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.