Joe Reports from Portland (Day 2, Part 7)

The Following Report was submitted by Joe Magyer from this weekend’s Libertarian National Convention in Portland, Oregon. Joe is covering the event for Third Party Watch and we’ll be posting his dispatches as they’re received.

DAY 2 / Part Seven ————————————————————

The Chair’s debate begins in 5 minutes, so I suppose I’m going to stick with this. As my friends know, I love debates, even fake ones featuring characters from the West Wing.

Especially ones featuring characters from the West Wing.

The Debate

I ran upstairs to switch laptops back with Mark Augustyn (long story). When I came back down, I found that the debate had just begun.

The three candidates are Ernest Hancock, George Phillies, and Bill Redpath.

I came in as Ernest was giving his opening statement. He was emphasizing the need for the LP to focus on the growth of the blogosphere. Phillies got up after Ernest and said, well, pretty much the same thing.

Let me say that it was obvious to this writer that neither of these guys really know anything about the cutting edge of blogging and web 2.0. That said, they do understand that we collectively need to emphasize the importance of web 2.0. Unfortunately, they both seem to be neglecting that the LP not only already has its own blog, but the LLS actually teaches a class on blogging. I’ve taken the class, actually, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Bill Redpath was next. Rather than start out with a doom and gloom scenario as Phillies did, Redpath emphazied his success and experience with the LP. In my opinion, his resume is quite strong. He got his MBA from the U of Chicago, which is most impressive. He is well spoken and comes across as far more personable than does Phillies. Frankly, George doesn’t seem to have the ‘it’ that I would expect out of a party Chair. Redpath is well known in the party for his success with ballot access efforts. The more I hear him speak, the more I like him.

Bill also supports hiring a political director in the LP HQ and I absolutely could not agree more with that assertion.

I should note that there is a pretty good crowd here for the debate. I’d guess there are close to 100 people in the ballroom, which is more than I expected. I frankly expected me and 15 hardcore LP types.

The format for the debate will be a Q&A with the audience. Very nice.

The first question was addressed to Bill and Ernest and was focused on the decline in the revenue base of the party. Ernest gave a motivational answer, but I wasn’t really impressed with his response.

On the other hand, Bill took the question head on and started talking about membership and revenue targets. George followed up after the other two. He isn’t really talking about anything to do with the question, but he is making several quality points.

Oh, geez, George just mentioned that he is on MySpace and that he has been propositioned by minors on there. Well, that was awkward. I think he is clearly a very, very smart man, but I don’t think he’s the Chair we’re looking for.

The next question was from Nick Sarwark. I best know Nick as the guy with the cool photo of himself with a martini in his Hammer of Truth profile. His question was addressed to the three of them and focused on the fact that George and Ernest do not have LNC or elected experience. As such, how is that beneficial?

Ernest emphasized that he doesn’t have any prior conflicts with members of the LNC or staffers, while George mainly bored me. Bill, of course, talked up his experience a bit.

There was a question about the War in Iraq. George mentioned something about charging military and civilian leaders for war crimes. Ernest talked about how he thought the staff really dropped the ball on our stance on the Iraq War. He’s pretty zesty about it. Frankly, I think he was overly hard on the staff. He did, though, get some applause for his response.

Badnarik is here and looks painfully bored.

Starchild was next with a question. Starchild is a guy dressed as the Statue of Liberty. You’ll note that he was actually rejected as a delegate this morning. He is introducing a question about why we have the conventions at hotels, rather than, say, University campuses. He went on with his rant/question for about 2 minutes and I was, well, pretty bored. Honestly, it was such a non-question that I’m not going to bother recording responses.

The next question was another disappointingly winding one. I probably should have asked a question myself, but oh well. Ernest continues to come across as being energetic and somewhat of a promoter, George is the nerdy academic, and Bill is the businessman.

The final question was whether they would all support the impeachment of George W. Bush. I LOVED Bill’s answer. He basically said we should choose our battles wisely and that we should focus on more relevant issues. He is not opposed to a resolution of some sort, but he would not support an impeachment proceeding.

Ernest, again, gave a good answer to the wrong question. He talked about how he found the LP website difficult to navigate, which I must admit I’ve felt at times. Not so much since the website upgrade, though. Philies described the LP’s seeking an impeachment as “a superb idea.” He thinks it is an issue that we can get ahead on beyond the other parties and gain some members.

One small item I noticed: Bill had his own mike, while George and Ernest shared a mike back and forth. I can’t believe they agreed to that, as it made Bill seem like the man in control. This especially in light of the fact that Bill is supposedly the front-runner.

In their closing statements, Bill once again stressed his belief in the importance of a political director who can work with the state parties, as well as why the LP should spend more time and energy focusing on ballot access. George followed Bill by saying “We are at our party’s golden moment, if we can only seize it.” George did noticeably say that he disagrees with Bill’s heavy emphasis on ballot access laws.

George actually said something that seemed to really annoy Bill at one point, which I thought was really funny. Again, he is a smart guy and an asset to the party, but I just don’t think he is the leader we need.

Ernest, well, I’m not really sure what it was that I got out of his address. The trend of his wandering speech is not overly appealing to me.

After seeing the debate, I’ve decided I am voting for the same person my good buddy Trevor Southerland endorsed, Bill Redpath.

Afterwards, Bob Sullentrup announced what I already knew: that roughly 2/3 of the platform planks were rejected by the convention today.

Should make for a wild day on Sunday!

Following the debate, I ended up sticking around and watching Aaron Russo’s film “From Freedom to Facism.” I found it to be pretty enjoyable and it definitely made me want to find out more about the primary issue in the film, namely, the legality of the income tax. After that, there was a showing of a film titled “High”, which was focused on a wide range of subjects having to do with the legalization of drugs. Mark and I were part of around 5 or 6 people who stuck around through the film.

In between the two films, we spoke to Tonie Nathan a good bit, which was fun and interesting.

Sorry I can’t be any more descriptive about the films, but I am totally zonked. I went to read Hammer of Truth tonight and saw a post about my posts at Third Party Watch, so that was really cool.

17 Responses to “Joe Reports from Portland (Day 2, Part 7)”

  1. Alexander Strickle Says:

    Thanks for confirming my suspicions on George Phillies.

  2. Fred Mangels Says:

    Why was Starchild rejected as a delegate?

  3. Joe Magyer Says:

    Hey Fred,

    I addressed that question in the original thread on his vote, which would be here (


  4. Tim West Says:

    Bill Redpath is by far the best choice. I dont agree with his insistance on running as many LP candidates as possible unless specifically called for by access requirements needs, but he is head and shoulders above both Hancock and Phillies.

    Hancock would be a absolute disaster. He has not a clue about the role of a political party serves. Phillies does, but his role model is the LP of 2000 with it’s dues requirements. Yuck.

  5. Nicholas Sarwark Says:

    Minor typo: Sarwark, with a ‘k’

  6. Will Says:

    Teenage girls on MySpace want to have sex with George Phillies?

  7. NewFederalist Says:

    When do we expect another update? From what I have been reading it seems the LRC is not getting much of what it wanted.

  8. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Joe’s submitting them whenever he has a free moment.

    It’s all happening in the Pacific time zone, so right now (12:40pm) it’s just after breakfast in Portland.

    I’ve got to run out for a few hours for a campaign-related thing, but I should be home in the early evening (or mid-afternoon “convention time”) and anything that’s come through by then will be posted.

  9. joe average Says:

    “Teenage girls on MySpace want to have sex with George Phillies?”

    don’t you mean 40 year old male police officers want to entrap George Phillies…

  10. Otto Kerner Says:

    You know, I met Bill Redpath several years ago, and I’ve always had a good impression of him. He’s Mr. Ballot Access. However, if he’s going to “emphasize his success and experience with the LP” it bears repeating that the LP has, in its ~35 year history, achieved approximately 0 success, and the experience of the people working for it has been an experience of failure. In other words, “I’ve been plugging along in the LP for a long time, and look how things are going” is an argument against making someone party chair, rather than an argument for. That Bill Redpath doesn’t understand this would lose him my vote, if I hadn’t quit the LP a long time ago.

    That said, is there any chance that Redpath won’t end up being elected chairman? When was the last time that the outcome of the party chair election wasn’t easily predictable? Maybe the first time Gene Cisewski ran.

  11. Thomas L. Knapp Says:


    I do not endorse or support Redpath for chair, but to the extent that he speaks of his successes with the LP, it might be useful to separate the notion of “general success by the party” from “Bill Redpath’s success in achieving specific successes for the party.”

    If Redpath can rightfully claim at least partial credit for ballot access successes (he can), and if there have been ballot access successes (there have), then he’d be silly not to tout that in his campaign. The fact is that the Libertarian Party is the only “third” party since before the Civil War to appear on the ballot in all 50 states in more than one election in a row. If you think that’s a good thing, then Redpath gets some of the points for it.

    Tom Knapp

  12. Stuart Richards Says:

    I hope Redpath gets the job, despite his support for paper candidacies he’s done a really good job for the LP in the past.

  13. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Redpath 64%, Hancock 23%, Phillies 9%, according to

  14. Tim West Says:

    Good. Of the 3, Redpath is the Good of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

  15. Austin Cassidy’s Third Party Watch » Blog Archive » Joe Magyer’s Convention Journal Says:

    [...] Day Two - Part Seven: The chairman debate followed by a screening of Aaron Russo’s latest film. [...]

  16. Thane Eichenauer Says:

    “Joe Reports from Portland” series is wonderful. I came close to attending the convention but didn’t prepare far enough in advance to attend (all my fault).

    (Disclaimer: I know Ernest Hancock, live in Arizona and can be accurately described as a Hancock supporter).

    I disagree with Tim West’s sentiment (while also stating I share our joint goal - more freedom) on Ernest Hancock.

    The Libertarian Party is a nothing more than an idea whose supposed purpose is to accomplish the goal of - “more freedom”. I hope the national LP can produce net reduction of government - “more freedom”.

    As for the Joe Magyer’s comment about supporting a LP political director, one more LP staff position doesn’t guarantee anything anymore than one more government cop will to reduce crime. If one political director is good, why not two? I don’t need or want more amorphous LP positions, I need “more freedom”, I expect results, not one more business card or org chart box. If someone has a project to produce net reduction of government, let me know about it, let Ernest Hancock know about it (I am sure he would love to share it to other “more freedom” people), post it, video it, let the world know about it, I am sure that if the idea needs funds to accomplish, money will be forthcoming and support (people power) will also be committed.

    I have followed Ernest’s reservations about the national LP. As soon as I see it offer something worth supporting, I and others will be inspired to support it. Current LP membership and revenue are a mirror image of the amount of light (inspiration) produced by the LP. I don’t want to rain on the LP’s torch of liberty but to assume that the national LP is the best and most effective way to create “more freedom” is not the strongest proposition that can be made and hasn’t been for a while. I have sent $100 to MPP (Marijuana Policy Project) recently because I see what they have done and in my book they have produced better results. If the national LP should back actual concrete projects (that produce results) and evidence committment to actual concrete principles I forsee a bright future for it. If it should fail to accomplish either, it will wither and die. Results (again “more freedom”) are not guaranteed, even if you call yourself the (national) LP. Results speak louder than words.

    I have seen Ernest Hancocks actions, I’ve seen his results and they produce so much net reduction of government - “more freedom” that I have an absolute conviction that I will never - ever - regret one dollar of monetary support or one hour of time I have spent in support of his projects. He produces real results - “more freedom”.

    If Tim West thinks Ernest Hancock doesn’t have a clue as to the role of a political party (the LP), maybe that means that we need to ask the question again “What does the national LP stand for?” There is a reason why many freedom minded people admire the NH motto of “Live free or die”. If all it takes is mouthing the words, the Republican Party will certainly suffice. If all you want to do is claim committment to ideals but march towards slavery the Democrat Party will do. If you want the support of those people who want freedom—who breathe freedom and are willing and able to do whatever it takes to get freedom and to beat down government. Until it is possible to taste the sweetness that is liberty, no compromise must always to be the watch word. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Freedom takes more work and an unvarnished committment to principles. I look forward to the day when it is self-evident that the LP is so inspiring that I can look back on this post as say, “Did I write that?”. That day hasn’t arrived… yet.

    and learn what higher standards can accomplish.

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