Friday, May 13, 2016

Chameleon CAMERON Once Libertarian "Recovering Republican"

Bumptious bumpkin County Commission candidate JERRY THOMAS CAMERON is a political chameleon, like Hillary Clinton in Scottish drag. He once said he was a "recovering Republican" when he ran as s Libertarian. Now he's just a Republican.

Uncandid County Commission candidate JERRY THOMAS CAMERON, left, then Assistant County Administrator with wastrel St. Johns County Administrator MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK

'Recovering Republican' Jerry Cameron runs for Florida House on LP ticket
« on: March 12, 2004, 02:36:49 pm »

'Recovering Republican' Jerry Cameron runs for Florida House on LP ticket

Jerry Cameron, a longtime law enforcement officer who is running for Florida House District 20 on the Libertarian ticket, has a history of doing business his own way and of making that way successful. He recently quit a position with the Republican Party, switching to the LP for good.

As chief of police in two small-town departments for 11 years -- part of a 17-year career in law enforcement -- he was a front-line warrior in the War on Drugs. Toward the end of his career he became convinced that the war was a failure and that it actually caused more problems than it solved.

"The simple truth was that not one benefit could be identified and a myriad of unintended consequences [of the drug war] were evident," Cameron says. "In fact, the war proved counterproductive to every one of its stated goals."

He was until recently a member of the GOP's executive committee in St. Johns County, Florida, about 30 miles south of Jacksonville.

"He was a member of the Libertarian Party about two years ago, but they made him stop when he was named to the Republican executive committee," Florida state LP chair Doug Klippel laughed.

"When I was a member of the LP, I was still registered as a Republican," Cameron said. "I always believed in Libertarian principles, but I suffered under the delusion that the Republican Party, if reformed, would embrace the same philosophical positions as the Libertarian.

"I thought my energies would be better served trying to reform the Republican Party. After two years of very intense work on the local level in that regard, I became convinced that it would be impossible to reform the Republican Party, even at a local level. The reason for that is, the status quo defense mechanisms are too ingrown: Anyone who goes in and starts talking about principle instead of power is quickly marginalized. I was viewed as a radical."

Things are different with the Libertarian Party, Cameron noted.

"When I told the Republican Party's local leaders that I was interested in running for the state House, they brought in a number of party officials, interviewed me, and everything they asked was about what I was willing to do, how much money I could raise, how many organizations I belonged to. Nobody asked me about what I believed.

"What it came down to was that the Republican Party wanted someone to win while running under their banner, with no thought to principles, and the Libertarian Party wanted someone to run under their banner only if they hold the right principles."

That's what it took to convince him to change sides.

At the Florida LP Convention in February, Cameron was nominated -- and elected -- as an at-large district director of the LP.

"I couldn't believe I was even nominated. I was at a loss for words. I stood, said, 'My name is Jerry Cameron. I am a recovering Republican, and I have been rational for 35 days.' I had only been a member of the LP, and a registered Libertarian, for 35 days at that time. This was a great honor for me."

A graduate of the FBI National Academy, the DEA Basic Drug Enforcement Course and two advanced DEA drug enforcement institutes, Cameron has been published in a number of law enforcement journals. He also taught police ethics, management and drug interdiction at the University of North Florida's Institute of Police Technology and Management.

He also has government experience, having served as interim city manager of Fernandina Beach, Fla., for a period in the late 1980s, and as public works director.

"Since leaving law enforcement in 1991 I have been managing small businesses," he said. "I have become a consultant in doing turnarounds for small businesses" including such disparate ventures as a scuba instructor school, a marina, a motorcycle shop, and a water sports facility in Grenada.

His most recent public function showed how much good one Libertarian can do in office, Florida LP chair Doug Klippel said.

"He was on the St. Johns County Planning and Zoning board until he resigned that position in the middle of February to seek elected office," Klippel said. "It was a non-partisan, appointed position, and while he was on that board he actually got the other members to change their way of thinking. He has been a very eloquent opponent of eminent domain and was very effective."

Cameron is also chair of the St. Johns County chapter of the LP, "and in the past three weeks, while campaigning, he has added about 45 new Libertarian registered voters in his county, as well as raising about $9,000 in three weeks," Klippel added, noting that he expects Cameron to do very well in the race.

"The incumbent, Doug Wiles, is a Democrat who is being term-limited out of office. Jerry's opponent is Wiley Deck, a very young guy with no practical experience. I don't think Deck has a chance against someone with Cameron's background."

And after he does well in the election, Cameron hopes to continue his fight for common-sense government in the state House. A large government is an inefficient government, he believes, and he wants to turn much of the power of state government over to the local level, to let communities make decisions for themselves.

"Government fails when it tries to do too much," Cameron said. "We proved that with the War on Drugs."

Klippel claims partial credit for bringing Cameron into the LP: "When we met about three and a half years ago, he was struggling with seeing the Republican Party abandoning its conservative roots. He really wanted to stay with that party and try to turn it around. And then he finally found his home, and joined the LP.

"I've often thought that if some Libertarians had played hardball with him, or if someone called him stupid for being associated with the Republican Party, then he might not have come back. We need to realize that people have to make their own way to the party.

"If this is where they belong, give them time. They'll make it home."

Perhaps some "Libertarian Republicans" will finally wake up and see the light through such cases as this. Let's just hope that he doesn't relapse.

My only criticism would be that he is investing his efforts in Florida; perhaps some higher power within the FSP could establish contact with him and convince him to relocate to New Hampshire, at least after his term has expired [If, in fact, he gains one].
« Last Edit: March 12, 2004, 02:38:48 pm by Morpheus » Logged
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