Revolution

Editorial Favorable to Libertarian

Editorial from the Sunday, June 19, 1994, Detroit News and Free Press, posted by George Weeks, whose comments appear in brackets:

It's been a struggle for all of Michigan's candidates for U.S. Senate to get much attention during what has been a yawner of a campaign.

Libertarian contender Jon Coon has an added struggle: to avoid being ignored by rival candidates, the press and sponsors of joint forums.

Coon is waging the best campaign I can recall by a third-party state-wide candidate in Michigan. That's not saying much, considering the lack of minor party successes.

Nationwide, 116 Libertarians -- including some state legislators -- hold public office. None won in Michigan or on Capitol Hill.

When asked on a June 3 Off the Record public TV show about failure of previous Libertarian candidates here, feisty Coon snapped: "Ever see one campaign as hard as I have?"

No.

Coon strikes me as a cross between Ross Perot and Gen. George "Blood and Guts" Patton.

Like formula-man Perot, Coon speaks in sound-bite spurts and says the two big parties aren't getting the job done: "There is no fiscally conservative party left in Washington. ...Help me break this country's addiction to big government. ...I can get something done. ...We're freedom and responsibility-driven."

Like Patton, the former Michigan National Guard platoon leader has blazing eyes and takes no guff.

Asked about the new ban on assault weapons, this hard-charging disciple of the National Rifle Association insists they are "defense weapons."

He's sorry he voted for John Engler for governor and calls his school-reform Proposal A "a bad joke on the people of this state."

Concluding a Memorial Day appearance on WJR's Kevin Joyce Show, Coon said of the two Republicans and six Democrats seeking gubernatorial [Weeks: probably means senatorial] nominations: "We'll be waiting -- guns lowered -- for them to come out of this (Aug. 2) primary."

Meanwhile, Coon, who has raised about $50,000 [Weeks: That was then!], is running some campaign commercials. A TV spot that ends with Coon's anti-big government pitch begins with dollars being flushed down a toilet.

As evidenced by his WJR and public TV appearances, Coon is getting some exposure. But he gets shut out of such traditional forums as the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce's recent Mackinac Island conference, to which all major party candidates were invited.

The chamber rejected an appeal by Comerica Bank Vice-President David Littman, who said Coon has qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot and "is staunchly pro-business and pro-market. He is a defender of private property rights and speaks eloquently on behalf of a better business climate."

Although I occasionally cover Libertarians and other minor party candidates, they certainly don't get equal treatment here. They get note, but not top billing.

This is not a space of record, but of opinion.

In a June 14 column on women running for Congress, I said: "It's conceivable that on Nov. 8, there will be a faceoff between two women in the U.S. Senate race" -- Democrat Lana Pollack and Republican Ronna Romney.

That day, I got a fax from Coon aide Bill Shotey: "Correction... (it) will NOT be a faceoff between two women. It will be a THREE- WAY race with Jon Coon and the two survivors."

And Coon will finish third. Still, his agressive, guns-lowered campaign merits note. Today, it's top billing.