bit about your personal political backgrounds. What political parties were you a member of prior to the Jefferson Republican Party, if any? What political offices have you campaigned for, if any?

William Potter: I am a former member of the Alabama Constitution Party and acted as their Dekalb County Organizer. I have ran one campaign which was for a town council seat in Fyffe, Alabama. I won the race in 2004 and currently serve as a town councilman.

Ray Perdue: I am a former member of the North Carolina Constitution Party, working on a grassroots ground level with them. While I was with the Constitution Party I served as a regional director.

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TPW: When did the Jefferson Republican party start?

William Potter: The current incarnation of the party began life in August of 2006, we however see it as a continuation of the original Republican Party founded by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson circa 1792.

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TPW: Why did you decide not to join any of the existing political parties and instead create one of your own?

William Potter: Many political parties suffer from the problem of people putting party interests over the interest of preserving the liberties we gained during the Revolution and worded in the US Constitution, we as a group wanted to be members of a party whose sole purpose was to govern by the guidelines set down by the Founding Fathers, no more no less and we didn’t feel any existing national party offered that option.

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TPW: How many members does your party have?

William Potter: Each state organizer keeps his local membership roles, as each state party is to be autonomous I cannot give an exact number nationwide.

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TPW: Which states do you have active parties in?

William Potter: Currently we have state parties located in Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas and most recently Missouri.

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TPW: Unlike most parties your party does not have a platform. Your website states that “Like-minded individuals across America are coming together to form this party based on the words Thomas Jefferson issued in a statement in January of 1799.” It invites visitors to click to read those words, but there is no working link that I can find on your site that provides these words. What words of Jefferson’s is your party based on?

William Potter: That is in reference to a statement Jefferson issued in 1799 which reads in part “I am not for transferring all the powers of the States to the general government, nor all those of that government to the Executive branch. I am for a government rigorously frugal and simple”, also in the same statement Jefferson laid out his ideas for the government’s role in trade and foreign relations as well as military matters. We should have a link to the entire statement on our website, I will have to investigate and see if the link is broken.

Ray Perdue: The Constitution and Bill of Rights are our platforms, a lot of other parties have platforms that run contrary to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We encourage those that believe like we do, that a national return to the Constitution and Bill of Rights is needed, to join us.

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TPW: Jefferson said many different things. Why are those particular words so important? Why, for example, did you not choose some of his words from the Declaration of Independence?

William Potter: The words of the 1799 Statement were the very foundation of the original Republican Party of Jefferson’s time and were used as the platform of the party, it is used the in the same manner by the JRP today as the words are timeless and could be called the “Bible of Responsible Government”.

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TPW: Why Jefferson? There are many other Founding Fathers. Why did you decide to base your party on Thomas Jefferson, and not, for example, Patrick Henry or John Adams?

Ray Perdue: Patrick Henry is a personal hero of mine, and he always stood against any strong, central government, whether operated from London, or, as now, Washington. However, Jefferson stands out as he put into practice and on paper how a true Republic should operate. Were it not for Jefferson and his associates, we may have fallen prey to a totalitarian government shortly after independence.

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TPW: Your party’s website says that you want “to provide the people and candidates, particularly focused at the local level, to field candidates who desire a conservative approach to American politics.” The word “conservative” has meant many different things to different people at different times. What does that word mean to you?

William Potter: We use the word to mean a conservative interpretation of the US Constitution and the role of the government in the daily lives of the citizens. It doesn’t mean that we approve of and wish to preserve the Status Quo.

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TPW: Do you think Jefferson was a conservative? After all, he had quite a reputation as a revolutionary.

William Potter: I believe that he supported a very strict and conservative interpretation of the Constitution as we do.

Ray Perdue: George Orwell said, “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” Jefferson stood up for independence and Liberty in a time when a monarch and Parliament were telling the colonists that those rights did not belong to them. Jefferson could be said to be “revolutionary” since he did what was right. Today, any American is quite revolutionary who believes in a small limited government.

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TPW: People have long debated Jefferson’s religious beliefs and attitudes. What is your party’s attitude toward religion? Does your adherence to “conservatism” include the belief that Jesus Christ is Lord
in all aspects of life, including civil government?

William Potter: We believe in the freedom of religion and are in no way in favor of a theocracy, however we are by no means for the removal of religious symbols from public grounds. Speaking for myself personally, I consider the Lord to be the Supreme Governor of my life but I would never attempt to force my beliefs on anyone or on society as a whole.

Ray Perdue: Each person must choose whether they will follow Christ, or other gods. Some political parties have erred in this area, as they would like to force others to be part of their particular brand of religion.

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TPW: While they later abandoned many of those ideals as President, the Democratic-Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison was supportive of states’ rights and a very limited role for the federal government. Does the Jefferson Republican Party share those principles?

William Potter: 100% We hold the beliefs the original party held before the debacle of 1824 to the letter.

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TPW: Thomas Jefferson ordered America’s navy into combat against the Barbary pirates and James Madison asked congress to declare war on Great Britain. What is your party’s view of our unconstitutional, unbiblical
attack on Iraq? What should be done now about Iraq?

William Potter: Iraq has gotten completely out of hand and we have removed one tyrant only to replace him with two dozen others. We should bring our troops home to guard the borders of this nation rather than oversee the disintegration of another. We also call for US troops to be removed from Germany and Japan as WWII ended over 60 years ago and the Cold War is no longer a threat.

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TPW: What is your party’s view of the right to life? Do you believe that it is the duty of all civil governments to secure and to safeguard the lives of the pre-born, without exception?

William Potter: This is a very important issue to the members of the JRP, we are completely pro-life and believe Roe vs Wade to be nothing short of a license to murder.

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TPW: One of the hot political issues right now in America is immigration. What is your party’s position on immigration?

William Potter: We stand in favor of strict border security, against a “guest worker program” and total enforcement of immigration laws to the point of deportation.

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TPW: What about education? Jefferson was a proponent of government schools. Should states and communities provide education or should that be entirely private?

William Potter: Schools should be funded on the local and state level, we call for the abolition of the Department of Education and for private schools to be given the same benefits as those of the state.

Ray Perdue: The Federal government has no business interfearing into the local school systems. Laws such as the “No Child Left Behind” legislation are unconstitutional, and should be regarded as such.

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TPW: What about sexual behavior? Should states and communities criminalize sex outside of marriage? What about pornography?

William Potter: These are personal issues and no business of the state.

Ray Perdue: Marriage in itself is a religious institution, not a state institution. Marriage licenses should be done away with as they are only ways for the government to rip off the citizenry. Local governments and the citizens in local areas should be allowed to decide what restrictions they will have on those areas.

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TPW: What is your party’s position on the right to keep and bear arms?

William Potter: “Shall not be infringed” means just as it says, there are no “sensible gun laws”, each and every one is a violation of the constitution and we call for the repeal of each of them. We are also opposed to states and counties charging a fee for concealed carry permits, this is a right of every citizen.

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TPW: What about welfare? Does your party think that the state should redistribute wealth to care for the indigent, elderly, and the infirm or is welfare exclusively the responsibility of families and the church?

William Potter: It is the responsiblity of families and churches as well as private charities.

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TPW: What about taxation? Do you favor abolishing the federal income taxes? What about at the state level, how should state and local governments be funded?

William Potter: We believe the federal income tax should be abolished, state and local government’s should be funded by sales taxes and other honourable means rather than by stealing money from a worker before the worker ever sees a dime of it. I believe the Fair Tax Plan to be a good alternative.

Ray Perdue: The definition of income, according to the Constitution, is that which is gained through investment or endeavor. What we loosely call ‘income’ today is in reality nothing more than an exchange – your time for a few dollars. We also call for a repeal of the 16th amendment and the Federal Reserve System. A return to real money – gold and silver – is absolutely necessary.

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TPW: What candidates has your party run in the past and what victories have you had, if any?

William Potter: As a very young party we have so far only ran one candidate which was Carl Whitaker who ran for Governor of Tennessee, Carl came in third in the race with almost 12,000 votes which doesn’t sound like alot but was more than the Libertarian and Green Party candidates combined.

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TPW: What candidates are you currently endorsing, if any?

William Potter: We have endorsed no one for 2008 as of yet.

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TPW: If readers like your answers, how can they join the Jefferson Republican Party?

William Potter: Simply go to our website, click on the contact link and send us your information. There are no dues of any sort to join the Party of Jefferson and never shall be, all donations to campaigns will be on a strictly volunteer basis.

19 Responses to “Brad’s Interview with Potter & Perdue”

  1. Trent Hill Says:

    Im wondering why they left the CP?
    Perhaps over the Tampa Debacle?

  2. William Potter Says:

    I don’t really want to disrespect the CP in any way as the JRP still seeks to work with them to get good people rather than megalomaniacs elected to office (Both parties endorsed Judge Moore as a write-in for Alabama Governor) and ACP Chair MaryAnn Crum is a trusted comrade of mine but Tampa did indeed not sit well with me personally. I still wish the CP all the best and would love to see them help take a bite out of the “Two Headed Monster”.
    William Potter
    Jefferson Republican Party, Alabama

  3. Trent Hill Says:

    Mr. Potter,

    I see. So if, for example, the ACP ran a candidate for Governor, and you were not able to, would you support their candidate? Im just trying to get a feel for your level of support for the CP, and the reason you left.
    Its good to see you already have two elected officials. Perhaps, sometime in the distant future, a re-merger can be discussed.
    I have already tossed this idea to some higher ups. I sincerely believe that reaching out to some of the dissafialiated members would help both sides immensely,and that an understanding can be reached. Furthermore, while doing this, the CP could attempt a merger with America First and some of the smaller Conservative parties (like your own JRP).
    I really like the idea of the JRP. The non-platform leaves alot of room for derision i think, and i’m not so sure it would work on a national scale. But in the south,there is alot of strength to be had. I just hope the JRP and Southern CP wont bicker over the (already small) true-conservative vote.

  4. undercover_anarchist Says:

    Thomas Jefferson was a liberal democrat.

    George Orwell was a liberal and a socialist.

    CP mullahs are niether liberal nor democratic, but they are somewhat socialist.

  5. William Potter Says:

    We would absolutely endorse a CP Candidate if we didn’t didn’t have a candidate in the race.
    We are currently attempting to put together a working coalition with the CP, Arkansas.
    I wouldn’t mind at all if every Pro-Freedom/Pro-Individual Rights party came together under a big umbrella to do battle with the RepDem Machine.
    William Potter
    Jefferson Republican Party, Alabama

  6. Trent Hill Says:

    William, perhaps you could meet with some CP officials to discuss a meger or some sort of intiative cooperation plan? I dunno,im tossing out ideas.

    UA,
    Im so sad to see you’ve returned. Oh well. I have no problem with dismembering each of your arguements. Thomas Jefferson was a Classical Liberal. As in, anti-monarchy. However, the INCREDIBLY decentralized government he advocated is supported by current day Conservatism.
    The CP is not at all Socialist. This statement shows your lack of schooling on such subjects.

  7. Cody Quirk Says:

    William and Ray sound very well-intentioned, Unfortunate that they broke with the CP.

    Does the JRP have a Party Platform or is it based on the old Democratic-Republican Party?

  8. undercover_anarchist Says:

    “Centralized” government is in no way a liberal idea. What do you call the opponents of Communism within a Communist regime? LIBERALS.

    Jefferson was also an anti-theocrat, a secularist, and most likely an atheist. He despised the Christian religion and literally coined the phrase “separation of church and state.”

    That’s all to the good.

    On the negative side, he was a slave rapist.

    My guess is that you have the good/bad switched around, or deny it all as delusional would-be Mullahs like yourself are prone to do.

  9. undercover_anarchist Says:

    The CP is “socialist” in the same way that the current regime in China is “communist.” I agree that the words’ meaning have been perverted, but not nearly to the extent that calling Jefferson a “conservative” is perverse.

    Both China and the CP want a centrally-controlled economy in which goods are smacked with punitive tarrifs and the free movement of labor is restricted by literal and figurative walls.

  10. Cody Quirk Says:

    UA, obviously your level of ignorance matches with that of a Red-Neck/KKK member.

    And Jefferson was a Deist, not a athiest. And he was more anti-Calvinist then anti-Christian.

  11. Joe Says:

    In his biography of Thomas Jefferson, historian William Sterne Randall argued that, other than his advocacy of religious toleration Jefferson’s religious views were quite conventional compared to most of his contemporaries. Randall attributed claims of Jefferson’s deism and atheism to the polemics of his Federalist opponents. And keep in mind that Jefferson was a life-long Anglican vestryman and the Church of England remains doctrinely Calvinist to this day.

  12. General Lee Says:

    Back then, you could not exactly openly advocate atheism or even deism and retain your position is society, or even likely your life and liberty either.

    Jefferson, who published an edited version of the Bible, came as close to crossing the line as you could in those days – bear in mind that the individual states still had official state Churches then, and there had been witch burnings in America not too long before, as well as an active inquisition still going on in Europe.

    Wikipedia:

    “The Spanish Inquisition continued in the Americas until Mexican Independence and was not abolished in Europe until 1834.”

  13. Trent Hill Says:

    “The CP is “socialist” in the same way that the current regime in China is “communist.” I agree that the words’ meaning have been perverted, but not nearly to the extent that calling Jefferson a “conservative” is perverse.”

    UA,
    The words meaning has not been perverted, the way it is USED has been. And the way YOU’RE using it, is perverse and incorrect. Just because you are an anarcho-capitalist does not mean the CP is socialist. You see, it isnt a “comparitive” term, its definite. COMPARED TO YOU, you may consider the CP to be a socialist regime for their protectionist ideas. However, considering their massive government cutting and tax slashing issues, it’s hard to see your point. That might be because your point is…well…intellectually bankrupt.

  14. Cody Quirk Says:

    Testing…

  15. Cody Quirk Says:

    Thank God! for some strange reason, I couldn’t post yesterday.

    Any I have a quote from Mr. Jefferson himself:

    “His [Calvin’s] religion was demonism. If ever a man worshiped a false god, he did. The being described in his five points is … a demon of malignant spirit. It would be more pardonable to believe in no God at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious, attributes of Calvin.”
    —Thomas Jefferson, Works, 1829 edition, vol. 4, p. 322

  16. Cody Quirk Says:

    *Anyway

  17. matt Says:

    Calvin caught a lot of crap, and some of it’s pretty reasonable. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to live in Geneva back when he was running it, but as a thinker and an advancer of equal rights, he was without peer in his day. Did you know Calvin’s Geneva was the first place in Christendom where spousal abuse was a prosecutable crime?

  18. matt Says:

    Oddly enough, Jefferson is in Calvin’s debt philosophically. I’m glad both of them existed.

  19. Cody Quirk Says:

    How is Jefferson in Calvin’s debt?

    That was ONLY one quote on Jefferson about Calvin, there are plenty others.

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