Alaska: Will The Libertarian Party Sell Out Its Principles To Win A Senate Seat?

Think Progress:

In a stunning upset, Tea Party activist and Sarah Palin-endorsee Joe Miller appears to have upset incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in Tuesday’s Republican primary election. Though there are still around ten thousand absentee ballots yet to be counted, analysts agree it is unlikely Murkowski will be able to close her 1,668 vote deficit.

However, in a move reminiscent of Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Gov. Charlie Crist (I-FL), Murkowski now appears to be considering a third-party run on the Libertarian Party ballot in the general election. Indeed, such a move could already be in the works; RedState’s Erick Erickson tweeted last night that “Lisa Murkowski has already gone to the Alaska Libertarian Party promising money in exchange for their spot on the general election ballot.”

Murkowski could only run on the Libertarian line if the current nominee, David Haase, were to step aside. In the meantime, the question remains: Will the Libertarian Party sell out its principles in order to win a seat in the United States Senate?

Here is a sample of issues highlighting the stark differences between Murkowski’s beliefs and the Libertarian Party platform:

Keep reading….

54 thoughts on “Alaska: Will The Libertarian Party Sell Out Its Principles To Win A Senate Seat?

  1. paulie Post author

    Wes Benedict, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, told The Daily Caller that Murkowski hardly fits the Libertarian Party mould. “As far as I’m concerned if Murkowski is for bringing our troops home and for ending the war on drugs and if she voted against the TARP bailout and she is for reducing spending then maybe she could earn a spot on the Libertarian ballot,” he said. “But my understanding is that she voted for the TARP bailout and that is just insanely un-Libertarian.”

    Scott Kohlhaas, state chairman for the Libertarian Party of Alaska, told TheDC that a number of things have to happen before any decision is made. “Rumors are flying but I really have no comment on them because, I mean, Lisa would have to decide to do it and then our candidate would have to decide to voluntarily step down [and] then our executive committee would have to vote on a decision.”

    Kohlhaas said he has no illusions about the fact that Murkowski is not a Libertarian, but says that having her run as one would be a way to get more publicity for the Party and possibly help the Party gain seats in state legislatures. “There are 7,000 state legislative seats out their and we don’t have one,” he said. “As far as getting the name out there, this episode is doing that much better than any one state legislative seat would. And in terms of morale for our Party a state [senator] would be a real gain for us.”

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/08/27/libertarians-weigh-murkowski-run/#ixzz0xmJJm2yd

  2. Robert Milnes

    Murkowski would be a LINO. So? Barr, Root & Ron Paul are LINOS.
    Assuming she won.
    Haase has an interesting choice.
    a) lose as Lib.
    b)sell out for $ for the LP
    c) try PLAS & maybe win as Lib.

  3. Gene Berkman

    Wes Benedict’s comments are spot on, and we can hope that Scott Kohlhaase is just using the rumors about this to get publicity, and is not serious about nominating Sen. Murkowski.

    However, David Haase was the LP candidate for Senate in 2008, and he dropped out and endorsed Sen Stevens, even though he remained on the ballot.

    And David Haase on his campaign site indicated that he would be voting for McCain-Palin rather than Bob Barr in the Presidential race.

  4. George Phillies

    It is hard to believe that Murkowski is seriously interested in becoming a Libertarian.

    It is hard to believe, should she pull this stunt and win election, that she will not promptly change parties and return to the Republican War Party.

    There is a simple key test: Will she regularly publicly promise that she will not caucus with the Republicans and will vote against having the Republicans organize the Senate? And a second test: If you are clever enough to be a Senator, you are clever enough to find a way to persuade people to take seriously your promise in the prior sentence.

    A state party that becomes a conduit for electing Republicans is of negative value to out national organization.

    Gene Berkman raises an important question: How did this character get to be our nominee again?

  5. Danny S

    Phillies, assuming Murkowski did run as a Libertarian, who would you want her to caucus with? Republican, Democrat, or nobody?

  6. NewFederalist

    What a lose/lose scenario. The easy solution is for the current LP nominee to just stand fast. I have to agree with Prof. Phillies and Gene Berkman… how in hell did Haase get the LP nomination a 2nd time given his past indiscretions? He looks like an easy pushover if Murkowski wants the ballot line.

  7. Scott Kohlhaas rips off petitioners

    Scott Kohlhaas. He is a shady operator with a long record of ripping off petitioners and helping put left wing measures and candidates on the ballot. He is an embarrassment and the Alaska Libertarians were quite stupid to allow him to be their state chair and candidate once again.

  8. National Socialist Pedophiles and Zoophiles Party endorses Scott Kohlhaas

    National Socialist Pedophiles and Zoophiles Party proudly endorses Scott Kohlhaas. He’s our kind of guy!

  9. Kohlhaas is a ripoff

    Kohlhaas runs left wing initiatives as a petition manager in Alaska and has a bad habit of not paying people for their work so as he can buy more dope and run up his credit cards.

  10. Derek

    Robert, I like the PLAS idea alot. However, I want to throw my idea in the ring too.

    The Independent Party of Oregon has the right idea. Not only did they fund their own primary, but they allowed all candidates to be in their primary. They gave their cross-endorsement to whoever came in first, whether a member of the IP or not.

    I would like to see the GP, LP and CP have their own primaries, including candidates from all 3 parties. Invite independents to get in too (both voters and candidates who).

    Have all 3 parties fund their primaries together, or maybe even have one big third party primary, with the winner getting the backing of all 3 parties!

  11. Steven wilson

    Prostitutes are always welcome because the service they provide. But if they spread disease, what did you pay for?

  12. Danny S

    @11, those are also issues that divide some members of the LP. If the LP were to draft a sore loser after a primary, you would think they would only select them on issues where there is relative consensus.

  13. Opportunity Knocking

    This is a great opportunity for the Alaska LP to refuse to change its nominee, announce publically, in advance, before she can ask or decline to ask, why they would not accept Murkowski, listing the most important ways she is not a Libertarian. Then, make a much bigger push for the LP candidate – using this PR as a kickoff to a real Libertarian campaign.

    It is essential that the Alaska LP refuse Murkowski in advance so that we make our principles clear. Otherwise we’re left looking like we might have wanted her, but she turned the LP down. This makes the LP look like they’re unprincipled and unworthy.

    Be clear: Murkowski is in NO WAY a Libertarian. We do NOT want her.

    Is the Alaska LP up to this challenge and opportunity?

    Will they use this as an opportunity to spread the real meaning of liberty and build the LP?

    Or will they waste it and look like unprincipled sell-outs?

  14. Robert Capozzi

    I assume this has no ballot access implications.

    A relevant question I’d have is whether Miller’s positions are MORE coercive than Murkowski’s.

    The idea that a person could be elected to the Senate with an L is intriguing.

    Everyone is a sell out. No one who runs for office on the L line calls for immediate abolition of the State tomorrow. L candidates don’t even say they won’t take a salary if elected. Old-school, NAP L-ism says that all government expenditures are stolen funds, yes?

    That said, Murkowski’s positions may be TOO toxic for this potentially big tactical win.

    If the AKLP finds this gambit in their interest, I support them, even if I personally might not agree. Having integrity doesn’t mean never getting one’s hands dirty.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    mr, if Murkowski loses on the L line, seems to me nothing happens. A L candidate did not win. No news there.

    Down the line, it might signal that the LP is interested in doing real politics, at least in AK.

  16. Robert Capozzi

    Oh, yes, the state senate argument is interesting. If Murkowski on the L line gets several Ls in the AK state senate, that sounds like a net plus, a large net plus.

  17. Eric Dondero

    The Alaska Libertarian Party has a long history of working closely with the Republican Party.

    When Libertarian Andre Marrou from Homer, was elected to the State House in 1996 he Caucused with the GOP during his two-year term.

    In 2005/06, Sarah Palin spoke to two Alaska LP meetings at The Dennys on North Star at the invite of ALP Sec. Rob Clift. She famously proclaimed, “when I think of the Libertarian Party of Alaska, I think of Scott Kohlhaas.”

    Later that year, the LPA leadership endorsed Sarah for Governor.

    Also, Billy Toiein, then candidate against Sarah for Gov., and current LPA candidate for Gov. endorsed “his friend Sarah,” and publicly urged all his supporters to vote for her over Tony Knowles.

    As of right now, there is significant cross-over between the Libertarian Party of AK and the Joe Miller, libertarian-leaning Republican for Senate campaign. Which makes it highly unlikely the LPA will go the Lisa Murkowski route.

    Note also, all Libertarian Party candidates for office this year in Alaska have been endorsed by the Alaska Independence Party, and vice-versa.

    Bottom line: Don’t judge Alaska by Lower 48 standards. This is a small state. And folks are friendly to each other and all know each other.

  18. Eric Dondero

    Oops, one final note. The Alaska Independence Party is also strongly backing Joe Miller. In fact, they are some of his most hardcore supporters.

  19. paulie Post author

    A relevant question I’d have is whether Miller’s positions are MORE coercive than Murkowski’s.

    Some more, some less.

    The idea that a person could be elected to the Senate with an L is intriguing.

    Just in case you didn’t follow the “more” link to the original article, please do so. Why would it be intriguing to elect someone who is not in line with our views just to get elected? At that point you may as well be a Democrat or Republican, they get elected all the time.

    Everyone is a sell out. No one who runs for office on the L line calls for immediate abolition of the State tomorrow. L candidates don’t even say they won’t take a salary if elected. Old-school, NAP L-ism says that all government expenditures are stolen funds, yes?

    That said, Murkowski’s positions may be TOO toxic for this potentially big tactical win.

    Way too toxic.

    If the AKLP finds this gambit in their interest, I support them, even if I personally might not agree. Having integrity doesn’t mean never getting one’s hands dirty.

    I don’t see any reason to support foolishness on the part of others just because they misconstrue their interests, especially when it has a negative effect on the L brand far outside their borders.

  20. paulie Post author

    mr, if Murkowski loses on the L line, seems to me nothing happens. A L candidate did not win. No news there.

    Something happens. We indicate our willingness to run any polythiefcians who lose their primaries. Goodbye party of principle, hello party of expediency.

    Down the line, it might signal that the LP is interested in doing real politics, at least in AK.

    I don’t see how we serve any good purpose by doing that kind of “real” politics. If the ultimate goal is advancing liberty, how does electing non-libertarians as Libertarians advance that goal?

  21. paulie Post author

    Oh, yes, the state senate argument is interesting. If Murkowski on the L line gets several Ls in the AK state senate, that sounds like a net plus, a large net plus.

    I don’t see that happening.

  22. Chris Cole

    When Libertarian Andre Marrou from Homer, was elected to the State House in 1996 he Caucused with the GOP during his two-year term.

    Um, no, Eric. At that time (I don’t know about now), there were Liberal and Conservative Caucuses. While that might greatly overlap party membership, it’s not the same, and it was a forced choice. And Marrou convinced the Conservative Caucus to endorse the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    pc: Something happens. We indicate our willingness to run any polythiefcians who lose their primaries. Goodbye party of principle, hello party of expediency.

    me: There’s PRINCIPLE and then there’s principled expediency. We have run LOTS of candidates who do not agree with ever word of FOR A NEW LIBERTY, or even the platform. Indeed I suspect virtually all our candidates don’t buy what SOME Ls believe is THE principled position on X, Y or Z.

    This is the problem with living based upon theoretical constructs. They lead to loopy limbos.

    Instead, life is a series of moments, points where we have a decision to make. We choose the path that seems most likely to advance what we value.

    Murkowski might be the best way to advance the cause of liberty in this moment in AK.

    Another choice would be to write-in Murray Rothbard in every election. That may well be “principled,” but it does nothing IMO to advance the cause of liberty.

  24. paulie Post author

    There’s PRINCIPLE and then there’s principled expediency. We have run LOTS of candidates who do not agree with ever word of FOR A NEW LIBERTY, or even the platform. Indeed I suspect virtually all our candidates don’t buy what SOME Ls believe is THE principled position on X, Y or Z.

    This is the problem with living based upon theoretical constructs. They lead to loopy limbos.

    There’s no principled expediency in running Murkowski, just unprincipled expediency.

    And there’s a big difference between running candidates who disagree with us on a couple of issues, or, as in this case, possibly running someone where we have to strain ourselves to find a couple of similarities.

    I would hope you’d recognize the difference, but maybe I was hoping for too much.

    Instead, life is a series of moments, points where we have a decision to make. We choose the path that seems most likely to advance what we value.

    Murkowski might be the best way to advance the cause of liberty in this moment in AK.

    How does voting for a pro-war, pro-drug war, pro-bailout (etc, etc) Republican advance the cause of liberty? Simply slapping a Libertarian label on her is like putting lipstick on a pig.

    Another choice would be to write-in Murray Rothbard in every election. That may well be “principled,” but it does nothing IMO to advance the cause of liberty.

    I’d vote for any dead candidate over a live one. That said, maybe there’s a happy medium somewhere between absolutist Rothbardianism and running any Demopublican loser that will have us.

  25. Robert Capozzi

    pc: I would hope you’d recognize the difference, but maybe I was hoping for too much.

    me: Yes, I do. I have not taken a position on Murkowski on the L line. I’d need to look at her positions and the positions of her opponents to have a view.

    I would under no circumstances support someone like David Duke or Paul Krugman or Bill Kristol as a L, given circumstances similar to this one in AK. So, yes, there are non-starters IMO, even if they make tactical sense.

    I gather you find Murkowski to be in the non-starter camp, and I respect that. I will also respect AKLP’s decision, whatever it is. They may choose Murkowski and it may blow up in their face. If that happens, I say Live and Learn.

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  28. slam in a y-trap

    Come on, seriously, what does the acronym PLAS stand for?

    Penis loving auto-stimulation

  29. Derek

    With all seriousness, PLAS stands for the Progressive Libertarian Alliance Strategy. My stance on the PLAS is very good, but also think that the Greens, Libertarians and Constitutionalists need to form an electoral alliance.

    Use the pretext of Unity08 and the 4 points of agreement during the Ron Paul meeting.

    For executive races (like President), let’s say in 2012, to run against Obama and the Republican, we have a Green-Libertarian ticket, with a Constitutionalist being Secretary of State.

    Also, independent libertarians or independent progressives (and in my case independent constitutionalists) can also be chosen, but the deal would be to have only one candidate representing the Third Party Movement.

    And for U.S. House races, for example, it first depends on ballot access and then on polls. Some states allow fusion voting and a PL(C)AS candidate can have the backing of all 3 parties and be on the ballot 3 times. Kevin Zeese was triple cross-endorsed when he ran for the US Senate seat in MD ’06, but only got one ballot line (the Green Party line, because he was a member of it).

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