Skip to comments.Vin Suprynowicz: Libertarians aim to 'cost Bush the election'
Posted on 06/20/2004 6:55:30 AM PDT by Undertow
Vin Suprynowicz: Libertarians aim to 'cost Bush the election'
On June 14, the Seattle Times editorialized that the entrance requirements for the tedious, moribund, rigorously stage-managed turn-offs that today pass for our presidential "debates" should be loosened -- but not too much.
The paper's intent was to get Ralph Nader included. The solution? "It's time to reconsider the current format and the lock on presidential debates by the two major parties," the Times recommends.
But wait. There still has to be "some cutoff point in voter popularity," the Seattlites immediately added. "Otherwise, George Bush and John Kerry would have to give equal network TV time to Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party and Walt Brown of the Socialist Party," warned the Seattlites, evidently palpitating from the effect of too much Starbuck's. "If the debates were opened up to such candidates, there might be dozens of them."
The correct level of perceived public support for admission into the debates? Fifteen percent is too high, but 5 percent would be too low, the Times figures. Ten percent would be just right.
"What a bunch of idiots," comments Richard Winger of the San Francisco-based Ballot Access News. "Walt Brown is not gonna be in the ballot in more than three or four states ... the most he can get is six."
Winger is the national expert on this stuff.
"It would be a mistake in my opinion to ever invite Walt Brown," Winger agrees, since "There are four socialist candidates" from the warring branches of the dying movement "and they'll each be on the ballot in a handful of states."
Which means none has even a theoretical mathematical chance of winning the presidency.
If that were the only standard -- ballot status in enough states to theoretically win the White House -- how many candidates would debate?
Five this year, Mr. Winger replies. The Democrat and Republican, Ralph Nader, Libertarian Michael Badnarik, and the nominee of the Constitution Party. "It's conceivable if the Greens are stupid enough to nominate somebody other than Nader, there could conceivably be six, at the outside."
Mind you, if the presence of Walt Brown and David Cobb of the Greens was the price I had to pay for some lively, interesting debates where George Bush and John Kerry had to confront new and common-sense ideas from someone as principled, personable and articulate as Michael Badnarik, an Austin-based computer programmer and freelance lecturer on the Constitution, it's a price I'd gladly pay.
But this "dozens of candidates" stuff is getting to be an awfully geriatric bogeyman.
The Libertarian Party will be on the ballot in at least 46 states, and possibly all 50. Every presidential cycle, the Libertarian Party spends a cool million dollars petitioning for ballot position in enough states to be in position to conceivably win the presidency.
Why don't the handlers of George Bush and John Kerry want to confront someone like Badnarik in a debate? Because he's a personable, intelligent, coherent, philosophically consistent freedom lover.
I don't think George Bush could bat .500 on that list -- though I'll give him "personable." I suspect Sen. Kerry might have a little trouble in the "philosophically consistent" section.
I had dinner with Badnarik and his campaign manager -- City Councilman Fred Collins of the Detroit suburb of Berkley -- last Friday at the historic La Posta restaurant in Mesilla, N.M., just south of Las Cruces.
Fred Collins sets impressively achievable goals for the campaign. He figures if he can raise a few million dollars for TV ads, and place them only in the swing states, he can poll a couple of percentage points for Badnarik and the Libertarians in those states -- and cost George Bush the election.
What's that? Badnarik is just some wing nut who hasn't been proven in the heat of any real political contest?
Actually, Badnarik is a political Cinderella story. A man of modest means, he spent the past year travelling the country, campaigning for the Libertarian nomination, in a '99 Kia Sephia. He and sidekick Jon Airheart, a former University of Texas student impressed with Badnarik's ability to sell the libertarian message, covered 24,000 miles, hitting 36 states. Although Badnarik says there were days when they counted their dollars to see if they could afford a room and a meal and still have enough to gas up and reach the next town, in the process he has gained enormously in poise and confidence as a public speaker.
Badnarik had raised and spent $33,000 as of convention time in Atlanta three weeks ago -- he couldn't afford to stay at the party's upscale convention hotel and instead had to drive in for the candidate debate from a Days Inn across town.
Entering the Libertarian Party convention, Badnarik was running behind late entry Aaron Russo, the former Nevada gubernatorial candidate and producer of the film "Trading Places," who promised to bring a lot more money and drama -- and thus, presumably, press coverage -- to the party's presidential campaign.
Russo was leading after a close first ballot. But if Badnarik campaign manager Collins could persuade radio host Gary Nolan -- running third -- to drop out and throw his support to Badnarik, a coalition of the "Anybody But Russo" forces might just pull off a third-ballot miracle.
Next week: Russo blows the nomination.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the books "Send in the Waco Killers" and "The Ballad of Carl Drega." His Web site is www.privacyalert.us.
Losertarians are worse than the French.
It's a two-man race this year. I've voted for liberatrian presidential candidates in the past, but will definitely be voting for Bush.
Boortz had an article on Townhall earlier this week that was dead-on.
Until the Libertarians get off this legalize marijuana crusade, they will never be going anywhere. He said their biggest mistake was that the marijuana issue was always the first one they would talk about to potential voters, and it would immediately turn them off.
If they would focus their party around no federal taxes, personal liberty, private land ownership, etc.. they could make great inroads and become a minor player in U.S. politics. But it's just Marijuana, Marijuana, Marijuana, whenever these guys get any speaking time.
They are not just losers. These people are pathetic losers.
Some days I thank the Almighty that Liberals are around just so I don't have to listen Libert. bitch and moan about EVERYTHING under the sun.
A vote for anyone but Bush is a vote for Kerry and the end of our Republic. Those dunderheads are worse than Dims.
There's the article I was referring to.
I'm a registered member of the LP but I see myself voting for Bush this year. I guess I'm swinging more towards the Boortz wing instead of the Screwey Lewey Rockwell wing.
Let's see... Bush or Kerry... Bush or Kerry... it's so hard to decide...
That should tell you what their driving issue in life is.
Great article! The part about being driven from the LP because of an "unpure" thought is so true! It may be the only political party in America that organizes a protest against one of their own at their own convention!
I thought it was all about the "Libertines"!
It's not quite that simple. If you are in a so called battleground state, it probably is the case. But if you are in a state that is a sure thing for either major candidate, say Massachusetts or Texas, then a vote for a 3rd party candidate is safely sending a message. That's all courtesy of the Electoral College.
I got flamed, fried, and dyed for saying the same thing a couple of years back on this forum. Leading with the drug issue is akin to a boxer leading with his chin. In other words, you're gonna get knocked out.
I'm a non-voting small-l libertarian. The issue at the top of my list is repealing the 16th amendment, thus abolishing all slave income tax law. Guns are next, and I am looking forward to the sunset of the AWB. Third is not just pot, but to decriminalize *all* drugs from heroin to asthma medicine, both street drugs and physician-prescribed drugs; adult humans have a natural right to ingest whatever substance they choose.
Libertarians seem to be mostly ex-democrats.. If you had any sense you would'nt be a democrat, SO, after noticeing that socialism is a childish ideology but still reeling from democrat propaganda redux some become libertarians, others become curmudeons even dumber than Andy Rooney.. The smartest ones become neocons. Thats why the republican party is going south. Liberalism is indeed a mental disorder, a mental social disease, a political pariah. The cure ?... there is'nt one.. Ignorance is cureable but stupidity is not.
When they stray from Topic One, it's even worse.
For example, Badnarik on Hitler, as compared to Lincoln and Roosevelt. Or Aaron Russos four pillars of Fascism ... Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft.
While you are correct about it being "safe" to vote for a 3rd party candidate as a protes from the standpoint of who will be in the office of the President. Still, you overlook the damage that can be done if the media starts saying "Well, Bush won the electoral college again, but he has to deal with the Democrats and Kerry because Kerry won the popular vote."
As much as I hate to say it, it's probably better to get as many Democrats out of office first, then once the Deocrat party is in ruin, run Libertarians or Constitution Party candidates as the alternative to the Republicans. At this point, anything that weakens the Republicans strengthens the Democrats, and that's really bad for the country.
The "non-voting" part is hard to understand. Do you really not care whether Kerry or Bush is elected?
adult humans have a natural right to ingest whatever substance they choose.
The problem is, some of these "substances" affect other people.
I have no problem with 19-year old Slick Rick getting hammered and stoned every night in his parents basement with an endless supply of alcohol and marijuana. I do have a problem with drunken-stoned Ricky comes outside and gets in a car, or comes near my child. Because now, because of his irresponsibility, his "substances" are now having an effect on my life.
The question is, how do we deal with this problem?
A) Arrest them, put them in jail or rehab center
B) Legalize it, so they can do it as they freely. Create "volunteer" rehab centers where they can get help (HA!).
Republicans answer A.
Libertarians answer B.
If these people want to live "Freely" like they say they do, here is what I propose. Take a dump liberal state, say Vermont, Barb-wire it off, instead of sending them to jail, send them to Vermont, and let them live in anarchy away from the rest of society. Let them grow their own fruits, vegetables, and "herbal" medicines, hunt their own animals, build their own shelters, and live as the "Libertarians" they want to be. Nobody from the US Federal Government will never bother them again.
As much as I hate to say it, it's probably better to get as many Democrats out of office first, then once the Deocrat party is in ruin, run Libertarians or Constitution Party candidates as the alternative to the Republicans.
That's the answer. And to defeat the Democratic party we first must defeat Socialism with our ideas, much the way Reagan defeated communism with military might.
And the only way to defeat Socialism is from the grassroots of our country. We must completely revamp the educational system by destroying the NEA. Educate our young with ideas of optimism and personal responsibility.
Once we accomplish this, the Democratic party crumbles.
This is a hard one to understand for most folks, but here goes: I view all adult humans as sovereign individuals. They may empower an agent (politician) to exert dominion over thier own lives and property, but it is immoral to appoint an agent to exert dominion over a third party.
Do you really not care whether Kerry or Bush is elected?
So much of our lives is politicized. This gets people riled because collective action through the state is predicated on initiating violence, somthing most folks reject as individuals, but embrace as a collective/mob.
I see one guy saying "I'll send men with guns to effect X", and another saying "I'll send men with guns to effect Y". It is not so much the policies I object to, but the means.
So a libertarian who doesn't vote for Kerry is worse than a Democrat who does vote for Kerry? Sorry, but you aren't playing with a full deck, bub.
Furthermore, history teaches us that the party holding the presidiency changes on a cyclical basis, so the dunderheaded GOP scare tactic of "no Democrat must ever again occupy the White House if the country is to survive" is completely unrealistic and nothing more than a ruse to prevent people form voting their consciences.
Count your cards Gob.
Libertarians are a naive group of pie-in-sky-the-way-it-ought-to-be-head-in-the-sanders with NO political viability whatsoever, fortunately. I asked Ron Paul once if the U.S. should have been involved in NATO in the '50s. He hemmed and hawed and finally said no. Stalin would have loved this guy...
LOL. You've got to be kidding me. "Losertarians are worse than the French". Losertarians?
The fact is libertarianism has more in common with true conservatism then people on this board apparently think. Reagan certainly thought so.
And yet there are so many conservatives that hate libertarians. As somebody who considers himself between conservative and libertarian, I can't fathom why.
Honestly, it's usually the conservatives who aren't really conservative at all in terms of economics that hate the libertarians. The RINOs. The neo-cons. Can't stand to be soundly defeated in economic debate, they run to 'other' conservatives and bash libertarians because "they're not like us! See! They have a different name!"
If current conservative leadership would assure true conservatives and libertarians that they are going to limit government and spend less, there would be no issue.
Why don't some conservatives have a problem with movements away from the free market and increases in non-defense spending?
Don't get me wrong, I am actually voting for GWB, I just don't like this animosity towards the libertarian right that has usually voted GOP and had a wonder relationship as a group with President Ronald Reagan.
Whatever Badnarik's VP said about losing the election for GWB will turn a lot of libertarians away from him. It certainly made dislike the official LP more than ever. It doesn't change the fact that I am libertarian minded.
Connie Rice, call your lawyer. You're unjustly exclued from this Roll of Honor.
I personally don't care about marijuana. Let it be legal where people want it to be legal. But first you are going to have to get rid of welfare and drug addiction as a "disability" because I am not paying for it.
You show me that you can do that and I will consider looking at the rest. But until then I will consider that you have your priorities in the wrong order and why would I vote for someone with the wrong priorities?
Let's not even get into national defense.
Nah, all the good Libertarians have been banned for not toeing the R party line.
What would happen, hypothetically, if say the libertarian and constitutional party selected, as there electors, the GOP slate. COuld a state have more people vote for Kerry, but have more people vote for Bush's slate without voting for Bush? Thus giving Bush the states electoral votes?
It was a question I saw asked on a lefty website, and it did get me wondering.
I guess that would make sense since they are not Republicans, right? Not the banning. Just not being held to the Pub line since they're not Pubs.
Seems that your history is off a bit, actually Libertarians got their highest vote totals ever for President in 1980(984,000 votes, IIRC) when Reagan was running for his first term and they also hated Reagan for his drug stance.
I am philisophically libertarian. My philosophy is the philosophy that underpins the LP. The problem is that the LP has abandoned, or more precisely never embraced, its philosophy. They are not advancing a coherent political ideology, they are advancing a party platform, and they are doing so prematurely. And because of their focus on votes, they have focused on the issue that has won them the most converts...pot. The party of principle has been taken over by pot heads. They need to be advancing a political ideology AND the philosophical ideology that gave rise to it, not trying to get a few votes by pandering to druggies on a relatively minor issue.
For the record, I support legalized drugs. It is priority number 4,945,345,294 of things we need to fix in our gov't. We have a lot of far more important work to do first.
Libertarians have to win the ideological battle, at least sufficiently to get on the stage, before they try to swing elections. To try to 'cost Bush the election' is stupid and counterproductive. They should be focusing on convincing as many people as possible of the virtues of what they stand for, not making noises about perhaps maybe someday being a spoiler.
As a libertarian, I would say quite confidently, that the best way to advance our agenda, at least for now, is to work within the Republican party...similar to the way that the Christian right formed a block that could wield substantial influence within the party structure. For example, if there were a real libertarian presence in the R big tent, it might very well have nipped GWB's 'compassionate conservative' (meaning liberal big spender)in the bud and gotten a candidate closer to our pricinciples and avoided what will become known as the prescription drug fiasco. Our best hope at cutting back government in the near future is not an LP candidate, but a truly conservative conservative one. Think someone along the lines of a Ronald Reagan who didn't have to compromise on domestic spending to get his needed military expanion through.
I thought the libertarians, both big and little L, made the forum interesting. I don't seem to agree with the mods much. They know it and everyone who knows me knows it.
In those words, you summed up my conclusion on libertarianism. I view it as a philosophy, not as a viable political movement in its own name.
As a philosophy, it most certainly can have significant influence in the overall political framework. Stuck out on its own, it's helpless and hopeless.
This should not come as a surprise. You made an excellent point about the Christian Right's influence in the GOP. Backing up a bit, we realize that Socialists could not win anything in its own name. So what did they do? They took over the entire Democrat Party.
I'm neither conservative (what am I conserving?) nor libertarian, Republican or big-L libertarian, either. I'm an extremely hardcore anti-Leftist Independent. But I'd like to see what would happen if the Pubs and the libertarians actually worked together as opposed to the libertarians working against the Pubs. I say that because the libertarians can only spoil in a few instances, not ever win. I think that that would be something nice to see.
A vote for Bush is a vote for a slower end to the Republic. Enjoy your Federal Prescription Drug benefit while walking barefoot through the TSA checkpoints. (And before you start I'll be voting for Bush, even sent him $100, but I have few illusions about him restoring the Republic)
No one man can.
I could back that proposal but unfortunately, the Republicans here in CA are so socialist I must fight them as hard or harder than I fight the Dems. Left is left after all. We must fight it where ever we find it.
Well I watched their convention and I heard a lot more about the Constitution than pot. I heard a lot more about the Constitution than I expect to listening to the Republican convention this September.
Think about that for a second.
Your right, of course. Still I have seen little in that direction from him. He hasn't done horrible things like the Clinton late term land grabs, the pardons, etc. On the other hand he's done nothing to cut the size of our big fat government. He hasn't used the veto. He hasn't used the bully pulpit. All of his political capital has been spent on the war in Iraq. He has continued to pandor to Mexicans with his immigration policy.
I realize no one man can restore the Republic, but for us to have any chance of that we'll need to have a leader who gets it. Maybe even one who leads. Rereading some of Reagan's speeches one is left not only impressed by his vision, but saddened by the lack of direction of W. on moving us in the right direction.
My only point is that libertarianism could become a viable political movement...but only after it convinces a significant number of people of its philosophy. There is nothing inherent in the philosophy that makes it non-viable. Neither the pot focus nor the refusal to cooperate with non-libertarians is inherent in the philosophy itself, those are both dysfunctions of the political party, not the ideology.
I also think it would be worthwhile for Republicans to clarify exactly what their ideology is...or is it really just a collection of diverse special interest groups?
Conservatism had a thriving ideological base, but the ideological end of it is withering before our eyes. But even in that regard...is the R party even really politically conservative?
Josh, that's enough reason to make me want to be a libertarian.
I think that the problem all of you (and at the
risk guarantee of being flamed) supposedly smart people are having is that you are like the blind men trying to describe an elephant when each of them are only touching different parts of the animal.
Do you look at Arlen Specter and Lincoln Chaffee and think that they are the GOP? Or do you realize that they are only a part of it?
Do you look at Zell Miller and, and, and, ..... OK, there are no other good Democrats, but do you look at Zell and proclaim that the Dems are finally getting it?
Of course not and you shouldn't. But neither should you focus on the nut cases who have a Kodak moment. Yes there are nut cases in the LP (BTW, I am a registered Republican who doesn't use any drugs and rartely even takes prescribed medications). The GOP had David Duke. So what?
You are doing what the media AND the two major parties wants you to do and that is to focus on drugs to discredit the many good ideas that Libertarians bring to the table. And for all of those who want to do drugs there are probably 10 times as many who never touch drugs but want the government to stay the hell out of their lives. The war on drugs is a bigger problem and a bigger threat to our liberties than any pothead or crack addict will ever be.
You should see the land grab our wonderful new R governor is pushing through here in CA. Socialism at it's finest. He is pushing a bill, one of his campaign promises that got ignored, that would turn the entire Sierra Nevada mountain range into a conservancy. And to provide those "willing sellers", they are passing an "invasive species" bill. Two huge budget black hole beuracracies and the ultimate in land grabs.
Here in CA it is because of the mistaken belief that conservatives can't get elected and the party leadership pushes "moderates" on us.
But even in that regard...is the R party even really politically conservative?
Not here in CA it isn't. If our new governor is an example, they seem to be more socialist than the Dems.
Now that they control everything, they're out of excuses about why they won't deliver on promises of limited government. Record and accellerating spending, record deficits and vote-buying scams like "free" pills for greedy geezers aren't exactly limiting government. Nor is the assault on the First Amendment and continuing subsidies for everything from tobacco to mohair.
Well to test out your theory, would you mind the house next door to you or even your neighborhood be declared a "do any drug you want to" zone.
Surely you wouldn't mind.
Psst Ray, david duke was never welcomed and kicked out.
Get real. How is voting for candidate "C" instead of "A" or "B", automatically a vote for candidate "B"?
And regardless of who wins, it's not going to be the "end of the Republic". One guy is just going to accelerate the decline a little faster than the other.