A candidate for the U.S. Senate has defied political orthodoxy and called for a reduction in the budgets of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. Speaking to reporters from the Register-Herald, Jesse Johnson, who is running in West Virginia for the seat vacated by the death of Senator Robert Byrd, was asked, “If you had to cut one federal program or agency, which one would it be? Why?”. Johnson responded,
“Of the 24 federal departments there are two that are not properly audited. If you look at the 2009 GAO audit you’ll see that there’s exemptions for the Department of Defense and Homeland Security. Homeland Security tripled the size of government in the Bush years. Most of that is once again privatization to outsourcing of intelligence, etc. Seventy percent of our intelligence is outsourced, even outside of our nation.
We don’t have to spend, when we are the world’s superpower, when we are the only empire on earth, we don’t need to spend that kind of money — more than anyone else combined — on defense. We have no conventional enemies and we have one of the most powerful militaries on the face of the planet.”
How could Jesse Johnson get away with making a statement like that? How did he get his party’s nomination?
Jesse Johnson built the party. Unlike his rivals, Republican John Raese and Democrat Joe Manchin, who advanced themselves by joining political parties thoroughly infused with money from corporate contractors that make money from big projects for the military and Homeland Security, Johnson went his own way. He worked with other West Virginia activists to build the Mountain Party.
Also, Jesse Johnson doesn’t have to be accountable to corporate demands because he’s not taking corporate money to support his campaign. Not a dime of it. He’s been free to speak his mind, without the consequences of withheld PAC money.
Jesse Johnson speaks differently from the other Senate candidates because he’s built his campaign different, from the ground up instead of from corporate conference rooms out. Can this strategy be successful? Only if the citizens of West Virginia get up off the couch and research the candidates themselves, instead of relying on campaign television commercials to tell them how to vote.