The 8th Districts Accidental Candidate

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You might not know it yet, but Ron Fisher is running to represent Virginias 8th District in Congress. He is a member of the Independent Green Party of Virginia and a retired Navy captain who taught sailors how to operate nuclear reactors.

Fisher, 73, grew up in a cotton-mill town in Tennessee called Bemis. The bosses cared for the people, he said, describing how they provided good medical care for their employees families. I fell and broke my nose once, and I went straight to the doctor.

The ninth of 13 children, Fisher attended the U.S. Naval Academy from 1954 to 1958. While there, he met, befriended and tutored the future Republican Senator from Arizona and presidential nominee, John McCain.

Fisher said he thinks McCain is just a great guy, but lamented his political views. Back in 2000, Fisher said he served as McCains chairman for Northern Virginia, and records show he donated $450 to the campaign.

Fisher graduated 29th in his class, though he said others said he had the ability to be [number] one.  He served on destroyers and several nuclear-powered submarines and did 15 patrols during the Cold War and around Vietnam. He was also a training officer who taught other soldiers how to operate and maintain nuclear propulsion units.

His time in the Navy and the commensurate responsibility he carried are reasons he thinks he would make a good congressman. Submarine crews must be completely self sufficient, must be able to work together as one, and must have foresight, Fisher declares on his Web site, and he said that he learned what it truly means to be responsible while serving.

Sitting down with Fisher to talk about public policy can be an overwhelming experience. At a recent interview, he arrived with four folders, each filled with at least 30 pages of paper, and a book called The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder by Vincent Bugliosi.

Fisher has many strong opinions, and he is happy to share any and all of them with anyone who is interested. I jump around a lot, Fisher admitted with a smile after flitting from discussing his military service to discussing abstinence-only sex education a 1.5 billion mistake, as he put it.

At every opportunity, he encourages people to visit his Web site, www.WeThePeopleNow.org. It is a project he founded to [promote] peace and justice, to rejuvenate the voice of the people, to restore we the peoples role in government, and to encourage and support a government that serves the people, but its genesis lies in the opposition to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On the site is a long platform that, among other things, calls for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, cessation of war funding and the replacement of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). It also contains a list of 15 bold goals, such as ending chronic hunger.

According to Fisher, the two wars are the largest issues facing this country. This is absolutely an illegal war, he said of the war in Iraq. Its stupid to even think about adding more troops into Afghanistan. The surge was illegal, [and] it didnt work, hasnt worked.

On WeThePeopleNow.org, Fisher argues that the 2006 Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq is not a formal declaration of war and as such does not permit Bush to use the American military to invade and occupy Iraq.

Fisher wants to bring home all soldiers from both Iraq and Afghanistan and said he supports a large drawdown of forces stationed in countries such as Germany and South Korea.

For their role in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as their alleged support for torture and inhumane treatment of detainees, Bush and Cheney should be impeached, Fisher said. Im worried if we dont do it, well have a horrible precedent, Fisher said, rejecting an argument that impeaching Bush would set a dangerous precedent. He lied through his teeth he lied to the American people that Iraq was a threat.

Fisher also supports prosecuting senior administration officials for war crimes. Anybody who has appropriated money for the war is an accomplice or co-conspirator, Fisher suggested.

And in an otherwise uncharacteristically polite House race, Fisher seems to be the only candidate to vociferously and frequently criticize his opponents. Both Ellmore and [incumbent Representative Jim Moran] support continuing the occupations/wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for increased, unneeded, defense spending, he wrote in an e-mail. Both of them and their parties receive/will receive massive contributions from defense contractor and oil company executives.

The Democrats could have easily ended the war by not putting the funding up for a vote and by impeaching the President. Moran postures and complains about the war President, about torture, Guantanamo, etc. but continues to provide the money for all of this, Fisher added. The war will cost over $3 trillion even if we were to end it today. Moran and his ilk have already spent us into a $53 trillion dollar hole.

Fisher said that when the troops returned home, he would put those who wish to continue serving to work making infrastructure improvements. He compared it to the Civilian Conservation Corps, a Depression-era program that employed struggling Americans on similar projects.

Many of Americas ills boil down to a lack of jobs, Fisher said, claiming 95 percent of poverty is jobs. You need jobs, he said. And we need early childhood education.

Funding for social programs should be dramatically increased and the national deficit eliminated, but it is all within reach, Fisher said, declaring America should reduce agriculture subsidies. We need to stop wasting money on wars, he added. We need to stop wasting money on developing new weapons you dont need.

On energy, Fisher supports a broad-based approach but opposes expanded oil production and offshore drilling all together. His party endorsed the so-called Pickens Plan, which favors wind power and natural gas, but Fisher said that rather than offer large subsidies to private companies, the government should simply hire T. Boone Pickens to oversee a government-managed program.

Fisher also supports comprehensive healthcare that would result in universal coverage. The keystone of his plan is to pay doctors on an hourly basis rather than the more common fee-for-service model that currently exists. He also wants to establish public health clinics, and he suggested that Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, which is scheduled to close, could be redesigned for that purpose.

Fisher has a tough campaign ahead of him. As a third-party candidate and relative political neophyte, he has few financial resources available to him. When he ran for delegate in 2007, he lost by 60 percentage points.

Despite all the challenges, he is confident he can win. I really absolutely believe I can, the father of four sons said. I have a lot of faith in people.

Fisher made one thing abundantly clear, however: Even if you are not going to vote for him, he would really appreciate it if you checked out WeThePeopleNow.org

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