Libertarian podcaster and comedian Dave Smith has declined independent presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s proposal to join his ticket as a vice presidential candidate.
“I’m flattered but no it’s not something I’d consider,” Smith told SCNR in a text message. “I respect Bobby but our differences on the issue of war is too large a chasm to weld.”
“US involvement in immoral, unwinnable, unnecessary wars is a red line for me,” he added. “I can’t support, let alone run with, anyone who supports such wars. Especially one that, as Bobby admitted, will possibly draw us into a world war.”
Kennedy posed the question prior to engaging in a debate with Smith over the Israel-Gaza conflict on a Feb. 3 episode of the comedian’s Part of the Problem podcast.
The independent candidate began by asking Smith, who was once considered the frontrunner for president for the Libertarian Party, why he opted out of the race.
“I heard that you were going to be the candidate for the Libertarian Party, which would have been very exciting,” Kennedy said. “I’m glad I’m not running against you … you’d be the most formidable opponent I have. But what happened?”
“I was considering it for a period of time,” Smith said after thanking Kennedy for his compliment. “There were a lot of people in the Libertarian Party who wanted me to run. Ultimately, it just came down to family decisions.”
Smith explained that he has two small children and making a bid for the Oval Office may have been “a little bit too much for me to take on right now.”
“Would you consider the vice presidency?” Kennedy asked.
“Oh, man, what are you trying to do to me?” Smith replied with a laugh. “A vice presidency on a Kennedy ticket? That’s dangerous. I might end up being president or something like that.”
The comedian joked that running as Kennedy’s vice president might be “good insurance for you because I’m no LBJ. I don’t think they’d want to get you out of the way.”
“That’s exactly why I want you,” Kennedy said. “You’re a worst version of myself that nobody’s going to want.”
The seemingly impromptu offer occurred within a week of Kennedy, who was a Democratic presidential candidate until late last year, suggesting he might run as a Libertarian.
“That’s something that we’re looking at,” he said during a Jan. 27 interview with CNN. “We have a really good relationship with [the] Libertarian Party.”
“We are talking to the Libertarian Party, and I feel very comfortable with most of the values of the Libertarian Party,” he said. “We have good relationships. I am talking regularly to libertarian groups.”
“I have admired many aspects of RFK’s campaign,” he said in a Jan. 27 X post. “His opposition to Covid tyranny, vax mandates, the Ukraine war and the deep state have been nothing short of heroic.”
“However, his support for the war in Gaza is disqualifying. We are THE antiwar, non-interventionist party and that's non negotiable. Period. He will not be our nominee and I will do everything in my power to see to that.”
This may have been the post that prompted Kennedy to ask Smith to host a discussion about the Israel-Gaza conflict, according to the comedian’s introduction to the Feb. 3 episode of the podcast, titled “RFK Defends His Position on Israel.”
While the roughly 90-minute conversation remained respectful, it did include more than a few heated exchanges.
“Why do we have to support [this war]? Why does America have to pay for it?” Smith asked at one point. “Can I get one presidential candidate who doesn’t want to support a foreign war? Can I get one presidential candidate who will say, ‘Six months without war?’”
I know you can say you’re a critic of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, but you support Israel, but at the same time … the guy is the longest serving prime minister and the current prime minister of the country. So, if you’re supporting the country, you kind of are supporting, at least to some degree, what he is doing right now, and it is unconscionable. It is the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world right now.
Smith took Kennedy to task for maintaining an anti-war stance with the Russia-Ukraine conflict while failing to maintain an “anti-Neocon, anti-war” position in Israel's attacks in Gaza, which Smith described as a “biblical level of evil.”
“The idea that Israel created the deprivation in Gaza is nonsense,” Kennedy countered, claiming that Israel does not occupy Gaza and left the area in 2006. “There is no occupation.”
Kennedy argued that Gaza should be “one of the richest areas in the Mediterranean” as a result of an “unprecedented tsunami of cash” provided by the international aid community.
“What’s happened? … It’s the fault of Hamas, which has taken that money, stolen it … the top three guys in Hamas have a collective net worth of $11 billion, so this is a kleptocracy,” Kennedy said. 🔥 Dave Smith & RFK Jr Debate the Israel-Hamas War
I highly recommend watching the full exchange at the link below. This was a tense but healthy debate between two knowledgeable and passionate men trying to find common ground on this issue. Regardless of which side you are on,… pic.twitter.com/COI7q50OD5
🔥 Dave Smith & RFK Jr Debate the Israel-Hamas War
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) February 3, 2024
Another portion of the conversation shared on X involved a question posed by Smith that sparked an extended pause from Kennedy.
“Do you have concerns about the level of Israeli influence in our politics here in the United States of America?” he asked.
Kennedy remained silent for six seconds before saying, “I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know. … I’m not a politician in political office so I don’t see much of that.” Want to see the longest pregnant pause in human history?
RFK knows the answer is "yes"
He knows he can't say that
He knows, politically, he must say "no"
He knows Dave will destroy that
Want to see the longest pregnant pause in human history?
So he settles on "I don't know"
Essentially pleading ignorance.
He knows. pic.twitter.com/CLif4XWCiP
— Clint Russell (@LibertyLockPod) February 3, 2024
The conversation concluded with Smith and Kennedy respectfully disagreeing but expressing gratitude for their mutual willingness to share differing perspectives.
“I’m gaining about one point [in polls] a month, and I’ve got nine months,” Kennedy said during a recent interview with Fox News. “All I need … is 34% to win the election, and I’m already at 24% average in the battleground states.”
In an opinion piece that appeared in The Hill over the weekend, Kennedy's potential electability received fresh analysis:
What if Kennedy — who “has no chance” and is only going to serve as a “spoiler” — not only runs on the Libertarian Party ticket and gets on key swing state ballots but continues to peel off more and more young and independent voters with a smattering of dissatisfied Democrats and Republicans? Some polls have already shown Kennedy at about 21 percent of the popular vote. With just over nine months to go before the election, what if he grows his support at just over 1 percent per month? Impossible?
Well, in a nation where 70 percent of the voters have said they prefer the Democratic and Republican nominees weren’t named Biden and Trump, the “impossible” might be a much lower hurdle to clear.
... “Impossible” yet again?
I give you Donald J. Trump being elected our 45th president in 2016 as evidence as to why such a scenario is entirely possible. A scenario which is worrying more and more of the Democratic and Republican elites.
... It’s going to be a very interesting — and illuminating — next nine months.