Contra Costa LP Endorses Arnold’s Initiatives

You’ll notice I’ve categorized this as both News and Opinion.

First, the news:

The Libertarian Party of Contra Costa, California has decided to back three ballot initiatives that will appear on this Fall’s ballot. One measure would limit state spending, another puts limits on teacher tenure, and the final takes redistricting out of the hands of lawmakers. The redistricting measure would mean, essentially, that a state legislator would no longer have a hand in drawing his or her own district.

“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step,” said party spokesman Nicholas Gerber. “And if Libertarians are going to be a real party and appeal to mainstream America, then we have to take positions that are winnable, not just theoretical or utopian in nature.”

Now, the opinion… mine:

I cannot say how happy I was to see someone within the LP make a statement like that. In order to gain additional mainstream attention and relevance it is vital for the Libertarian Party to make some compromises.

Politics is all about compromises. Sometimes, particularly at the national level, the LP has had a hard time dealing with that reality. If a program is introduced that moves things a little bit in the right direction, libertarians love to jump out and denounce it for not going nearly far enough. Instead of reduced by 5%, a program must be eliminated completely, etc.

I think Mr. Gerber gets it… and I hope he and those like him within the party gain more power.

7 Responses to “Contra Costa LP Endorses Arnold’s Initiatives”

  1. es Says:

    How refreshing! The LP is finally being realistic…maybe now they’ll start to make some actual progress, rather than just talk to people about what they’d do if they got elected. :)

  2. Mikey Says:

    It is a good start, but is it a one-time only event? We need to see them “bend” a bit more before calling it progress.

    On a side note, do you have a link to what these ballot initiatives are? I’d like to read them.

  3. Tim West Says:

    There is a burgeoning movement in the LP to start acting like a political party instead of a purist shrine. We dont want the purists to leave, we just want them to stop blocking the political success of the party by demanding every solution and reaction be pure and principled to the point that it’s absurd.

    My blog is dedicated to this movement within the LP and as a member of the Libertarian Reform Caucus we want to get the LP back on track to become a real political party.

    http://libertyforsale.com

  4. Stanley H. Says:

    I’m not sure that it’s a good idea for third parties (such as the Libertarian Party) to just “take positions that are winnable.” If that’s their objective, they might as well just run from within one of the two major parties. One of the things that make third parties so interesting is that they present different ideas. If their positions are just going to be more of the same, what’s the point of them running as third party candidates? That’s just my opinion.

  5. es Says:

    The two major parties don’t have a monopoly on all positions that are “winnable”. There are plenty of ideas out there which would work if implemented correctly.

    They can still have different opinions…they just need to be framed in realistic terms. Rather than being academic statements of “We need to do this…all at once…TODAY!” it’s far more practical to start out on a step-by-step process of how a particular goal is going to be realized, which actually makes it feasible.

  6. Otto M. Kerner Says:

    I’m not at all clear on what’s a compromise here. Limiting spending, cutting tenure at public schools, depoliticizing districting—those are all things that libertarians are in favor of (well, the latter two are technically neutral on libertarian grounds, but are probably supported by most libertarians)—these are our goals. Wouldn’t a compromise involve agreeing to something that we don’t want? And I’m honestly not sure where and when libertarians actually do the following: “If a program is introduced that moves things a little bit in the right direction, libertarians love to jump out and denounce it for not going nearly far enough.” Libertarians love to denounce half-assed measures for making things worse, and they could also be expected to criticized politicians who don’t go as far as is politically feasible. What sort of cases do you have in mind where this turns negative?

  7. Stanley H. Says:

    You’re right, Otto. A compromise would involve agreeing to something that you don’t want.

    It would kind of be like someone who is against the war in Iraq agreeing to a plan that would get the last of our troops out of there in 20 years. It would be giving that person what he wants eventually. The only problem is, he would be agreeing to a plan that would keep our troops over there for 20 years.

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