Wikinews reporter Paul Budd recently interviewed Mike Ballantine, a 2012 US Presidential candidate seeking the nomination of Americans Elect.
WN I’ve spent some time reading about you on your site at www.mikeballantine2012.org. Are you currently running as an independent or are you seeking a party’s formal nomination’
- MB Our campaign was initiated to compete at Americans Elect. Whereas, I am a member of the Green Party and have registered as a Green Party candidate, our emphasis rests with Americans Elect (AE). The requirement for AE candidates is that the winner presents a bi-partisan team to overcome the normal party restrictions. If we tried to run a campaign that was both a Green Party campaign and an AE campaign, then both groups would feel cheated. Once we are successful, we will approach the Green Party at the convention and try to come to an agreement about moving forward but it is not a key issue at this time.
WN Do I understand that you do not currently reside in the U.S.’
- MB In 2011, I lived in Hanoi, Vietnam. Now I am living in Texas for the duration of the campaign.
WN Where did you grow up’
- MB I grew-up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Milton Hershey School for disadvantaged children.
WN Are you married’ Do you have children’
- MB I am divorced with 5 children spread across the world. My children, like me, have a global view of life.
WN Tell us about your education/academic background.
- MB I earned my Bachelor’s in Jewish Studies and Economics. Shortly after that, I enrolled in a Business Diploma program where I learned accounting and finance. Currently, I am enrolled in a Master’s program to earn my degree in Education specializing in teaching English as a second language (TESOL) and curriculum development.
WN Have any U.S. political leaders formally endorsed you for President’
- MB I don’t have any endorsements and don’t expect any before the primaries take place. As a nontraditional candidate, people like me represent a threat to the entrenched interests.
WN What are your thoughts about the economy in the U.S. today’
- MB The US economy has become markedly stratified between the well-educated/wealthy and the working class. Whereas, things are pretty good for a small minority, they continue to deteriorate for everybody else. Right now, we are in the eye of the storm and one can expect things to turn decidedly worse in the spring once the Eurozone moves back into the red and China begins to falter. Until the Federal Reserve takes appropriate action to stop housing prices from falling, America will remain mired in its economic malaise.
WN What are your thoughts about America’s military….present and future’
- MB Even at the reduced figure of $660 billion, America still spends a ridiculous amount on defense to confront imaginary enemies. Certainly, there are groups that oppose America and would like to see us falter but one does not fight bearded guys on horseback with super carriers. Our military is designed to fight or confront other large militaries that no longer exist. America needs to rethink its military posture to reflect the its true requirements over the next decade and stop fighting the wars of the 19th century. To do this, we will need to end overseas projections and work through regional blocs by providing them with logistical support instead of always resorting to muscle flexing.
WN Are there any regional or state-based organizations who’ve endorsed you or are supporting you’
- MB There are no organizations that are endorsing me. Once we show grassroots support, I will be asking the PERI Institute to evaluate our economic plan and endorse it. Our plan has a lot of similarities to their plan to create jobs. I will also approach leading economists who have written extensively about what needs to be done despite being ignored by Republicans and Democrats.
WN Regarding your personal/political ideology, who has influenced you most’
- MB I have always admired Teddy Roosevelt for his willingness to go against the political animals of the day and wage a campaign to do the right thing. Certainly, he was not perfect but he stood up for the people and took on the corporations. As a child, like many of my friends, I admired JFK for his ideas and the notion that devotion to public service was the responsibility of every citizen. I have never forgotten his mantra and that is one reason why I am running for President today.
WN If elected, what would your first 100 days in office look like’
- MB I suspect my first 100 days would be tumultuous. An independent has not won in 100 years, so I imagine Congress will be flummoxed by the prospect of working outside their comfort zone. We plan on presenting a three-in-one package because all three are essential to success. First, our 20 million job creation plan, our single-payer health plan, and our debt restructuring plan. Until Congress takes action in all three areas, America will continue to move sideways or decline overall. With a mandate, we believe we will have some success with Congress but we are prepared to resort to the bully pulpit to promote this legislation.
Mr. Ballantine added:
“One final note: Since the inception of our campaign, AE has modified the rules. Our campaign has moved beyond just offering myself as a Presidential candidate. We have a co-Presidency proposal combining the experience of Jon Huntsman as a running mate. Our campaign believes that we cannot simply offer an individual with ideas but that we need to offer a package defining how we will govern the nation. The President is not Superman and I do not pretend to be the most knowledgeable person for the job. You can find our new campaign website at: www.mikeandjon2012.com”