Editor’s Note: This is the final part of a three-part series.
In part one of our interview with Andrew Heaton, he talked about how he started in political comedy, his time at the Fox Business Network, his relationship with John Stossel, and his standup routine. In part two, he discussed the state of the libertarian movement and whether it has a future, as well as President Trump’s performance so far. In this installment, he tells us whether he plans to run for office, his views on the 2020 Democrat race, and how frightened he is of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Liberty Nation: What’s your take on the current crop of Democrats running for president in 2020?
Andrew Heaton: There’s a few that I like, and a few that I’m very much bothered by. I’m going to broadly separate this into three categories, which are: Joe Biden, the ones I don’t like, the ones I like, and everybody else.
Let’s start with Joe Biden, the frontrunner. Personally, I like Joe Biden. I like him more than President Trump. He seems like a nicer person. That said, though, I think when you’re analyzing presidential candidates, you really do need to look at the policies that they’ve endorsed. And Biden has a pretty awful track record. He voted to invade Iraq. He was in favor of harsher sentence reforms in the drug war. That was all stuff he had his fingerprints on.
From a candidate perspective, I think he’s going to go down like a sack of bricks. So, you’re bringing up this guy, whose claim to fame, at the moment, is basically name recognition and that he’s perceived as nice. You’ve got a candidate in the Republican Party who’s most famous for the “grab her by the pu**y” line, and you’re bringing up [Biden], who keeps getting in trouble for not knowing boundaries. You’ve got a guy who is embroiled in a Russian scandal with Donald Trump, and at the same time you’re going to bring out Joe Biden, who bragged about firing a man in the Ukraine to benefit his own son? I feel like Joe Biden is Hillary Clinton 2.0, only with baggage not yet uncovered. So, I don’t think they should run him. As somebody who would really like to see Donald Trump toppled, I don’t think Joe Biden’s the one to do it. I think he should go off into the sunset.
The two that I am worried about are Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. I would probably support any other Democrat over Donald Trump. However, I think Elizabeth Warren is a smarter version of Bernie Sanders, has a better grasp of policy than he does. He doesn’t like markets, and he claims he’s a socialist. I’m not confident he actually knows the definition of it. But he wants to expand government in a variety of nonsensical ways.
Elizabeth Warren is smarter than Bernie Sanders, but likewise has a great leap forward planned for everything, and would dramatically retool the economy in a way that I do not think would be good at all. So, I’m worried about those two. I hope they don’t get in. Those are the two, specifically, that I do not want to see get the Democratic nomination.
The ones that I like are the following: Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, and Tulsi Gabbard. I like them for different reasons. Amy Klobuchar, I think, is much more concerned about rule of law in the Constitution than the other Democrats are. That’s according to Senator Mike Lee, anyway. I hesitate to call her moderate, but I think she hesitates to go to the fences in a way the other progressives are in an attempt to court favor with the base. I think she’s a much more pragmatic candidate than the other ones. Which is the big selling point for me on John Hickenlooper. He’s by no mean a libertarian candidate, but he is a pro-market, pro-business candidate, and I am a little more inclined to trust people who have already won purple states to win purple states. So, I think John Hickenlooper, if you actually put him in a national launch … I don’t think he’ll get there.
Andrew [Moran], I think you’re higher than John Hickenlooper on the Democratic nomination. But were he to do it, I would look at him and say, “Okay, there’s some good stuff here.”
And finally, Tulsi Gabbard … she is the most full-throated anti-war candidate. She wants to dismantle the military-industrial complex. Trump basically wanted to ramp up the military-industrial complex and not get into new wars. That’s basically his thing: “Spend more money on the military but don’t get into new wars,” which he still might do. We’re sending ships over to Iran at any time. I would not bet on the ideological consistency of Donald Trump. Tulsi Gabbard wants to dismantle that. And if she actually pulled it off, if she managed to get us out of a bunch of countries we don’t need to be in … She got us to quit flirting with the Saudi Arabians, and pulled us from bases that shouldn’t be there, brought that money and all of those guys home … it would probably be worth it, for whatever left-wing economic program she wants to institute.
LN: So, of all the people you named, who do you think has the best shot at winning the nomination?
AH: I think there’s something to the pendulum effect of American politics, a lot of the time the electorate chooses the perceived opposite of the person in power. So, right now, we’ve got a quasi-literate jack**s in the Republican Party, who’s also a populist and a few other things. I would think that, from a kind of brazen perspective, Kamala Harris is the most invisible. She’s a woman, she’s a woman of color, she’s a Democrat from California. I feel like she’s probably got a pretty good shot at it, and I’ll add to that, polling at this point is pretty insubstantial. I think at this point we’re only polling name recognition. I could be wrong, but I believe at this point in the election cycle, we’re more or less at the point where Ben Carson is in the lead, or maybe Jeb. It’s by no means settled.
Kamala Harris has a lot of background fundraising capacity she’s doing. So, you know she’s not top of the polls. She’s fundraising reasonably well and consistently well. So, I think she’s someone to be reckoned with.
I think Pete Buttigieg has done a remarkable job of leveraging being a former mayor of a town in Indiana I’d never heard of, to a position of national prominence. I’m actually very impressed. It’s entirely possible that he will wind up with a cabinet position through this.
Cory Booker, I think he’s done. I think Cory Booker is the equivalent of maybe Mitt Romney two elections ago. Pick someone who has their moment and waited too late. I feel like Cory Booker’s moment was four years ago, and he didn’t do it. I don’t think he’s going to pop, as result of that. I don’t think Hillary Clinton is going to run. I have a bet with my producer about that, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
LN: Will we see Andrew Heaton, AKA Buck Schwartzmore, run for office one day?
AH: Yeah. Buck might make a comeback. You can probably see Buck Schwartzmore. He’s had a few different incarnations.
As for me, I don’t know. I’m not sure where I would be welcome, to be honest with you. I tend to like everybody, and I think the order of the day, right now, is to hate people. So, if you’re trying to get ground between different camps, I’m your man. But I think the order of the day is boxing gloves. And it doesn’t help that, if I go into a Democratic state, and I go, “Hey, I groove you guys on all of this stuff, Democrats are great, let’s be nice to transgender people. Yeah!”
And they’re like, “Great, but also you hate companies, right?”
And I’m like, “No, no, no. I’m pretty full-throated capitalist.”
“Oh. Well, all right…”
And if I go to a conservative state and I’m like, “Oh, I like lower taxes, and let’s cut regulation and all that.”
And they’re like, “What church do you go to?”
“Well, I’m agnostic, so…”
I don’t think I have an easy electoral path. That’s not something I’m contemplating.
Feeling the Heaton
Andrew Heaton is not short of opinions on issues of the day. The U.S. Postal Service, Puerto Rico, sugar subsidies, net neutrality, and any other subject on the mind of John Q. Public – Heaton has a market-oriented suggestion.
As a libertarian, it is only natural that he will find common ground with the right and the left on various topics. But it is also the case that he gets into spats with both conservatives and liberals, even at the same time. This doesn’t appear to bother him, as he told LN prior to the interview that he is living the dream. His success proves that this is not fake news. He has amassed millions of views on YouTube, was awarded the title of New York City’s Greatest New Comedian by the Broadway Comedy Club in 2013, and once enjoyed Velveeta shells with bacon. If you don’t think that is the American Dream, then you haven’t received an envelope full of cash from Heaton containing a card which explains that the utility of the gift exchange is maximized when the recipient rather than the giver dictates how the capital is allocated. It’s basic economics, as Heaton will tell you.
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