Charles Obadiah "Chuck" Baldwin (born May 3, 1952) is an American politician and founder-pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. He was the presidential nominee of the Constitution Party for the 2008 U.S. presidential election and had previously been its nominee for U.S. vice president in 2004. He hosts a daily one-hour radio program, Chuck Baldwin Live, and writes a daily editorial column carried on its website, on News with Views, on VDare, and in several newspapers.
As a Republican Party member, Baldwin was state chairman of the Florida Moral Majority in the 1980s. However, during the 2000 campaign of Republican George W. Bush for U.S. President, Baldwin left the party and began a long period of criticism of Bush. Baldwin endorsed U.S. Representative Ron Paul for the 2008 Republican nomination for president, and Paul in turn endorsed Baldwin for the presidency in the 2008 general election.
Baldwin supports ending U.S. involvement in the United Nations, reducing U.S. income taxes, and repeal of the Patriot Act. He would withdraw troops from Iraq and seek to end illegal immigration by enforcing immigration laws. He supports the gold standard, the right to keep and bear arms, homeschooling, and the proposed Sanctity of Life Act, which would define "human life" and legal personhood as beginning at conception, and prevent federal courts from hearing cases on abortion-related legislation.
Until he became a Republican in 1980, Baldwin had been a registered Democrat, like his father. From 1980 to 1984, Baldwin served as Pensacola chairman and then state executive director of the Florida Moral Majority, organized by the Rev. Jerry Falwell of Lynchburg, Virginia. Baldwin helped carry the state twice for Reagan electors; he says he helped Falwell register some 50,000 Christian conservative voters. Baldwin's father, Ed, a lifelong Democrat, expressed grudging admiration for what he saw as Reagan's honesty and courage. In August 1994, Baldwin had a call-in radio show on the Christian Patriot Network.
In 2000, however, Baldwin left the Republican Party on grounds that the Bush–Cheney ticket was too liberal. Baldwin has said that many evangelical minds, similarly to ministers in Nazi Germany, have seemingly given Bush "the aura of an American Fuhrer." He considered himself an independent affiliated with the Constitution Party.
At about this time, Baldwin began hosting a local daily one-hour current-events radio program, "Chuck Baldwin Live," which continues today nationwide on the Genesis Communications Network. He writes a semiweekly editorial column carried on its website, on VDare, Chuckbalwinlive.com, and in several newspapers. He has also appeared on numerous television shows and radio shows, in churches across the country, and as the keynote speaker for the 50th anniversary of D-Day at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
2004 Vice Presidential Campaign
In the 2004 presidential election, Baldwin was the running mate of Michael Peroutka of Maryland and was the candidate for U.S. vice president on the Constitution Party ticket, the Alaskan Independence Party ticket, and other tickets and qualified write-in slots in 42 states. The two ran on a platform of "For God, Family, and the Republic." The Peroutka–Baldwin campaign publicly spoke out against abortion, women in the military, and the Iraq War, and emphasized the Bible, traditional family values, and the need for Constitutionally limited government.
On August 14, 2004, the Clarion Call to Converge Committee hosted discussions of potential strategic merger among the America First Party, the American Independent Party, and the Independent American Party; invited Constitution Party chair Jim Clymer was unable to attend due to Hurricane Charley. While the committee found the meeting favorable toward some party merger, AFP national chairman Dan Charles saw other forms of party cooperation to be more likely. In the end, the four parties succeeded in uniting to endorse Peroutka–Baldwin as their 2004 presidential ticket.
Peroutka was also endorsed by many paleoconservatives, the Alaskan Independence Party, the League of the South (accepted by Peroutka at its 2004 national convention), the Southern Party of Georgia, Samuel T. Francis, Alex Jones, Howard Phillips, and Taki Theodoracopulos. Pat Buchanan also stated there was a chance he would vote for Peroutka, counting them as "a Buchananite party", but eventually endorsed Bush. The ticket came in fifth with 143,630 votes (0.12%) and spent $728,221, somewhat less per vote than either George W. Bush or John Kerry. It was the only third party to increase its share of the vote in 2004.
Chuck Baldwin's 2008 Presidential Campaign
Baldwin's vice presidential run, and Peroutka's withdrawal from the national Constitution Party, led to active 2006 speculation that Baldwin would seek the presidential nomination in 2008. Baldwin responded in October that "I have learned to never say never, but I have no desire to run. [It] would require several 'miraculous' signs of reassurance that, frankly, I cannot see happening. However, I am always open to God's will." He repeated this stance through March 2008.
Baldwin announced on April 10, two weeks before the national convention was held in Kansas City, Missouri, that he would make himself available for the party's nomination at the convention, while "not 'running,'" but continuing to seek God's will. A Nolan Chart writer conveyed speculation that Baldwin's availability may have been responsive to the sudden candidacy of former ambassador Alan Keyes, who strongly favored the Iraq war; Baldwin, a noninterventionist, admitted others "have urged me to place my name in nomination." In a convention speech, party founder Howard Phillips endorsed Baldwin and controversially referred to Keyes as a neocon and a too-recent Republican.
Baldwin was nominated on April 26, 2008, after what was described as the most contentious battle in the party's 16-year history. He received 383.8 votes, ahead of Keyes, who drew 125.7 votes from delegates; Keyes had abandoned the Republicans for the Constitution Party (one month before the Constitution Party convention), much as Baldwin had done in 2000. Party members such as national chairman Jim Clymer said Baldwin's stands were more in line with party thinking. Baldwin asked the convention to nominate bankruptcy attorney Darrell Castle of Tennessee as his running mate, and this request was honored.
After Ron Paul withdrew from the Republican campaign in June, he remained neutral about making a presidential endorsement. On September 10, Paul held a National Press Club conference at which Baldwin, Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney, and independent candidate Ralph Nader all agreed on four principles—quickly ending the Iraq war, protecting privacy and civil liberties, stopping increases in the national debt, and investigating the Federal Reserve—and on their opposition to the Democratic and Republican parties ignoring these issues.
Paul's advice at the conference was to vote for whichever third-party candidate one has the most affinity to, because "we must maximize the total votes of those rejecting the two major candidates." However, on September 22, 2008, Paul stated his neutrality was "due to my respect and friendship and support from both the Constitution and Libertarian Party members . . . and I'm a ten-term Republican congressman. It is not against the law to participate in more than one political party." Paul then gave his endorsement to Baldwin: "Unsolicited advice from the Libertarian Party candidate . . . has [persuaded] me to reject my neutral stance in the November election. I'm supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate." Paul later clarified that though he would vote for Baldwin, he recognized the diversity of his support base and could not bind anyone's conscience. A former Paul primary backer, Houston term limits pioneer Clymer Wright, also contributed to the Baldwin campaign.
Baldwin has written specifically against the candidacies of Barack Obama and John McCain, and those of vice-presidential nominees Sarah Palin and Joe Biden.
Baldwin supports American sovereignty and is a staunch opponent of what he sees as the New World Order. He has stated that fighting against one-world government is his top priority. He believes globalism in government has led to many connected threats and issues, among which he lists illegal immigration, the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement, CAFTA, the North American Union, the Trans-Texas Corridor, the Iraq war, China, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. He would also effect United States withdrawal from the United Nations and has pledged to push the UN out of its New York City offices.
Baldwin believes that "the invasion and occupation of Iraq was absolutely unnecessary" and has said his presidency would result in troop withdrawal from Iraq.
He has written that "the Mexican government is deliberately and systematically working to destabilize and undermine the very fabric and framework of American society." He strongly opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants and would try to end illegal immigration.
Baldwin has suggested reopening the investigation into the September 11 attacks, believing that the 9/11 truth movement has a right to have alternative 9/11 theories investigated, including those that raise the possibility of U.S. government involvement in the attacks.
Baldwin says he would end all federal income taxes and phase out the Internal Revenue Service. In an interview, he said, "What I would propose is an across-the-board, general 10 percent tariff on all imports and that would meet the Constitution's prescription for financing the federal government—duties, imposts, tariffs", which, he claims, would also help keep jobs in the United States. His website also says that "a tariff on foreign imports, based on the difference between the foreign item's cost of production abroad and the cost of production of a similar item produced in the United States, would be a Constitutional step toward a fair trade policy that would protect American jobs and, at the same time, raise revenue for our national government."
He has said that as president he would streamline the federal government and tap oil reserves in Alaska, the Dakotas, and the Gulf of Mexico. He believes the United States should return to the gold standard.
Baldwin believes that "the South was right in the War Between the States," and that the leaders of the Confederacy were not racists. He uses the term "War for Southern Independence". He bemoans George W. Bush's failure to rescind executive orders by Bill Clinton that appear to undermine states' rights and private property rights.
Baldwin "believe[s] the federal 'war on terror' and 'war on drugs' are mostly a cover for power-hungry, Big Government zealots to trample constitutional government and squash freedoms and liberties, which are supposed to be protected by the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence." He opposes the Patriot Act and related legislation and orders, saying that it "deprives the people of their rights secured under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments under the guise of 'combating terrorism' or 'protecting national security'". In relation to airplane captain Don Carty profiling a customer's credentials and behavior, Baldwin stated that "profiling of all sorts is a very necessary tool for effective law enforcement. Only morons would try to hamper a lawman's ability to bring criminals to justice by removing this tool from them."
Regarding the separation of church and state, Baldwin believes that "America was deliberately and distinctively founded as a haven for Christians" and he supports the public display of the Ten Commandments in government buildings.
He says that freedom of association in health care is important: "I strongly support the freedom of choice of practitioner and treatment for all citizens for their health care. . . . The government should not have the power to force people to receive immunizations or vaccinations." He also would eliminate the Food and Drug Administration as unconstitutional.
Baldwin supports freedom for homeschooling and private schooling and wants to disband the U.S. Department of Education; he says that he would be the best friend homeschoolers have ever had in the White House.
Baldwin is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and he believes that the right to keep and bear arms should not be infringed by the government:
A Baldwin Administration will uphold the right of the citizens to keep and bear arms and will oppose attempts to prohibit ownership of guns by law-abiding citizens, and, further, will stand against all laws which would require the registration of guns or ammunition. . . . Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration, once said, "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them." Just as the right to bear arms is necessary in the defense against tyranny, so [too] is that same right vital for the purpose of self-defense. . . . Firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives. . . . The vast majority of the time (92%), the mere presence of a firearm helps to avert a major crime from occurring. That is what Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) concluded after extensive research. According to Rep. Bartlett, the number of defensive uses is four times the number of crimes reported committed with guns.
Baldwin had already begun promoting militia movements on his radio show as early as 1995. He says that in his opinion, people like Morris Dees, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, try to "pander the market of fear, trying to convince everybody that anyone with a gun, any person who wants to own a gun, and anyone who would consider themselves part of a citizen militia is a threat to our government and to our society."
Baldwin firmly opposes abortion and Roe v. Wade. He favors Ron Paul's Sanctity of Life Act and says his presidency would end abortion.
He takes a critical view of the federal government's handling of Randy Weaver, the Branch Davidians, and Hutaree.
Baldwin has several beliefs typically distinctive of Independent Baptists, such as the primacy of the local New Testament church, premillennial dispensationalism, counting homosexuality as a moral perversion, avoidance of drinking and smoking, and strict diet and exercise. He believes that America has evolved to "a matriarchal society" and that it is losing the "inner toughness" of masculinity. Baldwin says his only organizational memberships are to his church, the Constitution Party, Gun Owners of America, and the National Rifle Association.
In 2002 he wrote a booklet, "What Every Christian Should Know About Islam." Baldwin summarizes Muslim persecution of Christians by saying, "Only communism rivals Islam in sheer numbers of people persecuted and killed."
In his spare time, Baldwin enjoys hunting, recreational fishing, and watching the Green Bay Packers. Among his favorite movies are The Passion of the Christ and Gods and Generals, stating that the latter "has the power to change the hearts of millions of people who disdain the Old Confederacy, who misunderstand Southern slavery, and who hold Christianity in contempt."
Baldwin, Chuck, ed. (2001). The Freedom Documents. Abigail Adams, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Paine, Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain. Pensacola, Florida: Chuck Baldwin Live Radio Talk Show. OCLC 212793142.
Let's Look at Legalism.
Subjects Seldom Spoken On: 11 Messages That Will Stimulate Your Mind and Stir Your Heart, 1990.
This Is the Life (a verse-by-verse exposition of the Epistles of John).
Chuck Baldwin at Chuck Baldwin Live.
Chuck Baldwin at NewsWithViews.com.
Chuck Baldwin at Renew America.