An Open Letter to BJ Lawson

BJ, when you first started running against David Price, George W Bush was still president of our country and the leader of your party.  You seemed different, a breath of fresh air - you talked about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and seemed to have some idea of the dangers of powerful government.  As a civil libertarian, I wanted to find out more about you, so I contacted you and we had a wonderful three-hour breakfast meeting where we seemed to agree on a lot of principles and issues.  After that we met once, perhaps twice, for more pleasant and stimulating conversations.  I even invited you to a liberal political group, where you impressed other liberals with your apparent earnestness and even with some of your ideas.

At one point I asked you why you belonged to the Republican Party.  You replied that the party was broken, ripe for takeover.   That sounded reasonable, given the ways that a Republican President and Congress had tossed away a budget surplus and gone to war against a country that hadn't attacked us.  That Republican Party is dangerous, I said, and you seemed to agree.

But now I'm feeling angry when I think about you.  When I feel as angry towards someone as I do toward you, it kind of shocks me.  I have to ask myself, "What is bothering me?  Why am I angry?"

I believed that you represented a better Republican Party, something that our country desperately needs.  As I told you, I will never vote for a Republican - I won't go into my reasons here - but our country would be far better off with the the party of Eisenhower than with the party of Rupert Murdock.

What have you become as you try once again to be elected to Congress?

  • Your belief in the Bill of Rights seemed genuine and principled.  And then you finally admitted to me that you'd use the power of government to stop a woman from having an abortion.  So much for principle: you see the Constitution you want, the same way Glenn Beck does.
  • When we talked, you seemed to understand that our true problem is not big government but government owned by corporations, government over which we have no control.  If you don't believe that this is a fight to wrest control from corporations, why are you running for Congress?  Do you now actually believe that "socialists" and not corporations control our government?  That's quite a switch in your thinking and one that shocks me.  If you still believe that corporate control of government is the problem, why are you so afraid to say so?
  • You call David Price, elected to Congress in 1987, a "career politician" and then fawn at the feet of Ron Paul, elected in 1976.
  • You imply that David Price is a "socialist".  Yes, you really use that word even through you know it's untrue.  ("Socialism comes with a Price" is your name for a recent fundraiser).
  • You say that "...David Price votes with Nancy Pelosi more than any other congressman - and that principled Americans need to stand up and say NO."  So I’m “unprincipled” because I support Price and Pelosi?  Please tell me that to my face, BJ.
  • In the new Lawson-speak, your supporters are "patriots".  People like me must be traitors, right?

So, yes I'm angry now.  I'm tired of politicians like you, who claim to be pure, patriotic, trustworthy, different, special while spouting the same vitriol and economic magical thinking that got us into this mess in the first place.

To my surprise I'm finding myself questioning your motivations, where I didn't two years ago.  I've gotten to know David Price fairly well over the years, and while I do not always agree with his positions, I've learned never to doubt his motivations: he truly wants to do good for all Americans.  I can no longer tell what you stand for, BJ.  Unfortunately it's become all to easy to see who you're standing with.



I've heard a lot of politicians invoke the label of "socialist" lately, applying it to anyone and everyone in the Democratic party but especially Obama. I wonder what they mean. Where did it come from.....the General Motors takeover, health care reform, or is it just a political ploy? One accepted definition of socialism is state ownership of the means of production. I guess the General Motors, big banks, etc takeover could be seen as a socialist act. But as I understand it, most of those loans have been paid back early, so the "state ownership" was relatively brief and led to functioning businesses rather than bankruptcy. That whole philosophy seemed very pro big business to me and not really aligned with true socialism. Another accepted definition of socialism is worker-owned means of production. Given the pitiful state of labor these days, I can't see any industry where that could be the case. Of course, health care reform does guarantee some minimal level of coverage for workers. Could anyone really believe that is socialistic? That leaves me to believe that our educational system has failed again. A large segment of the US population has latched onto the "socialist" label without even understanding what it means. But they know they are afraid of it, and there are a lot of politicians using that fear. As a political ploy, I find it despicable. If you're a politician who is using this tactic, or any other that generates fear, I implore you to rethink your approach. Give voters a positive reason to vote FOR you; reject tactics and language that generate fear.Hope I haven't co-opted your post George. 

I remember back around last August when Lawson said he wouldn't run and wouldn't endorse the
GOP who was campaigning for the 2010 election at the time, he said on his website "we fundamentally disagree on the value of the Federal Reserve and its
communist..."  It seems as though anyone challenging Lawson, in the GOP primary or the general election, is at risk of being labeled pro-communist ideas or socialist.  Which I imagine if everyone can start to look that way if you take libertarianism too far.  But if you take it too far you lose the ability for our nation to tackle big problems.I don't know if that image (hopefully pictured above) will show.  It seems that I can't get any pictures to load on OP any more.  But it pictures Lawson& reads "say no to amnesty"  I watched the accompanying video where he denounces "comprehensive immigration reform" as just other words for "amnesty"I can't imagine someone who is anti-gay marriage, will make getting rid of a bad law like DOMA a priority.What about things like the EPA or CDC? The environment isn't limited to one state, its interconnected, the spread of disease isn't either, and neither are oil spills. These are just a few areas where taking libertarianism too far defeats our country's ability to tackle big problems... like comprehensive immigration reform.

Fellow civil libertarian here, but I'm not exactly clear on where some of this stuff is coming from."our country would be far better off with the the party of Eisenhower than with the party of Rupert Murdock"Rupert Murdock is not a politician, has no official capacity with the Republican party, and is under no obligation to do anything other than what he wants to do as a private businessman.  I don't like News Corp anymore than I imagine you do, but the answer to that is easy: don't patronize them.  Rupert Murdoch has almost nothing to do with the sad state of the political Republican party."Your belief in the Bill of Rights seemed genuine and principled.  And then you finally admitted to me that you'd use the power of government to stop a woman from having an abortion."I'm pro-choice as well, but I'm not clear on what the Bill of Rights has to do with it.  Which of the first 10 amendments do you see as protective of the right to have an abortion?  I've never though libertarian thought was particularly instructive here -- if you honestly believe that a fetus is a human life, there is no libertarian principle that insists abortion must nevertheless remain legal. "When we talked, you seemed to understand that our true problem is not big government but government owned by corporations"The problem is not that corporations "own" government; the problem is that government panders to entrenched interests.  The health care act, which was cleared by insurance companies (who make out great due to the fact that the entire country is forced to become a customer of theirs) before it was voted upon, is one example.  The recent FDA takeover of tobacco regulation is another; tobacco companies gained exemptions for things like menthol, which would otherwise have been banned.  Corporations will naturally seek out profitable situations, which is none of our business.  It is the responsibility of elected officials, not of private businessmen, to prevent corruption and improper influence here.  Too much corporate influence is a governmental failure, not a corporate one."You call David Price, elected to Congress in 1987, a "career politician" and then fawn at the feet of Ron Paul, elected in 1976."Ron Paul has been a stronger advocate for constitutional civil freedoms than any other politician I can think of, on either side of the aisle.  Why someone supposedly concerned with protecting civil liberty would decry the presence of an ally like that is beyond me.  He may not be perfect, but he's better than all the rest of them. I don't know much about either Price or Lawson, but this piece says little about where either of them actually stand on civil liberties; perhaps because the author seems confused on the issue in the first place.

Rupert Murdoch has almost nothing to do with the sad state of the political Republican party.

If anything I'd imagine he's made them quite happy.

Fox parent gives $1 million to RGANews Corp., which owns Fox News and the New York Post, gave $1
million to Haley Barbour's Republican Governors Association this year,
according to the RGA's most recent filing.
The company's media outlets play politics more openly than most, but
the huge contribution to a party committee is a new step toward an open
identification between Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and the GOP. The
company's highest-ranking Democratic executive, Peter Chernin, recently
The $1 million contribution this June 24 was first reported by Bloomberg and appears on the RGA's July 15 filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
The group's other seven-figure donor is the libertarian billionaire David Koch.

There aren't many media companies who don't flex their muscles somehow.  Consider MSNBC, which is owned by NBC/Universal, which itself is a subsidiary of General Electric (the largest corporation in the country).  Jeff Immelt, GE's CEO, has been one of the most frequent official visitors to the Obama white house.  It's hard to see how this represents less inside-track influence than throwing money at a political party fund.Corporations are going to expend their resources in a way that benefits them.  This isn't new, and isn't even a problem.  Recently there was a big to-do about an alcoholic beverage distributor's group donating to the No on Prop 19 campaign out in California.  I'm a strong advocate for legalization and have donated to the Yes on 19 campaign more than once, but it doesn't offend me that corporate entities would seek an outcome more favorable to them.  That's just how it works.It is our elected officials, not private businessmen, who should be held accountable by the public.  Again, if we want to hold a corporation accountable, we are free to no longer patronize it.

Duke Energy.


Plenty of people go off the grid.  Go for it.  Best of luck.

I'm guessing you don't know much about Mark.

Why exactly does he act as though terminating patronage of Duke Energy is an impossibility?  Seems like a silly example to bring up if he directly contradicts it.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against people supporting my arguments or anything....

just incredibly unrealistic.

"Which of the first 10 amendments do you see as protective of the right to have an abortion?"The Roe v. Wade opinion is rooted in the 1st and 14th Amendements, as well as arguably the 9th Amendment.

I heard an interview with him a couple of years ago and he totally understands the corporate control of society. Anyone hearing this interview would have thought he was neither Republican or Democrat - certainly not Republican. Looks like ambition is causing his principles to atrophy.

And I heard it then, too. No longer.  And I hear a lot of mud-slinging slogans now.

Can you really not see why BJ Lawson has changed his tune?  It's because he thinks he has a snowball's chance this year.  I don't believe he will win, but the comparison between 2010 and 1994 is not lost on Lawson.

by a small margin.Makes me wonder if it was connected to this since I haven't seen any other polls done by anyone:

After earlier attempts, announced here on OP, that fell through for one reason or another, we have finally been able to schedule B. J. Lawson, the Republican challenger to David Price, on my radio program. We also wanted to schedule David and, as it turns out, they were only able to do it on the same day. To my disappointment (though not in the least, Ruby, my surprise), David’s people were not keen to have the three of us on the air at the same time, although Lawson was. So I am pleased to announce a special two-hour broadcast of Ethics Matters, hosted by James Coley, on WCOM-LP (103.5 FM) on Saturday morning, the 23rd of October. In the eight o’clock hour, my guest will be B. J. Lawson, the Republican challenger to David Price, our representative in Congress. For the nine o’clock segment, my guest will be David Price. The program is associated with the Ethical Humanist Society of the Triangle (EHST).Many people find that the best way to listen to WCOM is online. Go to the following link and, at the home page, click the box at the right that reads "Listen Online. Click here for Streaming Webcast." This will not be a debate, but rather two back-to-back candidate conversations with a talk show host who does not hide his views any more than, say, Rachel Maddow does. I will not be an impartial debate emcee, but instead a fair interviewer in open discussions. The views expressed will be my own, and those of the candidates, not the EHST or WCOM. I intend to open up the phone lines during both hours so that you can take part in the conversations. Call 919-929-9601 and stay on the line until I can get to you and put you directly on the air.My thanks got to Frank Keary of the EHST for helping to make these arrangements, and to the Price and Lawson campaigns. I am looking forward to the discussions, and I hope you will be listening.James Coley

how he squares his oppostion to gay rights with his professed libertarian philosophy.

I've made a crude Web page with a link to download the mp3 of the WCOM broadcast this past Saturday morning, including the Ethics Matters interviews with B. J. Lawson and David Price. (The recording was started some minutes before Ethics Matters, during the program hosted by Tobin Logan.) Here is the link to the Web page. Coley


Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.