Fancy the fringes? Me too.

Media coverage is often thin for political candidates who run campaigns on wings, prayers and hearty helpings of idealism. Most never master the art of the compelling-but-meaningless sound bite. It’s refreshing to hear a candidate talk without fear of losing a big contributor or of toeing the party line. Perhaps all candidates ought to run for office without spending a dime. Wouldn’t that change everything?

At a well-attended candidate forum in June sponsored by the Reno Anti-War Coalition, well-funded candidates for U.S. House and Senate didn’t show. Some politely refused the invitation. Others meant to send a representative, but oops. Forgot.

So those opining on the Iraq War, civil liberties and flag burning included only the straightest shooters.

Last week, I wrote about the Senate candidates. Ruby Jee Tun, a Carson City Democrat, seemed reasonable and intelligent. And though she didn’t support an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, if I were a Democrat, she might get my primary vote—though Jack “Son of Jimmy” Carter is pulling in some money and thus stands a chance of actually winning the seat.

Of candidates for U.S. House Second District Nevada, three showed: James Kroshus, Independent American; Daniel Rose, a non-partisan plugging Nevada Vote Direct (; and Thomas Glenn, a Republican who arrived about an hour late.

Kroshus, a father of six, read mostly from prepared responses, an idea suggested to him by his wife, who didn’t want him to seem “too radical,” he said.

“I used to be a Republican, but I repented,” he said. “I’m sickened by what has happened to my country.” Kroshus frequently quoted from the Bible. “The love of money is the root of all evil,” he said, referencing the Iraq War. “Who really benefits from the war? Is it the oil companies? The politicians? Follow the money.”

Kroshus received hardy applause for his stand on civil liberties: “Why must Americans give up their freedom and substitute for it the PATRIOT Act and the police state that will follow?”

In one unprepared response to an audience question about flag burning, he worked in a reference to his stand on abortion. “Is there nothing in America that is sacred? The flag represents all the people who’ve died for freedom, and we let people burn it? … But if the sacred lives of our most innocent can be flushed down the sink, let’s burn our flag tonight!”

Thomas, the latecomer who posted responses to RAWC’s earlier questions on his Web site,, likened those who burn Old Glory to annoying younger siblings: “They’ll try to get your goat to make you do something stupid. … If you ignore them, they’ll stop.”

Brendan Trainor, Libertarian candidate for Senate, quipped that election season is “a silly time when the most important issue is the illegal gay Mexican who wants to get married in a ceremony where someone burns a flag.”

This line got big laughs.

Rosen, the non-partisan running for House, took no stands on issues of war or privacy. Instead, as an experiment in direct voter participation, he promised that if elected he would use “a secure voting system via Internet and phone” to gather citizen input on any given issue. “If you care, you can vote, continuously, 24-7.”

Rosen’s only stated position was that the political system desperately needs change. “I’m indignant that the nation is discussing burning the flag when people have no compunctions about burning the country for which it stands. People are fed up with who we’re sending to Washington!”

Other candidates running for U.S. House include Sharron Angle (R), Jill Derby (D) and Dawn Gibbons (R).