Michael Badnarik: Wikis


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Badnarik campaigning in July 2004.

Michael J. Badnarik (born August 1, 1954) is an American software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, behind independent candidate Ralph Nader. Two years later he ran as a Libertarian Party candidate in the 2006 congressional elections for Texas's 10th congressional district seat near Austin.[1] In a three candidate field, Badnarik came in third receiving 7,603 votes for 4.3% of the vote.


Personal life

Michael Badnarik was born in Hammond, Indiana. He is the oldest son of John and Elaine Badnarik and the grandson of Slovak immigrants. Michael Badnarik attended Indiana University Bloomington, but left one semester away from earning a degree in chemistry. He worked as a computer programmer at the Zion Nuclear Power Station beginning in 1977; from 1982 to 1985, was a senior software engineer for Commonwealth Edison.

In 1985, he relocated to Montebello, California, to work on the Stealth Bomber simulator project. In 1987, he moved to San Luis Obispo, California to work as a system administrator and computer trainer at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.

In 1997, unhappy with gun laws enacted by the California legislature, Badnarik moved to Texas, where he began work as a senior trainer for Evolutionary Technologies International. He currently resides in Austin, Texas.

Badnarik worked as a Red Cross volunteer during the 1970s. He has been a volunteer leader in several Boy Scout troops (Badnarik relates that he came just short of attaining Eagle Scout.) He is also a certified scuba diving and skydiving instructor.

Political career

Badnarik's political philosophy emphasizes individual liberty, personal responsibility, and adherence to what he considers to be an originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. All of his positions arise from this foundation. In economics, Badnarik believes in laissez-faire capitalism, a system in which the only function of the government is the protection of individual rights from the initiation of force and fraud. He therefore opposes institutions such as welfare, and business regulation.

Badnarik first ran for public office in 2000 as a Libertarian, earning 15,221 votes in a race for the Texas legislature; he ran again for the same seat in 2002.

Badnarik is a participant in the libertarian Free State Project.[2]

2004 U.S. Presidential campaign

Badnarik with a Creative Commons supporter at a gay pride parade in San Francisco on June 27, 2004.

In February 2003, Badnarik announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination, and spent the following 18 months traveling the country, teaching a course on the United States Constitution to dozens of libertarian groups. He has written a book, Good To Be King: The Foundation of our Constitutional Freedom (ISBN 1-59411-096-4) on the subject of constitutional law; the book was first self-published by Badnarik, but was released in hardcover in October 2004.

Badnarik was viewed as unlikely to win the Libertarian presidential nomination, facing challenges from talk-show host Gary Nolan and Hollywood producer Aaron Russo. At the 2004 Libertarian National Convention, Badnarik gained substantial support following the candidates' debate (broadcast live on C-SPAN). In the closest presidential nomination race in the Libertarian Party's 32-year history, all three candidates polled within 12 votes of each other on the first ballot (Russo 258, Badnarik 256, Nolan 246). When the second ballot placed the candidates in the same order, Gary Nolan was eliminated and threw his support to Badnarik; Badnarik won the nomination on the third ballot 417 to 348, with None of the Above receiving six votes. Richard Campagna of Iowa City, Iowa, was elected separately by convention delegates as his vice-presidential nominee.

Not all libertarians were happy with Badnarik's nomination. Some felt Badnarik would be unable to draw media attention that many had felt Russo would have.[3]

Badnarik's capture of the nomination was widely regarded as a surprise by many within the party; both Nolan and Russo had outpaced him in both fundraising and poll results prior to the convention. Badnarik commented following his success at the national convention, "If I can win the nomination, there's no reason I can't win this election."

Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb were arrested [4][5] in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 8, 2004, for an act of civil disobedience. Badnarik and Cobb were protesting their exclusion from the presidential debates of the 2004 presidential election campaign. They were arrested after crossing a police barricade in an attempt to serve an Order to Show Cause to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

By the end of the election cycle, Badnarik's presidential campaign had raised just over one million dollars (US), obtained ballot access in 48 states plus the District of Columbia (the Libertarian Party failed to obtain ballot access in Oklahoma and New Hampshire, although Badnarik was a qualified write-in candidate in New Hampshire), and placed nationwide political advertisements on CNN and Fox News in addition to local advertising buys in the important swing states of Wisconsin, New Mexico, Nevada, plus Arizona.

No national polls including Badnarik had put him above 1.5%, though one poll put him at 5% in New Mexico and another at three percent in Nevada.[6] A Rasmussen poll on October 26, 2004 put Badnarik at 3% in Arizona.[7]

Badnarik received 397,265 votes nationwide in the November 2, 2004 election, taking 0.32 percent of the popular vote and placing fourth, 68,385 votes behind Ralph Nader but 12,834 vote better than the party's 2000 election results. Badnarik spent most of early 2005 touring the nation and giving speeches. He also taught a class on the U.S. Constitution, using his experiences on the campaign trail to develop his lesson plan.

Badnarik, wearing a "Badnarik for Congress" jacket

2006 U.S. Congressional campaign

In August 2005, Badnarik announced that he would run for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2006 election. He ran for the 10th Congressional District of Texas, which is currently represented by Republican Michael McCaul.

He raised nearly $450,000 for his campaign and received the Libertarian Party of Texas nomination for its 10th district Congressional candidate.

He received 7,603 votes, or four percent, in the November election, losing to Republican incumbent Michael T. McCaul, who received 55 percent of the vote, and Democrat Ted Ankrum, who got 40 percent.

A December 2006 letter from his campaign manager, Alan Hacker, states that Badnarik has "retired from political candidacy" and is now working as an account representative for a political and novelty bumper sticker mail-order business.[8]

Recent events

Badnarik delivered a keynote speech at the 2007 New Hampshire Liberty Forum, where he announced his endorsement for Ron Paul, U.S. Congressman from Texas 14th district, in the 2008 presidential election.

In April 2007, he began hosting a talk radio program, Lighting the Fires of Liberty, on the We the People radio network.[9] His final program aired on October 3, 2008.

In October 2008, he began hosting a talk radio program, by the same title, on the Genesis Communications Network.[10]

In November 2009, Badnarik was elected as one of three delegates from the State of Texas to attend the 2009 Continental Congress[11] sponsored by the We The People Foundation[12], and subsequently elected parliamentary president of that body.

Badnarik suffered a heart attack on the morning of December 21, 2009, while in Viroqua, Wisconsin attending a hearing regarding a raw milk case. After the hearing he boarded a car to go to lunch with friends, then slumped over. His friends attempted CPR and contacted the paramedics. They attempted CPR to revive him three times with no success. Upon the fourth attempt his heart was revived yet with erratic behavior. He was taken by helicopter to Gunderson Lutheran Hospital CCU in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.[13] [14]

Sunday afternoon, January 10, 2010, Badnarik posted a message to his friends and supporters stating that he was improving rapidly and would soon be released from the hospital.

Issue positions

  • Abortion: Badnarik personally opposes abortion, but believes that decisions regarding abortion rights should be made at the state and not the federal level. He recognizes that there is significant controversy surrounding when life begins, and argues that therefore the state should not legislate against abortion, since a fetus is arguably not a human life in and of its own.
  • Broadcast regulation: Badnarik opposes government regulation of "offensive" content. "I find it very offensive when the government tells me what I can and cannot watch. [...] Individual people should decide what is or is not obscene and they will make that decision by watching or not watching reality TV."
  • Campaign finance reform: Badnarik supports eliminating public matching funds and contribution limits for political campaigns.
  • Civil rights: Badnarik supports all of the Bill of Rights unequivocally, a position which he claims contrasts with most political candidates. Badnarik says government does not grant rights but rather acknowledges them, that they exist independently of government as part of who and what we are, and that, as Thomas Jefferson noted in the United States Declaration of Independence, the only legitimate function of government is to secure them.
  • Economic policy: Badnarik would eliminate the federal income tax and drastically reduce government spending. He advocates the elimination of the Federal Reserve and the restoration of a commodity-based currency.
  • Education: Badnarik supports the elimination of the federal Department of Education, claiming that it is both unconstitutional and ineffective. Badnarik has called for the privatization of education, which he believes would result in both more effective and affordable alternatives due to free market competition.
  • Energy: Badnarik opposes government regulation of the energy industry, instead arguing that the free market is more effective in controlling prices and maintaining stability.
  • Free trade: Badnarik would withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)]. "NAFTA and GATT have about as much to do with free trade as the Patriot Act has to do with liberty," he has said. "We need to get the government out of regulating trade, so that American workers can do what they do best and that is to create wealth."
  • Gay marriage and Civil Unions: Badnarik believes that marriage, as a contract between two individuals, should not be a government concern and supports the right of individuals to associate in whatever ways they see fit.
  • Gun control: Badnarik opposes restrictions on gun ownership as restrictions on an individual's right to self-defense. Badnarik is an enthusiastic gun owner, and strongly supports the Right to keep and bear arms.
  • Health care: Badnarik opposes government involvement in health care and drug regulation, as he contends that the current drug approval process raises costs for consumers.
  • Illegal drugs: Badnarik supports the decriminalization of marijuana and other illegal drugs. See also: Drug legalization.
  • Immigration: Badnarik believes that, "Peaceful immigrants should be allowed to enter the US at conveniently located Customs and Immigration stations, subject only to brief vetting to ensure that they are not terrorists or criminals, and reasonable consideration of the nation's ability to assimilate them."
  • International relations: Badnarik supports the reduction and eventual elimination of government-funded foreign aid programs. His platform also calls for withdrawal from the United Nations and the eviction of the UN from the United States.[15]
  • Iraq War: Badnarik supports a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, while providing for repair to Iraqi infrastructure damaged by U.S. action.
  • Military draft: Badnarik opposes any reinstatement of a military draft.
  • 9/11 Truth: Badnarik has signed the 9/11 Truth Statement calling for new investigations of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including the failure of US intelligence to act on warnings of upcoming attacks, the breakdown of military air defense, and the nature of the investigations.[16] The Statement has also been signed by the other 2004 Presidential candidates Ralph Nader and David Cobb. Badnarik has also mentioned that he would fight Al-Qaeda if he was elected president.

Arguments for limited government

Like many libertarians, Badnarik believes that the federal government has exceeded its Constitutional bounds and should be scaled back in favor of a laissez-faire society. His political views are influenced by the writings of both Ayn Rand and L. Neil Smith.

Views on taxes

Badnarik believes that the U.S. Constitution does not provide for a federal income tax and has posed the tax protester argument that the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was never legally ratified.[17][18]

Badnarik has also posed the tax protester argument that the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as "non-positive law," applies to only certain groups, and argues that the only types of income susceptible to taxation are "the domestic income of foreigners, certain foreign income of Americans, income of certain possessions corporations, and income of international and foreign sales corporations"[19] He has also cited[20] the Supreme Court decision Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, in which the Court indicated that the Sixteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution did not give Congress any power that it did not have already. He also argues that the Sixteenth Amendment was not properly ratified, citing the two-volume work The Law that Never Was, co-authored by William J. Benson.[19] The Benson argument is part of a "Reliance Defense Package" that Benson sold to customers via the internet, and which has been ruled to be a "fraud perpetrated by Benson" that had "caused needless confusion and a waste of the customers' and the IRS' time and resources."[21]

One of his key statements on income tax is that the United States grew to be the most powerful nation on Earth without requiring such a tax, and that it began to falter when the government began to intervene in the economy and individuals' lives. In the past, he has stated that refusing to file a tax return is justifiable until the Internal Revenue Service provides a legal reason for doing so (see Federal statutes imposing obligations to pay income taxes and file returns). However, in his book Good to Be King he writes, "I do not know if Americans are liable to pay income taxes." In an August 2004 interview with the journal Liberty, Badnarik admitted to not having paid his income taxes for several years, stating "I've been unemployed for about three years. I'm not sure exactly when the last [time I filed an income tax return] was."[22]

Positions on personal identification

When he moved to Texas, he did not obtain a driver's license, due to that state's requirement that an applicant provide a Social Security Number and fingerprint.

Badnarik for Congress business card

Badnarik also believes that ZIP codes constitute federal territories, and because of this he places the ZIP code before the state when he writes some mailing addresses (though his own business card places the ZIP code at the end of the address in the conventional manner). [23]

2004 Ohio recount

After the 2004 election, Badnarik, working with Green Party candidate David Cobb, sought a recount of the Ohio vote. This caused a great deal of controversy within the Libertarian Party, as second place candidate John Kerry had not contested the vote in Ohio, and a recount would cost the state an estimated $1.5 million of tax-payer money. Some party members were concerned that a recount would damage the public perception of the Libertarian party. [24]

Badnarik said that he decided to push for a recount after receiving "about two dozen passionate requests to do so from Libertarians in various states."

Good To Be King

In his book, Good To Be King, Badnarik suggests that it is unnecessary to have a driver's license to drive,[25] that the IRS has no Constitutional authority to collect taxes,[26] and that common law marriages are valid in all 50 states.[27]

See also


  1. ^ "Michael Badnarik Sets Eyes on Congress". What's New: National Libertarian Party. http://www.lp.org/fp/article_178.shtml. Retrieved 2006-03-04.  
  2. ^ Endorsements
  3. ^ Iraq, R.I.P.- by Justin Raimondo
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ "Current Electoral Vote Predictor 2004: October 28". October 28, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-10-30. http://web.archive.org/web/20041030151403/www.lp.org/press/archive.php?function=view&record=680.  
  7. ^ "New York Times analysis: Badnarik's impact could be 'critical' (October 26, 2004)". Libertarian Party Press Releases. October 27, 2004. Archived from the original on 2005-03-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20050306094103/http://www.electoral-vote.com/oct/oct28.html.  
  8. ^ Third Party Watch » Blog Archive » Badnarik Begs for Another $200k…
  9. ^ We The People Radio Network
  10. ^ GCN Live
  11. ^ [3]
  12. ^ [4]
  13. ^ (December 22, 2009) "Breaking: Badnarik reported hospitalized after heart attack", Independent Political Report. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
  14. ^ (December 22, 2009) "Libertarian presidential candidate has heart attack at milk rally", .lacrossetribune. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  15. ^ "Other Positions:Reform Party members". Badnarik/Campagna '04 for President. October 12, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-10-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20041021040121/badnarik.org/whybadnarik/why_reformparty.php.  
  16. ^ "911 Truth Statement". 911Truth.org. http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20041026093059633. Retrieved 2006-03-04.  
  17. ^ Badnarik, Michael (2004). Good to Be King. The Writers' Collective. pp. 133. ISBN 1594110964.  
  18. ^ "Washington Post transcript of 2004 interview with Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik". http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50019-2004Jul14.html. Retrieved 2007-11-16.  
  19. ^ a b Badnarik, Michael (2004). Good to Be King. The Writers' Collective. pp. 135. ISBN 1594110964.  
  20. ^ Badnarik, Michael (2004). Good to Be King. The Writers' Collective. pp. 132. ISBN 1594110964.  
  21. ^ Memorandum Opinion, p. 14, Dec. 17, 2007, docket entry 106, United States v. Benson, case no. 1:04-cv-07403, United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
  22. ^ R. W. Bradford. "An Interview with Michael Badnarik". Liberty. http://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2004_08/badnarik-an_interview.html. Retrieved 2007-11-17.  
  23. ^ R. W. Bradford (2004). "Dark Horse on the Third Ballot". Liberty 18 (8). http://www.libertyunbound.com/archive/2004_08/bradford-dark_horse.html.  
  24. ^ [5]
  25. ^ Badnarik, Michael (2004). Good to Be King. The Writers' Collective. pp. 11–12. ISBN 1594110964.  
  26. ^ Badnarik, Michael (2004). "Chapter 21: Amendment Sixteen". Good to Be King. The Writers' Collective. ISBN 1594110964.  
  27. ^ Badnarik, Michael (2004). Good to Be King. The Writers' Collective. pp. 19. ISBN 1594110964.  

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Harry Browne
Libertarian Party Presidential candidate
2004 (1) (4th)
Succeeded by
Bob Barr
Notes and references
1. Most recent presidential election as of as of 2005


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Michael Badnarik

Michael J. Badnarik (born August 1, 1954) is an American software engineer and political figure. He was the Libertarian Party (a third party) nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, slightly behind independent candidate Ralph Nader.


  • If I give you a forty five percent chance at lethal injection, a fifty percent chance at the electric chair, and a five percent chance for escape which are you going to vote for? The electric chair, because you're likely to win?
    • Constitution Class
  • If he were alive today I would assasinate that S.O.B myself (Speaking of Franklin D. Roosevelt).
    • Constitution Class
  • Libertarians love their children at least as much as the Democrats and the Republicans, probably more.
    • An American Revolution
  • Allow me to dispel a myth. People in the Middle East do not hate us for our freedom. They do not hate us for our lifestyle. They hate us because we have spent many years attempting to force them to emulate our lifestyle. The US government overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran and replaced him with the Shah. The US government gave weapons, intelligence and money to Saddam Hussein. The US government also helped Libyan Col. Qaddafi come to power, propped up the Saudi monarchy and the Egyptian regime, and gave assistance to Osama bin Laden. Most Americans have forgotten these events. But the people of the Middle East will always remember. It was because of American troops in Saudi Arabia, lethal sanctions on Iraq, support for states in serious violation of International Law, and siding with Israel in its dispute with the Palestinians that terrorist leaders were able to recruit those individuals who caused 3,000 Americans to pay the ultimate price on September 11, 2001.
    • July 2004
  • The foreign policy of the US has been one of "empire building" ever since the First World War. The Constitution authorizes government to provide for "national DE-fense", not "international OF-fense". If Americans were really interested in promoting our national safety, they would realize that a policy of constant foreign intervention directly undermines that stated goal. Our country has military forces stationed in 135 countries around the world, and we are influencing their governments and economies either directly or indirectly in every case. That is the political equivalent of poking them in the eye with a sharp stick. It is little wonder then that dozens of countries and millions of people around the world harbor more than a little resentment against us. The recent mutilation of American civilians is just the beginning of the violence that will be directed toward us if we do not bring our troops home where they belong.
    • April 2004
  • The Patriot Act is the most egregious piece of legislation to ever leave Congress since the Alien and Sedition Acts, John Ashcroft and every member of Congress who voted for it should be indicted.
  • The question is: How bad do things have to get before you will do something about it? Where is your line in the sand? If you don't enforce the constitutional limitations on your government very soon, you are likely to find out what World War III will be like. I'm quite sure that I will never experience that war - because dissidents are always the first to be eliminated.
    • Source: Good to be King (2004)
  • I am a very peaceful man. I love people and am known for my gregarious personality. However, if you try to confiscate my guns, I will feel compelled to give them to you, one bullet at a time.
    • Source: Good to be King (2004)
  • I have the right to do whatever I wish with my property. If I own a pile of wood, I can set fire to it even if it is currently nailed together in the shape of a barn. Cigarettes may not be healthy for me in the long run, but I have the freedom to smoke them anyway. Drinking alcohol may or may not have negative side effects, but even if it does, the government has no authority to prohibit you from consuming it, even if it is "in your own best interest." Since when do we let the government decide what is or isn't good for us? What the hell does Congress know about nutrition, anyway? (For that matter, what does Congress know about the Constitution?) If the government can use force whenever something is "in our best interest" then government should force everyone to wake up at 6am every morning for calisthenics in the front yard. Fast food establishments should be torn down and replaced with bars that serve carrot juice and alfalfa sprouts, since - "it's in your best interest." This paternalistic attitude that "the government knows best" and that you are merely a helpless child is insulting and reprehensible. Hitler used the same attitude to persuade the Germans to subjugate themselves to the "Fatherland."
    • Source: Good to be King (2004)
  • The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal, and in 1776, that's exactly what they meant. Women could not vote, women could not own property, and blacks were considered property. After 200 years of enlightenment, we have realized that gender and race are inappropriate distinctions for determining who has individual rights. Anytime Gov gives you permission they let you know that you have permission by giving you a permit or a license. If you have a marriage license, what permission do you have to do now that you did not have permission to do before, who gave you that permission, and who gave them the authority to give you that permission in the first place?
    • Source: Libertarian Party National Convention (2004)
  • Marriage partners, not government, should define the terms and spiritual orientation of their union in accordance with our nation's guarantee of religious freedom.
  • The Patriot Act [...] makes a mockery of the Sixth Amendment, which protects your right to a speedy and public trial, and your right to the assistance of counsel for your defense.
    • Source: Good to be King (2004)
  • People are usually surprised to discover that I hate the phrase "constitutional rights." I hate the phrase because it is terribly misleading. Most of the people who say it or hear it have the impression that the Constitution "grants" them their rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. Strictly speaking it is the Bill of Rights that enumerates our rights, but none of our founding documents bestow anything on you at all [...] The government can burn the Constitution and shred the Bill of Rights, but those actions wouldn't have the slightest effect on the rights you've always had.
    • Source: Good to be King (2004)

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