Wikinews interviews Steve Kissing, independent candidate for US President

Saturday, February 16, 2008

While nearly all coverage of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, there are small political parties offering candidates, and those who choose to run without a party behind them, independents.

Wikinews is interviewing some of these citizens who are looking to become the 43rd person elected to serve their nation from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

Our second interview is with Cincinnati, Ohio's Steve Kissing, a divorced father of two who is a creative director at an advertising agency.


Why do you want to be President?

In a very real sense, I don’t want to be President of the United States. It's not something I've been planning or hoping to do. (Though I have long-fantasized about "sleeping with" my wife in the Lincoln Bedroom.) But I know, at the very core of my being, that true and dramatic change is required and that someone, a non-politician, must step forward. Rather than stand on the sidelines and wonder why no one was volunteering to lead the revolution, I thought it only fair and responsible to toss my own hat into the ring.
I want to help bring about a true sea change, one that will lead to a better America, and a better world. Specifically, I want to help lay to rest, permanently, the political class and establishment. This blood-sucking behemoth, which many of us have resigned ourselves to living with, is more concerned about power than prosperity, more interested in power than peace, more vested in power than eradicating poverty.

Have you ever run for political office before?

I have never run for a political office, outside of student government. I consider this a strength, not a weakness.
We keep expecting politicians to bring about real change as it relates to health care, education, the environment and other key concerns of all Americans. But real change rarely comes from our politicians who often seem more eager to appear on the Sunday morning talk shows than to get real, bi-partisan work accomplished. This is also why one of my slogans is: "Elect a person, not a politician."
Over the years (I am 44 years old), I have voted for Republicans, Democrats and Independents. I have done a small bit of campaigning for candidates running for local offices at the city or county level. But it has been years since I have done so.

What is your current job? What skills or ideas do you bring from this position, or previous positions, that will benefit the Oval Office?

I have spent nearly 25 years in the advertising industry, and I am currently a creative director at an ad agency called Barefoot, located in Cincinnati.
Through my profession, I have come to appreciate that how things are communicated is just as important as what is being communicated. Sometimes the words we choose or the method we select to share an idea gets in the way of people appreciating it and embracing it. Why is this important? Because a President who is attentive to not only what he is saying, but how he is saying it, is apt to be more effective at rallying people to a common cause.
My work in advertising, for which I have won many awards, has demanded that I generate creative solutions, and help inspire them in others, virtually every single day. I know how to "think outside the box." Why is this important? We all know that our country and world face major challenges, to put it mildly. Our only hope in overcoming these challenges is our ability to generate innovative solutions.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Identify the three most important issues, what would they be? How will you address these issues?

Global warming. I endorse tax incentives and government grant programs to support and reward those private-sector initiatives aimed at developing renewable energy sources, or improving the efficiency of traditional, carbon-based energy sources.
In addition, I have proposed that NASA be “repurposed” for two to three decades to help fight global warming. What I envision is asking the very bright scientists and engineers at NASA to direct their gaze down at Earth rather than up in the stars. This way, we can tap into their collective brainpower to help develop new technologies to improve energy efficiency and to slow global warming.
I have long been a fan of NASA and space travel, and I understand and appreciate the many benefits of space exploration. But the need is so great to slow, and eventually halt, global warming, that drastic measures are required.
National Security. As President, I would keep a healthy military and intelligence budget, all along making sure that we are training and caring for our soldiers as they prepare and wait for duty, as they are assigned and as they return and adjust to civilian life. Our record on this hasn’t been pretty of late. I would also raise the pay of all military personnel. Finally, I would make sure that we have the best-equipped fighting force in the world.
I would work quickly to secure our borders by putting additional measures in place: monitored fencing; more border crossing guards; small, mobile groups of elite soldiers to “spot check” our borders; more resources for the Coast Guard to protect our shores; and more human and technical resources to monitor those who come to play or work in our country.
We need to talk more with other nations, especially those we consider enemies or those that are particularly influential in world affairs. As such, I will invest in a more robust diplomatic core, particularly with China and the Middle East.
I will also work with diplomats as well as community and religious leaders to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding among the great faiths of the world, particularly, though not exclusively, between Christianity and Islam.
Finally, as noted above, I will be an advocate for new technologies and more eco-friendly ways of living that can drastically reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Education and Healthcare. I combine these issues because, if America is to remain a vibrant nation, our citizens must be strong and nimble when it comes to both mind and body.
I support vouchers and privatized education. Let’s allow the free market and competition improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our educational system.
We need to also better compensate our teachers, but we must also hold them to higher standards of excellence. Teachers have an important, tough job, but too many have "tuned out". I would love our culture to evolve to the point where teaching is given the respect, admiration and financial incentives that, say, doctors and lawyers do.
We absolutely need universal health care, but the free market should remain at the helm, with private companies competing for the government’s business.
In addition, our national healthcare program must focus on patient education, motivation and preventative health. Treating people via the emergency room for conditions that could have easily been prevented with some attentive care, need to be eliminated.

Campaigning for the American presidency is one of the most expensive exercises in the world. How do you deal with the cost and fundraising?

The fact that it costs so much to run for President should alarm every American. The huge sums of money required to be a viable candidate only serve to keep politics and politicians focused on money, and those who provide it and the special interest they represent.
I am hoping to rely on my own creativity and that of my supporters to get our message out. With any luck, our "untainted" message will breakthrough. I'm not foolish enough to expect that this will be easy, or that it’s likely. But my longing for a different kind of politics, and a different kind of politician keeps me hopeful.

Do you have a running mate yet? Who are they? What are you looking for in a running mate?

I do not have a running mate, but I am seeking nominations on my website ( I’m looking for someone who shares my fundamental belief that politics as usual needs to go, and fast. I am looking for someone with a proven track record in generating creative thoughts and solutions; someone who is open-minded and willing to make compromises; some who is hopeful and optimistic. Since my campaign doesn't have a significant budget, I would love to have a vice-presidential candidate who has some forum, be that via celebrity, a popular blog or even just being in a band. Personally, I would love to have a candidate who is a person of color, and, ideally, a non-Christian. In fact, I would be most pleased to have a Muslim on my ticket.

Can you win the 2008 Presidential election? Can any third party or independent candidate ever win?

The odds are miniscule, at best, that I can win this election. I know that. I’m not a moron. Nor am I delusional. Or high (at least not at this moment). But I forge on, helping raise awareness for the issues that I think are most pressing. And I want to help encourage people to say bon voyage to the status quo brought to us (and protected) by professional politicians and those who stuff their pockets.
People are so frustrated with politicians and politics as usual that I do believe an independent or third-party candidate can indeed win.

If you can't make it into the Oval Office, who would you prefer seeing taking the presidency?

Someone who is not a professional politician. Someone with big ideas. Someone with “balls.” Someone with humility.

What should the American people keep in mind, when heading to the polls this November?

Two words: Steve Kissing