I received the below article, written by Austrian Economist, in the LFV inbox. Please note that the article does not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of LFV or its contributors.
The Poison of Purity: How Steve Kubby’s Loyalty Unraveled the Libertarian Party
(This is not meant to be anything more than an analysis of the LP presidential vote and what COULD have been, or perhaps what SHOULD have been.)
There was a point during the Libertarian Convention on Sunday at which all was not yet lost to Bob Barr and his Republican-lite sympathies.
You may have seen the eccentric pro-Mike Gravel signs encouraging delegates to “Fight Senator with Senator” or comparing Barr’s career accolades with those of Gravel. Signing the Patriot Act or ending the Draft? Defense of Marriage Act or releasing The Pentagon Papers? Hmmmm… Sufficed to say, it was amusing and poignant. Less amusing was proto-fascist and turd-for-hire Stephen Gordon ripping these signs down in the supposed “Free Speech Zone”.
On the first ballot, there were a few surprises. One: how Barr would seemingly flatline around 160-ish votes. Two: Mary Ruwart’s dedicated acolytes, pushing her into a similar vote range. And third, how Wayne Allyn Root had more support than many gave him credit for. But there was still plenty of room to wrangle support scattered throughout the delegation. Or so one would have thought.
Second round, Jingozian and Smith are out. Endorsement to Gravel from Jingozian, no major surprise following his introduction speech for Gravel. So then Kubby is low man on the totem poll. Here’s where things get interesting. Earlier that morning, I have it on good word that Kubby indicated to the Gravel campaign that he wanted the Senator to “be the standard bearer.” Very encouraging news. So where was this sentiment when he gave his concession speech & endorsement for Ruwart? In the end, Kubby chose friendship over principle, which is cute, but ultimately meaningless and irrelevant. THIS was the lynchpin moment of the election, the crux when Libertarians got it so damn wrong.
Let’s examine how things MAY have played out if Kubby made the principled decision of what he knew was best. The following scenario is narrated in the sequence of the convention voting. So, Kubby’s endorsement of Gravel not only rattles his own supporters, but as a long-time voice, icon, and martyr in the party, it bolsters the growing impression of Gravel as the most effective candidate.
Next round. Phillies is now in less of a quandary, and can contribute to the continual Gravel-anche of support. As a centrist himself, this is a major statement that Gravel is the glue to preserve and promote the Libertarian party. That would make THREE endorsements to Gravel, none to anyone else.
Suddenly, Gravel has leapfrogged Root in the votes, putting him in a position of leverage and influence. Root is amenable to Gravel, and recognizes what he brings to the party. Like everyone else, Root wants nothing to do with Barr. He strikes a deal and gentlemanly agreement with Gravel, yielding an enthusiastic endorsement. Gravel will serve as elder statesman of the LP, and Root a promising future voice (with good tutelage, not Barr’s indoctrination).
Given Root’s endorsement, Gravel is suddenly in 2nd place, either behind Ruwart or Barr. Were he behind Ruwart, those previously for Barr would recognize Gravel’s star-power and Libertarian pragmatism, thus shifting his way. Were he behind Barr, any purist would swing Gravel’s way, as would the 100-odd Root supporters. Regardless, he’d muscle out the final vote.
BOTTOM LINE—had he made the final ballot, Gravel would likely have succeeded in securing the nomination. Sadly, the LP fell prey to its worst vice, that of self-importance and self-indulgence. Delegates put themselves in the precarious situation of either nominating a shady Republican-goon or a lackluster, pedantic spokesperson who essentially condoned child pornography in writing. Let’s not forget the prominent article the morning of the vote that dealt with Ruwart and child pornography. Whether or not it came from the Barr camp, the LP would have been OBLITERATED the moment Ruwart received the nomination. Ultimately, could the choices have been any more stupid?
Personally, I voted None of the Above, because either vote would essentially destroy the LP, which it has now gleefully done to itself. Were a gun to my head, I’d probably have voted Barr, since scruples can be forgiven far more readily by the American people than a tolerance for pederasts. I wouldn’t like doing it, but hey, a gun’s to my head, so that’s already a violation of Libertarian principles (har har).
All that said, I congratulate the Libtards for failing to capitalize on the first (and potentially last) great opportunity to come your way. Whether that chance comes again, I know not. But I’d encourage you to aggressively court Jesse Ventura as your 2012 candidate. Otherwise, just go onto the NAMBLA listserves now and save yourselves the trouble.
Gravel was right all along… the LP could continue to be an irrelevant, half-a-percent party. Had they elected Ruwart, this would’ve been the case. At least with Barr, you’ll get national media, albeit inconsistent with your core values. In essence, you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and screwed every which way but loose. The LP may now be remotely viable, but has compromised any integrity in order to do so.
There really isn’t much else that can be said. In a democracy, the voice of the people reigns supreme. Gravel readily recognized this is his most humble, accepting words following his defeat. Yet apparently, the democracy of the LP yields sleazy mustaches and utopian anarchists. Neither of which I enjoy, and neither of which I could bring myself to vote for.
Now we see that Kubby is calling for Libertarians to support Barr/Root. Coming from a guy who firestarted the convention with the statement that Barr had yet to “wash the blood from his hands” as a bellicose, anti-medical marijuana czar, that’s an abrupt change of heart. I don’t begrudge this at all… I like Kubby and hope that he can salvage what is now a party ripped asunder. Too bad he is playing smart politics after-the-fact, when he could have made the wise decision when it actually mattered.
Remember—you did this to yourselves, so shame on you all, and better luck next time. The road to irrelevance is a gleefully indulgent path, for sure! Gravel’s words might be well-advised next time around:
“We are Americans first, and Libertarians second.”
Sadly, some didn’t get that memo.