by Greg Bowen
The Libertarian Party of Florida has offered a candidate for Florida Governor in the 2018 election. Unfortunately it is another candidate who seems to have little understanding of the office they seek. As is the norm in the internet age, the first place one goes to find information on a candidate is their own website. So let’s take a look at Randy Wiseman’s campaign website, www.randywiseman.com, particularly the “Issues” page, where we can get an understanding of exactly what the candidate brings to the table for the people of Florida.
The first thing I notice when looking at this website is that it is a free Wix website. What pops into my head upon seeing this is, “You’re running for the office of the Executive of the third most populous state in the U.S., and you can’t even be bothered with purchasing a proper hosting package for your website?” In this day and age it is a minimal cost, and the professionalism it presents is worth every penny. Secondly, the page is rife with grammatical errors. I wonder, if you are not taking the care to make sure your campaign website is correct, can we trust you to do so with the bills the Florida Legislature sends across your desk? But maybe the content is of high enough quality to look past that. Let’s take a look; Typically the list of issues is presented in order of priority. The first one on the list is the lynchpin of the candidate’s platform.
Quality Drinking Water
1. Stop medicating our water.
2. Stop wasting our water.
3. Stop polluting our water.
Water is a major issue in the State of Florida, and the purity of the water is of great concern. The excessive use of brevity may lead to some wondering what it means when when number one is listed as, “Stop medicating our water.”
This refers to the fluoridation of the drinking water. Those who are familiar with the issue may recognize the terminology as what is offered by the more “conspiracy theory” oriented activists. Often there will be further opposition to other additives to the drinking water, with an implication that it is done to support some nefarious plot of our malicious overlords. Personally, I am not convinced of the efficacy of adding fluoride to the drinking water supply. I’m also familiar with how the issues work.
This is where the “libertarian” credentials of this candidate come into question. In Florida the water supply is typically controlled at a county level. In some of the major metropolitan areas, the city has control. What we seem to have here is a candidate for Governor that is looking to step in. I know that myself, I am in favor of localizing governance as much as possible. There is also that pesky Florida State Constitution, to which Florida voters added the power of Home Rule. To those who may be unfamiliar, as apparently this candidate is, the language is as follows:
“Municipalities shall have governmental, corporate and proprietary powers to enable them to conduct municipal government, perform municipal functions and render municipal services…”
This keeps local municipalities in control of their needs, which also keeps the oversight of control closer to home for voters. For the Governor to step in and begin dictating to the municipalities how they must treat their water is a violation of Home Rule, and a reach beyond the power of the office. The Florida Legislature has been taking steps to subvert Home Rule over recent years, and that has been a bone of contention with libertarians. Now the Libertarian Party of Florida is offering a candidate for Governor who seeks to do just that on his own.
When it comes to wasting the water and polluting the water, the government is a big part of the problem. There are some steps the Governor can take, but most will need approval from the Legislature. What, exactly, is the plan when it comes to addressing the waste and pollution of water in Florida? Is it an expansion of Florida’s Environmental Protection Agency? With no expressed plan, we are left to extrapolate on our own how this might be addressed. If I have to come up with a plan on my own, I might as well run for the office myself. At least I am aware of the existence of Home Rule and will make it clear I have no plan to violate it. So the first section leaves me with more questions than answers. Not the least of which being, “Is this man familiar with the Florida State Constitution and the roles and responsibilities of the office he is seeking?” Maybe things get better in the next section.
1. Install a live streaming web cam in every lawmakers office. (with audio)
2. Get rid of “Sunshine Law” loopholes.
3. Make the Speakers office, Senate presidents office and Cabinet offices more accessible.
Government Transparency in and of itself is something we should all support. How it is accomplished is where things get tricky. This may explain what follows in his three points.
The first is interesting, because it is an idea stolen and perverted from the previous Libertarian Candidate for Florida Governor, Adrian Wyllie. When Wyllie ran for office, part of his platform was that he would install a live webcam in the Governor’s office. This was feasible because the Governor does have control of their own office, and Wyllie’s background as an Information Technology Consultant afforded him the ability to do it himself at no cost to the taxpayers. But what Wiseman has done is take a popular platform position of the previous candidate and run with it, but in the wrong direction. The Governor does not have the power to put these cameras in the offices of Florida legislators unilaterally. This has to be put forward in a bill that must then be passed by those same legislators. This task is folly on its face, as there is no way they’re going to pass such a bill. Even if they did, they just won’t meet in their offices anymore. They’ll have more meetings on golf courses or restaurants, away from the snooping cameras. Very often, attempts at government transparency become a case of moving a problem and not solving one. That seems to be the case here.
Which brings us to the second point here, “Get rid of ‘Sunshine Law’ loopholes.” This is another ambiguous statement that may seem useful, but again raises more questions than it answers. The Sunshine Laws themselves are a failed attempt at government transparency that need to be removed completely. What exactly does “closing the loopholes” mean? Typically that implies further additions to the laws that address what are seen as loopholes. So is that what the Libertarian Candidate for Governor is offering? Additional laws? More layers added to failed legislation? What does this mean? Does it mean anything, or is it just good propaganda, designed to elicit an emotional response but has no true meaning or value of any other kind?
When it comes to making the higher offices more accessible, this is another vague statement that means little. Has Wiseman ever attempted to meet with these offices? Is he aware of what they do? These offices carry a relatively heavy workload, these are busy people. Even if you don’t agree with what they’re doing, you have to acknowledge that they’re busy people. Their time is valuable, and since they are paid by the taxpayers, we all have a vested interest in making sure that time is being used wisely. Since one can schedule a meeting with these offices already, and there are lines of communication open for these offices for the public, one wonders what this means. You may only get a meeting with a staffer, and if you’re looking to use your time with them to yell at them for something like medicating the water or some other fringe issue, and have no solutions to offer other than insulting their job performance, then it is quite likely you’ll be weeded out and won’t get a meeting. If you’re offering something of value to the time you’re taking, you can get a meeting with these offices. But let’s say you can’t. What is the plan here? What are you going to do to make these offices more accessible. With no specifics, again we’re left to fill in the gaps ourselves.
Also, while many aren’t sticklers for grammar in today’s age, I would like for my Gubernatorial candidates to have a strong eye for detail, including the grammar of their website. In the three points above, he has three separate grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors. How can such a person, who doesn’t seem to have the time to check the grammar, punctuation, or spelling of their campaign website, be entrusted to read over the length of an entire bill?
Enforce and protect 2nd Amendment Rights
1. Remove all licensing requirements.
2. Strengthen punishment for gun related crimes.
Removing all licensing requirements for firearms is obviously a strong step. And another move that cannot be achieved unilaterally by the Governor’s office. This will require a ballot initiative put up to the voters of Florida, as it would be a matter dealt with in the Florida Constitution. There would also be layers of legislation repeal that need to be dealt with. This one task, this one issue itself needs a strong organization spearheading the campaign for change, and cannot be achieved by one politician alone. Which, again, brings up more questions related to Wiseman’s understanding of the office he seeks and the rest of the State of Florida’s governance than it does to inspire support for him.
When it comes to strengthening punishment for gun related crimes, it makes me wonder about his understanding of libertarian philosophy once again. Currently in Florida we have the “10-20-Life” law. For me and my libertarian sensibilities, this is already too strong. This affords judges no room for discretion, and acts as any other mandatory minimum sentencing, being more destructive to those who may deserve some level of discretion than it does to those who are remorseless repeat offenders. So what, exactly, does strengthening the punishment mean? Stricter sentencing requirements? Is there any way to do this that isn’t a growth of government? How does this belong in the platform of a Libertarian candidate?
The State Budget
1. Place a hiring freeze (as of election day) on all state employees except public safety.
2. Have all departments cut 10% out of their budget.
3. Switch from “spend all” to “save and reward” budgeting.
This section seems on its face to align with what a Libertarian candidate should be offering. But it ends with more exposure of his lack of familiarity with what he’s trying to do. “Switch from ‘spend all’ to ‘save and reward’ budgeting.” It’s called “Zero-Based Budgeting” and it’s okay to call it that, because people who know what they’re talking about understand it. Does he know what he’s talking about, or does he assume we won’t? Again, more questions, no answers.
Finally, he closes with just a statement to “End the War on Drugs“. I very much agree with the need to do just that. How does he think he’s going to accomplish that as Governor? What is he going to do within the power of the office to End the War on Drugs? Again, there are many layers of legislation that need to be repealed here, and you’re going to need buy-in from the Florida Legislature, and most of all the voters. With the platform ending there, we get no explanation, and no attempt to get that buy-in. So how are you going to do it? Oh, who cares at this point.
Between poorly plagiarizing the previous LPF candidate and having little grasp on libertarian philosophy on his own, what we have here is a poorly assembled hodgepodge of stolen ideas and leftovers of his time spent as a Republican. This mess ends up holding ideas that will repel as quickly as it attracts voters from the two major parties. For every Democrat that is drawn in by his superficial environmentalism, they will run away at his stance on guns. For every Republican drawn in by his stance on guns, they’ll be sent away by the vague statement of ending the War on Drugs. It leaves this libertarian wondering when the party is going to stop latching onto the flotsam and jetsam of the Republican and Democrat parties. The LP is so desperate for candidates that they will accept and support anyone who comes in wanting to run for any office, no matter how woefully unqualified they are or how little they know about the office they seek. One of many reasons why I still hold on to libertarianism philosophically, but have changed my party affiliation from the LP to No Party Affiliation, is because no party is offering quality candidates anymore.
Greg Bowen is a political activist and an OG member of the 1787 Network. He is also the voice of the Muddied Waters of Freedom, and is lucky enough to consider Matt a brother from another mother.