Mark Hinkle running for Libertarian National Committee Chair

I did not receive the original announcement as far as I know, but did receive the following from Mr. Hinkle in response to an email inquiry. In addition to Mark Hinkle, I am aware of two other likely candidates for LNC Chair in 2010: Ernest Hancock and Wayne Root.

-Paulie

Dear Allies, July 4, 2009

Last December, I wrote the following:

“Now that the presidential elections are over, we have a choice to make.

1. We can look back at the recent election, focus on what went wrong, form a circular firing squad, and commence shooting.

2. We can focus on what went right, build on those successes and unite the Party to work together to achieve our mutual goals.”

I was hoping we’d choose option 2. Sadly, we’re still stuck on option 1.

I’ve been with the LP for some 35 years now as a Life member (Ed Crane signed my membership card). And I was leaning that way 37 years ago if you count my vote for John Hospers for President in 1972. During that time, I’ve seen plenty of post election blues, infighting, and finger pointing.

Recently, I’ve heard radicals proclaim to reformers: we weakened the Party Platform, selected a “name” candidate for our presidential candidate, and behold: the same old election results. So, the reformers strategy didn’t work and so we should return to our tried and true “pure” Party platform.

On the other hand, total active donors from 04/08 to 11/08 are up substantially (17.56% versus 2004 figures of 3.57%) during the presidential election cycle. And the number of new donors is up 90.74% (5,314 this cycle versus 2,786 four years ago). Not too shabby!

Some years ago, while discussing strategies (minarchy versus anarchy, radical versus reformer, top down versus grass roots, etc.) with a fellow activist, I came to the realization that we can have it both ways, Or more preciously we can have it numerous ways. In fact, it must be this way if we are to succeed.

Let me explain.

The LP is a service organization. We have to serve our customers or they go away. And since our membership numbers are down from the heady days of Project Archimedes (a massive membership mailing project), we’ve not been doing a very good job of it. But, I don’t want to fix the blame, just fix the problem. Internal battles between “Reformers” and “Radicals” are NOT going to grow our membership.

Some folks want to run more candidates for local winnable races. Hopefully no one is against that idea. I certainly am not.

And other folks, myself included, want to the LP run a presidential candidate, even though that candidate has no chance of getting elected. Ditto for U.S. Senate races, Congress, and in most states’ legislative positions that are just not winnable currently.

So, where’s the conflict and why the disagreement?

Here’s how I see it: folks who support candidates running for local office see money spent on non-winnable races as a waste of money.

But, since it’s not their money, why should they object to other people funding non-winnable races?

Folks who support partisan races see value in getting the name Libertarian before the voters & the media and will fund them voluntarily.

Folks who support local winnable races will fund them voluntarily.

Folks who support non-winnable races will fund them voluntarily.

Folks who support top down management will fund them voluntarily.

Folks who support grassroots organizations will volunteer and fund them voluntarily.

Folks who want to run on a reform platform with interim strategies will do so. Don’t like Reformers? Run somebody against them in the same election.

Likewise, Radicals can and will run on an anarchist platform. Don’t like Radicals? Run somebody against them in the same election.

The LP, as an organization, must support all of these strategies because that’s what our membership wants. Even if we could, and we can’t, why would we want to stop anyone from pursuing a strategy they think will work and especially if they’re putting their time, money, and talent where their mouth is???

Ditto for those who want educational campaigns or any other type of campaigns: for example anti-tax or anti-bond measures.

To exclude any constructive group is to weaken the organization and prolong our fight for freedom.

If those who support winnable campaigns are more persuasive or more successful, they’ll likely raise more money. So, they’ll get more of what they want.

Ditto for those who want the LP to run more candidates for partisan offices. Which for the most part, are un-winnable currently, but which provide other benefits to the Party and to the cause of freedom.

So, rather than view these two strategies as mutually exclusive, let’s change that paradigm and see it as meeting the needs of both groups.

And, of course, there are folks who reside in both camps.

I’ve run for non-partisan office twice and the state Assembly 5 times. Plus I’ve given funds to winnable races (John Inks for City Council most recently) and to non-winnable races, such as every presidential candidate since John Hospers. And I’ve given money to ballot access, even though California already has ballot access. And I’ve written so many anti tax and anti bond measures statements that I’ve lost count.

So, if we make the Mission Statement a little broader it its scope, and follow through with successful programs that support all camps, we can have our cake and eat it too.

So, let’s stop viewing these strategies in terms of what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” or what’s “more effective” or “less effective” and view them instead as multiple strategies that have supporters who are willing to support them. And, we, as a service organization, need to support our customers. If we don’t, they won’t come back.

In the long term, if one of those strategies is the “right one”, we’ll have helped the cause of freedom.

And with that frame of mind, I formally announcement my intention to seek the position of Chair of the LNC.

My LP resume is long, but here are some highlights: I’ve been a LP County Vice-Chair, Chair, Newsletter Chair, LPC Vice-Chair, and served 6 years as LPC Chair. During the last 4 years (1997-2001) as LPC Chair, we had a record number of members (over 6,000 in California alone), a record number of candidates (both in raw numbers and those elected), a record number of donors, a record amount of monthly donors, more major donors than ever before, the largest LPC budget ever, and more paid professionals working for us than ever before. On the national front, I’ve been elected to the LNC 4 times and have served over 7 years.

Here are some of the goals that the LNC should undertake during the 2010 to 2012 term:

1. Ballot Access in all 50 states (to the extent our members are willing to fund it).

2. Membership growth in at least 2 key areas: 1. young adults (we need fresh blood, and 2. business folks (we need rich blood).

3. Create single issue coalitions with any other group willing to work with us. Power in numbers!

4. An online Congressional lobbying effort, something akin to DownsideDC.org

5. Affiliate and candidate support akin to the LP’s Success ’99 Party and candidate support training seminars.

6. Internal education. We need to remind our members of why we exist and what we stand for. Ideological drift will doom the LP to an early death. This must not happen!

Yours in liberty……………..Mark Hinkle,
LNC Region 2 (CA) Rep.,
Candidate for LP Chair

47 thoughts on “Mark Hinkle running for Libertarian National Committee Chair

  1. paulie Post author

    From my email response:

    You have an impressive LP resume and the arguments you make here make a lot of sense to me.

    At this time I am strongly inclined to support you for chair, although of course I would like to hear what the other candidates have to say as well.

    Regards,

    Paulie,
    Alabama/At Large

  2. Michael H. Wilson

    This is getting interesting. As a state party news letter editor it will be nice to be able to run profiles on the candidates prior to the convention.

    MW

  3. Michael Seebeck

    I’m still waiting for Mark to publicly answer the question I asked him, which is his take on what happened to LPCA from 2001-2006 and why.

    Or you could simply ask the Treasurer…

  4. libertariangirl

    will Hinkle take votes away from Root ?

    are they from the same LP base of supporters?

  5. mdh

    I don’t think Wayne would be a good choice as an LNC chair. It’s just not the sort of role that suits him well, and we’d be wasting his talents which could be better used elsewhere.

    As far as Hinkle goes, the jury is still out on this one. I like what he said, but some of it isn’t feasible. For example, when it comes to hiring decisions (which the chair has sole responsibility for), would he be more apt to hire someone with a conservative background or someone with an anarchist background, if those were the two options? It’s like saying that gay marriage isn’t a federal government issue – it sounds good to a lot of people, but there are a lot of federal government issues (federal workers benefits, the IRS, etc) that come into play.

    You can’t make everybody happy all of the time. I wonder if Hinkle has a good grasp on that based upon what he’s said here.

  6. paulie Post author

    For example, when it comes to hiring decisions (which the chair has sole responsibility for), would he be more apt to hire someone with a conservative background or someone with an anarchist background, if those were the two options?

    How about the most qualified person for the job and one who will hopefully not use the position to advance a side in factional within the party?

  7. paulie Post author

    will Hinkle take votes away from Root ?

    are they from the same LP base of supporters?

    As I understand it, no.

  8. Michael H. Wilson

    LG if you have any influence with Root you might mention to him that he needs to answer his email. I wanted to run a piece on him in our news letter and emailed him twice using his contact form on his website. So far no reply.

    As I mentioned above I hope to run articles on all the candidates for LP Chair in a couple of future issues, or maybe one special issue prior to the convention.

  9. Stewart Flood

    Scoop? This is very old news. It was even talked about last weekend as “old” news.

    Mark is certainly qualified for the position. I’ve found him to be a very positive influence on the board this term.

    Stewart

  10. paulie Post author

    It was news to me and other people, including apparently Richard Winger, who is usually well informed of what’s happening in the LP and other alternative parties.

    I should also mention that Stewart originally alerted me to this last week.

  11. Michael Seebeck

    Uh, guys, I knew about this a month ago, directly from him. It really depends on who you talk to.

  12. Michael H. Wilson

    The nice thing to do would be to send a media release out when people make these decisions. That way national can post the info and so can other sites.

    MW

  13. Stewart Flood

    That’s true. I believe Mark first mentioned it to me several months ago. His “official” announcement was made several weeks ago.

    FYI: While I’ve heard Wayne talk about running, I’m not sure if he has “officially” announced that he’s running for party chairman. I did hear him say at the Georgia convention in April that he was planning on running if Bill Redpath did not announce a run for another term, but there’s been nothing since then.

    Libertarian Girl made a very good point when she said that it would be a good race. I’m not sure if Wayne will be in it, but I’m sure that a race between Wayne and Mark would be over ideas of how to move the party forward and would not have any negative campaigning. We need a positive election with constructive ideas.

    Mark has already put forward a number of good ideas, some of which we can start implementing now — without waiting for the convention.

  14. John Famularo

    I think Mark Hinkle would be a perfect chairman to perpetuate the current model of the LP. It won’t be better. It won’t be worse. It will continue as a membership organization that caters to a broad spectrum of people who call themselves “libertarian” without bothering to define that term.

    Success will be defined as what ever was accomplished. Members who are dissatisfied will discontinue “sustaining” the LP and their dissatisfaction will have no effect on future LNC “planning”.
    Is this leadership or the epitome of “followership”?

  15. Gene Trosper

    I’ve seen Mark in action since I first became involved in the LPC back in the early 90s. I have been mostly impressed by him, though his occasional comments about “povertarians” leave a lot to be desired. I look forward to seeing more from him as this race progresses.

  16. Michael Seebeck

    Flood, Root made the same statement in his pigeon-speech at the LPCA Convention back in April.

    But he’s not Chair material, and we’ve had way too much of that lately.

  17. libertariangirl

    He also announced it at the CCLP meeting with Radley Balko . Its my understanding that he’s announcing it at all the state conventions he speaking at..
    is that “official” , i dont know

  18. Thomas M. Sipos

    I personally doubt Wayne Root will run, since being Chair would probably hinder and not help his 2012 presidential ambitions.

    But Root’s ambition is not to run for president, nor to be LP chair. His ambition is to raise his celebrity profile as much as possible, and cash in.

    2010 is a closer profile-raising opportunity than 2012, and Root is not the patient sort.

    BTW, I heard a Root promo on KABC-AM tonight. He described himself as a “libertarian conservative celebrity.”

    The promo also made his show sound like a bought-time infomercial. He said it was sponsored by … I forget the name. But it’s some investment company.

    Is this a real radio show, which the station pays for, then sells ads for? Or is this an infomercial, in which a sole sponsor buys the time?

    I really don’t know. And I’d like to know.

  19. libertariangirl

    ruth Bennett is on Jud Com , will her stint there be up in time to run for Chair? she’d be another excellent candidate

  20. Jill Stone Pyeatt

    Thomas @25–very good observation that Wayne’s true desire is to raise his celebrity profile. Frankly, I’m of the opinion he might not be a team player, thereby making him a poor choice for LNC chair.

  21. Alan Pyeatt

    While Mark may not be the perfect candidate for Chair, I rate him head and shoulders above anybody else mentioned so far.

    I disagree that he would not provide better leadership than what we have had lately. He seems to recognize the divisiveness that came out of the Denver convention, and the harm it has caused. He sounds like he truly wants to be a “uniter, not a divider,” and I think we need that now.

    I certainly do NOT expect him to give our party over to a bunch of newbie Republitarians. Nor do I expect him to try to purge them, the anarchists, or anybody else. We need to work together and give the newbies a chance to understand libertarian theory.

    The problem is not that a bunch of Republitarians joined our party, the problem is that they were able to hijack the convention and get Barr nominated. Given time, some of these newbies will become true libertarians. The others will eventually leave (and I suspect some of them already have).

    If and when somebody that will be better for the position announces, then I’ll support them. Until that happens, I will continue to support Mark, and expect a better, stronger, more effective LP when he takes office.

  22. Stewart Flood

    As part of my duties as chair of the APRC, I sent a request to Wayne Root to clarify whether he had or had not announced a candidacy for the position of chairman of the national party.

    Wayne called me this afternoon and we discussed the questions that have arisen regarding his statements at recent state conventions.

    At this point in time, Wayne has not announced a candidacy for chairman of the LNC. He clarified his statements regarding a possible run if Bill Redpath does not seek re-election. While he may decide to run — as any of our other thousands of members could do — he is not currently an announced candidate for chair.

    He asked that I pass this information along to anyone who requests it.

    Stewart

  23. paulie Post author

    Uh, guys, I knew about this a month ago, directly from him. It really depends on who you talk to.

    That’s great, but it was still news to some people who found it interesting, so what’s the problem?

  24. libertariangirl

    thats funny cause Wayne said he was running , not possibly running , but running.
    *sigh*

  25. libertariangirl

    jake porter … another good candidate ,

    im voting for whoever is the least ‘factional’ or divisive .
    that is since my homeboy appears not to be running:)

  26. Pingback: George Phillies reviews recent Libertarian National Committee meeting in St. Louis | Independent Political Report

  27. David F. Nolan

    l-girl @ 22 – typically two or three serious contenders, and sometimes a a few gadflies as well.

    Mark Hinkle is probably better qualified than anyone who has ever run for LNC Chair before. And he could work with all factions, real or imaginary, within the party. (I don’t think some of the “factions” people allude to really exist!)

    Most important, however, IMHO, is that anyone seeking the 2012 Presidential nomination should NOT run for LNC Chair in 2012. Having ANY Presidential aspirant (Root, Ruwart, Phillies, whomever) as Chair presents MAJOR problems in keeping the LNC and the paid staff in DC impartial in the nominating contest.

  28. George Phillies

    David Nolan notwithstanding, I’m not a Presidential aspirant in 2012.

    I think I have heard the ‘more qualified’ line before, in relation to David Bergland and his 1998 dream team of a staff. The outcome was a series of disasters for our party.

  29. libertariangirl

    Hinkle it is then , unless Lark decides to run , who I have a huge crush on:)

  30. David F. Nolan

    George: I did not mean to imply that you were running for either LNC Chair or the Pres. nomination… but since you have run for both in the past, I included your name for illustrative purposes, to show that I’m not singling out Root.

    l-girl: I’m so envious of Lark now! 😉

  31. Gene Trosper

    @32 It’s easy to hijack a party if all that’s required to get involved is to pay a membership fee. That’s one reason why I strenuously advocate the return to elected county central committee members in California. It takes much more effort to go out and gather signatures to run for central committee than to pony up a few bucks and almost gain instant access to meetings and being able to vote. It’s a good way to help separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

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