Steve G.

Post-nomination thoughts and tidbits

In Libertarian on May 26, 2008 at 1:14 am

I’m really disappointed in Christine Smith… not as a Barr backer, but as a 15-year life member of the LP.  Just a couple of weeks ago, she was on radio blasting Mary Ruwart over the child porn thing.  Put the spotlight on her again, and she turns 180-degrees and blasts Barr on national TV.  I publicly apologize to the Ruwart crowd for ever having said a word in Smith’s defense on the first point.  Smith then went on to try and disrupt the post-nomination press conference… at this point I just think all she cares about is getting on TV.

The VP thing didn’t have to play out the way it did.  I was cool with a Barr/Ruwart ticket initially… after the big wins that the reformers got on the Bylaws and Platform debates over the past two days, I thought it would be good for party unity for Ruwart to make the VP slot.  I talked with a few key radical leaders, and leaned Kubby’s way on the first round (with several other Barr supporters) for the unity factor.

On the second round, I shrugged my shoulders and voted Root.  For one thing, I learned that multiple offers had been made by the Barr camp to bring Ruwart on board… before the nominations, and during the rounds.  Ruwart wouldn’t budge, even after it became clear the way things were shaping up.  In all fairness, I’m hearing that she had a pre-existing pact in place with Kubby… and couldn’t find him right before the last vote to see if he’d be okay with her backing out of that.  However, there were multiple offers, and I’m not convinced that she (or Kubby) really would have gone that way regardless.

More importantly, Kubby lost on VP because 20 or more delegates left the floor following the Barr win.  Had they simply stuck around one more hour, Kubby would have WON.  Kubby and Nolan then gave speeches in lobby, and still more others pledged not to go to the morning session tomorrow… thus ensuring that a less-balanced LNC will be elected.  Again, that doesn’t HAVE to go that way either.  Say what you want, this convention has been no “purge”… things played out in such a lopsided manner largely due to all-or-nothing thinking, and poor floor management once emotions got too strong.

I personally hope that once people have an opportunity to blow off steam and vent their frustrations, that most of the disappointed people begrudgingly find their way back in the fold.  I might not have said that a couple of weeks ago, but meeting some of these people in real life (that I’d only known from online arguments) has changed my thinking somewhat.  Before I came out here, my preconception of Starchild for example was based on the portrayal he often gets online… I thought he was some guy who just shows up in costumes and tries to disrupt things because he doesn’t take matters seriously.  You know what?  That image is completely full of shit.  In the Bylaws and Platform debates, he was extremely knowledgeable about every plank being discussed, articulated his positions eloquently and respectfully, and was nothing if not 100% serious (attire aside).  The same was true for the arguments he was making while working the floor during Presidential votes.  I disagreed with him 90%+ of the time, but the guy’s NOT a joke… he’s probably one of the best libertarians we have, and just has a different vantage point than me on what’s best for the Party.  The same is true for several of the other key guys that I’ve gone to the mat with in blog debates.

Phillies probably delivered the best speech of his career when he refused to make an endorsement, but tried to stress that the enemy was outside the room rather than within.  I’ll be doing everything I can for the ticket over the next several months, and I do hope that the disappointed people come around once they’ve had their chance to vent some steam.

  1. Not saying I agree or disagree, but…nice post. Welcome aboard. (hope you get what I mean).

  2. Good for Christine Smith for standing up for the party. She was great!

  3. Very thoughtful article. We need more like you. Please keep it up. And, as you mention, Phillies did get it right in his last address to the delegates.

  4. Smith could have expressed her opinion far better. Instead, she came across as a fool.

  5. I like Christine Smith more than ever. I hope the reformers are happy now that the party is destroyed. If I were Ruwart I wouldn’t want to share a ticket with Barr.

    I’m upset right now (gee, can you tell)

    I won’t support the current candidatess for President and VP but I am willing to help bring the TRUE libertarians back when the time comes.

    I don’t think Smith came accross as a fool. Bob Barr is simply not a Libertarian, and he does need more time to prove himself. He had all of 1 real debate with the other candidates to avoid his skeletons coming out and how can anyone respect that?

  6. For me it’s not a matter of simply blowing off steam and venting frustrations. If Barr was to actually get elected and enact the Fascist Tax, I would be faced with the prospect of cutting my retirement off and going back to work to pay taxes. The national LP is no longer part of the libertarian movement but part of the neo-con movement – just another pack of thieves who want their hand in my pocket.

    The LP was born in Denver and now it has died in Denver. RIP.

  7. At the banquet dinner after the vote, Kubby showed up and joined Barr on the stage to shake hands. Barr promised to work him in California. David Nolan was also in attendance, and politely applauded during the speeches.

    At the Barr reception following that, a good chunk of Gravel and Ruwart backers turned out. They understandably seemed a bit somber, but went up to shake Barr’s hand and stuck around to mingle.

    I, along with pretty much everyone in the building, am completely exhausted. I may blog a bit during the business meeting tomorrow morning, and then I fly back out.

  8. Again, thanks for your coverage Steve.

  9. GA – Barr 33 Ruwart 2. Almost unheard of Perkins, congrats, you boys now control the Party hope you enjoy FUNDING it ! As for coming around, lol.

    VIVA LA R3VOlution !

    Baldwin/Castle 2008

  10. Have LP conventions ever gone this long? It was suspenseful getting to drink coffee (which made me hyper on the third ballot) and beer (which made me mellow on the sixth), but I’ve got to hand it to the delegates, they’ve nominated the two most media-savvy people you’ll ever get out of a presidential ticket.

    I’m speaking strictly from a news standpoint (myspace.com/dauben will show ya), but also from a non-radical agenda.

  11. GA – Barr 33 Ruwart 2. Almost unheard of Perkins…

    We had 40 delegate seats available to us… but unfortunately the “Greyhound buses full of paid delegates” got a flat tire and couldn’t make it. 🙂

  12. I’ve said for years that Starchild is as fair-minded and intellectually honest and decent and intelligent and knowledgeable and gentle and courageous as anybody you’ll find in the LP. Period.

  13. Ruwart explained why she wouldn’t be the VP nominee under Barr. She said she would have the choice of misrepresenting what she believed (and what she believes is the correct Libertarian position) and undercutting Barr on many issues. For example, asked about one of the central campaign themes of Barr, the Fair Tax, she would feel the need to say she thought it was a terrible idea and that she agreed with Ron Paul that the income tax should be abolished and replaced with nothing.

    It was in the interests of not having an LP Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominee openly disagreeing on major campaign themes, and not petulance, that she felt she could not run on a ticket with Barr. I was present while she was discussing the proposal with one of the Barr people.

  14. Hurray for Christine Smith

    For calling out the Libertarian delegates who nominated a man who helped put people in jail for possession of drugs and seems to have no concept of property rights.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/021178.html

  15. Not to mention:

    Former CIA employee
    Former Federal Prosecutor
    Voted for Patriot Act
    Voted for illegal Iraq war

  16. Less,

    Thank you for the very clear explanation of Mary’s decision not to accept a VP nomination. I think her reasons are impeccable, and exactly the kind of things I would expect a *principled* libertarian to consider. Winning is not everything.

  17. Did anyone see Barry Hess’s speech prior to the start of the prez nomination process? It was very good.

  18. Yes, it is I, the most eloquent poster on ThirdPartyWatch, come to expand my horizons by posting on this site about the noble Obama Revolution and the Fringe Alliance. For those who don’t read ThirdPartyWatch, here’s the Fringe Alliance Strategy, which by the way was never brought up at the Libertarian convention despite direct orders from God.

    I have developed a strategy based on an alliance between the Green, libertarian
    and constitution parties, the various socialist movements and centrist independents, Kucinich Democrats, Ron Paul Republicans, and other smaller groups such as fascists, feudalists, monarchists and syndicalists, to initiate the following goals.

    1. The electoral college is abolished.
    2. The presidential election uses a national Majo rity Runoff system. This will change us from a republic to a democracy.
    3. Congress is elected through proportional representation.

    Third parties should spend most of their energies pushing for these constitutional amendments, using graphic protests in public locations. Otherwise, the
    efforts of all of them are doomed to do nothing more than push the major parties slightly in one direction, and ruin the chances of the parties that their
    candidates are most closely aligned with, while gaining such small failing numbers for themselves. The people who visit this site are by definitions on
    the fringes of society. It is important for the fringe to get together. This strategy is gaining the support of many political scientists across the nation,
    and I will continue to post it several times a week here until it is adopted. Fortunately, we have the Obama Revolution to save our country for now.
    The revolution will be televised.
    Please pray for the pope and please pray for Barack Obama. Amen.

    Though I personally have much respect for Gravel, and think Ruwart is a stupid for not taking the running mate position and think Ruwart is a dangerous anarchist, I think that the Barr/Root ticket is generally a good thing. It keeps me from ever becoming a libertarian, but it steals the most votes from the Republicans and thus helps the Obama Revolution

  19. I may decide to support the LP again in the future but for this election I am donating to and voting for Chuck Baldwin. He is the only candidate in the race who is calling for the instrumental changes needed to bring about Constitutionally limited government.

  20. I heard the Barry Hess speech before the convention. It was very good, a last attempt at saving the party. Not enough people in the audience were present or listening though.

    It was hard to see R. Lee Wrights face up there when Mary gave her concession speech. He looked as if he were going to cry any moment. If I were there I would have most certainly cried.

  21. Steve Perkins Says:

    “We had 40 delegate seats available to us… but unfortunately the “Greyhound buses full of paid delegates” got a flat tire and couldn’t make it. :)”

    I saw the video and it clearly didn’t “go flat”. The only plausible explanation was a controlled demolition of the tire.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

  22. Ruwart’s obstinancy is unfortunate. She opened yesterday’s balloting by claiming to be the “unity” candidate, but when she didn’t win she not only could not accept the VP slot with Barr, she not only couldn’t endorse Barr, she couldn’t even say a good word about Barr. From what I could see on C-Span’s spontaneous floor shots, Ruwart’s entire pitch yesterday was a negative, anti-pitch, a steady hit on Barr, coupled with some winks and nods to the 9/11 truthers. Ruwart has some pluses – she’s attractive, credentialed, smart – but we’re lucky she’s not the nominee. I have no objection to her on the LNC.

    I’ll admit it, I like Root, but I think Kubby would have been a great VP, and he probably could have had it had he thrown his support to Barr rather than to Mary. Nonetheless, Kubby has been a class act, and is, to use one of Ruwart’s favorite phrases, the one who actually seems interested in healing our little LP world.

    Meanwhile, Ruwart was out there complaining Barr hasn’t been an LP member long enough, when he’s been a member at least twice as long as Mary had been when she launched her 1983 presidential bid, or longer than the former Green party guy who seconded Mary’s nomination this year.

    A party that wants to grow had better be welcoming converts. It’s not clear what some people want Barr to do, but I’ll tell you this – he’s done more to raise the LP Party profile in the last two years than Mary Ruwart has done in a lifetime. As Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project noted, he’s done more in the last four years to concretely advance drug legalization than any candidate ever before nominated for President by the LP had ever done. Former CIA? Yeah, a low level guy like, thirty years ago. You might as well complain he once interned for the DMV. And if you believe that the U.S. needs foreign policy and military intelligence, at least the CIA is a constitutional function of the government, however rotten its often been in practice.

    Anyway, the point is that most of the Barr criticisms seem more emotional than rational – witness the fact that some of the hardcore radicals are claiming they’ll look to Baldwin or the Greens, far less libertarian options by most any measure.

    And as a “mainstream” libertarian who has worked – really worked, in the trenches – and donated to LP campaigns since Ed Clark in the 1980s, I resent the “more libertarian than thou” approach of the radicals, and the claims to have a monopoly on what libertarianism is.

    We have disagreements over what issues are most important, and even over some issues. But as George Phillies said in a great moment yesterday, the enemy is out there. I welcome all those who work for liberty, and I’ll work for Barr/Root with more enthusiasm than for any LP ticket since at least Paul/Marrou in ’88.

    This can be a great year for us to build the party and add tens of thousands of new voters to our ranks.

  23. Well, you’re wrong, but I respect your opinion. Chuck Baldwin comes off way more libertarian than Bob Barr. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do yet, but based on the platforms, not more libertarian than Baldwin, sorry.

  24. The Constitution Party is contaminated with religion. Read their platform. If you can support the CP but you’re in the LP, you have a serious contradiction you need to examine.

  25. I’m not talking parties, I’m talking candidates. If you went by “party platforms”, Libertarians wouldn’t have voted for Barr. Clearly in Denver, people followed the candidate, not the party platform. If you can’t see that, then you need to examine your thoughts.

  26. If some of the radicals want out of the LP, that’s their freedom to do so. They must realize, however, that by doing so, they are participating in making the LP so lopsided that they will never be able to return. But then again, were they ever that dedicated to the party to begin with? I say this out of personal experience: I left the party a few years ago due to a dust up with the “win at all costs” faction. I now realize that by leaving, I hurt the party. I allowed them to take a greater foothold.

    I consider myself radical, but here is where I differ form most other radicals: I view all campaigns as *TOOLS* to achieve certain goals. We are NOT going to win overnight. That is clear. It’s unfortunate, but that’s reality. So what do I want? I want to begin the process of turning the tide to OUR favor.

    OK, so Barr isn’t a perfect candidate. I still supported him because I can see how we can USE a Barr candidacy to achieve certain goals for future success in getting our message heard and accepted. What are those goals?

    1. Getting the word “libertarian” into public discourse even more. Ron Paul is fading, and so is the word “libertarian”. We need the word HEARD and ACCEPTED. A Bob Barr candidacy will certainly get that word out there.

    2. Gaining the most votes since 1980. To do so would be a HUGE accomplishment for the LP. It would translate into greater credibility with the media and the voting populace. We have been trying year after year to meet and exceed the Clark totals, but fail each time, leaving a wake of burned out and disappointed activists. To become more credible means our message will reach more people and start the process of becoming accepted among more and more people.

    3. Retaining ballot access. This is our largest hurdle and what drains so much money and valuable activist time….time that could be better spent on building the party.

    4. Building a solid and credible foundation so that we can attract better candidates (such as Gary Johnson) in the future. Whether we like it or not, many of our dream candidates brush us off because our vote totals are so pathetically small and because our image is seen as ridiculous. They want to hitch onto a winning organization.

    Radicals: stay around and cast a straight LP ticket this year. If you don’t you are only handicapping the LP and you’ll have no one to blame but yourselves. Your credibility will be shot and in the end, who can trust you to weather the storm? Who will be able to count on you?

  27. “The Constitution Party is contaminated with religion. Read their platform. If you can support the CP but you’re in the LP, you have a serious contradiction you need to examine.”

    If you can support a former drug warrior who can’t exactly decide where he stands on drug legalization, foreign policy, and economics, but you’re in the LP, you have a serious contradiction you need to examine.

  28. Hugh,
    So, what do you suggest people do? I would consider voting for the CP candidate for Prez as a protest vote (or not voting for Prez at all) and support local libertarians who are in fact, libertarian in their position.

    I do not think that CP is on the ballot here in Texas though. Libertarian is pretty much our only 3rd party choice. We can’t write in because we have those terrible machines.

  29. Gene,
    Radicals may stay around, but they are entitled NOT to cast a straight ticket should they think that certain candidates do not support the platform. Radicals may quit supporting the LP financially until they get it back to it’s roots.

  30. Steve Perkins Says:

    May 26, 2008 at 4:01 am
    GA – Barr 33 Ruwart 2. Almost unheard of Perkins…

    We had 40 delegate seats available to us… but unfortunately the “Greyhound buses full of paid delegates” got a flat tire and couldn’t make it. :)”
    ***

    lol-it’s easy to have a sense of humor when you win friend! From the looks of things enough of THEM kept rolling…lol

    As stated elsewhere congrats on your win! If you are happy with Barr/Root, ENJOY or as Kubby likes to emphasize-have FUN…

    The main concern this morning is we haven’t heard from Milnes, surely he hasn’t done anything drastic, as the reality his female Veep and victory in Nov. has turned to ashes…

    Of course he might be working on his announcement speech for his 2012 campaign…

  31. This is the best LP blog/thread I’ve read in the last two days. I’m an ex-LP member who will be reconsidering my party affiliation over the next few months. I was shocked – the LP acted intelligently yesterday. It’s something I’ve never seen from the LP (I’m old) and never expected. If the anarchists want to leave, the more the better as far as I’m concerned. They represent 35% of voters is needed to win any election in this country. Unfortunately, the intersection of anarchists and a winning plurality is the null set, so the anarchists are irrelevant. I hope to be part of a winning coalition of liberty minded folks, and I believe that coalition will be the based on the revolution that Ron Paul started. Please, let’s all work together to keep the rEVOLution alive! Anarchists are welcome, but don’t try to shove your purity litmus tests down my throat.

  32. Weird – my last post got chopped in the middle. The sentence

    “They represent 35% of voters is needed to win any election in this country”

    should actually read “They [anarchists] represent less an 1% of voters in this country and 35% of the voters is needed to win…”

  33. If some of the radicals want out of the LP, that’s their freedom to do so.

    We aren’t going anywhere Genie, you aren’t going to win that easy. W are NOT going to support or vote for Bob Barf though… a man that:

    Former CIA employee
    Former Federal Prosecutor
    Voted for Patriot Act
    Voted for illegal Iraq war
    Still advocates expanding the drug war in South America

  34. If the retard caucus wants to win so bad, why don’t they immediately completely deform the LP platform into a spitting image of the Republicrat’s so that we can start winning now?

  35. “Hugh,
    So, what do you suggest people do? I would consider voting for the CP candidate for Prez as a protest vote (or not voting for Prez at all) and support local libertarians who are in fact, libertarian in their position.

    I do not think that CP is on the ballot here in Texas though. Libertarian is pretty much our only 3rd party choice. We can’t write in because we have those terrible machines.”

    Can you request a paper ballot in Texas, like you can in California? If so, then do that. Although I’m pretty sure that you can cast a write-in vote even with a machine; it’s just a time-consuming process because you basically have to type in your ballot the same way you text. If I’m wrong, than see if Baldwin’s on the ballot. You can check at http://www.cptexas.org. If he’s not on the ballot, and you can’t cast a write-in vote, then I guess you can choose between Barr and Nader.

  36. If he’s not on the ballot, and you can’t cast a write-in vote, then I guess you can choose between Barr and Nader.

    Or just don’t vote for Prez, vote Libertarian on everything else.

  37. I am thinking Barr endorsed Root for one reason: Assassination insurance.

  38. I’m disappointed in Christine Smith, too… For endorsing the press release issued by the smear artist Shane Cory.

    But as for her speech — it was HEROIC!

  39. Steve – Every Barr backer I know supported Kubby for VP. What’s wrong with the a-holes who didn’t?

  40. G.E. – They didnt care about party unity, I suppose. Just want all of the folks who abide by the orignal, founding philosophy OUT, so they can push their Republican-light agenda.

  41. G.E. – great 2nd speech for Ruwart! Thanks for supporting her.

  42. tg – You’re right, but it is important to recognize that guys like Steve Perkins DID support Kubby for VP. A lot of the people we know online did. They are good people, they’re just somehow blinded to this obvious plot.

    disinter – Thanks. That means a lot coming from you! You were missed at the convention.

  43. I want to add that I also thought that G.E. did a great job at the convention.

  44. # brianholtz Says:
    May 26, 2008 at 4:14 am edit

    I’ve said for years that Starchild is as fair-minded and intellectually honest and decent and intelligent and knowledgeable and gentle and courageous as anybody you’ll find in the LP. Period.

    I agree.

  45. # Miche Says:
    May 27, 2008 at 2:54 pm edit

    I want to add that I also thought that G.E. did a great job at the convention.

    Yeah, awesome speech and great activism with the booth etc!

  46. disinter – Thanks. That means a lot coming from you! You were missed at the convention.

    Yeah. And some other people who could have made a difference.

  47. As Less Antman said on IPR

    “This is going to be a balancing act for radicals. We DO want to keep pressure on Barr so that he doesn’t feel emboldened to tell conservatives what they want to hear to draw votes from McCain.

    We will have NO influence if we declare our unconditional refusal to vote for Barr, and even less if we let him know he doesn’t have to worry about our being in the LP after the election.

    The proper approach for LP radicals is to constructively work for state and local candidates and ballot access and to focus on better internal education (or any internal education, which would be a good start). We can work for the party through November without having to specifically work for Barr-Root, and neither an unconditional commitment nor an unconditional rejection makes sense.”

  48. Guys… I’m not used to getting praised. Please, somebody, rip me hard core so I feel like I’m home!

  49. Brian Holtz wrote:

    I’ve said for years that Starchild is as fair-minded and intellectually honest and decent and intelligent and knowledgeable and gentle and courageous as anybody you’ll find in the LP. Period.

    Agreed!

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