Steve G.

Beatin’ Keaton

In Libertarian Party-US on December 1, 2008 at 5:29 pm

It seems the fate of elected Libertarian National Committee member Angela Keaton is the main event on the LNC agenda this weekend.  Perhaps the LNC, meeting a month after the Libertarian Party ticket receieved 0.4% of the national popular vote, elected zero senators, zero members of Congress, and zero governors, when an incumbent president and vice president may be guilty of war crimes, and when an incoming president has the potential to become a latter-day Franklin Delano Roosevelt, feels there is nothing more pressing to be discussing.

I cannot speak to the charges against Ms. Keaton, because, at least from what information I have seen, no one knows what they are.  Even in a court system many Libertarians decry, defendants are told what they are being asked to defend themselves against.  The LNC seems set on Guantanamo-style prosecution.  Maybe 9/11 really did change everything.

I have never met Ms. Keaton (nor anyone on the current LNC, except for a brief introduction to Dr. Mary Ruwart years ago), but we have had many friendly exchanges online and I consider her a friend.  Because of that, even if I did know what was alleged against her, I might have a hard time being objective about it.  It does seem to me that the months-long public discussion over her fate has been intended to pressure her into resigning.  If I were her, I would probably do so — not because it’s the right thing to do, but because I have the intestinal fortitude of a particularly nervous kitten.  I am prone to hyper-sensitivity and to take slights personally, which is part of why I am not running for LNC or any other office.  Ms. Keaton, thankfully, is made of sterner stuff.  I hope she will not resign, and in fact will continue her run for the 2012 presidential nomination, even if — or especially if — removed from the LNC.

According to Dr. George Phillies, Bob Barr headed a political action committee that contributed money to non-Libertarian candidates who faced Libertarian rivals during Barr’s tenure on the LNC.  I do not believe Mr. Barr was suspended or removed for these actions.  Therefore, I hope when the LNC considers whatever allegations are raised against Ms. Keaton, it will use this precedent as a low bar.  Is anything she may have done worse than actively working against the Libertarian Party’s candidates while on the LNC?

  1. My hazy recollection is that while some of Barr’s PAC’s contributions went to Republicans while Barr was on LNC, none of its contributions went to any candidates that had declared or nominated LP opponents at the time. If that’s not the case, then Barr should have been required to offer either an apology or an extraordinarily good explanation. I vaguely recall somebody relating an attempted explanation, but I don’t remember the details. I’m sure that whoever updates us on the dates and recipients of the contributions will be equally diligent in relaying any explanation that they ever saw offered.🙂

  2. Stewart Flood, who authored the resolution against Keaton, is less than consistent in his indictments toward activities “injurious” to the LP. Consistency and fair play demand that he either author a resolution against Bob Barr for giving support to GOP candidates, or in the absence of such a resolution, drop the one against Keaton.

  3. That is a totally ridiculous defense of Bob Barr, even if it were true, which it isn’t.

    You should try finding out when the Republicans who Barr nominated gained their opponents.

    The argument is in any event totally absurd.

  4. I just posted the Resolution of Discipline. I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time.

  5. It is pretty apparent that the “Discipline of Angela” has been carefully staged to distract the LP from the real tragedies. If there was ever a time for all of the anti-state activists to rally together and pronounce the recent course of our federal government as the largest fraud ever perpetrated and that public schools have turned our citizens’ brains (in terms of basic economic principles) into jello. Perhaps the tragedy is actually that the LP doesn’t want to be a party of activists anymore, just negative externality governors.

  6. “extraordinarily good explanation”

    Out of curiosity, what sort of scenario would you envision that would justify a member of a Party’s executive committee giving money to a candidate of another political party?

    And please don’t tell me there’s a trolley involved in this scenario.

  7. I agree with the thrust of this post. But it is misleading to paint a picture of horrible LP failure in the 2008 election. We again polled over 1,000,000 votes for US House, and what is amazing is that this time we did it with only 126 candidates for the 435 seats. No party other than the Democrats or Republicans has done this since the Progressive Party last did it in 1914.

    We ended up ballot-qualified (for statewide office) for 2010 in 27 states. The Greens and the Constitution Parties only ended up with 16 states (each, by coincidence).

    For the 2nd presidential election in a row, we polled more votes for president than any other minor party. Our registration increased during 2008, whereas the Greens lost registrations during 2008. We are the only political party during 2008 to have won a constitutional ballot access case that will have enduring, helpful effect. The Massachusetts substitution victory is only the 2nd time that this issue has been won in court, on constitutional grounds, for president (the first time was us beating Florida in 1996).

    For the first time ever, we polled enough votes in North Carolina to remain on the ballot. This will save us $150,000 in the future.

  8. For the record, I voted for Barr/Root. My question about Barr’s PAC donations is not intended as a dig at Barr, but as a basic question: Why is Ms. Keaton facing censure while Mr. Barr did not?

  9. “For the first time ever, we polled enough votes in North Carolina to remain on the ballot. This will save us $150,000 in the future.”

    Hopefully, in 2012, the $150,000 saved will not go to pay shane cory, russell verney, sean haugh, Mike Ferguson, and scott kohlhaas to burn donor money, but rather to run professional petition drives that get done much earlier than normal, thus leaving our candidates significant extra time to run serious campaigns. (Of the above, only Ferguson perhaps had no say in using himself more wisely. The others are all culpable.)

    Three cheers for “hope”.

    …And change.

  10. Like Peter, I also voted for Barr/Root, even though his campaign was a massive disappointment — not in the vote totals, but how his campaign staff behaved. Initially, I was a vocal Barr supporter, but later changed my mind and was thinking about not voting at all. In the end, I decided that my vote would help the LP. On the other hand, you have “leaders” like Stewart Flood taking up precious time on a resolution that does absolutely nothing positive for the LP.

  11. Richard Winger says “For the first time ever, we polled enough votes in North Carolina to remain on the ballot. This will save us $150,000 in the future.”

    I thought it was Mike Munger who polled enough to retain ballot status in North Carolina. (It certainly wasn’t Barr/W.A.R.)

    By saying “we”, it clouds the distinction of the individual accomplishment of Mr. Munger and his campaign, with the “we” of the LP. I thought libertarians held to individualism.

  12. Unlike Mr. Trosper and Mr. Orvetti, I did NOT vote for Barr/W.A.R. I don’t, never have and never will vote for LINO’s.

  13. Gene Trosper

    Stewart Flood, who authored the resolution against Keaton . . . Consistency and fair play demand that he either author a resolution against Bob Barr for giving support to GOP candidates, or . . . drop the one against Keaton.

    I wouldn’t bet so much as a penny on that happening. Flood is very likely Barr’s #1 groupie, whom I wouldn’t be surprised has wet dreams about Barr.

  14. Flood is very likely Barr’s #1 groupie, whom I wouldn’t be surprised has wet dreams about Barr.

    Harsh. False. Unnecessary.

    Do we really need to be so vulgar on such a routine basis? Does it strengthen our cause?

  15. Susan,

    “we” . . .? I take full, individual, personal responsibility for the comment.

    Thanks for your opinion, however collectivist it may be.

  16. By saying “we”, it clouds the distinction of the individual accomplishment of Mr. Munger and his campaign, with the “we” of the LP. I thought libertarians held to individualism.

    Oh, pul-leeze. I might as well object to saying ‘the individual accomplishment of Mr. Munger and his campaign’, because in fact it was the *voters*, not the campaign or Mike, who produced the votes. And how is a ‘campaign’ any more individual than a ‘party’? And many LP members who were NOT active with Mike’s campaign did contribute to the work – including the LP donors who allowed us to have Mike *on* the ballot by helping to pay petitioners. Oh, and the folks who lobbied to get the retention percentage lowered. And probably many more folks.

    It was an accomplishment of the LP. And Mike. And his campaign volunteers. And folks outside of the LP who helped his campaign. And many voters of NC.

  17. Yeah, and we’re all in this together.

  18. Do we really need to be so vulgar on such a routine basis?

    Yes, we do.

    When in debate with pigs, speak their language.

    Oink, oink.

    It was an accomplishment of the LP. And Mike.

    And Aaron Starr and Stewart Flood too! Yay!

  19. *[NC ballot access] was an accomplishment of the LP. And Mike.*

    And Aaron Starr and Stewart Flood too!

    Well, yes, actually, now that you mention it.

    This attitude that someone you happen to have a difference with – or a pile of differences with – is wholly and irremediably evil is just plain silly.

    I’d better shut up now or Holtz will say something nice about me again and that’s just too horrible to contemplate.

  20. Steve,

    Watch out — speaking against the LP in any way seems to be grounds for suspension from the LNC.

  21. “we” . . .?

    Yes – we. You and I and our other comrades. I am giving you the compliment of calling you one of my kind, my comrade.

    Sometimes I think people take Ayn Rand *way* too seriously.

  22. Yes – we. You and I and our other comrades. I am giving you the compliment of calling you one of my kind, my comrade.

    “We are individuals!” — “I’m not.”

  23. By the way, the esteemed Mr. Winger is quite right about the achievements of the LP this year. The state parties in Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas are particular stand-outs. That said, I think the main goal of the national LP’s governing body should be actually electing Libertarians, and that did not happen in 2008.

  24. Actually, Peter, the LNC’s job should be simple:

    1. Raise funds.
    2. Coordinate LPMD and LPVA to help get LPDC going.
    3. Run interference and guidance for the states on BCRA.
    4. Get a functional and strong national membership database and stick with it.
    5. Assist states on ballot access.
    6. Establish a national PAC for federal lobbying purposes.
    7. Figure out convention details.
    8. The LP News.
    9. Become a clearinghouse for information shared by the states on activities and tactics that work and don’t.

    I’m not saying that they aren’t getting these done, just that no matter what the effort or results, this should be the focus.

  25. Seebeck-M:

    I like your list for the most part, but think the national body also has the duty of making strong policy statements and providing outreach materials to local parties.

  26. I knew I forgot something!

    If they make correct statements, sure.

    But lately the track record has been just awful.

    Maybe that’s why I forgot it.🙂

  27. As for the outreach materials, it would help if they produced anything of quality. A lot of the states do better stuff on their own.

  28. LNC, LPMD, LPVA, LPDC, BCRA, PAC…Mike, you forgot the EIEIO!

    As for materials, I agree that many states do better on their own, however, the LNC should have something available, but something which is updated more frequently. Far too often, I see affiliates relying on ISIL brochures because national lacks in quality.

  29. Gene, I didn’t forget them. Since we live in the CA Animal Farm, they’re assumed.

  30. Yes folks we need to get the literature package and the website updated and kept updated regularly. After some 28 years in the LP and I am still looking at literature from the 1980s.

    We need a detailed introductory tri-fold pamphlet that can be downloaded from the website and printed for pennies either locally or on someone’s home computer/printer setup.

    As someone who spends time doing booths and I am giving this stuff away I cannot afford to pay a significant amount for any of it. We also need pamphlets on specific issues. I can probably list twenty issues that we should have a pamphlet on, but don’t. And I’ll begin the list with the overseas deployment of U.S. troops and the history of inflation. These are two specific issue we should be championing, but are not saying much of anything on. Everything should be available on the website so that it can be downloaded as well aas available in bulk from elsewhere.

    IN 2002 I headed up an effort to produce a piece on newsprint. It was eight pages and had room for about six or seven issues piece of about 750 words each The print run was about 4000 and the cost came in at about ten cents a piece. Just simply black and white.

    Our national party should be asking the membership to contribute copy for this and set the process up so that it is an ongoing open source form. Maybe once a quarter the LP News runs an ad asking for submissions on specific issues and then runs that thru an editorial process with expected final approval in six months time. That way we get plenty of lead time and also about four new piece yearly and updates regularly. We do not need fancy colors or graphics. As someone who has worked in sales and graphic arts I can assure you color just ain’t necessary, but it does run up the price. Designed well black on white, or ivory or any number of pastel colors works fine to tell our story.

    The information on the website should reflect what is in the pamphlets only with more detail. Not to mention some of the info on the website is seriously out of date. And for god’s sake put something about the major issues right on the front of the website. Like a Banner Headline Across the Top that says “End the War Now”, “Abolish the FED Now”, or “Stop the Drug War Today”

    Please talk to your regional reps about getting this going. We need a group effort on the committee to make this happen. Our candidates need this help and our membership should be able to use this to politely inform the public about issues and as a resource for letters to the editor. It is a damn crime for us to expect people to run for office with the party doing so little to help in the way of informative handouts to use. We need to be specific and get away from using generalities in our handout. And I could go on.

    Thank you for putting up with this rant if you have read this far.

    MHW

  31. Michael, that wasn’t a rant. That was a call for action in a productive and thought-out manner, reflective of what I was thinking but didn’t expand on in my short list. Outstanding!😀

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