Story by Mitchell Brown, for The Muleskinner
Thomas Holbrook II is a candidate for the fourth Congressional district in Missouri, who has chosen to place an emphasis on what distinguishes his campaign and beliefs from those of the candidates he is running against.
Holbrook is running on a third party ticket, the Libertarian Party ticket.
The Libertarian Party, founded in 1971, is America’s third largest political party.
Holbrook said much of the original base of the Libertarian Party was made up of former Republicans who were disillusioned with the GOP.
The Libertarian Party website lists some of the party’s core principles as a belief in a free-market economy, a dedication to civil liberties and personal freedom and a non-interventionist foreign policy.
Randy Langkraehr, UCM alumnus and Holbrook’s campaign manager, said Libertarians are fiscally conservative, yet socially moderate.
Holbrook is a 2011 alumnus of UCM who majored in history with a minor in religious studies. He said his shift towards Libertarianism happened while at Central.
During the 2004 presidential election, Holbrook voted for John Kerry. Soon after, he became disappointed with both the Democrats and the Republicans. He said he came to view the two party system as “corrupt.”
Holbrook said the only difference between the two main parties is a semantic difference. He said he was inspired to become a Libertarian due to an association with Langkraehr and 2007 UCM graduate Ben Casebolt, former president of the UCM College Libertarians.
Casebolt said one of the major draws for college students to the Libertarian Party is the party’s anti-war stance.
Holbrook spoke about specific differences between his views and those of his opponents.
He said that listed on Teresa Hensley’s, Democrat Party candidate for the fourth district Congressional seat, website is a statement to fight for Missouri’s families.
He also said he wants to put equal emphasis on national issues.
“While I am in the fourth Congressional district, I would also keep in mind that anything I would do in the House of Representatives could very well affect the rest of the country,” he said.
Concerning ideological differences between himself and Vicky Hartzler, (R-Mo.) Missouri fourth district Congressional representative, he said she has not come out against any of president Obama’s executive orders.
He highlighted that Hartzler voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Langkraehr said the NDAA serves to limit constitutional rights.
Holbrook said if elected, he would work to repeal the Patriot Act. He said he believes it’s an unconstitutional measure.
“Libertarians are strict constitutionalists,” Langkraehr said. “If it’s not in the U.S. Constitution, it’s not a Federal Government power.”
Langkraehr said an adherence to constitutional law is a matter of “playing by the rules.”
Pointing out another discrepancy, Langkraehr said Hartzler wants to legislate morality.
Holbrook is also running against another third party candidate, Greg Cowan of the Constitution Party.
He said the greatest difference between himself and Cowan pertains to social issues, with the majority of Cowan’s platform leaning further to the right than Holbrook’s.
According to the Constitution Party’s website, Cowan is in favor of mandatory drug-testing for elected officials, while the Libertarian Party favors a policy of drug legitimization.
Ron Paul (R-TX.) has stated that such a position is not an endorsement of drug use.
Holbrook and Cowan also differ on the issue of abortion. Cowan takes a “pro-life” stance.
On abortion, Holbrook said, “If it’s not happening in a sanitary clinic, it’s going to happen on the streets.” He said abortion is “a symptom of a larger problem.”
The Libertarian Party does not declare an official stance on abortion.
“I am pro-life personally,” Langkraehr said. “But we don’t make our candidates have a position on that.”
Langkraehr stated that some ideological overlap between the Constitution Party and the Libertarian Party exists, but he acknowledged a sizable degree of disagreement.
“We believe in separation of church and state.” Langkraehr said. “They believe in the constitution under God.”
The Libertarian economic philosophy, which Holbrook subscribes to, is a desire to phase out/dismantle federally funded financial bodies, including the IRS.
Holbrook said a dismantling of federal government programs would not cause a break down of America’s economic infrastructure.
“A lot of the so-called economic infrastructure is actually funded by the states,” he said.
“One hundred years ago there was no income tax, and the poor still got fed, and roads still got built,” Langkraehr added.
The Federal Income Tax came into existence via the passage of the 16th Amendment, which was passed in 1909 and later ratified in 1913.
During the Missouri primary in August, Holbrook received 230 votes, while his challenger, from the Libertarian Party, Herschel Young, received 168 votes.
Casebolt said one of the reasons why Libertarian candidates receive a smaller slice of votes can be attributed to a lack of media coverage on Libertarian candidates.
He also said that if more Libertarians were allowed to participate in televised debates, along side Republicans and Democrats, voting results could change.
More information on Holbrook’s campaign can be found at www.thomasholbrook.com.