Mike Kane: Letter to Delegates of National Convention

Sent to IPR by Mike Kane:

Dear Delegates,

I’m writing you today to express some concerns I have with some of Gary Johnson’s recent statements and policy platforms.

I ask that you please read through this entire letter before making a decision on who to nominate at the Convention.

In this letter, I will address Gary Johnson’s foreign policy, his advocacy for the “Fair Tax”, and his positions on welfare/entitlement programs. I have contributed to Johnson’s campaign financially, and will support him should he be the Libertarian Party presidential candidate. I cannot guarantee that I will contribute to his campaign as much as I would a different nominee though. I had the opportunity to address some of my concerns with him directly, and I will post his responses throughout this letter.

To those of you I haven’t met personally, here’s a bit of background. I have been a member of the Libertarian Party since 2007, and I’ve worked extremely hard in the past to promote the ideals that our party stands for. I’ve gone door to door, written blog posts, petitioned for ballot access, held fundraisers, contributed financially and ran for office myself. I currently sit on the board of the Libertarian Party of Northern Virginia.

Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, had a very impressive record in limiting the growth of government during his time there. Vetoing over 700 bills and his efforts to cut spending at the state level are tremendous feats. When he took office New Mexico had a deficit, and when he left there was a surplus. I also commend his work on the school voucher program in New Mexico. Lastly, his 43% federal budget cut proposal is one I fully agree with.

That said though, there are plenty of reservations I have about him representing the Libertarian Party as our presidential candidate. I do understand he will get significantly more media attention than some of the other potential candidates, but I question if someone with these views is someone we want representing the Libertarian Party. If media attention is the only goal, I’m sure there are many other candidates who would get more media exposure.

Foreign Policy

The Libertarian Party Platform states, under section 3.1 National Defense:

The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world.

Thomas Jefferson also said it ” *peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none”.

Gary Johnson’s stance on both Israel and Uganda are in direct conflict to the party platform and the words of the great Thomas Jefferson.

Johnson has said “When it comes to military alliances, Israel is a key military ally, and will remain so.

When I asked Johnson asked about this publically, he couldn’t give me a straight answer, and he stated that distancing himself from military alliance with Israel would be politically disadvantageous for anyone seeking the office of the President. I also asked Johnson whether we should end all financial support to Israel, and he replied that we should not. Privately, he asked me if I thought it would be better to just have Israel fight the war for us, to which I replied, I think it would be better if they fought their own war and we stayed out of it. I told him that our tax dollars shouldn’t ever go overseas, but especially to a country that can defend themselves. I compared the current Israel/Iran situation to during the Cold War, and reminded him that Iran feels threatened no different than we did. He still refused to state that we should end all foreign aid to Israel.

In October 2011, Johnson stated he would authorize military action against Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army and their leader Joseph Kony 2012. His words: “It’s go in, get the job done – period — and get out,”.  At the time, Obama had already sent 100 troops to look for Kony, who by all reports had already fled Uganda. Judging by the fact that no troops have yet identified his location, it’s safe to say the reports were correct.  Regardless, Johnson is advocating using U.S tax dollars to intervene in other countries affairs.

The LP’s 2012 convention website has a clear statement: The Libertarian Party is committed to the same freedom which earned America its greatness: a free-market economy and the abundance and prosperity it brings; a dedication to civil liberties and personal freedom; and a foreign policy of non-intervention, peace, and free trade as prescribed by America’s founders. For more information visit LP.org.

Gary Johnson says that humanitarian wars are OK to fight, and that our tax dollars should go to fighting them: “If there’s a clear genocide somewhere, don’t we really want to positively impact that kind of a situation?”.  This is again in direct conflict to the party’s platform.

His website itself even states “The U.S. must make better use of military alliances” .

The United States can no longer afford any military intervention globally as this country is on the verge of financial collapse. The U.S. would be better off leading by example, promising not to intervene militarily unless outright attacked by another country. We no longer should serve as a peacekeeper in the world, as it only fuels the outrage while we occupy other countries.

“Fair” Tax

Gary Johnson is a known and proud Fair Tax supporter. He is making it the centerpiece of his campaign. According to his website he advocates

  • Abolish the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Enact the Fair Tax to tax expenditures, rather than income, with a ‘prebate’ to make spending on basic necessities tax free.
  • With the Fair Tax, eliminate business taxes, withholding and other levies that penalize productivity, while creating millions of jobs.”

While I personally support abolishing the IRS and the income tax and agree with him on that, I have some serious reservations about the Fair Tax. There’s a strong chance that the Fair Tax could end up being an additional tax, which Libertarians strongly oppose as there is no guarantee that the clause repealing the 16th amendment couldn’t be removed during committee negotiations in Congress. The advertised rate is 23%, but the real amount of the tax is 30% under current proposals. The vast majority of Americans examining the FT would agree that the tax is really 30% as opposed to 23%. By Johnson making this the centerpiece of his campaign, he looks dishonest to the general public. There’s nothing preventing future congressional sessions from increasing the Fair Tax rate.

The fair tax will also destroy the new housing market. I highly doubt that a bank will finance the 30%, so buyers will have pay the 30% out of pocket upfront to simply purchase a new house. If the banks will finance the 30% tax, home buyers will then have to pay interest on the tax. The majority of a mortgage is interest anyways, so the total amount of money paid out would be considerably more than 30% over the long run. Some advocates say that if fair tax is implemented, there will be some items that are exempt, such as new houses. This will cause a tremendous deadweight loss from lobbying from special interest groups for exemptions/reductions on their products, such as new homes and auto manufacturers. There are already highly influential groups lobbying over a few percentage points in change of corporate tax rates and tariffs, one can only imagine how strong the lobbyists will work to get special breaks. Overnight, the fair tax will shift the demand from new goods to used goods, until the new goods manufacturers lobby for the tax to be imposed on used goods as well. As with any form of lobbying, Congress will choose winners and losers. In the rare event, these lobbyists are unsuccessful, this tax will kill the already struggling car/home/any other goods, services market.

When I asked Governor Johnson about the 30% and it’s impact on the housing market, he dodged the question, and replied that the fair tax would be revenue neutral. The problem is that revenue neutrality doesn’t address one of the most fundamental views of the Libertarian party, which is drastically lower taxes. Revenue neutrality also doesn’t address the redistributive aspect of the tax, which is that although higher spenders will pay considerably more than people spend less, they will receive the same in government services. Regardless, he couldn’t give me a clear answer regarding the housing market, and special interest groups.

The fair tax will also cause individual states and businesses to become tax collectors. While not authorized by the U.S. constitution, this will create additional bureaucracies at the state level. Fair tax agents, instead of current IRS agents will be ultra-aggressive in enforcement tactics, not much different than the current IRS. The only difference is now they will be monitoring all commercial activities. Eventually, the U.S government will create another federal agency to reduce evasion. They will monitor everything a person buys or sells. One may eventually need a National ID card to buy or sell any goods/services. There will be high fines and likely prison time for offenders. It will totally remove the anonymity of cash.

Lastly, the prebate system advocated by Fair Tax folks will create another government entitlement program, which will not be easily removed, and the amount of the prebate will likely rise over time for lower income folks. The end result is a progressive tax.

Most libertarians would advocate for a drastically lower consumption tax rate, maybe 1 or 2%, without the prebates, and one that imposed a tax on all goods and services equally. It could be written into law that no goods/services would ever be exempt. That way congress wouldn’t have ultimate authority to directly/ indirectly change economic behavior.

Entitlements/Welfare

In FY2013, mandatory entitlement programs will represent over 60% of the national budget. Johnson advocates for the use of block grants to states for entitlement programs as opposed to our current federal system. While I’m sure states will be able to manage the programs marginally better than the federal government, the only change in the system will be who administers the programs. It will, like the Fair Tax, setup enormous state bureaucracies to then redistribute money. The actual programs themselves will not go away, and giving states block grants only serves to perpetuate the cycle. When I discussed these concerns with Johnson, he stressed that medical services represented a much higher percentage of entitlement liabilities at the federal level, so we shouldn’t really be talking about Social Security because it’s very small in comparison. While I understand that medical entitlements in the long run may pose much more of an issue, in FY2012 medicare/medicaid combined expenditures totaled $806 Billion, and Social Security equaled $820 billion. Regardless though of whether it’s $820 billion, $820 trillion, or $820.35, Social Security is by very definition a ponzi scheme, and institutionalized theft. People should be able to opt out of the program, and the U.S. government should design a program to refund all monies paid into it. I’d like Johnson to advocate for the voluntary retirement savings programs as opposed to forced retirement programs, which is what the party advocates as well.

In regards to government welfare/entitlement programs Johnson said “I would like to see the government help out those truly in need”. While we can all agree that taking care of the poor/sick/needy is an important aspect of a good society, virtually any private charity would be able to provide better care more cost effectively than the government. In addition, eliminating these entitlement programs in the long run will fix a good portion of the federal debt, plus the federal government wouldn’t be in the business of stealing your money to give to others. The fact that Johnson doesn’t want to totally eliminate medicare/medicaid is disappointing, and non-libertarian.

Impact on the Party

The Libertarian Party is poised for tremendous growth over the course of the next few years. The vast majority of America is fed up with the two party monopoly on politics, and would be willing to vote third party. Unfortunately though, the end goal for this current election cycle is to promote the party’s ideals, those of non-intervention and non-aggression, ending all wars (not just the one on marijuana), and significantly reducing the size and scope of government. This year’s Libertarian presidential candidate, barring a Ron Paul nomination, will be fortunate to receive over 1% of the vote in this November’s election; although Johnson and his campaign staff may tell you otherwise.

History shows us this – out of the 10 Libertarian presidential candidates, no one has received more than .5% of the popular vote, with the exception of Ed Clark in 1980 who received 1.1%.

That said, many potential future party members may confuse Johnson’s aforementioned policies of military intervention, the fair tax, weak entitlement reform, with those of the Libertarian Party. This will cause a disconnect, and could potentially stifle the future expansion of the party. In addition, these policies do very little to differentiate him from the status quo. Many career politicians support entangling alliances, a new tax, and forced participation in a ponzi scheme. Many libertarians are frustrated with these issues, myself included, and it’s hard to get motivated when some of Johnson’s main campaign issues are in direct conflict to the party’s platform and ideals. While Johnson may garner external support for his campaign because of these issues, he will unquestionably lose internal supporters. He’s also stated that he intends to seek the 2016 nomination as well. If this happens, we can only hope that four years is enough for him to reconsider some of his positions.

For these reasons, I would urge you not to vote for Johnson as the Libertarian presidential nominee. Instead, I feel Lee Wrights will represent our party better on the national stage, and you should nominate Johnson as the Vice Presidential candidate. However, should Johnson receive the presidential nomination at the convention, I would strongly urge you to contact him and his campaign staff and ask him to address these issues. If he changes these non libertarian positions, it would certainly act as a spark to the torches of the many libertarians who share the same beliefs that I do, and are somewhat reluctant to support Johnson as is.

Your friend in liberty always,

Mike Kane

140 thoughts on “Mike Kane: Letter to Delegates of National Convention

  1. Seebeck

    Mr. Kane lays out very eloquently and thoroughly the doubts many of us have had about Mr. Johnson. In my own case, he does it far better than I could have.

    Well worth the read and the consideration by all delegates.

  2. Be Rational

    Agreed.

    Gary Johnson has had ample time to realize that he is out of step with the Libertarian Party. He had already adopted positions intended to sell himself as a Republican and in stubborn reluctance to learn, grow, change or face the reality of his chosen new party, has opted to stay out of step rather than move toward Liberty.

    We Libertarians rejected a Democratic former US Senator in 2008 who attempted the same sort of nomination hijack. We also learned that nominating a recent convert from a major party leads to embarrassment when that convert turns out to have retained his old stripes.

    LP delegates should reject Gary Johnson and give him time to actually return to his one-time political home in the LP, learn and adopt the Principles of Liberty, help build the party and promote out candidates and earn our nomination at some future date – if he is still inclined to run.

    In 2012 we must nominate a candidate who understands what it means to be Libertarian and what the LP stands for.

    There is a clear, consistent and rational message that constitutes what it means to be a Libertarian. Despite the fact that our platform was gutted (and needs to be restored) the Principles of Liberty remain unchanged – and Gary Johnson does not yet represent those principles.

    Ed Clark’s campaign in 2000 outperformed all other LP Presidential campaigns without selling out and with an unknown home-grown candidate. The difference was better campaign management and more money that allowed the purchase of a small number of nationwide TV spots on major networks in good time slots.

    The LP message is popular among a wide group of American voters. They will vote for principled candidates if our campaigns are professional and well financed.

    We do not need to sell out our principles nor nominate “stars” from the outside to gain votes.

    Indeed, if we sell out we will not only lose votes that could have been ours, we will lose our own base.

    History shows that selling out does not help LP campaigns.

    In 2012 we need to nominate a candidate like Lee Wrights, whose principles align with true Libertarianism.

  3. John Jay Myers

    I have to agree that this is a very well written piece.

    This portion particularly got my attention ” he stated that distancing himself from military alliance with Israel would be politically disadvantageous for anyone seeking the office of the President”

    It reminds of when Root told me if I want to get in the press I have to be nice to Israel or I will never get any media.

    hmmm… this is the kind of thing that makes you scratch your head and wonder about who is running this nuthouse.

    It’s more important to stand behind what is right than what is popular. If I believed like Wayne believed that there was someone calling the shots from a /or for a foreign country over ours, it would be time to start screaming treason, instead Wayne chooses to cower to tyranny.

  4. Matt Cholko

    Here are my comments on this piece, copied from the LPVA delegates e-mail list (where I believe Mr. Kane originally posted this piece):

    I just wanted to jump in here on a couple of things. First, the people on this list are the LPVA’s delegates to the national convention. We are REPRESENTATIVES of the members of the LPVA. So, I think it absolutely appropriate for members to share with us their views on any convention business.

    Further, what is wrong with some discussion of policies or candidates? We are supposed to be going to the convention to do business. We can get better results, and better reflect the will of Libertarians in VA, if we talk about these things.

    With that said, I would like to share my thoughts on a few things. First a disclaimer, I have made small financial contributions to both Johnson and Wrights. I am undecided as to who (if anyone) I will support at the convention. If either of those two gentlemen wins the nomination I plan to support them in the general election.

    I share Mike’s concerns about GJ almost completely, so I wont bother to repeat those points. My feeling is that GJ, much like Ron Paul is absolutely phenomenal when compared to the Republican presidential field, or to President Obama. However, at this time, he is not running again those guys. He is running to be the nominee of the LP. We should have much higher standards than the Rs and Ds, and in my opinion GJ falls a bit short in some areas, and WAY short in regards to tax policy. Again, look to Mike’s comments and those of a host of other Libertarians who echo the same concerns about the fair tax if you want to know the details of the problems.

    There is one other very large concern I have with the Johnson campaign. That is the ridiculous talk of making it into “the debates.” Worse, in some cases (thankfully these seem to be becoming less and less common) I hear people within the campaign talk about GJ actually winning the election! The reality is, neither of these things are within the realm of reasonable possibility. When we bring in supporters with talk like this we are bringing them in with lies. Not only is this wrong, but it is detrimental to the long term health of our party. Firing people up with false hope leads leads to heartbreak, burnout, and, in some cases, anger on the part of those people who were lied to.

    The fact of the matter is, we are the Libertarian Party. We do a lot of good spreading the message of freedom to our fellow Americans. But, we need to do it with the truth. Johnson (or Wrights, or whoever is our nominee) will not be in the debates this fall. They will not be elected president of the United States. They will however have an opportunity to talk to a huge number of Americans about Libertarianism, many of whom will hear the message for the first time. It is my sincere hope that our candidate puts out a solid Libertarian message, and that his or her campaign doesn’t lie to people in order to garner their support.

    If the Johnson campaign could stop filling the heads of newly discovered Libertarians with ridiculous hopes then it would be a lot easier for me to get behind him.

    Now, I intend to ask the secretary and/or chairman to solicit input from ALL LPVA members as to what they would like their delegates to do at the National Convention. I will discuss with them the appropriate way to do that, but I hope that everyone on this list is open to hearing from the people they represent.

  5. Matt Cholko

    After posting that comment I realized that I included some stuff that really isn’t relevant to the discussion. Those comments were made in response to other stuff in the e-mail chain.

    Sorry about that.

  6. Andy

    “We Libertarians rejected a Democratic former US Senator in 2008 who attempted the same sort of nomination hijack.”

    But the majority of those same Libertarians voted to nominate a former Republican members of the US House of Representatives who successfully hijacked the Libertarian Party nomination.

    “We also learned that nominating a recent convert from a major party leads to embarrassment when that convert turns out to have retained his old stripes.”

    I didn’t learn anything because I knew that Bob Barr’s “conversion” was fake. The only thing that I learned was how easily many Libertarian Party members can be duped.

  7. Steve M

    As some one who as put a couple of thousand bucks supporting libertarian presidential candidates during each 4 year cycle. Yep it takes 500 people like me to make the 1 Million that has been raised.

    Do you want to run this next election cycle without the support of people like me?

    I put cash towards George Phillies runs, I supported both Michael Badnarik and Bob Barr. This primary cycle I have put cash towards Gary Johnson and Lee Wrights.

    I will tell you right now if you don’t cut this disrespectful shit out you perpetual losers can run your candidates without my financial support.

    My wife would far rather we spend the cash on a tropical island retreat and I am starting to think we might as well!

  8. Thane Eichenauer

    Neither Mr. B, Mr. J, Mr. R, Mr. W or Mr. G are the perfect candidate (past, present or future) in the eye of every Libertarian Party supporter. Holding a convention is how Libertarian Party supporters decide who has the most support in any given election cycle. I thank all past and future Libertarian Party presidential nominees for their efforts.

    @6
    I had reservations about Bob Barr before his nomination and I felt pain when I heard of his endorsement of Newt Gingrich. I am thankful for all his efforts (even those I personally didn’t agree with) on the presidential campaign trail in the 2008 election cycle. All those folks who were unhappy with his being the LP nominee had the option to support another candidate that was more to their liking (or NOTA). Bob Barr’s selection as the LP presidential candidate is about the only certification that a person is a valid and authentic Libertarian as currently exists. If individual Libertarian Party supporters or groups of Libertarian Party supporters wish to engage in Libertarian validation programs with seals of authenticity for their particular strain of LP orthodoxy they should go ahead and develop them. Until that day arrives I presume that Bob Barr made a sincere choice in joining the Libertarian Party 4 years ago. I thank Bob Barr for all his past efforts in advancing a just and free society and promoting the ideals of the Libertarian Party.

  9. Nate

    @2: “Ed Clark’s campaign in 2000 outperformed all other LP Presidential campaigns without selling out”

    He described libertarianism as low-tax liberalism. Many felt that was selling out.

  10. Hardy

    @2 “ Ed Clark’s campaign in 2000 outperformed all other LP Presidential campaigns without selling out and with an unknown home-grown candidate”

    That’s what happens when you put a Koch billionaire on the ticket as your VP.

    It was also the campaign that saw the first major schism within the LP with Crane and crew leaving and starting CATO an no longer being involved in electoral politics.

  11. Hardy

    “The fair tax will also destroy the new housing market. I highly doubt that a bank will finance the 30%, so buyers will have pay the 30% out of pocket upfront to simply purchase a new house”

    Banks finance property taxes here in VT and NH which have the highest property taxes in the country. They currently finance loans for houses which have all the hidden taxes included in them with the payroll and corporate taxes. 20% or so of a new house is hidden taxes – the FairTax shines light on these hidden taxes.

    And, if you let me save all my income so that I can build a new house outright, I’ll only have to save a few years compared to the mess that we have now where it is difficult saving because each year on April 15th I look in my savings account and I write a check to the IRS for all of my savings. (This is a small business owner and has been happening to me for the last 15 years). That doesn’t include the multiple days worth of having to comply with the current complicated and costly 70,000 pages of income tax code, rules, and regulations. I could comply with the FairTax in about 30 minutes as a small business owner.

  12. Hardy

    “The fair tax will also cause individual states and businesses to become tax collectors”

    We are tax collectors now. You must not run a small business. I collect payroll taxes and personal income taxes from all my employees. I’m also a co-owner of a coffee shop in a state with sales tax and there we collect payroll, income taxes, and sales taxes.

    Our current system is a much more complicated and costly to comply with than the FairTax.

    Also the FairTax acknowledges businesses/states are acting as tax collectors and reimburse them a small fraction of the tax collected for their time.

    In Vermont where they have had a sales tax for years, doesn’t require tracking of customers or even all goods sold. They want your overall sales amount so they can figure out how much in sales tax is due. Simple number to calculate.

    Glad to know it’s not just Democrats and Republicans who resort to fear mongering to scare people into sticking with the status quo of corrupt complicated government — which is what I see most of those people opposed to overhauling our current corrupt, lobbyist filled, complicated, and economy dragging system of payroll, corporate income, personal income, death, dividend,,…taxes is currently doing.

  13. Hardy

    @4 Matt – Johnson on getting to 15% he frames it as
    “the-pie-in-the-sky scenario is that we get to 15% and get included in the debates”. This sounds like a long shot but a doable….

    Johnson is the most qualified candidate in this election from any party. It will take a lot of hard work for him to get to 15% but it’s possible. If/when Paul drops out and his supporters start swinging Johnson’s way (most of whom say Johnson is their 2nd choice) that will be a huge boost to the grassroots and money in the campaign.

  14. Chuck

    When looking at “Humanitarian Wars” from the perspective of NAP, I’ve come to the conclusion that many LP members simply do not understand the NAP.

    Example:
    If you saw a woman being beaten in the streets, would you come to her aid?

    The way many in the LP seem to believe, since the aggression is not directed at them(Kony isn’t attacking us right?), they would say no. The question to ask is, does intervening in this situation violate the NAP?

    In my personal belief, I say, no. I say this because the attacker has already initiated “aggression” and the NAP does not preclude defense of self OR others.

    As long as Gov. Johnson first gets congressional authorization for his actions and there is a clear goal set, I don’t have a problem with stopping genocide. However, that is just my opinion.

    On FairTax, without a repeal of the 16th amendment (AKA taken out in committee) included in the final passed legislation, I doubt Gov. Johnson would sign it. He would veto that and tell them try again as he did every unbalanced budget he was sent in N.M. by his legislature there. On that note, nothing is stopping Congress from creating new taxes now. That is a straw-man argument only propagated by individuals who are advocating no tax at all.

    This simply isn’t going to happen. Even if Wrights were nominated and he were to actually win the PotUS(chances somewhere between slim and none), he could not single-handedly do away with income tax and replace it with “nothing”.

    On the prebate, right now our taxes already have a “prebate”, it’s called a tax return and many DO get back more than they pay in taxes already with Earned Income Tax Credits which are refundable(AKA can get back more than you pay in). The current tax code also discriminates against gay couple vs hetero couples and much more…

    Just my thought on LP members two biggest gripes against Gov. Johnson.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    10 H, your point is largely correct, although your history is not. Cato was founded prior to the Clark campaign. Crane took a leave of absence, iirc, to run the Clark campaign.

  16. Chuck Moulton

    Hardy Macia wrote (@11):

    20% or so of a new house is hidden taxes – the FairTax shines light on these hidden taxes.

    And, if you let me save all my income so that I can build a new house outright, I’ll only have to save a few years

    BULLSHIT!!

    You’re double counting again.

    When I called out a Fair Tax supporter on the ridiculous notion that prices will drop 23%, he pointed me to this wikipedia article quoting a Dale Jorgenson study saying prices will drop by 16% to 26% with an average of 22%. But that study assumes that all wages will drop by the amount of current income taxes, so that after tax income will stay the same pre- and post- Fair Tax.

    As usual you are trying to have it both ways. You are trying to claim prices will drop by near 20% AND take home pay will increase. That’s BULLSHIT. You’re deliberately misleading people and you know it. Either prices drop by far less than 23% or take home pay does not increase. I’m sick of the BULLSHIT.

    Clearly the Fair Tax won’t sell if you tell people the truth, so you have to lie to people.

  17. Chuck Moulton

    Hardy Macia wrote (@13):

    Johnson on getting to 15% he frames it as
    “the-pie-in-the-sky scenario is that we get to 15% and get included in the debates”. This sounds like a long shot but a doable….

    Johnson is the most qualified candidate in this election from any party. It will take a lot of hard work for him to get to 15% but it’s possible. If/when Paul drops out and his supporters start swinging Johnson’s way (most of whom say Johnson is their 2nd choice) that will be a huge boost to the grassroots and money in the campaign.

    It’s a longshot and it’s not doable.

    The ideas that Johnson will get to 15% in polls or Johnson will get in the debates or Johnson will win the election are all DELUSIONAL. Feeding those delusions to newly inspired activists sets them up for burnout and disappointment. We should be trying to move the ball down the field with realistically achievable goals rather than hoping for hail Mary passes and silver bullets every year.

    Any poll that includes only Johnson, Romney, and Obama will register support for those who don’t like Romney or Obama (none of the above) with Johnson, which includes non-voters, Greens, Constitution Party people, etc. as well as actual Johnson supporters. If you had a poll with only Romney, Obama, and Hardy Macia, I guarantee you that Hardy Macia would get at least 5%. When the election rolls around people will have more choices than just Johnson, Romney, and Paul: they can stay home, they can vote for the Green candidate, they can vote for the Constitution Party candidate, they can vote for the Americans Elect candidate, they can write in their mother, etc. Every election cycle 6 months out we see polls with the LP candidate getting 7% head to head with the R and D. As the election approaches that number drops and they end up with 0.5% in the voting booth.

    With respect to the debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates sets the criteria and invites participants. The CPD is organized by the Republicans and Democrats. They set the current standard at 15% to provide a justification for only inviting Romney and Obama. You saw the “Gary Johnson rule” in action changing the debate criteria with the Republican debates, and I guarantee you the CPD standard will be adjusted in the extremely unlikely event that Johnson (or any other non- Republican or Democrat candidate) get anywhere near that number. They only invited Ross Perot because George Bush I insisted. Romney will learn from Bush’s mistake because that decision probably cost Bush his re-election.

    Gary Johnson is not going to win the election. I will be ecstatic if he gets 1-2%. Hopefully he will run again in 2016, building on his earlier successes and name recognition, moving the ball down the field to an even higher vote total.

  18. Chuck

    @16 I also call BS on you there. Pretax income WILL drop but not by the full amount of current It is also protectionist in nature as it forces imports to face the same taxes as US goods. It put other countries on the same playing field and shifts some of the burden to foreign producers(they will have to adjust their tax codes or face tougher competition). This is one of the real and biggest economic advantages overall.

    Also, without taxes on investment there will be nothing stopping companies sitting on cash from investing. We’ll also see a large influx of foreign investors using the US as a tax shelter.

  19. Chuck

    Edit: “…. but not by the full amount of current taxes).

    Assumptions work both ways and assuming the worst is just as bad as assuming best case.

  20. Thomas L. Knapp

    Chuck @ 14,

    If you saw a woman being beaten in the streets, would you come to her aid?

    The way many in the LP seem to believe, since the aggression is not directed at them(Kony isn’t attacking us right?), they would say no. The question to ask is, does intervening in this situation violate the NAP?

    Unfortunately, the analogy to foreign military intervention is not sound.

    A more accurate analogy would be:

    You see a woman being beaten in the streets.

    You go door-to-door to ten houses with a gun, robbing people.

    You use the money to hire and arm a group of teenagers.

    You order the teenagers to take over the assailant’s house and terrorize his family for the foreseeable future.

    Then you go back to the houses you robbed and rob them again so that you can pay contractors you know to remodel the stolen house’s kitchen.

    Meanwhile the woman who was being assaulted is dead, and the assailant is chilling in Belize.

  21. Chuck

    Likely wages themselves won’t drop and some embedded taxes will go to the worker(Current income and FICA taxes), but hidden embedded taxes (employer paid payroll taxes) are likely to be kept by the employer. Employees won’t work for wages that can not sustain themselves(most fast food places even pay more than minimum wage and in areas where cost of living is higher they pay more).

    It would balance and the consumer would have greater purchasing power only in that he could choose to avoid some taxes by buying used and that saving could go toward other purchases and investment. So his # of dollars may be less but purchasing power would increase.

    Economics is always a balanced system no matter it’s given structure. Economic systems fail when they are forced out of balance due to an uncorrectable market factor(which is why communism tends toward chaos and failure).

  22. Chuck

    You could issue War Bonds to pay for those type of interventions(asking for donations to hire those teenagers instead of stealing money to pay them) to allow it to be paid for by the private sector. I just got that idea when thinking about how they paid for WWII when we went to stop invasion of allies and genocide in Europe. (Only Japan actually attacked American soil in the form of the territory of Hawaii at Pear Harbor).

    That money can be used to pay private contractors in the form of a stock purchase of those companies. If the effort is profitable the bonds would go up in value and lose value if the efforts was not profitable(add apprehension to just go after unending circumstances with no benefit to the investor). It would be a risk to the investor rather than the tax payer.

  23. ATBAFT

    What ideas did Barr advance during the 2008 campaign that embarrassed the LP? Seriously.
    I didn’t see much “campaign” at all. I don’t think one voter in a hundred had any idea who he was or what he stood for. There will be no debates or victories until the LP breaks through with credible candidates and credible campaigns.
    As usual, we seem unprepared. By the time the dust settles after Vegas, and we spend the next month or two kvetching over slights and hard-feelings, our “fine tuned election apparatus”
    that (non)exists in almost every state and county
    will be on summer vacation.

  24. Mark Hilgenberg

    ATBAFT @23

    “What ideas did Barr advance during the 2008 campaign that embarrassed the LP? Seriously.”

    He advanced the idea that Libertarians are just ultra conservatives and all we need to do is keep promoting a conservative agenda.

  25. George Phillies

    Wages will drop because we cut income taxes by some amount?

    Really?

    We’ve had lots of income tax cuts in the past, thanks to Republican crackpot economics.

    Have any of you noticed people having their pay cut in proportion?

    Anyone?

    The claim that wages will fall because of the fraud tax is just plain nonsense. We have already tried that experiment, and it did not work.

    For alternative views of people threatened with pay cuts, watch films from Greece of their political disputes.

    @23 Note also that Barr’s nominators, the folks on stage with him when he accepted the nomination, have vanished. Look up how many of his nominators, etc. are delegates.

  26. Matt Cholko

    Remember, the issue isn’t whether Johnson is better than Obama and Romney – clearly he is. The issue is whether he is the appropriate person to represent the LIBERTARIAN Party in the general election.

    Given that no matter who we nominate, that person will not be the next president, we need a candidate that will do a good job of spreading our message. I hope that Johnson will do just that (as it seems likely that he will be the nominee), but his positions leave an awful lot to be desired.

  27. ATBAFT

    Matt, what is “our message?” Seems like we have 12,000 different versions of it. We should expect the candidate to run on a close approximation of the platform (which isn’t accepted by 100% of LP members either.)

  28. ATBAFT

    #24, as I said I don’t remember much of a Barr campaign. However, someone heard of it. Here’s a guy named Jazz Shaw writing on 10/18/08 in something called “The Moderate Voice.” Somehow it doesn’t sound like an ultra conservative platform to me: “The second area where Barr brings an important message comes in his daring to speak the dreaded words of reducing our military spending and presence. Barr would seek to reduce our military footprint across the globe through base closures and consolidations, pulling back to a smaller number of foreign outposts and focusing on forces at home which would leave us ready to strike with force when the need arises, but not having such a massive and expensive presence around the world. He also flatly rejects the Bush doctrine of military adventurism. McCain is exactly the opposite in this regard. Obama comes closer to the correct attitude for my tastes, but seems to feel a need to “flex his muscles” to shake off the wimpy image his party is often saddled with. They could both learn a lot from Bob Barr in this area.”

  29. Chuck Moulton

    George Phillies wrote (@25):

    Wages will drop because we cut income taxes by some amount?

    Really?

    We’ve had lots of income tax cuts in the past, thanks to Republican crackpot economics.

    Have any of you noticed people having their pay cut in proportion?

    Anyone?

    The claim that wages will fall because of the fraud tax is just plain nonsense. We have already tried that experiment, and it did not work.

    You’re exactly right, George. But the crazy idea that wages will fall by the amount of the income tax is the foundation of the model Hardy and others keep referencing that predicts the Fair Tax will be a wash on prices (prices drop by 23%, sales tax of 30%, prices constant).

  30. Crickets

    Crickets is all I can hear.

    Johnson and his supporters cannot defend his foreign policy. They just can’t. And then they come back and try to distort the truth to defend the fair tax.

    Nice article

  31. zapper

    I expect that if the Fair Tax were actually passed that incomes would stay the same and workers would have an increase in take home pay equivalent to their previous witheld taxes.

    However, prices would also stay the same with 30% of additional tax on top – the Fair Tax.

  32. Joey P

    ” It is also protectionist in nature as it forces imports to face the same taxes as US goods. It put other countries on the same playing field and shifts some of the burden to foreign producers(they will have to adjust their tax codes or face tougher competition). This is one of the real and biggest economic advantages overall.”

    Protectionism is good??????? Really ?? One of the real economic advantages?

    Laughing in my chair

  33. Hansen

    I think this is a very well written letter and Mike has opened my eyes to Gary Johnson’s views. Thanks Mike for taking the time to share your thoughts with Libertarians.

  34. Mark Hilgenberg

    ATBAFT @28

    Most people don’t hear his platform, just just see Bob Barr “conservative bigot” is a Libertarian, so Libertarians must be racist, homophobic conservatives.

  35. JT

    Be Rational: “We also learned that nominating a recent convert from a major party leads to embarrassment when that convert turns out to have retained his old stripes.”

    You’re comparing Gary Johnson’s “old stripes” to Bob Barr’s?? Gary Johnson’s aren’t bad. Bob Barr’s are.

    Be Rational: “Ed Clark’s campaign in 2000 outperformed all other LP Presidential campaigns without selling out and with an unknown home-grown candidate.”

    What are you talking about? You’re criticizing Johnson’s message but you’re defending Clark’s? Clark didn’t run a pure libertarian campaign.

    Moulton: “The ideas that Johnson will get to 15% in polls or Johnson will get in the debates or Johnson will win the election are all DELUSIONAL.”

    Agreed.

    Cholko: “Remember, the issue isn’t whether Johnson is better than Obama and Romney – clearly he is. The issue is whether he is the appropriate person to represent the LIBERTARIAN Party in the general election.”

    True. But I don’t understand why some Libertarians are accusing GJ of impurity as if they’re uncovering a dirty secret. Anyone paying any attention knows that GJ isn’t a plumb-line candidate. For some Libertarians, a particular deviation is a deal-breaker. The question is whether most convention delegates reject him based on the several views chronicled here.

  36. Be Rational

    Ed Clark’s campaign was couched in gentle language, he didn’t make shocking statements nor discuss insignificant points as some would desire, but nothing he supported in his campaign would have stood in opposition to the LP platform – much better before being gutted – nor did it stand in opposition to the vision in For A New Liberty. He was a moderate radical.

    His campaign succeeded at breaking the 1% vote barrier because of major network TV advertising. It was all the more impressive because he had John Anderson to take the simple protest voters. He earned the Libertarian vote and brought in more new Libertarians than any LP candidate before or since.

    Johnson, OTOH, deviates disasterously from the platform and from the Principles of Liberty. He seems wedded to concepts that he should reject – either because he’s reluctant to change publically and appear to flipflop or he thinks wrongly that these foolish positions will gain more support and he really has more than a tiny long-shot at being a player in the election.

    Johnson’s support of the Fair Tax is as bad as any of Barr’s faulty positions. It abandons any attempt to be Libertarian on the economic liberty side of the Nolan chart. It is a deal breaker.

    Johnson’s foreign policy positions are likewise too far from a peacful, non-interventionist policy to earn our support.

    Johnson must make the required adjustments in his positions to earn our nomination. If he is nominated with these positions representing the face of Libertarianism in 2012, the LP will be damaged, perhaps beyond recovery.

    Johnson needs to include some actual Libertarians among his policy advisors.

  37. Robert Capozzi

    Moulton: The ideas that Johnson will get to 15% in polls or Johnson will get in the debates or Johnson will win the election are all DELUSIONAL.

    me: Unlikely, yes. Delusional, no. I can think of 3 ways it could happen:

    1) AE gets in the mix, and their candidate creates such deviation from the status quo that the election becomes a jump ball.

    2) GJ’s image-makers come up with something really, really compelling that he becomes a media sensation.

    3) Some pronounced scandal(s) or news development make the thirst for another way ripe.

  38. Jill Pyeatt

    BR @ 36: ” Johnson needs to include some actual Libertarians among his policy advisors.”

    I am highly disturbed about Gary Johnson’s foreign policy stance. I highly advise anyone reading this thread to ask Mr. Johnson to approach any of the peace activists in the party so that we can share our concerns in depth.

    I’k like to suggest Less Antman and/or Gary Chartier, as a place to start; both are particularly well-spoken.

  39. Robert Capozzi

    38 jp, I feel your pain. As the most radical, peace-focused L that I know, I am having a hard time imagining how GJ’s f.p. stance “disturbs” you. Can you be more specific about how his words push your button?

    I will say that as a radical peacenik I think GJ’s views are well within the reasonable zone.

    I would like to see him walk back from the FAIR Tax, but he may have to play that sub-optimal viewpoint out through Nov….

  40. Chuck Moulton

    zapper wrote (@31):

    I expect that if the Fair Tax were actually passed that incomes would stay the same and workers would have an increase in take home pay equivalent to their previous witheld taxes.

    However, prices would also stay the same with 30% of additional tax on top – the Fair Tax.

    I agree that incomes would stay the same and take home pay would increase.

    I disagree about prices staying the same with 30% taxes on top. Fair Tax advocates are correct that pre-tax prices would fall due to elimination of the corporate income tax and other taxes on businesses that are built into the price of goods. I just don’t think that fall would be nearly as much as Fair Tax advocates claim. Something on the order of a 10% fall seems reasonable to me. That plus a 30% sales tax of course would mean prices after taxes go up.

  41. ralph

    A study was done and the major reason for Clark’s 1% was he had time to visit as I recall some 300 colleges.

    This is impossible with the present Convention system.

  42. Mike Kane

    @35 “True. But I don’t understand why some Libertarians are accusing GJ of impurity as if they’re uncovering a dirty secret. Anyone paying any attention knows that GJ isn’t a plumb-line candidate. For some Libertarians, a particular deviation is a deal-breaker. The question is whether most convention delegates reject him based on the several views chronicled here.”

    Not surprisingly, many of the Johnson campaign staff/volunteers have been actively courting Johnson as the future nominee. They have also vehemently defended the fair tax to no end, in blatant disregard for the facts. It’s not a secret he’s out of line, but there are plenty of delegates who are on the fence of who to nominate. And it’s a good question, time will tell. I hope my efforts aren’t for naught.

    @36 ” If he is nominated with these positions representing the face of Libertarianism in 2012, the LP will be damaged, perhaps beyond recovery.”

    Exactly. And this is what concerns me.

  43. Be Rational

    @41 No such study was done.

    University visits are a good idea, but they were not the source of our votes or new membership in 1980.

    The source data for the new people recruited in 1980 was overwhelmingly a response to the Clark nationwide TV ads and specifically, call ins from the ad 800#.

    Even the music was compelling.

    Good TV ads worked then and they still will. We need better campaign management, and we need to get back on major network TV with our message.

    If we can’t do it nationwide, Network TV in affordable markets starting with the smallest cheapest states. We can take advantage of the Electoral College system and the cheapest winnable state house races.

  44. Robert Capozzi

    42 jp, oh, well, finding points of disagreement with GJ on f.p. or other views is easy as pie, since that’s what humans – even Ls – do. Labeling those disagreements as “disturbing” or “problems” is on the label-or, not the label-ee.

    GJ’s for tactful extrication from the US’s decades-long world policeman stance. Good enough for this radical peacenik.

  45. John Jay Myers

    My concern isn’t as much for the Party here (as in on down the line) as much as more immediately, if this wishy-washy foreign policy is what Johnson is going to stand behind, he is going to be ripped apart by the media, because how do you have a limited foreign policy that is ready to strike around the globe at the first sign of “over zealous warlord”? You can’t. How many times have we declared a constitutional war on a person? Never.

    The idea of backing down the FP means you can’t really be the worlds police any more, others are going to have to take up the slack or not.

    But more importantly to Johnson, he is going to lose the Paul supporters, they are just going to sit this one out.

    I think he believes he is going to ride the wave of KONY 2012 enthusiasm that is going around, but don’t worry, Obama already has that.

  46. Robert Capozzi

    36 br: If [GJ] is nominated with these positions representing the face of Libertarianism in 2012, the LP will be damaged, perhaps beyond recovery.

    me: One way of looking at the prospect. Another way is to recognize that the LP was “damaged” at the outset, as it was – in part – founded on a lie. That lie being the non-existent “cult of the omnipotent state.”

    Perhaps, then, GJ2012 could represent a transformative turnaround for an organization heretofore limping for decades with a false premise at its core…

  47. JT

    Be Rational: “Johnson’s support of the Fair Tax is as bad as any of Barr’s faulty positions.”

    You were talking about having “retained his old stripes.” Johnson doesn’t have a political history like Bob Barr. He was the clearly the most libertarian Governor while in office, if not much longer than that. So if you’re going to criticize, give some credit where it’s due as well.

    Be Rational: “[The Fair Tax] abandons any attempt to be Libertarian on the economic liberty side of the Nolan chart. It is a deal breaker.”

    For you. Not for all Libertarians or Libertarian delegates.

    Be Rational: “Johnson’s foreign policy positions are likewise too far from a peacful, non-interventionist policy to earn our support.”

    That’s your view. You’re entitled to it.

    Be Rational: “Johnson must make the required adjustments in his positions to earn our nomination.”

    I don’t think he must do that. I think he’ll win it regardless of whether he makes the adjustments that you require.

  48. Matt Cholko

    I’m satisfied enough with GJ that I will support him in the general election, assuming that he is our nominee.

    I don’t like some of his foreign policy views, but hey, those are his views, he is free to hold them, and to run on them. At least he is being honest.

    What really baffles me is his support of the Fair Tax. Frankly, taxes haven’t been a particularly big deal thus far in the race for POTUS. Why did he choose to make this such a big part of his campaign? He is no longer in the GOP, he doesn’t need to differentiate himself from those idiots. He is in the LP, and his Fair Tax crap is doing nothing except turning off much of his “base.” Further, unlike his foreign policy views where I can respectfully disagree with him, the tax stuff is backed up by dishonest talking points. I lose respect for anyone who lies for political purposes.

  49. Robert Capozzi

    46 JJM: how do you have a limited foreign policy that is ready to strike around the globe at the first sign of “over zealous warlord”? You can’t.

    me: I’ve not seen GJ take this stance. I HAVE seen him suggest that certain counter-genocide military actions could be justified. Has he said that he wants forward-deployment of troops for the express purpose of being poised to strike at warlords? I haven’t seen any cites. Presumably, if the troops are all back on US soil and a genocide is happening on another continent, they could be flown there, yes?

    jjm: How many times have we declared a constitutional war on a person? Never.

    me: True. Presumably, a President Johnson would declare war on an organization, not just a person. Just as with the Barbary Pirates and AQN, non-state militarized aggressors do present a special circumstance. I don’t see that circumstance as being insurmountable, however.

  50. LISTEN anytime 24/7 to the T-Rex of Talk Radio

    Let’s see ! We have a Job to fill. That Job is POTUS. Who has the best resume for that very important Job ?

    Lee Wrights
    Miss Joy
    Bob Burns
    Gary Johnson

    Leroy Summers
    James Ogle
    Bill Still
    Gary Johnson

    Barack Obama
    Mitt Romney
    Jill Stein
    Gary Johnson

    It’s a NO-brainer, if you are sane……….

    Anti-Obama 2012 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=kO6CL6eWhZk

    Still Voting For ‘Mitt Romney’? – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQwrB1vu74c&feature=related

  51. Rational Liberty

    This type of purity over pragmatism and hardline “never intervene”, “end all war”, and “no taxes ever” fantasy along with the internal bickering image outsiders get from the LP is what kept me away for years(although I’ve supported some LP candidates at the local and state level) and if Wrights is nominated, it shows me nothing has changed and I’ll be one of the first to leave the party and likely just be a non-voter this year.

    Why?

    Wrights is completely unqualified and without major party backing %99.5 of voters won’t give him a second look. That is the truth and a truth the LP has lived with since it’s inception. To break the “wasted vote” wall takes a resume and Gov. Johnson has that.

    The insistence on purity over rational thought to me is wrong. Please, tell me again, what’s the highest office any (L) candidate has ever been elected too?

    WAR has stated his intention to run in 2016. Gov. Johnson has stated the same. Wrights can again as well. If the LP manages 5% and gets public funding in 2016, that will help ANY LP candidate for PotUS. Are we playing the short-game or the long game here?

    If RP switched tomorrow(likely not happening at all much less tomorrow), he wouldn’t be 100% pure with some of his stances either.

    Also, military alliance can mean as little as sharing intelligence info(such as satellite data) and doesn’t mean if they attack someone we have to as well.

    Want to know more or get him to clarify his foreign policy? I say participate in his on-line town-halls and ask him yourself rather than relying on an opinion of someone else.

  52. Mike Kane

    @ Rational Liberty 52 : Want to know more or get him to clarify his foreign policy? I say participate in his on-line town-halls and ask him yourself rather than relying on an opinion of someone else.”

    That’s precisely what I did, I asked him personally. And I posted his responses. If you had read the letter you would have seen it.

    Regarding military alliances, Johnson said “wouldn’t it be easier to give [Isreal] them money and arms to have them fight Iran, instead of doing it ourselves” and I said no, that’s helping one country fight another, and that would mean U.S. tax payer dollars were going to fund another country’s business, and that we should mind our own.

    And if you want to leave the party if Wrights gets the nomination, you’ll definitely be gone after Johnson loses and gets a very small (less than 1% of the vote) percentage of the vote. (provided he is the nominee, which I hope he’s only VP)

  53. Marc Montoni

    Mike Kane’s original letter to our Virginia delegates stirred up a bit of discussion amongst our delegation.

    Here was my response:

    I too have concerns about various of the candidates. I have been in this so long now that I am rapidly becoming one of the ‘greybeards’ of the movement. I continue to plod along doing whatever volunteer work I can afford to.

    One thing is certain: Every four years, excited newcomers come along. They sometimes bring unrealistic expectations with them — and nominate candidates I wouldn’t necessarily choose, based on those unrealistic expectations. When the election is over, and their hopes have been dashed, they retreat from the LP, broken hearted and convinced that third-party politics cannot work.

    Often, they blame others in the Party, or the Party itself, for their own dashed hopes.

    I cannot count how many people I have watched go through this process, and it deeply saddens me every time it happens. It saddens me because as long as libertarians just “don’t get it” — that this is going to be a multi-generational, all-fronts slog in the swamp — failure for the foreseeable future is assured.

    It is pretty clear what will happen in Las Vegas. It is also clear **to me** what will happen in November. However, someone who harbors unrealistic expectations does not (want to) see the likeliest outcome in November.

    Our candidate will face some tough competition for the protest vote this year. The insider-created and well-funded “Americans Elect” may be a major force this year, and, like crackpot John Anderson in 1980, will likely win all of the fawning attention of the media that would otherwise go to serious third parties like the LP.

    Rationalize your expectations. For a small taste of reality, acknowledge the fact that Obama will likely raise a billion and a half, Romney will raise half a billion. Meanwhile, the Libertarian candidate will probably raise (at most) 2 or 3 million, and probably closer to 1 to 1.5 million. So it will be our millions, vs the statists’ two billion. How many more TV ads and other marketing campaigns will those billions buy, and how many will our millions buy?

    I view everything from a long-term perspective: This ain’t about *you* or your feelings, it ain’t about this or that candidate. It’s not even about this election.

    It’s all about **the next** election. Our job, each and every year, is to find the candidate(s) who will be the best possible salesmen for libertarianism — so we can find, and get into organized political activity, every libertarian we can possibly find.

    There are literally millions of people out there who are basically libertarian. Every year, a percentage of them is ready to abandon the hopeless old parties, and thus is receptive to joining the Libertarian Party.

    If they are not approached with the right message, they will not be inspired to join. If they don’t join, they won’t be available to support their local, state, and national LP brethren *next* year.

  54. Carrie-Anne Mosley

    I don’t agree with 100% of what Gary Johnson says, nor have I ever agreed with 100% of what any candidate I have voted for says. I support Gary Johnson because I believe that his general message that most of Americans are fiscally conservative and socially tolerant is accurate. I would estimate that 80-90% of Americans have no idea who the Libertarian party is or what it stands for. For me, Gary Johnson has the best potential to get the general message of the party out to mainstream Americans. That is my number one priority; recruitment of more people to the party and raising awareness that more people share Libertarian beliefs then might realize it. I don’t believe that any other LP candidate will get even half of the national attention that Gov. Johnson will get should he be the party’s nominee. That publicity is priceless for the party in a time where we need contributing members more than ever.

    As a LP Life member, I encourage you all to support Gary Johnson’s bid for the LP nomination, to upgrade your party membership level, and make an additional donation to the party this year.

  55. Marc Montoni

    This type of purity over pragmatism

    You mean “Purity of the pragmatists”.

    There, fixed it for ya.

    and hardline “never intervene”, “end all war”, and “no taxes ever” fantasy

    Those aren’t “fantasies”, those are “goals to work towards”.

    “Fantasies” are $40 million dollar presidential campaigns, and thinking one will garner more than .5% of the vote when you have less than .5% of the funds available to counter a $2 billion campaign for statism.

    along with the internal bickering image outsiders get from the LP is what kept me away for years (although I’ve supported some LP candidates at the local and state level) and if Wrights is nominated, it shows me nothing has changed and I’ll be one of the first to leave the party and likely just be a non-voter this year.

    So…. You’re not involved. You don’t contribute, except on a few occasions to candidates you happen to like.

    But you want other Libertarians to nominate the person *you* want, or you’ll stomp off in a huff?

    You know what?

    Leave now.

    Really — leave now.

    Bob Barr was the last person on earth I wanted to represent the LP in 2008. In fact, I supported a candidate who was extremely nastily attacked for **weeks** by people in the Barr camp (as well as the Root camp). In the years leading up to 2008, people like me — many of us who have been the steady volunteers and wallet-openers for decades — were continuously attacked at every opportunity from about 2003 right up through that 2008 convention.

    But you know what? In spite of feeling like no one was listening, in spite of feeling like many in the party were spitting on people like me, and in spite of the fact my preferences at the national convention were almost universally denied, I still helped with Barr’s petition drive, distributed lit, and did many other things to promote the LP’s choice. I did so even when most of Barr’s supporters didn’t lift a finger to help the candidate they had chosen. They collected few or no signatures, they didn’t staff the information tables and fair booths, and generally took little responsibility for making their own choice succeed.

    I am by no means a super activist — with three kids and a rental house business, I can’t be — but year after year, I’m still here and doing whatever I can.

    So you take your threats and do some good with them — and leave now. You want to have a puerile temper tantrum, go ahead and get it out of the way.

    Because while you’re sitting there waiting to pounce on your promise, there are going to be dozens of supporters of Wrights and some of the other candidates, who, while disappointed, will do the same thing I’ve done in the past: suck it up, put on your best face, and go promote the ideas anyway.

    Wrights is completely unqualified

    See I have a different opinion. If Obama and Romney are “qualified”, the entrance exam standards are so low that someone who is brain dead and on life support is “qualified”. A sprig of broccoli probably would do a better job than either of these two crooks. These pathological liars and thieves are rapidly bringing the country towards disintegration.

    In that sense, Wrights and every other member of the LP is *overqualified*.

    and without major party backing %99.5 of voters won’t give him a second look. That is the truth and a truth the LP has lived with since it’s inception. To break the “wasted vote” wall takes a resume and Gov. Johnson has that.

    I think it’s going to take more than a candidate to break through that wall. See my comments in 54.

    The insistence on purity over rational thought … If the LP manages 5%

    5%? I guess we’ll see in November whether this was, as you say, “fantasy”.

    Are we playing the short-game or the long game here?

    Again, see my comments in 54.

  56. Wes Wagner

    MM @56

    I am starting to see your basis and position for your opinions on ballot access, etc (as also discussed on LP Radicals FB Page).

    You might want to take a look over at this thread:

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2012/04/oregon-libertarians-announce-first-statewide-primary-election/comment-page-1/#comment-739163

    Where Richard Burke is crowing about how he is maneuvering to try to squish LP ballot access in Oregon is his own special Burke-way. (e.g. give me the party or next time I will come back and sue through a republican or democrat proxy to scorch the earth.. wah wah wah)

    What is really surprising is the list of people at national that tried to put this guy into power in Oregon as their personal henchman.

    Oh wait… their names probably aren’t all that surprising at all.

  57. Michael H. Wilson

    RL @ 52 writes; This type of purity over pragmatism and hardline “never intervene”, “end all war”, and “no taxes ever” fantasy along …

    When the Congress or the president ignore the Constitution some people in this country get all in a huff and point it out and amongst that group are Libertarians. Yet when a Libertarian candidate deviates from the platform there are more than a few in the Libertarian party who will find a way to excuse that candidate. What in the hell is the difference? A few votes?

    LP candidates should always state what our goals are and it is perfectly reasonable in my mind to then point out it may take some time to reach those goals.

    Always state the goal! We need to bring all the troops home from overseas and our candidates should say so loudly.

    It will take several years to do so and clean up the mess we have left. It could happen in 90 days, or we could just leave them there and let the troops figure out how to get home on their own, but I don’t see that as either responsible or reasonable.

  58. Jill Pyeatt

    MM @ 56: “A sprig of broccoli probably would do a better job than either of these two crooks.”

    Best line I’ve read all week.

    I note that it possibly can mean many more things than an observation of two people running for president.

  59. Rational Liberty

    “You mean “Purity of the pragmatists”.” Purity is neither pragmatic nor practical. It is being an idealist.

    “Those aren’t “fantasies”, those are “goals to work towards”.” Call them goals, but insistence they be done in one step going from A and skipping to Z is a fantasy.

    “So…. You’re not involved. You don’t contribute, except on a few occasions to candidates you happen to like.

    But you want other Libertarians to nominate the person *you* want, or you’ll stomp off in a huff?

    You know what?

    Leave now.

    Really — leave now.”

    I stated my reasons why I wasn’t involved, but I’ll clarify. The LP hasn’t have any qualified candidates running in the past ~20 years (since I’ve been old enough to vote since the 90’s).

    I did not support nor agree with Barr, but at least he had held office before. Actions speak louder than words and Barr’s LP cred was questionable and he’s since proved his non-LP stripes. I didn’t participate because while Barr was qualified, he wasn’t Libertarian and prior to that the LP lacked QUALIFIED Libertarians.

    The LP has a chance this cycle to have the single most politically experienced libertarian candidate in the history of the party. As I saw the straw polls, the state party endorsements, etc… I thought the LP was finally ready to stand up and be the adults in the room now that they had attracted someone with a resume and experience that also shared their views(even if it was only the majority of their views).

    From what I’ve seen the purity vs pragmatism debate never stopped and purists will vote Wrights and pragmatists will vote for Gov. Johnson.

    My final question is simple, is it better to have a “small chance” or “no chance”?

    Gov. Johnson equals a small chance at the media light being shown on the LP, while Wrights equals obscurity for the LP’s PotUS ticket for another 4 years.

  60. Robert Capozzi

    58 mhw: When the Congress or the president ignore the Constitution some people in this country get all in a huff and point it out and amongst that group are Libertarians. Yet when a Libertarian candidate deviates from the platform there are more than a few in the Libertarian party who will find a way to excuse that candidate.

    me: Thanks for making this plain. The Constitution is law. The platform is not law.

    That’s the difference.

    IMO.

  61. Calvin P

    There is no way that I would ever support Johnson.

    His support of the Fair Tax is a total deal breaker for me.

    I am shocked that anyone who calls themself libertarian would even consider this guy to be a viable candidate!

  62. Robert Capozzi

    63 cp: I am shocked that anyone who calls themself libertarian would even consider this guy to be a viable candidate!

    me: OK, now that you’ve shared your shock, perhaps you might try to understand why most Ls appear to support GJ as the nominee. Even if you continue to disagree with selecting GJ, through understanding you can gain respect for other people’s perspective….

  63. ATBAFT

    “cult of the ominipotent state” – actually is one of the best, cut to the quick, bullseyes ever scored by the Libertarian Party. My God, you see it in everyone who thinks Obama is doing a glorious job, that Romney or Santorum will “restore this country to greatness.” The two major parties do everything except “Sieg Heil” and someone questions “cult of the omnipotent state?????”

  64. Robert Capozzi

    65 a, break down the term. It means something like “blind worshippers of an all-powerful government.” You may see people who believe that, but I have never met a person who believes or wants that. It’s wildly overstated, IMO.

    Every indication is that the statement is a classic reaction formation by the Randians who imposed the term in perpetuity.

  65. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@66,

    “You may see people who believe that, but I have never met a person who believes or wants that.”

    I thought you lived in or near the Washington, DC metro. If so, you’re hip deep in them.

    Perhaps the key is in a word you use yourself: “Blind.”

    The cultists of the Omnipotent State don’t think of themselves as “cultists” any more than the Moonies or the Hare Krishnas do.

    Nor do they necessarily characterize what they worship in the same terms as their critics do. They don’t run around chanting “we are the cultists of the Omnipotent State” any more than members of the Unification Church run around chanting “we are followers of a corrupt former Christian pastor who learned that Korean evangelicals are rubes and managed to parlay that into a fortune.”

    They don’t think of themselves as blind worshipers of an all-powerful government any more than Hare Krishna devotees after the death of Prabhubada thought of themselves as blind disciples of feuding, violence-prone gurus.

    Like most cultists, they just do what they’re told and convince themselves it’s for the best. They don’t insist that they want an omnipotent state. It’s just that anything the state does is okay with them, and they can’t understand why anyone would think otherwise.

  66. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    No fan of Romney or Santorum, but what’s wrong with “restoring this country to greatness”? You don’t want that, too?

    I do. The best way to do that is to reduce government’s role in our lives while maintaining domestic tranquility.

  67. Robert Capozzi

    67 tk: They don’t insist that they want an omnipotent state. It’s just that anything the state does is okay with them, and they can’t understand why anyone would think otherwise.

    me: So you agree with me, then, the clause IS wildly overstated, yes?

    If the term was “we challenge the cult-like submission to virtually anything the government does,” or something, that would track.

    Many people in DC metro did not support TARP, the Iraq War, etc., just like the rest of the country. I would agree that DC metro has a higher incidence of statist thinking than the rest of the country.

    Believe cartoon caricatures at your own risk…

  68. John Jay Myers

    People should not say that negative opinions of The Fair Tax and a strange foreign policy that has us as the worlds police as being radical.

    They are not, it is not a matter of all or nothing on these topics, someone used the analogy of “getting here to there” well, in your analogy proposing the Fair Tax or the idea of being the worlds police,is like planning a trip from Texas to Louisiana via Oregon.

    These ideas are not stepping stones to liberty.

  69. Robert Capozzi

    jjm 70, yes, it’s not radical, per se. Aspects of the Fair Tax could be stepping stones to liberty, enough for Ron Paul and more so for Gary Johnson. Overall, though, I agree that on balance the FAIR Tax is not something I support as a stepping stone.

    You can choose to view GJ as a “world’s police” advocate, but on balance I’d say his views are stepping stones toward liberty.

  70. ATBAFT

    “Believe cartoon caricatures at your own risk…

    You mean like George III in the Declaration??
    Of course the SOP uses overblown rhetoric and was written by “Randian” cultists (Rothbard and Evers). It is raw meat for libertarians, like every other “manifesto” ever written. We’ll rue the day anyone ever manages to rewrite it into some mushy, feel-good “corporate” mission statement.

  71. Robert Capozzi

    72 a, you mean like: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes;”? 😉

    IIRC, the “cult” language was scribed by Hospers. I didn’t realize Rothbard (a fallen Randian cultist) and Evers scribed other parts, although MNR I think had something to do with the “governments, when instituted” rant.

    I’m down with some red meat to inspire. But when the meat is rancid, it’s probably not a good idea to keep it, even for sentimental reasons.

    But that’s just me!

  72. Michael H. Wilson

    RC I think I read something along the lines of the omnipotent state in one of Rand’s books. Might have been Capitalism the Unknown Ideal.

  73. zapper

    Johnson’s fundraising numbers show that he has almost no ability to raise money.

    Johnson’s positions on the Fair Tax and Foreign policy show he has no concern about representing the Libertarian Party.

    Johnson’s few media appearances show that he will garner little media.

    There is no benefit to the nomination of Gary Johnson the way things stand.

    If he adopts Libertarian positions on the issues, we could take another look.

    Better to nominate a real Libertarian who can start out the campaign with no debt.

    Even better to nominate a candidate who will work to use the 2012 POTUS campaign to build the LP at all levels: to seek out new members, supporters, donors and voters; to help strengthen our state and local LP groups; to promote our downticket candidates.

    Johnson is in it for Johnson. He offers nothing to us.

  74. Bill Wood

    5. Covering Period 02/01/2012 Through 02/29/2012

    6. Cash on Hand at BEGINNING of the Reporting Period 10,501.53
    7. Total Receipts This Period 41,879.60
    8. Subtotal (6 + 7) 52,381.13
    9. Total Disbursements This Period 40,917.75
    10. Cash on Hand at CLOSE of the Reporting Period 11,463.38
    11. Debts and Obligations Owed TO the Committee 0.00
    Itemize all on SCHEDULE C or SCHEDULE D
    12. Debts and Obligations Owed BY the Committee 181,335.27
    Itemize all on SCHEDULE C or SCHEDULE D
    13. Expenditures Subject To Limitation 646,003.46
    14. NET Contributions (Other than Loans) 685,596.59
    15. NET Operating Expenditures 594,453.46

  75. Bill Wood

    For Lee Wrights his FEC filing for 2011 shows raised 12,487,he entered in June 2011 . No filings yet this year.

  76. Brian Holtz

    Hospers wrote the SoP close to single-handedly. I’ve never heard that Evers had a role in it, or whether he was at the 1972 convention at all. Rothbard certainly wasn’t involved, because he was initially quite loudly opposed to forming a libertarian party.

    Rothbard and especially Evers were very involved in the radicalizing of the platform that occurred later in the 1970s. So it’s possible that they were also involved in the radicalizing of the SoP in 1974. The 1974 convention used a one-time exemption from the 7/8ths rule to radicalize the SoP by e.g. changing the language that said that protecting individual rights is the only legitimate function of government.

    For the differences between the original 1972 SoP and the current (1974) SoP, see http://libertarianmajority.net/statement-of-principles-proposals.

    For the original 1972 bylaws, see http://marketliberal.org/LP/Bylaws/1972/. I notice that the Executive Committee (equivalent to what is now called the National Committee) had the power to amend the bylaws by 3/4 vote.

  77. Jed Siple

    The Libertarian Party has, in recent years, been moving further and further to the right. And as a libertarian, I’m concerned.

    I do not consider myself a conservative. At all. In fact, I generally hate anything involving conservatives. As much as I hate liberals, I hate conservatives even more. I’m a libertarian. I’m not conservative, I’m not liberal.

    So when the party nominated a conservative for president in 2008, I got pissed. Here was a man who voted for the PATRIOT Act, for the drug war, against gay rights, etc. THIS was our nominee? Nope, I didn’t vote for Barr, I voted for Nader. Despite the multitude of things I disagree with him on, he was the only other minor candidate on the ballot, and there was no way I was voting for the conservative Barr.

    I like Gary Johnson. These above concerns do give me pause, but if Johnson is the nominee I will vote for him. He is libertarian on enough other issues that I feel he is at least an acceptable nominee. But I would much, MUCH rather the nominee be Lee Wrights. I implore the convention delegates to vote Wrights, not Johnson.

  78. JP Quick

    I never really liked the term “losertarians,” but I totally understand it now.

    Ask yourselves one question:

    Does any LP presidential candidate other than Gary Johnson have any qualification whatsoever to be President of the States United?

  79. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@69,

    “So you agree with me, then, the clause IS wildly overstated, yes?”

    Um, no. And I see no reason why you would have the impression that I agree with you on that. I consider the “cult of the omnipotent state” language unduly moderate, and support prefacing it with the word “death.”

    JP Quick @81,

    “Does any LP presidential candidate other than Gary Johnson have any qualification whatsoever to be President of the States United?”

    To the best of my knowledge, all of the LP presidential candidates are indeed qualified in all of the ways the US Constitution mandates. But I could be wrong.

  80. Nick Kruse

    The question the libertarian party needs to asks itself is:
    Would you rather nominate a 100% libertarian (Lee Wrights) who will win about 0.5% of the vote or someone who is 95% libertarian (Gary Johnson) who can win us millions of votes? I believe 2012 is the year of the third party, please don’t screw this up by selecting someone who can’t win. Please vote for Gary Johnson at the convention.

  81. matt cholko

    Nick – I truly hope Johnson, or whoever the nominee is, get millions of votes. However, I see no evidence that this is likely to occur. In fact, history shows us that he’ll likely get about 500k. I think 1mm is reasonable to talk about as a goal, but even that seems unlikely.

    Do you have any evidence to back up your claim that he will get millions of votes?

  82. Daniel Wiener

    Brian Holtz @ 79:

    The 1974 National Convention featured a clash between minarchists and anarcho-capitalists over the direction of the Libertarian Party as represented in the Statement Of Principles. People on both sides tried to come up with a compromise solution — what became known as the “Dallas Accord” — to prevent the LP from breaking up. The approach was to substitute passive language which allowed for the existence or non-existence of government in place of active language which assumed a minimalistic government. For example, “the sole function of government” was replaced with “where governments exist”.

    As you mentioned, the LP Bylaws contained a special one-time dispensation which allowed the SoP to be amended by a 2/3 vote at the Dallas convention, after which it would require an almost-impossible 7/8 vote. However, the main motion to change the SoP could itself be amended by a simple majority vote, prior to the final vote which would require 2/3. So a series of amendments were proposed to change different portions of the SoP. Several of those passed, but the delegates who either disliked the anarcho-capitalist drift or who thought Dr. Hospers’ language was being excessively mangled became progressively more upset as amendments were added

    Finally I spoke up, saying that any further amendments were likely to reduce overall support below the 2/3 threshold, and that those delegates who were anxious to modify the SoP would thereby lose everything that had so far been agreed to. Realistically they would never have another shot at changing the SoP. There was a lot of quiet (and non-so-quiet) murmuring of agreement around the convention, and debate ended shortly thereafter with no further amendments. The final vote was close, just barely exceeding the needed 2/3.

    So to some extent I think I deserve a share of credit or blame for the outcome. If I hadn’t spoken when I did and made a strong argument, I’m pretty sure that one or two more amendments would have passed, and then the whole thing would have been voted down.

  83. Nick Kruse

    Matt – If you were a regular voter with no ties to any party and you were just looking to vote for the most qualified candidate, would you choose a two-term governor or someone who was no experience holding office? Johnson will get more votes than Wrights would.

    Also, I read that Obama, Romney, and Johnson are polling in a three-way tie in New Mexico, the State Johnson was governor of. Wouldn’t it be great if the Libertarian party could be the first third-party in modern history to win electoral votes in the electoral college. I do not believe that is something Lee Wrights could accomplish.

  84. George Phillies

    “Wouldn’t it be great if…”

    I have been hearing that line with respect to our candidates for several decades, and it is completely deceitful.

  85. paulie

    I didn’t vote for Barr, I voted for Nader.

    While I had some real problems with Barr, I don’t think Nader was a good choice either.

    Does any LP presidential candidate other than Gary Johnson have any qualification whatsoever to be President of the States United?

    I don’t think that the same type of background as other past presidents is really needed. The LP nominee will not be president, and past presidents have screwed things up to the point where we find ourselves now. The LP nominee should be qualified to sell the libertarian message. That is the actual job delegates will pick a nominee to fill.

    (Gary Johnson) who can win us millions of votes?

    I very much doubt that, to say the least.

    I believe 2012 is the year of the third party,

    Yep. Americans Elect is that party.

    please don’t screw this up by selecting someone who can’t win.

    None of the plausible nominees are even remotely likely to win. Johnson is no exception to this.

    Johnson will get more votes than Wrights would.

    You’re probably right. My best guess is about 100,000 votes more.

    Also, I read that Obama, Romney, and Johnson are polling in a three-way tie in New Mexico, the State Johnson was governor of.

    That will not hold up.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Libertarian party could be the first third-party in modern history to win electoral votes in the electoral college. I do not believe that is something Lee Wrights could accomplish.

    Neither could Johnson, since a number of other parties – and the LP in 1972 – beat him to it. But if they hadn’t, I still don’t think Johnson would get electoral votes.

  86. paulie

    So to some extent I think I deserve a share of credit or blame for the outcome. If I hadn’t spoken when I did and made a strong argument, I’m pretty sure that one or two more amendments would have passed, and then the whole thing would have been voted down.

    Thank you for your work.

  87. Mike Kane

    @Nick Kruse: Matt – If you were a regular voter with no ties to any party and you were just looking to vote for the most qualified candidate, would you choose a two-term governor or someone who was no experience holding office? Johnson will get more votes than Wrights would.

    Also, I read that Obama, Romney, and Johnson are polling in a three-way tie in New Mexico, the State Johnson was governor of. Wouldn’t it be great if the Libertarian party could be the first third-party in modern history to win electoral votes in the electoral college. I do not believe that is something Lee Wrights could accomplish.”

    1st problem. Johnson is not 95% libertarian.
    2nd problem. The Libertarian party actually has received an electoral vote at the electoral college. (1972 – do your research next time)
    3rd problem. I doubt that you’ll find another poll that backs up the poll you claim. All I hear about is how Johnson is at 7% nationally and needs twice as much to get into the debates. The fact is that I can’t find one poll anywhere other than that one (that was held 2 months ago) that says Johnson is so popular.

    I’d also like to see the proof /evidence that he will get ‘millions of votes’.

    I’m in this for the long haul, and as others have echoed in the comments above, it’s important to set realistic small milestones from the bottom up, rather than shoot for something impossible and give up when it’s done.

    My original article was intended strictly to address Governor Johnson’s current platform. If you want to talk about qualifications, I could discuss some of my issues with his campaign debt/ongoing lawsuits, and the failure to pardon drug offenders as governor of NM, among other things.

    I left those parts out for a reason – My goal isn’t to make Johnson look bad, it’s really so that the LP presidential candidate stands for the principles that best represent libertarianism.

  88. George Phillies

    “Does any LP presidential candidate other than Gary Johnson have any qualification whatsoever to be President of the States United?”

    We’ve done so well by electing people with those qualifications, haven’t we?

  89. Wes Wagner

    GP @92

    I think by modern standards George Washington would not have been qualified…

  90. Nick Kruse

    I have several responses to everyone that replied to my posts:

    1. I said no third party candidate in MODERN history has received an electoral vote. In politics, 1972 is an eternity ago.

    2. I agree that “the lesser of two evils” is a horrible way to vote for a candidate, but it is a good way to think about government policy. While everyone would love to see all taxes magically disappear, that isn’t going to happen. Never. The two main choices we have regarding taxes is taxing income or taxing consumption. I think most people on this forum would agree that the fair tax is not a bad idea when you think about what is currently in place.

    3. In response to my post, many have said this election is not about the libertarian party winning the presidency, it is about spreading the message. So let’s discuss who can spread the message best. When I google Gary Johnson, 53,600,000 results are found. When I google Lee Wrights, 1,840,000 results are found. Numbers don’t lie. The person most well known was the best ability to spread a message. Would you listen to a speech from someone you have never, ever heard of? Gary Johnson simply has more name recognition, which you need to spread a message.

    4. This is specifically to Mike Kane – If you think Gary Johnson is so bad for the presidential nomination, why do then endorse him for Vice-Presidential nominee?

    5. It is very likely that Gary Johnson can get 5% of the vote given his name recognition. Then in 2016, whoever the libertarian nominee is will have access to public financing. While some libertarians don’t like the public financing system, it is necessary to have access to it to be able to spread a message and ultimately get elected.

    6. Gary Johnson was recently featured on the Colbert Report (say what you will about the show, Colbert has a huge amount of influence on public issues and elections). When was the last time your Lee Wrights was on a national television show to help spread the libertarian message?

  91. Chuck Moulton

    Nick Kruse wrote (@95):

    5. It is very likely that Gary Johnson can get 5% of the vote given his name recognition.

    That’s a pipe dream.

    I’m a big fan of betting markets. Right now people say lots of crazy things and pay no price for being dead wrong. For anyone who believes Johnson will get 5% of the vote, I am willing to give you 2:1 odds and bet any amount of money. If anyone wants to put up $1,000 against my $2,000 (or name any other amount), I could always use some extra cash after November.

  92. John Jay Myers

    @Nick Kruse, what would be the problem with Gary Johnson moving more towards the Libertarian Parties actual platform?

    I think that would be the root he should go, not just to win our nomination, but to actually gain enough support to make a difference in general election.

  93. Nick Kruse

    @John Jay Myers, it is my understanding that this forum is more geared towards influencing how delegates will vote at the national convention than it is towards trying to change what Gary Johnson believes in.

    If he wants to move more towards the Libertarian Party’s actual platform, good for him. I don’t have any control over what he believes in. All I am saying is that he would be the best choice for nominee regardless of whether or not he moves more towards the actual platform.

  94. George Phillies

    “5. It is very likely that Gary Johnson can get 5% of the vote given his name recognition”

    Also, pigs have wings and can be used to tow our Navy’s airships into battle.

    This is getting silly. One might wonder how many of these claimants are serious.

    When Johnson actually ran in a primary, he got 0.2% of the vote.

    “I read that Obama, Romney, and Johnson are polling in a three-way tie in New Mexico, the State Johnson was governor of.” Yes, and there was a legitimate poll showing me at 12% of the national vote during my Presidential nominating campaign.

  95. Nick Kruse

    By definition, a political party is an organization that seeks to nominate and elect people to public office. If the Libertarian Party’s own members believe that its nominee will get 5% of the vote after pigs start to fly, then why does anyone believe that the Libertarian Party has a future?

    @George Phillies – there is a difference between polling in a field of 10 primary candidates and polling in a field of 3-4 serious general election candidates.

    Johnson got .2% in primary, but that is because he was a libertarian trying to win a republican nomination. Now that he is a libertarian trying to win the libertarian nomination, he can win.

  96. John Jay Myers

    Now I don’t want to give the impression that I think Gary Johnson isn’t libertarian, for the most part he is. But …. this party needs to show a huge growing movement in this country “The Liberty Movement” that we have a backbone and will stand behind the best candidate not just the one who will do the best in an election. If it was just about winning elections…. chances are you are in the wrong party. (at least in 2012)

    We will do much better as a party if we hold true to our principles.

    Gary Johnson will do much better during this election if he holds true to our principles.

  97. Thomas L. Knapp

    Nick @ 100,

    “By definition, a political party is an organization that seeks to nominate and elect people to public office.”

    If by “by definition” you mean “by partial and narrow definition,” you’re right.

    If “by definition” you mean “by exclusive definition,” well, no.

    Many parties, in the US and elsewhere, have used other means — ranging from voter education and endorsing candidates fielded by other parties at one extreme, to fomenting revolution at the other — to attempt to wield political influence.

    The Libertarian Party codifies both a purpose and multiple means (including nominating and electing candidates) of achieving that purpose in its bylaws.

    “If the Libertarian Party’s own members believe that its nominee will get 5% of the vote after pigs start to fly, then why does anyone believe that the Libertarian Party has a future?”

    Well, for one thing, we’re talking about one nominee for one office in one election cycle, not all nominees for all offices in all election cycles.

    US residential politics is a tougher nut to crack than others, and the Libertarian Party has in fact elected many of its candidates to many lower offices (including a few state legislators).

    One part you leave out of your partial and narrow definition is that political parties seek to elect their candidates to public office in order to see their platforms implemented.

    If it was just about winning for the sake of winning, the Republican Party would join the Democrats in Charlotte this summer and make Barack Obama (instead of his Massachusetts Mini-Me) their nominee as well. After all, that would guarantee a win for them, wouldn’t it?

    How well a particular presidential candidate might prospectively do in the general election is certainly one factor for partisan Libertarians to consider, but if it was the only factor, they could probably get more votes by nominating Barack Obama — or for that matter Charles Manson — than they could by nominating Gary Johnson.

    Of course, Gary Johnson looks “more libertarian” than Barack Obama* or Charles Manson, which is why he’s under serious consideration for the LP’s presidential nomination and they’re not.

    The question, above and beyond how many votes he might get, is whether or not he’s “libertarian enough,” in terms of his message comporting with what the LP is trying to accomplish, for it to be worth nominating him.

  98. Brian Holtz

    @95 You have to put “Lee Wrights” in quotes or you get pages with either Lee or Wrights.

    Google search:
    “Gary Johnson”: 3,600,000
    “Lee Wrights”: 62,300

    Google search:
    “Gary Johnson” libertarian: 667,000
    “Lee Wrights” libertarian: 39,600

    Google News archive search:
    “Gary Johnson” libertarian: 1030
    “Lee Wrights” libertarian: 34

    YouTube search:
    “Gary Johnson” libertarian: 717
    “Lee Wrights” libertarian: 66

    YouTube channel views:
    Gary Johnson: 247,629
    Lee Wrights: 6511

    Appearances on national TV shows as a libertarian:
    Gary Johnson: CNN, Colbert Report, Freedom Watch, etc.
    Lee Wrights: 0

    Johnson currently has about two orders of magnitude more media presence than Wrights. Post-nomination, he would probably get at least an order of magnitude more free media than Wrights would as nominee.

  99. Marc Montoni

    @Nick Kruse:

    By definition, a political party is an organization that seeks to nominate and elect people to public office. If the Libertarian Party?s own members believe that its nominee will get 5% of the vote after pigs start to fly, then why does anyone believe that the Libertarian Party has a future?

    Are you going to be one of those people who will be gone as of November 7?

    Please read this.

    If it doesn’t help you understand why there are those of us who argue with what we feel are outlandish claims that a particular candidate will get 15%, 5%, or even 1%, then re-read it until you do understand. Pay special attention to the part about raising money.

    Let me paraphrase your question and throw it back at you:

    “If Nick Kruse believes his nominee will get 5% of the vote when his own precinct and county are most likely not even organized, then why does Nick Kruse believe that the Libertarian Party has a future?”

  100. Chuck Moulton

    Nick Kruse wrote (@100):

    If the Libertarian Party’s own members believe that its nominee will get 5% of the vote after pigs start to fly, then why does anyone believe that the Libertarian Party has a future?

    You don’t seem to understand what “the future” means. Do I think someday within the next 50 or 100 years the Libertarian candidate for President could get 5%? Yes. Is it going to be November? No.

    You believe in a magic silver bullet that will suddenly get us to victory without doing the legwork. It’s not going to happen. Until Libertarians organize their precincts and raise money within an order of magnitude of the Democrats and Republicans, we’re not going to get vote totals within an order of magnitude of the Democrats and Republicans.

    I’m in this for the long haul. I’m not going to pack up and give up when Johnson is not elected President in November.

    Nick Kruse wrote (@100):

    Johnson got .2% in primary, but that is because he was a libertarian trying to win a republican nomination. Now that he is a libertarian trying to win the libertarian nomination, he can win.

    You are delusional. If I were a psychologist I would suggest immediate treatment for your disorder. But I’m an economist, so I will try to use your crazy delusion to take your money.

    Let’s bet $1,000 on whether Gary Johnson will get 5% in the general election. You take the over, I’ll take the under. Will you continue to spout your crazy predictions when there is money on the line?

  101. paulie

    1. I said no third party candidate in MODERN history has received an electoral vote. In politics, 1972 is an eternity ago.

    When did the MODERN historical era start? Opinions may vary, but prior to 1972, alt party candidates received electoral votes in 1968, 1948, and 1924, and if anyone wants to go all the way back to 1912, the then sitting president was relegated to a distant third in electoral votes in his reelection bid.

    The two main choices we have regarding taxes is taxing income or taxing consumption. I think most people on this forum would agree that the fair tax is not a bad idea when you think about what is currently in place.

    What is currently in place is not the only possible form of income taxation and the fraudulent tax is not the only possible form of consumption tax. Nor do I agree that it’s an either/or choice – I think we are far more likely to end up with both. Even if it were possible to guarantee that we wouldn’t, for a whole host of reasons the fraudulent tax is much worse than what we have now.

    Numbers don’t lie. The person most well known was the best ability to spread a message.

    Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are much better known than Gary Johnson, so they have the best ability to spread the message. The problem is that it is not the same message we have that they are spreading. Many people here have that problem with Johnson as well, while many others believe he is good enough. Popularity alone is not an answer to that question. I also think that there may have been a problem with your google methodology, but I haven’t checked yet.

    It is very likely that Gary Johnson can get 5% of the vote given his name recognition.

    Is his name recognition significantly higher than Bob Barr’s or Cynthia McKinney’s was in 2008? I see no indication of this. Is it higher than Ralph Nader’s or Pat Buchanan’s was in 2000? I think it’s lower. 5% is very UNlikely.

  102. Steve M

    Mike Kane, you think Lee Wright will best express our positions but you are so confident…. you haven’t put any money into the effort. Lee has raised less the 10,000 dollars and there are a lot of libertarians that use a lot of words but wont open their wallets. This isn’t a game that you play with no money. If you think Gary is the wrong candidate then ,…. well money talks and BULL SHIT walks.

    Put your money on it… you too Dr. George Phillies. Nice of you to encourage your supports to make donations towards Lee Wright…. where is yours?

  103. paulie

    When Johnson actually ran in a primary, he got 0.2% of the vote.

    To be fair, it was a Republican primary, after Johnson already switched to Libertarian, and Ron Paul was also running.

    Johnson got .2% in primary, but that is because he was a libertarian trying to win a republican nomination. Now that he is a libertarian trying to win the libertarian nomination, he can win.

    Win…what? The LP nomination? Yes, he can. The presidency of the US? I believe I can beat your current crack dealer in both price and quality. Once you smoke my crack you’ll never go back, mack!

    I also think that there may have been a problem with your google methodology, but I haven’t checked yet.

    I see that Brian has, though. It was as I suspected.

    US residential politics is a tougher nut to crack than others,

    Given some of the roommate, tenant and landlord issues I have dealt with I am inclined to agree 🙂

  104. LISTEN anytime 24/7 to the T-Rex of Talk Radio

    Anyone here think Ron Paul could get 5% as the LP POTUS nom ?

    “Take a bite out of Government Vote Libertarian” – http://www.lpstuff.com/shop/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=259

    “At what point will you say ‘no more’ ? Vote Libertarian ! ” – http://www.lpstuff.com/shop/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=258

    “End the War! Vote Libertarian.” – http://www.lpstuff.com/shop/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=174

    “Want your whole paycheck? Vote Libertarian.” – http://www.lpstuff.com/shop/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=250

  105. paulie

    Yes, he probably could, but even that would not be a foregone conclusion. I’d say he would be a lot more likely to do that than Johnson.

  106. Robert Capozzi

    tk 82: Um, no. And I see no reason why you would have the impression that I agree with you on that. I consider the “cult of the omnipotent state” language unduly moderate, and support prefacing it with the word “death.”

    me: The reason is here: {67 tk: [“Cultists”] don’t insist that they want an omnipotent state.}

    It appears we’re having a bit of a role reversal…I’m being literal, you’re being metaphorical. Either there is a “cult” that wants an ALL-powerful government, or there isn’t.

  107. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@111,

    The difference is between insisting that you want the state to be omnipotent and worshiping the state as if it were in fact omnipotent.

    The former is the caricature that you dismiss. The latter is the reality that you deny.

  108. Robert Capozzi

    112 tk, thanks for clarifying. I know no person on earth who either WANTS an omnipotent state or BELIEVES that the state IS in fact all-powerful.

    Do you? If so, what evidence can you cite that that’s their belief?

  109. Robert Capozzi

    114 p, perhaps. I’ve never seen an all-powerful state, either. I have seen states with power. I have seen people advocating that states have more power and less power. I know a few people who advocate that states have no power, that they be abolished. (I’ve not really seen statelessness, aside from on the Moon and other remote places for short periods of time.)

  110. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@113,

    “I know no person on earth who either WANTS an omnipotent state or BELIEVES that the state IS in fact all-powerful.”

    Really?

    Does this ring any bells?

    [T]he king’s Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled, had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.

    Or try a little Googling. How about on the word “Obama” and the phrase “nothing we can’t do?”

  111. zapper

    Is the a “cult of the omnipotent state?”

    Yes, absolutely.

    An all powerful, omnipotent, state is not the same as an omnipotent deity.

    An all powerful state has life and death, and day to day control over every important decision of the lives of the subjected peoples. That is the ruling elite controls the population in an absolute manner.

    The USSR prior to the mid 70s, China until a bit later, North Korea today and many nations are moving in that direction – including the US.

    Are there people who are members of a “cult” who desire such an outcome?

    Yes, absolutely.

    Being in a cult, of course, means that their minds are controlled to a degree that they don’t recognize that what they advocate, support, campaign and vote for is moving them toward this state of ultimate power, and so they go merrily along in support of the all-powerful state that their ideology supports, creates and is moving deliberately toward.

    In addition to the clueless cultists who are unaware of what they avocate are two other groups:

    1) Those in denial who say it’s not so bad and maybe it will work out and who pretend, deny and refuse to see the truth about what is happening. Deniers pretend to be moderate and pragmatic in an attempt to appease the cultists and the state itself.

    And,

    2) Those who do see that there are indeed states with unlimited power in regard to their subjected peoples and that there is a group of mindless brainwashed people that supports such states, supports the creation of such a state in those places where none yet exists and supports the movement of the US towards becoming such a state.

    Libertarians have a duty to shock the deniers into recognizing the truth and deprogramming the cult members so they can leave their zombie like addiction to the fascist-socialist omnipotent state and move toward liberty.

    Wake up Capozzi.

    The shackles on your liberty come from the state.

    The shackles on your mind were put there by you.

  112. Robert Capozzi

    116 tk, even in the bygone days of monarchies, it’s my understanding that the State controlled less of the citizenry’s lives than it does now.

    You may read Obama’s statement as being a firm call for totalitarianism. It could be, but I don’t see it that way. I see that as a vague, aspirational statement, like “yes, we can.” At any moment, BHO’s black-shirts may burst in and drag you to a camp where you’ll be forced to work in a slaughterhouse and me to some polar reclamation project north of Nome, but – despite my grave disappointment with many of Obama’s policies – I don’t see him as a totalitarian. Nor do I think Mitt Romney is a totalitarian, either.

    They are more-archists, not lessarchists, but totalitarians? Not seeing it….

  113. Grey-Bearded Libertarian

    Time and time again, a majority of delegates have expressed a desire to change the wording, but have failed to produce the super-majorities required to actually do so. What’s wrong with a change (from everyone’s perspective) to wording such as this:

    “We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the common belief that government can provide the best solutions and outcomes for most problems, preferring to defend the rights of the individual.”

    Feel free to modify it to satisfy all LP factions, but the general concept is easy enough. Wouldn’t it be better to spend our time changing public policy (through elections, party growth, education, legislation, protests, activism, media, or whatever your faction finds important) than haggling over a minor wording change for another couple of decades?

  114. paulie

    @119 I don’t have a particular problem with either wording and don’t think it’s particularly worth the trouble of changing. I don’t think all that many people care much either way, either.

    I don’t think 7/8 is likely to happen even if your wording is preferable, and I think if you did get 7/8 there would still be people complaining for as long as the party exists (and maybe longer) about changing it back, changing it to something else yet again, etc.

    If you want to spend your time changing public policy (through elections, party growth, education, legislation, protests, activism, media, or whatever your faction finds important) rather than haggling over a minor wording change for any given length of time, just do so. The fact that a (very) few other people have the opposite preference should in no way deter you.

  115. Mike Kane

    I have in fact contributed financially to the Wrights Campaign, and contributed to the Johnson campaign as well.

    You may have been looking at an older FEC filing, year end 2011.

    After the convention decides who the ticket will be, I’ll donate again. The amount will depend on which people are on the ticket.

  116. George Phillies

    @107 Sems to be a transmission problem. To repeat several prior messages, I gave $2400 in one check to Lee’s campaign. It appears to be lurking in his pre-July – 1 2011 data.

  117. paulie

    I’ve never seen an all-powerful state, either.

    Ever been to jail? Lived behind the iron curtain? Get beaten by cops? Been in a warzone with bullets, shrapnel and bombs hitting, killing and maiming people and destroying objects around you? I can’t say I recommend any of the above experiences, but I would say they have broadened my perspective somewhat.

    I have seen states with power. I have seen people advocating that states have more power and less power.

    I’ve seen two major parties see-sawing back and forth and cutting away impediments to state omnipotence relentlessly, with relatively few people challenging the assumptions which make that possible, and the vast majority of those who do in no way trying to organize to change that.

    I know a few people who advocate that states have no power, that they be abolished. (I’ve not really seen statelessness, aside from on the Moon and other remote places for short periods of time.)

    I did not know you had been to the moon 🙂

    Statelessness is all around you, since the omnipotence of the state is not yet total. As for parts of the world where statelessness is the de facto reality, they are numerous, although many of us would prefer not to live there for other reasons.

    despite my grave disappointment with many of Obama’s policies – I don’t see him as a totalitarian. Nor do I think Mitt Romney is a totalitarian, either.

    They are more-archists, not lessarchists, but totalitarians? Not seeing it….

    Maybe they would be if they could be, or maybe not. But even if they wouldn’t, they continue to lead us in that direction, and supporting either one does nothing to change that.

  118. Brian Holtz

    Tom/Bob, for how many consecutive years do PlatCom members and NatCon delegates and LNC/Chair candidates have to completely ignore the topic of SoP changes for you two guys to realize that it’s a dead issue?

    It’s four years and counting.

  119. paulie

    I’m with Brian on that one. I haven’t noticed the general public paying any attention to it, nor even LP opponents when they slam the LP, so why tie ourselves in knots?

  120. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian @125,

    I’m well aware that it’s a dead issue. I’m not the one who keeps bringing it up.

    The outcome of the Civil War is a dead issue, too, but if someone brings up the 20th Maine’s scrap on Little Round Top, I’m happy to discuss that too.

  121. Brian Holtz

    TK@127, you wrote here recently: A sizeable faction of the LP spends a lot of time bellyaching that the Statement of Principles is a handicap to being a “real political party”

    Who else besides Bob is in this “sizeable faction”? As far as I can tell, the fix-the-SoP faction folded its tent four years ago in Denver when the delegates voted to neither follow nor fix the text of the Bylaw protecting the SoP.

  122. Robert Capozzi

    tk, p, bh, I’m not making my view clear, then. While I certainly find terms like “cult of the omnipotent state” and “governments, when instituted” unworthy, it’s more the thought system behind such terms that I critique. If the LP lost the crypto-anarchist and absolutist constructs the underlie and undermine the project, the millstone of an SoP could probably be worked around. I happen to think an edgy, lessarchist party could be consequential and positive, and I foster dim hope that the LP could be that party.

    Mostly, though, I just like yakking with y’all…

  123. paulie

    I really don’t think that there’s much of the LP left with “crypto-anarchist and absolutist constructs”…it may seem that there are still a lot of us from comments here, but half of those or more have quit the LP and a few may have multiple identity disorders 🙂

  124. Matt Cholko

    When I first looked at the LP in 2007, I found the “..cult of the omnipotent state” line to be pretty ridiculous. In 2008 I was happy that the party nominated Bob Barr – a “legitimate” candidate for POTUS. But, by the time election day 2008 rolled around, I realized that Barr was a clown and that this “cult of the omnipotent state” did exist, was harmful, and should be challenged.

    My point – once you flip the switch in your brain to Libertarian, everything changes pretty fast. I want that switch to be flipped in as many brains as possible. If the SoP is actually turning away possible Libertarian converts, then I’d consider supporting a change. But, is there any evidence that it does so? I mean, it didn’t keep me out.

  125. Robert Capozzi

    mc, no, there’s no evidence that the “cult” language has dampened membership results. Over the years, I’ve seen newspaper articles cite the “cult” language, generally, I think, as a way to mock the LP.

    I would agree that there is a certain statist brainwashing that most Ls that I know have seen, identified as false, and undone in their minds. I share your desire to flick that switch off in the hearts and minds of as many as possible.

    At the end of the day, though, all thought systems amount to brainwashing. Replacing statist brainwashing with Randian and/or Rothbardian brainwashing replaces one dysfunction with another.

    Even Tao-ist brainwashing is still dysfunctional, but at least it flows with what is.

  126. Robert Capozzi

    p: I’ve seen two major parties see-sawing back and forth and cutting away impediments to state omnipotence relentlessly, with relatively few people challenging the assumptions which make that possible, and the vast majority of those who do in no way trying to organize to change that.

    me: Well put. I agree that the Rs and Ds operate – largely unconsciously – based on premises with logical outcomes would approach state omnipotence. They know not what they do, and the ultimate implications of what they believe. They are deeply conflicted, and unaware that they are conflicted.

    This does not mean that they are Pol Pot, though. If you tell them they are Pol Pot, they will either laugh at you or dismiss just about anything you might say. Bystanders will not see the Pol Pot connection either, and react likewise.

    I simply don’t agree that statelessness is all around me. Instead, we have a situation where states are checked and balanced internally and externally, creating a tenuous yet reasonably resilient state of domestic tranquility.

    Madison was conscious. He didn’t, however, have a monopoly on truth. Other models could work. That requires persuasion, though.

    The American Revolution brewed for about 10 years in a time when communications were slow. Crypto-anarchist L-ism has been around for 40 years in a time when communications have sped up to nearly instantaneous. It has failed to persuade or to bring about a second revolution. It might work, but it’s clearly unripe.

  127. zapper

    Robert Capozzi says:
    April 21, 2012 at 8:43 am
    “mc, no, there’s no evidence that the “cult” language has dampened membership results. Over the years, I’ve seen newspaper articles cite the “cult” language, generally, I think, as a way to mock the LP.”

    I’ve seen hundreds of articles on the LP over the years and never once has the Statement of Principles or the “cult of the omnipotent state” been part of the article. Not a single mention.

    These are internal matters that are part of forming and maintaining a Party of Principle. They actually strengthen and guide the party and its candidates, they aid in the internal education of new members and to the extent they repel those who are offended, they help to maintain the Libertarian principles without which the party serves no purpose.

    We cannot change America until we move a significant portion of the population away from supporting the cult of power that now rules them and we cannot move them at all if all we represent is some slightly edgy, moderate, wishywashy bowl of mush.

    Our Principles and Platform must be pure, clear and radical – pronouncing for all to see the end goals we seek.

    Our candidates would do well to emulate the gentleness and demeanor of a Gary Johnson, to focus on the critical and important issues of the day using the best advertising and marketing tools available, to employ sophisticated fundraising techniques all while maintaining the principles of Murray Rothbard.

  128. Robert Capozzi

    zapper, you are entitled to your opinion. Apparently, the lack of results of 40 years of this tack gives you no pause. Whether you know it or not, you’re making the same argument about “internal education” that Rothbard made in the early 80s – he called it “inreach.”

    It sounds like you’re OK with Johnson fronting for a Rothbardian philosophy, yet by all indications, Johnson is not a Rothbardian. Nor am I. Nor are millions of Americans who could be characterized as small-l libertarians, roughly fiscal conservative, social liberals. In your mind, that’s “wishy washy,” but it’s clearly not fact. The goal you seek — presumably private security to replace courts, cops and a modest national defense — is simply not shared by most small-l libertarians, probably most LP members, and certainly me.

    So, are you setting yourself up as being “above” us “wishywashy moderates”? Are you the philosopher king and we the serfs?

  129. Robert Capozzi

    zapper 1: Libertarians have a duty to shock the deniers into recognizing the truth and deprogramming the cult members so they can leave their zombie like addiction to the fascist-socialist omnipotent state and move toward liberty.

    zapper 2: Our candidates would do well to emulate the gentleness and demeanor of a Gary Johnson, to focus on the critical and important issues of the day using the best advertising and marketing tools available, to employ sophisticated fundraising techniques all while maintaining the principles of Murray Rothbard.

    me: I missed your first post, but now you’ve completely confused me. Do you advocate “shock” politics or do you advocate “gentleness” politics? Or something else? “Gently shocking” or “shockingly gentle”?

    You’ve got my attention. Please elaborate. You may be the next Karl Rove or David Axelrod if you can thread this needle!

  130. Robert Capozzi

    zapper: The shackles on your mind were put there by you.

    me: I meant to praise this before, so I am now. Of course, with perhaps a few exceptions, it is the human condition, succinctly put.

    Are you, Z, the exception?

  131. Robert Capozzi

    Paulie, you may recall that I consider myself a TAAAList, meaning “theoretical asymptotic anarchist, applied lessarchist.” Your post has inspired me to come up with a useful label for virtually all Rs and Ds: UAOSAMs, meaning “unconscious asymptotic omnipotent statists, applied more-archists.” I think that works, more or less.

    Thanks!

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