Steve Kerbel apologizes for “error from the campaign” on e-mail blast insulting other L.P. candidates


Image included in Kerbel campaign email.

The Kerbel campaign sent out an email blast, which included a screenshot of the “power rankings” from The Washington Examiner [update: the image is not actually from the Examiner -ac] for the LP presidential nomination shown above. The rankings showed Kerbel at #2, but also included negative comments about several other candidates for the nomination, including on their personal appearance. The negative reaction from many Libertarians who have received the email, prompted Steve Kerbel to offer the following explanation and apology:

This was an error from the campaign, that I do not endorse. An e-mail was sent from the campaign which included a photo from examiner, among quite a bit of other information. I did not see this prior to mailing, and if I had, I would not have allowed it to be sent. The campaign attached this photo due to my position in the examiner power rankings. They did not see the personal insults aimed at several other candidates. I would never condone such comments, and I personally feel terrible that this was allowed to be disseminated. Not only are these other candidates working with me to further the cause of liberty, I consider several of them to be friends. This image has been removed from the e-mail queue and I have instructed my campaign to be more careful in the future, so such poor taste and destructive information is never included in our communications ever again. Part of my mission is to unite the party, and these insulting photos are most certainly not the way to do that. I can assure everyone that this will never happen again.
– Steve Kerbel

37 thoughts on “Steve Kerbel apologizes for “error from the campaign” on e-mail blast insulting other L.P. candidates

  1. NewFederalist

    “I am very glad to see this.” – Caryn Ann Harlos

    The apology or the sense of humor?

  2. Caryn Ann Harlos


    The apology. I’m not interested in campaigns of insults, and though that graphic was obviously a joke, I don’t want to see candidates engaged in that. Particularly considering my strong stand against the insult politics of others.

  3. Steve Kerbel Wins!!!!

    Steve Kerbel wins LP nomination on third ballot with 51% of the vote and wins the election by for the first time having two running mates; Theodore (Ted) Cruz and Bernie Sanders. Only Steve K, that great man from the power of the Great Chain of Being, has the wherewithal and bewithall to encounter the force of liberty and perform it with his mighty hand.

  4. Andy Craig Post author

    I didn’t think to check, but now that you mention it: you are correct, neither the image nor the comments came from the Washington Examiner. It’s somebody’s home-made effort in the style of WE rankings, but the comments and rankings are from whoever made it.

  5. Andy Craig Post author

    Updated to note the correction and remove the incorrect attribution to the Examiner in the caption.

  6. NewFederalist

    “The apology. I’m not interested in campaigns of insults, and though that graphic was obviously a joke…” – Caryn Ann Harlos

    Ahh… I see. Personally I think life is way too important to be taken seriously! 😉

  7. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I have high standards for leaders (particularly political leaders). And having been in an “out group” that makes for an easy target for a campaign of insults I have learned to despise them even more. We are a fractured movement. We can’t be shooting our own in low ways. Stick to issues. Leave personal insults out is my standard for those seeking our highest office.

    If we are to have a voluntary peaceful amiable society we have to model it.

    Does this mean “insults” are NEVER proper or warranted? No… but it does mean they should not be our primary model of communication and certainly not from our leaders in low crass ways.

  8. Bondurant

    Kerbel wrote:

    “This image has been removed from the e-mail queue and I have instructed my campaign to be more careful in the future, so such poor taste and destructive information is never included in our communications ever again.”

    Just “instructed to be more careful”? I would think a smart move would be to fire someone that makes the candidate look like an ass.

  9. NewFederalist

    “I would think a smart move would be to fire someone that makes the candidate look like an ass.” – Bondurant

    The problem with that might be the “fall guy” might be perceived as a scapegoat which could serve to keep this whole controversy alive for a longer period of time. I think pulling a “Hillary” on this one is probably his best option.

  10. Donald Hagenwald (@DJH_2036)

    Well, at least I know I’m not looking in the wrong places now.

    This is making me think though- if a power ranking for the LP were released, what would it look like? I imagine Johnson would be on top, but what about the rest?

  11. Richard Winger

    Many presidential candidates in the past have had two vice-presidential running mates, including William Jennings Bryan in 1896. He was the nominee that year of both the Democratic Party and the Peoples Party, but each party had its own v-p candidate.

  12. Shivany Lane

    Being the geek, budding digital forensics person and all around researcher and intellectually curious person that I am, I did a search for this image.

    This image does not appear anywhere else on the internet.

    If I were to break it down I know I would find the campaign head shots. The one picture of John McAfee is so prevalent it probably needs it’s own page to list the many places people have used it. BTW, that picture of John is actually a copyrighted image from a Wired photographer that he staged for their wired article on him a few years ago. It is not representative of who John is as a person.

    The gun was empty and they were going for shock value for the cover picture for the article, which they tried first to sell as an ebook.

    Kerbel is apologizing for something that someone in his campaign created. They didn’t “pull” it from anywhere and if I were The Examiner, I would not be very pleased. If you are going to do a “parody” Use a banner like the one at “The Onion”, that at least most of us knows is parody.

    I disagree that “doing a Hillary” is the right approach. He should admit that his campaign staff created this and that the person whose idea it was has been reprimanded. Not fired, but reprimanded. It is in bad taste.

  13. Caryn Ann Harlos


    That is complete bull. This image was floating around on various Libertarian groups for several days prior. That is where it was obtained.

  14. Caryn Ann Harlos

    I am in contact with the campaign representative who created the email. I asked him to check his files where he got it. This is where he got it. You can apologize now for your accusation. I certainly hope that kind of false accusation is not representative of the McAfee campaign. I will assume it is definitely not.

  15. Matt Cholko

    Yes, the meme is mean spirited. But, at the end of the day, I don’t see this as a big deal. If a pattern of stupid moves appears, then its a big deal. One time doesn’t mean much to me.

  16. Caryn Ann Harlos

    When there is a misstep on behalf of a campaign is when the character of the candidate shows there. Steve acted swiftly and decisively.

    If all of our elected leaders did that, this would be a much better place.

  17. Andy

    Funny to see Joe Wendt acting outraged and calling this mean spirited after all of the shit he has pulled. Why is Joe Wendt even here? I thought he quit the LP and became a Rick Santorum supporter.

  18. Shivany Lane

    @Caryn Ann Harlos,

    I hereby apologize for insinuating that they had created it themselves. I guess they were not that clever. I gave them too much credit.
    I do not speak for the McAfee campaign.

    I relied on Google to assist me in researching this. They failed me. Probably not the first time they have nor will it be the last.

    The next time I will research a little deeper. I believe that forums do not allow Google to index them which is why it was unable to find an image which resembled it.

    I still stand by my original opinion that if someone is going to do an email blast out to a large group of people, they should fact check it first. Had it appeared on any news site or ezine or blog, Google would have found it.

    Kerbel is playing the, “it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission” game here and I think it showed poor judgement.

    Your incredible offense at my original statement fascinates me. Why did you not speak up sooner to say that you had seen it on other forums? It still was in bad taste and displayed poor judgement. And the comment about McAfee was one of the nicer ones and it was mostly true. I just have an issue with negative campaigns.

    I also find it fascinating that a few of the people who comment here get their knickers in a bunch over the smallest little thing. The issue was not whether they created it, thus showing their cleverness, or if they ganked it from somewhere else, thus showing that they are not so clever. The issue was that it was mean spirited and inappropriate.

  19. langa

    Probably not the smartest (or classiest) move by the Kerbel campaign, but as campaign gaffes go, this one pales in comparison to the “ban burqas” fiasco.

  20. Joe Wendt

    @ Andy

    Let’s just say that due to the circumstances in the LPF, which has radically changed, and my standing in the LPF has also changed for the better.

  21. Andy

    Joe Wendt, would those circumstances happen to be Invictus sol Augustus, whom you are supporting?

  22. Joe Wendt

    @ Andy,

    Actually, the event I am referring to would be Wyllie and some of his supporters leaving. Although Augustus may have factored into that event, the exit of those individuals was the event that led to the circumstances that has improved my relationship with my state affiliate.

  23. American truth

    This is the most informative article I have ever read on IPR.

    Big props to Mr. Crookston for his excellent analysis.

  24. Thane Eichenauer

    “Big props to Mr. Crookston for his excellent analysis.”

    I don’t see any Mr. Crookston mentioned.

  25. Marc Allan Feldman

    Benjamin Crookston is the fellow who did a nice job photoshopping the Washington Examiner “power rankings” , added some biting commentary and posted the parody in the Libertarian group on January 6. C Michael Pickens thought it was genuine, which led Kerbel’s campaign to include it in an email to supporters.

  26. Caryn Ann Harlos

    Marc is correct. And then that meme was shared beyond the Libertarian group and sent to several individuals. CMP saw it quickly, only noticed the ranking and not the rude comments, and used it for the rankings. If anyone knows CMP they know he is not a fan of that kind politics of insult.

  27. paulie

    Why was my comment not posted? IPR isn’t what it used to be.

    Your comment is posted. Due to persistent problems with trolls and spam, the first comment from a screen name/email address combination is always moderated and usually promptly approved. We are all volunteers so sometimes not as promptly as at other times.

  28. paulie

    Just “instructed to be more careful”? I would think a smart move would be to fire someone that makes the candidate look like an ass.

    He’s not paying them and it’s certainly possible that someone did not look at the image carefully enough before attaching it to an email as an afterthought. Live and learn.

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