What is it about “exploratory” that Knapp doesn’t understand?

My good friend Tom just took a jab at the Barr exploratory committee.

The response seems to match the offering—more fizzle. Three days after his kinda-sort-maybe “announcement,” Barr’s fundraising meter stands at less than 1/10th of its initial $250,000 goal.

One might ask my buddy how long it took his candidate to raise his first $20,000. For some reason, he can’t accept the fact that Barr isn’t a presidential candidate at this time. We are simply testing the waters and organizing at the moment. Additionally, one might also ask my friend exactly how organized the campaign for which he works is.

Our toes are in the water and we are checking out the temperature. We are also looking for boulders and other dangerous obstacles beneath the water. When and if we decide to jump in, I’ll suggest that Tom should don a swimming suit or step back, as he’s likely to get fairly wet from the splash.

Of course, if you want to see Knapp become a bit more anxious, this might be a good time to toss a few bucks towards Barr’s exploratory committee.

69 Responses to “What is it about “exploratory” that Knapp doesn’t understand?”

  1. Trent Hill Says:

    Are we now promoting our own campaigns? Or are we acting as a news-aggregator?

    I’d be happy to encourage our readers to donate to any number of campaigns—but I was under the impression that this site wasnt for propoganda.

  2. Hugh Jass Says:

    To be fair, this was filed under opinion.

  3. Trent Hill Says:

    Furthermore: Knapp is right.

    (Yea! I said it! What!?)

    Barr is a former congressman who’s well-known within both conservative and liberal circles. News of his announcement or near-announcement has hit CNN, ABC, CBS, and elsewhere—yet he’s rasied only 20k?

  4. Trent Hill Says:

    Hugh,

    Its also HIS website. But I was under the impression that promotion of campaigns was not the objective.

  5. NewFederalist Says:

    Whatever happened to Austin? This site was a lot less contentious when he ran things.

  6. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Actually, I’m glad you guys are providing input about the role of the site during campaign season. What is your opinion about how to balance news, be fair to other candidate, indiciate opinion, disclaim articles, etc.?

    Since I’m working on a campaign (actually, as soon as I first expected that I might be), I started posting releases from other campaigns unedited. I’ve now added the “Media Release” name, as opposed to using my own.

    However, this site has always carried some political opinion, as well. How do you think I should best balance all of these issues?

  7. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Actually, Knapp needs the same balance I do, as we are both working opposing campaigns at the moment and we both post here.

  8. Skyler McKinley Says:

    Stephen,

    Could someone on our campaign post blogs on this site? It only seems fair if all the candidates were invited to do so.

  9. NewFederalist Says:

    Frankly, I don’t think you can. It is tough to be fair and balanced when you have a dog in the fight.

  10. Balph Says:

    Testing. My comments have been censored of late. Testing.

  11. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Skyler,

    I’m working on a related concept. I’ll need some help (especially with certain campaigns) to get it off the ground, though. Are you interested in helping organize this?

  12. Trent Hill Says:

    Stephen,

    My only concern is when you asked for donations for Barr. I dont mind the political manuevering—but asking for donations? There is a reason I dont have a Landline.

    And please dont start just letting anyone post blogs either. We need more Green/Left coverage—and thats about it.

  13. Skyler McKinley Says:

    Stephen,

    Give me a call when you get the chance; we’ll chat.

  14. Stephen Gordon Says:

    Trent,

    I normally wouldn’t have entered a fundraising link, but Tom just made it so easy for me. :)

    I think I have a new person starting in a few days who can provide more material from the left. It is so much easier to get people involved from the CP and LP than from the GP or Nader camp.

  15. NewFederalist Says:

    I would still like to know whatever happened to Austin Cassidy?

  16. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Steve (Gordon),

    I don’t think it’s any secret that the Kubby campaign failed in spades to meet its goals.

    Bob Barr is not Steve Kubby. Bob Barr is a former congresscritter who got huge buildup in both the party and in the media (including of his fundraising chops). Kubby is not.

    I’m not sure how the failures of the Kubby campaign are in any way relevant to the fact that Barr is limping out of the gate, playing “exploratory committee” games only weeks before the nominating convention and clearly not raising the kind of money anticipated (hint—if these were the results anticipated, the top of the thermometer would have been at $50k, not $250k).

    I support Kubby out of friendship, loyalty and ideological affinity. I had looked forward to supporting Barr as a “serious candidate”—but he keeps refusing to get serious.

  17. George Phillies Says:

    I have made a modest investment to have a site created, like Daily Kos, at which everyone can equally post essays—’diaries’—rather than being at the mercy of a few site owners. It should be possible for teh site owner—I am not the owner—to arrange things to give all campaigns equal front-page posting privileges. You will find that I am using the site to post excerpts from my book “Stand Up for Liberty!”, which is available for free at http://www.cmlc.org .

    The site in question is

    http://TheDailyLiberty.com

    One might, however, ask whether it is appropriate for the LNC to have the LP.ORG blog pointed here, given the issues noted above.

  18. Darcy G Richardson Says:

    “Our toes are in the water and we are checking out the temperature. We are also looking for boulders and other dangerous obstacles beneath the water.”

    Wow. Sounds like the kind of bold and courageous leadership the party needs. Let us know if you find Barr’s backbone in those choppy waters.

  19. G.E Smith the Capitalist Dove Says:

    SG needs to get his panties out of a bunch.

    This is his site, and he can do whatever he wants with it—but Knapp posted his entry at his own personal site, not this supposedly “news” site. Very unprofessional on the part of SG. I can’t imagine Austin doing this. This was Joey Dauben level.

    And far from encouraging Barr, I did donate and wish I hadn’t. Others are seeing he supports the FraudTax and backing away. Each subsequent statement he makes glorifying statists and revealing his ignorance of the Constitution makes me regret my initial enthusiasm even more.

    Barr should have hired better advisers.

  20. LifeMember Says:

    George Phillies: Nobody in the entire world cares about your Libertarian DailyKos.

    Alexa says: Rank: 11,670,262

    Knapp: You may be right about Barr. However, I can’t imagine that he is dumb enough not to be taking these factors into consideration. I’ll reserve judgement for maybe two weeks from his first announcement. Knowing Gordo, we’ll be hearing leaks about his next announcement in the MSM for a week in advance, anyway.

  21. Eric Dondero Says:

    Look, Bob Barr is one of the two frontrunners for the LP Presidential nomination. It’s natural he would be more deserving of coverage than say a end tier candidate like Christine Smith of Steve Kubby.

    Is Kubby even still running? He doesn’t even show up to LP Conventions.

    Give the majority of the coverage at TPW to Root, Barr and Gravel. They are leaps and bounds above all the other also rans.

  22. Steve Kubby Says:

    My biggest concern over candidate Barr seeking the nomination is his enthusiastic support for the Fair Tax, or what many Libertarians call the “Fraud Tax.” So far, this is about the only thing on which candidate Barr has take a clear position and it is as anti-Libertarian as I can imagine.. Barr’s new tax would not only end up becoming the single biggest tax increase in our country’s history, it would transform us overnight into a welfare society. If ever there was a poison pill for Libertarians, it is the Fraud Tax and if this is where Barr wants to take us, we need to cut bait and get back to being the Party of Principle, not a whore house for recovering Republicans.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that Barr has joined the LP and I believe he has a genuine contribution to make to the cause of freedom. However, he brings a lot of baggage with him. As a result, Barr has dues to pay, apologies to make and trust that needs to be earned, before he is ready to seek our nomination and to represent our party.

  23. NewFederalist Says:

    “I would rather be right than president.” -Henry Clay 1850

  24. Syd Breaker Says:

    Looks like no Ron Paul love for Bob Barr afterall:

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Feature-Article.htm?InfoNo=032158

  25. David F. Nolan Says:

    A week ago, I thought Barr would be the odds-on favorite to win the LP nomination once he declared, but I have to agree that he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire since announcing his Exploratory Committee. He’s raised about $21K, most of it the first day; his website is almost content-free; and stories about his dubious past are starting to surface. (Do a search for Barr’s name plus “Chester Doles.”) I hate to agree with Dongledoo, but right now Root may still be the leading contender on the Republican-leaning side of the race. Of course, whoever wins that showdown (Root or Barr) will still have to face off against a hardcore, consistent libertarian (probably Ruwart).

  26. laine Says:

    I for one would indeed appreciate more coverage from the left in regards to the Greens, Socialists and Mr.Nader. I suppose a good number of people are interested in Libertarian politics here and that is good I don’t mind the coverage but at this point it is becoming closer to LPW rather than TPW.

  27. Susan Hogarth Says:

    “He’s raised about $21K, most of it the first day;”

    Actually, I happened to be at work the moment Barr’s page came online, and the page came up preloaded with over 7K (which, from the ‘recent donors’ roll, seemed to be from about three people and perhaps some preferring to be anon), which is more than a third of his current total (under 21k).

    Don’t get me wrong - I think preloading was the right strategy and there’s nothing wrong with recording a few ‘seed’ donations gathered the previous week off-line. But the fact remains that since about 5 minutes after the website came online, Barr’s only visibly raised less than 14K. Still a lot for a typical Lib campaign, but hardly setting the world on fire.

    But perhaps the campaign is sitting on a dozen 2K checks sent offline and we’ll be wowed in the next five minutes by a jump from 20K to 44K. Maybe.

  28. Jim Says:

    Stephen Gordon, you need to get your candidate to read up on some Austrian economics and lose the Fraud Tax talk before many will entertain the thought of supporting him.

  29. Andy Says:

    “Steve Kubby Says:

    April 8th, 2008 at 7:32 pm
    My biggest concern over candidate Barr seeking the nomination is his enthusiastic support for the Fair Tax, or what many Libertarians call the “Fraud Tax.” So far, this is about the only thing on which candidate Barr has take a clear position and it is as anti-Libertarian as I can imagine.. Barr’s new tax would not only end up becoming the single biggest tax increase in our country’s history, it would transform us overnight into a welfare society. If ever there was a poison pill for Libertarians, it is the Fraud Tax and if this is where Barr wants to take us, we need to cut bait and get back to being the Party of Principle, not a whore house for recovering Republicans.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that Barr has joined the LP and I believe he has a genuine contribution to make to the cause of freedom. However, he brings a lot of baggage with him. As a result, Barr has dues to pay, apologies to make and trust that needs to be earned, before he is ready to seek our nomination and to represent our party.”

    I agree!

  30. Andy Says:

    “and stories about his dubious past are starting to surface. (Do a search for Barr’s name plus ‘Chester Doles.’) ”

    I’m not really on the Bob Barr bandwagon, but this sounds like kind of a low blow. From my knowledge of this case Chester Doles is a White Supremist who was arrested on some kind of BS gun control charges. The Bill of Rights is supposed to apply to everyone, even those who have views that many find offensive.

  31. Jeff Wartman Says:

    There is one simple, undeniable fact:

    Unless Barr comes out and directly lays out his specific beliefs on a wide range of issues, he will not get the nomination.

    The fact of the matter is that unless someone comes out and says that they have changed their mind on something, you have to assume they haven’t changed. Until Barr comes out and says that he flat out opposes DOMA, the government getting involved in marriage in any way, the drug war, the PATRIOT Act, and his numerous other anti-libertarian positions while in Congress, there is no reason to just assume he has switched positions.

    However, Stephen, keep in mind there is an easy way to put all of that to bed: have Barr come out with a detailed platform, expressing his current position on these issues. If he does, and he really has become a libertarian, great! But if not, the delegates need to see that.

  32. Dave Williams Says:

    “If ever there was a poison pill for Libertarians, it is the Fraud Tax and if this is where Barr wants to take us, we need to cut bait and get back to being the Party of Principle, not a whore house for recovering Republicans.”

    Kubby,

    Does that go for ‘recovering Democrats’ as well. Gravel is also for the fair tax. Or are you, and the other ‘lefties’ going to overlook that as you pull the handle for this clown.

  33. Susan Hogarth Says:

    Barr’s media seems to have blipped faster than Gravel’s, it seems. At any rate, this exchange with Boortz is (rather unfortunately) at the top of the google-pile right now:

    http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/shared-blogs/ajc/politicalinsider/entries/2008/04/08/barr_and_boortz_on_illegal_imm.html

    “The Libertarian Party has not exactly been strong on the issue of controlling the Mexican invasion into this country,” Boortz began.

    “Actually, they have been,” Barr replied.

    The two gentlemen moved to the matter of what to do with the paperless people who are already here.

    Said Barr:

    “You set a mechanism internally to determine who is here. And if you catch folks that are here unlawfully, and do not submit themselves to a background check that those coming into this country are going to be required to do, then you send them back to their country.”

  34. Dave Williams Says:

    Susan,
    Not everyone is for open borders…

  35. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    GE,

    You write:

    “Very unprofessional on the part of SG.”

    I disagree. Gordon has been open about his leanings and proclivities, and as open as could be reasonably expected about his actual activities. He’s also gone out of his way to publish just about anything sent to TPW by any of the LP presidential campaigns, and even to ask them to send more. I don’t see why he should be required to give up his leanings, proclivities or activities as the price of running a blog.

    I could have published my opinion piece on Barr here at TPW with no fear that I would be “fired.” I chose not to because I needed to get something new up at my OWN blog … and because I was pretty sure Gordon would toss me a(n argumentative) link to boot.

  36. George Phillies Says:

    For those of you who may be interested in running for Federal office, I urge you to read the FEC booklets and advisories.

    1) There is no legal difference between an exploratory committee and a committee. They are different names for the same object.

    2) After 2000, the FEC adopted an unambiguous definition of “candidate”.
    It is based purely on how much money the person has raised. “Declaring” has no legal meaning any more. Before 2000, it also did not have a simple meaning. Read my book Funding Liberty for full details.

    You can be ‘testing the waters’, but only until you cross the magic line.

    The magic line is $5000. No more, no less. Once you are above the line, you are legally not testing the waters. You are a candidate.

    Barr has raised more than $5000. (See his web page.)

    Therefore, Bob Barr is now a candidate. Period. Full stop. End of discussion

    Tom Knapp is right. I am totally confident that Bob Barr and his legal staff know this.

    I urge all of you who are interested to go to FEC.GOV. Look at the candidate guides. Remember, they are written for normal people who have chosen to run for office. They are extremely clearly written.

    http://www.fec.gov/pdf/candgui.pdf is the Congressional and Presidential guide.

  37. disinter Says:

    I think Gordon did the right thing. This site is about promoting 3rd parties and their candidates. There is nothing wrong with asking people to donate. If Trent Hill has his panties in a wad, then maybe he should get behind a candidate in his religious nutcase party and ask people to donate to them.’

  38. George Phillies Says:

    To amplify on my previous statement, since it occurs to me there was a part that was inobvious to others and that I should have pointed out, namely that Barr is collecting money through BobBarr2008.com , to be confused with Smith in 2006, and is conducting activities shortly before the election (Memorial Day, Denver).

  39. disinter Says:

    Give the majority of the coverage at TPW to Root, Barr and Gravel. They are leaps and bounds above all the other also rans.

    I am ashamed to say I agree with Dumbero on this one.

  40. Brent Says:

    People think Barr is still a drug warrior and for the patriot act clearly haven’t even googled his name in or been to a LP convention in 2 years.

  41. Jeff Wartman Says:

    People think Barr is still a drug warrior and for the patriot act clearly haven’t even googled his name in or been to a LP convention in 2 years.

    You’re completely missing the point.

    There are many in the LP that look upon his “transformation” with skepticism. I am not saying I believe he is still a conservative. However, there is a way for Barr to completely silence the critics of his “transformation”: come out with a comprehensive platform that spells out specific policy proposals on the issues that matter to libertarians. Barr has failed to do that, as of yet.

  42. Jeff Wartman Says:

    Also keep in mind that I believe Barr has the potential to be a good candidate.

    However, I do not think it is unreasonable to ask to spell out his specific policy proposals in a little more detail than he has done so far.

  43. No Longer a Reform Party Member Says:

    Don Lake: He is not tied to the hand grenade of “Open Borders in a Post 911 Political Environment”!

  44. G.E Smith the Capitalist Dove Says:

    Dave - No one is giving Gravel a pass. He is so unlibertarian that it goes without saying. That’s like saying we’re giving Robert Milnes a pass.

    Flat out, if Bob Barr is for the FraudTax, he is definitely less libertarian than W.A.R.

  45. Dave Williams Says:

    Agreed.

  46. Stefan Says:

    Personally I think I understand the reason and wisdom of Barr announcing an exploratory committee first to test the waters within and outside the LP. He has already received media attention on this annoucement, and should he decide to run formally with another announcement, this will lead to even more news coverage, whereas, should he have decided over the past weekend to announce his candidacy, it would have been a one time only news coverage. It is a good strategic move IMHO. He probbaly wants to test the fundraising and would need soemthing for the professional website etc. In any case, the LP as a whole profits from this public news coverage.

    The “fair tax” presupposes the abolishment of the Fed and Barr probably - I am just speculating - also through this idea out also to test the waters and as a discussion idea. One has to see first how he understands it and how it may differ from the conventional understanding…

    Also: If he announces, I am sure he would he able to raise substantial amounts of money, also from sources outside the traditional LP. Stephen Gordon did mention backers who urged him during CPAC 2008 to stand.
    One could also argue of all the LP candidates, Barr might be able to get the most of those who would otherwise consider to vote CP, and combined with a LP candidate that could also make an appeal to the Greens and more left leaning politicians for instance, could make a powerful team. IMHO it would be wise for the LP to consider whether most of its support and potential support from from the “right” or the “left”. If it is more from the “right”, it would be wise to nominate such a candidate, combining a VP slot with a “left” candidate, that could also truly unite all factions in the party.

  47. TAO Says:

    Don’t worry, most all the Ron Paul supporters are bent on writing in Dr. Paul regardless of who the LP nominee is. It’s pretty sad most refuse to bend a little and look into a plan B.

  48. Balph Says:

    The Fair Tax has plenty of problems, but it is better that Ron Paul’s calling for repealing the IRS on week 1. Deficit spending is how nations fall.

  49. NewFederalist Says:

    Ah, grasshopper… the wisdom of TAO! (I agree, BTW)

  50. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Stefan,

    “IMHO it would be wise for the LP to consider whether most of its support and potential support [comes] from from the ‘right’ or the ‘left.’”

    Bingo. You’ve put your finger on the big problem.

    Most of the LP’s actual support comes from the right … which is a major reason why the LP fares so poorly.

    Libertarianism is inherently a leftist tendency. Appealing to the right isn’t going to get us much support from the right, and it’s going to damage our credibility with the left.

    The LP courting the right is like the NAACP running a recruitment drive at a Klan rally. They’re not going to get many Kluxers as supporters, and people who might, in the normal course of things, support the NAACP are instead going to assume that an organization which courts the Kluxers is more like the KKK than it is like them.

  51. Powell Gammill Says:

    Since it is an exploratory committee the amount of money raised is an important barometer for all involved or interested in predicting the likelihood of proceeding as a candidate.

  52. Stefan Says:

    Thomas, well under the “left liveral” Ed Crane the LP has achieved its highest
    score so far, but still not enough to make a dent. Ed Crane, who has stated he would not vote, mentioned a few weeks ago that Ron Paul is the only one that really is an attractive candidate to him, with difference on immigration. (RP does not have a Tancredo/Hunter type immigration policy at all, a very realistic and “moderate” one IMHO). RP did get almost 1 million voters in the primaries/caucuses alone so far, and more than this by June when all the primaries are over. These are people that would never vote for McCain nor Clinton/Obama.
    This year is a very special and crucial year. The current scenario should favor
    a third party, the LP specifically a lot. If Obama is the D candidate and McCain the R candidate, I beg to differ that there is much possibility on the left, which Obama and Nader and the Green candidate already cover. McCain represents middle-left in a certain sense.

    The best option for the LP is to go for the moderate middle, Independents, who are mostly anti-war. McCain does “cover” the “pro-war” Independents and he actually received most votes from pro-choice people in the GOP.

    For these reasons, I think the best option and field for the LP to operate is for a fiscally conservative (more than R or D), pro-life generally with federalism, e.g. that allow pro-choice in those states that so wishes, social conservative and moderate. In short: position itself as fiscally conservative
    and socially covering the conservative and moderate middle. What do you think?

  53. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Stefan,

    You write:

    “What do you think?”

    I think that your 2008 tactical analysis on the presidential end isn’t too bad.

    However, I think that the long-term prospects of the LP are on the left, and that there’s no time like the present to start re-orienting for the long term.

    We’ve wasted the last 28 years kowtowing to the “right,” starting immediately after a “left” approach proved more successful than any Libertarian presidential campaign before or since.

    Sure, McCain is leaving a small vacuum on the hard right this year, but I don’t see that the voters in that vacuum are very likely to be permanently attracted to a leftist political movement like libertarianism.

    To me, the more important trend is the Democratic Party’s hard swing to the right over the last 16 years. The fact that a center-right politician like Hillary Clinton can do as well as she has in the Dem primaries proves that there’s still a HUGE vacuum on the left. I think that vacuum is more permanent than the one on the right. I think it’s larger than the one on the right. And I think the voters in that vacuum are more amenable to libertarian ideas than the voters in the vacuum on the right.

    I won’t walk away from the LP if it sacrifices long-term strategic gain to short-term tactical self-satisfaction this year. Hell, we’ve been doing that every four years since long before I joined the party. That doesn’t mean I’m going to advocate doing so, however.

  54. Stefan Says:

    Every party goes through transitions according to current situations, while one can hold on to basic principles, your emphasis can change or be adaptable. Concerning the terms “right’ and left”, perhaps one should specify in which sense and differentiate, for instance most if not all libertarians would be fiscally conservative, some or many of them socially liberal again. Within the broad social framework, you can also be “right leaning” with a few issues, while “left” leaning with others. You unify around a broad set of principles that can differentiate you from the two big as well as other parties. The LP should be principled as well as pragmatic and achieve a crucial breakthrough, at least 10% will put it on the map, while a 1-2% will still ensure its irrelevance. The issue of coalitions or in any case cooperation with other parties like the GP and CP should also be on the agenda. The big parties are happy with their competition split.

  55. Susan Hogarth Says:

    The LP should be principled as well as pragmatic and achieve a crucial breakthrough, at least 10% will put it on the map, while a 1-2% will still ensure its irrelevance.

    Sure, everyone can agree that 10% is much more significant than 2%, but the fact is that we do not control how people vote. The voters themselves do (setting aside counting shenanigans, which certainly happen).

    I think there’s a misunderstanding of third-party (or ideological party) politics going on behind the sentence I quoted. The Nolan Chart, as useful a tool as it is, has in some ways fostered this misunderstanding. People draw out this chart, and they say something like “Look, if only the LP chooses positions that fall within an area where 20% of people ‘test’, then the LP should be able to get those 20% of people to vote Libertarian.”

    This sort of analysis - favored by Carl Milsted, example here:
    http://www.lpva.com/Archives/Editorial/Milsted/20060415.shtml

    completely misses a vital fact of American politics - the monopoly two-party system. The D/R Party will make promises to those people and they will continue in large part to vote for whichever branch of it they feel most comfortable with because even if it doesn’t promise (or deliver) what they want, it will deliver something of what they want, and it will do that by actually winning. The ones who choose Libertarian consistently (not for a ‘protest vote’) will be those people who have accepted that their vote is a statement more than an attempt to seize and hold power.

    Our focus at this point, I beleive, can’t be people who are willing to make a lot of compromises ideologically - or who have no strong ideological leanings - because those people, by and large have a party (the D/R) that gives them what they want - the satisfaction of being on a ‘winning team’. Will they vote Libertarian occasionally? Sure, especially when they want to ‘punish’ a politician on their ‘team’. But those aren’t the steady sort of committed activists the LP needs so much. Most of them will return to their ‘home party’ for the next election.

    We can - and should! - attract and hold strong ideologues - from the right and the left - and forge them into neither ‘right’ nor ‘left’, and certainly not ‘center’, but into Libertarians. These are folks who understand libertarianism and will be committed to a project with a timetable much longer than the next election cycle.

    Tedious? Hard? Uphill battle? Sure. But immensely rewarding, and, I think, the only proven way to have a long-term influence on not just the next election but on American political thought. Let’s not settle for a change in regimes, let’s aim to change America’s view of politics altogether.

    This is how I see it, and I may certainly be wrong, but I think that history supports me on this.

  56. Old Whig Says:

    Left Libertarian?
    Right Libertarian?
    I thought we were beyond all that left/right crap. It’s just there to confuse and divide the masses. And seems to be doing a good job dividing the liberty minded now.

    Barr is not my first choice but, since Kentucky would toss out my write-in for Paul, he’s a good chance to get my vote in November.

    O.W.

  57. Gene Berkman Says:

    The strength of the Ron Paul campaign came from his record in Congress defending freedom and opposing war. Bob Barr has a mixed record in Congress, as does Mike Gravel.

    Bob Barr should run for Congress again as a Libertarian, and lay out a Libertarian platform. If he deviates from sound libertarianism, it will be limited to a single district.

    As for the other candidates, none of them have credentials that will taken seriously in a campaign for President. The “free media” they will get will be minimal, and focused on the fact that they don’t have a chance to effect the election. We need to build up our local groups through local campaigns before we can be taken seriously at the national level.

    If not NOTA, when?

  58. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Stefan,

    You write:

    “Concerning the terms ‘right’ and ‘left,’ perhaps one should specify in which sense and differentiate, for instance most if not all libertarians would be fiscally conservative, some or many of them socially liberal again.”

    Sure!

    The foundation of the “left”—and those on the “right” are going to have an instant violent reaction to this phraseology, but please hang on for further explanation—has traditionally been found in the notion that “differences in social class determine the nature of a society.”

    In the first historical division of “left” versus “right,” the classes were simply divided. The Second Estate (which sat on the right in the 1789 session of the Estates General) was the nobility. The Third Estate (which sat on the left) was the peasants, the working class and the bourgeoisie (e.g. traders and small businessmen not favored with privilege and monopoly by the monarchy). The First Estate, the clergy, was divided in its allegiance between these two classes.

    The important thing to notice here is that from its beginning, the left was opposed to centralized power, while the right favored the status quo.

    Through the 19th and 20th centuries, the class division on which “left” versus “right” is built tended to center on economics—the socialists tried to split the working class and Marx’s critique of capitalism held that the interests of the bourgeoisie were inherently aligned with the status quo.

    Libertarianism in leftist to the extent that it operates on class theory as well: The productive class (the working class and bourgeoisie—e.g. the honest traders) versus the political class (the state and those business interests which make their profits from political advantage rather than honest competition).

    “Fiscal conservatism” may be facially libertarian insofar as it seems, at first blush, to run counter to the interests of the political class, but unless it is aligned with a general opposition to the political class, then it’s at best a matter of a stopped clock being right twice a day.

    When “fiscal conservatives” become willing to give up the political power that they complain about financing, then they may have libertarian potential. I’ll certainly give the “fiscal conservatives” a second look when I hear them propose a modest—say, 50%—cut in the “defense” budget.

  59. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Gene,

    You write:

    “If not NOTA, when?”

    Good question. I’d suggest asking it the next time you’re tempted to shill for a “libertarian” Tom McClintock campaign.

  60. Jerry S. Says:

    Stefan Says:

    April 9th, 2008 at 11:35 am
    Thomas, well under the “left liveral” Ed Crane the LP has achieved its highest
    score so far, but still not enough to make a dent. Ed Crane, who has stated he would not vote, mentioned a few weeks ago that Ron Paul is the only one that really is an attractive candidate to him, ”

    That should be Ed Clark friend not Crane.

    SG might be requesting donations because it was his idea to place that fundraiser tube up, which isn’t looking too bright at the moment. Let’s all hope it wasn’t his idea! It ranks up there with whoever let the “fair” TAX plank in the vanilla general election platform on his new site. I have no problems with a LP candidate with a vanilla general election platform on their official website. Running for office you want people to be FOR you, don’t supply something they can be against you by just reading your website. Print what they can agree with you about. These two mistakes on Barr’s staff doesn’t equal nor comes even close to the ineptness of the Paul “brain”trust, but major blunders still.

    He could of kept quite on the fairTAX until after the convention and sailed to the LP nomination on the 3rd or 4th ballot. Some of you say that’s dishonest, well NOT really in politics. It’s up to the delegate to find out info on all the candidates or they need to allow someone else to occupy their important position. Now it will be a FIGHT for the nomination. He still will be your nominee if he wants it, unless that “tube” doesn’t fill up enough over the next six weeks. If that’s the case he may see it as a waste of energy and possible reputation. Leaving the nomination to another underfunded candidate.

    Anyone else here curious how much Ruwart, Gravel and Root have raised the past few days ? I am ! Will just have to wait and see a FEC report I guess. They weren’t “smart” enough to have their fundraising efforts on the front page of their website…

  61. Laura Says:

    Most Ron Paul supporters will vote Libertarian when they find out their “write-in” vote for RP will not count.

  62. Gene Berkman Says:

    Tom Knapp

    FYI - Steve Kubby backed Tom McClintock for Governor in the 2003 recall election, as did many other Libertarians.

  63. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    Gene,

    And your point is? I never said Steve Kubby is always right, any more than I said you’re always wrong.

  64. Michael H. Wilson Says:

    No offense intended but… “Concerning the terms “right’ and left”, perhaps one should specify in which sense and differentiate, for instance most if not all libertarians would be fiscally conservative, ...”

    Fiscal conservativism is not a free market. While the two may overlap they are not the same. Many of the counties, states and cities in the old south were and still remain fiscally consrvative and do not waste tax dollars, but that does not mean that they have reduced, abolished, or repealed the thousands of regulations that keep people from engaing in the market place. occupational licensing laws, housing regulations, transportation regulations all remain on the books and tie people down. Or to put it more bluntly is the government boot on the neck of the poor and meant to stay there and keep them down.

    MHW

  65. smokethisGordon Says:

    You want potential roadblocks. Try this one. I am a gay libertarian. I tried to get my partner of 10 years into the United States only to be told it was impossible. Bob Barr’s legislation specifically targetted gay people for discriminatory federal treatment banning immigration from treating me as equal to Mr. Barr and any one of his multiple wives. Barr’s legislation said I’m second class when it comes to the rights that any straight American has in regards to being able to bring their partner to the US. Because of Barr’s legislation we had to live overseas where we were almost killed on two occassions and eventually we had to split.

    Barr has not recanted on his evil, bigoted legislation. Apparently you don’t have a problem with this well then, f… you too. Because I will be in Denver and I will let every delegate I can know how Barr’s legislation forced me apart from my partner of 10 years. It is the height of unlibertarian thinking to push that law, he has refused to acknowledge it was evil. I’m sick and tired of disgusting conservatives infiltrating the LP and rewriting what it means to be libertarian. Barr’s bigoted views will haunt him and anyone who supports him. And if he gets the LP nod then I will actively campaign against the Libertarian Party for the first time in my life.

    I didn’t want welfare and neither did he. We both worked our entire life. We weren’t looking for “special privileges” just the same right that any straight American in a relationship with a foreign citizn has—to bring their partner to the US. Barr specifically wrote laws to strip gays of rights that he enjoys. That is the antithesis of libertarianism and he is an dark spot on the party and the movement. Damn him for his role in this. I don’t think I’m the only gay libertarian (and there are many of course) who finds his campaign repugnant to the very ideals of our party.

  66. Robert Milnes Says:

    I prefer closebutnocigargordon, but smokethisgordon is good too.

  67. Brian Miller Says:

    stG reflects a view common not only with LGBT Libertarians, but with the LGBT electorate as a whole. I’ve repeatedly warned people in the LP about the explosive nature of Barr’s present stance on DOMA, and if he doesn’t want a lot of angry people campaigning against him, he’s going to need to make the stance he privately communicated to me about repealing the part of DOMA that federally defines marriage VERY public and VERY unambiguous.

    I warned lots of LPers and Ron Paul people about Ron Paul’s newsletters and got ignored completely. What I predicted came to pass and they (and the entire libertarian community) got completely screwed by Ron Paul’s nazi-esque writings. Turning backs on the DOMA issue, or pretending it doesn’t exist, will just repeat the same process and result in more wasted campaign millions. Barr supporters should strongly encourage him to make his position on DOMA, as communicated to a number of us late last year, public and unambiguous.

    Outright Libertarians would be happy to help him communicate his position to the general media and help navigate the skeptical waters of the queer press, but he’s got to be public and unambiguous about his position in order to make that effective.

  68. Stefan Says:

    Old Whig: yes, one should be beyond such differences and simply treat it as two “factions” within the party. I agree with you 100% that Ron Paul is the candidate, he has a better record than Barr. Make sure you vote for him in Kentucky primary and see if you can become a delegate or alternate delegate thereafter. Barr is plan B, plan A (Paul) has still a chance, believe, it is not over yet if you listen to the RNC regulations and certain info www.thegreenpapers.com etc. (cannot discuss on this thread) and a lot can happen still between now and early September. You can always switch to LP officially later if we have to go for plan B in order to vote in November :-)

  69. Thomas L. Knapp Says:

    The Republicans have their monthly county committee meeting on the same night, in the same building, as we do, which happened to be last night.

    One of them was chatting with some of us and asked if the LP would be interested in having the Paul supporters back (they raised hell in the Missouri GOP caucuses last month and the state convention is coming up).

    I tried to negotiate a deal—“we’ll give you Bob Barr for them!”—but no final arrangement was reached.

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