Yesterday, on the 14000 block of Brookpark Road in Cleveland, Ohio, at the America’s Best Value Inn, “That Libertarian” Dr. Marc Allan Feldman drew his final breath. Such was the fate of an accomplished anesthesiologist, rapper, IPR frequenter and Libertarian presidential candidate; dead at the age of 56 in a hotel room in the city in which he lived. His body will be laid to rest tomorrow at Beth Sholom Capitol Heights Cemetery in Maryland, but his memory will live on.
As soon as the news came out this morning, tributes from all around were placed on Feldman’s Facebook wall. Friends and acquaintances expressed condolences, shared fond memories, and lamented the surprise passing of a seemingly healthy man.
I first heard about Dr. Feldman early last year when he announced he would seek the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination. The initial reaction in IPR comments was not exactly positive. Nevertheless, Feldman, a Libertarian National Committee member, engaged his detractors on the page, arguing “If you want to have any kind of leadership role with Libertarians, you have to have a thick skin. I don’t think you will find a thicker skinned guy. Feel free to let loose on me, I can take it.”
To me, he seemed like a pleasant fellow, especially since he responded to inquiries from lowly citizen journalists like me. Although I briefly conversed with him, I did not research him further until he participated in the first Libertarian Party presidential debate in Massachusetts last October. When I transcribed the debate, I heard his compelling story.
A D.C.-native, Feldman witnessed the corruption of politicians in his city and consciously chose not to register to vote. Meanwhile, he excelled in his career, serving as the Section Head of Anesthesiology for the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital and later working as the Section Head of Anesthesia and Director of Operating Rooms for the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. During the course of his career, he wrote 54 published scholarly articles and became president of the Ophthalmic Anesthesia Society. In 2009, upon discovering the Libertarian Party, Feldman became a life member and finally registered to vote.
Quickly, Feldman became involved in politics. He ran for public office for the first time in 2010, seeking the position of Attorney General of Ohio as the Libertarian Party nominee. He received just under three percent of the vote. Two years later, he was elected to the Libertarian National Committee. He attempted to run for Treasurer of Ohio in 2014 but did not qualify for the general election ballot. The next year, he embarked on what would be his final campaign.
During his 2016 presidential run, Feldman focused on eliminating money from politics, using the slogan “Votes Not For Sale.” He limited donations to $5 per person. Cleverly, he proclaimed his support for foreign aid with the caveat that personal finances be used rather than taxpayer dollars. In addition, he emphasized reducing the national debt.
Last January, Feldman caught the attention of Libertarians with a press release promoting a major announcement about his campaign. Then, in a perfect troll, he announced fellow rapper Kanye West as his preferred running mate, even though West had not responded to Feldman’s inquiries. Feldman, who frequently rapped during debates, argued that West had libertarian themes in his lyrics (particularly “New Slaves“).
Ultimately, at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, rapping would serve as the pinnacle of Feldman’s campaign. Upon arriving late after assisting a hit-and-run victim, Feldman qualified for the final debate and performed the rap “That Libertarian” as his closing remark:
I’m that ‘be what you want to be’ Libertarian.
That ‘you look good on TV’ Libertarian,
That Muslim Libertarian,
That Jew Libertarian,
That Christian, atheist, Hindu Libertarian.
That Rothbard Libertarian,
That Jefferson Libertarian,
That ‘you know I’m not messin’ Libertarian!
That LGBTQ Libertarian, no sex Libertarian,
That MLK Jr.- Malcolm X Libertarian.
That revolutionary honor hall Ron Paul Libertarian.
That Richard Winger – Bill Redpath ballot access Libertarian,
That Darryl W. Perry no apologies anarchist Libertarian,
That Gary Johnson New Mexico success Libertarian.
That Austin Petersen freedom ninja in-your-face Libertarian,
That John McAfee, world-class bad-ass Libertarian!
That no pain, no gain, ‘get those petitions signed in the rain’ Libertarian.
That ‘sorry I’m not sorry’ Libertarian.
That ‘can’t stand the infringements and abuses’ Libertarian.
THAT ‘RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, NO EXCUSES’ LIBERTARIAN!
I’m that Libertarian.
The rap received a huge ovation. Even though Feldman did not win the nomination, he may have provided the highlight of the Convention.
Just a month later, on the day before he died, Feldman made his last tweet, his final statement to the public:
I am not Pro-Choice. I am not Pro-Life, either. I am Pro-Mind-Your-Own-Damn-Business. #EmpowerYourself
— Marc Allan Feldman (@VotesNotForSale) June 21, 2016
May he Rest in Peace.