Root Commentary in Washington Times

Libertarian National Congressional Committee Chairman Wayne Allyn Root’s commentary on Obama vs. Texas was published in Tuesday’s Washington Times (2011-06-20):

How the mighty have fallen. Last week was not a good week for “Chosen Ones.” President Obama and NBA superstar LeBron James have both been unmasked as flawed humans, not gods or superheroes. They have both gone from “chosen” to “chump,” from “epic” to “epic failure,” from “hero” to “humbled.”

Read the entire article here.

84 thoughts on “Root Commentary in Washington Times

  1. matt cholko

    If Wayne Root and I sat down over a couple beers, I bet we would agree much more than we would disagree.

    The thing is, I cringe every time I read something he wrote. I’m not sure if it’s that he emphasises the areas where we disagree, or I’ve become programmed to think he’s full of s***.

    For example, thinking about this article, the thing that sticks in my head is his comment about Texas being a right-to-work state and unions fleeing for other states. Frankly, having come to Libertarianism from the right, I have a soft spot for anti-union views. However, nowadays I prefer a more neutral view. Unions are fine, so long as nobody is legally compelled to recognize them, or negotiate with them, etc.

  2. George Phillies

    Right to Work Laws came up in the PResidential debate. First there was a general support and oppose question. Than: “That’s my furniture factory down the street. What gave you the idea that you could come onto my property in my factory, and tell me as the factory owner I *am not allowed* to offer a closed-shop agreement?”

    Interesting discussion followed.

  3. Michael H. Wilson

    Well Wayne I will not wait for you to reply so here are a few suggestions.

    Over at the Washington Times Wayne Root has written a piece once again criticizing Obama for the poor economic situation in this nation. All of that is well and good. Obama deserves criticism for his failure, but for someone in the position that Root is in to fail to make any suggestion as how to solve the problem is also irresponsible.
    So what do we do?

    First Obama should never have gotten this nation involved in Libya and he should be held accountable for that action. Impeachment should be on the table.

    Get out of Afghanistan. Bin Laden is dead time to start bringing the troops home. Within six month all troops will be home.

    Have the Justice Department investigate the banksters and bring charges where possible. Don’t ignore the problem! Audit the Federal Reserve.

    Stop collecting Social Security and any other payroll taxes from private businesses.

    Start discussions about free banking. If nothing else spread the work that is now done by the New York fed to create money to all the other branches.

    Reduce the nation’s foreign military commitments. Announce that the nation will begin removing troops from Germany and other European nations with a target date of complete withdrawal three years from today.

    Begin withdrawing from Okinawa and South Korea as well with a similar target date. We expect that the Koreans can solve their problems and that the U.S. is just in the way.

    Military withdrawals will also include the 6th and 7th fleets from the overseas locations.

    Repeal the recently passed health care legislation and in its place repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act, work to have the states repeal corporate practice of medicine laws, certificate of need laws and expand the roles that nurses, physician assistants, midwives and other are allowed to fulfill.

    I am sure I can find a few other items to mention. And of course others in the rabble are encouraged to present their ideas as well.

  4. Steven Wilson

    Root has one main problem. His brand is that of a snake charmer. Even if he had a viable strategy, “his” presence would make it difficult to take seriously.

    He has admitted to going through debt restructuring, which is the new form of bankruptcy without the courts, so the moniker of “small businessman” carries with it a sense of irony. He could not pay all of his bills and did not blink on passing them by.

    Integrity only has one definition, but it apparently has several kinds of application.

  5. Robert Capozzi

    3 mhw: So what is the Libertarian solution to the nation’s economic situation?

    me: “The”? Couldn’t say. If pressed, I’d start with a FICA holiday with offsetting cuts in discretionary and military spending, starting with exiting the multiple wars.

  6. Wayne Root

    @3 Michael,

    This would be the 3rd, 4th or 5th time I’ve released my DETAILED economic plan at IPR in response to you and others claiming I never say what I’d do. Now you are informed for the 3rd, 4th or 5th time. What do you say now? Still claiming I don’t have the answers?

    You know the simple answer? Just make a list of everything Obama has done…and do the opposite to everything (except retaining the Bush tax cuts- which he was forced to do by Congress).

    A) You’d have economic prosperity.

    B) You could not do worse. Anything is an improvement over the rapid decline of the U.S. economy.

    http://www.rootforamerica.com/webroot/blog/waynes-economic-plan/

  7. wolfefan

    Hi Wayne –

    Thanks for your participation. Is it your suggestion that the federal government should preempt state laws on tort issues, or are you talking about tort “reform” on solely the limited federal level? Also, one of the cornerstones of the Reagan tax reforms was a very broad expansion of the earned income tax credit. You seem to oppose Reagan on this issue and would effectively raise taxes significantly on the working poor. Am I reading this right or is there something I am missing (always a possibility!) I’m not suggesting that eliminating the EITC is a bad idea – what Reagan did in the 1980’s (raise taxes on the middle class, expand the EITC) might not be the right things to do now, although you seem to be suggesting middle-class tax increases in keeping with Reagan policies.

  8. Wayne Root

    First no one deserves an “earned income tax.” That is welfare. Why would people who paid no taxes, get a tax refund back. This is the entitlement mentality that has put America to edge of cliff…on the verge of economic Armageddon.

    I will ALAYS choose tax cuts- allowing people to keep more of their own money- versus “armed income credits” which hand welfare checks to people who earned nothing.

    As far “suggesting middle class tax increases”…really? where do you read that? Where in my 20 point plan do you read one word that suggests a tax increase?

  9. Nicholas Sarwark

    First no one deserves an “earned income tax.” That is welfare. Why would people who paid no taxes, get a tax refund back. This is the entitlement mentality that has put America to edge of cliff…on the verge of economic Armageddon.

    The point of an earned income tax credit is to encourage people to work and not stay on welfare. You make it beneficial for people to take a job, even a low-paying one, rather than remain on welfare. I know you don’t have time to read Friedman, what with all the correspondence and running a business, but you’d do yourself a bunch of good if you read some on this issue.

    I will ALAYS choose tax cuts- allowing people to keep more of their own money- versus “armed income credits” [sic] which hand welfare checks to people who earned nothing.

    It’s called an “earned income tax credit,” precisely because you have to have a job and earn income to qualify for it. In other words, the opposite of “hand[ing] welfare checks to people who earned nothing.”

  10. Michael H. Wilson

    Wayne I don’t have a lot of sales experience, but I did work as a personnel recruiter, sold industrial supplies and some construction materials.

    I don’t recall making any sales without telling people about the quality of the product I was selling.

    And I can probably bet that anyone who came across this article without any other exposure to the Libertarian movement, the Libertarian Party or even you, might wonder just what it was that you proposed as an alternative.

    I doubt that they said to themselves; “I‘ll bet Wayne has some ideas on his web site.”

  11. wolfefan

    Hi Wayne –

    I asked about the EITC since it was one of the cornerstones of the Reagan tax plan and you use Reagan’s name to describe your tax plan. Reagan was proud of it and called it “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress.” You do use “Reagan Libertarian” for your plan, which does distinguish it from what Reagan himself did. Like I said, I’m not necessarily disagreeing. And of course times change – it might have been a good idea then but not now.

    The tax increase part is certainly open to discussion – I’m not trying to argue, I’m genuinely asking and trying to understand. There are so many different households and situations that it is hard to generalize. Here is why I think you are suggesting a tax increase (implicitly, I admit.)

    The median household income in the US in 2009 was $50,221 (obviously there are huge regional variations, and with the recession it’s probably gone down since then.) Assume the household is married filing jointly with two kids – that’s a standard deduction of 11,400 and personal exemptions of 14,600 (for FYs 2009 and 2010) for a taxable income of 35,621. The marginal rate for this family in 2009 and 2010 is 15%, so your proposed 20% flat rate is a (temporary) increase.

    That’s where I got a middle-class tax increase from your link. The 15% rate goes all the way up to a _taxable_ income of 68k for our family. Like I said, I know there are a lot of different situations, and your plan doesn’t really go into details on deductions and the like so there may be things that I’m not aware of or am missing. Median household income is an imperfect proxy for middle-class, but for an informal discussion on a site like this it’s not a bad one.

    Thank you again for your response – I look forward to learning more about your economic plan.

  12. Wayne Root

    I didn’t propose a 20% flat tax…

    I proposed a 15% (or lower) flat tax. If you read the details you’ll see the long term proposal was a 15% flat tax.

    It is modeled after Hong Kong which is about 16% flat tax with 0% cap gains…and it has produced most prosperous economy in the world.

    But my goal would be lower than that. I’d like to see the 12% flat tax of many former Soviet Republics.

    But it depends on the deductions allowed whether you can get that low.

    My choice would be 10% to 12% flat…with no deductions…

    Or 15% flat with mortgage and charitable deductions.

    As Rand Paul said recently when asked what if that doesn’t produce enough income? Rand said, “Well then we’ll have to cut the spending down to the level of the taxes.”

    I’ve also said on many occasions a national sales tax…that includes eliminating all income and payroll taxes, as well as eliminating the IRS would be a great option.

    In my book I also proposed a States Rights’ Tax…which would eliminate all income taxes and allow each state to collect the taxes in any way they see fit, based on population.

    There is no one perfect tax plan.

    But there is one bad one…the present system.

    All my ideas allow taxpayers and business owners to keep more of their own money.

  13. Andy

    “I’ve also said on many occasions a national sales tax…that includes eliminating all income and payroll taxes, as well as eliminating the IRS would be a great option.”

    A national sales tax would be more difficult to avoid than the income tax, and that’s not a good thing.

    Also, if the national sales tax was like the FAIR Tax plan as proposed by Neal Boortz and John Linder I actually think that it would be worse than the present income tax (as bad as that is).

    I favor abolishing the income tax and replacing it with nothing. Cut government spending and abolish the Federal Reserve System and fiat currency. Any plan that does not address the spending and the Fed/fiat currency is not a real plan for reducing government.

  14. Michael H. Wilson

    Wayne as I recall a few weeks ago you wanted to keep the Mortgage Interest Deduction. Is that correct? If you did keep that deduction how would your 15% tax then be a flat tax?

  15. Robert Capozzi

    15 wr: There is no one perfect tax plan. But there is one bad one…the present system.

    me: Agreed. Taxes are hurtful on many levels. Advocating no taxes or advocating tax plans that are virtually impossible to implement or advocating tax schemes that would lead to massive social upheaval in the short term are, IMO, a waste of time. Ls should be free to advocate lower, fairer, flatter, less onerous, more growth friendly, AND which raise sufficient revenue to offset (lower) spending is what I would suggest.

    Is there any L “principle” that says a L must be quixotic?

  16. wolfefan

    Hi Wayne –

    Thank you for your response. I did say in my question that the 20% rate is a temporary one. For most of the middle class, taxes would stay the same after your temporary 20% tax expired. Taxes would go up for most of the working poor, though, since they pay at 10% now. Michael @17 raises a good question regarding deductions. I know that you want to eliminate most or all business deductions/loopholes, and I agree with you. What about personal deductions?

    Thanks again!

  17. wolfefan

    Certainaly true, Robert. All of this is very general stuff, since there are so many variations and permutations. Even the most detailed plan can’t cover every circumstance, and I absolutely don’t fault Wayne for not being more detailed on his website. By reading his site I get a clear idea of his direction, even if the specifics aren’t spelled out in all possible detail.

  18. Rev. Albert Medvedev

    My children:

    I enjoy Mr. Root’s columns immensely. He is a good man. He is wise, courageous, and has a tremendously beneficial sense of fashion. I believe that if he utilized a PLAS system in 2012, he could very well be our next Commander and Chef.

    Xenu be with you always,
    -Rev. Albert Medvedev

  19. NewFederalist

    “My children:

    I enjoy Mr. Root’s columns immensely. He is a good man. He is wise, courageous, and has a tremendously beneficial sense of fashion. I believe that if he utilized a PLAS system in 2012, he could very well be our next Commander and Chef.

    Xenu be with you always,
    -Rev. Albert Medvedev”

    CT… is that you? BTW, I think it’s Chief not Chef.

  20. NewFederalist

    LOL! Just how can Capozzi say you don’t have a sense of humor? 😉 (Just kidding… do NOT wish to start a flame war!)

  21. Robert Milnes

    WAR @15, Wayne quoting Rand Paul.
    The perfect storm is forming for Wayne to turn the LP into the Tea Party.
    A Reverse PLAS play could make HIM the viable third party candidate.
    If the fool LP delegates hand him the nomination.
    WAR as Commandant and Chef.
    I mean Commander in Chief
    OOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!

  22. Rev Alberto Medvedev

    Robert Milnes;

    With the blessing of Xenu, I personally feel Mr. Root could invert PLAS and then multiply it by two, thus assuring with 100 percent certainty he is elected to the presidency. I suggest he choose a female celebrity running-mate, namely one who appeals to senior citizens. I think Angela Lansbury would be a fantastic choice.

    -Rev Alberto Medvedev

  23. Don Lake, FYI, not necessarily a unilateral endorsement

    ooh, ooh, have we been electronically visited by post Soviet ‘royality’ ??????????

    Dmitry Medvedev Hints At Setting Up His Own ………….
    [[British] Daily Telegraph – Jun 24 10:01am [Dmitry Medvedev]

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed a bill on Friday that would make it easier for smaller parties to win parliamentary seats in 2016 elections, and signaled plans to create his own political movement.

  24. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 28,

    Root’s chances of getting the LP’s presidential nomination strike me as fairly low.

    If he does get it, his chances of doing anything significant with it other than possibly replacing David Bergland as the worst-performing LP candidate since the 1970s are even lower.

  25. Robert Milnes

    Tom, you don’t see Root getting the LP nomination?
    I think the fix is in.
    & you don’t think he can split off the Tea Party from the GOP?
    He has made noises along those lines.
    You don’t think The Libertarian Vote =13%?
    Cato Institute does. So do I.
    You don’t think the Tea Party Vote is @21%?
    So that 21% + 13% =34%?
    34%-33%-33%=close plurality victory in a de facto 3 way race?
    You don’t think?…….. Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    You write:

    “Tom, you don’t see Root getting the LP nomination?”

    I think his chances of doing so are not very good. In 2008, he came in third place. LP members didn’t know him very well then. They know him better now. IMO, that means he won’t do as well this time around.

    “I think the fix is in.”

    I’ve seen some signs of attempts to point the nomination in his direction, but I don’t see those attempts coming too much. As a matter of fact, I suspect they will end up costing him more delegates than they gain him.

    “you don’t think he can split off the Tea Party from the GOP?”

    Part of the Tea Party is already prone to split with the GOP, but that part won’t be prone to support Root.

    The other part of the Tea Party wouldn’t abandon the GOP if the clouds parted and Jesus Christ himself rode down from the sky and commanded them to do so.

    “You don’t think The Libertarian Vote =13%?”

    I know that the Libertarian vote /= 13%. We’ve had ten presidential elections to establish What the Libertarian (presidential) vote is, and it has topped out at about 1/12th of that.

    “Cato Institute does.”

    No, they don’t. They think the libertarian vote, not the Libertarian vote, = 13%. The libertarian vote has historically not attached itself to the Libertarian Party.

    “You don’t think the Tea Party Vote is @21%?”

    I don’t know what the Tea Party vote will look like in 2012. In 2008, it was probably in that general range, which was enough to carry some House seats, and to lose at least three Senate seats (Alaska, Delaware and Nevada) for the GOP.

    It may be that the Tea Party vote in 2012 will remain large enough to be a swing factor.

    It’s about as likely to combine with the libertarian vote behind a Libertarian Party presidential candidate to win the election as the Windsors are to abdicate and turn Buckingham Palace over to Francis II, and if it was inclined to do so, Root wouldn’t be the candidate who could seal the deal.

  27. Andy

    “No, they don’t. They think the libertarian vote, not the Libertarian vote, = 13%. The libertarian vote has historically not attached itself to the Libertarian Party.”

    The Libertarian Party needs to focus on actually caputuring the libertarian vote. There are a lot of small “l” libertarians out there (many of whom still don’t even know that they are libertarians or even what the word means) who are either voting for candidates from other parties or who do not vote at all. If the Libertarian Party could ever get the majority of small “l” libertarians to vote for Libertarian Party candidates the party could turn into a real force to change politics in this country.

  28. Andy

    “I’ve seen some signs of attempts to point the nomination in his direction, but I don’t see those attempts coming too much.”

    It seems fishy to me that Las Vegas has been picked for the LP National Convention site. It makes me wonder if this was done on purpose to benefit Wayne Root since he lives in that area.

    By the way, I was in Las Vegas back in May and while I was there I went and checked out the place where the LP National Convention is going to be held. It’s a very nice venue and the place is pretty new. The bad things are that it is far from the airport which is going to make it more difficult for delegates to get to the venue, and it is far from the Las Vegas strip. It seems to me that if the Libertarian Party was going to have a convention in Las Vegas, it would be better to have it on the Las Vegas strip. The convention site is far away from a lot of stuff while there is lot of stuff (as in other hotels, restaurants, etc…) on the strip, plus it seems to me that having the convention on the strip would generate a lot more publicity for the party than having it at the venue that they chose is going to generate. The hotels on the strip all have billboards and flashing signs that advertise what events are going on at their hotels, and the strip is flooded with people, especially during heavy tourist times (like Memorial Day Weekend when the convention is going to be held). Just imagine a flashing sign on the Las Vegas strip that says Libertarian Party National Convention 2012 with thousands and thousands of people on the strip seeing this sign. The location that was chosen as the convention site has a big flashing sign as well, the only bad thing is that it is in a location that doesn’t get anywhere close to the amount of traffic that the strip gets so not nearly as many people will see it as would see it if the convention was held on the strip.

    Inspite of these flaws I still look forward to the convention and I will probably attend. VIVA LAS VEGAS!

  29. Andy

    “I think his chances of doing so are not very good.”

    The field of candidates right now is extremely weak. It’s the worst I’ve see since I’ve been in the party (since 1996). I think that Root stands a good chance of winning the nomination unless some new candidates emerge or unless one or more of the announced candidates does something to make themselves more relavent.

  30. Robert Milnes

    @35, agreed. I think The Libertarian Vote could be captured by whichever of 2 blocs gets traction. The Tea Party v The Progressives.
    i.e. counterrevolution v. slow revolution.
    If Root gets the nomination & immediately gets the Tea Party & conservative vote, the Lib Vote will follow.
    If I get the nomination, I’ll get The Progressive Vote and The Lib. Vote will follow.
    Barr could not get the Progressive Vote. The Tea Party didn’t exist as it does now. Root also cannot get The Progressive Vote. But he could get the Tea Party Vote.
    Otherwise it is politics as usual. e.g. Wrights cannot get the Tea Party Vote & wouldn’t even try for either Tea Or Progressive Vote. He’ll try for The Libertarian Vote & not get it because it will be adverse to vote or support the LP. It will go-as usual-to the GOP mostly. Some to Dem, some -very little to CP or GP. or BTPO. Much will not vote at all.

  31. Robert Milnes

    cont. libertarians do not support the LP because they know it is going to lose.
    BUT… as soon as The Tea Party is garnered by the LP nominee OR The Progressive Vote is garnered by the LP nominee, the dynamics change.
    Suddenly the LP becomes viable-worthy of further support. THAT is when The Libertarian Vote would kick in.
    So the choice is now Root v. Milnes.
    Counterrevolution v. slow revolution.
    OR politics as usual. No other candidate or possible candidate seems to be inclined to do other than politics as usual.
    & I must say, so far support for me is very weak.
    I need more support asap. The sooner the better. The more the better. I can get in front of the fundraising for Ron Paul & Obama & divert it to my campaign & the LP. Also I have pledged 15% for ballot access. But if everybody puts it off, it will soon be too late. The more support Obama & Paul get the less is available & the less inclined supporters would be to support the Libertarian candidate.
    We are wasting precious time.

  32. Robert Milnes

    I wanted to go to NH but could not.
    Mostly from lack of support.
    But also because of the barrier of insufficient past LP activity.
    Where did that requirement come from? It did not exist AS A REQUIREMENT in 2008.
    It seems to me to be directed at me. Just like The Convict Persecution Resolution.
    I do not know whether Prof. Phillies is the source of this requirement or just gleefully enforced it.
    This requirement must be stopped. It is not libertarian for one thing. It is counterrevolutionary for another.

  33. Robert Milnes

    This is what happened to the Obama campaign in Iowa in 2008. The progressive vote-i.e. the anti-war democratic vote, turned out in support of his candidacy. All of a sudden his candidacy became viable. Then in South Carolina the black vote went from Clinton to Obama when blacks realized he could win.
    This is why the LP consistently fails to get The Libertarian Vote. Anyone who might be inclined to support the LP opts to not do so because they can see the LP is going to lose.

  34. Robert Milnes

    Just like The Original Nolan Resolution was directed at Root.
    Then somehow it got amended into its exact opposite.
    @36, yes, it is fishy that the 2012 Libertarian convention will be in Las Vegas.
    Just like it is fishy that Nolan’s Resolution got amended into its exact opposite, then he is dead.

  35. NewFederalist

    Tom Knapp- “If he does get it, his chances of doing anything significant with it other than possibly replacing David Bergland as the worst-performing LP candidate since the 1970’s is even lower.”

    Yet Bergland placed third in the 1984 election despite the Gene Burns fiasco and his last minute nomination.

  36. NewFederalist

    Bob Milnes- “So the choice is now Root v. Milnes.”

    Really? I think that’s a BIG stretch even for you, Bob. While there may be much about Root that is uncomfortable he sure does generate attention. I can’t recall ever hearing him complain about lack of support as a reason for NOT doing something. You might despise his positions but you could take a page from his playbook about mixing it up and actually take some advice from those who have been waiting to see what you can do.

  37. George Phillies

    @37 What do you know about the current candidates, one of whom just declared? Or are you bloviating?

    @40If you didn’t like our event you are welcome to organize your own. Oh. You. Organize. Go for it!

    @43 Bergland…Where our candidates place, as opposed to total vote, vote percentage, and number of states on ballot, is in part determined by who else is on the ballot, in particular how many other third party candidates are on the ballot and which of them has creds with the press. It’s also in part determined by what sort of a campaign you run. In 1984, the third party competition to our candidate, who got 0.25% of the vote, was

    Lyndon LaRouche Jr. Billy Davis Independent 78,809 0.09% 0 0.0%
    Sonia Johnson Richard Walton Citizens 72,161 0.08% 0 0.0%
    Bob Richards Maureen Salaman Populist 66,324 0.07% 0 0.0%
    Dennis Serrette Nancy Ross Alliance 46,853 0.05% 0 0.0%
    Gus Hall Angela Davis Communist 36,386 0.04% 0 0.0%
    Melvin Mason Matilde Zimmerman Socialist Workers 24,699 0.03% 0 0.0%
    Larry Holmes Gloria LaRiva Workers World 17,985 0.02% 0 0.0%

    and on down from there. A dreadful performance was still better than almost all the competition.

  38. Robert Milnes

    NF, no, it is not a stretch. I’m talking about potential, possibilities, of what could happen or could be done with the LP.
    That is clearly a choice between me & Root.
    To go in exactly the opposite direction.
    There is something else. It is quick & easy to go right. Go counterrevolution. Go fascist. That is the familiar direction. It is the aggressive direction. Fight or flight? Well, let’s fight!
    On the other hand, progressivism-slow revolution, or revolution-genuine revolution, not fake change Obama revolution, is more difficult. Even scary. Fear of revolution is very real. I’m up against that. Root is not. He has the quick & easy, well worn path . I have the slow & difficult & scary path. The new path blazed as you go. To virtually uncharted territory.
    It does little good to go by myself.

  39. Robert Capozzi

    34 tk: I think [Root’s] chances of doing so are not very good. In 2008, he came in third place. LP members didn’t know him very well then. They know him better now. IMO, that means he won’t do as well this time around.

    me: Because the LP is so small and there is no good polling done of the membership, the nominee race is IMO virtually impossible to handicap, except by gut guessing.

    Everything in the wider world might heal, but my lean at the moment is that another shoe will drop. Greece may default, and I can’t even begin to guess what that will lead to.

    This strategic oil reserve release has me perplexed. It looks like governments were panicking at oil prices riding higher a few weeks back, but that trend was already self-correcting. Or maybe something else is afoot.

    Everything suggests Root won’t run. He’ll likely not want to be party to Obama II. Were he to be the standardbearer, his impulsiveness might lead him to say nice stuff about the R nominee, which is clearly NOT the LP candidate’s job.

    So, I continue to believe that we should be open to more outside-the-box candidates. All options are flawed. “No name” options may not be “flawed” in a classic sense, but without a substantial portfolio, Badnarik-type candidacies seem especially sub-optimal for turbulent times.

  40. Robert Milnes

    @45, come on, George, don’t be absurd.
    I didn’t attend because I didn’t like it. I didn’t attend because I couldn’t, for several reasons. One of which is the fool requirement of 5 years past party membership. Why not be certain of party dedication & make it 10 years? What a stupid requirement. It clearly serves no purpose other than to filter me out.
    Me organize what? My own political party? Come on, get real. Why don’t you? Why doesn’t Root? How can a physicist talk such nonsense?

  41. Robert Milnes

    @47, Root will run. Because his assignment is to grab up the LP’s Crown Jewel viable ballot access to make sure no good comes from it.

  42. Stu Simms

    My recollection is that the EITC was designed to reimburse low wage earners for FICA and SEMA.

    I also believe that having the LP convention in Las Vegas benefits WAR whether by design or not.

    @36 Andy…I couldn’t agree more. I stayed at the MGM Grand a couple of years ago, which is extremely close to McCarron airport, and virtually all traffic passes by the MGMG. MGMG or any of the other Resort/Hotels on The Strip would be far more convenient and noticed by the general public and, imho, worth any extra cost to the LP and the convention attendees.

    Also, for those who are unaware, the convention date has been moved to the first weekend in May:
    http://www.lp.org/event/2012-libertarian-party-convention-at-red-rock-resort-in-las-vegas
    I speculate that it was done for room/convention rates and/or travel fare. Another possibility is that the first of many World Series of Poker (WSOP) events usually get started around Memorial Day and the hotel may have wanted the LP there on a different date.

    Finally, if you really think the LP Presidential Nominee has a chance of winning the Presidency in 2012, bring what you’re smoking to the Nat Con, I want some. There are, imho, very few chances the LP has of getting over the historical high of 1.1%: 1) LP nominee is actually in the debates; 2) a major party politician such as Ron Paul, Michelle Bachmann or Gary Johnson bolts R’s or D’s and runs to the LP; 3) A major party nominee completely self-destructs; 4) A mass katharsis (a “Matrix” moment if you prefer) whereby suddenly everyone realizes what a fraud the D’s and R’s have been perpetrating on the citizens of the US. One or more of these things could happen but the probability of any one of these events occurring is next to nil.

  43. Robert Milnes

    @50, Root has talked about his Tea Party strategy to win the presidency eventually.
    George has talked about the LP displacing one of the reactionary parties-probablt reps. & even becoming the top party nationally.
    I don’t see what I have mentioned as being any more next to nil.

  44. Stu Simms

    @52 Robert…You, Mr. Phillies and WAR have a vision and strategies for how the LP can join or replace the D’s or R’s as a major party and I hope you’re right (as long as the LP doesn’t change in the process, see 2008 convention tactics for changing the party platform), but nothing in the the history of the LP leads me to believe that 2012 will be any different. After nearly 20 years in the LP, nothing would make me happier than to be proven wrong, I just don’t see it happening.

  45. Rev. Alberto Medvedev

    My children:

    As we all know, the media has been hyping the “Root vs. Milnes” showdown for months. As the Libertarian Party’s nominating convention draws ever near,I don’t doubt that not only will the mainstream media become inundated with “Root vs. Milnes” coverage, but we will also have to deal with the followers of either candidate causing an uproar at the convention.

    Can you image what Milnes’ supporters, the Bobbettes, will do if Root gets the nomination?

    Or what Root will do if Milnes does?

    It is going to be an exciting year, but I am already getting tired of hearing about this showdown on FOX News. Everytime I turn on the TV, Sean Hannity is discussing Bob Milnes and PLAS, or Glenn Beck is talking about ROOT v MILNES.

    Xenu hold you in his heart,

    -Rev. Alberto Medvedev

  46. George Phillies

    @48

    You were entirely welcome to attend. You could have talked to delegates. You just were not welcome to enter the debate. One of your opponents actually did this and won a delegate vote as a result.

    And if you did not like our conference rules, you were entirely welcome to organize your own conference.

    @50 There have been a perfectly adequate number of Libertarian Party candidates in three party debates, well covered, with no apparent effect on vote totals, to show that the event ‘Presidential candidate gets into debates’ will not have a significant effect on our vote total. Indeed, I will say that more firmly: No one in their right mind thinks that having a Libertarian Party candidate in a three party Presidential debate will cause an upward breakthrough in our vote totals. Downward? Well, there’s not much down available. (The reverse is another story: When we do break through, our candidates will be in the debates.) Consider, e.g., Joe Kennedy in Massachusetts. Great Libertarian. Great debater. In three-ways for Senate. Effect on vote breakthrough? ZERO.

    What will help our vote totals is the Republicans running a total moron for President, or someone unacceptable to Teatard branch, the people who repeatedly threatened to assassinate my party’s Senate candidate in 2010, because then the Republicans will split. There will be Republican voters who would rather vote for a yellow dog than their own nominee. Losers we would like the Republicans to run, for different details but the same reason, namely their own party would blow up under them:

    Palin
    O’Donnell
    Angle
    Romney
    Bachmann
    Paul
    Pawlenty
    Santorum
    Johnson
    Perry
    What’s-his-name
    Demint
    Cornyn
    Cheney
    others too numerous and crazy to mention
    I’m not sure Cain belongs on this list. He is so different from their run of the mill candidates that Republican voters would actually have to think about him, with unpredictable results. He does pass the beer test: Would you like to sit down for a beer with him? Yes, especially if he brings the pizza.

    There is always some likelihood that they Republicans would gain a candidate someday this Summer. Who? Colin Powell would be an interesting alternative from their perspective. He offers certain advantages over his likely opponents, such as sanity and competence.

  47. George Phillies

    Root has one major argument in his favor that he can use: he would have given you a much better campaign than his running mate did.

    Of course, the top four candidates for the 2008 nomination (other than Barr) could all have made that claim legitimately.

  48. Thomas L. Knapp

    NF@43, GP@45,

    There’s no need to reflexively defend Bergland’s 1984 presidential campaign. I wasn’t attacking it, or him, nor was I necessarily suggesting parallels in the reasons that Root would likely perform in similar territory vote-wise.

    RM@38,

    “So the choice is now Root v. Milnes.”

    Not even close. There are several choices, but you have yet to make yourself one of them.

    Hint: Coming up with reasons why you can’t campaign is not the same thing as campaigning.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    55 gp: Losers we would like the Republicans to run, for different details but the same reason, namely their own party would blow up under them…

    me: Aside from Powell, whose probably out to pasture at this point, you’ve named all plausible and semi-plausible R nominees. So, it appears you are predicting the Rs will blow up in all likelihood. I’d like to see that, too, but can you elaborate on what you mean by “blow up”? Lose in 2012 to BHO? Lose big? Most Rs losing the House and Senate? Some longer term tailspin?

    “Blow up” to me sounds like something precipitous and unalterable, but perhaps you’re being a bit dramatic in your characterization…

  50. Stu Simms

    @55 GP You stated:
    “Indeed, I will say that more firmly: No one in their right mind thinks that having a Libertarian Party candidate in a three party Presidential debate will cause an upward breakthrough in our vote totals. Downward? Well, there’s not much down available. (The reverse is another story: When we do break through, our candidates will be in the debates.) Consider, e.g., Joe Kennedy in Massachusetts. Great Libertarian. Great debater. In three-ways for Senate. Effect on vote breakthrough? ZERO”

    Thank you for your opinion on my state of mind, Mr. Phillies. I don’t disagree on the effect of being in debates on vote totals for everything except the Presidential debates, primarily because Presidential debates are the only ones the vast majority of the voting public even consider watching. I agree that an LP breakthrough will lead to the debates and that the LP doesn’t have any lower to go in vote totals.

    I don’t think that TEA Partiers would necessarily come to the LP. IMHO, most have more in common with the Constitution Party than the LP. They would receive less resistance in the CP with better ballot access being the only advantage that the LP has to offer.

    The R’s focus will be on Mr. Obama and NoMo’BO will likely be the glue that the R’s need to coalesce around their nominee no matter what LPers think of that nominee.

  51. Michael H. Wilson

    I don’t think who gets the nomination is as important as how the nomination is used. The candidate, regardless of who it is, needs to realize that the nomination is a marketing tool to get the message out.

    No messiah is going to lead us to the promised land, but each time the candidates gets a chance they should be speaking about Libertarian alternatives just as those of us who are not candidates should be doing the same. Whether it is in a letter to the editor, at an outdoor booth, or an op-ed we should be explaining the Libertarian alternative and Root’s failure to do so was my point early in this thread.

    Frankly as has been mentioned numerous times by others I think it would be wise to put some big effort into the Congressional campaigns.

  52. Steven Wilson

    @60mhw

    I agree. If the people running for the nomination do not promote individualism, then the only thing left is NOTA.

    Right now I like Lee Wrights. Carl Person is somewhat frightful. Roger Gary does seem that strong at the podium. But this is my assessment.

    Barr was not a valid Libertarian. Neither was Root. So instead of talking about individualism applied, that talked about how they got to the party, which is to say, how they were a joke in the RP and now wanted to master the LP.

    Browne was the last one to promote individualism in my opinion, and we cannot accept any more pretenders.

    People who run for office because they are bored or have nothing else cannot make it here. The LP members must filter out the gloryseekers.

    The President is a serious job. It deserves a serious run.

  53. JT

    Milnes: “So the choice is now Root v. Milnes.”

    If the choice were Milnes vs. 99% of people in the LP, I’d choose door #2.

    Phillies: “@50 There have been a perfectly adequate number of Libertarian Party candidates in three party debates, well covered, with no apparent effect on vote totals, to show that the event ‘Presidential candidate gets into debates’ will not have a significant effect on our vote total.”

    Has there ever been a Libertarian candidate for President in debates with a Democratic and Republican candidate for President? If not, then you’re comparing apples to oranges.

    Phillies: “Indeed, I will say that more firmly: No one in their right mind thinks that having a Libertarian Party candidate in a three party Presidential debate will cause an upward breakthrough in our vote totals.”

    Are you in your right mind? You don’t think having an articulate, polished, principled Libertarian candidate in national debates that are watched closely by tens of millions of Americans would cause an upward breakthrough in Libertarian vote totals? If Harry Browne got into the 2000 debates (which I didn’t count on for a minute), then he would’ve absolutely wiped the stage with Gore and Bush and re-framed the entire election.

    That’s not to say that the majority of those watching would vote Libertarian necessarily, but to say that it wouldn’t break into the millions of votes? I guess you think Ross Perot won 19% of the popular vote in 1992 because his ideas were better than libertarian ones.

  54. Thomas L. Knapp

    There’s not just one variable at work here, but assuming the best case scenario, if:

    – The LP nominated a candidate with significant name recognition and of significant accomplishment (as the public sees it — in politics perhaps, but business, military endeavors, etc. might also work); and

    – That candidate manged to get into the “major party televised” presidential debates; and

    – That candidate performed well in those debates;

    then a “significant increase” or “upward breakthrough” in vote totals would not be just a real possibility, but almost a given.

    Said candidate would probably gain access to Ron Paul level fundraising totals, and have a real shot at Ross Perot level vote totals — at least in Perot’s 1996 range, possibly ascending toward 1992.

    As a matter of fact getting into the debates on the existing criteria would indicate EXISTING Perot-1992-level support, as the polling threshold is, IIRC, 15%.

    But none 0f the declared or likely candidates for the LP’s 2012 presidential nomination are likely to accomplish any of that.

  55. Robert Milnes

    JT @62, if it came down to Root v Milnes at the convention, which would you support or would rather see win?
    The answer to that question would tell me a lot about whether you are in your right mind.

  56. Robert Milnes

    Tom @63, I tend to agree. But in fairness to George, we do not actually KNOW what effect an LP Pres. candidate getting into the debates would have.
    Also we do not know who actually can or cannot accomplish that.
    e.g. until recently Bachmann was virtually a laughing stock on the liberal MSM.
    Today she is on MTP.
    & is polling statistically tied with presumed frontrunner Romney in Iowa.

  57. Robert Milnes

    @59, agreed,Tea partiers fit into the CP better than LP.
    So does Ron Paul.
    However they would come to the LP esp. if invited by a TP wannabbe like Root, precisely because of the ballot access the LP has v CP does not.
    They would actually have a chance to win the presidency. & coattail a lot of other candidates.

  58. George Phillies

    @62 “Are you in your right mind? You don’t think having an articulate, polished, principled Libertarian candidate in national debates that are watched closely by tens of millions of Americans would cause an upward breakthrough in Libertarian vote totals? If Harry Browne got into the 2000 debates (which I didn’t count on for a minute), then he would’ve absolutely wiped the stage with Gore and Bush and re-framed the entire election. ”

    Not only don’t I think it would happen, I am confident it would not happen. The people who have been pushing for ‘get into the debate’ as a major campaign strategy have done great damage to our party.

    A series of statewide US Senate or Governor campaign with major debates, all candidates present, when this election is top-of-ticket, and a series of Presidential debates as top of ticket, are exactly equivalent. In fact, last year in Massachusetts we did one better: The Senate campaign was the only election on the ticket, there was enormous in-state coverage, and our candidate got lots of press attention. Joe gave a fine performance. And 1% of the vote.

    In 2008, Bob Underwood got 3% of the vote, with rather less of the vote. Now you can do better. If you run for US Senate with no Republican in the race, or with a Republican whose *Republican* state committee tried to knock him off the ballot, you can do considerably better, but not because of your efforts.

    When a Libertarian, or Green, or Constitution Party candidate gets into the Presidential debate, the breakthrough will already have taken place.

    Your belief that Browne would have done well in a series of debates against Republican and Democratic candidates who would have prepared for him is unsustainable, even ignoring that their staffs would have done opposition research and uncovered most of the issues I treat in my book Funding Liberty. I realize that M is not going to like being reminded what a bunch of lies that campaign had in my opinion been churning out to raise money, but to bad. Browne would hit any of the mildly challenging questions he hit in his Kennedy School of Government appearance, which I attended, the questions for which he was obviously not prepared, wheeled out his “Government Does not Work” defense as he reasonably urged on down-ticket Libertarians, and spent an adequate part of the rest of the debate being slagged by his opponents for a claim that most Americans would see as obviously absurd.

    Rejoinders like: “Fortunately, my working government plowed my street this morning.” “Fortunately, my working government got my great-uncle his Social Security check on time. He’s too proud to have his family help him, but he’s just as proud to take the check he earned and his working government mailed him,”

    On the bright side, Browne was fed the environmental question years before the global warming denier nutcakes were prominent, so at least he did not make our party out to be complete fools.

  59. George Phillies

    @62

    Thank you for….

    You are most welcome. I am always greateful for thanks.

    Delusions can be overcome. It’s much easier than alcohol, and far far easier than nicotine.

    I have been assured that Harry Browne later said his effort would have been better invested in work by his campaign building up the party apparatus and voter base.

  60. Michael H. Wilson

    I always thought that “Government Does not Work” was a bad title. Right up there with Rand’s “The Virtue of Selfishness”.

    Try telling someone who has just heard about a serial killer being arrested that government doesn’t work.

  61. Robert Milnes

    @68, IMO anyone who even considers Root for the LP nom. or NOTA is not in their right mind.
    So what are you saying, George, the majority of LP delegates including you I will find to be not in their right mind?

  62. Steven Wilson

    @RM

    If it came down to Root Vs. Milnes?

    1. It can’t in this party because of NOTA.

    2. Brad Spangler is the only proclaimed anarchist/minarchist Libertarian to hold office that I know of, and his abilities and hard work are well known (unlike yours).

    3. I have never understood why an anarchist would even run for office unless the candidate had some kind of agenda to get certain topics discussed that normally would’ve been ignored. What topic would you discuss as an expert? What achievements do you have in the real world that would make people say “yes” for Milnes?

    4. Root has other problems. In the last eight months, by my count, Root has published only two papers that read as if they had been written by a Libertarian. Root has a brand and image problem. He won’t see it until the convention.

    5. Lee Wrights is a candidate who can speak the message, and if the mood hits him, his passion can make up for any short comings. Lee Wrights is not a salesman or snake charmer, and I can deal with that.

    6. There is only one kind of integrity.

    7. Arkansas has ballot access now and he traveled to the convention with Mary Ruwart to share his thoughts with them.

    8. Lee Wrights is in motion.

  63. Robert Capozzi

    73 sw: 6. There is only one kind of integrity.

    me: Please expand. It may depend on what you mean by “integrity,” but my gut reaction is integrity can show up in myriad ways.

  64. George Phillies

    @72

    No, I am saying that in a contest between you, root, and NOTA, you will be eliminated first by a country mile, and the final round would be between ROOT and NOTA. Unless one of them already had a majority, in which case barring a miracle we would have NOTA.

  65. George Phillies

    Having moderated the Wrights-Gary-Person debate, I have a few opinions.

    Disclosure: I am a near-maximum, about $100 shy, to the Wrights and Gary campaigns. I am also covering the losses on the Conference, so in a sense it was my microphone. I paid for it.

    It was a first debate. The three candidates were all very nice to each other. In my opinion, too nice. There were IMHO several glaring factual errors, perhaps through a turn of phrase that meant something else, and the opponents who agreed they knew the errors did not counter at all.

    I asked a considerable number of questions on campaign organization and the like. Recall that Person just entered the race. It was clear that more work is in order here on the part of the campaigns.

    I did feed a few hardball questions, though not “What do they have on you?”

    My favorite, referring to a recent NH issue was a longer form of ‘What is your stand on right-to-work laws?’, of which there was approval, until I fed Governor Lynch(NH)’s 100% libertarian response in his veto message ‘don’t right-to-work laws interfere with freedom of contract for the factory owner?’. The candidates did very well in response. You well never meet a D or R candidate with the courage to answer ‘You have a point there. You’re right.’

    The Republican candidates — to warn people they were Republican questions, I waved a poster with the Republican logo, the triceratops — were excellently handled.

    There were a considerably number of audience questions. I got to many of them. We collected written questions to keep the usual suspects from giving speeches under the guise of questions. I did have to filter out a few idiotic questions.

    It was a first debate. For a first debate, it was good.

  66. George Phillies

    Speaking order:

    We had three two-minute segments of candidate talk. Candidates drew straws and got to choose a segment, and their choice of speaking position in the segment. Then we repeated for each segment for the two remaining places in each segment.

    For the questions we determined an order.

    answers went in the orders

    123
    231
    312

    and then we inverted, so everyone got to speak before everyone else

    132
    321
    213

    There were several repeats of this, usually 1-2 minute answers.

    Many, many thanks to Angela Keaton for handling the timer.

  67. George Phillies

    And with respect to the triceratops, which by the way did not have a saddle, that poster was also a trick question for the candidates. It was a fine way to lure out any Republican apologists among the candidates. None were found.

  68. Robert Milnes

    Angela should have been one of the debaters.
    You should have handed her your mic, George.
    You could’ve managed the timer.
    Milnes/Keaton would make a good ticket.

  69. Steven Wilson

    @74RC

    It is based on remaining true in any given situation. Honesty should not vary or have the ability to be altered and still remain true.

    Lee Wrights is anti-war no matter where he is or what he is doing. Root changes per the environment he is in to communicate to people the things they want to here.

    I am not going to comment on an example using Milnes because it would be a waste of time.

    Either you are consistent and honest or you are not. Period.

  70. NewFederalist

    I believe my point about Bergland in 1984 was completely missed. I was not trying to point out what a success it was. My point was that despite the LP being in near total chaos that year (I was still a member and significant activist back then) that depending on circumstances completely out of the control of anyone the history books can show a third place finish. Such a finish was never achieved by Ed Clark or Harry Browne. Ron Paul did, however. Even Andre Marrou placed higher in ’92 than Browne did ever. My point… third party politics is totally random without the money to buy media and the newscast attention it brings with it. Perot had it. Even Nader did not. When the LP had it in 1980 they were up against a media creation in John Anderson. In the end… it makes little difference. The LP, the CP, the GP are just farts in the wind. In the grand scheme like the Prohibition Party without the staying power.

  71. Robert Capozzi

    80 sw, I can say with complete candor and honesty that Emerson was correct when he said: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

    I can say with a clear conscience that, for ex., I generally support the right to bear arms, but I don’t support toting machine guns in the subway or private nukes. Some may say that’s “inconsistent.” I can honestly and respectfully disagree with that critique.

  72. JT

    Milnes: “JT @62, if it came down to Root v Milnes at the convention, which would you support or would rather see win?
    The answer to that question would tell me a lot about whether you are in your right mind.”

    NOTA. That’s always an option at the LP convention.

    If you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose you or Root, then I’d pick him. Both of you both have delusions and neither of you understand that libertarianism isn’t left or right. But despite my significant differences with him, Root has worked very hard, achieved a lot, and can actually raise money and get media on his own, all of which is the opposite of you.

    Phillies: “Not only don’t I think it would happen, I am confident it would not happen. The people who have been pushing for ‘get into the debate’ as a major campaign strategy have done great damage to our party.”

    I don’t know whether you’re saying people have done great damage by urging that, or if you’re implying the idea is bad because the people who have advocated it are bad, IYO.

    Phillies: “A series of statewide US Senate or Governor campaign with major debates, all candidates present, when this election is top-of-ticket, and a series of Presidential debates as top of ticket, are exactly equivalent.”

    No, they aren’t. Like it or not, many millions of people pay zero attention to debates other than presidential debates. It’s like people who don’t watch any NFL game except for the Super Bowl.

    Phillies: “Your belief that Browne would have done well in a series of debates against Republican and Democratic candidates who would have prepared for him is unsustainable, even ignoring that their staffs would have done opposition research and uncovered most of the issues I treat in my book Funding Liberty.”

    Yes, let’s ignore that.

    Phillies: “Browne would hit any of the mildly challenging questions he hit in his Kennedy School of Government appearance, which I attended, the questions for which he was obviously not prepared, wheeled out his “Government Does not Work” defense as he reasonably urged on down-ticket Libertarians, and spent an adequate part of the rest of the debate being slagged by his opponents for a claim that most Americans would see as obviously absurd.”

    I didn’t watch that particular debate, so I’m not in a position to comment on that. But a) I heard him on many on many occasions deftly handle hostile questions and statements in public forums, and b) I don’t trust your opinion.

    I’ll also say that contrasting you and HB side by side, you can only dream of being the libertarian communicator he was. Or of ever getting as many people to join the LP that he did, due to his ability to explain libertarian ideas and address interventionist objections.

    Phillies: “On the bright side, Browne was fed the environmental question years before the global warming denier nutcakes were prominent, so at least he did not make our party out to be complete fools.”

    I’m sure his answer would have been the same as it was in Why Government Doesn’t Work.

  73. Andy

    “George Phillies // Jun 26, 2011 at 7:45 am

    @37 What do you know about the current candidates, one of whom just declared? Or are you bloviating?”

    I know who the candidates are and I consider all of them to be weak. Maybe one of them will do something to make themselves more relavent but I haven’t seen any evidence of this so far.

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