Posted by Red Phillips at Conservative Heritage Times. Although Phillips also writes for IPR, I (Paulie) am posting it here to make it clear that any opinions expressed are those of Phillips, not an IPR editorial. As with many other stories I post, I am posting it for the sake of discussion, not necessarily because I agree with the author.
Everyone is talking about the potential GOP candidates for President, so I thought I might spice things up a bit by discussing the potential and confirmed list of Libertarian Party candidates. I am neither an LP member nor a philosophical libertarian, but I am sympathetic to third party activism, and I enjoy observing the internal wranglings of the LP. Internal wranglings are actually a sign of some health in a party. A lack of internal wranglings would indicate inactivity or that nobody cares.
Duensing’s main “claim to fame,” for lack of a better phrase, is that he was shot by the police and currently has a case pending. He appears to be from the Ernest Hancockesque faction of the party. He is a philosophical anarchist and radical, but “rightish” in feel and a believer in conspiracy theories such as 9/11 truth. While I am certainly not an anarchist nor am I generally inclined to believe in conspiracy theories, I have a greater problem with outright anti-rightists and conspiracy phobics. From my perspective, this faction of the party is easier to work in coalition with in some respects. Many of them supported Ron Paul, and they don’t seem to have that Blue America tendency to want to purge or distance themselves from undesirables because they are the undesirables in the opinion of some.
Jim Burns is a perennial candidate, and I am not quite sure what faction he represents. He has been arrested in the past for tax protesting and once officially changed his middle name to James Libertarian Burns. He generally has a rightist feel. He has gotten grief in the past for wearing a Confederate Battle Flag themed tie in his campaign picture, so the fact that he hasn’t changed it to appease the PC police makes me sympathetic to him.
Wayne Root, the 2008 LP VP nominee, hasn’t announced but everyone expects him to run. Wayne Root is not a plumbline Libertarian, and is alleged to be weak on non-interventionism. He is able to garner a lot of mainstream media attention and is definitely playing to the Tea Party and anti-Obama Red America crowd. Normally, someone similar to him might be the natural choice of realist and pragmatists within the LP, but Root inspires visceral emotions in people for reasons I plan to delve into in greater detail at a later date. Suffice it to say for now that his polarizing effect makes it hard for him to be the realist/pragmatist candidate per se. He is more likely to be the candidate of the Republican Liberty Caucus wing of the LP.
R. Lee Wrights has formed an exploratory committee. He was a supporter of Mary Ruwart in 2008, and is generally considered a radical, but he is a bit hard to characterized entirely as such. He is a prolific writer and is well known in libertarian web circles. Despite being a radical, he isn’t particularly polarizing and seems to be intentionally leading with a unifying message of opposition to war. (His links include the CATO Institute and the Mises Institute.) Of the four candidates, he has the most leftish feel.
Again, I am not an LP member, and so I am not privy to all the internal factions and distinctions in the LP. These are gestalt impressions based upon my outside rightist perspective of things. I welcome corrections and clarifications, but keep in mind these are my impressions, so I hope people won’t nit-pick or blast me especially about my use of left and right which are admittedly imperfect designations.