Jim Jatras realizes his chances of becoming the next vice president of the United States are slim, but he’s trying anyway.
Trying really hard.
In fact, the former Senate staffer and former U.S. foreign service officer took to Twitter earlier this month to announce his interest in the vice presidency, after mailing Republican presidential candidates a letter to the same effect.
He even sent out his own press release advertising his availability for the job.
“I have notified all the declared Republican presidential candidates of my availability and qualifications to join them on the 2016 ticket as their vice presidential running mate,” Jatras said in his statement.
Jatras is no stranger to politics. In the Senate, he worked for 18 years as a foreign policy advisor to several lawmakers. Now, he identifies himself as the only Republican who has “announced a specific interest in the vice presidential job.”
In a recent interview with ABC News, Jatras, who describes himself as “pro-life, pro-gun, pro-traditional marriage, pro-immigration control, anti-war, pro-privacy, pro-tax reform, anti-phony ‘free trade’ deals,” shared why he’s interested in the No. 2 job. Below is an edited Q&A with Jatras:
So, you want to be the next vice president. How come?
I would like to be able to do something for my country, and I think I do have something to offer. As they say, I don’t know that the chances of my being vice president are all that good, I think it’s a long shot, but then again, they’re probably about as good as half the guys running for president on the Republican ticket.
What makes you think you’re qualified?
Two things: One is, I’m interested in the job, which a lot of people aren’t. There are people who get mentioned in connection with it, including some of the people who are running for president, say, “Oh I’m not interested in that, I want to be president,” Well, some of them are really running for vice president, and I’m willing to bite the bullet and say I’m actually going for this job. The other thing is, I do think I have this background, not only in foreign affairs, but also in the executive and legislative branches of government - how things really work from the inside. And I think that could be a very valuable commodity for the presidential campaigns, especially those like Ms. Fiorina, Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson, who are not professional politicians. The other thing, too, is I’m thinking some of the younger candidates like Marco Rubio, who come across as very bright, very fresh, but also maybe a little young, might be complemented by having an old, gray beard on the ticket with them.
In your formal announcement for vice president, you said, “Frankly, our stupid party could do a lot worse.” Why did you describe the Republican Party as ‘stupid’?
For a couple of centuries, people have called the more conservative party, first in Britain and then here in the United States, the stupid party. I believe I was the one who popularized the concept of the two parties as the ‘evil party’ and the ‘stupid party’, and if it’s something that’s really evil and stupid we call that bipartisan. My explanation is that the Democratic Party wants to bankrupt the country and destroy its morals, the Republican party, in principle, is opposed to that but it has no clue how to do it.
How do you plan on improving the ‘stupid party’?
My goal in accomplishing that would be two things. One would be to be more effective in standing up for the principles of the Republican party. And secondly, as I said in my announcement, we need to feel like Americans again. I think that even the Republican party has gotten in the way from our concept of national identity, and the middle class basis of our country has gotten a little too cozy with some of the big money and global interests. And we need to take a harder look at who we are as Americans, how we stand up for the interests of our country and stop being involved in other people’s quarrels around the world, which cost us a lot and benefit us nothing.
If you had to choose, who would be your ideal running mate?
I don’t want to sound like I’m favoring one over the others. They all have strong points, and everybody has weak points, of course. Obviously Mr. Trump is the talk of the country right now, and I do see some points of commonality there, especially when it comes to the immigration issue, where I’m substantially in agreement with him. I do have disagreements with some of the other candidates. But I think that’s more of a question of personalities right now, and I’d rather not look like I’m endorsing or opposing any one of the candidates.
I put out my announcement on [Sept.] 9th. I have not heard back yet from anybody, but I’m waiting patiently by the mailbox.
You’re the editor of an online publication called repealFATCA.com, which is dedicated to getting rid of what you call “the worst law that Americans have never heard of,” the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. What is it and what’s so bad about it?
Well, basically, you take the NSA spying program, in terms of invasion of privacy and transfer from phone calls and emails, to the financial system. Basically, putting everyone into a global financial fishbowl is really a terrible invasion of personal liberty and of government spying on private affairs. In addition to that, it just costs billions and billions of dollars that will be passed on to consumers and taxpayers in the United States and worldwide for no benefit. It supposedly will combat tax evasion, but it won’t even be effective in doing that, so it’s a bad law [in the sense that] it’s invasive, it’s expensive and it doesn’t even do any good.
You describe yourself as the only Republican “who has announced a specific interest in the vice presidential job,” regardless of the GOP nominee. Do you think that will give you an advantage?
Well, it couldn’t hurt. And as they say, our stupid party could do a lot worse. And, I can add to that -- it probably will.