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.