Libertarian Hopefuls for President in 2008

Okay, so here it goes… someone give me logical reasons why any of the current hopefuls for the LP’s 2008 nomination should get it? But before you start, let me tell you my issues…

The way I see it, there are three “serious” candidates. Those being Kubby, Phillies and Smith. They each have their up sides and their down sides. In my opinion, all three have bigger down sides than up sides.

Kubby

Up side: Well know in the marijuana activist community and well spoken on the issue. Would help in marketing the drug war issue.

Down side: Well, so much for not being the first candidate to bring up the drug war. In my opinion, one of the main duties of the candidate for President is to promote the down ticket races. In 2004 when Michael Badnarik came to Chattanooga, Tennessee, all four of our local television stations sent cameras, the major paper was there, two major radio stations were there… why… because this was something for them, neither Bush nor Kerry came to Chattanooga… and it benefited our down ticket candidates because Badnarik was well spoken and his less taxes speech appealed to the anti-income tax Tennesseans. It’s hard for me to imagine that Steve Kubby’s presence in Chattanooga, TN would do very much to help our down ticket candidates after the media goes to google and types in his name.

Phillies

Up side: Very well spoken on Libertarian issues and understands the party’s philosophy.

Down side: George is very well spoken and he’s also very out spoken. In his numerous races for LNC Chair he has failed to win, but yet also declined to run for a lower ranking position on the LNC, and has isolated a certain area of the party. Just like Kubby, only more, Phillies all ready has a portion of the party that will not unite around him simply because he’s George Phillies.

Smith

Up side: Well, she’s the only candidate who has called me to talk, ask about our convention, ask about where to send media if she’s talking to Georgia media, etc… so that means she’s willing to work within the party to help promote the party.

Down side: She’s even more of an unknown than Kubby and Phillies. Partly due to this, I don’t know any inner secrets she’s hiding… only that most of you are probably trying to figure out who Christine Smith is right now.

So in conclusion, what am I basically saying? That we need someone else. Kubby and Phillies are great guys and should continue to work within the party and promote it… but they’re not Presidential material. Oh, and don’t start throwing around names of people that won’t actually run… I mean real honest to God candidates.

In 2004, it was my belief that the LP needed a candidate it could unite around and that most Libertarians could support. It was also my belief that if the LP in 2004 could hold steady with its results in 2000, it would be a huge success… especially considering the downward spiral the party was on from 2000-2004… well, that happened.

Now we’re coming up on 2008… and the party has (by LP standards) had a good last 4 years… so our 2008 results need to take a spike upward. The way I see it, none of our current candidates can deliver that spike. Now here’s your chance to try to change my mind… good luck.

104 Responses to “Libertarian Hopefuls for President in 2008”

  1. Jackcjackson Says:

    Unless we get a big money celebrity, IMHO, it is pretty much irrelevant who runs for POTUS. Count on 0.3-0.4% and the same level of media attention regardless of which of these “serious” candidates you “plug in.”

    I am not really familiar with Smith and checked out her website to figure out who she was. Not very impressed.

    Kubby is interesting. I am not as uncomfortable as some with the possibility of him being seen as a “1 issue” candidate. let’s be real, there is a LP base than anyone will get and not much worse you can do by “alienating” anyone.

    At this point ( while taking what I said above into account) I would support Phillies.

    Of real importance is building lower level party and local offices. There are very few in the LP even qualified to run for Congress, let alone POTUS. State House is about as high as most should be aiming.

  2. Jake Porter Says:

    George Phillies is a serious man for serious times. George Phillies is a man people can trust with nuclear weapons. George Phillies looks at real issues Americans care about and not the federal reserve, liberty dollar issues that scare everyone.

    I was one of George’s first volunteers. I know for a fact that every dollar he spends goes to real campaigning. I also know that he has in the past helped local races. On his website, any Libertarian candidate can download a radio ad and air it on a local radio station. One campaign in Iowa ran the “Seatbelt” ad. That is a candidate building the party. He has also written, “Stand Up For Liberty” a book on winning elections.

    Now onto organization. I can tell you, George Phillies has plans to organize his campaign in every state and D.C. I happen to know this as I have worked with many volunteers and am developing the state yahoo groups. The volunteers are serious, the campaign is serious. With your support and donations, we will take the message of Peace Liberty and Prosperity to the American people.

  3. Timothy West Says:

    the best thing the LP could do is funnel every dime and effort they have into state level races, run no presidential candidate, ( unless a first tier candidate in every sense of the word, former Congressman, Senator, ffamous ) and start building the state parties back.

    Also, stop spending so much time and effort into automatic 50 state ballot access. Spend all your effort in states where you’re getting numbers and results. The LP simply isnt a 50 state party at present. I’d rather run 50 campaigns for state senate and win 10 of them cross he country than to have a LP ‘regular” for lack of better term get 2.whatever percent.

  4. Mike Linksvayer Says:

    “and it benefited our down ticket candidates because Badnarik was well spoken and his less taxes speech appealed to the anti-income tax Tennesseans”

    Did any down ticket candidates win? Do any less worse than years past?

    I find it hard to believe anyone would consider Badnarik well spoken. I’ve not seen him in person, but in many videos he’s seemed zombie-like to me, with a bizarrely catatonic passion.

    The LP cannot attract good candidates for POTUS and would be better off not running a candidate at all than having embarrassments tar the ideas of liberty.

  5. Doug Craig Says:

    Trevor

    You will not get many Calls from George since I talk to him on a regular basis.I believe George has the best chance since he is building up a great team. It seems kubby has only a few people and I know of no one helping Christine (btw she calls me about twice a week with questions, she seems to be working very hard) .I believe George has the best history in helping the party. He already has TV ads, radio ads and bumper stickers (email me if you want one [email protected]).If no one else joins the race George should be our choice hands down.

  6. Phil Says:

    My formula for the LP:

    1. Pick a moderate-conservative district with an open seat or weak/scandal-plagued incumbent. Preferably high gun ownership and eminent domain problems.

    2. Find a knowledgable and fairly charismatic candidate. Parachute in if necessary

    3. Run on basic Libertarian principles - Fewer taxes, Smaller Government, More Freedom. Include gun rights and eminent domain. Don’t mention things that are perceived by the people of the district as liberal/crazy - the Drug War, SSM, 9/11 conscpiracy theories, and “the government wants to implant tracking chips in us”.

    4. Pour all the resources into the district. All of them. From everywhere. Every dollar the party can get should be put to use in this race.

    5. Work your ass off.

    Repeat as necessary.

  7. Eric Sundwall Says:

    If you consider the fact that one can literally show up at the convention and plead your case to be the nominee, it’s slightly premature to consider these the only candidates in 2008. There are no Iowa or NH primaries unless you’re Blue or Red. No Chris Matthews, no C-SPAN ‘Road to the Whitehouse’ . . . etc.

    It is important to run a candidate in a system dominated by this type of electoral hierarchy. It’s simply been the history of the country (see Princeton Prof. Sean Wilentz’s ‘American Democracy’). It drives party making, without a national message or voice, individual candidates are simply lost in the shuffle. The typical third party effort in the 19th Century was centered on a movement and the 20th an individual. Advocating no candidate defeats the whole purpose of a party. No big L required in that statement.

    The LP has enjoyed unique success in terms of ballot placement in the last thirty years for Presidential efforts. No other third party has come close over that period. Let’s face it with such a small national budget, it’s impractical to think success could be rooted out on some local basis. Besides, who decides at that point ? The money generated for the presidential effort is quite separate from the LNC budget. There is some overlay and back and forth.

    The quality of the effort is a message of Liberty. That message should be carried by a strong advocate and a quality voice. In terms of the 21st Century wouldn’t it be great to see Kubby, Phillies, Smith et. al, having their own ‘Straw Poll’ media event in Iowa next August ? Perhaps the Free State Project could organize a debate in NH when that Primary happens . . . Gotta get Trippi on this stuff, not drippy.

  8. Austin Cassidy Says:

    I’m with the idea of putting most resources into lower level races. Five state legislative seats would be worth so much more to the party than a 0.4% showing in the Presidential race. I think the repeated losses for Chair are a clue that Phillies just can’t win the nomination, and I agree on the point about being open to running for LNC or a lower post. Kubby is going to be painted as a single issue candidate, but he might be able to round up 700,000 votes on that issue alone… if the campaign is well put together. It’s not going to change the world, but 700k votes is a “spike” over 400k.

    And YES to Tim’s point on ballot access. If you have $100,000… spend it on a big pile of direct mail to potential Libertarian voters. Or talk radio ads. Don’t spend it on trying to get on the ballot in Oklahoma or some other state with insane laws.

    The media will still pay attention to you as much as they did before, even if you’re only on 45 state ballots. And the benefit of being able to say to regular voters that: “Hey, I’m on all 50 state ballots!” is like saying “Hey, look how smart I am! I tied my own shoes!” — People who aren’t aware of the laws aren’t impressed with ballot access bravado.

  9. Mike Linksvayer Says:

    Austin, where do you get 700,000 votes from? What is your reasoning?

  10. George Phillies Says:

    On Several occasions I have run for National Chair. In 2002, 2004, and 2006, I also recruited people to run for each of the other offices. As part of the group campaign arrangement, I promised them, after they went to the trouble of running, that I would not stab them in the back by running for their position if I happened to lose.

    I am an honest man, and keep my word.

    I have explained this promise to large numbers of people on a regular basis, including on the floor of the 2004 national convention when I was nominated for at-large, after I was not elected chair. Readers who attended the 2004 convention may recall whether Mr. Sutherland was on the floor at the time I made my remarks, and, if so, why he persists in raising this canard.

  11. Trevor Southerland Says:

    A couple of comments and replies:

    1) Badnarik’s appearance in Chattanooga did help bring our membership up. His appearance went well and got us weeks of media coverage that we couldn’t otherwise afford.

    2) I have to disagree with Tim West, somewhat. I do not think running a Presidential campaign that we sink all our hopes (and money) into is a wise move… however; I do think we NEED to run a candidate for President… two major reasons… one - whenever, whenever, whenever I talk to the media the one question they ask is “who are you guys running for President?” If my answer is “oh, we find it wiser to spend our money on lower level races” then the next days paper will read “libertarians are unable to field a candidate for President.” Also, as I previously mentioned, in a medium sized or smaller city (Chattanooga has about 1 million in its metro area) a candidate for President can get a lot of media attention coming through that the party wouldn’t otherwise get. If we’re smart enough to capitalize off this then the campaign could overall be a huge benefit to the party.

    3) George… I was on the floor in 2004 and heard what you said. I was also on the floor in 2002 and heard what you said. I (like others) e-mailed you in early 2006 and urged you to run for a lower level seat on the LNC… you never replied to my e-mail. For some reason, people often think that if someone keeps running for the highest ranking position and losing badly, that they’d run for a lower level position, or they’re just running for their own egos.

  12. Mike N. Says:

    Allen Hacker for President! What the hell, the LP is known as a bunch of nutjobs anyway… we might as well run the nuttiest of them all…

  13. Robert Milnes Says:

    Trevor Southerland, first, my welcome to you here. I am impressed by your initiation of this discussion. I’m mystified myself. No mention of me, the progressive alliance strategy, 50% women appointments etc. to be found on my websites. I chose the lp precisely because of the near 100% ballot access. That is a big deal if we are going to try to compete with the lunatics at the center of the bell curve. The greens aren’t going to get near 100%. BUT they might be talked into endorsing the lp ticket. A lib OR a green on EVERY ballot would remove the split of the progressive vote, again competing with the center. Eric Sundwall’s idea of conducting a straw poll at Nevada, S.C., Iowa & NH again puts the lp on a more level playing field with the dems & reps. So, instead of throwing away the lp executive ticket, why not let me, or maybe somebody “more electable” try this? I’ve already stated my choice of second-Carl Milsted. For vp-Karen Kwiatkowski. Pouring all assets into one area won’t work. You’ll reach a saturation point where you won’t get through to many more than you already have.

  14. Mike N. Says:

    Earth to the idiots: the LP is NOT, I repeat, NOT going to elect a President in 2008. No one even knows we have a presidential candidate during the elections, let alone listens to him, except for existing Libertarians.

    Forget the presidency. Forget the US House or Senate. Forget governor. The LP needs to focus our very limited resources (mainly MONEY) on 1 or 2 (max - total, not per state) finely selected state house/senate races. Once we start building a base, then we can talk about higher races. Quit trying to put the donkey before the cart.

    Meanwhile, did anyone notice this:

    http://thirdpartywatch.com/2006/12/08/jore-appointed-chair-of-education-committee/

  15. Mike N. Says:

    Someone we should all unite around for 2007:

    http://www.arinsime.com/home.aspx

  16. Mike N. Says:

    errr cart before the donkey… :)

  17. [email protected] Says:

    Let’s dispose of one thing immediately: The idea that the LP “shouldn’t run a presidential candidate.” That is an option in one sense, and it isn’t in another:

    - Under the LP’s bylaws, there will be a presidential nominating process for 2008. Period. Even if the bylaws were amended at the next convention, the change would not take effect until the end of that convention … and that’s the convention the candidate is nominated at. So, the earliest opportunity for the LP to stop having a nominating process is 2012. In this sense, running a presidential candidate is simply not optional.
    - On the other hand, the LP’s bylaws also provide for voting for “None of the Above,” with effect (i.e. if a majority of delegates vote “None of the Above” for the presidential nomination, there will be no nominee). So, nominating a presidential candidate is optional after all. But … I’ve never seen any of the people who keep saying “the LP should not nominate a presidential candidate” actually getting out and setting up an active campaign for NOTA. NOTA is like any other candidate—it won’t win unless its supporters put their money where their mouths are and push it.

    Doug mentions that he perceives Kubby as “only having a few people.” If that’s in reference to core campaign staff, he’s correct. Right now, we’re looking for the best campaign manager we can find (and are considering people from outside the LP with winning records)—in the interim, Steve is managing things himself, and I’m sort of an acting “chief of staff.” We have a national volunteer coordinator (Ben Todd), a treasurer (Kristen Peskuski) and a MySpace coordinator (Christee Kee). Beyond that, we’re in the process of recruiting state volunteer coordinators (8 states at last count—we’ll have the first ten in motion this week and we’re shooting for all fifty by early in 2007), and already have Internet discussion groups created and ready for action for each state.

    On MySpace, “friends” are an interesting thing but not necessarily indicative of support, so I don’t place a lot of stock in the fact that Kubby is at 3,264 “friends” and climbing. A better indicator of support would be how many people have actually taken the time to register as members of the campaign’s MySpace group, which implies at least some understanding of, and support for, what Steve’s doing. That number as of a couple of minutes ago was 726. At least two members of that MySpace group have joined the campaign as state volunteer coordinators, by the way.

    So far as I can tell, there is really only one metric on which Phillies could reasonably be said to be “ahead” of Kubby, and that’s in his effort to get into production of TV commercials. His use of YouTube to “preview” and “concept” those commercials is quite innovative and admirable. However, we have some surprises of our own in store on both the Internet and commercial fronts that I think will prove themselves just as innovative and admirable (and some of you may remember that the LAST time Kubby made a political commercial, it won a “Polly,” the Oscar of political advertising).

    I’m very much a fan of George Phillies for a number reasons, not least of which is the fact that his campaign is “raising the bar” for LP presidential campaigns—he got in early and started doing things. However, I have no doubt that Kubby will clear that bar by a good margin, and I look forward to a day not too far in the future when we are working with him in collusion rather than in competition.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  18. Executive Detractor Says:

    Are we a real political party or what?

    Rather than running a candidate for President, perhaps we should all consider getting behind 3 or 4 state representative candidates. This isn’t my new idea. Many of you have said it before. If so, we could spend the next 18 months struggling over who those 4 candidates should be completely underneath the media’s radar. And trust me, this would be very easy to keep underneath the media’s radar. Are we a real political party or what?

    We could rely on the national LP’s candidate tracker system to give us confidence that we’re ultimately sending our money across state lines to the obviously best camapaigns. And we all know from experience that many of your are more than willing to mail checks across country and hope for the best. God bless you. Additionally, all readers of these blogs would have to do is ask which candidates plan to win and you would get your answer as to whom to support. I think donations would pour in commensurate with the credibility of these blogs.

    Poor Democrats and Republicans. The obvious advantage Libertarians have is that we have this newfound solution to running local candidates funded by donors all across America (and OUS), rather than falling for the same old trick Republicans and Democrats use, which is to seek local support. Are we a real politcal party or what?

    I mean really, rather than donating to my county organization or a local candidate whom I’m quite sure won’t win his race, I’d rather send the money to a girl in Colorado who made a pamphlet that says right on it she’s gonna win. Jeepers. Win is good! Texan stupid. Are we a real political party or what? If you’re serious about politics, find a Colorado woman and write a thousand dollar check today. Are we a real political party or what? Being that trust is what we’re most full of, are we all gonna send our money to four LP state rep candidates we’ve never met to finally show we’re a dedgum honest to dedgum sho nuff party or what or just not?

    Anyone who supports anyone for president is obviously a born idiot.

    Idiot!

    Do we want to be a REAL political party or what?!!?

  19. Timothy West Says:

    in that case I would use the nominee as a money funnel to lower ticket races. the LP to this point is almost a fraudulent concern because of questionable fund raising tactics going all the way back to Micheal Emerling Cloud and others. Bottom line - when you know that the goal set is unachievable, and you take peoples money for it anyway - then you just love the thrill of the hunt more than whats good for the party. This party cant elect a POTUS, under almost any conditions possible at the moment. ( meaning right now, Dec 11 2006 ) and its sheer folly to believe it can. Setting goals you know you cant achieve is part of the LP. It’s always been that way. The LP has always had too much pride for itself.

    You just like the process of the LP presidential process and want to be involved in it. Thats a good thing. But I dont think you can claim that you have no objective interest in saying if or if not the LP should run a Pres guy or not. You would ALWAYS say yeah. You’re in the middle of it, an have been ever since I’ve been on the scene.

    I know you did not SAY this yet, but I think the observation that you cant possibly have a objective view on the LP running someone for POTUS is valid. How could you? You’re always involved with one candidate or another. Thats just what you do. Thats YORE THANG…..more than OK. But I don’t think you’re capable of claiming an objective or neutral view on the issue.

    and don’t take this as hostile, it’s just a observation. You have an ax to grind on the issue and have had one for a long time. You love this stuff. Good thing too.

    No POTUS - unless they are used strictly as tools for downwind tickets OR the party gets a real first tier candidate ( and by that, I mean a candidate that simply commands so many advantages in some combo of manners that to not nominate them would be suicide.

    Spending one donor dollar by the LP for POTUS campaigns and for POTUS candidates unless it is done for a clearly strategic reason that will make that dollar worth spending is just dumb politics.

    telling everyone you can WIN that office when it is about 99.8% impossible is bad as well. Tell them you can effect the balance of power, tell them anything - but dont tell them BULLSHIT. It’s called setting yourself up for failure over n over. better to under promise and over deliver.

  20. Timothy West Says:

    damn, I’m proud of my left hand. It got me all the way thru that comment without 50K typos.

  21. Executive Detractor Says:

    Timothy West,

    I think your note above implied that if a big time serious candidate for President doesn’t emerge, whatever candidate does end up getting the nomination should run a campaign to promote the Libertarian Party overall as Harry Browne did to a large degree.

    Timothy, perhaps you would be more likely to agree with that statement if I hadn’t mentioned Harry Browne. I didn’t know Harry Browne personally. I suspect he was imperfect as I’ve found every other Libertarian I know to be to various degrees. But he was a major inspiration to me, despite shortcomings.

    However, Timothy, I have to respect your dogged determination to contribute to the Libertarian debate. If you mispelled a word or two with your left hand above, I think a post or two by you on a reputable blog dedicated to the occurence should exonerate you if it’s geared towards a tolerant approach that excepts various Libertarians may have varying strategies.

    Get off the “demonizing those who don’t agree with me” boat and board the growing body of Libertarians who accept the reality that we aren’t likely to agree on all issues and should therefore support most activisists willing to make things happen the way they see fit.

  22. Nigel Watt Says:

    Not running a presidential candidate would be stupid. It would also be stupid to seriously expect to win any race above county commission. Screw state representative; even if we get two people elected to the Texas/Georgia/Vermont/Indiana state house, they won’t be able to do much more than Ron Paul. Let’s clear the bloat from municipal governments first, then move up.

  23. Austin Cassidy Says:

    Any progress is going to be gradual. Two state representatives would not be the ultimate goal for any party, just a solid first step. Consider what the CP has accomplished this year in Montana. Rick Jore holds the balance of power in the MT state house and as such, he captured the chairmanship of a relatively powerful committee.

    Now, most state houses aren’t so close… but there are opportunities for similar “balance of power” situations. Also, even when there isn’t much chance for that, having a Libertarian (or Green or CPer or whoever) in a state house gives the party credibility. It demonstrates to voters that an LPer can be trusted with political office. If you want to be critical of the governor for spending too much, do it through your chief spokesman - Representative Whoever. The impact of having a real, elected state representative as your spokesman and the face of your state party would be extremely valuable. And it would make getting media much easier.

    But yes, municipal races should also be focused on. I would say split the resources 45/45 for state house races and local races… and spend the balance on federal campaigns, including a token presidential candidate. Unless someone like Ed Thompson is willing to run.

  24. [email protected] Says:

    Quoth Tim West:

    “You just like the process of the LP presidential process and want to be involved in it. Thats a good thing. But I dont think you can claim that you have no objective interest in saying if or if not the LP should run a Pres guy or not. You would ALWAYS say yeah. You’re in the middle of it, an have been ever since I’ve been on the scene.”

    I’m assuming that this is addressed to me, and will reply as if it was.

    First of all, I didn’t address whether or not the LP should run a presidential candidate. I simply pointed out that unless a credible effort to stop it from doing so is launched, it will run a presidential candidate.

    Secondly, I agree that the LP’s presidential candidate isn’t going to win in 2008 (barring some development that we can neither foresee nor cause), and have previously said so publicly. That fact has implications for campaign strategy that should be closely examined. It imposes certain limitations, and removes others.

    Thirdly, you may be surprised to find out that I agree that the presidential campaign should not be a spending spree on the party of the party as an organization.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  25. George Phillies Says:

    The notion that the Libertarian Party should concentrate most of its resources on a few State Rep races is impossible. Most of the resources are not mobile, because they are the time of volunteers. The notion that you can buy your way to success in a smaller race is also highly dubious, as witness Jon Coon’s well-executed state legislative campaign some time back.

  26. Timothy West Says:

    10-4.

  27. Mike N. Says:

    Umm Wes, REAL political parties actually win elections. Running a losing candidate in every single office possible isn’t going to do shit unless you win something.

    Do you honestly believe that the Repugs and Dems don’t fund local races from a national level?

  28. Robert Milnes Says:

    Hello? Hello? Tap. Tap. Tap. Is this mike working?

  29. Timothy West Says:

    yeah, you fresh on the mike. Bring it.

  30. Carl Says:

    I used to be a NOTA supporter. I have changed my mind slightly. Most people ask “who is your presidential nominee” when asked about the LP.

    So, here is my ideal candidate:

    • Someone who looks good on TV.
    • Has qualifications to actually be president.
    • Not too extreme.
    • Doesn’t raise lots of money for airplane tickets to speak to 50 people at a time.

    That is, I think the LP should have a figurehead candidate, but no real presidential campaign to speak of. If you don’t try hard, you don’t look silly for losing hugely. The LP should put on the ballot someone it could be proud of. Since the LP cannot properly support a prestigious candidate, few people with a proper resume would actively campaign. But by dropping the requirements down to a few television and radio appearances, and a campaign blog, perhaps the LP could get someone respectable on the ticket. Dan Fylstra, perhaps?

  31. Roscoe Says:

    Perhaps Tim and Trevor are on to something here. About the only reason I can see for having a presidential candidate is that it somewhat impresses the local media when the pres candidate comes in to “campaign” with your local candidate. This may lead to better press. On the other hand, the LP doesn’t have the resources to run a real nationwide presidential campaign—so the pres candidate isn’t going to be able to have joint appearances with every local candidate. So why not let a state or groups of states
    pick their own pres candidate? For instance, New England states pick
    Phillies, MidAtlantic States pick Mrs. X, Western states pick Mr. Y. Then the “prez candidate” has a lot less ground to cover and can appear with more local candidates. Just think. every state rep candidate or county
    commission candidate can have “the” LP presidential candidate show up
    for a press conference and fund raiser. Added benefit: if a “nut” is picked, it limits the damage to the states that chose the nut. More egos can be stroked - up to 50 pres candidates could be chosen. And we’d find out, in an actual campaign experiment, which of the candidates and their team does the best. Sure this is way outside the box. But what the heck do we have to lose?

  32. Joseph Knight Says:

    I prefer putting more resources into local, winnable races BUT we STILL need a prediential candidate so (1) we don’t waste time fighting each other over whether the Demagogue or Reptile is really the lesser of two evils, (2) people who live where there is no organized LP activity will have at least one Libertarian to vote for, and (3) party status and ballot access may depend on a presidential slate in some states. I also think there is some outreach benefit.

    Doug Stanhope is still in the running, apparently planning more, later.
    http://www.stanhope2008.com

    Christine Smith will appeal to a new demographic and should make the state convention circuit a lot more interesting. I hope we keep her viable for the nomination right up until the convention.
    http://www.christinesmithforpresident.com

    Steve Kubby and George Phillies will both work to help the party wherever they go.
    http://www.kubby.com
    http://www.phillies2008.org

    Here’s the rest of my list:

    Lance Brown
    http://www.freedom2008.com

    Jim Burns
    http://www.jimburnsforpresident.us

    Dave Hollist
    http://i.am/trading

    Mike Ross
    http://www.mike-for-prez-2008.tripod.com

    Robert Milnes
    http://www.robertmilnes.net/

  33. [email protected] Says:

    Roscoe,

    I believe that it may have actually been George Phillies who once suggested something along the lines of what you’re talking about—only with the VP candidate instead of the presidential candidate. One presidential candidate spreading himself out as possible nationwide, but a VP candidate in each and every state, campaigning just in that state.

    There are some technical details to such an approach—VP campaigns are supposed to merge with the presidential campaign for FEC reporting/fundraising/etc. after the presidential nomination— which would need to be dealt with, but it would certainly be interesting. The presidential candidate could “reward success” by spending more time in the states where the VP candidates raised more money and built a higher profile for the ticket.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  34. [email protected] Says:

    Trevor,

    I see I forgot to address one issue. You write (concerning Kubby) “Well, so much for not being the first candidate to bring up the drug war.”

    Ten years ago, I was saying the same thing: “We can’t win votes if the first thing we have to say to Joe Sixpack is ‘end the war on drugs.’”

    Steve Kubby proved me wrong—and I’m appalled that many Libertarians still haven’t noticed after ten years that the war on drugs is an issue which increasingly redounds to the credibility of the LP, and an issue on which we are WINNING —some electorally already, and more and more so in the “hearts and minds” area.

    Ten years ago, if I had told you that South Dakota would come within 5% of legalizing medical marijuana, you’d have called me a loon.

    Ten years ago, if I’d told you that in 2006, ten cities would pass measures effectively decriminalizing marijuana by making it “the lowest law enforcement priority,” you’d have called for the guys with the straitjacket.

    Ten years ago, if I’d told you that outright decriminalization would get nearly 40% of the vote in Colorado, and carry Denver (which has already passed a city-level measure), you’d have written me off as delusional.

    EVERY LAST ONE OF THOSE THINGS HAPPENED LAST MONTH.

    Ten years ago, California’s voters legalized marijuana when nobody believed that was possible. Since then, that little piece of libertarian revolution has passed in more than 20% of the states comprising our country, has come close in others, and only failed in DC because “libertarian” Bob Barr pushed through legislation to forbid counting the votes.

    Five years ago, my jaw hit the floor when my rural, social conservative, hardcore Christian parents mused in front of me that they really didn’t understand why my cousin and his wife had to go to prison for ten years and leave their young daughter to be raised by her grandparents, just because they’d allowed a friend to store a barrel of anhydrous ammonia in the barn (“conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine”).

    Any Libertarian presidential candidate who doesn’t feature the war on drugs prominently in his or her campaign is sacrificing a major positive point. Ending the war on drugs is fast becoming a plurality/majority issue, and the LP is the only party which has consistently stood on the right side of that issue. Dropping it or minimizing it just as it’s becoming one of our most effective talking points would be insane.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  35. Sean Scallon Says:

    There’s been talk on other topics about the possibility of Ron Paul running a fusion campaign being the nominee of both the CP and LP. How are libertarians receptive to that idea? Please do respond.

  36. Kris Overstreet Says:

    I’ve put all my thoughts on this subject here:

    http://lyansroar.blogspot.com/2006/12/libertarians-for-president-why-then-who.html

    I think my last paragraph sums it up, though: “Yes, we need a strong Libertartian Prez candidate. Pity we don’t have one yet.”

  37. Kris Overstreet Says:

    Roscoe: One question- why should the media give any time to a candidate who mathematically CANNOT win election no matter what?

    Sean: Considering Paul’s repeated support of “cultural defense”, i. e. white supremacy, I for one would oppose him utterly even if nominated by the LP.

  38. Mike N. Says:

    One question- why should the media give any time to a candidate who mathematically CANNOT win election no matter what?

    In that case, why doesn’t the media cover the LP Prez candidates that mathematically CAN win?

  39. Roscoe Says:

    Kris, one votes for the electoral college electors, not the candidate.
    If in total Libertarian presidential candidates won enough electors, then the electors could certainly meet and agree on which one to cast their votes for.

  40. Robert Milnes Says:

    Joseph & Kris, thank you for the more complete list including me. The Mike Ross link doesn’t seem to lead to a campaign site. Kris, while I appreciate your analysis of some of my positions, negative is better than nothing I suppose, I’d like to briefly clarify some. Apartheid, after centuries of genocide and a century of benign neglect is what we have now basically with Native Americans. My proposal attempts to rectify that. I do not propose a “merger” of the Green and Libertarian parties; rather an “Alliance”. True, libertarian and leftist economics are problematic, but could be managed. The executive ticket is the more complicated area. Fusion is one possibility. Green endorsement of the lp ticket is another. My candidacy with recommended vp Karen Kwiatkowski presents both. However there are other possibilities(other candidates). Assuming, pursuant to “The Libertarian vote” etc., the maximum identification of libertarian is @15% and liberal/left is @45%, a fusion ticket offers the possibility of about 1/2 that i.e. 26% + 8%= 34%, 33%, 33%. Further if a centrist (e.g.Unity08) and/or a conservative party (Reform, Constitution) gets into it, these are votes an alliance/fusion ticket has no chance of getting & comes out of the Dem & rep 33% share each, thereby lowering the threshold. So, we have near 100% ballot access & we have a viable strategy.

  41. Kris Overstreet Says:

    Mike: LP Prez candidates do get some media coverage. Both Badnarik and Brown got appearances on numerous news and talk shows. The main reason we don’t get more is, plain and simple, we have no following to speak of. If our nominee got even 10% on a regular basis in independent polling, we’d get more attention. Instead, we get numbers lower than the margin of error, i. e. nothing.

    This is why you need both a strong Presidential candidate and active candidates at the local level. Strong Prez nominees spread the message where local candidates can’t afford to; local candidates build up support over time which carries over to national candidates.

  42. wyatt earp Says:

    I hope whoever the LP runs for president in 2008 stays clear of hucksters like Allen Hacker.

    The LP has some good achievements but it should learn to investigate its campaign managers in the future.

    Recently the most recent LP presidential candidate Michael Badnarik ran for Congress and was ripped off for $400,000 plus $200,000 (alleged) debt
    by campaign manager/treasurer Allen Hacker and his “secret plan” whicch is now hurting LP fundraising.

    Hacker is demanding an additional $200,000 to divulge how the money was spent.

    Apparently they did very little outreach: a very minimal number of radio ads and appearances, two very lame billboards, no TV, lots and lots of overhead, a retarded looking “smile if you love liberty” sign brigade.

    Oh yeah, they got 4% of the vote.

    So who is Allen Hacker? Since he demanded a list of qualifications from anyone questioning his campaign tactics, a preliminary inquiry has been launched into his own qualifications - which he considers it “illegitimate” to ask about.

    Allen Hacker has a webpage for his campaign management company which lists Badnarik as his only client.

    Doc Holliday wrote at

    http://thirdpartywatch.com/2006/12/06/badnarik-begs-for-another-200k/#comments

    This was emailed to me.

    http://www.success-talk.com/host6.asp?hd=20

    New host Allen Hacker talks about his up coming program, the State of Aescir. He explores his understandings of the Galactic Consciousness and how we each play a role in it.

    ===============

    Does this have anything to do with the “ten thousand years of freedom” thing?

    “Ultimately, it’s about the future of freedom in our world for the next ten thousand years.”
    -AAH

    1. doc holliday Says:
      December 11th, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    This was also emailed to me.

    http://www.aescir.net/

    check out FAQs, glossary, and site map.

    Still haven’t found a client list, though.

    1. doc holliday Says:
      December 11th, 2006 at 5:01 pm

    Last email I received: re Hacker

    Apparently, Allen was a former Vegas Scientology staffer who was kicked out of scientology and tried to start his own cult. He promoted himself as a “group” but in reality it was only him.

    (link posted by Mike Nelson yesterday)

    “The former Las Vegas Scientology Staff Allen Hacker,

    calling himself the “Speaker” for
    his one-man Acceptance Services Mission “Group”, - it
    consists only of one person, himself, and zero assets - has already been declared Suppressive
    due to his public support of
    the known anti-social-personality Dennis Erlich.
    (see RI-ACT-57, enclosed)

    1. wyatt earp Says:
      December 11th, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    Doc,

    you forgot this other email you sent me…

    Allen’s resume.

    Among other things, he invented and trademarked the socratic method (!)

    who knew?

    http://www.lawfulgov.org/founder.htm

    Favorite Allen quote yet:

    “Face it. You guys have taken a wrong turn, and I’m your mentor toward getting back on track. I know you don’t like it, but you appointed me and I am trilled at the prospect of helping you find your way, one way or another.”

    Who appointed “speaker” Allen as our mentor?

    To avoid such monumental embarassments in the future, the LP or interested members should create some way of screening self-appointed gurus, svengalis and saviors who come to manage us.

  43. Mike N. Says:

    Kris,

    Take a look at every LP Prez candidates vote totals… then get back to me about how effective they are at “spreading the message”.

  44. matt Says:

    In 2008, we ought to do one of these two things.

    A) Nominate a fusion candidate with the CP. A lot of tounge-biting and compromise will be required on both sides, but the upside is huge. With the Republicans floundering, a small-govenment type who’s anti-war could make a big impact.

    B) Nominate one of the LP’s more fetching speakers and focus his whole campaign around going from state to state and stumping for state-level candidates. Push states rights: nullification, bringing home the National Guard troops, etc.

  45. Derrick Says:

    Any Libertarian presidential candidate who doesn’t feature the war on drugs prominently in his or her campaign is sacrificing a major positive point. Ending the war on drugs is fast becoming a plurality/majority issue, and the LP is the only party which has consistently stood on the right side of that issue. Dropping it or minimizing it just as it’s becoming one of our most effective talking points would be insane.

    I’ll buy this. It does seem that the War on Drugs has lost a great deal of public support.

  46. Jackcjackson Says:

    I don’t see any point of “fusion” with the CP. I am no fan of most Green ideas, either. But enough things about the CP ( mostly related to religious and other bigotry, to be blunt) turn me off, that I ( a Libertarian) would almost vote for a Green alliance before I could bring myself to supporting a CP candidate or fusion. If Ron Paul runs as a CP candidate, I don’t think I could consider him a “libertarian” any more ( not that he’s really that great of an example now. He happens to be in Congress, though).

  47. Robert Milnes Says:

    Jackcjackson, there you go! Let the CP & reform, Unity08 etc take votes from the dems & reps that we have little chance of getting anyway. I guarantee the Greens are against the war, just like you. In fact, A LOT of positions just like you. Give ‘em a second look see. Have you ever tried green eggs ‘n ham?

  48. matt Says:

    “I’ll buy this. It does seem that the War on Drugs has lost a great deal of public support.”

    I can think of another war with even less public support, and the LP candidate had better campaine on a plan to end it. Othewise, a lot of us will vote for someone who does.

  49. Robert Milnes Says:

    Matt, on the assumption that you are referring to me, this IS a plan to end the war. Immediate cease-fire, withdraw to defensive positions pending negotiations. While Washington sleeps. I don’t see any other quicker, better plan.

  50. Robert Milnes Says:

    Matt, sorry, I’m referring to my proposal on my website and recent Update to article in Rational Review.

  51. [email protected] Says:

    Matt,

    I didn’t mean to imply that the LP or its presidential candidate should focus single-mindedly on the war on drugs as a campaign issue. As a matter of fact, this was one of the first issues I discussed with Steve Kubby when I was deciding whether or not to support and volunteer for his campaign. He agreed that he needs to be talking about what the voters care about, not just his own top priorities.

    Please note that while Kubby has addressed his “natural base constituency” of drug policy reform advocates, and will continue to do so, his first position paper was on Iraq, and his second on immigration. He has no intention of being a “one-issue candidate” ... but he certainly plans to hit his “one issue” hard, because it’s a proven winner.

    To re-cap:

    - The LP is the only political party of any size that advocates ending the war on drugs. Even the Greens generally go for a “softer war” strategy that involves wrestling people to the ground, handcuffing them and hauling them off to a “hospital” rather than wrestling people to the ground, handcuffing them and hauling them off to a jail.
    - Our consistent opposition to the drug war was considered crazy in the 70s, weird in the 80s, and sensible but unlikely in the early 90s. Then it started gaining support nationwide and has gained adoption in various degrees ever since then. Medical marijuana in more than one in five states; outright de facto decriminalization in a number of cities, large and small. A rising movement against “mandatory minimums” and in favor of that (still misguided) “diversion/treatment” approach instead of prison. We haven’t won on this issue, but we’re winning on it. We stood by it when it was crazy, weird and sensible but unlikely … it would be insane not to push it as it gains ground.

    Kubby has bankable credibility on this issue, and he’ll use that credibility for the party’s benefit—but he’s also running a real campaign on all the issues.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  52. Stuart Richards Says:

    Right now I’m thinking Phillies simply because he’s doing work now. Plus, Loretta Nall joined his team and Nall’s a pro at getting coverage.

    I do ultimately agree that we need to concentrate resources on state house races, however. We can have a real effect on that level.

  53. Donny Ferguson Says:

    I think Tom is confusing support for an issue with concern for an issue. Granted, a growing number of people are (thankfully) educating themselves about drug prohibition, but it’s still not an issue that significantly affects their daily life. If our candidate is talking about drugs, and their candidate is talking about what he’s going to do to make health care affordable, 99.8% of the voters are going to vote for the other guy.

    One of the biggest mistakes Libertarian candidates make is running on issues no one outside of the convention hall cares about or thinking “protecting the Constitution” is an issue that will draw the average voter who just wants to get out of traffic, pick his kids up from school and pay his doctor bills.

    As for other comments

    1) We have to run a presidential candidate, simply because for many Libertarians it’s their introduction to the LP and not doing so could kill off the LP nationally. Mine first LP contact was Harry Browne campaigning in Beaumont, Texas in 1996 and getting on the radio.

    2) The presence of presidential candidate does not necessarily mean less resources for local candidates. People are free to choose which candidates they donate to, and most (if not all) money LP candidates raise comes from individual donors, not the National LP. I’m a HUGE proponent of running at the most local level possible, but that doesn’t mean there’s no merit in fielding a presidential candidate and letting people choose to support him.

    3) We CAN’T run a candidate who repels the average voter by reinforcing the already-known Libertarian “pothead” stereotype (Kubby,) will talk over their heads (Phillies) or is a total unknown (Smith, who is at least working hard to be known among the few hundred delegates.) Preferably, the candidate would be someone who can plainly and clearly explain libertarian principles and be notable enough to at least be listened to. Not sure who that is at this point, as Gary Johnson doesn’t seem interested this time around and the party is too narrowly focused to accomodate a small-L Dem or Republican.

    4) The last thing I want to do is nominate a presidential candidate who will either divide the party or reinforce negative stereotypes about it. Seems like the only choice (at least at this point) is to nominate someone who can’t do any harm.

  54. Robert Milnes Says:

    OK, just saw an interview on Wolf Blitzer with Peter Galbraith, former ambassador to Bosnia, about his book “The End of Iraq”. I haven’t read the book, but from what I heard the partition of Iraq is a done deal. At least as far as reality on the ground, not in the fantasy of the US govt.

  55. Executive Detractor Says:

    Timothy West for LP President! He’s no Harry Browne!

  56. Eric Dondero Says:

    Yippee!! I checked out the Doug Stanhope site. Seems that there’s still some hope he may run. Stanhope/Greg Raymer would be a fantastic ticket for the Libertarian Party.

    I’m also hearing rumors that magician Penn Jillette may be considering a run. Hope they’re true.

    MAN I HOPE THE LP RUNS A CELEBRITY.

    Such useless internal masturbation going on here with this thread talking about 3rd tier Nobody candidates like Kubby and Phillies. Who outside of the Libertarian Party has ever heard of either of these individuals? (Well, besides Rob Kampia at MPP).

    What nonsense to be even talking about them as Presidential candidates.

    Here’s a List of possible LP Presidential candidates that makes sense:

    Ed Thompson

    Ron Paul

    Sheriff Bill Masters

    Fmr. New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson

    Fmr. AZ Cong. Sam Steiger

    Judge Robert Gray

    Fmr. Bellflower Mayor Art Olivier

    Jesse Ventura

    Dennis Miller

    Penn Jillette

    Doug Stanhope

    Howard Stern

    Kurt Russell

    Clint Eastwood

    Leon Drolet

    Don Gorman

    Fmr. MI Senator Dave Jaye

    Or just about ANY LIBERTARIAN OR LIBERTARIAN-LEANER WHO HAS EVER HELD SIGNIFICANT ELECTIVE OFFICE OR IS A HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITY OR BUSINESS TYCOON.

    Full list of libertarian celebrities and elected libertarians at www.mainstreamlibertarian.com

  57. George Phillies Says:

    The War On Iraq - The Libertarian message is simple. End the war! Bring our troops all the way home to America, as swiftly as possible consistent with their safety and practical logistical considerations. Stop meddling in the internal affairs of foreign countries. End Federal foreign aid. Our most effective foreign aid is the money you spend to buy foreign goods. It goes to productive workers and employers, not kleptocrat dictators. Support Americans giving charity to drought and disaster victims.

    FROM http://www.phillies2008.com/issues

  58. Joe Magyer Says:

    Tom,

    Respectfully, I disagree that the war on drugs is a “proven winner” of an issue, particularly for the LP. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many potential voters I’ve talked to who have said “I’d vote for you guys if not for the drug thing.” In my mind, the LPs stance on the war on drugs is the single most alienating aspect of our platform. A November Gallup poll showed that Americans perceive the “problem” of drugs to be the 19th most important non-economic issue facing our country. I don’t want to say that people don’t care about the issue, but there are many larger issues that voters care about than the war on drugs. If our next Presidential candidate ties his horse to the unpopular side of an unpopular issue, we could be looking at another Badnarik-like performance in 2008. Thoughts?

    Regards,
    Joe

  59. Bill Wood Says:

    If we are going to make up a list of people to run for President as the Libertarian Candidate (even if they are not Libertarians, like almost everyone on the above list) we might has well reach for the sky. Lets run someone like:

    Donald Trump- money, well known and smart.

    Jessica Simpson- money, well known and well just look at her ;-)

    Elmo-well known, likes to laugh

    Britney Spears-money, well known and everyone will be watching when she exits the President’s limo.

    Feel free to add more names of anyone who you wish to see running for President. It doesn’t matter if they’re libertarians or not, we will “force” them to run anyway.

  60. Robert Milnes Says:

    Joe Magyer, Your interview of me in American Politic is evidently still getting hits. You’ve hit on an extremely sore issue between me & Tom. I see Kubby as riding a wave of drug legalization…shall we say support? To the negative association of the lp overall. Tom evidently sees it to the contrary. Whereas I & virtually all libertarians support drug decriminalization, I would not make it central in my campaign. Further, I personally do not do drugs, drink or smoke (anything) although I have long ago. See my bio. I have even decided to not take anti-depressants. So I have a miserable but drug free life! I hope we can resolve this because it is a very sore issue for me at least.

  61. Chris Moore Says:

    Unfortunately Robert, the issues you have chosen to focus on will not win you many votes in the LP.

    Specifically, from you site, I find the following highlights from your platform:

    (1) A smart fence with expensive equipment paid for by taxes.

    (2) Negotiated return of Iraq to Baathist control, and splitting Iraq into three pieces.

    (3) Appointment of women to 50% of cabinet positions.

    (4) The “swapping” of Gaza for Northern Israel.

    (5) Adding 26 states, and possibly federating with Canada.

    (6) Specifically, you propose returning control of Afganistan to the Taliban and negotiating with them to make the country one of these new 26 states. And,

    (7) A government cryogenic program, which I assume would be paid for via taxes.

    With that “platform” I can guarantee that you will have a mountainous uphill battle in securing the LP nomination. It will require convincing a very principled (by this I mean stubborn) group of individuals to radically change their political beliefs. This will be nearly impossible, especially considering you have no significant “presence” within the Libertarian community.

    You may SUPPORT drug decriminalization, but as Tom Knapp has asked you: what have you DONE?

  62. paulie cannoli Says:

    Kubby is the obvious and correct choice.

    Maybe the LP will get it right for once - dare I hope?

  63. Robert Milnes Says:

    Chris Moore, haven’t we been here before? Stubborn! I’ll say. Obstinate. How’s this for a soundbite quote?: Ask not what the candidate has done. Ask what he would do if he could. I’ve already conceded my lack of resume. I have great regrets about what depression has done to my life. & now it is being held against me. You blame the victim, sir. Now, if I might defend my positions? As enumerated in order: 1. A smart fence is the only thing that will work. Electronic surveillance of the border is in the platform. If you consider what is ALREADY being spent on this problem, directly & indirectly, I’m sure it would be economical. A 2 lane blacktop with widely dispersed towers & helipads with self-defensive equipment. The road & equipment can do double duty in local economies, transportation etc. 2. Iraq is already split into three pieces. I propose a negotiated settlement instead of US troops refereeing. 3. women 50%. Who’s against this, your mother? 4. Gaza is a contiguous absurdity. As soon as I saw Sharon calling for radical Israelis to leave, I knew the correct course was somewhere opposite. 5 Haven’t you ever heard of the 76ers? 6. Not exactly. I proposed declaring war on Afghanistan which should have been done on Sept. 12. Now it would be a mere formality which would among other things clarify the Guantanimo situation. I’d immediately pull out US troops & then when the Taliban came back, propose the colony statehood. Proposing colony-statehood is what should have been done BEFORE Sept. 11. Living in the Stone Age has got to be uncomfortable. 7 I originally thought of the cryogenic program for endangered (or recently extinct)species. But then after Ted Williams I wondered how many people would opt for this if the government made it widely available. Many I would think. User fees possibly ofsetting costs?

  64. paulie cannoli Says:

    It’s hard for me to imagine that Steve Kubby’s presence in Chattanooga, TN would do very much to help our down ticket candidates after the media goes to google and types in his name.

    I disagree.

    Sure, he would appeal to a niche market, but that would be an improvement over what the LP has done in the past.

  65. paulie cannoli Says:

    Still waiting for him to explain the apparent Eurocentrism in his Borders position plank….

    http://phillies2008.com/issues

    Borders - Americans who quote the Statue of Liberty’s message ‘Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free’ should remember that it was written when France, Germany and Russia were autocratic monarchies. The huddled masses of Europe now breathe free. When Americans want open borders, they will tell Congress to vote for open borders. Until then, a Libertarian President who has sworn to protect and defend the Constitution will protect and defend the laws on border crossings. George Bush has created many enemies for America. Keeping them from coming here to injure our children and grandchildren must remain a top-priority issue for the foreseeable future.

    I like Kubby’s position on that a lot better

    http://kubby.com/issues/immigration.html

    Since Phillies reads and comments on these blogs why won’t he explain this further?

    Kubby would be the best general election candidate, but Phillies might beat him at the convention.

    He seems to have the support of several hard-working activists including, inexplicably to me, Loretta Nall.

    His website, at least so far, is better than Kubby’s.

    Reasons I don’t care for Phillies:

    1. Immigration stance, and, even worse, reasons given to explain it which are openly Eurocentric.

    2. His open disdain for tax protestors, regime ID resisters, 9/11 truthers, etc.

    3. Personality/charisma, specifically, lack thereof.

    4. Repeated runs for top level spots demonstrate hubris.

    However, he does have many good points too, such as his pro-withdrawal position on Iraq and his campaign to clean up LP internal conflicts of interest.

    I just think Kubby would be a much better nominee - if he can get past the LP nomination process, which makes byzantium appear sane.

    I’m hoping Kubby gets it - he’s exactly what the LP needs and has needed for quite some time, a bridge to the left and an effective spokesman and activist as well as a true real life hero and experienced campaigner.

  66. paulie cannoli Says:

    Whoops, blew a tag. The part starting with “I like” should not be in italics.

  67. paulie cannoli Says:

    I disagree.

    From harry Browne’s Post-Campaign Report 2000:

    IS THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IRRELEVANT?

    Given our small vote total, a natural question arises: was the presidential campaign worth the trouble? Was it worth the money donated? Was it worth the time and energy expended by the campaign staff, by the thousands of volunteers, and by me?

    In the December-January issue of Republican Liberty, the newsletter of the Republican Liberty Caucus, editor Thomas D. Walls wrote:

    I hate to say it, but the election further demonstrated the irrelevance of LP Presidential campaigns. . . . when the quixotic LP presidential run consistently gets next to nothing in the popular vote, you’ve got to either mend it or end it. Remember, insanity is repeating the same action expecting a different result. Look, I feel your pain, but it’s a losing strategy, and diverts time, talent and resources.

    Are LP presidential campaigns irrelevant?

    I don’t think so.

    During 2000, I appeared on 53 national television shows and 90 national radio shows — plus 80 local TV shows and 375 local radio shows. I had hundreds of press and Internet interviews, and I gave dozens and dozens of speeches.

    Those appearances told millions of Americans that there was something well beyond the big-government proposals of George Bush and Al Gore. People heard that it was possible to have an America quite unlike anything they had seen in their lifetimes.

    It is an America in which the government stays out of your life — and government is so small that you don’t pay any income tax at all. An America in which you’re completely free from the oppressive and wasteful Social Security tax. An America in which the government doesn’t foster gang warfare and violence through an insane War on Drugs. An America in which government doesn’t interfere in any way with your ability to defend yourself, your family, and your property.

    It is an America of charity hospitals, free clinics, doctors who make house calls, low-cost health insurance accessible to almost everyone, and hospital stays that don’t bankrupt you — in short, the kind of health-care system we once had before the government systematically destroyed it with Medicare and Medicaid.

    If there had been no Libertarian presidential candidate, how many times would Americans have heard ideas like that on television and radio?

    That’s right: not once. No one else was describing possibilities that go beyond the narrow, depressingly pessimistic choices offered by Democrats and Republicans.

    No one else was on TV and radio across the country proposing to reduce government dramatically. No one else was giving specific examples of government failing to achieve what it promises, or explaining Libertarian proposals to large audiences.

    Having a Libertarian candidate lets millions of Americans know that there’s a large number of people who think as they do — who want to get government out of their lives, who want them to be free to live as they think best, not as George Bush or Al Gore thinks they should. Such a campaign gives hope — no matter how faint — to people who had long since given up on the idea that anything would ever change or that government could ever be cut down to size.

    It’s true that LP officials appear on TV and radio outside of presidential campaigns (and so do I). But those appearances are very rare compared to those generated by a presidential campaign. More important, a non-campaign appearance is linked almost always to a specific issue of the day — and usually an issue in which the Libertarian has to argue against a change in the status quo. During the presidential campaign, most of the time I was able to raise the issues I wanted, I was able to talk about a better world that would come from positive change toward truly smaller government, and I was able to draw people to our website where they could learn more about libertarian ideas.
    OTHER EXPOSURE

    In addition to the media appearances, a presidential campaign contributes to the growth of the libertarian movement in other ways.

    We had over 1.5 million different visitors to the website — people who learned that there’s a better life possible than what the Republicans or Democrats are offering. Many of them came back over and over to become new members of the LP or the libertarian movement.

    And then there were the many speeches and media appearances that our vice-presidential candidate Art Olivier made. He represented our ideas articulately, persuasively, and passionately.
    LOCAL CANDIDATES

    Lastly, we should recognize the help that all this coverage gave to local LP candidates.

    The more coverage the presidential ticket generates, the more votes accrue to down-ticket Libertarian candidates. Many people hear of Libertarians only through the presidential campaign, and they are persuaded by libertarian ideas. But they have learned to detest one or both of the two major presidential candidates. And they feel constrained to vote for the major candidate they detest the least, in order to keep out of the White House the one they detest the most.

    In most cases they have no such strong feelings about Congressional, state, or local candidates. In fact, I think most voters have never even heard of any of the candidates for most lower offices. So they have no emotional urge to defeat any particular person. They are perfectly free to vote Libertarian in these races if they’ve become convinced that Libertarian ideas are the closest to what they want. The more visible and persuasive the Presidential candidate is, the better local Libertarians do.

    Here is one of many similar emails I received after the campaign:

    I voted Libertarian everywhere I could this year except for President, as I was more afraid of Gore’s agenda than Bush’s. I did vote for Harry in the 1996 election as I felt the offerings were essentially equal. . . . I just believe under Gore that we would move away from a possibility that we could have a constitutionally limited Republic in the future.

    We should recognize that no local LP candidate is going to be invited to appear on Hannity & Colmes, Meet the Press, National Public Radio, or Politically Incorrect. And yet it is the national TV and radio shows that give an aura of respectability and plausibility to our ideas — that in an unspoken way tell the voter that our ideas are not beyond the fringe.

    Happily, local Libertarian candidates reached a new record in votes received. I don’t think those kind of vote totals could be achieved without a presidential campaign.”

  68. paulie cannoli Says:

    Dammit, tags are not my friend today.

    Above is in response to Tim West

    “the best thing the LP could do is funnel every dime and effort they have into state level races, run no presidential candidate, ( unless a first tier candidate in every sense of the word, former Congressman, Senator, ffamous ) and start building the state parties back.”

  69. Chris Moore Says:

    Robert, I never disparaged your platform planks (though I do have significant problems with many of them). I never said your lack of resume made you a bad person. I’m merely pointing out that if these are your priorities, and you have no resume then you will have a tough road towards the nomination.

    You are applying for a management and leadership position. You have no experience in management or leadership. I see no reason to hire you. Nothing personal. You’re just not qualified to even be the LP’s nominee. Neither am I.

  70. matt Says:

    Kubby and Phillies both have strong peace platforms.

    Do they have the guts to make this their number one campaign issue? Our friends and relatives are dying, arab people are being killed, raped, tortured, and/or impoverished, and we’re forced to pay for it. This to me is a bigger issue than the drug war or internet poker.

  71. paulie cannoli Says:

    Phil,

    “My formula for the LP:

    1. Pick a moderate-conservative district with an open seat or weak/scandal-plagued incumbent. Preferably high gun ownership and eminent domain problems.”

    Why not a liberal district?

    The confusion between libertarian and conservative is a huge part of what has been wrong with the LP.

    See

    http://al.lp.org/node/150

    and

    http://al.lp.org/node/360

  72. paulie cannoli Says:

    Matt,

    I agree that it should be our top priority.

    However, the drug war is also a huge and continuing festering scab on America, and Kubby is uniquely qualified to speak out about it.

    I agree that he should speak out about foreign wars and occupations, destruction of domestic civil liberty in the name of the war on terror, and regime corruption.

    In fact he is already doing so.

    Medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, impeaching Bush, 9/11 truth and immigration are also all top issues where the Democrats are vulnerable from a left-libertarian direction.

    The voters who gave the Democrats control of Congress are not going to be happy with their lack of progress on any of these issues.

  73. paulie cannoli Says:

    “The LP needs to focus our very limited resources (mainly MONEY) on 1 or 2 (max - total, not per state) finely selected state house/senate races.”

    Having a former Presidential candidate run for a lower level race is a good idea in principle.

    Next time, examine potential campaign managers carefully, manage the campaign more openly, and do early outreach.

    Also, I agree that State House is likely still more realistsic than US House.

    It would be good to have Kubby in Sacramento after 2010.

  74. paulie cannoli Says:

    Not running a presidential candidate would be stupid. It would also be stupid to seriously expect to win any race above county commission. Screw state representative; even if we get two people elected to the Texas/Georgia/Vermont/Indiana state house, they won’t be able to do much more than Ron Paul. Let’s clear the bloat from municipal governments first, then move up.

    Sheriff races are the best when possible.

  75. [email protected] Says:

    Joe,

    You write:

    “Respectfully, I disagree that the war on drugs is a ‘proven winner’ of an issue, particularly for the LP. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many potential voters I’ve talked to who have said ‘I’d vote for you guys if not for the drug thing.’”

    Things are changing and evolving. The fact is that voters in 11 states around the US have approved medical marijuana with majorities. Outright decriminalization got nearly 40% in Colorado last month.

    How many partisan Libertarian candidates have won a statewide election, or even received 40% of the vote in one? The cross-comparison is rough, but not completely invalid. Libertarian drug policy proposals are more popular than Libertarian candidates, and continuing to rise in popularity.

    Obviously, the LP can’t just “ride on a wave” (as Milnes puts it) of drug policy support. But a candidate with a sane drug policy position and who is otherwise credible could increase LP vote share toward the share currently taken by drug reform.

    While Kubby is best known for his work in drug policy reform, that work produces credentials and credibility that extend beyond the issue—and those credentials and credibility far surpass those of his declared opponents for the LP’s nomination.

    The key is broadening his personal appeal beyond the one issue, which is what we’re working on right now.

    “In my mind, the LPs stance on the war on drugs is the single most alienating aspect of our platform.”

    Then why does the LP’s stance on the war on drugs command more popular support than the LP’s candidates, running on that whole platform, do?

    “A November Gallup poll showed that Americans perceive the ‘problem’ of drugs to be the 19th most important non-economic issue facing our country. I don’t want to say that people don’t care about the issue, but there are many larger issues that voters care about than the war on drugs.”

    Absolutely right. That’s why Kubby’s talking about Iraq, immigration, energy policy, etc.

    “If our next Presidential candidate ties his horse to the unpopular side of an unpopular issue, we could be looking at another Badnarik-like performance in 2008. Thoughts?”

    First of all, consider the weighting. You yourself said that the “drug problem” ranks number 19 in importance with the voters as a whole. That includes almost all of the voters who oppose drug policy reform. However, there is a constituency for which drug policy reform is THE number one issue, and which is on the same side as the LP of that issue.

    Remember, we’re in no position to seek a majority of the vote in 2008, even excluding the drug issue. We’re still at the point of capturing the allegiance of various constituencies, and the drug policy reform movement is one constituency we should be able to get on board.

    If I thought Kubby was just going to run on “drugs, drugs, drugs,” I wouldn’t be working with him. But it would be silly for any LP candidate, let alone one whose background is mainly in that issue, to run from it.

    Let’s not re-write history here. Badnarik did remarkably well in 2004 given the circumstances. He had no money, no media and two campaign workers when he won the nomination. In the intervening five months, he raised a million dollars and produced a mid-range/average LP vote total. He did about as well as Browne 2000 on 1/3 the money, and without six years of prior campaigning to boost his name recognition. He didn’t do much worse than Ron Paul, who was the nominee, and who campaigned as such, for 14 months before the election, and who had, inflation-adjusted, about five times as much money. He did not quite half as well as Ed Clark with, once again inflation-adjusted, 1/9th the money and 1/3 the campaign time as the nominee.

    Speculatively, the LP “base” is about 200,000 presidential votes—people who are going to vote LP even if we nominated a Charles Manson/Jeffrey Dahmer ticket. Badnarik seems to have added 200,000 “pick-up votes” to that base. He got more votes than David Bergland. He got more votes than Andre Marrou.

    I’m not trying to paint Badnarik’s campaign as a smashing success, but it was hardly out of line with reasonable expectations based on the circumstances. Badnarik did a LOT with what he had to work with.

    Kubby starts off with more to work with in terms of name recognition and political credentials. I intend to spend the coming months making sure he has more to work with in terms of campaign funds, media, etc. I see absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t beat, possibly by multiples, Ed Clark’s 1980 record of 920,000 votes.

    Regards,
    Tom Knapp

  76. paulie cannoli Says:

    Roscoe,

    “About the only reason I can see for having a presidential candidate is that it somewhat impresses the local media when the pres candidate comes in to “campaign” with your local candidate. This may lead to better press. On the other hand, the LP doesn’t have the resources to run a real nationwide presidential campaign—so the pres candidate isn’t going to be able to have joint appearances with every local candidate. So why not let a state or groups of states pick their own pres candidate?”

    For one thing, because then it would be a lot less impressive when that candidate campaigns with your local candidates.

    For another, because the party bylaws would have to be changed before you can do that, which means we will have one national LP ticket in 2008.

  77. paulie cannoli Says:

    Outright decriminalization got nearly 40% in Colorado last month.

    Actually it got OVER 40% in BOTH Colorado AND Nevada.

  78. paulie cannoli Says:

    “Ten years ago, if I had told you that South Dakota would come within 5% of legalizing medical marijuana, you’d have called me a loon.”

    2%

  79. paulie cannoli Says:

    There’s been talk on other topics about the possibility of Ron Paul running a fusion campaign being the nominee of both the CP and LP. How are libertarians receptive to that idea? Please do respond.

    Firs of all I don’t think RP is interested.

    But so what if he was? Other than the fact the CP did not exist in 1988 I don’t see it being much different from his ‘88 run if that was to happen.

    Strategically, I think it’s the wrong direction to go.

    The LP should expand by capturing the votes of young people, recent immigrants, and others who might otherwise consider voting Green or Democrat or not voting at all.

    Among added benefits, if it were to succeed in doing this it would bring in more creative people who would be good at marketing the message to others in new ways; it would look better to the general public by being more diverse; it would be far more accepted in the media, in the colleges, and so forth; it would bring in people who have more experience and inclination for real life activism (rather than talk radio, internet, and other more impersonal activities); it would reach a market whose income will be growing substantially in the future, rather than one whose members will be becoming less mobile and dying off in large numbers soon; and it would tap a market which has not been tapped, unlike the conservative side, where LP appeals have already been commonplace.

    Furthermore, it would be appealing to a market of people who are less likely to already have a firm attachment to a political party, and are in general more into change in their life and views than older, more establishment types who are over-represented among political conservatives.

    In short, appealing to the left/libertarian makes more strategic sense than the diminishing returns we can expect by doing more of the same (appealing to the right/libertarian line especially in an era of Red State Fascism).

    Kubby’s campaign has the best chance of realizing this long overdue transition.

  80. paulie cannoli Says:

    “Kubby starts off with more to work with in terms of name recognition and political credentials. I intend to spend the coming months making sure he has more to work with in terms of campaign funds, media, etc. I see absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t beat, possibly by multiples, Ed Clark’s 1980 record of 920,000 votes.”

    I agree. But to get to that point first you have to get the nomination.

    I think you should do more direct appeals to party members to guarantee this, as well as recruiting ne party member-activists through the campaign.

    Also, you have to be ready to plug in people who offer to volunteer for the campaign and have tasks they can choose from.

    For example, I’ve offered to help, and so far have not really got much in the way of suggestions of what I can help with.

    I’m doing what I already do, IE posting to a few blogs and yahoo groups and talking up Kubby; but there are likely to be other things I could do if you suggested them to me, which I just haven’t thought of.

    This isn’t about me. Chances are there are other people in the same boat. Or those who would be if the campaign contacted them.

    Also, if you had outreach materials such as brochures or DVDs I could already be distributing them.

    I’m also wondering where those 50 state lists you referred to in another post are. So far as I can tell they are not linked from kubby.com or any other site I’ve seen.

  81. paulie cannoli Says:

    “So far as I can tell, there is really only one metric on which Phillies could reasonably be said to be “ahead” of Kubby, and that’s in his effort to get into production of TV commercials.”

    There are at least two others

    1) Public website quality. I know you told me you’re working on a new Kubby site, so hopefully this will no longer be true soon.

    2) Known endorsements from LP activists.

    Hopefully Kubby is working and will work on this more as well, as they have been the reason many people have cited for supporting Phillies.

    It may be in many cases that all Kubby would have to do is ask.

    If he doesn’t, and Phillies does, it could create momentum which will be hard to overcome.

  82. paulie cannoli Says:

    “Take a look at every LP Prez candidates vote totals… then get back to me about how effective they are at “spreading the message”.”

    That’s an incomplete picture. Presidential candidates reach many people with the message who don’t end up voting for them because of the wasted vote calculation in the winner-take-all political system, yet may vote for other LP candidates that year or in the future, learn more about the LP, become future contributors, activists and/or candidates themselves, etc.

    Perhaps they may not support the LP but might change their minds or at least open their minds about some issues.

    Most change is at the margin.

  83. paulie cannoli Says:

    “Right now I’m thinking Phillies simply because he’s doing work now. Plus, Loretta Nall joined his team and Nall’s a pro at getting coverage.”

    That’s something else which continues to puzzle me.

    I’ve asked her repeatedly on a variety of fora and she just ignores the question. Other people have asked too, with no answer.

    Just as with the question to Phillies about his eurocentric position on the immigration issue, which he also simply ignores.

  84. paulie cannoli Says:

    “Granted, a growing number of people are (thankfully) educating themselves about drug prohibition, but it’s still not an issue that significantly affects their daily life. ”

    But there ARE a lot of people for whom it does.

    7 million people are in prison/jail or on parole/probation, and many others have been in the past or have warrants out. A large percentage of these are drug related. Each year tens of thousands of people are killed and maimed - and many more robbed - because of violence created by drug prohibition.

    All these people have family and friends.

    Many millions of people are medical and/or recreational drug users living in fear of arrest, posioning, unemployment, ripoffs, etc., due to prohibition.

    This is a HUGE niche market!

  85. paulie cannoli Says:

    http://thirdpartywatch.com/2006/12/10/libertarian-hopefuls-for-president-in-2008/#comment-76881

    8I think you should do more direct appeals to party members to guarantee this, as well as recruiting NEW party member-activists through the campaign.

  86. Robert Milnes Says:

    Chris, you seem to have simplified the presidential job qualification equation down to experience + leadership = qualified. It’s not that simple. + the presidency is a quantum leap from any other job. Even the debate here is complicated amongs fellow libertarians. Just ask paulie cannolli x2 cubed.

  87. Robert Milnes Says:

    Chris, not to mention Catch-22.

  88. Andy Says:

    Here’s a great video clip of Doug Stanhope that features an introduction from Alex Jones. I don’t know how he’d be as a presidential candidate or if he’s really serious about running, but associating with Alex Jones makes him “cool” in my book.

    http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=44398692&blogID=156065499&Mytoken=D4662E74-AA6B-4ACD-B05310AEF93099653577124

  89. paulie cannoli Says:

    Just ask paulie cannolli x2 cubed.

    What would you like to ask?

  90. paulie cannoli Says:

    BTW the Paulie commenting on that Stanhope thing is not me.

    He is listed as 85 years old and from the UK.

  91. Chris Moore Says:

    “Chris, you seem to have simplified the presidential job qualification equation down to experience + leadership = qualified.”

    No, I didn’t. I wasn’t even talking about the job of President, which NONE of the current contenders for the LP would be “qualified” to fill (the requirements being the ability to garner about 50 million votes). Besides, I was talking about minimum qualifications.

    The MINIMUM qualification for the LP’s nomination is at least some leadership and management experience. If you receive the nomination, you will be the de facto leader of the Libertarian Party. You will also be the CEO of a $1-3 mil