Steve G.

Arthur Torrey’s Call To Action

In Libertarian on June 4, 2008 at 2:43 pm

The information below has been reprinted with the permission of the author, Arthur Torrey.

As perhaps the only potential elector who has clearly and distinctly stated that he could not cast an electoral vote for Barr in the admittedly unlikely event that I was called on to serve, I’m finding that a certain amount of heat has been falling upon me, while others are responding positively to my comments about Barr’s unsuitability for the LP Presidential nomination.

This has caused me to get dragged into blog-land in an effort both to see what is being said, and in some cases in self defense.

One of the things that I find frustrating is that while many people are expressing upset over Barr’s nomination, I’m not seeing any clear signs of coordinated efforts to oppose Barr, or do anything else about the situation. Rumours abound, but I haven’t seen or heard much about any definite plans to DO anything… I have to say that I’m less than thrilled by the somewhat muted response of my own Mass. State Committee, but it seems we are doing more than most. Right now it looks like Mass. will put Barr / Root on the ballot, only because doing so is the only way we can get our US Senate candidate on, but will do little beyond that to aid the Presidential campaign. Instead we will urge our members to support Bob Underwoods Senate campaign, the Income Tax Repeal and Marijuana Decrim ballot initiatives, and so forth.

It seems that nearly half the delegates in Denver aren’t happy with the results, but how many are actively attempting to DO something other than just piss and moan about it? How many are working to get their State Party to do something, whether it is putting some other name (or Nobody) on the Presidential ballot? How many are urging a boycott of the Barr campaign? How many are protesting in some other way (if so what are you doing)?

It seems to me that this is an issue that is larger than just Barr / Root – The LP as it currently stands has the potential for multi-state ballot access, something of great potential value to political failures from other parties that have delusions of greatness – arguably we had two efforts in Denver to hijack the party, one from the D’s and one from the R’s – unfortunately the R’s got away with it. IMHO if we are going to get the LP we want back, it needs to be made painfully clear to those attempting to hijack the party will end up with nothing useful if they succeed – minimal ballot access, no support, etc.

If you are like Mass. where we must put Barr on for other reasons than supporting him, what about passing state wide resolutions of non-support? AFAIK the LPUS bylaws may require a state to put the Pres. candidate on the ballot, but don’t have any provisions about a state refusing to endorse a candidate or even condemming him.

If you are organizing or participating such an act of revolt in your state, or have definite knowledge of others working on such actions, I’d like to hear from you – My email is arthur(underscore)torrey(at)comcast(dot)net (make the substitutions in parens – I don’t want to feed the spambots…)

I don’t want to hear complaints, I want to hear about ACTIONS – they speak louder than words!

Arthur Torrey
LPMA Operations Facilitator
Potential LIBERTARIAN Presidential Elector
Elected Libertarian Officeholder
(speaking for myself only – for now…)

  1. So many of us think we got a lemon. So let’s make lemonade instead of whine. Barr’s vote totals have the potential to give the LP permanent ballot access in more states (cutting future petition costs). Barr’s campaign may bring new activists into the party. Are you ready to educate them? Heck, I know solid libertarians today who came into the movement still believing that the draft might be necessary. State and local LP groups have to watch out for newcomers (of uncertain loyalties and understanding of libertarian principles) being elected or appointed to Party positions of power. Make them come up through the ranks and let them be exposed to “tip of the upper quadrant” principles.

  2. I plan on “taking action”. That action being, I’m going to go to the polls and vote for every libertarian on my ballot, Barr/Root included. As echoed with some of the comments over at IPR, you’re time and efforts could be better suited in other ways.

    For as long as I’ve been with the LP, “my candidate” has never won the nomination. I take a bullet and continue to support whoever the nominee is. I admit, my decision to do that this election cycle was a bit tougher, but I still plan voting for every libertarian on the ballot in November. Staying at 1% (or lower) will ultimately accomplish nothing. We need to appear to be viable and then work on our inner party issues.

  3. I honestly don’t know if I can force myself to vote Barr. The name automatically turns my stomach into a knot.

    I recognize the calls for Party unity, and for Party effectiveness. I understand them.

    Am I given to understand correctly that this is a much more contentious nomination than is usual? It seems like the LP unified behind Browne and Badnarik more-or-less. Obviously Barr carries a highly unusual amount of baggage behind him. (DOMA, Drug War, PATRIOT, Fort Hood, etc)

    My solution, at least until Election Day is to work on other issues. I have a caucus idea in the works and will be working on Legislative Analysis as well.

    Come Election Day… I just don’t know.

  4. BTW I need to add, CA must have Barr/Root on the ballot per the bylaws. My hubby was the Bylaws chair for this past convention so I think he’s able to read them correctly 🙂 and it’s pretty cut-and-dried on that bylaw anyhow.

  5. Let us know what your caucus idea would be. I would certainly pay attention and get involved, depending on what you had in mind.

  6. I have proposed in New Mexico that we elect “Nobody” as electors and decline to place his name on our ballot (which would put out access at risk if he polls below the threshold). We are having a special convention this Sunday to elect electors.

    However, I beleive the Bobarrians and their Viche-lino lap dogs have the votes to put him on. I expect to leave the LP until after the election and then assess the damage to party structure and the brand-name “libertarian.”

  7. Joseph, wouldn’t that be the equivalent of LPNM cutting off its face to spite its nose?

  8. The Massachusetts and New Mexico LPs were given, and took advantage of, representation in the national convention. Their delegates, like those of every other represented state, took part in the process of choosing a nominee.

    Time to pay the piper — you had your vote and you chose to cast it. The price of that is supporting the outcome.

  9. Actively working to keep Barr/Root off the ballot is directly opposite what the LP long has advocated—ballot access for all. Existing, corrupt ballot access law is the tool some have proposed using in order to accomplish this dubious goal. Libertarians are better than that.

  10. I think Mr. Torrey’s assertion that “nearly half the delegates in Denver aren’t happy with the results” is off the mark. I voted for Mary on all ballots, but did not see the nomination of Barr as a disaster and he was my #2 going into Denver (Steve Kubby jumped way up my list after the debates as well, and I would have preferred him to Root as VP). I will support Congressman Barr in his race.

  11. I have heard many claims that we should back Barr boiling down to “it’ll increase our vote totals” – I’m not at all sure I buy that, and if it does happen, whether the results will do us any good in the long run.

    Many years ago, a major news magazine inaccurately associated the LP with Lyndon LaRouche – We are STILL trying to recover from the damage that has done us – If I’m doing outreach to anyone old enough to remember LL, there is about a 75% chance that I will have to explain that Lyndon never had anything to do with the LP… How many people that we haven’t explained that to still think LP==Lyndon==whacko?

    So how easy is it going to be to do outreach to someone concerned about GBLT issues, or religious freedom, or ending the War on (Some) Drugs, or foreign intervention, etc. when we’ve NOMINATED a homophobic, religiously biggoted, drug warring hawk?

    In a few days we will be running an outreach booth at the Boston Gay Pride festival – tell me, how is it going to help us to be campaigning for the author of DOMA?

    We claim to be the Party of Principle – In my opinion, that means you don’t sell out to an anti-libertarian just to increase your vote totals – I would be FAR happier with 0.5% of the vote for a real Libertarian than I would be with 5% for a counterfeit…


  12. Wow, I’d not gotten the “LaRouche” question in my work. Back in Colorado I usually had to deal with the Stanley question.

    Art, have to ask– were you the one that stood with your back to the nomination speech? (I’m having the worst trouble keeping names and faces together)

  13. Yes… It’s something I’ve done before, and am likely to do again – I wish more people would do it as it falls back on an old historical tradition, that of “shunning” – If a person has violated the mores of the community, the community casts the person out by shunning him and refusing to acknowledge his existence – Do not listen to what he has to say, don’t trade with him, etc…

    In this context it’s a peaceful, non disruptive form of protest that respects the speaker’s position on the platform, but expresses a clear message that “you don’t speak for me”.

  14. I’m all for shunning people, when the behavior calls for it. Like Art says, it’s a peaceful form of protest, but it gets the message across in a manner that most people will understand immediately.

    It is up to each person to decide what behavior is appropriate for shunning. Personally, I use it very sparingly, and only in extreme circumstances. If overused, it loses its impact.

  15. hahahaha…wow

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