An average Joe for President?
By Steven Martinovich
Every election cycle brings out the predictable -- the candidate approved of by the establishment and married to the big money that a campaign seems to devour just to get off the ground.
But along with the usual gang of idiots come regular citizens who seek high office. Hampered by a lack of money, little -- if any -- party structure, and no press attention these people run in the tradition of the citizen-candidate, the very group of Americans that the nation's Founders hoped would be its future leaders.
Joe Bellis considers himself one of these candidates. With all the disadvantages that his campaign has, Bellis has turned to the World Wide Web to promote himself and his platform for the 2000 election.
Holding a doctorate in theology from the American Theological Seminary in California, He describes himself as an ordinary man who drives a rusted 1979 Chrysler LeBaron and who works as a project manager at an Overlan Park, Kansas software firm.
It's still too early to declare the citizens of the Internet members of a digital democracy, but Bellis hopes his low cost approach translates into grassroots support in his quest for nothing less than the presidency of the United States.
How serious are you about your candidacy?
My decision to seek of office of President has not been entered into lightly. In fact, it is the culmination of a six year labor of love. Yes, I am serious.
I have researched how our government and political parties currently work and should work. I have studied every bill passed by Congress and signed by the President in the last four years. I have analyzed each of the President's last three budget proposals. I have reviewed the platforms for every major and even some of the minor political parties. And last, but by far not least, I scrutinized have the Constitution of the United States, the document our nation was founded upon.
Over the past six years, I have developed a sense of how government is being run and how our government should be run. When I look at the offerings of the other candidates, I am left wanting. My candidacy gives the American people a voice in the coming election.
What would you consider the central focus of your campaign?
Today the American people support the federal government by means of taxes, taxes and more taxes. The true purpose of government is to serve the people. Abraham Lincoln closed his Gettysburg address with these words "... that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." That government that Lincoln spoke of has ceased to exist.
America is crying for change, "Less government, less interference, less intolerance and less taxes." The voice of the people is not heard on these matters. Instead our elected leaders listen to influence peddlers, other politicians and the media. Their attention is piqued only by campaign contributions. The purpose of government is now to create more government.
This cry of the American people is the main focus of my campaign.
What other issues will you concentrate on during your campaign?
The return to our Constitutionally mandated form of government will be the other focus issue. This covers a whole range of issues from taxation to states rights.
Why turn to the Internet?
The internet is a great tool and a growing form of communication. Additionally it is not controlled by the liberal media machine. Opinions and viewpoints are widely spread every day. There is no other media where I can be in contact on a personal basis with thousands of people on a daily basis. I can share my thoughts and I can receive feedback and hear the thoughts of the American people.
As the internet becomes more mainstream, the importance of this tool will only grow.
How much press attention have you received to date?
I have sent out literally hundreds of press releases, locally and to the national media. The response I get, when I get a response, is that there are too many campaigns already and how can I justify my news worthiness. Looking at the news today, several stories about possible candidates that have decided not to run.
To date, I have been ignored by the traditional liberal media. I have enjoyed some local radio news coverage and exposure on several talk radio shows.
I'll continue to send out my press releases and eventually someone will take notice.
Besides the Internet, what else are you doing to promote your candidacy?
I have a plan to build a grass roots support network, the organization of which is coming along nicely. I am currently campaigning on weekends in the Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. This summer the campaign swings will take me to Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Additional campaign outing will be scheduled as the network of state organizations continues to build. State level organizations have been setup in California, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington.
Time is our enemy right now. The grass roots network will need to be established in all 50 states before the beginning of the year. Ballot access initiatives will begin in earnest at the time. We have been in contact with all of the states to determine requirement for ballot access.
What would be the first action you would take if you were elected president?
My first action as President will be to meet with the Congress and explain to them the importance of the Constitution and the responsibilities granted to each branch of government. Our elected officials have forgotten this basic civics lesson.
The Congress will be informed that as President, I will take very seriously my oath of office, in particular, the responsibility to uphold the Constitution. Any legislation passed by the Congress that does not meet constitutional muster will be vetoed. The Congress than would have the opportunity to override that veto. If they should decide to do so, I will take the issue to the American people.
The Congress will be told that the Office of the President will be a bully pulpit with the purpose of returning government to the people.
Why did you decide to run?
I have decided to run for President because of the lack of honesty, integrity and morality in Washington today. Our elected officials sing two songs.
First, is the "Please elect me" song. Campaign pledges and promises. Anything to buy your vote. Second, is the "I don't have to listen to you" song. Once elected, the desires of the American people are ignored until election time rolls around.
The American people have allowed this for too long. The media doesn't play this side of the story. I am tired of it and I believe the American of tired of it also.
In the movie "Network" the character Howard Beale, a newscaster, gets fed up with everyone in society, and suggests to his viewers that they go to an open window and yell "I am as mad as hell and I am not going to take this any more". I feel this way, but better than just yelling about, I will do something about it.
You say that you are sometimes more conservative then Pat Buchanan. How so?
The conservative movement in America today wants a return to a Constitutional form of government. The American people also want the same thing, they just don't know it yet. The leaders of the conservative movement, Pat Buchanan is among these great Americans, have much to say on this subject. Herein lies the problem, they are all just talk. Has conservative change to government been wrought? No.
A truly great conservative leader must put actions to those words. I am putting action to my words. Can Pat Buchanan say that?
Pat Buchanan has been a leader of the conservative movement for over twenty years. What change has been affected by his words?
Do we have a truly constitutional form of government? Have the rights of the states usurped by the federal government in the early part of this century been returned to the states? Has our illegal system of taxation been repealed? Are the American people represented in Washington? The answer to these questions is no.
Pat Buchanan is a great man, a great conservative, he just seems to stop short. This is caused by his undying allegiance to the Republican Party.
You describe yourself as an ordinary man. Some people would look at that as something that would hold you back in Washington, D.C. How do you react to that?
Being an ordinary man is what has caused me to be able to the true needs of the American people. These are my needs. Once I am elected, the desire and wishes of the American will empower me to be their voice. I will no longer just an ordinary man, I will be the collective voice of the ordinary America. If the Washington establishment is resistant to that voice, the people will replace them.
When did the idea of running for president hit you?
I have been contemplating this campaign for six years now. I begin work on the campaign the day after Bill Clinton was elected President.
The idea for this campaign was actually planned in my mind while I was a junior in high school. I had the privilege on meeting and becoming a good friend of former President Harry Truman. During the hundreds of hours of conservation that occurred before his death in 1972, he taught me civics from a wonderful perspective. He encouraged me to not to take for fact anything being taught and dissect, research, study every issue before developing and opinion or accepting fact. He also encouraged me to make a difference.
I took his words to heart. I have dissected, researched and studied. I have developed my opinions, they do differ from his in some ways. I will now attempt to make a difference. This campaign is my way of honoring him.
Any previous political experience or elected office?
No. I have do not have prior political experience. The qualifications to be President don't require previous experience.
What has the country gained from the prior political experience of our currently elected President and representatives? Perhaps a lack of previous political experience should a requirement for seeking office.
How does your family feel about your campaign?
My family is entirely behind me on this campaign. The process of getting to this point for the past six years has helped. Their biggest concern is the loss of privacy. The media has no respect for privacy today. I will strive to maintain their privacy.
A lot of people view third-party or non-mainstream candidates as cranks, what would you say in reaction?
Some people hold this opinion because this is what the media tells them. They are spoon fed by the media everyday and only know what the media wants them to know.
There are three kinds of people in the United States. The informed, the misinformed and the uninformed.
The informed are the citizens with the desire to know more and will accept the opinions of others only after research and study. These are the Americans that know politics is a sham and the our government is not governing correctly.
The misinformed are the citizens that do not have the desire to know more and easily accept the opinions of others as fact. These Americans feel that something is wrong with government, but think they must be wrong because the media tells them everything is okay.
The uninformed are citizens that follow simply because they have always followed.
You've launched a new political party, America's Party. Tell us about that?
America's Party was founded to facilitate ballot access in the 37 states that require party nomination to listed on the ballot. Response has been so great to the ideals of my campaign that America's Party will attempt to organize in all 50 states and place similar ordinary citizens on the ballot. Giving the American people a true choice politically.
For more information on the Bellis campaign, visit the web site at http://www.joebellis.com.
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