Presidential Hopefuls are Human

By Jeff Knox

Ballot Box
Ballot Box

Manassas, VA –-( With less than 11 months until Americans go to the polls to elect the next President, and early Primaries and Caucuses underway, the prospects for “Hope and Change” are not looking promising.

Certainly plenty of promises are being made, but those promises, and the politicians making them, are long on brag and woefully short on substance or credibility.

While I represent a single-issue organization and use the right to arms as a primary litmus test of any politician’s qualifications, I also look at broader issues beginning with understanding and support for the rest of the Constitution, understanding of liberty-based economics, and their ability to effectively express their understanding and support of these things in such a way as to engender confidence and garner support from the voting public. Mr. Obama has proven that his qualifications in that regard are limited to saying things that elicit support from certain segments of the population (most notably mass media), but virtually all of his policy positions and personal values are in conflict with my own beliefs and the vision of our founding fathers. Unfortunately, the choices on the Republican side fall seriously short as well.

My brother and close collaborator, Chris Knox, and I have been hashing through the candidates, their philosophies and histories, and likely election scenarios for months now in hopes of finding a candidate to whom we can, in good conscience, offer our endorsement. There isn’t one. Every candidate we have examined has glaring flaws in their records or beliefs which we simply cannot endorse.

It was probably Mark Twain or Will Rogers who observed that the office of President is too important to ever give to someone who actually wants the job. The truth of that sentiment can be readily recognized when you look at the candidates and evaluate their motives for running. Seeking the office requires advanced narcissism or an almost messianic level of commitment to a philosophy or agenda – or both. A review of the current crop of candidates reveals a lot of narcissism and very little commitment to ideals. There is much more wanting to be as opposed to wanting to do.

Barack Obama is the personification of an agenda-driven narcissist. In his case the narcissism is dominant and the agenda is in direct opposition to the philosophy of the founders. Anyone who cares about the Second Amendment and the Constitution at all must reject him and all he stands for. While some gun owners and conservatives, frustrated by the ‘bigger government – less freedom’ activities of the Bush administration, cast a hopeful, and perhaps excusable, vote for Obama in 2008, Obama’s performance over the past 3 years has proven beyond all doubt that those hopeful votes were a tragic mistake, and that only political reality in Congress has kept him from completely gutting the Second Amendment and more of the Constitution.

Among the Republican candidates we see plenty of narcissism with very little principled commitment to constitutional ideals. Gingrich, Romney, and Perry, while they display some differences on policy matters, are, above all, political animals running to be President and have demonstrated a willingness to shift their policies and agenda as needed to advance their political ambitions. Bachman and Santorum likewise show strong narcissistic aspirations, but with a bit more consistency regarding “social conservative” issues. Their dedication to those issues however, suggest a willingness to place the Constitution behind their own religious and social preferences – acceptable on a personal level, but not in an official capacity.

Of all of the candidates, the only one who could be characterized as being agenda-driven for restoration of the Founders’ Constitutional principles, and with personal ambition being a secondary, or even tertiary issue, is Ron Paul. Paul has a long and consistent record of unwavering support for, and defense of, the Second Amendment and the Constitution. The problem with Paul however, is that his agenda is perceived as too aggressive and there is significant doubt as to his ability to be able to put all of the pieces together to make it work. A president has only limited power and even if Paul exercised that power to its utmost, there is much to his agenda that would require support from the Congress – support that he simply would not get. As President, Paul would face constant resistance and undermining from not only Democrats, but from Republicans as well, along with opposition from the media and, perhaps most significantly, federal bureaucrats. Another challenge for Paul would be finding qualified people to serve in his cabinet who agree with his agenda and have the knowledge and experience necessary to be effective.

The thought of an administration full of libertarian college professors and students with no government experience does not inspire confidence.

In the end, we find that all of the candidates are, in fact, human, possessing all of the foibles and frailties of the rest of us. What history has shown us is that presidential success or failure is extremely unpredictable. Much depends on the people with whom a president surrounds himself, who he listens to, and what external events he is faced with. Presidents either rise to the challenges of the office or they don’t. The only way to find out is to put them in the position and see what happens.

For those of us with specific agendas of our own, this means that the best we can do or hope for is to elicit promises and assurances from the candidates and then do our best to hold them to those commitments.

In 2012, one thing we know for sure is that our nation is at a tipping point and that another four years of Barack Obama and his cronies will be far worse than anything we could expect from any of the Republican challengers. While Chris and I have some preferences among the pack, we are not impressed with any of them enough to offer an endorsement in the Primaries. We will continue to push all of the candidates to make specific promises regarding the Second Amendment, the Constitution, and the appointment of judges and justices who have so much impact on those, and when a nominee is finally determined, we will do our best to get them elected.

In this election, more than any we have ever seen, we are confident that the devil we know is far worse than the devil we don’t know.

About Firearms Coalition:

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit:

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And now the critical question: Jeff? Oh Jeff?

Have you learned anything from the feedback? Or are you just as ignorant as when you originally wrote this piece?


Of couirse. Ron Paul. How did I KNOW where this POS was headed?


Are you suggesting that a Ron Paul Presidential campaign would –NOT– generate a similar swell in Congressional races? Are you suggesting that having more liberty-minded candidates for Congress, –NONE– of them would be elected? Are you suggesting that we would wind up with a liberty-minded President and –NO– sentiment for liberty in the Congress?

I'm suggesting you're a moron. I'll further suggest that you should hang your head in shame and retreat to someplace where the clanking of your chains can no longer be heard.


>>” The problem with Paul however, is that his agenda is perceived as too aggressive and there is significant doubt as to his ability to be able to put all of the pieces together to make it work. “<< The "problem" is not with Paul. The problem is with your "perceptions". The issue is not whether Paul is philosophically aligned with liberty, free markets and the Constitution. The issue is whether people who agree with him will have the balls and the brains to stand up and support him. Too many are milquetoast Constitutionalists who say things like, "A president… Read more »

Robert Krawiec

vote for the man who you has the principles and views you do. The political arena is full of professional yes men. If your party nominatessomeone other than your choice, write him in. At least you will have voted your mind and not whom the party said to vote. I'm voting for Ron Paul and he is the man for the job.If it takes votes away from the republican nominee and Obama is re-elected, at least I'll sleep soundly.


Politicians bend to the will of the people. If Ron Paul receives the popular vote congress will move to his positions rather than risk losing their seats. The republican party is already starting to bend toward his views. The first, second and fifth amendments are being trampled upon and people are noticing, despite the mass media trying to insist otherwise. Writing Paul off as 'unelectable' or 'unworkable' is exactly what the Barak Obamas and Hillary Clintons of this world want you to think: The same people who have publicly stated they believe the second amendment does not entitle individuals to… Read more »


I have already made up my mind and I am voting my principles. So for me a personal endorsement would not effect my vote. For the masses that digest "News" like FOX (neocons) and MSNBC (socialists) endorsement might affect a group of voters. I urge you to rethink you position and support Ron Paul. I find it silly to think that if such a drastic change in presidents happens that the change will also not effect congress. Also I am sure that he already has a list of principled experienced people that would die to effect change for liberty.


So in other words – you say that Ron Paul consistently supports all the stuff that matters to you, and then proceed to state that this makes him unworkable and ineffective, and we need someone less principled to do something. Congrats for inventing a new kind of logic. You should claim a Nobel prize for that. Or was it already taken by the Dems?


The answer is to hold all sworn to their oath to follow the oath or be charged with treason. How ridiculous to suggest we support a traitor because he can get things done working with a traitorous congress.


You go through this rant about how no one candidate is perfect with the closest being Ron Paul, but you don't endorse Paul because Congress is full of idiots who won't work with such a principled individual. You end the rant with a whiny but pessimists view of the likelihood of another 4 years of Obama.

My advice- grow a set and actually endorse the one candidate you singled out as being closest to your views and encourage others to hold Congress to the principles embodied by the man you admit has these principles.