Yesterday, fellow blogger Willie Deutsch posted a 2012 campaign piece in which Susan Stimpson joins Bill Howell in urging voters to support George Allen for the United States Senate in the June 12th Republican primary. This information, along with a host of other adventures once again begs the question, who is Susan Stimpson?
I first had the opportunity to hear Susan Stimpson at last year’s Ron Paul Legacy Dinner in Staunton, Virginia. At the time, I thought the list of speakers for the event was rather curious. After all, I only know of two recent candidates who sought or are seeking either statewide or federal office that have openly supported Ron Paul: these are Karen Kwiatkowski (who sought the 6th district GOP nomination) and Delegate Bob Marshall (who ran for Senate in 2008 and 2012). Although it is quite easy to support the cause of liberty when it is politically advantageous, it is quite another issue entirely to stand on principle regardless of the potentially negative consequences. Although Stimpson was unknown to many liberty activists, there is no question that she gained considerable traction through her appearance at this dinner.
There seemed to be an increasing avalanche of support for Stimpson among the liberty community. However, I have urged and continue to urge my fellow activists to learn about all of the candidates before blindly hopping on any bandwagon.
So who is Susan Stimpson? I’m still not sure, but one moment that sticks out in my mind took place during the forum at Liberty in Lynchburg. When asked if she supported random drug testing for welfare recipients, she stated that she did. As someone who considers himself a constitutional conservative, I found this answer to be particularly troubling for two reasons conveniently voiced by Pete Snyder and Senator Steve Martin. First, as Mr. Snyder pointed out, these drug screenings would be a considerable invasion of privacy. Although I do not have any fondness for a permanent welfare program, I’m horrified about the prospect of granting the state more power to control its citizens. The second concern, mentioned by Senator Martin is one of cost. How would the state be able to afford to drug test recipients? Wouldn’t such a move require additional state employees and equipment? From where would these funds come? Would the move require additional taxes or cuts in more important programs?
Yesterday’s information from Willie Deutsch brings the question of Susan Stimpson into the forefront again. Is she the liberty candidate? Is she the rebellious conservative outsider? Or is she, as Shaun Kenney over at Bearing Drift suggests, an establishment conservative? Now don’t get me wrong, if a candidate could successfully wear the mantles of both being an establishment Republican while simultaneously viewed as a liberty-minded libertarian/conservative, he or she would likely enjoy tremendous success. But is such a designation possible or is it merely a shell game that, if discovered, would result in utter disaster, alienating both wings of the Republican Party?
Scott Lingamfelter recently damaged his chances to win over liberty activists with his negative comments about Ron Paul supporters. But, to the best of my knowledge, he has never claimed to be the “conservative/liberty candidate”. By comparison, if Stimpson turns out to be merely an establishment candidate who adopted the clothing of liberty for political advantage, the fallout from such a realization would almost certainly be fatal to her campaign.
As a personal note, I must say that it is an extremely liberating feeling to have not selected a candidate yet, to be able to examine all of the candidates as objectively as I can without worrying if this process offends them or causes my employer or co-workers to view me unfavorably.
So, we return to our first question. Who is Susan Stimpson? Is she the liberty champion that many of my fellow Ron Paul supporters are selling her to be? Or is she something else? Either way, it is unwise to either rush to praise her or condemn her.
Regardless of your political principles, I once again encourage all of the activists seeking to be delegates to the Richmond convention in May to get informed, stay informed, and to share any and all information that they find. Don’t simply adopt my opinion or the opinion of someone else. Sure, it takes time, but do the research for yourself.
Lastly, don’t mistakenly think that the main purpose of this article is to disparage Susan Stimpson, but rather to promote awareness. After all, who knows? Once all of the dust settles, and I have sufficient data, I may find myself firmly in her camp, assuming her principles closely match my own and her campaign does a decent job articulating her message. Remember, it is okay to trust, but you must also verify.