Party Animal

Libertarian presidential hopeful Michael Jingozian explains why he’s qualified to be America’s chief executive officer.

By Stacey Wilson May 19, 2009 Published in the May 2008 issue of Portland Monthly

If you do win the Libertarian nomination this month, your goal is to gain 5 to 7 percent of the national vote. Obviously, you know you have no chance of becoming president, but you’ve spent at least $250,000 of your own cash on the campaign. Why not use your money on someone who actually has a chance of being elected? Real change is simply not going to happen in the two-party system. You could have a candidate who’s Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Einstein all rolled into one, but it’s just not going to happen if that person is a Democrat or a Republican.

Some say the Libertarian Party is America’s most successful third party, with more than 600 elected and appointed officials nationwide. What are Americans’ biggest misconceptions about your party? That we aren’t concerned about people or the environment. That we are only concerned about gun rights and legalizing drugs. Actually, our main problem with the American political system is that it’s set up to discourage qualified, intelligent people to run for office.

So a lot of Americans could be Libertarian and not even know it? Right! Half the stuff Libertarians believe, I’d say most people believe: getting out of Iraq, ending political corruption, becoming a more peaceful nation, increasing ballot access. I think most people believe we should be financially conservative. Universal health care is not the solution. We want to incentivize people to be healthy.

You became disenchanted with what you call the “hypocrisy and corruption” in politics at age 17, after you initiated a bill—which didn’t pass—that sought to put a high school student representative on every school board in Massachusetts. When did you decide to re-enter the fray? I didn’t plan it. I got an MBA from Bentley College, then a CAS [Certificate of Advanced Studies] from Harvard, and then embarked on a career in sales and marketing. I started my company [AngelVision] seven years ago. At the same time, I was starting to get very worried about our planet and country. I saw a major collapse coming.

AngelVision makes short marketing movies, similar to infomercials, primarily for the Web. Some of them are pretty cheesy, such as one I saw for a personal hand-warming product called Little Hotties. Infomercials get a bad rap, but they do tell a story and draw you in, like our movies. That one for Little Hotties actually won an award. It was hugely successful!

What do these movies have to do with what your campaign stands for? We produce an environmentally sound product; we are a free-market solution to a social problem. These movies remove all paper waste [from marketing campaigns] for our clients.

How does being the CEO of an 80-employee company that’s expected to earn around 10 million bucks this year prepare someone to run for president? It’s all about good marketing, a good message, and general savviness. This is our argument against John McCain. You would never hire a 71-year-old CEO! Americans’ expectations have become so low when it comes to electing our president. I mean, if [Hillary] Clinton, Barack [Obama], and McCain were interviewing for a CEO position, they would be laughed out of the boardroom.

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