By David Swanson
In an interview I recorded on Tuesday with Jeff Clark, an independent candidate for Congress in Virginia’s Fifth District, and the father of a Marine currently in Afghanistan, Clark told me he was opposed to putting another $33 billion into escalating the war in Afghanistan. Clark comes from the right on many issues and is often billed as the Tea Party candidate. The Virginia Independent Green Party supports him, despite his distance from them on most issues, possibly because his role is understood to be a spoiler benefitting incumbent Democrat Tom Perriello. Clark is a member of the Tea Party in Danville, but says the Tea Party is backing Robert Hurt, the Republican candidate.
Perriello has refused for months to take a position on the war escalation funding. On July 1st, the House moved the funding forward in a bizarre maneuver that avoided an actual vote on it. The vote on the Rule that created that unusual procedure was opposed by Perriello, but his explanation for voting No focused on matters unrelated to the war. If, however, the Senate now insists that the House pass the Senate’s version of the war funding, Perriello may be compelled to take a position after all. If he votes in favor of the $33 billion, he will be outflanked on both peace and fiscal responsibility by Clark, someone Perriello thinks he wants in the race and in the debates in order to split the Republican vote.
In an hour-long interview Clark presented a different, or at least more nuanced picture of himself than has appeared on his website or in the media. On the one hand Clark is a global warming denier, unconcerned about the BP oil spill, believes the United States possesses large quantities of oil, thinks corporations are superior to government, denies that it is even possible to tax corporations, and frames his opposition to any government policy as opposition to government even while proposing other government policies. But Clark would cut off funding, not only for an escalation in Afghanistan, but for continuing that war at all. He doesn’t buy into the nonsensical and predictable criticism of failing to “support the troops.” He supports his son and doesn’t want his son’s life lost in a war that is not actually defending our country. Clark would reduce military spending apart from war spending as well. He supports renewable energy, opposes corporate corruption of government, wants the tax burden lifted off the poor, and is not a fan of where the Republican Party has gone. He’s not a fan of the current Democratic Party either. Asked if he would mind if his candidacy benefitted Perriello, Clark replied that he would rather have Perriello for two more years than replace him with the wrong Republican, and that he thinks he’ll take voters away from both Perriello and his Republican challenger.
Audio of the interview is available here: