Libertarian Party Did Not Poll 50,000 Votes for Governor of New York

from Ballot Access News
Libertarian Party Did Not Poll 50,000 Votes for Governor of New York

originally published on December 13th, 2010

On December 13, the New York State Board of Elections certified the election returns from the November 2, 2010 election...the Libertarian Party nominee for Governor, Warren Redlich, did not receive as many as 50,000 votes.  Therefore, the party is not ballot-qualified for 2012 and 2014.  The election returns are now posted on New York State Board of Elections web page.  See here for the gubernatorial returns.

The gubernatorial results by party are:  Democratic 2,610,123; Republican 1,290,017; Conservative 232,264; Working Families 154,847; Independence 146,646; Green 59,928; Libertarian 48,386; Rent is 2 Damn High 41,131; Taxpayers 25,820; Freedom 24,572; Anti-Prohibition 20,429.  There were 4,423 write-ins.

126 thoughts on “Libertarian Party Did Not Poll 50,000 Votes for Governor of New York

  1. George Phillies

    The National Libertarian Party spent tens of thousands of dollars to get Warren Redlich on the ballot, but then spent not a dime to make its investment pay off, a matter well known to its National Committee. It has repeated this policy, election after election, in state after state, effectively throwing away the ballot-access investment through lack of follow-up.

    Now it has decided to take three-quarters of a million or a million and lock it up in real estate, namely an office building someplace in the DC area. Was an alternative to DC discussed? Yes, a double-wide in the Arkansas pine woods was proposed.

    It is no wonder that our libertarian political movement goes no place.

  2. Alaska Constitution Party

    This sad story is repeated all too often. We really need to realize who the real enemies are. The circular firing squad approach leaves no one standing. The power structure elites laugh in derision at our fratricide.

  3. Best We Can Do? [Lake]

    YEP, THE DEMOCANS AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE LAUGHING THEIR ASSES AND PACKADERMS OFF

    – Tue Dec 14, 6:52 pm ET

    CHICAGO – Rahm Emanuel, who left a powerful job with President Barack Obama at the White House to move back to Chicago and run for mayor, endured hours of questioning on Tuesday from everyone from attorneys to a woman named Queen Sister

    During the hearing, they peppered Emanuel with questions about his income tax returns, driver’s license, voting record and car registration that were designed to suggest he was no longer a resident of Chicago.

    But Emanuel, as he said throughout his campaign, told the attorneys about how he registered to vote from Chicago and voted absentee, did not sell his house and continued to pay Illinois taxes.

    He also responded to opponents’ contention that by renting his house he was no longer a resident of the city,

    explaining that he and his wife did so on the recommendation of real estate professionals “for the safety and security of the house.”

  4. Robert Capozzi

    GP1, I’m sympathetic to your view here. If priorities are severely out of whack as perhaps they are, then yours seems to be a reasonable critique. How and whether the LNC could have done more for the Redlich campaign is an interesting question, as would be how that direct support would be allocated vs. other state races. Given the internal battles in LPNY and the effect of the Davis campaign, it might not have been deemed sensible to throw any more support to Redlich, to the extent the LNC could. Sundwald notes that Paladino drew a lot of Tea Party supporters that Redlich initially planned to target, as I recall. Nevertheless, who knew Redlich’d be such a good candidate, coming as close as he did? Perhaps the initial support the LNC provided was ALREADY disproportionate. Perhaps the LNC threaded the needle by supporting the Redlich campaign just enough to give them a shot at 50K.

    Second guessing what was done seems easy to do. Any time a priority might be considered out of whack, the first question is always, “Compared with what?” Trade-offs may be the damndest of things, but that’s how all enterprises operate.

    If running the LP HQ out of a phone booth in Lawrence, KS would be more effective than the Watergate, I’d be for it. I’d be skeptical that it would, though clearly the rent would be less. THE RENT in the Watergate IS TOO DAMN HIGH is likely correct; but perhaps your running mate for LNC Treasurer should build the business case for alternatives, including fees for breaking the current lease. Of course, a real business case involves assessing trade-offs, not just citing large-sounding absolute-dollar amounts. I’m sure you agree that that’s not productive. Everyone should know that opportunity costs and other factors come into play when an actual business case is made.

    Whether a capital building fund can elicit a better yield than a supplemental campaign support fund, I don’t know. All else equal, my guess is a building fund is an easier fundraising sell, as it implies a long-range reduction in relative overhead costs. Taking advantage in a big dip in real estate prices could present an opportunity to shift operating costs away from ongoing rent expenses to (hopefully) equity growth.

    Conceptually, that seems like a good move, all else equal. But, like anything, it involves opportunity costs. Personally, my back-of-the-envelope guess is the opportunity costs are too high, and the capital building fund would cannibalize from other uses of funds…hard to prove one way or the other, of course.

    Still, if a building is purchased, there can be no better place than next door to the FEC at 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20463. 😉

  5. Robert Capozzi

    If you flip Google maps over to “photo” mode, you can spin around and see that the FEC is across the street from the FBI. Imagine the possibilities! 😉

  6. Eric Sundwall

    I guess I knew Redlich would be a good candidate. But I’m just an anarchist hick from upstate.

    The internal battles were over in June once Stevens and Sloan were ejected. The party was united and functioning a thousand times better then 2006. There was no perceptible division.

    More advertising. If you look at the results you’ll see a correlation between where we spent money on radio and TV (Albany/Schenectady & Syracuse). The blame for this could rest on numerous sources (ie LNC, LNCC, David Nolan etc.), but the perception is that we’re always a bunch of losers anyway, so why waste the money. Bill Redpath, to his credit, recognized the value of Warren’s candidacy right away.

    The Davis campaign. A non-celebrity with a two point pot and prostitution plan would have been a nightmare to the average member of the Starr-chamber, but they thought association with Stone was some manna from electoral heaven. Scott Leiberman still feels this way. Given the horrific context of that mailer & the horrendous view on the mosque, the LPNY absolutely did the right thing.

    It’s not over however. We’re currently trying to assess whether the ‘over count’ issue being on the same line as Barron’s Freedom Party, adversely affected us. There is a question about whether all absentee ballots were counted. This is where all the talk about being a ‘real’ poltical party hits the road. The state and national party should be setting their sites on scratching and clawing for that extra 1600 votes. Contact your rep on the LNC or in NY and let them know.

    I’m done, however. I spent far too much time and money for this simple ballot access bauble. The LP will be hard pressed to put an equivalent effort in the future. I’m not going to stomp and whine about my leaving the party and will certainly help out where I can, the presidential horizon seems dim at best and running for town council seems like a nightmare . . .

  7. AroundtheblockAFT

    A building should be run as a separate corporate entity from the LP – for liability and fund-raising reasons. Not asking for contributions, asking instead for investments. Wouldn’t necessarily detract from contributions to the LP. And, should the LP collapse some day, at least the building investment could be sold and those who directly invested in it would have something to show for their money.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    es8: I guess I knew Redlich would be a good candidate.

    me: Yes, I’d expect so! You recruited him, I understand, and you were his campaign manager. Convincing other volunteers on the LNC who’ve trade-offs with the 49 other states and national party business and LPNY drama to contend with…it’s certainly understandable if the LNC’s collective wisdom was to fund ballot access only. I don’t know how they make their assessments of the various trade-offs, and in RETROSPECT it DOES sound as if an additional allocation might have proven to be pivotal.

    And, like you say, the fat lady hasn’t sung just yet.

    My main point is that Monday morning quarterbacking without a more comprehensive picture of what resources were available and where they were deployed instead is not on the table here for our consideration. We would Monday morning quarterback very differently, for ex., if we knew that all 5 starting O lineman were in the locker room hurt, to carry the analogy forward.

    Without that information, we might say, Damn, we coulda won if they called a draw on 3rd and 3. We might conclude instead, Hey, we almost won even with our O line out! Or maybe, damn, they obviously didn’t practice the draw enough with the back up line. Or something else.

  9. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 8

    Perhaps in some alternative universe the internal battles in the LPNY were over in June but in this universe, the Sloan lawsuits, the Davis campaign, the Stone-related flyers and most importantly, the alienation of Queens and Manhattan LP members and others throughout the state that supported Davis over Redlich continued right on through to the election.

    Everyone who was following the situation in New York knows what I am saying is the truth. The LPNY shot itself in the foot and paid the consequences.

  10. Be Rational

    @10 Actually, RC, people knew in September and October 2010, that if the LNC would spend about $50,000 total they could have a solid shot at ballot status in New York, New Hampshire, Iowa and Maryland and it turns out, the LNC had funds in the bank.

    In states where it isn’t possible to donate directly to the campaigns, the National party can still make independent advertising expenditures to promote the target candidate (for governor in all these states) and promote the National LP and the candidate together and win ballot status.

    Evidence from these races shows that broadcast radio and TV spots significantly boost vote totals for LP candidates at a reasonable cost. Evidence also shows that online advertising produced little or no interest or votes.

    It is far cheaper to win ballot status by financing some advertising in these states than to petition again. It also helps build the party and future support. Even if the effort fails, it will lead to a bigger party and a larger group of receptive voters willing to sign petitions.

    If the Libertarian Party is going to grow and win, we have to be willing to make the adult decisions needed to allocate resources to campaigns in key states where ballot status is the prize. The Ds and Rs make these allocation decisions all the time, at the last minute. It’s part of managing the business side of politics.

  11. George Phillies

    @9 Paragraph 2 is false in some states. Independent ads for non-Federal candidates may require that you have a state-reporting PAC that raises money legal under state law.

    However, I agree that it appears rather silly to spend large amounts of money on petitioning and then not worry about what happens next. The NY race and the IL race should have been in the eye of the LNC for the last three years.

  12. Best We Can Do? [Lake]

    Keith Weir – 10 minutes ago

    LONDON (Reuters) – A British court will decide on Thursday whether to free WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, scourge of the U.S. establishment for his leaks of diplomatic cables, on 200,000 pound ($317,000) bail over accusations of sex crimes in Sweden.

    The website of the Swedish prosecutors’ office, which was behind Assange’s arrest in London, again came under cyber attack during the night and was out of action for around 12 hours, spokeswoman Karin Rosander said.

    The site was targeted last week along with organizations such as Visa and MasterCard that Internet activists believe have obstructed WikiLeaks.

    Assange was granted bail Tuesday by a British court but prosecutors appealed and he remains in a London jail.

  13. Be Rational

    @13 According to what I’ve read, the LNC would be free to spend any amount in support of any candidate as long as the expenditures are independent of and not coordinated with the candidate’s campaign.

  14. Be Rational

    @15 continued:

    For example, it would be possible for the LNC to run ads promoting the LP and its message generally and informing the public that a vote for Redlich for Governor of New York would help the LP gain 50,000 votes needed for ballot status ensuring the LP a place on future ballots. Such ads are not prohibited by state laws anywhere as far as I know.

  15. George Phillies

    @15.

    You are correct for FEDERAL office. You are not correct for NON-EDERAL office. And Federal law provides that federal law does not pre-empt state campaign finance laws for non-Federal office. For example, if you want to support a candidate of Governor of Massachusetts, you must open a Massachusetts (OCPF) filing PAC, you must raise money in accord with Massachusetts state law including our campaign donation and filing limits, etc.

    This matter comes up every 4 years here.

    However I have no idea if Redlich could have been supported by the LNC, because I do not offhand know the New York laws.

  16. Gene Berkman

    Kristen Davis came in last among candidates on the New York ballot for Governor. Warren Redlich missed ballot status by 1600 votes, Davis missed it by 30,000!

    In addition to the issue of seriousness, and Ms Davis’ attitude toward Cordoba House, it is clear that she just did not have the ability to draw votes that would have qualified the New York Libertarian Party.

  17. Thane Eichenauer

    I find the comments above by “Best We Can Do? [Lake]” to be unrelated to the post.
    Lake, we can all read the news without having you paste it into the comments here at IPR.

  18. Robert Capozzi

    br12: …if the LNC would spend about $50,000 total they could have a solid shot at ballot status in New York, New Hampshire, Iowa and Maryland and it turns out, the LNC had funds in the bank.

    me: On its face, that sounds like a no-brainer. It sounds as if there’s a trade-off for spending now to save later. Why does the LNC not spend when there’s an ROI? Are they hesitant to pick and choose among supporting some states over others?

    IOW, what’s the counter?

  19. Best We Can Do? [Lake]

    #3 “The power structure elites laugh in derision at our fratricide.”

    # 4 Best We Can Do? [Lake] // Dec 15, 2010 at 3:32 am

    YEP, THE DEMOCANS AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE LAUGHING THEIR ASSES AND PACHYDERMS OFF

  20. Paulie

    Disappointing news, but coming close was itself an accomplishment – unprecedented, as far as I know.

  21. Gene Berkman

    Paulie @ #23 – the 48,000+ votes for Warren Redlich make this the closest the New York LP has gotten to getting ongoing ballot status.

    Twice in the past LP candidates have gotten more than 50,000 votes statewide in New York, but neither time for Governor.

    In 1980 Ed Clark received 52,000 votes for President in New York state. And in 1992 Norma Segal received 108,000 votes for U.S. Senate.

  22. Be Rational

    @17 George, I think you’ve missed the point. The National LP is allowed to support and promote itself in Massachusetts and every other state. I donbt that you’ll find a state law that prohibits that and it certainly would be thrown out if one were written. The LNC can run its own ads that promote the LP and mention the ballot status candidate as that will earn ballot status for the LP in that state. This is not the same as supporting the candidate.

  23. George Phillies

    @7

    You do not know what you are talking about.

    Federal law is very clear on this matter. An FEC-filing PAC cannot spend money in a state in support of a non-Federal candidate in violation of state law.

    On a different note, the LNC is getting far more upset about this very near miss here than about the much larger miss in Illinois.

  24. Robert Capozzi

    br25, careful, now…this sort of thing never ends well…

    RESPONDENTS:
    Libertarian National Committee (LNC) and Aaron Starr, in his official capacity as treasurer; Barr 2008 Presidential Committee and David Chastain, in his official capacity as treasurer; and The Bob Barr Leadership Fund and Paul Kilgore, in his official capacity as treasurer

    COMPLAINANT:
    George D.J. Phillies

    SUBJECT:
    The complaint alleged that the LNC and Starr, in his official capacity as treasurer, failed to disclose a contribution made to the Barr 2008 Presidential Committee. The complaint alleged further that the LNC received a contribution from the Bob Barr Leadership Fund and Kilgore, in his official capacity as treasurer, and suggests that the LNC may have served as a conduit for an excessive contribution from the leadership fund to the presidential committee. Barr was a 2008 presidential candidate.

    OUTCOME:
    The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in light of respondents’ clarification that the Barr 2008 Presidential Committee did not receive a contribution from the LNC.

  25. Be Rational

    GP you are not a lawyer, you do not think like a lawyer, and in this case you are ;just wrong. Every political party can support itself and make expenditures to support itself and advertise and promote itself, even in MA. Being political, it can mention political things, one of which is the rules for ballot status and the candidate who can earn it. Of course such ads could not be run at the candidate rate on the chosen TV and Radio stations.

    Recent rulings by the SCOTUS have actually reinforced this right.

    But, yes, RC @27, it is possible that although no government attorney would question such ads, some disgruntled LP wannabe leader would file some bogus charges with some agency somewhere like a whining child who tattles to his teacher in order to gain attention and approval.

  26. Best We Can Do? [Lake]

    P // Dec 15, 2010:

    “Disappointing news ……..”

    [Lake: so true, so true ——- and in the end, just another examples of the ‘outs’ struggling against the rules laid down by the establishment. Any one else notice the tighter rules after a non D/R does well (Bull Moose 1912, 1948, Anderson 1980, Perot) ……..]

  27. Mik Robertson

    Based on the information presented in the article at #2, it appears a considerable amount of the responsibility for the shortcoming lies with members who had problems with the nomination process but failed to act in a timely manner to address the issues.

    If the state leadership is having trouble processing requests from potential candidates or is ignoring potential candidates, help them out, for heaven’s sake. Bring it up at the convention and let the body decide how things should be handled. Perhaps a Judicial Committee could help to resolve disputes in the LPNY in the future, if established.

    Going after the state party leadership through legal actions after the fact is distracting and damaging to the candidate. There is no need for that to happen. At least respect the decision of the body enough to let the process carry through.

    Suggesting that if some candidates were not in the race the LP nominee would have gotten more votes is arrogant. Each vote has to be earned.

    Certainly not everything turns out the way you want. The internal bickering and legal actions during the campaign were appalling, however. That is not a sign of good leadership.

    The LNC tries to do as much as it can with minimum resources, and the the wisdom of trying to go cheap can be debatable. The time to address it is before the decision, though, not after.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    mr: The LNC tries to do as much as it can with minimum resources, and the the wisdom of trying to go cheap can be debatable. The time to address it is before the decision, though, not after.

    me: Yes, well said. There’s likely also a risk aversion factor. Doing anything strategic, e.g., supporting one state over another, could create an opportunity for whiners, second-guessers, and other forms of malcontent to wail uncontrollably. What do you mean you’re not going to support the HI dogcatcher candidate?

  29. Best We Can Do? [Lake]

    Thane Eichenauer // Dec 15, 2010:
    “I find the comments via [Lake] to be unrelated to the post ……..”

    [a] you are entitled to your opinion(s)

    [b] you deserve them

    [c] thx dearest for your comments on Doctor Donald Grundmann

    [d] thx dearest for your comments on the world’s oldest living eleven year old, consummate liar and cyber punk: Cody Banks, teen scene CIA agent

    [e] Milnes

    [f] CT

    [g] p and his on line flirting and vid post(s)

    [h] thank you for playing while the D/R keep chipping away

  30. Aaron Starr

    @8

    Eric Sundwall writes:

    The Davis campaign. A non-celebrity with a two point pot and prostitution plan would have been a nightmare to the average member of the Starr-chamber, but they thought association with Stone was some manna from electoral heaven. Scott Leiberman still feels this way. Given the horrific context of that mailer & the horrendous view on the mosque, the LPNY absolutely did the right thing.

    Pardon me, but I was NEVER an advocate for having Davis as our party’s nominee in New York and don’t know why you would think otherwise. I ALWAYS considered Redlich to be a better choice and thought highly of the New York party’s decision.

    I am somewhat taken aback by your use of the “STARR-chamber” pejorative, since it is not in keeping with my perception of you as a fair-minded person.

  31. Robert Capozzi

    re: Davis, I still remain perplexed. Was she in any way “sincere”? Was she simply motivated by spite and vengeance on some bizarre level? Was she a complete dirty-tricks package, managed by a Svengali (Stone)?

    I would say that on some level Davis could actually (oddly) represent a kind of progress for the LP. I don’t recall being such a target for dirty tricks before…in some ways, that may indicate that some find us threatening.

  32. AroundtheblockAFT

    Yada yada yada. We know that spending the money on gaining ballot status did not gain permanent ballot status, though it came close.
    So what did the NYLP get for its money?
    Did a slew of new members come in? Did any prominent members of other parties join the LP?
    Is there evidence that the campaign was successful in promoting Libertarian ideas?
    Every damn campaign we run, and every dime we spend, has to have some observable, measurable and realistically achieveable goals or they aren’t worth the spending or the running. {No, building so and so’s ego is not a legitimate goal.}

  33. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 36

    Love your comment. There were no new members. Just the same old faces. No promotion of libertarian principles other than Redlich’s message of “stop wasting money” but there were a few good one-liners during the gubernatorial debate.

  34. JT

    AFT @ 36: Dead on.

    However, there’s no way to control a Libertarian candidate running for office. In my experience with the LP, many candidates DO run for ego-boosting and NOT party-building. This is especially true of those who’ve had nothing to do with the party before becoming a candidate. They only want to get on the ballot if the LP has a ballot status and win the election for themselves.

    Many of them don’t focus at all on recruiting new members and donors to the LP. And because they think they can win merely by bashing their opponents while offering lukewarm policy reforms, they often don’t distinguish the LP clearly or even mention the word Libertarian unless prodded. After they inevitably garner a single-digit percentage of the vote (except in rare cases), there’s really nothing substantive gained. Except perhaps for continued ballot status to repeat the same thing over again later.

    What can be done about this? Beats me.

  35. Robert Capozzi

    jt: Many of them [candidates] don’t focus at all on recruiting new members and donors to the LP.

    me: Nor should they. Being the candidate is to be the communicator, marketer and “evangelist” of ideas. Those efforts SHOULD lead to closing prospective members over time at the institutional level. IMO, the division of labor concept works in politics like it does in other enterprises.

  36. JT

    Robert: “Being the candidate is to be the communicator, marketer and “evangelist” of ideas.”

    Yes. But I don’t see how that conflicts with bringing in new LP members and donors via campaigns.

    It’s unlikely that Libertarian candidates will win federal or state elections right now. But I agree with the late Harry Browne that such candidates can encourage people to join the LP, thus making the party bigger and stronger. Then it becomes far more likely that our candidates can overcome the institutional obstacles in our way and win in the near future. Or gain at least one-third of the vote in many of those major partisan elections to scare the major parties into seriously reducing government, at least in some important areas.

    The party-building aim isn’t mutually exclusive to communicating libertarian ideas. In fact, you can’t help build the party without effectively marketing ideas.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    jt: But I don’t see how that conflicts with bringing in new LP members and donors via campaigns.

    me: I didn’t say there is a conflict. And I certainly have no problem with a candidate encouraging people to join the LP.

    Mostly, candidates make speeches and participate in debates. That’s the job. In marketing, there’s image advertising and direct response advertising. Candidates are like image advertising. Party leaders are like direct response advertising.

    A candidate runs for office, so their job is to describe his/her positions on the relevant issues at hand.

    A plumber might be able to do electrical work, but when I need electrical work done, I call an electrician, not a plumber.

  38. JT

    Robert: “And I certainly have no problem with a candidate encouraging people to join the LP.”

    I said most candidates don’t focus AT ALL on recruitment, and you said they shouldn’t. Pitching people to join the LP is focusing on recruitment to some extent, even if it’s not their primary focus.

    Robert: “Mostly, candidates make speeches and participate in debates. That’s the job.”

    Yes, and get interviewed sometimes by media.

    Robert: “In marketing, there’s image advertising and direct response advertising. Candidates are like image advertising. Party leaders are like direct response advertising.”

    In this context, I don’t see a necessary dichotomy. Presenting a positive image for the party and what it represents doesn’t siphon resources from any party-building effort, or vice versa.

    Robert: “A candidate runs for office, so their job is to describe his/her positions on the relevant issues at hand.”

    Right. But to what end? If it’s to win a federal or statewide election, it’s not gonna happen right now. So what positive results can we get? Well, more LP members and donors for one thing and a bigger, stronger party as a result of that (as long as those new members are somewhere in the libertarian quadrant), which makes our future electoral prospects considerably better.

  39. Robert Capozzi

    jt: Right. But to what end? If it’s to win a federal or statewide election, it’s not gonna happen right now. So what positive results can we get?

    me: Brand building. Unfortunately, the LP doesn’t have the resources to measure brand awareness, so we have to go with our gut as to whether a candidate helps to build the brand, i.e., positive associations for Ls and L ideas.

  40. JT

    Robert: “Brand building. Unfortunately, the LP doesn’t have the resources to measure brand awareness, so we have to go with our gut as to whether a candidate helps to build the brand, i.e., positive associations for Ls and L ideas.”

    Agreed. Candidates should build more positive awareness for the brand, obviously. And the bigger and stronger the party, the more people we can reach in a myriad of ways, over and over again, to help do that. Those Libertarians who speak to people in public forums and local media–generally candidates running for office–have a great opportunity to help strengthen the party by bringing more people into the fold. What a shame if they waste the opportunity to do so for the future because they’re only focused on getting elected to offices beyond their grasp in the present.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    jt: What a shame if they waste the opportunity to do so for the future because they’re only focused on getting elected to offices beyond their grasp in the present.

    me: Hmm, I’ve a different take. An L candidate can run as if he/she were electable and yet know he/she isn’t. A candidate can (in theory) do this by using aspirational language that at the same time engages listeners in the context of the here and now. While I sometimes disagreed with him, Barr did this pretty well. He was conversant on the issues of the day, yet he made the case that the Rs and Ds missed the most important role of government: to allow liberty. (He was often too lawyerly for my tastes, and, like Root, he leaned to heavily on his “real conservative” notions.)

    Ron Paul does this, too, and while I have different critiques of his approach, he’s a model for us Ls as well.

    Some Ls seem disinterested in coming off as a real, plausible alternative, preferring to broaden the subject out TOO far, IMO. They attempt to push their rhetoric past edgy, toward fringy.

    Candidates should attempt to gain respect for the L view, rather than shock voters. If many voters come away from hearing an L candidate saying, “I liked a lot of what he/she said, and while I don’t agree with ALL of it, he/she’s consistent and clear. I understood what they were saying. I may not vote for him/her, I could see him/her representing me in office. I think I like — and I certainly respect — Ls.”

    Ideally, an effective L candidate will get a voter’s wheels going, to consider another way. Perhaps even join the LP. Perhaps to vote LP next time. Perhaps to agitate for liberty in some other manner.

  42. Eric Sundwall

    Apologies to Mr. Starr. Mr. Leiberman frequently speaks for the entire LNC in correspondence and I was certainly projecting with regard to what I perceive to be the reformist faction in California.

    He’s irked me sufficiently to let my fair mindedness slip a bit.

  43. JT

    Robert: “Hmm, I’ve a different take. An L candidate can run as if he/she were electable and yet know he/she isn’t. A candidate can (in theory) do this by using aspirational language that at the same time engages listeners in the context of the here and now.”

    Of course. I’m not saying a Libertarian candidate should say, “I’m unelectable, but join the LP.” I AM saying a Libertarian candidate should represent the party and what it stands for well while also focusing on bringing new people into the LP fold for the reasons I said earlier.

    Robert: “While I sometimes disagreed with him, Barr did this pretty well. He was conversant on the issues of the day, yet he made the case that the Rs and Ds missed the most important role of government: to allow liberty.”

    Well, if you think Barr’s run had a long-term, positive effect on the LP, then we do have very different takes. Leaving aside his well-known history as a hardcore socially conservative politician, Barr’s stated goal when nominated of raising $30 million (!) and winning the race (!) while subsequently referring to the party hardly at all in his public appearances is a good example of what I’ve been talking about.

  44. Aaron Starr

    Thank you, Eric. Apology accepted.

    I figured your initial comment was an outlier event and not representative of your character.

    Regarding the subject of the post, would you please relay to Mr. Redlich my heart-felt thanks for his fine campaign?

    In the aftermath, and with the benefit of hind sight, we should examine and reflect upon what else we could have done to bridge the remaining gap — there’s always an opportunity to learn — but in no way should such an inquiry diminish the fact that Mr. Redlich represented the Libertarian Party admirably.

    Mr. Redlich garnered over three times the vote that our nominee got in 2006, nearly ten times the vote achieved in 2002, and twice that of the high water mark achieved back in 1990.

    It is my hope and expectation that the New York party will continue to exercise good judgment in selecting nominees of this caliber.

  45. Robert Capozzi

    jt: Well, if you think Barr’s run had a long-term, positive effect on the LP, then we do have very different takes. Leaving aside his well-known history as a hardcore socially conservative politician, Barr’s stated goal when nominated of raising $30 million (!) and winning the race (!) while subsequently referring to the party hardly at all in his public appearances is a good example of what I’ve been talking about.

    me: No, Barr’s history gave me some pause. I would have liked to’ve seen him renounce his social conservative history more forthrightly. He has been far too lawyerly in these matters, although he has rethought his views on DOMA. I would’ve preferred that he more cleanly cut his ties.

    His campaign’s aspirations were overstated. That’s the nature of aspirations; they are stretch goals. He was modeling his campaign on Perot I, and I did think that was not outside the realm of possibilities, although it was a longshot. Had I been advising him, I would have couched his aspirations differently.

    Generally, I think he did a good job on his TV appearances, and yes that was helpful to the LP’s and liberty’s cause long term. He always seemed comfortable, credible, and presidential to me, but others may disagree. He could speak aspirationally about liberty and the issues of the day. He was often dogged about DOMA, and I thought he handled that aspect of his media campaign poorly.

    Unfortunately, we cannot measure how the LP’s alternative history might have gone if, say, Ruwart had gotten the nomination. We just don’t know. I doubt she had the media skills or resume to do what Barr did on the media front. She might not have alienated the Paulistas like Barr did, another area where I think he did a suboptimal job. My guess is she might have done “better” than Badnarik, and hopefully she would have evolved like he did during the campaign.

    Overall, there are 2 models for LP prez candidacies: the Clark edgy mainstream approach or the Bergland fringy inreach approach. I prefer the former, as I believe that approach is more likely to generate “air cover” for L ideas. Neither is provably “right” or “wrong,” and both have their downsides.

    The Clark approach is riskier, but all things considered it’s more likely to lead us into a conversation with more people. The Bergland approach is more effective in executing a Leninist cadre-building strategy, which I believe is inappropriate and unlikely to actually advance the cause of liberty.

  46. AroundtheblockAFT

    The candidate’s role is to be prepared to effectively discuss Libertarian positions with all comers – interviewers, opponents, ordinary voters, civic groups, etc. It is every other Libertarian’s role to use the candidacy to recruit more activists, members, county leaders, contributors. In every appearance, the candidate needs to say something like “You can google us at ‘Iowa Libertarian Party to find out more.” The Party then has to be able to respond to those who do google and ask for more info.
    The results are measurable. At every appearance, there needs to be someone giving out LP literature, manning a table, scanning the crowd to identify those who seemed favorable to our candidate. At the end of the campaign,
    we should be able to say “we got XXX inquiries,
    we got XX new members, we revitalized Y county’s organization, all of which met or exceeded our goals.” I no longer send $$ to
    campaigns that don’t promise measurable results but simply blow smoke. I will send $$ to reduce the debt of campaigns that did deliver.
    Libertarians have limited resources and we’ve managed to piss much of them away on ballot drives that achieve little, campaigns that go nowhere, state organizations that are weaker today than they were thirty years ago.
    Folks, it is time to stop being posers and start being builders. Ain’t much glory in being the biggest frog in the small pond when the pond
    dries up.

  47. Scott Lieberman

    “Eric Sundwall // Dec 16, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Apologies to Mr. Starr. Mr. Leiberman frequently speaks for the entire LNC in correspondence and I was certainly projecting with regard to what I perceive to be the reformist faction in California.”

    ******************************************

    Let’s forget about the fact that Mr. Sundwall doesn’t know how to spell my last name correctly.

    I have NEVER represented myself as speaking for the entire Libertarian National Committee. Not in my speeches, and not in any e-mails, public or private.

    I have sometimes **guessed** as to what the LNC might do in a given situation, but that is not anywhere near the same as pretending that I speak for the LNC.

    Just because Mr. Sundwall thinks that he is the conscience of the Libertarian Party of New York, that does not mean that other Libertarian Party members have that same level
    of self-confidence.

  48. JT

    Robert: “[Barr’s] campaign’s aspirations were overstated. That’s the nature of aspirations; they are stretch goals. He was modeling his campaign on Perot I, and I did think that was not outside the realm of possibilities, although it was a longshot.”

    You don’t stretch so far as to set yourself up for great disappointment. You can set more realistic aspirations and execute a reasonable strategy to achieve them. In a presidential race, these may include getting, say, a couple million votes, doubling LP membership, etc.

    Barr’s goals were obviously outside the realm of possibility. The notion that a Libertarian candidate for President can raise $30 million right now is ridiculous. If you recall, Perot is a billionaire who sank tens of millions of dollars into his own campaign. Raising even $10 million would be a HUGE jump in fund raising for a Libertarian candidate for President. And the idea of such a candidate winning the election is just a total break with reality.

    Robert: “Generally, I think he did a good job on his TV appearances, and yes that was helpful to the LP’s and liberty’s cause long term.”

    I don’t think Barr did such a bad job in his appearances. But no, it wasn’t helpful to the LP in the long-term. He didn’t inspire many more people to support the LP, as evidenced by his very standard vote total for a Libertarian candidate for President.

    Robert: “Unfortunately, we cannot measure how the LP’s alternative history might have gone if, say, Ruwart had gotten the nomination. We just don’t know. I doubt she had the media skills or resume to do what Barr did on the media front.”

    Well, I wasn’t a big fan of Ruwart either, so I’m not arguing she would have been a better candidate (I wasn’t even talking about them in particular). I was disappointed in her lackluster performance during the candidate debate at the convention. A Libertarian who wrote “Short Answers to the Tough Questions” should have done a stellar job in that situation.

    Moreover, she had raised virtually no money for a national campaign and would likely get skewered in the media and turn off almost everyone for her stance on child pornography, for example.

    Robert: “The Clark approach is riskier, but all things considered it’s more likely to lead us into a conversation with more people. The Bergland approach is more effective in executing a Leninist cadre-building strategy, which I believe is inappropriate and unlikely to actually advance the cause of liberty.”

    Whatever approach brings more people who are somewhere in the libertarian quadrant into the party and strengthens it for the future is the right approach to me. Without the resources necessary to overcome institutional barriers, the LP will never have a big electoral impact across the country, regardless of how candidates seek to “position” themselves on issues of the day.

  49. JT

    Around: “In every appearance, the candidate needs to say something like “You can google us at ‘Iowa Libertarian Party to find out more.” The Party then has to be able to respond to those who do google and ask for more info.”

    Yes, that’s basically the model Harry Browne used in his 1996 campaign for President while articulating libertarian views in a wide variety of places. Of course, he also talked about why joining the LP was important and laid out a compelling case for doing so as much as was feasible. The national office fielded a barrage of inquiries. The LP was on an upward trajectory at that point, which was thwarted years later for various reasons.

  50. Robert Capozzi

    jt: [Barr] didn’t inspire many more people to support the LP, as evidenced by his very standard vote total for a Libertarian candidate for President.

    me: Yes, if “vote totals” were the only metric, I’d agree. I do know that some on the left supported him financially and as a ploy to stop McCain. People like Greenwald have been warming to L thought in recent years, in part due to Barr. People on the right have been moving in a Tea Party, government is the problem, direction, in part due to Barr. Fox Business is becoming more and more L as time goes by.

    Changing the debate is not a matter of one isolated event, but rather a creation of a noise machine, an echo chamber.

    Your expectation of Barr is too high, IMO. He was like the third violin in a large orchestra, playing a small part in a movement. He could have played it better, certainly.

    Had the Rs and Ds not nominated such weak candidates, perhaps he could have been second violin. Had the convention been held earlier, perhaps he could have raised more money. Had the ballot access efforts not have been poorly executed, perhaps less effort would have been re-directed to that effort. Had he selected a different team, perhaps he’d have been more effective. Had he more cleanly shed his social conservative history, perhaps he’d have been a better candidate.

    Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes, and learn how to better exploit opportunities.

  51. JT

    Me: “[Barr] didn’t inspire many more people to support the LP, as evidenced by his very standard vote total for a Libertarian candidate for President.”

    Robert: “Yes, if “vote totals” were the only metric, I’d agree.”

    By any metric then. Votes, members, money, whatever.

    Robert: “I do know that some on the left supported him financially and as a ploy to stop McCain.”

    Okay. Obviously not many did because he didn’t raise that much money for his campaign. And anyway, that doesn’t translate into a long-term, positive effect for the LP.

    Robert: “People like Greenwald have been warming to L thought in recent years, in part due to Barr. People on the right have been moving in a Tea Party, government is the problem, direction, in part due to Barr. Fox Business is becoming more and more L as time goes by.”

    You’re attributing these things in part to Bob Barr’s Libertarian run for President in 2008. You must be kidding me.

    Robert: “Your expectation of Barr is too high, IMO.”

    What expectation of him? That he, as the Libertarian candidate for President, should have brought in considerably more members and money to the party and gotten more votes than candidates before him have received? That’s a WAY, WAY lower than was his expectation of himself, which you said wasn’t even outside the realm of possibilities. It was.

    Robert: “Had the Rs and Ds not nominated such weak candidates, perhaps he could have been second violin. Had the convention been held earlier, perhaps he could have raised more money. Had the ballot access efforts not have been poorly executed, perhaps less effort would have been re-directed to that effort. Had he selected a different team, perhaps he’d have been more effective. Had he more cleanly shed his social conservative history, perhaps he’d have been a better candidate.”

    Had he said the word Libertarian often and made any case for joining the Libertarian Party and encouraged people to contact it (like Harry Browne did in 1996), perhaps we’d have a bigger, better-funded party today to lay the groundwork for the 2012 candidate.

    Robert: “Hopefully, we learn from our mistakes, and learn how to better exploit opportunities.”

    YES.

    I don’t think Bob Barr should be the focus of this discussion. I was making a general point about Libertarian candidates using public forums and local media to help build the party and position it to have a greater electoral impact in the future. Any Libertarian who has those opportunities needs to seize them to strengthen the party with a “we, we, we” approach and not just a “me, me, me” approach. The latter works for candidates with enormous party machines behind them; it doesn’t work for candidates without them.

  52. George Phillies

    JT:

    Barr raised considerably more money for his general election campaign — about one and a half million — than any of his recent predecessors did. Brown raised significantly more in total, but that included his nominating campaign. Barr raised nothing like the amounts discussed at the banquet after his nomination.

    With respect to New York, some of the new LNC members have figured out that it is a waste of money to get people on the ballot without at the same time having the resources in place one way or the other to get the required votes, and they are saying so to the rest of the LNC.

    However, pointless petitioning is less of a waste of money than the new LNC scheme of buying a million-dollar office building in the immediate DC area. Yes, there is this argument that there are students in DC who want to intern, but if you come to Boston/Cambridge there are many more students, some associated with far more prestigious places like Harvard’s government program, and many of them are libertarians, not major/party seconds. There are bunches of other places with lots of students, too.

  53. Be Rational

    It is not a waste of money to do ballot drives to run candidates in every state, even when it is near to impossible to retain ballot status. The LP exists to run candidates and spread the message of Liberty. It is our primary purpose. We can argue about which candidates will do the best job, but our reason for having a political party is to run candidates and promote our message. Eventually, we may be able to grow and win elections.

    However, there are states where the cost of advertising and winning enough votes to maintain ballot status and avoid another ballot drive is cheaper than the cost of the subsequent ballot drive. In these states we should make sure we raise and spend enough money on broadcast advertising on TV and Radio to maintain LP ballot status for the Party. This would include: New York, Iowa, Maryland, Wisconsin and New Hampshire. It would not include Illinois or Georgia for example.

    Of course, in 2010, the LP had no candidates in Wisconsin, a lack of party planning, and had some great candidates in Illinois and Georgia.

    But, the party could have maintained ballot status if the LNC had just spent $10,000 on party radio spots in each of Iowa, New Hampshire and Maryland and this was forecast two months before the election. And while in September and October it looked like an additional $20,000 in party radio spots would be needed in New York, it turns out that just $10,000 would have sufficed there as well.

    The LP must begin a strategic party building policy in the key states where ballot status is expensive to obtain and cheaper to maintain. This party building will not only save money in the future, it will yeild bigger and stronger state affiliates, increase membership and donor rolls, increase the party’s long term fundraising prospects and give the LNC some needed victories to show that we are indeed making progress. Let us hope that the Travis Irvine project is just the beginning of this effort.

    As to the National office, it belongs in Washington DC as that is the center of government and that is where the media, the general public and most LP members expect to find the national office of a serious national political party. The LP dragged the office off to Texas once before. It ended up in someone’s apartment and finally, when the LP was almost completely dead, it had to be carted back to DC in a few boxes in a trailer pulled behind Jim Turney’s car. If the LP ever moves out of DC again it will likley be the beginning of the final act of the party on the national stage.

    The LP should indeed buy a building in the DC area. Many individuals will donate to this project to establish a permanent office that will stop draining monthly rent money from the party’s limited funds. We should be able to generate money that would otherwise not be donated to the LP at all. It shows that we are serious and confident that we will prevail in the future.

  54. Gains

    Buying property also makes it attractive for takeover. I am not at all privy to the details of the buy. One natural concern might be how will the property be held in trust and under what conditions. I would be good with the party maintaining assets rather than throwing money down the tube, but the LNC can be… um… boisterous. Are there provisions in the set up to ensure that the property will withstand the winds of change and drama?

    GP:

    Are you only against the buy in DC or are you against a buy? Would you consider looking at setting up your state party with real assets?

  55. Robert Capozzi

    jt: By any metric then. Votes, members, money, whatever. …. You’re attributing these things in part to Bob Barr’s Libertarian run for President in 2008. You must be kidding me.

    me: Yes, I would say by all metrics, the LP’s metrics are all very poor. That Browne 96 was riding a slight uptick proves nothing in particular to me, as the results were still miniscule. To attribute all the positive results to the efforts of Browne 96 (not saying you do) is not the whole picture. There were other recruitment efforts going on at the time.

    I happen to know Jane Hamsher, owner of FireDogLake, a progressive blog of some note. She and Greenwald were/are associated. They had/have a PAC. People in those circles were supporting Barr, in part as a means to deflate McCain, in part because they kinda like the L message, at least on some things.

    See: http://crooksandliars.com/2008/06/29/bloggingheads-jane-hamsher-vs-bob-barr-whos-the-worst-president

    The point you don’t seem to acknowledge is the notion of presidential campaign as “air cover.” I agree the Barr campaign was disappointing in terms of measurable metrics, but I maintain ALL L candidates for prez are VERY disappointing. Tenths of percentage points are mouse nuts, IMO. I’d say — subjectively speaking– Barr presented a L POV in a respectable way, one that was a tiny brick in the wall of an overall movement of bringing L ideas to the public square.

    Intangibles can often make all the difference in any endeavor. Intangibles can sometimes be measured somewhat (polling, focus groups, etc.), but unfortunately the LP doesn’t have the resources to use these more sophisticated means to measure our REAL impact, in the hearts and minds of voters.

    For ex., if there was a way to measure a voters SECOND choice, perhaps Barr would have scored highly vs NOTA or Obama or McCain. Those who saw him might have been impressed, but voted for Obama or McCain because Barr could not win, and they might have voted against Obama or McCain. I, for ex., considered voting for Obama because I did not feel that McCain could be trusted with the nuclear football.

    More people saw Barr (and Clark) than probably all other L candidates combined. If we were able to measure second-choice support, I would guess that Barr would have done extremely well compared with L candidates over time. He probably had higher recognition levels and approval ratings, if they were measurable. He was sober, articulate, and conversant on the issues. He wasn’t especially compelling, which is a quality really strong candidates possess. A candidate needs to have a strong Q score to be effectively positioned.

  56. Robert Capozzi

    gp60: With respect to New York, some of the new LNC members have figured out that it is a waste of money to get people on the ballot without at the same time having the resources in place one way or the other to get the required votes, and they are saying so to the rest of the LNC.

    me: Could be. We’d need to hear more. Let’s simplify for ease of analysis. Say the LNC has $100. Say $2/state gets ballot status in the next election. Say $10 in 10 states gets ballot status in those states, with $8 going to advertising to potentially get permanent ballot status in those states.

    The first $2 stands an 90% chance of success. The last $8 stands a 20% chance of success.

    Scenario A leads to 45 states with ballot status this cycle, and none get permanent ballot status.

    Scenario B leads to 10 states with ballot status this cycle, with 2 getting permanent status.

    Which scenario is preferable?

    For the LNC to change its approach, we’d need to hear a fleshed out ROI analysis. Something along the lines of the more strategic Scenario B would need buy-in by the vast preponderance of membership. Otherwise, some states might start to whine that THEIR state should be considered “strategic” and worthy of LNC support. They might even file a complaint with the FEC if their grievances are not redressed!

  57. Be Rational

    @64 You need to take into account the fact that different states require different percentages of the vote to win ballot status and, of course, in some states there are other ways of maintaining ballot status, such as registrations.

    In several states it is cheaper to win ballot status and maintain it than to petition for it initially. There is the risk factor, but that can be reduced by increasing the size of the ad buy. It is plain silly for the LNC not to advertise in these states – and by advertise we must always do either major broadcast TV or radio, targeted as to which media market within the state we cover and which programs/demographics we want to promote our message to.

  58. Robert Capozzi

    br64, yes, I’m aware that my example oversimplifies. Yet the salient point holds, I’d say.

    If the LNC had supported Redlich, what are the odds that a malcontent in another state might start whining that HIS/HER deserved support, too?

    I’m FOR strategic investments. I’d have been FOR supporting Redlich. My gut tells me the ROI would have indicated that there was a reasonable chance for a LT return for doing so. [Full disclosure: I spent my first half of my life in NY, but I’d like to think I would come to the same conclusion were I from KS.]

    I would say that a standard for making strategic investments would need to be agreed to. We do know that some malcontents will never be satisfied. Such is the nature of malcontentedness. I’d suggest we respectfully listen to the substance of their grievances, ask a few questions, then make a decision. If the malcontent establishes that he or she is Chicken Little, perhaps we don’t listen to them at all…

    We all only have so much energy.

  59. George Phillies

    @61

    A permanent building in DC is a massive waste of the party’s limited resources. A party leadership that hears the claim advanced that the alternatives are a building in the immediate DC are or a double wide in Arkansas pine woods — which is what they heard –and not become suspicious that this is a false dichotomy is in my opinion asleep at the switch.

    By the way, the last people to conclude that old-stream media were the answer were the Clinton and McCain campaigns, and we know where they ended up.

  60. Thomas L. Knapp

    “More people saw Barr (and Clark) than probably all other L candidates combined.”

    As we’ve discussed before, that claim — with respect to Barr — gets made a lot, but without anything other than wishful thinking to actually back it up.

    Chances are pretty good that any one significant Clark broadcast media showing — the Koppel appearance, the campaign commercial, stories on the nightly news — reached more viewers than all of Barr’s vaunted “cable news” appearances combined. Broadcast television viewer numbers in the 80s ran a full order of magnitude higher than cable news viewer numbers do today.

  61. Be Rational

    Clark was seen by more Americans than any other LP candidate – and he got more votes for President than any other LP Presidential candidate. It was the nationwide TV spots that made the difference.

    Barr was a distant second.

    The 2012 LP Presidential candidate needs to create a donation fund reserved for major broadcast TV advertising only and solicit donations that will be used only for major broadcast TV advertising.

    There is no other way for the LP to break out and promote itself. We must buy spots on the major broadcast stations. We should not waste a single penny on internet advertising – these ads are the least effective of all. Newspaper ads are only good for local or state rep campaigns. It would be ideal to buy nationwide TV spots, but if funds do not permit nationwide buys, then we should target key states – the states with the lowest total cost to saturate the entire state with TV and radio spots would be the best places to target.

  62. But It's Way Cool to Own a Building!

    George Phillies: “A permanent building in DC is a massive waste of the party’s limited resources.”

    But it’s an ego-boost to party hacks who like to imagine that they’re serious “players” and “power brokers” on an equal footing with the Demopublicans.

    See how Starr and Root, after losing their respective races for LNC, shamelessly sought new, way cool party titles, by grabbing on to the LNCC (did anyone elect them?) — and then did nothing very much with it.

    It was all about having way cool party titles.

    There are people in the LP whose great pride and joy is collecting way cool party titles.

    But what if you have a way cool title, and the cool kids still don’t see you as an equal? Maybe if you buy a really awesome building, then the cool crowd will finally let you sit at their table during lunch.

  63. Hmmm ...

    It’s also way schmaaat to buy a building while prices are depressed and before hyperinflation hits the Real Estate market along with all other assets, and the US dollar becomes the new US penny. It’s good financial management to live debt free and rent free.

    You see, it’s way cooler to be way schmaaat.

  64. George Phillies

    However, people who think we are showing signs of being about to have hyperinflation are totally out of touch with reality.

    The LNCC board is elected by its members, based on its last published bylaws.

    As an egoboost, it appears in my opinion to be an expensive substitute for male enhancement surgery.

  65. Hmmm ...

    “…people who think we are showing signs of being about to have hyperinflation are totally out of touch with reality.”

    Robert Mugabe

  66. Gains

    GP @67:

    I hear what you are saying. I am not really interested in the fallacious arguments people are making about the building idea. It’s just not relevant. It is hard for me to see the party seeking to put down roots and gather assets as a prima fascia waste of money. Matter of fact I might argue that just on the face of it, investing in long term durable assets for the party seems smart.

    Saying that it is a waste of money without explanation seems empty to me. I would expect at least some comparison to a better plan and citing of what few merits the plan might have no matter how over-weighted they are by the demerits. There is some small barrier to my consideration that requires a position show some of the path to reasoning to over come it.

    I am interested in what you see as potential issues in the plan on a practical standpoint. It’s clear to me that you spend a lot of time thinking things through. As a self-styled thinking man with his own ego, I am far more interested in the thought processes of a brilliant man like yourself to incorporate into my pondering and form my own opinion. Like most individualist oriented people, I find it difficult to simply digest peoples conclusions.

    I can not say with certainty if you think the idea is bad overall, if the location is bad, or if you just want to roll a barrel across the city walls to look busy.

    From what I have gathered from your opinions so far is that really, you would like to see a national HQ in Boston one day. If that were my goal, I think I would go about it differently. On the grand scheme of things, a building is not difficult to come by.

    I would just set up shop in Boston and start making it attractive to other movers and shakers. An individual making a concerted effort is far more likely than a surly body of politicos to succeed in most efforts. It would also make safer putting the building into a an enduring relationship with the LNC as the trustor would be setting their own rules for ensuring an enduring asset that would not be liquidated or misused under the occasions where there is a roguish LNC.

    It seems to me that the Congress of the Confederation moved around a bit until they settled in NY. Then there was the move out to the swamps of the Potomac a constitutional rewrite and two social philosophy shifts later.

    After 40 years the LP has a presumption of being a permanent fixture. Hard assets and reliable hq, even better having multiple ones, is not a bad idea at all.

  67. George Phillies

    @67

    Actually, I do not view Boston as a very good choice. It’s very expensive. Traffic is so bad that most people from the rest of the state try to avoid going there if they can help it. TA the point that there are multiple organizations, a young people’s organization in Cambridge is plausible.

    George

  68. Gene Berkman

    The Clark campaign was able to buy commercials on national television and radio because of David Koch’s multi-million dollar contribution. Unfortunately they were largely a waste of money because they were completely substance free.

    Clark ran against Ronald Reagan, who appealed to limited government conservatives. At the same time, Reagan’s stated opposition to abortion provided an opening to pro-choice Republicans. But the Clark campaign never made an attempt to recruit pro-choice Republicans, who instead voted for John Anderson or stayed with Reagan.

    In his appearance on Nightline, Ed Clark passed up the chance to explain the Libertarian idea of limited government. He simply stated that Libertarians want to return to a government as big as when John F Kennedy was President.

    Clark received 920,000 votes – and John Anderson received 5,700,000 votes – just because many Democrats thought Carter was a failure, and many Republicans were afraid of Ronald Reagan’s extremism and ties to the Christian Right. A better campaign would have made a bigger impact.

  69. JT

    George: “Barr raised considerably more money for his general election campaign — about one and a half million — than any of his recent predecessors did. Brown raised significantly more in total, but that included his nominating campaign.”

    I don’t count Browne’s nominating campaign separate from his general campaign. While he was seeking the nomination, he wasn’t just speaking to Libertarians at conferences; he appeared on many radio and TV shows both local and national, released a book from a real publisher, and campaigned as the de facto candidate. His campaign after the nomination was just a continuation of what he was already doing for months before that. So I consider that one campaign.

    Regardless, neither of them raised much money for a NATIONAL campaign.

    Be Rational: “It is not a waste of money to do ballot drives to run candidates in every state, even when it is near to impossible to retain ballot status. The LP exists to run candidates and spread the message of Liberty. It is our primary purpose.”

    Not all Libertarians agree with this point, but I do.

    Robert: “Yes, I would say by all metrics, the LP’s metrics are all very poor. That Browne 96 was riding a slight uptick proves nothing in particular to me, as the results were still miniscule.”

    That’s exactly what I said about Barr. He didn’t accomplish anything Browne didn’t.

    However, Browne’s party-building effort CA– USED thousands of inquiries to the national office. And a large portion of those inquirers became party members, which expanded the talent and funding pool for the party. Of course, it wasn’t nearly enough to subsequently have a sizable electoral impact…but at least it moved the LP significantly in that direction, unlike Barr.

    Robert: “To attribute all the positive results to the efforts of Browne 96 (not saying you do) is not the whole picture. There were other recruitment efforts going on at the time.”

    It’s not the whole picture–but it’s a lot of the picture. Only a couple of major recruitment efforts were going on at the time.

    Robert: “I agree the Barr campaign was disappointing in terms of measurable metrics, but I maintain ALL L candidates for prez are VERY disappointing. Tenths of percentage points are mouse nuts, IMO.”

    First, I wasn’t just talking about candidates for President, as I’ve said before; I’m talking about ANY Libertarian candidates who get media exposure and give speeches in public forums. This isn’t a “bash Barr” effort on my part, though somehow the focus has shifted to him.

    But I agree with your general point about tenths of a percentage point. The questions I’d ask are: Is it necessary for the LP to have far more resources to overcome institutional barriers and have a big impact electorally? And do some Libertarian candidates have valuable opportunities they should take advantage of to help gain those resources for the LP while espousing libertarian ideas?

    In both cases, I say YES.

  70. Robert Capozzi

    jt: Is it necessary for the LP to have far more resources to overcome institutional barriers and have a big impact electorally? And do some Libertarian candidates have valuable opportunities they should take advantage of to help gain those resources for the LP while espousing libertarian ideas?

    me: I’d say yes as well, but I don’t find the Browne model all that compelling. It was mostly like a HS football team running a series of dive plays. A ground game is vital, but throwing the ball down field is also necessary in this televised and new media world.

    I certainly don’t have a problem with candidate as recruiter, but the role is in my mind more evangelist than recruiter. In marketing, there’s image advertising and there’s direct response advertising. Depending on the product, there’s usu. a mix. In politics, there’s a mix, too. Candidates should play to their strengths, and be appropriate in their behavior.

  71. Robert Capozzi

    gb: In his appearance on Nightline, Ed Clark passed up the chance to explain the Libertarian idea of limited government. He simply stated that Libertarians want to return to a government as big as when John F Kennedy was President.

    me: Hmm, seems like wiping away 2 decades of government growth was a good answer to me. What would have been a better answer, in your view?

    We can’t know what the outcome might have been in 1980 had, say, Bush’d gotten the nomination and there was no Anderson in the race. Playing woulda shoulda coulda might be fun, but what’s it get us? Rothbard flipping out over the idea of “low tax liberal”? Was that productive?

  72. JT

    Robert: “I’d say yes as well, but I don’t find the Browne model all that compelling. It was mostly like a HS football team running a series of dive plays. A ground game is vital, but throwing the ball down field is also necessary in this televised and new media world.”

    I don’t know what you’re talking about. I do know that his effort was a large part of why the LP grew significantly–more than I can say for anyone else’s effort in the past decade–while he also talked about libertarian ideas and the party in speeches and soundbites better than any Libertarian I’ve ever heard.

    Robert: “I certainly don’t have a problem with candidate as recruiter, but the role is in my mind more evangelist than recruiter.”

    I’m sure you’re going to claim you’re not contradicting yourself somehow, but you obviously are. I said at post 38 that most candidates don’t focus at all on recruiting and you said at post 39 “nor should they.” It’s hard to have any discussion with you when you contradict yourself, which seems to happen fairly often.

    I see candidates as salesmen or saleswomen, not preachers. They’re selling ideas, but they can sell the party that advocates those ideas as well. There’s synergy there.

    Robert: “In marketing, there’s image advertising and there’s direct response advertising.”

    You’ve already said this. And I said both can work in tandem, neither to the detriment of the other. And they SHOULD if we want the LP to ever have the resources for Libertarian candidates needed to garner large vote percentages in major partisan races in the future.

    I don’t really know what else there is to say on this particular topic.

  73. It's About the Ego

    @ 71“It’s also way schmaaat to buy a building while prices are depressed and before hyperinflation hits the Real Estate market”

    If the LNC is looking for real estate investments, then it’d be even more schmaaat to consider real estate throughout the U.S. There may be better bargains in Binghamton, NY, Salen OR, Olympia, WA, or a 1,000 other cities, big and small.

    The LNC is looking for a building in D.C. because it wants an impressive presence among the cool kids of D.C. (i.e., it’s about an ego-boost, not an investment.

  74. Be Rational

    If the LP wants an impressive presence in DC, then the LNC should keep the office in the Watergate building or find some even fancier and more expensive rental location. That is the ego position and a true waste of money.

    The other big ego position is the idea of moving out of DC. That is a fool’s ego – a person who is irrational but will argue forever that he is correct.

    The only reason to buy an office location is the long term money savings. It will reduce the monthly operating costs of the party. It is not an investment in the sense of speculation, since the party will occupy its purchased premises, it is an investment in sound financial management of the LP.

    There are posters for and against this idea, but in the end, everyone should be for it. The LP should solicit dedicated funding for a purchase. If enough comes in, do it. If not, return the funds to the donors. If we can raise enough funds to buy a building, the long term financial benefit should last forever. There is no downside as it will only happen if people support it and if it happens the party will have permanently reduced its monthly operating costs.

  75. Thomas L. Knapp

    Be Rational @82,

    I think most of those who support a move out of the Watergate, and perhaps purchase rather than rental of office space, recommend keeping the LP’s offices in the DC metro, just not in the more expensive areas of that metro.

  76. Robert Capozzi

    jt80: ..you said at post 39 “nor should they.”

    me: Yes, I guess that’s a slight contradiction. Fair enough. I don’t have a problem if a candidate makes appeals to joining the LP from the stump. I support their websites having a link that says “More about the LP” or “Join the LP.”

    I see selling and evangelizing as the same things.

    I see a candidate’s primary focus to be run for the office he/she’s running for. That means to advocate a L perspective on the issues of the day, and to do so looking and acting in a credible, appropriate manner. In so doing, he or she creates “air cover” — high level marketing — for the LP and L ideas.

    IF the candidate is running for an office that has ballot access implications, that should be a big consideration.

    That’s their highest and best use, IMO. Their campaign and especially the party itself should be the “closers” for signing people up.

    Most of the time, the candidate is on the hot seat. Staying focused on the media or the audience and getting his or her message right seems most important to me. If they can make an appeal to check out their website seems appropriate almost always. Appeals to checking out the LP’s website can be made IF it feels appropriate. I would not criticize a candidate if they only mentioned their website, as that’s their primary focus. If they chew up valuable air time citing other sources, they run the risk of diminishing their message, which is their primary job. (Again, a link to the party SHOULD be on the campaign website.)

    In short, if a candidate has too many agendas, he or she will be scattered and ineffective. He or she should focus on their highest and best use. In so doing, he or she IS likely to be of most service in party building. Mixing image ads with direct response messages makes for weak image and direct response advertising.

  77. pete healey

    I’m sorry to come into this thread so late, and with the focus well off the stated topic, but I have a couple of questions. Did the Libertarians in New York have anyone keep a close eye on the New York City Board of Elections as they counted the ballots there, and when they “found” 195,000 ballots that had been “misplaced” or whatever? The Greens issued a release the other day detailing their problems with vote counts in NYC and I’ve looked at the numbers for both Greens and Libs and they don’t “add up”. The Greens received over 14,000 votes in NYC in 2006 but only 10,500 this year. Their vote count in Brooklyn, their strongest presence in the city, went from 4,500 to 3,500 in a year in which their vote count in the rest of the state almost doubled. A similar story appears to be the case with the Libertarian vote. Their vote count in “the other 57 counties” almost quadrupled(41,000 to 11,000) but in NYC it was barely double(6,900 to 3,400) the numbers in 2006. I know there are lots of other factors that “could” account for all these discrepancies, but they are discrepancies and the NYC Board of Elections is notoriously corrupt and…

  78. Robert Capozzi

    jt, iow, the notion of “tandem” might actually lead to failing at both.

    In football, the QB hands off and throws passes. They almost never block. The QB is protected. The backup QB is almost always less skilled, and the team doesn’t want to see the starting QB hurt.

    I see the candidate as the QB. The campaign and the party are the offensive line, doing the blocking.

    Occasionally, a Mike Vick comes along, and sometimes he’s a good runner. If he can pull it off, that’s OK with me, too.

    You may not agree that there is a division of labor in politics. I do.

  79. Robert Capozzi

    br82: If the LP wants an impressive presence in DC, then the LNC should keep the office in the Watergate building or find some even fancier and more expensive rental location. That is the ego position and a true waste of money.

    me: ADR, but you set this up as an either/or, and of course it’s not one, IMO. This is a business judgment call, nothing else. Site location is imprecise, but the idea is to find space that accommodates the business at hand in a reasonably optimal manner.

    Too “low rent” and too remote is likely to not address the business needs. Too “high rent” and central may be passed the point of diminishing returns.

    For the most part, those who selected the WaterGate are no longer decision makers, so the “ego” charge seems way off base to me. This is a legacy decision we’re discussing, IMO.

    My guess is the WaterGate is likely passed the point of diminishing returns. My guess is buying a building is premature and a distraction. Focus and energy are in short supply, might as well stick to our knitting.

    Making the charge that it’s an “ego position” generates my questions than answers. If staying in the WaterGate is that, please be specific. Who’s ego? What’s their motive? Where’s your evidence?

    Hand waving is — in my experience — counter-productive.

  80. George Phillies

    For a million dollars near DC you can get something that is, well, smaller than the floor area of my house.

    In other parts of the country you can buy, well, a bit more. In Manchester, New Hampshire, to take advantage of the Free State project and be near a major airport, you can get, oh, four times the floor area. Ernie Hancock’s group has demonstrated the great utility of large floor area and what can be done with it.

    As a practical matter, buying a space that is similar in size to the not-quite 3000 square feet we used to rent is a tacit admission that you are planning that there will NOT be major future growth. Indeed, if you return to the discussion at the LNC meeting, the Report urging purchase said specifically “Staff has informed us that the existing square footage is sufficient for current needs or anticipated future needs, so the minimum space we would consider would be the same, or greater.”

    That approaches ‘planning to fail’.

  81. Be Rational

    @89

    Someone please explain to Georgie that Real Estate can be sold and bigger quarters purchased. It is called a marketplace.

    If the LP grows so big that we need more space, then we’ll surely have the membership and donors available to finance the upgrade – that’s what growing larger means. And guess what, since the property we already own should have risen with the market, we’ll be able to make the upgrade much easier than if we were renting with no appreciating real assets.

  82. Be Rational

    @88 RC

    In my post @82 I was addressing the ego post @81.

    Yes, the Watergate is a legacy decision. It was as ego boost then to rent there. However, my point was that renting an overly fancy office would be the best option for an ego boost and that purchasing a reasonably priced location that will not be as fancy, would not serve as an ego boost, but it would be a wise financial decision for the future of the LP.

    FYI. I think you meant to say … “may be past” the point of diminishing returns.

    Or … “it is past” the point of diminishing returns.

    Or you could say … “it has passed” the point of diminishing returns.

    past/passed

  83. Robert Capozzi

    br, yes, thanks, I recognized the passed/past error after I wrote it. I don’t spend a lot of time proofing comments, as it’s free flowing conversation.

  84. JT

    Robert, I’m a big football fan, but your analogy is absurd. A candidate selling ideas and the party that represents them isn’t analogous to a QB passing and blocking. A QB CAN’T block; he isn’t even positioned to do that. A candidate for partisan office CAN pitch the party; he or she IS positioned to do that. Moreover, I don’t know of any Libertarian candidate who has been injured and unable to continue because he or she was recruiting people for the LP during a campaign. Maybe you do.

    Robert: “You may not agree that there is a division of labor in politics. I do.”

    Of course there is. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. People have comparative advantages in different areas. A candidate’s comp. adv. should be in public speaking because a candidate is a representative of the party to the public (and the candidate for President is the chief representative). But there’s no reason why such a candidate can’t use their comp. adv. to speak about libertarian ideas AND the Libertarian Party when feasible, seeking to bring more talent and money into the organization.

  85. Robert Capozzi

    jt, hmm, actually, there’s lots of plays where the QB can block. A sweep, for ex., he can try to seal the pursuit. He can follow the along with others when a play is downfield, trying to pick off those who are pursuing. O lineman do this, so could the QB.

    If a candidate speaking at an important venue shifts gears to make a pitch to join the LP, that COULD waste valuable airtime. It could be a throwaway line, or it could become a long-winded argument for joining the party. But all of it is off-message, IMO.

    There’s a time and place for everything. When someone’s called up on the stage, precious time should be used knowing that his/her time is limited. Every moment pitching the party is a moment not pitching the ideas. And I’d say pitching the ideas IS the best way to pitch the party, although it’s admittedly indirect.

    The only reason I find this dialog useful is because I need to understand whether you believe that “pitching the party” is a requirement for all L candidates. If you do, then I disagree, until I hear a stronger case. Pointing to Browne doesn’t do it for me, since I think we’ve established his seeming successes were indeterminate and by and large inconsequential, since in the grand scheme of things, the difference bet. the high-water and low-water marks of membership were mouse nuts. Small numbers fluctuate in large percentages and tiny absolute numbers.

  86. George Phillies

    @90

    Someone please ask Be Retarded how the unspecified purchaser of our headquarters is supposed to PAY for the building. Without, that is, committing an act that will be immediately caught by automated part of the FEC compliance audits. The LNC cannot take money from corporations, labor unions, most types of banks, Federal contractors…you know, most types of people who might want to buy the building.

    Of course, some LNC member can buy the old HQ from the LNC…so long as they don’t pay more than $30,400 (plus inflation rule) a year for it, that being the legal limit on committee contributions.

    Yes, once you have taken this tar baby to your bosom, you are going to have an interesting time getting rid of it.

  87. Robert Capozzi

    gp: That approaches ‘planning to fail’.

    me: How so? I read it as prudent.

    Should the LP need to hire more bodies, and the current or future space becomes insufficient, a satellite office could always be found. We could rent way too much space in NH for the same rent dollar obligation as the we have at Watergate, and that seems like a strange use of resources.

  88. George Phillies

    @97

    If you think about matters for a bit it will occur to you that if you can get, say 14000 square feet on two acres for a million dollars, you can get say 5000 square feet on less land for significantly less than a million dollars.

    Actually I found things that appeared to match a DC million dollar mansion that would cost about a third that amount, likely be newer, and be a real office building with office floor loading rather than a converted town house.

    Floor loading? I am reminded of a local university that considered buying an apartment building for faculty offices, until it was noted that the books and papers of the faculty members, soon after being hauled up to the second floor, would be making an unplanned visit to their friend, Mr. Basement, while taking the first floor with them.

    Given the challenges in buying up at a later date, you may want to think carefully about this, which based on the supplied documents the LNC did not appear to have done.

  89. Robert Capozzi

    thanks, GP. Yep, DC is among the more expensive places in the country on a sq/ft basis. Bangalore, India is a favorite place to outsource, or perhaps Malaysia — so if the only consideration is $/sq/ft, those places should be under consideration.

    If off-shore is off the table, Gallup, NM is “cheap” too. Or Philadelphia, MS.

    These would all be inappropriate, as I would suggest that prevailing rental rates is low on the list of considerations for locating a national political party. I guess we disagree.

  90. Be Rational

    @96 Wow Georgie Porgie, you really know nothing about the FEC rules.

    FEC rules do not prohibit buying and selling assets nor investing funds and earning interest nor collecting insurance payments for damages nor settlement checks (for $100,000 for example) as the LP has done in the past. These things types of payments are not considered contributions.

    The LP can buy a building and sell a building. There will be no FEC consequences. However, there could be questions raised by a know nothing busy body who likes power so much that he’ll file phony complaints and waste everyone’s time until the FEC tells him to shut up and go away because he’s wrong.

    Hopefully you will never be in charge of any party organization’s finances or FEC reporting.

  91. George Phillies

    Damages are not contributions for the same reason they are not taxable income.

    Claiming that the building is an investment asset when there are specific FEC rules on buildings is, let us say, interesting. It might be possible under Citizens United to get away with it. However, people with brains would have checked first.

    Locking up a million dollars — a year’s income — in a building is not going to get you anything.

  92. Be Rational

    Good GP, you admit you were wrong.

    There are specific FEC rules on buildings and other investment assets, interest, damage and insurance payments as I said above. Buildings are allowed and they are allowed to be bought and sold. So, why were you pretending otherwise by saying the LP couldn’t sell the building later? Trying to win by lying is not a good tactic – or was it that you didn’t really know?

  93. Gains

    GP @98:

    The burden of demonstration is on you to explain how an act is unlawful. It makes no sense to demand that someone prove that it is lawful when all is lawful except that which is not.

    On another note:

    I read your arguments about square footage and cannot help but agree with all of your premises. They however do not add up to your conclusions neither in sum nor in gestalt.

    There is value in presentation. There are many styles of presentation.
    There is value in practicality. There are many different practices.

    I interpret an undercurrent in GP’s message that purchasing a building “locks in” a flavor and an approach to the parties activities. that the location, layout and character of the building will shape it’s usefulness. To me that is a significant factor in the decision to buy. There is a multitude of political activities and the value of an investment does get influenced by how much of what a party is supposed to do it facilitates.

    A political party is a coalition of individuals and groups of individuals that have differing interests but share common goals. That is goals in the plural. Electing representatives, executives and judges is one; influencing policy is another; interfacing with current officials is another; educating is a big one; recruiting is in there for sure; coalition building; centralized services for coalition groups for training in activism, propaganda generation and distribution, membership services, intercommunication…

    Is the goal of the building to provide for all these requisites or some?

    “What is the role of the national party in our structure?” is the one question that comes to my mind when considering this. To me, the national party is the least significant in promoting social change in any direct way. I do not not-value the national party but the way I look at it political action is strongest the closer it is to those who are trying to affect it.

    The national party should be the least significant to us as Libertarians just as the federal government should be the least significant in its authority over the people.

    From my perspective the good part of the national party is its ability to interface with national government and media. The bad part is when it mistakenly tries to steer its constituent states or counties in local efforts. Much of what people like Dr. Phillies and Mr. Hancock do with the spaces they have are based on doing local and state level activism. What Hancock does with his space is amazing.

    National facilities that do some of what he does may make sense right now, it may not. But we will not know what the future brings in terms of needs. It may make sense to make sure that the facility purchased is configurable as times and needs change. It may make sense to purchase multiple facilities that serve different needs.

    I think that as a separate track and not one that affects a national decision is that we should be making long term investments more locally as funding and membership concentration allows and suggests. Laying down more permanent stakes and providing long term facilities for political action is just smart. Local organizations can make decisions based on the character, direction and model they find effective for their areas.

    In the case of both local party decisions to buy property and especially in the case of national’s current consideration, I only caution that GP is right in pointing these differences of use out. Buying property does lock in our options and our current tack is not yet a proven winner. Flexibility is a good thing for a political party.

    In all of this I think that the burden in the decision and the fiduciary responsibility of the LNC that votes on this should be to demonstrate how the building purchase provides the maximum benefit. It needs to provide not just for some specific set of goals but for the broad spectrum of responsibilities and needs that a insurgent political party has. It should also fit into a long term strategy that is well vetted by leadership and membership alike.

  94. Robert Capozzi

    br100: @96 Wow Georgie Porgie, you really know nothing about the FEC rules.

    me: Is this necessary? Can’t we keep critiques to matters of substance, not personal attacks?

  95. JT

    Robert: “jt, hmm, actually, there’s lots of plays where the QB can block. A sweep, for ex., he can try to seal the pursuit. He can follow the along with others when a play is downfield, trying to pick off those who are pursuing.”

    Hmmm, actually, no he can’t. It’s not physically possible for a quarterback to do that given his positioning on the field unless he’s the Flash (the closest to that today would probably be Michael Vick, as you mentioned, and even he can’t do that). I don’t know how anybody who follows football closely could think this is even possible. But I know you like to stick with such things anyway.

    Robert: “The only reason I find this dialog useful is because I need to understand whether you believe that “pitching the party” is a requirement for all L candidates. If you do, then I disagree, until I hear a stronger case.”

    I don’t find this dialogue useful at all anymore, but I’m sure you’d continue it forever if someone else were willing to engage you. I do believe that pitching the party is something all Libertarian candidates should do IF they have the forums in which to do it. Some do, and some don’t.

    Robert: “Pointing to Browne doesn’t do it for me, since I think we’ve established his seeming successes were indeterminate and by and large inconsequential, since in the grand scheme of things, the difference bet. the high-water and low-water marks of membership were mouse nuts.”

    You think we’ve established that? Think again. His success in recruiting new members and donors were substantial, helping to more than double membership within a few years. Unfortunately, that wasn’t able to be sustained for other reasons after that. But if other candidates with those kinds of opportunities had done the same, the party would be in a much better position than it is today.

    Btw, I love how you laughably give Barr credit for having any significant impact whatsoever, yet the evidence of Browne’s success is “indeterminate” and “inconsequential.” Browne obviously accomplished whatever Barr did and more. If only the LP had more candidate communicators of that caliber committed (alliteration!) to the party and not just to themselves.

    That’s all I have to say on this.

  96. Robert Capozzi

    jt, fair enough. Just as you and I see something very different in the game of football, you seem to see things that I don’t. Barr wasn’t especially consequential. I’m not sure why you think I believe he was. He did a good job getting media, and he may have softened some people up for L ideas. That’s about it.

    Browne simply didn’t singlehandedly double the size of the LP. In the JT movie, perhaps he did.

    One can be doubled to 2, or in can increase by +1. Doubling is nice, but I’d say +1 is the more valuable way to look at tiny numbers.

    Your movie, though. Hope you’re enjoying it;-)

  97. LP Watcher

    If you don’t like the building project, don’t contribute to it. If you like the idea of owning property with value, then contribute to it. I understand that this project will be outside of the everyday contributions and seperate. Something called “choice” to participate. Get over it.

  98. Robert Capozzi

    lpw, getting over it is wise. However, I’ve seen a corporation that decided to build its own HQ can be a time sink for staff and management, above and beyond the actual expenditure. The “sexy” project often becomes an all-consuming distraction.

    I hope this project doesn’t take too much away from the mission-critical work of the national office and LNC.

  99. Be Rational

    @108

    This is the salient point. As long as the building project is set up as a separate fund with donations designated for that purpose segragated until adequate for a building purchase or returned to the donors, and if the building fund project is not allowed to supercede the day to day party building and campaign efforts of the party, then there is no downside and a great potential long-term gain.

  100. Robert Capozzi

    yes, that is the question. Does a building fund cannabilize from ongoing support?

    My guess would be yes, to some extent. While there is no way to know with certainty, a donor might give MORE over time in order to lower ongoing costs, i.e., rent and operating expenses. (I’d note that owners generally have upkeep costs that renters usu. don’t…not a small consideration.)

    Donors might give more than they would in off-years to meet their building fund obligations, but less than they would toward campaigns in election years. The LNC likely doesn’t know how much big donors give in total; they only know what they give to the LNC, I suspect.

    I do wonder whether donors can legally give more to a building fund than they can give to the party and campaigns.

    I would again say that the opportunity costs of figuring this all out is expensive in terms of time spent vs. other activities. I do wonder whether the LNC and staff have considered the real, yet intangible, ROI implications.

    Another consideration is probably that most of the analysis done on building funds involves non-profits, which have different economics that a party, certainly different tax implications.

    The economic case for buying is mostly an investment case. If the LNC buys a building low, the potential equity build up might be usable in some form down the road. This calculation could be compelling, depending on the assumptions, but I’d hope they consider operating costs and insurance in the calc. If they have to replace the AC unit, for ex., in say 3 years, that will hurt the ROI, possibly substantially. Going without AC is not an option in DC in the summer.

  101. AroundtheblockAFT

    Two story office building for sale, Lee Highway, Falls Church, Va. 6,480 total sq ft (3,240 each floor) $1,3 million. Use half, rent out another half until needed.

  102. Robert Capozzi

    around, you also make a valid point. If excess space is rentable, it’s possible that the ROI case gets better, all else equal.

    Falls Church is inside the beltway, fairly close to GMU, kinda close to metro. Most of the buildings on Lee Highway are modest, maybe a bit beat up.

    Searching for real estate can be sorta fun, but that’s part of the downside, IMO.

  103. Gains

    GP @111: “Only if you think that the building donors would not have given for other purposes.”

    What sort of hubris would that be, claiming that donations that went to something else really belonged to something I wanted?

  104. LP Watcher

    Cannibalization? Maybe.
    But it might also bring in NEW contributors that would rather contribute to something they can “touch and feel” vs day-to-day operations.
    Plus, sell some bricks or pavers with contributors names. Happens all the time with college alumni projects, veteran memorials, etc.
    Somebody want to drop a Qtr Million on this? Give them naming rights to a portion of the building. Happens all the time. Again, get over it.

  105. Opeach Obama, I mean, is this the best we can do? [Lake]

    ‘shovel ready problems ……..’

    And then there is the tale of the worst big city mayor in the USA (The Jerry Springer Award?) and my ditzy prep alma mater.

    With a servicable, proper perimeter barrier in place, the school district tore it down to make way for a $248K ‘art fence’.

    Once the beacon of south Jackson County [Missouri], Ruskin High School now consistently ranks in the lowest FIVE PERCENT of scales.

    After one term blunder Mayor Mark Funkhouse [and his butt-in-sky spouse] has embarrassed Kansas and Missouri repeatably from the KCMo city hall to the Wall Street Journal, he arranged the final touches of the ‘art fence’ the school.

    Things are so bad for ‘The Funk’ that he is specifically the one and only candidate NOT invited to speakers forums. The early 2011 primary and general election are not technically partisan and includes (smelling blood?) a crowded field.

    My old school escaped shut down by one vote of the self said dumb assed school board.

    Bricks for Pricks? It seems to work (for the primary organization, not so much the ‘donors’) all the time. ‘The Hall Mark Greetings Cards Ruskin art fence?’ No stupider than what really happened!

  106. Robert Capozzi

    lpw, yes, but those examples are with pre-tax dollars.

    There’s nothing for me to get over, btw. Count me as skeptical. It will work out, one way or another.

  107. Vote Count Junkie

    Eric Sundwall @8

    “It’s not over however. We’re currently trying to assess whether the ‘over count’ issue being on the same line as Barron’s Freedom Party, adversely affected us. There is a question about whether all absentee ballots were counted. This is where all the talk about being a ‘real’ poltical party hits the road. The state and national party should be setting their sites on scratching and clawing for that extra 1600 votes. Contact your rep on the LNC or in NY and let them know. ”

    Anyone follow up on this?

  108. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 119

    Insanity! As former NYLP Chair Rich Cooper just wrote, “the grounds are flimsy at best”. It is time to move on.

    I prefer Warren Redlich’s quotation – the one when he and you said “it is not a matter of WHETHER we get the 50,000 votes at this point, but HOW we get them”.

    All third party votes were inflated in terms of vote totals for the reasons I have stated. The NYLP was divided and lost out on a golden opportunity.

  109. Vote Count Junkie

    @120 “Insanity!” – as defined by what follows the exclamation.

    Not investigating the remaining undercounted Libertarian votes is what’s insane.

  110. George Phillies

    @115

    As you clearly do not understand, many donors have a general idea that they are going to give, and are very open to suggestions as to what target their gift should have. As a result, when you ask someone to give for a one million dollar, 2000 square foot building in DC, some of that money would elsewise have gone for doing something political.

  111. Be Rational

    @122

    Actually, it is quite possible that having an ongoing building funding project, an ongoing advertising development project with Travis Irvine, and other exciting projects, the LP can raise more funds from a greater number of people. People who have never given before and people who have stopped donating will have a reason to give. Many people only give if their donations are dedicated to a certain purpose. Others only give if the whole program seems exciting enough to generate some results. So, these types of targeted projects could not only raise substantial dedicated funds, they could cause the total funds raised for the LP general fund to grow as well.

    We won’t know until we try.

    As to the whiners who never give and won’t give to the new projects either: “He who pays the fiddler calls the tune.”

  112. Gains

    GP @122:

    No one lays claim to what I donate for before I donate it. I cannot imagine an ethical person ever trying to lay claim to gifts that they have not yet even been promised. I know that no ethical person would seek to dissuade another person’s project because of the potential that the other might get donations and they not.

    If people like your idea, they will donate. If they don’t they won’t. Everything else is hubris.

  113. JT

    George: “As a result, when you ask someone to give for a one million dollar, 2000 square foot building in DC, some of that money would elsewise have gone for doing something political.”

    Not necessarily. Some Libertarians wouldn’t donate for some other specific political project that’s pitched, but they’ll donate to a new building because they think that’s very important. It’s not always the case that people have a fixed amount of money they’re willing to donate. Funding one project doesn’t necessarily mean not funding another one for many Libertarians.

  114. Bruce Cohen

    The LP’s Donor list is not something that expires permanently once it gives to an appeal.

    Clearly, if not asked to participate in anything, they stop giving.

    Asked to give to stupid or non-productive things, the same.

    Unsuccessful projects (Penn and Teller Video, for example) turn them off for the future.

    But just like with a cow, if you milk it one time, it’s not the end of the milk forever.

    Besides, if we own our own little building, free and clear, it’s a small legacy for future Libertarians to not have the sword of RENT hanging over their heads!

    Wasn’t Carol Moore, the Princess of the Jew-Hating Radicals for this for years and years?

    Nobody complained about her idea.
    This is just sour grapes from folks who didn’t offer the idea.

    Not my idea?
    It’s clearly a bad one.

    How transparent!

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