Steve G.

Why The Libertarian Party Is Still Better

In Libertarian Party-US, Politics on July 20, 2008 at 1:56 am

Some have been claiming that the unwillingness of some Libertarians to actively undermine the party with baseless criticisms, despite the less-than-perfect nominee we received, represents “treason” or a “lack of principle.”

They’re not paying attention. Many of us are supporting the party despite our very public misgivings about the presidential ticket.

Compare that attitude to the dressing down that Democrats, angry that Hillary Clinton — who won the popular vote in the Democrat contest — is getting from former Hillary delegates.

It seems that a large number of Hillary’s uppity 18 million supporters are getting a bit too uppity for the “superdelegates,” and the superdelegates are letting their irritation with the little people show.

Dear Democratic Friends:

2008 is a Democratic year-at all levels in all the states. The opportunity is ours. We just have to seize it.

We experienced an exciting, intense, sometimes difficult, campaign to nominate our presidential candidate. Now it’s over. Barack Obama won.

I supported Hillary Clinton and am proud and pleased that I did. But she lost. Barack Obama won. It’s over.

It is time for all Democrats, supporters of Senator Clinton and all other contenders for the nomination, to stand with him to secure his election and the election of Democrats at all levels of competition.

I must confess a bit of fatigue and irritation with people who continue to carp, complain, and criticize the results of the primary and lay down conditions for their support. The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t establish conditions to recognize the Boston Celtics as NBA Champions; Roger Federer did not demand concessions before recognizing that Rafael Nadal defeated him at Wimbledon.

It is time to act in a mature and resourceful fashion. It’s time to put the primaries behind us. It’s time to support Barack Obama without conditions or demands.

It’s time to WIN for Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, America, and our future. We have an unparalleled opportunity. I hope we will all do everything we can to seize the moment.

See you at the Inauguration.


Don Fowler
DNC Member At-Large, South Carolina
Former Chair of the Democratic National Committee

Alice Germond
Secretary, Democratic National Committee

The “party primaries” gave Clinton the lead — it was caucuses and the DNC’s shenanigans, opposed to the will of a majority of Democrat voters, that made Obama the putative “winner.”

But most amusingly, consider the demand that Democrats “support Barack Obama without conditions or demands.”

I certainly haven’t made a similar request of Libertarians. Neither have Steve Kubby and other prominent Libertarians who have decided to continue backing the vast majority of Libertarian candidates — while noting and criticizing the Libertarian top ticket when it’s wrong.

Those who have criticized Libertarians for not immolating the top of the ticket should consider our party’s relative conditions. We have a thriving group of enthusiasts for Barr, nominal supporters for the LP delegation’s decision (like Kubby and myself), and a large group of “anybody but Barr” activists — all of whom are active and important constituents of the Libertarian Party.

Democrats, on the other hand, not only had no opportunity to have a voice in who was picked for their nomination — having their voices overridden by the Democratic National Committee — but has also suffered the indignity of arrogant insiders smothering their voices and demanding they support the ticket “without conditions or demands.”

Yet another reason why I am a Libertarian. The contrast is stark.

  1. And while Libertarians are arguing, Premier Maliki of Iraq appears to have sunk the McCain campaign. He called for American troop withdrawal within 16 months. For those of you who can recall, this was also the position of Libertarian Presidential nomination candidates Phillies and Root, though not the position of our nominee.

    Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic reports. He also quotes an unnamed substantial Republican strategist as saying that the Republican campaign has been subjected to fornication–well, the strategist managed it in fewer words and syllables, but this is a family blog.

    If McCain no longer has staying in Iraq as an issue, what does he have?

  2. There is still a way for libertarians to bypass their awful ticket & win the election AND sweep the downticket ballots.too. I may have a libertarian woman for vp on the fusion ticket. With enough ballot access this ticket could win. Further with an online organization to coordinate the inclusive progressive/libertarian vote with EITHER one Libertarian OR one Green on EVERY ballot, many downticket candidates could win also. So, withdraw support for Barr/Root, McKinney/Clemente, Nader/Gonzalez AND Jay/Knapp in favor of Milnes/…I’ll let you know.

  3. I’ve had the correct solution for Iraq for months, years. Malaki wants the U.S. to withdraw & leave the Iran leaning government in control. The correct policy should be cease-fire & set up negotiations between the 2 belligerants-the government we installed & the government we overthrew. If they refuse, install a fair arrangement with Arab League peacekeepers & leave. As for the oil resource to keep nationalized or privatize, if the U.S. phases out oil for solar,wind & hydrogen, the oil will become worthless.

  4. So, McCain’s argument will be if we leave, civil war will erupt.

  5. & he will be right.

  6. One of the groups that is both criticising the national LP and the top of the LP ticket and supporting principled libertarians who are running for other offices is the Boston Tea Party. We are endorsing and publicising the campaigns of libertarians who agree with our simple one-sentence party platform.

    Many of the criticisms leveled at the LP are not baseless. The criticisms that I have leveled at it have come from committed and principled libertarians like Angela Keaton. The criticisms that I have reported have also come from actions by the LP headquarters staff in viciously attacking Mary Ruwart. The criticisms that I have reported have also come from LP co-founder David Nolan.

    LP party loyalists have a house to clean. It may not be as tough a cleaning job as Alcaeus faced at the Augean stables, but we may only be seeing the filthiest part of the giant floating turd-iceberg.

    I’m really not sure why you are so keenly interested in Democratic party politics. Your call for “affordable housing” for example, stands in stark contrast to Ed Stringham’s analysis of the issue. I’m a bit baffled by why you think self-interest is a poor choice for policy strategy. I’m almost interested enough in your very odd views to keep reading.

  7. @ Dr. Phillies: 16 months is also Obama’s plan. Maliki was misquoted in “Der Spiegel”, of course he will not endorse any candidate. What is more significant, is that he is under pressure and want a timetable for withdrawal – 70% plus of Iraqi’s want the US to leave – with the status of forces agreement, and if there is no agreement on that, US troops will have to leave by the end of this year, e.g. not in 16 month’s time.
    One cannot make the withdrawal from Iraq dependent on US foreign policy decision, if you really believe in non-interventionism and the sovereignty of the nation of Iraq. Preference belong to the decision of the Iraqi govt., if they decide the US troops should leave in say 8 months, the US have to comply, e.g. no 16 months in that case.

    The different factions in Iraq are fighting with each other in the light of the lawlessness and chaos and US military dominance. I think once the US leaves, they will be forced to work together and has no “common enemy” anymore. Of course some in the Iraqi govt./military may want the US to stay, as they are on the receiving end of financial aid and bribery.

    Have you noticed the change in tone and expression of the nominee about Iraq pull-out? From an initial it would be “irresponsible to leave immediately”, he has moved relatively radically to a “as president he would give the US military 48 hours with a logistical plan to start leaving immediately” and he speaks about the “occupation of Iraq” and offensive foreign policy. Under circumstances his “timetable” could thus include much less than 16 months, perhaps 4 months?
    WAR was so worried about leaving immediately, leaving the military equipment behind. Well, nobody ever suggested or meant the equipment should be left behind and leaving in one day. The irony is actually the US plays so much for the operations there daily (400 m USD?) that in a few days, it has probably already surpassed the cost of the equipment in Iraq. The real reason about staying longer-indefinitely in Iraq is the building of the enormous embassy and the profit from the oil market as well as security contractors.

    It seems like the emphasis may move over to Afghanistan and Iran, and possibly Pakistan and Syria later. Imagine a plan by Al Qaeda to achieve a political coup in Pakaistan and/or Saudia Arabia….or in Africa.

  8. The Barr campaign should organise an hour or longer radio chat of the nominee with all LP meetup groups to discuss reasons, motives and intentions of the campaign thus far as well as strategy for the remaining few months. Communication is always very important, also to build trust and avoid possible misunderstandings.
    One could also systemize all the questions, present to Barr and then he can respond to it per call-in radio/internet radio/conference call.

  9. Robert:
    “So, McCain’s argument will be if we leave, civil war will erupt”.
    Did civil war not already erupt? Don’t you think they will be able to sort out the problems themselves, or do you believe in an arrogant paternalistic, neo-colonialistic view that only the US and UK military can enable peace? Is the US really able to mediate in disputes abetween Shiite and Sunnis, groups in English?
    After the US leaves, they will known they have cope themselves. If there is really still a flare-up in violence, one can organize something like a combines force of neighbors like Syria and Iran with UN observers to provide calm.

  10. Stefan, why give Syria & Iran anything?

  11. Stefan wriotes:

    “Well, nobody ever suggested or meant the equipment should be left behind and leaving in one day. ”

    For all of his pompous phrasings, Stefan often does not know what he is talking about. In point of fact, at least two of the substantial Libertarian candidates advocated either precisely this position or something with those consequences.

    “Maliki was misquoted in “Der Spiegel”, of course he will not endorse any candidate. ”

    I didn’t say anything of the kind. Maliki does not *have* to endorse any particular candidate by name. By taking the positions he unambiguously took, Maliki has wrecked the McCain position on Iraq, namely McCain’s ‘we should stay there a long time’ contrasts poorly with ‘the Iraqis demand we leave’.

  12. George Phillies Says:
    July 20, 2008 at 3:22 am

    And while Libertarians are arguing, Premier Maliki of Iraq appears to have sunk the McCain campaign. He called for American troop withdrawal within 16 months. For those of you who can recall, this was also the position of Libertarian Presidential nomination candidates Phillies and Root, though not the position of our nominee.

    I don’t believe that that is W.A.R.’s position (his position has been all over the map, due mostly who he is trying to impress, though I am asking others who believe so, to substantiate that it is.

    Equally important though George, is that I believe that this position, with various minor differences is the position held by Ruwart, Kubby, Jingozian, and Gravel to name most of the rest of the pack.

    I wonder why you failed to point this out.

  13. As I recall, Smith & Kubby were for immediate withdrawal including leaving equipment. Probably the math is about right-the war costs so much that to leave the equipment might be a wash. But that would arm whichever faction is strongest and/or quickest PLUS our National Guard units would come back & have to replace their equipment.

  14. Well, frankly I think I do know about the issue of national sovereignty, as agreed by the UN and the US’s current UN mandate to be in Iraq ends at the end of this year, unless any follow up agreement is signed. Thus if the Iraqi govt. for instance say in 4 months all US troops should withdraw, DC cannot say a different thing, they have to comply. Obviously they will also consider what is practically possible, e.g. not require say a withdrawal in a few days.

    It is an issue of semantics about what “immediate withdrawal” or “as soon as possible” means. Clearly to most sane observers it would be clear that you cannot withdraw in a few days, a plan has to be devised by the military troops on ground.

    Maliki – though he may have been misquoted a bit – is clearly for a timetable for withdraw and one would think he personally would think of a time less than 16 months. This does help Paul, Barr and Obama vs. McCain, but Obama does not want the troops to return to the US. He wants to send them to Afghanistan (and take along the equipment, Robert).

    @ Steve: yes correct, WAR has not provided any consistent or clear time for withdrawal as far as I know. He could have made a statement on a radio or in an interview I am not aware of that may contradict this view.

    apropo Barr, I am referring to his interview with Glenn Beck, where he said he would give the military commanders 48 hours to lay out a plan to start with an immediate troop withdrawal. Obviously this will have to take place step by step.

  15. Obama won based on the rules the candidates chose. Why the hell is a libertarian crying for Hillary.

  16. Steve Labianca:

    The reason I think Root’s position was consistently that we should withdraw in a year and a half–from when he spoke–is that I debated him regularly, and he kept consistently to that position. Root did have an entirely consistent position on this topic. If you want flipping and flopping on positions, you should talk about Bob Barr.

    The reason I did not say that Kubby had that position, as you falsely claim, is that I debated him, too, and his position was move the troops out immediately and hand the equipment over to the Iraqis.

    The reason I do not credit Ruwart with the position is that she jumped in with two months to go, leaving little time to define her positions, and then discovered the hard way that when you write a book you get held to the words you wrote.

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