Gravel, Phillies behind ‘Republican takeover’ of LP

Many radicals assumed that so long as Wayne Allyn Root and Bob Barr could not combine for at least 50% after several ballots, the nomination would eventually go to Mary Ruwart. This assumption was premised on the notion that the supporters of all other candidates would filter to the last “anti-conservative” standing. This was not the case.

An inside source reports that Mike Gravel instructed his supporters to consider Root and was outraged at the notion that he might endorse Mary. He cited the “child pornography” scandal as a reason for withholding his support, but other convention insiders have suggested it had more to do with a missed meeting.

Yesterday, Gravel organized a meeting at George Phillies’s suite, with Phillies and Kubby, that was intended to include Ruwart. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss “strategy.” Mary’s campaign was given the message, but it did not get to Mary, who did not know about the meeting when questioned about it today.

As for George Phillies, many of his supporters went to Barr once Dr. Phillies had been eliminated. It is not known whether he instructed them to or not. What is known is that he did not instruct them to vote against Barr, as many had expected he would.

Wayne Allyn Root was overheard trying to get copies of a recent anti-Mary article to the convention floor. The article dealt with her views on child sex.

Steve Kubby hoped that his candidacy for vice president could “save the party.” The normally jovial Kubby was noticeably solemn once Barr had secured the nomination.

Many supporters encouraged Mary Ruwart to seek the vice-presidential nomination, but she declined, saying she could not support a candidate who favored drug prohibition and a national sales tax.

Fliers for the Boston Tea Party circulated after the alleged “Republican takeover.” Mary Ruwart was invited to be the party’s candidate, but she did not seem to give the matter serious consideration. Others have talked about starting Libertarians for McKinney and Libertarians for Baldwin.

The divide in the Libertarian Party is quite pronounced. It should be noted, however, that a minority of Ruwart supporters did adorn themselves with Barr buttons following his nomination, but many were dismayed further when Kubby failed to secure the V.P. slot.

94 thoughts on “Gravel, Phillies behind ‘Republican takeover’ of LP

  1. Jason_Gatties


    I emailed you privately but let me say in public, great job today. Your speech was outstanding.

    Please consider running for office in 2010 if not sooner here in Michigan.

  2. MattSwartz

    It almost looks as if Barr got Root to do his attacking for him, although of course none of this is clear, least not to me, who only watched on C-SPAN. Had Root (or Gravel) not been in the race, my sense is that Ruwart would have beaten Barr, but that is of course unprovable and now irrelevant.

    In any case, GE, you cut a fine figure in your suit on the convention floor and I look forward to reading the rest of your convention coverage, as this analysis has only whetted my appetite and you consistently do good work.

  3. G.E. Post author

    A fine figure? Yeah, they say I have a body of a god. The only problem is, the god is Buddha.

  4. MattSwartz

    My body is also more Buddha-esque than herculean, but I know a good suit when I see one.

    While we’re on the subject of religion, what was Phillies referencing during his concession speech when he said that the majority of the MA delegation was neo-pagan? Was this a matter of controversy or something? Why did he bring it up?

  5. NewFederalist

    After a couple of days we’ll have to gauge just how pissed off the “real” libertarians are at the insurgents. I hope various states don’t decide not to put the convention nominated ticket on their respective state ballots. That would really kill the party.

  6. G.E. Post author

    The Michigan delegation was probably Mary’s strongest. I would vote to keep the ticket off the ballot, but I think I might lose that 25-1, or if the vote were extended to include all membership, xxx to 1.

  7. darcyrichardson

    Yes, that was a terrific and heartfelt speech by G.E. earlier today…much more passion than the nominating speeches for Barr. Tom Knapp also did a great job in nominating Steve Kubby.

  8. G.E. Post author

    Fred – I’m thinking about it. I won’t support Barr, that’s definite. I might consider even Nader or McKinney, knowing how wrong they are. But I’m leaning strongly toward Baldwin. I really did not like that recent anti-immigration thing he released, though. Tom Knapp and Paulie were thinking about L4McKinney. Andy said he may join me in L4Baldwin.

    Oh, and about my speech — the wrestler, Kane, gave me a big thumbs up. Huge ego boost! He was a Mary man, by the way.

  9. Jason_Gatties


    Funny you should bring that up. I was sitting here thinking that maybe we should send a message here in Michigan.

    Not that it will do any good but I may sleep better knowing I did my part.

  10. JustAHoax

    I believe the pagan thing was a jab at Barr for his statement about Wiccans in the military when he was in Congress. It was probably just a subtle indication of one of the reasons he didn’t support Barr.

  11. Bill Woolsey

    Neither Gavel and Phillies are anarchists.

    I believe that Phillies supported Gorman in
    2000 and Russo in 2004. Each was the
    “moderate” candidate

    Phillies’ 2008 economic program is much more “moderate” than any
    successful LP candidate in the past.

    As far as I could see, Gravel didn’t support
    any reduction in the size of government.
    He favored a change in the composition of
    government spending and a move towards
    financing it with the fair tax.

    Barr supports cuts in government spending,
    and so Phillies and Barr are roughly on the
    same page on that issue.

    Phillies’ website says that tax cuts (at this time, I think) would be bad for the economy. This is far from abolishing the income tax now and replace it with nothing.

    Gavel’s position on the economy is closer to that
    of Barr (and Phillies) than that of Ruwart.

    I believe that Root was somewhere between
    Barr (and Phillies) and Ruwart. So, Gravel
    was closer to Root than Ruwart on the economy.

    Why assume that Ruwart position on “size of government” was acceptable to Phillies or

    Size of government

    less status quo

    Ruwart Barr Gravel
    Kubby Phillies


    Ruwart Barr Root (?)

    “social” issues

    Ruwart Barr

    Why assume that the economic issues aren’t important?

    Why assume that someone who thinks we need government provided health care and education wouldn’t think that privatizing all roads is crazy?

    Anyway, for future reference, please reconsider the likely support that hardcore
    libertarians will receive from “the left.”

  12. Bill Woolsey

    Sorry.. my efforts to place the candidates on some kind of “line” reflecting their positions on various issues failed.

    Trying to place everyone on a left-right spectrum is something that no libertarian should consider.

    Separate economic, personal, foreign policy issues. You will see that Gravel is most distant from Ruwart and Phillies is closer to Barr than to Ruwart.

  13. Steve Perkins

    If Phillies “instructed” his followers to go Barr or Root, it didn’t have much if any effect. His main base was the Massachusetts delegation, which either walked out or turned their backs during Barr’s speech. I think his “non-endorsement” speech was basically seeing the writing on the wall, and trying to make an elder-statesman pitch for people not to go too apeshit when it played out.

  14. Gene Trosper

    I hope everyone has fun prancing off to their various non LP candidates. Some of us long time Libertarians are going to try very hard to make this campaign party.

  15. Gene Trosper

    Woah…part of my sentence just disappeared when I posted. Weird.

    Anyway, I was saying that some of us long time Libertarians are going to try very hard to make this campaign pay off for the party.

  16. Jason_Gatties

    And some of us long time libertarians are not happy at the moment. Some of us long time libertarians saw this coming 2 years ago. Some of us long time libertarians will continue to fight for our principles.

    Gene, if you really want this to work out for Barr, perhaps you should reach out to those who are upset, instead of insulting them. Will your candidate insult them as well or is that simply th supporters MO?

  17. Andy

    I will be very disappointed if there was a mass defection from the LP. Personally, I liked Kubby, and I thought he killed in the debate, but I’m not going to bail just because a guy I don’t agree with as much as I agreed with Kubby got the nomination. I think we’re stronger than that. Because I couldn’t make the convention, I have to trust my fellow LP members. After all, I’ve trusted them for many many years.

  18. Bill Woolsey

    If Barr/Root get substantial media converage, the polls continue to show up 5% or so, and the media stories are about spoiling McCain, cutting goverment, out of Iraq, and privacy rights, Barr will get the support of radical libertarians.

    If, incredibly, the media stories are about how
    Barr supports the drug war or is against gay rights, or something… then, he will lose their support.

    If he receives very little media or he disappears from the polls, then every anti-libertarian gaffe made will be exagerrated, and he will lose the radicals.

    If he begins campaign on a “culture war” agenda, or invading Colombia… well, he would lose my support to.

  19. RedPhillips

    I am not nearly as aware of all the LP internal politics as y’all are, but my thought is that Ruwart was a flawed “purist” candidate. Not just the porn thing, but also being an anarchist. If the purists had been represented by a radical minarchist such as Harry Browne, my hunch is that Barr could have been defeated.

    G.E. which one were you? I have the whole thing Tivo’ed. I’ll look you up.

    Ironically, the conservative CP candidate is better on foreign policy and war and peace than the LP candidate. Somewhere Dondero is smiling.

    When did it become obvious that Barr was going to win on the floor. I thought he was going to win as soon as I saw how many votes Root received.

  20. Dylan Waco

    The moment I saw Kubby had done so poorly and Gravel was locking up seventy votes every ballot I knew it was Barr’s. The radicals simply didn’t have the representation on the floor to win. Whether that is representative of the party rank and file may be debatable but in the hall they were outnumbered. Root has been stacking up delegates for a year and that really made the difference, much more so than what Barr brought to the table himself.

    I agree that Ruwart was a weak candidate for that wing of the party. Kubby would have been a better representative as he has a more personable style and his story is very compelling even to folks that are in no way small government types (I watched the debate last night with a socialist who thought Kubby was someone he could vote for!).

    I strongly disagree with Kubby on immigration, but he would have been my first choice and I would have voted for him for President. I would most likely not have voted for Ruwart.

  21. Lance Brown

    Ruwart could have done better in the debate. But the “scandal” might have been enough to sink her momentum, which otherwise would have been pretty strong I think.

    She really could have done a lot better in the debate though. If you’re going to announce late and count on personal zazz and reputation to win, then you’ve got to bring all the zazz you’ve got.

  22. Lance Brown

    The fact that Mary’s upstart campaign held up so well against two (conventionally speaking) much stronger candidacies speaks well to the clout that she *was* able to muster, though. Barr is a former federal office holder and mainstream political celebarity, and Root has clearly been working it at 110% for some time now. Mary had them on the ropes with relatively little effort.

  23. mindcrime

    The Libertarian Party just sold it’s soul, and it didn’t even get anything in the exchange. Barr won’t win and the LP lost a tremendous amount of credibility.

    I can’t wait for tomorrow’s headlines “Drug Warrior Barr wins LP Nomination.”

    If Portland is to be remembered as the “Purge in Portland” then this must be the “Debacle in Denver.” 🙁

  24. MattSwartz

    I thought that some of Ruwart’s positions were problematic, but from a personality and character standpoint, it seems like she’d be the perfect candidate.

    And there’s nothing about her that’s even nearly as bad as Barr’s foreign policy.

  25. Steven R Linnabary

    I predict that Barr will get fewer votes than any other LP POTUS candidate in history.

    He will not be in the debates.

    He will not get much MSM, except of “spoiler” sort.

    There will be a spate of MSM in the next week, much of which will be to remind voters that he wrote DOMA (his supposed flip-flop will be disregarded), supported PATRIOT (another flip-flop will be disregarded) supported the war in Iraq (also will be disregarded, especially with Root being an avid supporter of the war).

    Vigurie (sp) will drain any money he gets.

    Hope that I am wrong, of course. But that is my prediction.


  26. tom m

    It is beyond time for the party to come together and work towards getting the candidate of choice higher vote totals then ever before. The one thing that Bob Barr brings that very few can is name recognition and he has actually been elected to something other than dog catcher, which can help in the fund raising area and news media coverage.

    Barr can use his flip flopping an point out the various flip flopping positions of the other candidates as well. I would much rather have a Barr presidency then McCain or Obama.

    I guess many of you would call those of us that used to belong to another political party then joining the LP as flip floppers ?? I see it as a changing of the mindset or at least looking at information which probably was in front of us all along and coming to a conclusion that where we were at politically wasn’t where we were supposed to be.

    I was a 20+ year republican simply because I didn’t even know a libertarian party existed until I moved to MO in 2003. For that I see the membership of the party as faulty as well as the leadership of the party. Since ’03 I have worked to promote the LP but the infighting of the party and the purest make me wonder why I even try to promote a party that excels at failure.

  27. Dylan Waco

    I am not an LP member, though I have voted for more Libertarians then I have members of any other party (never for President though…I voted Nader in 2000 and not at all in 04). I might have considered joining had Kubby been on the ticket. Alas he did not and I am still a true independent.

    That said, my problem with Barr is not that he is a flip-flopper or that he has changed his mind on certain things. If he is sincere, that is a good thing. My problem with Barr is threefold

    First, Barr is not a libertarian. He may be a libertarian leaning conservative, but to me that is not the same thing. At minimum a libertarian at least ought to be consistent in their principles. For example a libertarian ought to favor repeal of all drugs, not just certain drugs. I understand the practical arguments against campaigning on such proposals and I do not disagree with them, but Barr does not appear to be adhering to pragmatism. He simply things barring people from taking certain drugs at gunpoint is okay. That may be better than most politicians, but it is not libertarian. For this reason, even though I was not a Ruwart supporter (and likely would not vote for her in a general election), I think Ruwart was clearly the better nominee for a party that goes by the name of Libertarian. Barr’s inability or refusal to consistently apply libertarian principles makes the appearance of a disgruntled conservative takeover of the party seem almost inevitable.

    My second major problem with Barr is his explanations and “apologies” for his voting record on certain issues simply doesn’t make sense. For instance Barr claims he was “duped” by bad intelligence and has said that no one really thought the authorization to use force would actually lead to a war anyhow and that is why he mistakenly voted for Iraq. In other words instead of saying “I was wrong”, Barr is saying “I was lied to!”. That is what John Kerry ran on and the electorate correctly concluded that if Kerry did believe those lies he was an idiot who really was Unfit For Command. If he didn’t believe those lies then he himself was just another lying politician and the folks don’t like that too much either. It’s one thing to come out and say you were wrong, like Republican Congressman Walter Jones has. It is another to pretend you are stupid or lie (by the way if there is anyone that could be forgiven for holding on to the “I was lied to!” line it would be Walter Jones who represents the district that include Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Jones is a principled man though so he told the truth..and was rewarded with a relatively easy win in the GOP primary after being targeted by the neocons). Barr has repeated this schtick time and time again with The Patriot Act (“the sunset provision!”), the Barr Amendment, and DOMA (“I didn’t know the feds would use it as a club!”). Presumably he would use the same excuse for the Fair Tax, a proposal he has endorsed only after it’s primary author took his House seat (“I swear I didn’t know it would make everyone a welfare recipient and wasn’t pegged to spending!”).

    Finally, Barr’s generally stealthy behavior is unbecoming of someone looking to form a serious coalition. I had my doubts about Barr from the jump, because I didn’t think he could appeal to the segments of the left that Ron Paul was hitting homeruns with, but I had no clue that Barr would essentially campaign as the “real conservative”, anti-McCain candidate. This will effectively murder the inroads made for a broad decentralist program. The inclusion of Root on the ticket just seals the deal.

    Look, I want Barr to do well for several reasons, not the least of which is I don’t want the LP to totally dissolve and don’t want them to lose ballot access. I also think Barr can and will make a lot of solid points that would not be made by Obama or McCain.

    That said, Barr/Root is not good enough for me. I need principle, candor and consistency at minimum from a third party candidate. This slate gets NOTA on that ballot.

  28. Jerry S.

    Good post, Dylan. I think Barr is one of the most BORING political speechmakers , I think I’ve ever heard. He needs some of Root’s energy or something…

  29. MattSwartz

    Your critique of Barr’s ignorance-feigning is spot-on.

    Jerry S,
    If I were a political candidate “blessed” with Root’s energy, I would pray all night and practice all day to rid myself of it.

    Apparently “BANG” is his new catchphrase, which worked great in pro wrestling, but will turn almost everyone off on the campaign trail.

  30. trinman

    Mary did amazingly well once we consider the machines she was up against, as well as her late entry (thank god for the sanity of all who worked those weeks, they can go back to life knowing they did their best!).

    Due to other commitments (mostly to friends and colleagues, who once again bailed me out of dire straits!) I was unable to attend Denver; in retrospect I know I made the right decision. This was pretty inevitable when we look at the power blocs as well as the lineups (Root was a no-brainer; Williams was a little bit of an ambush, but we still shoulda noticed him.).

    Now I get to rewind a bit, relax and get perspective … I give it a week or two tops!

    If I hada gone to Denver we might be talking months!! Have been thru too many of those heartbreakers … they should be reserved for the sports world!

  31. Gene Trosper

    Sorry if I came off as insulting in my earlier posting, but it really disappoints me to see my fellow Libertarians throw a fit over this instead of trying to do something positive. I’m no Root fan. I’d have LOVED to see Kubby as VP. That’s what I was hoping for. However, that was not to be. I can accept that. Rather than take my marbles and go home, I am going to try my damndest to make this work to our advantage in the long run. I am absolutely convinced that if we stuck together, worked hard to maximize the vote total and instituted a good internal education program for new LP members, we could build some real-world credibility and be able to attract BETTER candidates in 2012.

    Bob Barr isn’t perfect. In fact, NONE of the candidates for president made me happy. But I see in Barr a rare opportunity to create a foundation for the future. He will gain credibility with the media (which we sorely need) and hopefully, credibility with the voters. If we can crack that 1% vote total, that will be big. We will be touted as a party on the rise. People will pay more attention to us. Because of that, recruiting better candidates should be an easier task. Currently, people such as Gary Johnson won’t run under our banner because we are viewed as an extreme fringe group that attracts insignificant support.

    We don’t have to view Barr/Root as the perfect Libertarian ticket, but rather as a TOOL to build the party sufficiently for the future. Leaving will not accomplish anything. The LP NEEDS it’s radical wing. I consider myself part of that wing, but my radical views won’t matter a whole lot of people will simply discount them because we can’t draw more than .5% of the vote.

    Radicals need to start thinking in terms of long range tactics. I really wish this talk of leaving and bolting to other candidates would stop so we could unite and build this party for 2012. If you think this is going to destroy the party, you will only make it self-fulfilling by your actions.

  32. Pingback: Conservative Heritage Times » And the 2008 Libertarian Presidential Nominee is… Bob Barr!

  33. G.E. Post author

    Gene said: “Woah…part of my sentence just disappeared when I posted. Weird.” — Hey, Viguerie hasn’t bought us out yet!

    But speaking about supporting non-libertarian candidates. I think that’s what you’re doing. I’m trying to find the most libertarian, not just the one with the label.

  34. G.E. Post author

    Andy – You are not THE Andy, brother, cuz that Andy was at the convention. He was a super cool guy. I wish you wouldn’t have taken his name! 🙂

  35. G.E. Post author

    Lance – “Relatively little effort?” Tell that to her campaign team! 🙂

  36. G.E. Post author

    Red – I’m the fat guy who gave a good speech for Ruwart, #2.

    tom m – If Bob Barr were interested in LP to any degree, he would have urged the delegates to choose Steve Kubby for VP. Many Barr supporters DID have the good sense to choose Kubby because they knew we needed a balanced ticket. This included Jeff Wartman, Jake Porter, and Doug Craig. It was just the a-holes who want the radicals out of the party that chose Root.

  37. G.E. Post author

    Gene – Bob Barr said to me, figuratively, GET LOST. And every other radical, too. They don’t want us, and I will not support a FraudTaxing CIA operative homophobic drug warrior. Sorry.

  38. Gene Trosper

    So, since when did you start listening to Bob Barr, G.E.????

    Stick it out and show your strength! I made the mistake of leaving due to the “win at any costs” faction who made me feel unwelcome. I’m back now with a new attitude and outlook. I feel I can work with anyone now…and I want to! In the end, the LP is the ONLY home I have and everyone is my family (albeit sometimes a dysfunctional family) and I refuse to turn my back on my liberty-loving family. It’s now up to us to not only maximize the good that can come of this campaign, but to act as PRESSURE on the campaign to keep them from deviating too far.

    I consider what’s happening to be a growing pain. We have to live and learn and become better at what we do in the LP. It’s a good thing. : )

  39. Bill Woolsey

    The Charleston Post and Courier had the news on page 7. The first sentence ends, “..attract some conservative voters turned off by the Republican Party.” Barr is then quoted, “..attract every voter we can.” and “get government out of thei pocket book, out of their homes, out of their schools.” Then the reporter says, bring U.S. troops home from Iraq and from around the world.”

    The article goes on to talk about his effort to impeach Clinton. Then it explains he soured on the Republican Party and shifted course to
    oppose the War in Iraq, the Patriot Act, and suspension of civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism, and the rapid rise in domestic spending. The article goes on to talk about the spoiler issue. It ends with
    claiming the LP lost its chance for a big success because Paul refused to seek its nomination.

    I believe that Barr will only get attention on the spoiler issue. But, his message will be mentioned. As above…

    Anyway, Linnabary… nothing in the article on Barr supporting DOMA or the Patriot Act, (though I suppose the “change directions” might imply that about the Patriot Act.)

    Last night, I saw Ruwart on TV telling delegates that if Barr wins, the headline would be, “LP nominates drug warrior.” Well, here, the headline on the article was “Barr wins Libertarian Nod.” Nothing about him being
    a drug warrior in the entire article.

    Apparently, many libertarian activists are unable to understand how fundamentally ignorant most voters alway remain about politics and public affairs. Libertarian leaning
    voters will hear about Obama’s big spending plans. They will hear about McCain’s desire
    to “win” in Iraq. And, we can hope, they will
    hear that Barr wants to cut spending and get
    out of Iraq.

    Time will tell…

  40. jazzyj

    The November election will be my first Presidential election voting as a Libertarian. I had hoped to be able to finally vote for my principles, my beliefs, instead of voting for the lesser of evils.

    With the election of LINO, Bob Barr, as the Libertarian nominee, it would appear I will be unable to do that.

    I came to the LP expecting much better things than the Democratic party, but maybe I was wrong.

  41. Bill Woolsey

    Just saw television coverage on MSNBC.. exactly like Linnarby said! DOMA, Patriot Act, against medical marijuana. But Barr says he is now a libertarian. Nothing about the war issue.

    Depressing… (Could it be that this is in answer to the “question,” why 6 ballots?)

  42. Carl M

    Ironically, I had something more lefty in mind for the LP when I launched the Reform Caucus — something a Mike Gravel could have really embraced upon receiving a bit of education in non-socialist alternatives.

    But I got tired of dealing with the ugliness that is the LP, and handed leadership of the Caucus to others.


    I had kind of hoped Ruwart would win the nod — in order to keep the LP as a fringe party leaving room for something better to arise.

    But I must admit to enjoying the whining of the purists who hounded me out of the party. They deserve what they are getting. Maybe they’ll learn something useful. Maybe they’ll learn that a candidate who gets press and hangs out publicly with Rob Kampia is going to get more traction towards marijuana legalization than a fringe candidate who is ignored while calling for crack vending machines or the like.

  43. Carl M


    I spoke metaphorically, and was referring to purist positions in general. (Nonetheless, her stated — and defended — position on child sex was at least as bad as crack vending machines. )

    The call for complete legalization of all drugs, and wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of regulation of drugs is pretty darned close to a call for crack vending machines. Years ago, I suggested that the Virginia LP put out the slogan “ABC Stores Instead of Gangsters”. That is, treat hard drugs with the same security measures as are used for hard liquor. The response I got back from a noted Radical Caucus member was “we don’t like ABC stores, either.”

    Your reference to me as a “dumbass” is illustrative as to why I left the LP. And why I have no sympathy for you should your cult get taken over by conservatives.

  44. Bill Woolsey

    I finally checked out Baldwin’s website.

    He has an explicitly protectionist trade policy. Tariffs that will make up the difference between the cost of production in the U.S. and foreign countries!

    It is explicitly aimed at protecting manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

    It is, of course, inconsistent with protecting U.S. consumers against inefficent U.S. producers.

    It is inconsistent with the principle of comparative advantage. (We should produce where our costs are lower and foreigners where there costs are lower.)

    Violates the right of consumers to spend their money as they choose.

    And, of course, will make the American people poorer. It will give those must vulnerable to foreign competition a larger share of a smaller pie. Whether they would actually be better off is unclear.

  45. Bill Woolsey

    Baldwin on Aborition rights

    “Under my administration, we could end legal abortion in a matter of days, not decades. And if Congress refuses to pass Dr. Paul’s bill, I will use the constitutional power of the Presidency to deny funds to protect abortion clinics. Either way, legalized abortion ends when I take office.”

    Paul called for leaving the abortion issue to the states. Pro-choice states would have legal abortions. Pro-life states could impose bans.

    Barr takes the same position as Paul, but so far, isn’t focusing on the issue as much as Paul.

    Badlwin favors a Federal ban. He supports Paul’s legislation on the matter, but, unlike Paul, interprets it as imposing a Federal ban on abortion. (As best I can tell.)

  46. tom m

    Apparently I’m not libertarian enough for many of you all either. I’m not a legalization of any and all drugs either, I take a more common sense approach with my thoughts. If it were here by the grace of GOD or whoever or whatever you think created the earth I’m all for it. When you start mixing and matching chemical additives to sell to others with the intent of having them become addicted then I’m opposed to it. Before you even start I used to smoke and kicked the habit after 22 years, same with drinking I quit that after about 15 years. Neither of these addictions caused me bodily harm at the time I was taking it unlike meth and various other forms of chemical addictions which show up not long after you become addicted.

    If Bob Barr is even half a “purest” libertarian that is a step in the right direction.

    For those of you fighting for the “purest” in the party and to hopefully change the political spectrum, good luck with that and with remaining a fringe minority.

    I will work for freedom and liberty even if it means we do it in small steps as to become the norm in society, to all of a sudden make every drug imaginable legal will not fly in any court of public opinion.

    It wasn’t that long ago that people laughed at the prospect of building and being “green” The Green Party hasn’t even elected anyone yet but the agenda of the party is becoming mainstream.

    This is the type of action that gets results, not some half baked idea of overnight legalization or making every thing legal immediately.

  47. George Phillies

    Passing a Blackberry with the title of this thread showing was great for laughs at a post-dinner party last night.

    As I said in my departure speech, given my success in persuading delegates to come to my side, I was disappointed that none of the remaining candidates had asked me to endorse one of their opponents.

    With respect to questions of why I did not endorse Barr or Ruwart, the answer is that our delegates are grownups with minds. Also, I viewed the two of them to lead to precisely the same list of problems.

    When you declare right on top of the convention, there is no time for your skeletons to be exposed before the vote, meaning they will now be unearthed after the vote.

    With respect to my comment on my state committee, the issue is that in 1999 Barr encouraged the Army to ban Wiccan services from Army bases. As State Chair, I am in precisely the same position as a state chair who has an African-American voting majority on the committee, taking home the news that our candidate, in 1999, had been an Imperial Wizard of the KKK and had spent his time asking storefront owners not to rent their storefronts to African-American churches.

    It’s not something you can talk your way out from.

    “Steve Perkins // May 25, 2008 at 9:31 pm wrote: If Phillies “instructed” his followers to go to”

    I didn’t.

    “… His main base was the Massachusetts delegation…”

    We had 6-8 votes, and I peaked in the high 40s.

    “, which either walked out or turned their backs during Barr’s speech.”

    My campaign treasurer and I moved to the side of the hall so that we might better gauge the applause. Groups of people cheering. Groups of people moving heir hands. Groups of people sitting on their hands.

    There was one Massachusetts delegate who turned his back. He had previously circulated a statement to delegates noting that Barr had called his religion ‘bogus’. He gave Barr the same treatment that an observant Jew might reasonably have given a Congressman who 10 years ago had called banning synagogues from Army bases.

    With respect to other delegates from my delegation fleeing for food or drink, that meant that fewer of them saw who was brought to the stage during the speech.

    “… I think his “non-endorsement” speech was basically seeing the writing on the wall…”

    You are laboring under the misapprehension that I thought Ruwart was an improvement over Barr. I made a point of saying something nice about each of my opponents.

    But who was the one person who more than anyone else gave Barr the nomination?

    Hint: Not my good friend Wayne Allyn Root. He made a brilliant deal for himself, especially the support for the 2012 nomination, that Barr did not need to give–Root’s delegate’s would have broken adequately in Barr’s favor anyhow.

    And for those of you who wondered where I was during the VP debate, a member of my state delegation had had a minor medical issue that that initially appeared to be extremely serious, my campaign Treasurer had therefore had three hours of sleep and nothing at all to eat that day, and I therefore took her to dinner. For the amount of time she had invested in my campaign it was the least I could do. Alas, her fiancee was not along, so I did not get to take them both to dinner.

    And if any of you in Denver get to the Panzano, in the Hotel Monaco, it is superb north Italian for $50 a head, and I would be most interested to learn how good the desserts were, because we had another political event afterwards, so I never found out.

    “…, and trying to make an elder-statesman pitch for people not to go too apeshit when it played out…”

  48. G.E. Post author

    George – There’s nothing to “laugh” about. You are not accused of underhanded dealing. It is the assumptions of most observers that were wrong. The assumption was that you would back anyone but Barr. Instead, you let a Republican defeat a real libertarian. People thought you were a party stalwart, and an anti-conservative, even where you are impure and wrong on many issues.

  49. G.E. Post author

    Bill Woolsey – I agree with everything you said in your May 26, 2008 at 11:31 am comment. But I do not agree that Baldwin supports a federal ban on abortion. Show me the proof. What you posted ain’t it.

  50. G.E. Post author

    George – I should also add that it’s an honor to have you posting at our new site, and it was a great pleasure to meet you in Denver. I’m fairly confident that you do not eat hard-boiled babies or babies of any variety.

  51. RedPhillips

    I believe the issue was the Wiccan’s wanting to use the Base Chapel. The same Chapel where Cristian services take place. Not banning the services from bases entirely. I could be wrong.

    Aren’t Wiccans in general pacifists? Why are they joining the Army? I think most probably took up the practice after joining but why then did they not ask to get out for religious reasons?

  52. George Phillies


    Yes, if the base has one chapel, it is for all religions, not some of them. In fact the services took place–the Army politely told Barr and fellow Republicans where to go–in open fields, out of sight of passers by.

    The notion that Wiccans are necessarily pacifists is, let us say, only true on occasion. The notion of Asatru leading to pacifist beliefs is notably less accurate than other ideas.

    Other than that, good points.

  53. aynrkey

    The Base Chapel is used by all faith groups, not just Christian. Wiccans would be using the same chapel where Christian services, Jewish services, Islamic services, Native American services, Hindu services, and even Buddhist services take place. Wiccans aren’t pacifists in general.

    Yes, the issue was to ban it from the base entirely, having the religion removed from the list recognized by the military. Therefore all chapel facilities would be forbidden to Wiccans who serve.

  54. Lance Brown

    G.E. – Mary entered the race very shortly before the convention…I’m sure her campaign team expended plenty of energy, but, yes, there was relatively little effort compared to the campaigns that had been working for a year beforehand.

    I don’t fault her for coming in late, though. She’s well-known enough that she didn’t have to do that build-up legwork. Good for her. It probably wouldn’t have changed things if she had anyway. It still would have been the close fight that it was I think.

  55. G.E. Post author

    Lance – I think it may have made a difference. I think, given more time, she could have defused this scandal and exposed the smear artists for the virtual gang rapists they were and are. All in a very nice way.

  56. G.E. Post author

    Austin – About Mary’s Web site. Wow. It wasn’t like that even Saturday. It really, REALLY is a shame she didn’t win. Damn.

  57. Nonpartisan

    Professor Phillies, I was watching on C-Span after your “unity” speech, and you were asked by a voter who you would support of the remaining candidates. You looked at the camera, then wrote down your answer on a piece of paper before explaining that you didn’t want to say it in front of the cameras. Now that the race is over, would you be willing to tell us who you did vote for in succeeding rounds? If not, perfectly understandable.

  58. aynrkey

    Now that Barr has the nomination, he will not have to answer any further questions. He has no need to woo supporters. So what does Barr think about the Wiccan issue now? It’s not an issue to him, and he won’t address the question.

  59. Pingback: Denver: Final postmortem

  60. redgar

    In response to the article:
    This is complete conjecture without any basis in facts. Those on the floor had internet access and were all looking at Ruwart’s statements on the age of consent and the several articles taking her to task on it. Her statements are the sole reason she lost. Phillies speech was excellent. It was preceded by Smith (who I really liked) having a temper tantrum on CSPAN. Phillies reaction was the exact opposite of her tantrum and instead called for unity in the party.

    In response to several posts:
    “Are you spearheading Libertarians for Baldwin, GE?”

    How any libertarian can consider the Constitution party is beyond me. They state in their platform that gambling is immoral. They call for a ban on pornography. They have too many exceptions to self ownership for me.

    “Now that Barr has the nomination, he will not have to answer any further questions. He has no need to woo supporters.”

    Not true at all!. Barr has only my temporary support. I’ll give a small amount to his campaign and ensure that he is on the ballot. But if he wants any real money he needs to fess up to all of his past sins and tell me what he believes today.

  61. G.E. Post author

    redgar – I have to find a better way to phrase my headlines. I try to make them provocative, but I think I’m crossing the line. Yes, there is conecture, but it isn’t my conjecture. Conjecture is news.

  62. Arthur Torrey

    As the Chair of the Mass. Delegation in Denver, I can say that there were a total of EIGHT delegates signed in for the state. One left Saturday night, and failed to sign out. One ended up in the hospital Sunday morning (and appeared seriously ill initially), and caused Carol McMahon to loose a great deal of sleep in trying to ensure that he got good medical care, wasn’t left stuck in a hospital in a strange city, connecting him with his partner, and so forth – however she was still present for every vote on the Presidential ballot. We had six votes cast on every ballot, nobody left the convention till after it had adjourned for the evening. We didn’t start “loosing” people until the Judicial Committee process started and a few had to go catch planes.

    As to the Wicca thing, there are possibly more points of view in the Pagan community than there are in the Libertarian one – and many consider a “warrior path” in the form of military service to be a valid choice. However there are AFAIK no Pagan military chaplains, so the cost to the military of allowing Pagans to worship is nominal – use of some space (not necessarily indoors) and allowing the servicemember the time off to participate… I personally found Barr’s assault on the military Pagans offensive, but as I’ve said elsewhere multiple times, it is FAR from my only problem with him – I’ve been collecting a few links on the LPMass website discussion forum, feel free to check them out and comment.





  64. Starchild

    Anyway, a few things that seem worth remarking on from a post-2008 perspective, or retrieving from the memory hole at least temporarily:

    • Carl Milsted @54 writes, somewhat peevishly, “I must admit to enjoying the whining of the purists who hounded me out of the party. They deserve what they are getting. Maybe they’ll learn something useful. Maybe they’ll learn that a candidate who gets press and hangs out publicly with Rob Kampia is going to get more traction towards marijuana legalization than a fringe candidate who is ignored while calling for crack vending machines or the like.”

    After the rather dismal showing by the Barr/Root campaign (far closer to .5% than 5%), one can only hope that *Milsted himself* has learned something useful, to wit: A more mainstream, less radical LP candidate, even one who is a former fairly well-known member of Congress, isn’t necessarily going to get significantly more votes for president than a radical candidate. As evidence of this, he need only observe that the vote totals of Harry Browne in 1996 and 2000 and Michael Badnarik in 2004 were in the same general ballpark as Barr’s (less than 1%).

    • George Phillies showed that when push came to shove, his moderate/anti-radical stance trumped his left-libertarian/anti-conservative stance. He responds @60 to “questions of why I did not endorse Barr or Ruwart” [after Phillies himself was eliminated as a candidate on an early ballot] by stating:

    “I viewed the two of them to lead to precisely the same list of problems.”

    Later in the same post, in response to another commenter, he adds, “You are laboring under the misapprehension that I thought Ruwart was an improvement over Barr.

    “Nonpartisan” asks @71, “Professor Phillies, I was watching on C-Span after your ‘unity’ speech, and you were asked by a voter who you would support of the remaining candidates. You looked at the camera, then wrote down your answer on a piece of paper before explaining that you didn’t want to say it in front of the cameras. Now that the race is over, would you be willing to tell us who you did vote for in succeeding rounds?”

    No response from George Phillies then — but perhaps he’ll see the question and address it now.

    • Dylan Waco’s at @34 presents an excellent discourse on the problems with Bob Barr. It’s worth reading in its entirety, but of particular interest is the perspective he takes toward the purpose of the Libertarian Party:

    “Barr is not a libertarian. He may be a libertarian leaning conservative, but to me that is not the same thing. At minimum a libertarian at least ought to be consistent in their principles. For example a libertarian ought to favor repeal of all drugs, not just certain drugs. I understand the practical arguments against campaigning on such proposals and I do not disagree with them, but Barr does not appear to be adhering to pragmatism. He simply things barring people from taking certain drugs at gunpoint is okay. That may be better than most politicians, but it is not libertarian. For this reason, even though I was not a Ruwart supporter (and likely would not vote for her in a general election), I think Ruwart was clearly the better nominee for a party that goes by the name of Libertarian.”

    Dylan appears to recognize something very important here — even though he himself is not a radical, he still feels that the Libertarian Party, as the political party bearing the name “libertarian”, ought to stand for libertarian ideas. If a candidate does not hold libertarian beliefs, he appears to be suggesting, that candidate might be a better candidate, but should not run on the Libertarian Party ticket.

    It makes sense to support Libertarian candidates whose beliefs are more radical than our own, if one exists, because we still want change in the same direction. We can always stop voting Libertarian when the world becomes free enough so that, from our perspective, the LP pushing for more freedom no longer represents positive change.

    In the meantime, as pointed out to Carl Milsted above, moderate candidates are unlikely to receive significantly more votes on the national level — if at all — and so there is little reason for even moderates to favor such candidates, unless you think the world is very close to the point at which you would believe it to be too free, such that a radical candidate if elected might take the Freedom Train past your stop.

  65. George Phillies

    In retrospect, Barr gave us a terrible campaign.

    The radicals who assumed that I thought Ruwart was better than Barr as a possible candidate or vice versa were just plain wrong. I have not changed my mind.

    Convention delegates who listened very carefully will have noted I said nicer things about Gravel and Root — who entered the race in a timely way so their strengths and weaknesses could be evaluated — than about Barr or Ruwart. Most people did not notice.

    However, the coverage was on CSPAN, and therefore I gave the speech that was appropriate to be watched on CSPAN and build our vote totals.

    With respect to the piece of paper, which I have not thought about in years, I believe that was my state chair asking my for whom I was voting, with a piece of paper so I would not be heard on television, and I pointed at a name. I pointed at NOTA.

  66. George Phillies

    Starchild quotes me as saying: ““I viewed the two of them to lead to precisely the same list of problems.”

    Later in the same post, in response to another commenter, he adds, “You are laboring under the misapprehension that I thought Ruwart was an improvement over Barr.” ”

    To add to that, I also did not think that Ruwart was worse than Barr as a candidate. The Ruwart and Barr campaigns had precisely the same problem, namely they both started so late that there was (for different reasons) little likelihood they could assemble an effective campaign in the available time.

    We are going to have a Presidential debate in Manchester June 19. You are all welcome to submit questions — email them to me. As moderator, I am going to be focusing on questions are most important for evaluating our candidate.

    Finally, note how much discussion on IPR has gone downhill in the last three years.

  67. Starchild

    George – Thanks for responding and revealing that you voted for NOTA in the 2008 presidential runoff between Bob Barr and Mary Ruwart.

    When I said your “moderate/anti-radical stance trumped (your) left-libertarian/anti-conservative stance”, I was implicitly referring to the fact that Barr was the favorite going into the voting, and therefore your staying neutral — especially when, as you said, the expectation in at least some quarters was that you would help the party avoid getting Barr as its nominee after being knocked out of the running yourself — had the practical effect of helping Barr.

    I think you’re badly misguided to believe that Bob Barr was in any way as acceptable as Mary Ruwart to represent the Libertarian Party, *especially* now with the benefit of hindsight knowing how poor a campaign Barr ran. I was among those surprised and disappointed by your failure to oppose him. Dante’s comment about neutrality comes to mind.

    I almost commented myself about the higher level of discourse on this thread compared with most of the threads we see today. So I guess we can agree on something.

  68. whatever

    NEVER FORGET that Barr first offered to swap endorsements with Ruwart for a Barr/Ruwart ticket. Ruwart, petulant to a fault, refused. So Barr then offered the same deal to Root. Hence, Barr/Root.

    Anyone who laments what Root has done to the LP in the past three years — remember that it is largely the fault of the intransigent Ruwart. Reflect on that.

  69. Marc Montoni


    Note that the link underlying your name returns a “404 Not Found / The requested URL /Convention does not exist.” error.

  70. George Phillies


    You are neglecting an issue that I hope you will recognize once I note it.

    I agree that Barr ran an unfortunate campaign. However, you are assuming that Ruwart’s campaign would have been better than Barr’s, and I am not inclined to agree with you.

    It is always dangerous to compare the historical past with a hoped-for hopefully-better alternative, because you see the bad parts of reality and the good parts of dreams.

    I do not think that a Ruwart campaign would have had the same difficulties as a Barr campaign, e..g, $30,000+ on limousines. However, it launched very late, and would in my opinion therefore have had critical organizational issues just as Barr did.

    In addition, both Barr and Ruwart kept having things crawl out from under rocks, like Barr’s anti-Pagan pogrom effort and various items in Ruwart’s books, of which the notorious issue was among the less serious. We also got to see things crawl out from under Barr’s organizational rocks, and I see no reason that Ruwart would not have had difficulties of the same type, though for completely different reasons.

    In addition, a point where we disagree, I view organizational level of the Presidential campaign to be far more important than fine details of ideology.

    Having said that, readers with modest math skills will work out how I voted in the last round, given that delegation’s vote on the last round was 6-0 for Ruwart with only 6 delegates on the floor. A friend asked and I was agreeable.

    I shall, however, note the discussion line I heard regularly in 2010 among moderates, referring back to 2008: OK, when will the radicals make a mess of the situation again? There was complete contempt for the radical wing’s total political ineptitude on the part of a fair number of people with whom I interacted, based on the interpretation that the radical wing handed the nomination to Barr.

  71. Michael H. Wilson

    Interesting comments about Mr. Barr. I was at our state convention today and one of the people mentioned that when we were collecting signatures to get Mr. Barr of the ballot a number of people said they would not sign for him because of what they knew about Mr. Barr. Seems the public was aware of his past and viewed it negatively.

  72. Steven R Linnabary

    MHW @ 90…

    I personally did not have any problem petitioning, even at the local “PRIDE” event. Out of the 300-400 sigs gathered that day, I only recall 2 or 3 that refused for that reason. One person was flabbergasted that the LP would nominate him, but he signed.

    OTOH, that year DID see a lot of LP activists that more or less sat out the race.


  73. paulie

    Uh, forgot to include in that last post the link to Paulie’s comment:

    lol, didn’t mean to revive it, but in a way that’s kind of cool.

    Maybe some other old threads may be worth reviving if someone feels like digging through them….not me, though……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *