Steve G.

George Phillies’ statement to Massachusetts State Committee

In Libertarian on June 30, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Phillies Statement to the Massachusetts State Committee
(Edited from the May LPMass Minutes)

Last week I spent eight days in scenic Denver at our libertarian party national convention. As our state chair, as a voting delegate, I spoke up vigorously for our libertarian message of peace, liberty, and prosperity. I am deeply troubled to report on the outcome of that convention.

I shall preface the remark with the observation that I am a presidential elector for our state party, and having promised to perform those obligations, I intend to perform them by voting for our national candidate if I am in fact placed on the ballot and if we happen to carry Massachusetts. Mind you, the likelihood of the latter event taking place appears to be vanishingly small.

Let us recall where our state party is. We have very limited resources of people and money. Last year, we couldn’t use those resources both to recruit and support candidates for our state legislature and to support a Federal campaign. We don’t have enough money or people. We chose to commit those resources to place on the ballot our presidential candidate. After all, our libertarian party had had excellent opportunity to exploit the current political situation.

The situation has not developed as favorably as might have been hoped. The keynote speaker of the convention, and I personally protested, was Richard Viguerie. In 1976, Viguerie competed with Lester Maddox for the nomination of the American Independent Party started by George Wallace. Viguerie’s direct mail campaigns are well known to have supported such right-wing racists and bigots as Jesse Helms, Sun Young Moon, Oliver North, George Wallace, and Donald Wildmon. Viguerie advised Jerry Falwell on the formation of the Moral Majority. His presence as keynote speaker can only be viewed as a conscious decision by our national chair William Redpath to identify our party with right wing conservative bigotry. In Massachusetts, the first state to eliminate slavery, this espousal of white racism by our national party is not a positive selling point.

Earlier this election cycle, our party national committee used party resources to assist in the presidential campaign of the candidate of the George Bush party of conservative racism. Those resources were given to our national committee to advance the campaigns of libertarian candidates, not to advance the campaigns of Republican candidates. The decision of our Libertarian National Committee to use those resources that to support the Republican was a gross breach of the fiduciary responsibilities of our National Committee. Unfortunately, many of these people were reelected to office.

I regret to note that our presidential candidate, Bob Barr, not ten years ago attempted organize an army pogrom against the Wicca faith. To its credit, the army refused to cooperate. Having a presidential candidate who attempted to drive members of any faith out of the army will not be a positive selling point for our other candidates. Many of Barr’s other stands are equally problematic, and most Massachusetts residents have adequate political sophistication not to believe the election-day conversion of a political candidate from one stand to another.

The net result of all this, in my opinion, is that our national party has thrown away its political opportunity to expand our party. Our decision as a State Committee, however reasonable, to emphasize supporting a presidential campaign has proved a disaster for our party for which I must personally take responsibility. We now have neither a presidential candidate who is viable in Massachusetts nor the possibility of exploiting the ongoing collapse of the Massachusetts Bush Republican war party of bigots.

I am not unaware that I have previously accepted the nomination of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party to be its presidential candidate, a matter that was well known in advance, and so in other places I will be obliged to keep my other promises. I note that in the highly controversial and well-researched national convention that we just finished, none of my opponents viewed my prior commitment to our New Hampshire sister party to be worthy of comment or criticism, and therefore I do not feel that keeping both sets of promises at the same time is contradictory.

Having said that, I did participate in our Libertarian National Convention, and I remain personally obliged, until such time as my state committee or state party invokes my prior commitment to them and instructs me otherwise, to be supportive in Massachusetts of our presidential candidate.

The underlying difficulty, which we will need to resolve, is that our national party is in the grip of southern white bigots who gave us a candidate who addressed the Council Of Conservative Citizens, and who gave LNC resources to a Republican presidential candidate whose current position is that “don’t ask don’t tell” is all right with him. It remains my duty, a duty as heavy as a mountain, to support our presidential candidate. However, I do not believe it can be said to be in the best interests of the libertarians of Massachusetts to avoid some correction in circumstances relating to a national party whose national chair de facto just endorsed white racism by having a former George Wallace and Donald Wildmon fundraiser, a man who ran against Lester Maddox for national office nomination, as a keynote speaker.

  1. southern white bigots
    Who is he talking about I hope he is not talking about the georgia delegation. i worked on georges campaign for a while i even bought his first set of bumper stickers. but before I comment more I would like to know who he talking about( I am talking about names) or who he is not talking about

  2. As Phillies admits, his own state party has “very limited resources of people and money.” So, under his leadership and issues he advances,
    his state party is in sad shape? And, under Barr, the national LP is not likely to be in sad shape too? So where is there a growing influential state LP that hews to the hard-line libertarianism espoused by many of the posters to LFV? We are caught in a dilemma: go all soft and squishy and be libertarian in name only or stay uncompromising and straggle along like the Mass. LP. No happy medium? No state LP we can point to and say,
    “They are growing nicely without compromising libertarian principles?”
    Damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

  3. The Libertarian party of Massachusetts is not a radical group. Actually we have few people who seem to want to discuss philosophy from either side. My philosophy is that we will support people with a wide range of positions on issues.

    Every political party has limited resources. If you do not believe me, ask John McCain and Barack Obama why they have fund raising programs. We invested the resources we have in an inauspicious direction, but it apepared at the time to be the right way to go.

    Friends and I came to control my state party two years ago. We had a state party that had done no fundraising in almost 4 years, that had a newsletter published sporadically, that had a state committee that met on rare occasion.

    The newsletter is now monthly. Membership finally bottomed out and is climbing again. Money from members to state party activities, not all directly through LPMass Federal or State Accounts, has clearly set a recent record. Across Massachusetts, every voter will have at least two chances this fall to Vote Libertarian, a record last seen six years ago. Independent of us, voters will see two L-leaning referenda this fall. We could be better, but the party stalwarts are moving my state party in the right direction.

  4. Doug, I don’t think he was talking about the Georgia folks in particular…

  5. Yeah, I mean its a HUGE leap to assume Dr. Phillies was targeting the Georgia delegation. Unless you have reason to feel guilty, give George the benefit of the doubt.

  6. I understand then who was he talking about Barr recieved what about 300 votes which was more than 50% of the votes on the last ballot he is talking about them or his campaign team I would like him to name names. That is why I said I would hold back comments until this is cleared.

  7. Yes, that last sentence is a bit unclear: is it the “bigots” or the “candidate” who allegedly gave resources to a candidate who allegedly now supports, “Don’t
    Ask, Don’t Tell.” (The two “allegedly”s because (1) I thought they rented the list out, not just gave it, and (2) I’ve heard Paul in the debates [SC, IIRC] denouncing DADT.) If the first, then the “bigots” were the LNC, but that makes no sense: the LNC didn’t elect Barr. But neither really does the second; Barr moved that motion, sure, but it was approved by the LNC, not Barr alone.

    BTW, what happened at the meeting? It sounds like Phillies wanted the state committee to release him from his promise to support the national candidate (which, I take it, means dropping the substitution lawsuit). Was such a motion made? If so, how did it fare?

  8. Wow, I had heard that Phillies was nuts. Too bad, from reading his otehr stuff, I always kind-of liked him, but if he thinks that the Libertarian ever has been or is now racist, he’s friggin’ nuts.

  9. “Earlier this election cycle, our party national committee used party resources to assist in presidential campaign of the candidate of the George Bush party of conservative racism”.
    It appears three bigoted and grossly generalizing statements are being made here (by implication):
    – that “conservatism” would equal racism – which is false and unjustified
    (Anyone who reads the recent “Pure Goldwater” would read that Goldwater
    for all practical reasons equate conservatism with libertarianism (e.g.
    individual rights and freedom etc.)
    – that the whole party would be racist, whereas history has shown that
    traditionally some Democrats in the South were racists, of course some
    Republicans also, but really not all or many!
    – the candidate of whose’s presidential campaign Dr. Phillies refers to, is by
    default the harshest critic of Bush within the GOP (and possibly within both
    major parties). The candidate is also on record as saying if he would get the
    nomination, he would neither seek nor want the endorsement of Bush. He
    said literally he would loose all credibility if Bush were to endorse him.

    It could be noted that this candidate, representing a state in the South, was not born in the South and did not grew up there, but in PA. The LP candidate also is not from GA, he was born in Iowa and studied at UCLA.
    Apart from this one can ask how does this rant contribute to party unity? How
    must LP members in the South feel about this deliberate “attack” on them? Does this inspire liberty and contribute to liberty?

  10. I think when Mr. Phillies calls Ron Paul “the candidate of … racism”, he’s referring to the old newsletters.

    Oh, and I need another clarification (since I’ll probably be writing about this, and would like to get it right the first time). These remarks, according to LFV, were delivered to the “Massachusetts State Committee” at its May meeting. However, on May 31, Mr. Phillies denied (to IPR) that there had been a “Massachusetts executive committee” meeting in May, and even that there was an executive committee. Does the discrepancy between these two statements reflect a substantive difference (between two formal committees), a semantic exercise, or a contradiction?

  11. First off, I would define the LPMA as anything but radical – we have been following a more or less Centrist path – something that I personally think is a mistake. If I were trying to pick a state with the most Radical leadership and organizational strategy, I’d probably be inclined to pick Ernie Hancock and the AZLP. The things I hear about what is happening in AZ may well be mostly self promotion – but it sounds like that state is one of the more successful ones – they certainly got closer to the front of the room in Denver than we did…

    I personally believe in the L. Neil Smith style of hard core libertarianism, having a firm belief in Jeffersons definition of the best government, and a basic mastery of algebra…. I would dearly love to see a few candidates make a serious effort on that basis (and with the same level of support as some of our more centrist candidates) – I’m willing to bet that they would do more to attract votes than a candidate that is hard to distinguish from a D/R…

    I like George, supported him in Denver, and have a great deal of respect for him; but I also wish he wasn’t so Centrist – If the LP fragments after November, it is quite likely that we may end up in seperate parts.

    As to some of the other questions raised…

    Roscoe – yes the Mass. party IS in sad shape, but it is in less sad shape than it was when George and most of the rest of the current State Committee took over.

    Mr Dance – The LPMA does NOT have an “Executive Committee” therefore there can’t possibly BE an “Executive Committee Meeting” We DO have a State Committee, which meets on a mostly monthly basis, with the meetings open to attendance by any member of the state party (something that does not happen as much as we would like…) Our minutes are published in the “State Committee Public Business” section of our website’s discussion forum, once they’ve been approved by the SC members that were present for accuracy. We did have a STATE COMMITTEE Meeting on June 29th, the minutes of which are posted – I just verified this…

    In looking at those minutes, it is important to remember that at the time we were under the impression that we would be allowed substitution, and were attempting to decide IF we would do so… It was not until about a week or two later that we were informed that the Secretary of State would not allow us to substitute… We did have a strong feeling in the State Committee to NOT substitute Barr, but had previously decided (see minutes from earlier in the year) that if we felt there were problems with the candidates chosen at NatCon that we would call a special state convention to deal with it. (Barr was a surprise, the earlier rumours were about either drafting Ron Paul, or electing NOTA and encouraging the LP membership to support Paul)

    We eventually decided that there was not a viable alternative to placing Barr on the ballot, but that we should offer refunds to those who had helped fund our petition drive, if asked, and that since the cancellation of several matching fund pledges was also impacting our treasury, that National should be informed that they would need to plan on picking up a bigger share of the costs than originally agreed.

    Between that meeting and subsequent discussions, we have decided that we will now be focussing mostly on state party building, directing most of our income into our state account (not available for use by federal candidates – thus protecting it from Barr) doing whatever it takes to finish the petition drive, (Note that as far as I’m concerned, this will not involve burning any petitions – if Haugh wants to do so, he needs to come out himself, and bring his own matches!) and cooperating with whatever legal action gets initiated by Barr or LNC to replace George, but otherwise letting the Barr campaign do whatever it wants to fund, organize, etc. in the state, without our help or support.

    Currently George is not that I know of doing any campaigning in Mass, but he is doing some in NH – current plans are for at least George, my GF and I to be helping some friends from LPNH man an outreach booth at the Merrimac NH 4th of July festivities – I understand that others will be running more booths in additional towns.

    LPMA Operations Facilitator (A State Committee position)
    Elected Libertarian
    LPMA Presidential Elector – NOT voting for Barr!
    Speaking for myself…

  12. Does the discrepancy between these two statements reflect a substantive difference (between two formal committees), a semantic exercise, or a contradiction?

    Quite a hilarious question from a gentleman who made a great deal of his political name through pretzel-logic “explanations” of Ron Paul’s writings of the last 20 years…

  13. George Phillies’ statement to Massachusetts State Committee…

    Phillies presents a “troubled” report to the LPMA State Committee regarding how the state affiliate invested nearly all of its limited resources into the presidential campaign….

  14. Mr. Torrey: Thanks for the explanation. IOW, Phillies’ denial of the IPR report on the “executive committee” meeting was a semantic game. In appreciation of your help, I’ll leave that out of the article.

    Mr. Miller: While I get the feeling you’re trying to troll me, I do have to point out that I did manage to establish two things: the questionable newsletters in question (1) were most likely not “Ron Paul’s writings”, and (2) did not occur over “the last 20 years.” Kirchick et al were either too lazy to check those points, or chose to lie about them; I don’t know or care which is the case. That’s not a matter of “pretzel-logic ‘explanations,'” but of simple fact.

  15. “Ron Paul’s writings of the last 20 years”
    Newsletters in Paul’s name of which he has written the investment part (investment in gold companies etc.) but others have edited with various
    contributors while he was working full time as a medical doctor, do not reflect “Ron Paul’s writings”.
    What constitute as “Dr. Paul’s writings” are articles and books like “Freedom under Siege”, “Challenge to Liberty”, “THe Revolution – a manifesto” etc. etc. Anything racist on those writings? Please provide evidence before making wild accusations.

  16. My point is that there are 50 states where the LP could run different models or experiments to demonstrate which strategy – hard core, middle of the road, appealing to conservatives, etc. – would do the most for growth, understanding of libertarian values, and winning meaningful elections. Over the years, state parties have waxed and waned and I’m not sure which would be considered the most dynamic and growing state party today. Which model is working??

  17. If you did not know that Ron Paul is a Republican, I cannot help you, and neither can anyone else. When you support a Republican candidate, your support counts twice, once for the candidate, and once for his party. That’s the refutation of the wasted vote fallacy, and it continues to apply here to the LNC support for Ron Paul. That was support for the whole Republican party, because that is how partisan politics actually works. So when I say that Paul is the candidate of the Republican racists, well, he consciously chose to run with them, getting the good part (their voter base in his district) along with the bad part (his votes building the Republican vote for all other candidates in his district).

    If you did not notice that Ron Paul says he is running as a conservative, I urge you to re-examine his fundraising literature.

    If you did not notice Ron Paul saying Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is all right with him, that’s all right, it was on national television. I rechecked the internet film loops. I will accept your word that at some other time he said something else, and would be interested in seeing the link, though I am not challenging your word that you saw it.

    “[southern white bigots] who gave LNC resources to a Republican presidential candidate whose current position is that “don’t ask don’t tell” is all right with him.”

    That’s not you, Doug, nor most of your fellow Georgians except one. That’s our Libertarian National Committee. They gave resources to Ron Paul, and I did mean ‘give’ not ‘rent’. And if you are one of those people, well, I’ve already said you were in gross breach of your fiduciary responsibility to our party, which is a considerably worse charge.

    And if you are concerned about Richard Viguerie, that was done by one LNC member, Bill Redpath, who was named above.

    “…southern white bigots who gave us a candidate who addressed the Council Of Conservative Citizens…” not to mention writing DOMA and continuing to defend half of it. The ‘gave’ starts with the man who recruited him, the people who placed his name in nomination, and the other people who worked behind the scenes to arrange for his nomination, such as the LNC staff who spend a year saying they could not cover candidates unless it was done completely evenly, and who then gave Barr and Gravel a front-page cover story. And if some of the rest of you found their case convincing, well, we cannot all fact check everything.

    Stefan: If you did not notice that the core bedrock of Republican conservatism is racist, and has been for close to 50 years, you might begin with Bill Buckley’s opposition to voting rights, the list of states that Goldwater carried (one might suggest that his voters were misinformed about his involvement in the AZ ANG), Kevin Philips’ ‘The Emerging Republican Majority’ as it was applied (Philips, like Goldwater was different than his followers), and Reagan opening his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi. (Curiously, Goldwater, Philips, and Reagan do not appear to have been typical Republicans in this regard.)

    Dance: I did not ask my State Committee for any action, and have been one of the most vigorous in saying that we are obliged to put Barr on the Ballot in Massachusetts, if we are able to do so.

    “However, on May 31, Mr. Phillies denied (to IPR) that there had been a “Massachusetts executive committee” meeting in May, and even that there was an executive committee.” My actual statement on the IPR report was “Bears absolute no semblance to reality. It’s not that it’s backwards, it’s that our discussion was on different topics. For starters, I am aware of no reason to suppose that the body that met last night–by the way, we do not have an Executive Committee–controls whose name is on the LPMass ballot, and we are waiting to find out before taking action, so we did not take action.”

    Ummh, in order to have discussed a completely different set of topics, we had to have met, and we did. The inference we did not meet is not right. Those State Committee minutes are now up, and you will find that while we discussed various things, we did not vote to put Barr on the ballot, or not, because we were still waiting to find out whose vote would put Barr on the Ballot.

    Stefan, your suggestion that Ron Paul is telling the truth when he says that he did not write or know about the contents of his own newsletters, while a credit to your own good nature, is contradicted by one of Paul’s own press interviews of some years ago, with respect to his own words.

  18. Thanks George 🙂

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