Why No Mention of Doug Stanhope?

A few people have called or emailed me to ask why I haven’t mentioned Doug Stanhope’s announcement the he plans to run for President as a Libertarian in 2008.

I guess the reason is that I didn’t really take it all that seriously.

Lots of people say they’re running for President, particularly celebrities, and then when it gets down to the nuts and bolts of campaign finance reporting, raising money, and ballot access… it turns out to be a lot less “cool” than they originally thought and so they drop out.

I don’t really dislike Stanhope, but I don’t for a moment think he’s going to follow this all the way through to the LP convention and the general election.

And if he is serious about it, I have to wonder if the LP would be well served by a guy who is probably most famous for doing a few episodes of the Man Show and then a hosting “Girls Gone Wild” infomercial. For President of the United States? I wouldn’t vote for him.

It’s one thing to run a colorful candidate like that in a legislative race of some sort… where if elected he would be one in 100… or 435… or something. But as the Chief Executive? I think a lot of people would have reservations about supporting a campaign like that.

Just because someone is a minor celebrity doesn’t mean they’re going to win a ton of votes. Gary Coleman got 0.16% of the vote for California governor.

There’s the Jesse Ventura example sure… but Jesse Ventura, in addition to being a wrestler and actor, was a Navy SEAL, call-in radio talk show host, and the mayor of a city prior to being elected governor.

Seriously, look at the photo on Stanhope’s “campaign” website. Does this not look like a publicity stunt?

Anyway, that’s just my 2 cents on the matter.

And before anyone accuses me of being a secret agent out to destroy third parties, let me add this: I voted for Harry Browne in 2000 and I would vote for Ed Thompson in 2008.

19 Responses to “Why No Mention of Doug Stanhope?”

  1. NewFederalist Says:

    I agree with you, Austin. Wet T-shirts and underage drunk girls do not a president make!

  2. George Whitfield Says:

    As to the seriousness of Doug Stanhope’s candidacy, only time will tell. Perhaps he will turn out better than William Weld.

  3. Matt Sterba Says:

    I not much for celeberity canidates but it would be nice to see the articulate Penn Jillette take some interest.


  4. Eric Dondero Says:

    Austin, as one of the ones who called you and left a voice mail, let me disagree with you vehemently on this.

    Firstly, when you’re down in the dumps you have nowheres else to go but up. You yourself, right here on Third Party Watch, just reported how the Libertarian Party lost its highest elected official in the United States; Ben Brandon, Dade County Executive in Georgia. This is a major blow to the LP, similar to when Alaska State Representative Dick Randolph bolted the Party for the GOP in the mid-1980s.

    The LP has sunk just about as far low as it could go.

    Why not roll the dice? They’re never going to be taken seriously as a vehicle to win elections for libertarian candidates. So, why not go all the way, and be a vehicle for expounding on libertarian ideals by using celebrities to get your message out?

    Yes, I too fear that this guy is going to flake out, like Howard Stern did to the NY LP in the early 1990s.

    But from what I’ve read of some of his statements to others, he seems serious, and aware of what running for President entails.

    If this is just a publicity stunt, he no doubt piss off a great many LPers, and I’m not sure he wants that, seeing that unlike Stern, he’s been a loyal LP member for a couple years now.

    As for his raunchy behavior, who the hell cares? The LP is not aiming for Mainstream America. That’s the job of the Republican Liberty Caucus.

    So maybe he can reach that 18 - 24 male demographic.

    I predict he could get more votes for the LP than any other single LP Presidential candidate ever, even beating Ed Clark (1 Million) or Ron Paul.

    Eric Dondero,
    Republicans for Stanhope!

  5. Chris Bennett Says:

    Shit, Dondero has found his way to Third Party Watch. Austin, do not. I repeat, don’t pay one minute to whatever flies out of Eric’s mouth because he is not worth the hassle. I’m still hoping that a better candidate comes along for the LP nomination. With Eric supporting Standhope, we are doomed to lose.

  6. David Aitken Says:

    Standhope is a good reason for millions of Americans, who take the job of electing a leader seriously, to ignore the LP.

  7. Eric Dondero Says:

    Response to David Aitken,

    Do you really believe that the American public takes the Libertarian Party seriously after you all nominated No Name/No Resume Michael Badnarik for President in 2004?

    If you all wanted to be taken seriously you wouldn’t have nominated Badnarik. At least Stanhope is well-known in certain circles. Badnarik was nothing less than a Party hack in a suit, with zero credentials, and even less background.

    Sheesh, worried about Stanhope after the Badnarik fiasco. That’s really a barrel of laughs.

  8. Eric Dondero Says:


    Very dissapointed to see that Chris Bennett has found his way to Third Party Watch. You need to seriously watch this guy. He contributes little to on-line libertarian forums except for ad hominem attacks, carping, whining and bitching. The guy wouldn’t know a petitioning clipboard if it smacked him on the ass. Pure computer geek, sans the real world activism.

  9. Chris Bennett Says:


    I worked my ass off for Aaron Russo when he ran for the LP nomination in 2004. I still believe to this day that Aaron would have done better than Badnarik (sorry Trevor). I have petitioned in 3 different states for LP candidates (CO, PA, and IL). My activism is more extensive than you think. I just don’t like you and will call you out whenever possible. So folks Eric holds no weight anywhere at anytime except in his own mind and his group of six friends.

  10. Eric Dondero Says:

    Response to Chris,

    Phillip Heath “worked his ass off” for Russo, as well. That didn’t make him a great libertarian activist.

    Russo would have been better than Badnarik, no doubt. But compared to Stanhope he’s a very minor celebrity.

    Doug Stanhope/Dave Jaye for 2008!!

  11. Doug Craig Says:

    Man Eric you sure do get around and everwhere you go you make people mad.Did some Libertarian do something to you when you where a small child?If you are trying to convert us you have had your chance.The repulicans suck!We may never win a major election but when I go to sleep at night I sleep like a baby.eric you are a tool.

  12. Gene Berkman Says:

    I agree with you Austin, the Libertarian Party would be badly served by running someone who only has credentials as a celebrity. Tto get people to listen to our views, even if they won’t vote for us, we need someone who can understand public policy.

    That rules out most comedians, as well as the very unfunny Eric Dondero as potential candidates.

  13. Eric Dondero Says:

    To Doug Craig,

    Yeah, someone did piss me off as a matter of fact. David Bergland sought to ban me from the Libertarian National Committee in the mid-1980s because I criticized his campaign and led an effort to mainstream the Party away from the Radical wing. Then in 1989, Michael Emerling “Cloud” purged me at the LP National Convention in Philly, saying “You and your friends are no longer welcome in the Libertarian Party.

    Not the main source of my frustration. It’s more the continued out-of-touchness of most Libertarians, who seem to have a bad case of celebrity-itis. Witness the comments here of those like Gene Berkman who would rather run a Nobody No Name/No Resume none-Celebrity like George “Urgh!” Phillies, or Carol Moore, or God help us Michael “Boring as Milktoast” Badnarik again.

    Look Libertarians, Real America watches American Idol.

    Can’t you all realize that? Can’t you all realize Celebrity matters.

    You all ran two No Name/None Celebrity candidates in a row; Harry Browne and Michael Badnarik. And what were your results?

    Dismal at best.

    Don’t you think it’s time you all changed the battle plan? If something ain’t working, you don’t keep banging your heads against the wall, hoping that things will change.

    I want you all to succeed, and get some major media attention. For, your efforts help us libertarian Republicans in the end. Sort of the carrot and stick approach; the LP being the stick and the RLC being the carrot for the GOP.

    I just want you all to be relevent in American politics, and for God’s sake to get out of your obscurity.

    Is that so bad?

    If people hate me for that, so be it. Who cares. I only care that you all GET RELEVENT

    And with Stanhope you have hope of accomplishing that.

  14. NewFederalist Says:

    “And with Stanhope you have hope of accomplishing that.”

    With all due respect to what you are saying, a profane comic who hosted “Girls Gone Wild” is NOT what the LP needs for a presidential nominee. A Clint Eastwood or a Donald Trump- type mega wealthy businessman perhaps but Doug Stanhope… I don’t think so.

  15. Phil Says:

    The problem with celebrity candidates in my opinion is that if the party actually does well (Ross Perot, George Wallace) it just become a personality cult for that candidate. As soon as that person leaves - poof! Party’s gone again.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp Says:


    I have to raise the bullshit flag on your response to Chris Bennett. I know Chris. He’s a friend of mine and he’s a “real politics” guy. He’s busted his butt on more than one campaign, doing the work that needed to be done BECAUSE it needed to be done instead of just whatever happened to boost his own ego, and then he went back to school for the specific purpose of learning how to manage campaigns, because he saw that the LP had a thin bench of political professionals.

    He’s not a “computer geek.” He’s working a (non-computer, regular working stiff) job to pay the bills (and support a family) while he puts in sweat to learn real politics so that he can DO real politics.

    Tom Knapp

  17. Carl Says:

    If Doug Stanhope gets the nod, methinks I would leave the LP.

    A political party should play the game as if they could win.

    When you obviously cannot win the presidency, the party should run someone based on how presidential they are, not based on celebrity, money or activism. Better to have an almost do nothing campaign for someone who could actually be president than run a joke.

    I would be happy if the LP were to run a Cato or IHS wonk who did nothing but answer the phone and show up for interviews. Actually, I would really like a bunch of wonks to be a complete shadow cabinet. Their purpose would not be to run around the country and raise money for more airplane tickets. Their purpose would be to be the face of the party, to lend credibility to those further down the ticket.

    Let those who have a chance of winning further down the ticket run hard.

  18. Eric Dondero Says:

    Sigh! Again, you all just don’t get it.

    This is why I’m a Republican and NOT in the Libertarian Party. Like I said, you all have a bad case of celebrity-itis; if someone is not obscure you diss them and criticize them til they run away from you all.

    Go ahead, run your George Phillies. And see us Mainstream libertarians run away from voting for you all once again.

    If you cannot even attract the support of brethern libertarians un-affiliated with the LP, how do you ever expect to garner support from Mainstream America?

    (BTW Tom, no personal offense meant to Chris Bennett. Sounds like a guy I’d have a lot of respect for and would want to work with in some campaigns.)

  19. Fredrik Says:

    Why do some of you make fame such a blatant issue, or what potential candidates are famous for? That seems to me like a publicity stunt in itself than Stanhope’s candidacy.

    To me it seems more in line with the libertarian ideology to not really care about petty issues like that, so long as a person is honest to the cause and can spell out his ideas in a comprehensive way. And that is what I feel that some of you are ignoring about Doug Stanhope.

    I for one don’t care if he did Girls Gone Wild. I wouldn’t care if he did porn either. I’m not against porn, so why should I be offended by it? It’s not like Girls gone wild was his brain child anyways, but I bet it was easy money. He seems serious enough about his candidacy as well, but who knows.

    You should check out some of his clips on YouTube. It’s nothing like girls gone wild or the man show. Listen to what the man has to say. Cheap-shots like “he did the man show” sounds more like a republican campaign ad than something along libertarian principles. I think the proper title right now would be “stand-up comedian” anyways, and he’s got a good grip on the crowd. Big success at a comedy festival in Britain recently according to the press, repeatedly being applauded for his substance. I don’t think it’s such a crazy idea for him to run.

    Here’s a video w/links to more: