Jeremy Young analyzes Illinois Libertarian presidential debate

By Jeremy Young

From comments on a prior IPR post. The debate can be viewed at

Instead of finishing what I was supposed to be doing tonight, I went ahead and watched this entire debate. Here are my thoughts on what I saw and heard. Interested readers should know that I’m a supporter of third parties but not a Libertarian, so my interest here is to have the strongest possible Libertarian win the Presidential nomination. I’m not an expert in Libertarian ideology, so I’ll leave issues of that sort up to real Libertarians and just tackle the presentation aspects of the candidates.

I was excited to see this debate because it’s the first time all five of the serious candidates have shared a stage. I think these will in fact be the only five serious candidates except for 1) last-minute entrants or 2) Wayne Root, who has sort of been running a shadow campaign all along. Which is to say, I think we’ll have these five and no others for at least the next few months.

First of all, I think Libertarians can feel confident in the fact that this is a field full of actual ideological Libertarians. Lee Wrights and Roger Gary are what you might call “pure” Libertarians; I doubt anyone in the party would find them deviating from the party line in any significant way. RJ Harris, Carl Person, and Bill Still are all Libertarian-oriented people. When they deviate from the party line on occasion, they are being heretical Libertarians, not impostors. I know there has been some concern about Harris because he ran in a Republican primary, but my sense is that he was and is by and large a Libertarian ideologically. (I wonder how the Republicans reacted when he told them he wanted an immediate withdrawal from all foreign wars?) This is a big difference from 2008, where some of the major candidates were only Libertarians if you could shoehorn their records into a Libertarian box (Gravel) or if you believed they were completely different people from what they’d been five years earlier (Barr, Root).

That said, I do think that Gary and Person are non-starters. Gary seems like a nice man and a fine Libertarian, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a worse debate performance in a third-party presidential campaign. Gary’s presentation was slow and halting, even in his opening and closing statements (which appeared unrehearsed). He seemed old, which is partly because he was the oldest candidate there, but he’s not significantly older than Still, who seemed much more chipper. Gary repeatedly stopped to haggle with the moderator about meaningless issues. His discussion of his Mexican friends was…dated, to say the least. (On the other hand, he declared his support for an almost completely open border, which I suspect will surprise a lot of Libertarians.) He showed absolutely no improvement from the MA debate last month. Overall, his presentation seemed lazy and sloppy. He even stated that he didn’t expect even to visit all 50 states, let alone campaign there. I don’t know why he’s such a poor candidate — his party pedigree certainly speaks highly for him — but if he can’t step it up, he’s going to be a non-factor in this race.

Person gave a somewhat better presentation, but yet again was done in by his crackpot ideas — and I mean crackpot from a Libertarian perspective, not from my perspective. His campaign strategy apparently consists of terraforming a town of 10,000 people — in what, the three months after the convention? — using some sort of crazy Libertarian media strategy that would produce universal employment there, then leveraging the media coverage of this miracle into a national campaign. Um, good luck with that, Carl. He repeatedly rambled and strayed off topic in the debate. Again, even if I didn’t have serious reservations about the company he keeps, I’d consider Person a non-factor in the race.

The remaining three candidates — Wrights, Harris, and Still — all presented themselves very well. I think any of them would be a credit to the LP as Presidential candidates. At the same time, they also present three clearly different approaches to the race. Wrights would focus on the war, Harris on freedom and liberty issues, Still on money and finance. Wrights would run an Internet-based strategy, Harris would focus on Oklahoma (where he has some name recognition, and expects to get ballot status for the first time in over a decade) and battleground states, Still would leverage his own following and connect with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Of the three, Wrights definitely laid claim to the mantle of “pure” Libertarian standard-bearer in this debate. He’s clearly spent a lot of time with a debate coach, and the results were like night and day compared to his performance in the MA debate last month. It’s hard to believe that just last month he was as bad a public speaker as Roger Gary. (His opening statement still needs work, though.) Wrights displayed an engaging speaking style, well-rehearsed answers to many questions, and a supple ability to think on his feet and to come up with creative answers to difficult questions. He’s also beginning to draw contrasts between himself and other candidates — particularly Harris and Still, whom he clearly considers his main competition at this point. All in all, a very impressive performance by Wrights that left me thinking he could be an effective Chuck Baldwin-style candidate instead of the halting mutterer I was afraid he’d stay.

Harris presented himself with an air of confidence that suggests he’s the frontrunner, which, right now, I suppose he probably is. He’s clearly benefited from running a major-party campaign and participating in debates with seasoned politicians; his speaking style was measured, articulate, and polished. Some of his rhetoric was aimed at Tea Party types rather than Libertarians — I thought his comparison of himself with George Washington at the beginning wasn’t appropriate for this crowd — but overall, I was impressed with how well he fit in with the lifelong Libertarians. I also thought he handled the abortion issue effectively. He dodged about a bit, but essentially said that while he personally is really upset by abortions, he thinks the decision should be up to the states. That’s not exactly a mainstream Libertarian view, and Wrights called him on it, but it’s Ron Paul’s position, and as such I think a lot of Libertarians might find it acceptable. Meanwhile, those of you with bad memories of Barr and Root will be happy to hear that Harris came out unequivocally against foreign aid (including, specifically, for Israel — which Roger Gary strangely disagreed with him about), unequivocally against all foreign interventions, and unequivocally against the drug war. Given Harris’ definite right-Libertarian lean, I can see him becoming the candidate of the Starr/Root faction of the LP in the event that Root doesn’t run. This actually wouldn’t be a bad thing, as I think Harris would be more palatable to other Libertarians than just about any other candidate that faction could come up with.

Then there’s Bill Still. Frankly, I was kind of blown away by what I saw from him at this debate. Certainly there were moments where he looked like some guy who’d wandered into a Libertarian Presidential debate and didn’t know what the heck was going on, but I’m going to go ahead and forgive him for all of that given that he’s basically only been in the race for a week. There were other moments, though, where I saw flashes of a magnetic, charismatic speaker who knows Libertarian financial policy like the back of his hand and who might turn out to be the most compelling Libertarian presidential nominee in years. One minute he was reading his opening statement off his laptop like it was a teleprompter, the next he was ad-libbing with gracious humor, the next he was arguing loudly with Wrights about Libertarian priorities. He does have some real deviations from Libertarian orthodoxy — he opposes gutting Social Security because it wouldn’t be possible politically, he wants state banks to issue currency (and isn’t a goldbug), he said he “probably” supports the Fair Tax — but what’s interesting is that they’re eccentric deviations, not ones that suggest he would be a better fit for some other party. He seemed exceedingly raw as a candidate, as indeed he is, but if he’s willing to put in the hard work of running a campaign and developing strategies and issue policies (as Wrights and Harris are doing), he could end up being the best of the bunch. I tend to think he may have the Mike Gravel problem that he has no natural constituency in the party — too many deviations for the Radicals, too radical on fiscal policy for the Reformers — but if he can generate some support, he might find himself getting tapped as a compromise candidate if one of the sides finds itself without a standard-bearer.

Overall, I was quite heartened by what I saw in the debate. Before watching it, I thought the party had one serious and well-organized candidate (Harris) who wasn’t really a Libertarian. Now, I think there are three such candidates, and all of them are Libertarian to some degree. I think any of them would be a good choice for the party in 2012.

72 thoughts on “Jeremy Young analyzes Illinois Libertarian presidential debate

  1. Humongous Fungus

    Richard Winger also provides the following:

    At the recent Illinois Libertarian Party state convention, five candidates seeking the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party debated each other: Roger Gary (Texas), R. J. Harris (Oklahoma), Carl Person (New York), Bill Still (Virginia), and Lee Wrights (Texas). The debate can be seen if one goes to Scroll down to “Illinois 2012 Libertarian Presidential Candidate Forum.” The debate lasts an hour. The convention was October 21-23 in Bloomington.

    If, while you watching, the picture vanishes, be patient; it comes back fairly quickly. And even while the picture is missing, the sound continues.

    The fact that the video is only available on the R. J. Harris campaign web page suggests that the Harris campaign is the best-organized so far, at least as to these important technical details.

    Apparently, the only two political parties in the United States that have had presidential candidate debates so far this year are the Republican and Libertarian Parties. If there are other examples, perhaps a commenter can say so. Thanks to Independent Political Report for the news.

  2. Jeremy C. Young

    To be fair, the Democrats haven’t had a debate because they only have one candidate; the Greens haven’t had a debate because they only had one candidate until this week; the CP and other parties have no candidates at present. It is, however, possible that the Socialist Party had a debate at their nominating convention, since two candidates were running there. The report I read didn’t say.

  3. Richard Winger

    With 14 people running for President in the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, I don’t think it’s completely accurate to say the Democrats have only one candidate. But, of course, I wouldn’t expect President Obama to debate any little-known Democrats running for his job.

    Greens have Kent Mesplay as well as Jill Stein seeking their presidential nomination, and maybe others.

  4. Jeremy C. Young

    I’d say that Democrats only have one candidate who is registered in enough primaries to theoretically won the nomination. For that reason I wouldn’t expect Obama to debate them.

    Jill Stein only entered the GP race this week; as I said, there was only one candidate until then.

  5. RedPhillips

    I don’t know where Bill Still stands on other issues, but I still think Greenbackism could have some appeal amoung progressives. Ellen Brown, probably the best known Greenbacker at present, was one of the people who signed Nader’s letter asking for a Democrat challenger to Obama.

  6. Jeremy C. Young

    I don’t think Bill Still knows where he stands on other issues at present. Some of his stands didn’t seem all that Libertarian, others seemed very much so. I got the sense that he honestly hadn’t given it much thought yet. When he does, he will either have to tailor his views more closely to the LP line or LP members will start to view him as more a progressive than a libertarian.

  7. RedPhillips

    Byron Dale, a Greenbacker, has run as a Libertarian before. Maybe Still needs some policy advice form him. I don’t mind single issue campaigns, especially if they are primarily for making a point or advancing that issue, but Still doesn’t need to be seen as JUST using the LP race to advance a single agenda.

  8. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Single-issue” campaigns (Irwin Schiff 1996, Dave Hollist ever since, etc.) don’t seem to do very well for the LP nomination.

    The winning combination usually seems to be alleged credentials/name recognition and an alleged plan to explode the LP’s membership and/or vote totals.

    The only exceptions I can think of to that are Bergland 1984 and Badnarik 2004, both of whom were nominated in the fallout of internal factional turmoil. Hospers isn’t so much an exception as a pre-rule nominee — there wasn’t really a “campaign” as such for the LP’s first nomination.

  9. George Phillies

    Badnarik 2004 was an extremely close race. Changing a dozen votes in the next-to-last round would have given us a different nominee.

    And for those of you wondering where I am, we had a snowstorm that took out internet, power in many homes, etc. so I will be inapparent for at a guess two weeks.

  10. RedPhillips

    As best as I remember, Schiff was a credible libertarian on other issues. I think it was his stance that the income tax was illegal and not just a bad idea that scared people.

    The problem with Greenbackism in the LP is that it presumes some un-libertarian things – that the Treasury should print money and that this money should be “spent” into the economy via government programs. The Treasury printing money instead of the Fed might be something he could overcome because I’m not sure that most “sound money” “anti-Fed” types actually support full on free banking and competing currency anyway. I think many just want the Treasury to coin (and print?) money that is backed by precious metals. Whether wise or not, this is at least a Constitutional function of the Fed. But the spending it into the economy by generous infrastructure projects, etc. will be a hard sell to say the least. I think Still will have to turn it into an attack on the current money status quo and the banking cartel to get much traction.

  11. Brian Irving

    If the MA debate you refer to is Massachusetts, that’s wasn’t Lee it was me, his press secretary. I am not the public speaker or debater Lee is by any means.

  12. Thomas L. Knapp

    Red @14,

    I’m not saying that Schiff wasn’t a credible libertarian on other issues. I’m saying he ran on the single issue of the income tax. You’re probably right that his specific take on the tax’s legality turned off people, but I don’t think he’d have done well running on the single issue regardless of his approach to it.


    Yes, 2004 was a close race. And frankly, Badnarik ran a VERY good campaign in which his limited means became a strength.

    But, the opening for him to win was created by two “credentials/name recognition” candidates going to great lengths to destroy each other.

  13. Jeremy C. Young

    Brian @15, I’m referring to the previous MA debate that was moderated by George Phillies and that featured Wrights, Gary, and Person. I will admit to not having watched the one you were in when I realized it was just you and Person, so I can’t offer an opinion on your debating abilities. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the decision to send a knowledgeable surrogate to a debate Wrights couldn’t make; it’s just that I would have appreciated it more if some actual candidates came other than a guy I think is a non-starter. If the debate had featured, say, you, Person, Gary, and Harris, I would have been excited to watch it.

  14. Jeremy C. Young

    Oh! That explains the confusion. I figured since George was there that it was MA. Anyway, that’s the one I watched part of. It was disappointing; two of the three best debaters from Illinois hadn’t joined the race yet, and Wrights wasn’t as good as he is now.

  15. Kleptocracy And You

    Interesting. I wish all well spreading a LP message to the masses..

    Alex Jones reported Sunday that Ron Paul WILL run as another choice, IF he doesn’t gain the RP nomination. As 2012 is his LAST hurrah as a candidate for any office it makes sense to me he should go the alternative route. The LP or CP should be making BEHIND the scenes contacts to insure his name is officially placed in nomination at the official convention(s). He would gain much more national exposure staying in the RP race for as long as possible, but receiving the LP or CP noms where legal should allow him to continue his RP efforts into the late Spring.

    Carpe Diem !!!

  16. paulie Post author

    Alex Jones reported Sunday that Ron Paul WILL run as another choice, IF he doesn’t gain the RP nomination.

    And Jones knows this how?

  17. Kleptocracy And You

    Ron Paul is “Jones’ POTUS Candidate”. Jones has Paul on his show regularly and Jones said Paul told him in ’08 that he (Paul) received more support from Jones’ audience than from any other.

    Any-who, most know Jones has a TX size EGO. I don’t listen everyday or even weekly, BUT do listen to the archives occasionally when I have a little time and Sundays are normally good interesting shows so I punched it in last night. Jones keeps up with the campaign and in fact pushes Paul. He wouldn’t have stated it, if Paul had not shown an interest.

    Paul wouldn’t be smart to announce such now on a mainstream outlet AS it would hurt him in R fundraising. But his agents in PRIVATE must be moving soon to ensure all i’s are dotted and all t’s crossed to LEGALLY have him on the ballot in as many states as possible. We all know that is the LP in the TP route. John Anderson was the last Primary running R to go that route and pulled over 6M votes, which I believe came mostly from Carter/Mondale and not Reagan/Buffoon 1.

    Paul could run a “STRONG” economy and anti-war campaign and help remove Obama from office. If it was handled correctly Paul could definitely receive in the M’s of votes.

    As for your Q paulie, if you contact Jones’ staff ( and tell them you are with IPR they might just give you a clip of Paul saying it. They are ALL-IN with the Paul campaign and definitely want him in the “finals” in Nov. ’12.

    If this is true the most unthinkable of a Paul/Gary Johnson might not be out of the question after all. Who would of THUNK IT except the D.C. guy…lol

    Peace to all…

    PS – I shouldn’t have posted this in this thread, taking away from these other gentlemens campaigns. I do wish them well and hope they KEEP IT GOING all the way to the convention !!! A backlash could certainly occur or a 75 year old Paul could CHANGE his mind, so the LP needs these candidates to keep SLUGGING !!!

    got to get back to work….

  18. Jeremy C. Young

    The candidates at the debate were asked whether they would continue their campaigns if Ron Paul won the Republican Presidential nomination. Interestingly, all five of them categorically ruled it out, even though all five said they agreed with Paul on most issues and liked him. Compare this with 2008, where Steve Kubby announced he’d drop out if Paul won the primary or ran LP.

  19. Jeremy C. Young

    Sorry, ruled out dropping their campaign. I was most surprised to hear that from Harris, again since he was a Ron Paul supporter as a Republican. Lee Wrights said he’d keep running because the more libertarian voices out there the better, and Bill Still said he’d keep running because he doesn’t agree with Paul on all issues (e.g., Paul is a “goldbug” in his view).

  20. ATBAFT

    Only way I think Paul jumps parties is if the GOP candidates were to attack him over foreign policy and read him out of the party. He ain’t going to do it gratutiously because it would harm Rand.

  21. Steve

    Rand might very well run for President in 2016, some of the elder Dr. Paul’s highest profile surrogates say so loudly and proudly at public forums. In that case 26 and 27 would both be correct – Ron wouldn’t want to harm Rand and Rand may serve 1 term in the Senate.

  22. Robert Capozzi

    26 A: Only way I think Paul jumps parties is if the GOP candidates were to attack him over foreign policy and read him out of the party. He ain’t going to do it gratutiously because it would harm Rand.

    me: Haven’t they already attacked him on f.p.? As for “gratuitous,” I dunno, I would say that RP has virtually no chance to win, especially not as a non-R, so any third party run could be viewed as “gratuitous” in that sense.

    Now it’s an interesting question whether RP went third party, and Obama was re-elected with RP having a strong enough showing that his “defection” could be said to be the swing factor in a R loss. That might hurt Rand’s prospects in 2016 on a national level, possibly in a Senatorial re-election bid, though I’d guess less so.

    Whether RP would allow that calculation to affect his decision, we probably can’t know. I do note that his own answers on the question have shifted slightly, and Rockwell has started to talk the idea up a bit. I assume Rockwell is in the in-crowd, so my guess is RP has considered going all the way til November outside the GOP. I doubt a decision has been made, though…

  23. Jill Pyeatt

    Some of you might be wondering if Wayne Allyn Root will be throwing his hat into the Presidential candidacy pool soon. Here’s a recent email exchange sent to us at IPR:

    From: WAYNE ROOT
    Date: Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 12:25 AM
    Subject: Re: Candidate night in Tampa, FL
    To: joseph wendt

    Joseph I’m not a candidate as of now.

    I have not decided and am leaning against running.

    LP is not prepared to run a Presidential race.

    I will run only if there is no other LP candidate…and the party desperately needs me.

    I fear that is the case. LOL.


    On Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 8:41 PM, joseph wendt wrote:

    Would you be interested in speaking at our next candidate event in Tampa, FL. We are planning an event in January. It may bring some publicity. We may also have debate if other Presidential candidates attend.

    Joe Wendt

  24. Jill Pyeatt

    Apparently, even though there are half a dozen or so declared candidates, WAR will run if there’s “no other LP candidate”.


  25. wolfefan

    Is Joe Wendt an LP member? Was this an LP forum? I ask because there was a Joseph Wendt on the BTP nominations forum who didn’t sound particularly LP-ish. Not sure if this is the same guy or not:

  26. paulie Post author

    Is Joe Wendt an LP member?

    He’s some kind of oddball troll. In response to the email Jill posted I asked him

    So, in other words, he almost certainly will in fact be running – the key is in the last couple of sentences.

    BTW, is this the same Joe Wendt who was pushing neo-nazi racist Billy Roper of White Revolution for the Boston Tea Party nomination and is now supporting Carl Person, or just someone with the same name?


    He replied

    Just a guy with a similar name, I’m actually a Herman Cain supporter. Also, if Root were going to run, he would have had someone file FEC paperwork by now, which the LP and FEC has confirmed on their websites. I honestly think Root is just being a dick and trying to get something out of the LP.

    Of course the claim about the FEC is silly, but that’s beside the point.

    More interesting, I did a search for “wendt” in IPR comments and he is in fact the same guy who was posting comments in favor of Roper, Person and, curiously, Gary Johnson – same email address, same IP, same name.

    His website says he was a Ron Paul supporter who switched to Alan Keyes in 2008, supports Cain now but in between was an organizer for the Coffee Party (a lame Democratic Party attempt to copy/ape the Tea Parties).

    And besides the inconsistencies he is lying about just being someone with the same name.

    For whatever that is worth.

  27. paulie Post author


    Asked my Alex Jones fan friend about this. You are exaggerating what Jones said. He said Paul is thinking about running and that Jones wants him to run.

  28. Jill Pyeatt

    I am of the opinion that Root won’t run for the candidacy if he thinks there’s a possibility he won’t win. That would be very hard to explain to his followers, because he’s told them that he represents the Libertarian party, and most of them probably don’t know otherwise.

  29. Jeremy C. Young

    Another possibility, with Root rolling out a professional website for the LNCC and Hinkle’s chairmanship falling apart over the LPO nonsense, is that Root’s planning to run for party chair again in 2012. Honestly, that’s the move I’d make in his shoes. There’s reason to believe LP voters may be having buyer’s remorse over Hinkle, other opponents (Ernie Hancock) don’t seem as formidable as they did before Root beat them in 2010, plus it would give him a chance to rebuild the party in the way he’s been saying he wants to.

  30. Jill Pyeatt

    Possibly that’s the plan Jeremy, although the party will be substantially smaller if Root actually does become chair in 2012. However, I don’t think he’s made many friends in the party since he became an at-large rep. Even chair would be tough for him to get now.

  31. Rob Banks

    I don’t think most LP convention goers will even be aware of the Oregon thing, much less understand it and think it is catastrophic for the party. Not everyone keeps up with IPR. I doubt Root will run against Hinkle, much less beat him. Most likely he will run for president unless Johnson, Paul or someone else likely to beat him (IE not the current field) jumps in, or unless his polling tells him that he would not beat the existing candidates.

    If he is not running for president my guess – only a guess – is he will run for VP again.

  32. George Phillies


    I don’t think…IPR

    However delegates to the last several National conventions do read Liberty for America, the only newsmagazine specializing in Libertarian internal politics.

    And several thousand people read, soon returning as

  33. Jill Pyeatt

    RB @ 41: Wayne also exposes himself on Facebook and public forums like Newsmax and Seven” magazine. I actually think many people have issues with Wayne, for many reasons. I don’t believe we’d vote him as a a vice-presidential candidate, either, besides the fact that I don’t think he’d be willing to play second fiddle to any of the current presidential candidates.

  34. Rob Banks

    The fact that you mail them your newsletter does not mean they read it (if you mail it to all the delegates). I would venture the total number that read IPR, Gold Whatever Group OR Liberty For America is tiny as a proportion of likely actual delegates. The number that read it closely and remember what they read smaller still.

  35. Rob Banks

    “I actually think many people have issues with Wayne, for many reasons.”

    Yes, you are obviously correct. Whether they would amount to a majority of delegates, I don’t know.

    “I don’t believe we’d vote him as a a vice-presidential candidate, either,”

    Maybe, maybe not. Depends on who the delegates will be. Location of convention, presidential field and credentials committee will all play roles in determining that.

    . “besides the fact that I don’t think he’d be willing to play second fiddle to any of the current presidential candidates.”

    You are probably correct, but he might to Johnson or Paul if they cross over.

    Did you think he would go for LNC At Large after losing for chair?

  36. Jill Pyeatt

    RB @ 46: I wasn’t at the convention, so I can’t comment on the at-large position. However, I think it’s no coincidence that shortly after the convention the “LNCC” suddenly had a higher profile, with WAR as chair. Do you think Wayne’s Tea Party friends and Newsmax readers know the difference between “LNC” and “LNCC”? I doubt it. Therefore, Wayne can continue to make them think he’s a biggie in our party.

  37. Jeremy C. Young

    The real problem for Root as a Presidential candidate, I think, is RJ Harris. Harris is a candidate who could appeal nicely to the people who generally vote for Root, but who would also be a lot more palatable to Root’s opponents (i.e., he’s not a showboater, doesn’t support foreign interventions, etc.). An ideal situation for Root would be a faceoff with Wrights, where he could divide the convention along radical/reformist lines. An effective compromise candidate (especially one who is well-liked by reformists) would defeat Root in a showdown, though. This is exactly what happened in the chair race: Root vs. Hancock goes to Root, but Root vs. Hinkle goes to Hinkle. Root vs. Wrights goes to Root, but Root vs. Harris goes to Harris.

    Faced with that situation no matter which position he chooses, Root would be well-served to target the race where the “compromise” candidate is weak and unpopular (Hinkle) rather than where the compromise candidate is well-organized, articulate and pleasant (Harris).

  38. Jill Pyeatt

    Jeremy @ 50: I agree with everything thing you said, although Wayne says otherwise. See his email at 30, where he says it’s likely the LP will have no candidates at all.

  39. Jeremy C. Young

    I saw that, but I think Root is using a broader definition of “no candidates.” I think he’s thinking of serious candidates, which to him would be candidates with name recognition, celebrity, or some such. So by that definition Barr, Gravel, and Ruwart would be candidates, while Kubby, Phillies, and Jingozian would not. I don’t think he would consider an LNC vice chair, a guy who makes videos on the Internet, or a guy who got 23% of the vote in a Republican Congressional primary to be real candidates, no matter how effective their campaigns.

  40. Jeremy C. Young

    Also, this is a silly question, but I have to ask why it is that we are publishing Root’s private e-mails. What is site policy on this? I know I’ve always enjoyed reading the LNC e-mails that have been posted here, but those are official business of the party. I don’t quite know how I feel about personal e-mails, even from an LP official.

  41. NewFederalist

    Objection, your honor! This is pure speculation. The witness has admitted this is purely his opinion. I request it be stricken from the record.

  42. Jeremy C. Young

    Yes, it’s purely my opinion. I should not have posted it. My apologies. (By the way, in case I’m not being clear, Kubby was my second-choice candidate in 2008, while Ruwart was near the bottom on my list.)

  43. Thomas L. Knapp

    Name recognition is a funny thing.

    Let me choose the demographics, and I’ll bring back a survey showing that Root, Ruwart or Kubby is the most well-known.

    None of them are famous, though.

  44. George Phillies

    @45 Dear guiding genius:

    LfA has electronic subscribers. A lot of electronic subscribers. They have to take active steps to subscribe, and they can unsubscribe whenever they want. In addition, LfA has people who paid for the right to say they are members.

  45. Jill Pyeatt

    Jeremy @ 54: There has been discussion here of printing Wayne’s personal emails. I’ve done it a few times. I’ll explain why I do it, since you’ve brought it up.

    Wayne has designated himself as the spokesman for the Libertarian party. I never asked him to, nor did anyone else to my knowledge (I realize that having him voted in as an At-Large rep might be giving him permission, I suppose, but my issues with him started way before that.)

    On many occasions, Mr Root misrepresents the views of the party. He doesn’t just discuss a different view, he flat out makes stuff up and infers it’s the Libertarian view. A good example would be the non-mosque, that is not being built by the hallowed ground of the World Trade Center. Wayne immediately went off on the travesty of this, totally ignoring the freedom of religion issues and property rights that Libertarians hold dear. In other words, I believe he is severely damaging the Libertarian Brand.

    Any attempt at discussion rarely gets anywhere, because Mr. Root instead tells us how busy he is, what a hero he is, how many people read his columns, and basically what a very important public figure he is. Okay, if that’s the way he wants it, then I’ll publish his personal emails. The rules seem to be different for public figures. He can’t have it both ways.

    Anyone who has something they’d like me to post can send it to me at I admit posting time has been elusive lately, but I will try to post as much as I can as soon as I can.

  46. Jeremy C. Young

    Jill, thanks for your response. I’ve been following Root’s progress since 2007 (back when the go-to spot was TPW instead of IPR). While I’m not a Libertarian and can’t express views on their ideology, I do not think his self-promoting ways are good for the party. Speaking as a leftist, I don’t like his politics. And I’m pretty sure he didn’t appreciate me calling him a racist a couple weeks back. So there’s no love lost between me and Root.

    That said, I do agree with you that Root should be treated as a public figure. I personally would be a bit squeamish about publishing the private e-mails of a public figure. I did enjoy reading Root’s musings on the state of the presidential field; it just occurred to me that as a member of the editorial team now, I wasn’t as comfortable with publishing them as I was when I was just a reader.

    But in retrospect, I think you are right that, so far as Root’s e-mails have to do with politics or policy, they are fair game. This e-mail was about politics. So in short, you’ve convinced me.

  47. Chuck Moulton

    George Phillies wrote (@60):

    LfA has electronic subscribers. A lot of electronic subscribers. They have to take active steps to subscribe, and they can unsubscribe whenever they want. In addition, LfA has people who paid for the right to say they are members.

    I find Liberty for America a valuable and illuminating resource. I’m aware its writers have a bias and I take that into account when reading it, but I’d rather have biased information than no information. There are a lot of useful facts in LfA not found elsewhere.

  48. Rob Banks

    “compromise” candidate is weak and unpopular (Hinkle)

    What makes you think Hinkle is unpopular?

  49. Jeremy C. Young

    Okay, Harris’ abortion stance officially confuses me. From his issues page on his website:


    Since modern medical technology makes it possible for a human life to be viable prior to natural birth and since the Constitution protects a person’s right to life, I support a Constitutional Amendment which establishes the beginning of personhood as that definition applies to the Constitutional protections contained in the 5th and 14th amendments. This solution would replace judicial interpretations of an issue, not contemplated by the authors of the 5th and 14th Amendments, with the People’s consent to be governed on the matter.

    So he’s clearly trying to formulate his view as a libertarian position, but he is also clear…he wants to ban abortion at the federal level. So that sent me back to the debate video, and here’s an exact transcript of what he says at minute 51:

    Well, at the time that the 5th and the 14th Amendments were ratified, it wasn’t even conceived that a human life would be viable prior to natural birth. However, our Founders provided in the Constitution the ability to deal with Constitutional impasses as they arise. And so, since we have a protection for life in the 5th and 14th amendments, I believe it’s what’s in order, especially given the very cantankerous national debate that has occurred over the last many decades, is what is needed is a Constitutional amendment to give us a definition for that word “person” in the 5th and 14th Amendments. So it seems just really clear to me that if we have an issue with our current [unintelligible] government, which is the Constitution, that the solution to that is to use the 5th Amendment to fix whatever that impasse is, and not to try to legislate with the tyranny of the majority, and not to try to use the tyranny of the judiciary to try to force that onto one half of the body politic or the other. So in summary I would say that we need a Constitutional solution for what I believe is a Constitutional issue.

    That’s very tricky on Harris’ part, I think. The position is the same, but at the debate he doesn’t say what definition he wants of the word “person.” That had me totally confused, and I actually thought Harris was supporting state-based decisions on abortion. In fact, it looks like he was just covering it over with verbiage.

  50. George Phillies

    He’s an antiabortionist. He also ran as a Republican, in 2010 in a primary, in a state in which he could have reached the general election ballot by paying a filing fee.

  51. wolfefan

    If there is “personhood” for Constitutional purposes prior to birth, what are the implications for issues other than abortion? Does Harris address this anywhere to anyone’s knowledge?

  52. Jeremy C. Young

    He hasn’t addressed it yet because he hasn’t been specifically asked it. Remember, in the Republican primary he ran in this wasn’t likely to be an issue. As a Libertarian, he’s only been in the one debate, and the moderator was interested in asking general questions. I expect Harris will get this question often in future.

  53. Pingback: White Nationalist Billy Roper Defends 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Wendt | The Roper Report

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