Gravelanche: The Reactions Pour In!

I've asked for comment on Mike Gravel's tentative Libertarian Party run for president from the campaigns of George Phillies, Steve Kubby, and Wayne Allyn Root, and I'm posting their statements here.

UPDATE: From Wayne Allyn Root:

Gravel is in no way, shape or form a Libertarian. He's just a big government, big-spending, redistribute the wealth, liberal- big difference. He's clearly stumbled into the wrong party. Worse, he's a Green Party supporter and potential candidate as well. The Green Party is not in any way compatible with the Libertarian Party. They are polar opposites of the political spectrum.

On Gravel's name recognition: I'm impressed and respectful of any former or present U.S. Senator. But his name recognition is near zero. When was he last in the news? I've have yet to find one person I know that has heard of him. My educated guess is that being a Senator from Alaska is a lot like being the Maytag repairman- lonely and anonymous!

I would argue after my thousands of hours on national TV and millions of calls from American male sports fans and gamblers, my name recognition is far higher. If Mr Gravel wants to walk around Las Vegas casinos and sportsbooks with me during March Madness- I'll prove that point!

But having said all that, I welcome the Senator to the race, just as I welcomed Ron Paul a few months ago (if he had chosen to join the LP race). I welcome anyone and everyone to debate me in front of Libertarians and American voters in general. So far, I've won every single Libertarian Party debate at every LP convention that featured a Presidential Preference Poll after the debate. My winning percentage is an impressive 100%. I'm also the only LP candidate with major mainstream media attention- my guess is Gravel will have a hard time matching my media success. Next week I'll be on The Mancow Show and The WGN Morning TV show in Chicago during my Chicago campaign tour. None of my LP Presidential opponents COMBINED can match the media attention and credibility I bring to the LP. Lots of people talk- few deliver on their promises. I promised to be the most high-profile LP Presidential candidate ever. I've walked the walk- and I'm just getting started. I've been called a "Ronald Reagan-esque communicator for the LP." I believe that is the most important quality by far for any third party can ask for in a Presidential candidate in a sound bite world aimed at the MTV generation.

From George Phillies:

I am delighted to welcome Senator Gravel to the Libertarian party. I have met him before. In 2006, Gravel appeared at the LPNH State convention. As the two Presidential candidates in attendance, he and I presented against each other for delegate support from the LPNH. I won the delegate. I look forward to debating Senator Gravel again.It is highly problematic for someone to jump parties and immediately be given the Presidential nomination. We welcome converts to the choir; we don't make them Chief Deacon. Some of Gravel's core positions, e.g., universal single-payer health care, simply are not Libertarian. There is no way to sell those stands to Libertarian convention delegates. Correspondingly, Gravel has no way to win the Libertarian Presidential nomination.

Gravel presents a different problem for each candidate. Phillies, who ran a fairly solid House race in Massachusetts ten years ago, has argued that he has more campaign experience than the rest of the field. Root has argued that he has the most name ID—he's also done far more TV and media than any LP hopeful since Harry Browne. Kubby has actually seen real political success as a medical marijuana activist. But Gravel, by dint of his 12 years in the U.S. Senate and minor national recognition from this campaign, draws more attention than any of them. Gravel's decision sparked coverage in The Washington Post, The New York Times, the AP, and Fox News.

Would any of this translate into attention for the LP if Gravel should win the party's nomination? (It would have to be won at the convention, and while I would put Gravel's speechmaking abilities in the top tier of LP candidates, he has no organization to speak of.) I'm skeptical. I've seen how little attention Cynthia McKinney has garnered in her Green Party presidential bid. And if Nader runs a bid separate from the Greens, as he did in 2004, you'll have three candidates slicing an outsider, anti-war protest vote that was thin to begin with.

Until candidates weigh in, there's some tug-of-war happening in the Gravel comment sections. Reaction across the blogs is fairly negative.

Anthony Gregory:

In his announcement to supporters of his intentions to run as an LP presidential candidate, he writes, "The fact is, the Democratic Party today is no longer the party of FDR. It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism — all of which I find anathema to my views."

This is just hysterical. Of course, FDR created the military-industrial complex. To the extent the Democrats are no longer the party of FDR, that is a good thing -- and indeed, one could argue the GOP became the party of FDR with Nixon, Reagan and the two Georges Bush.

The New Skeptic:

Libertarians have a serious image problem, and people like Gravel and Ron Paul have not helped. Besides that, the Randians (oh no a word I just made up!) are in that "big tent" and stink the whole thing up. People who are serious but realistic about small government and civil liberties want nothing to do with the kooks. It's one thing to say, for instance, that the Commerce Clause is a strict limit on congressional power; it's another to formulate a reasonable interpretation of that provision while dealing with and changing the system currently in place. Getting rid of the FDA overnight = kooky; not just kooky, but intellectually immature. Criticism is not the final step in political theory, and if libertarians cannot construct a viable ideological system from the rubble of rejected ideas, then they offer nothing worth overhauling our government for.

Andre Walker at PeachPundit:

I don’t mean to knock the Libertarian Party because I believe that we need more than just two political parties engaged in the debate over the direction or our nation. However, with Mike Gravel now in the Libertarian Party’s ranks, it makes it a bit more difficult for the Libertarians to be considered as a viable third option for disenchanted Republicans and Democrats. You need more Bob Barrs and Neal Boortzs and less Mike Gravels.

I think the Ron Paul experience—millions of dollars for about 5 percent of the primary vote—has brought opinion of this kind of campaign back down to terra firma.

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  • SIV||

    Either Boortz or Barr as Presdident would enable Georgia to makeup for sending Jimmy Carter to Washington. Boortz is unelectable with his crazy %30 VAT tax scheme though.

  • Gene Berkman||

    Right on to Anthony Gregory for the most sensible response.

    As for The New Skeptik, whoever this is typifies so many supposed freedom lovers who think attacking the Libertarian Party is more important than opposing the state. Ron Paul and the Randians are both a plus overall, despite normal imperfections that we have come to expect from humans.

    Andre Walker is totally wrong when he says we need more Neal Boortzs. One Neal Boortz is actually wretched excess.

  • ||

    Boortz also has a hard-on for war and a tendency to run off at the mouth.

  • ||

    Isn't the green party a better fit for Gravel ideology-wise? Did he even read the LP platform on economic policy?

  • SIV||

    Boortz has said some things-particularly in the pre-syndication days on ATL only radio- that would make Ron Paul's newsletters seem mild.Some of it was pretty damn funny too.

  • Taktix®||

    Isn't the green party a better fit for Gravel ideology-wise? Did he even read the LP platform on economic policy?

    The LP is being played for a fool in Gravel's political stunt. Didn't he endorse the Green party candidate like, two weeks ago?

  • charlie||

    Who are these bloggers (outside of Gregory), and why should I care?

    I mean really, Neil Boortz is more credible than Gravel? Barf. Yeah, that's just what the LP needs -- to be tied to a warmongering right-winger who sees jihadists lurking behind every corner.

    Yeah Gravel has some knee-jerk liberalism still left in him, but he's hell of a lot better on the war and civil liberties than "respectable" libertarians like Boortz or Larry Elder. I think the LP should have reached out to the New Left/Green types a long time a go -- I think there's a lot of room for a movement based on anti-militarism, decentralization (which for all the grief they get on this site, Greens are mostly about), and the bill of rights.

    And I find it hilarious that the one blogger, "the New Skeptic", criticizes libertarians for being all-criticism, while turning around to criticize the man who has probably been the most successful libertarian politician (feint praise, I know) in his/her lifetime, Ron Paul.

    Yes he's not the Republican nominee (and pigs still don't fly), but he did get nearly a million votes among just Republicans, who in the age of the "war on terror" were probably the least-receptive audience for him.

  • ||

    Boortz is unelectable with his crazy %30 VAT tax scheme though.

    Nice hit-and-run there SIV. Have you bothered to actually READ the FairTax Plan or are you just borrowing the fraudulent words of those who need to lie about what this tax plan is? I read the FairTax Plan BEFORE Boortz published his first book about it, and I know it's neither a VAT nor does it say "%30".

    But let's just give you the benefit of doubt here for a moment... maybe Boortz had published some phantom book that you came across promoting this alternative idea of a "crazy %30 VAT tax scheme" (to use your words). If so, please share the title of it so we can all figure out who's the one full of crap.

  • charlie||

    People read books by shock-jocks and two-bit thinkers like Boortz?

    Was it all in pictures?

  • Taktix®||

    Have you bothered to actually READ the FairTax Plan or are you just borrowing the fraudulent words of those who need to lie about what this tax plan is?

    The fair tax is a fine idea, but if anyone thinks congress will simultaneously enact a new tax AND dismantle the current income tax is naive beyond comprehension.

    Keep fighting for that fair tax, stooges, you'll be paying out the ears before the end...

  • ||

    Maybe the LP should dump the rest of its platform and simply lobby for the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

  • Rimfax||

    As much as Gravel is so very much not a libertarian, it is refreshing to have something tie the LP to the left in the press. Even if he is rejected (like Ann Coulter was many years ago), it will be an opinion gateway for contemporary liberals to see the LP in a fresh light, rather than as a party of crypto-fascists. (Fluffy, consider yourself preemptively invited to go fuck yourself.)

    The LP isn't going to grow by courting more uber-religious homeschoolers. That group already has gotten the message about freedom, even other people's freedom to act immorally. The LP is going to grow by selling liberals on the fact that free minds cannot exist without free markets. Mike Gravel's brief soirée with Bill Redpath may help provide opportunities to do that.

  • Click \'n\' Learn||

    Thanks for this post. I like learning things, and it's always fun to explore a new subculture and learn "who's who". I'm going to write down "George Phillies, Steve Kubby, and Wayne Allyn Root" on a card and then invent a fun mnemonic so I can remember those names.

  • ||

    The LP is going to grow by selling liberals on the fact that free minds cannot exist without free markets.

    On the contrary, I think the LP is going to die when they begin to sell out the free market to attention whores like Gravel.

    Barack Obama has been said (including here on H&R) to be 'good' on civil liberties and the war, but that does not make him a libertarian. I've seen arguments (including here on H&R) that because he doesn't include a mandate for adults in his healthcare plan, he's "more libertarian" than Hillary. Obama is not a libertarian and doesn't belong in the LP party, and neither does Mike Gravel. Liberals who don't want to take complete control of our lives aren't more libertarian, they're just less authoritarian, and there is a difference. It's a difference that seems to get muddled during this election.

  • ||

    I would rather Vote for Obama or McCain then vote for Gravel...thank god he has no chance of winning the Libertarian nomination...cuz i really do not want to vote for Obama or McCain.

  • ||

    Mike Gravel has always had a libertarian streak.

    Let's see, 100% against the Iraq war and military industrial complex. Pro choice, pro gay marriage, pro 2nd amendment, against the war on drugs.

    He supports a carbon tax, the FairTax, and is generally pro-free trade. He's also criticized teachers unions in the past. Perhaps on health care he is a bit to the left but his plan is a voucher program that would also replace Medicare and Medicaid and be much smaller in scope than an actual socialized medicine system.

    Of course I'm voting for Obama but in a perfect world Mike Gravel would be our president.

  • alan||

    Besides that, the Randians (oh no a word I just made up!)

    Who ever wrote this really thinks that they made up Randian ?

    Here is a shiny red ball for you to play with New Skepty, now run along!

  • MattXIV||

    I don't think Gravel stands much of a chance of actually getting the nomination - can you imagine a convention dominated by hardcore ideological libertarians lining up behind him? I stopped investing much effort in the LP because it was dominated by impractical purists - there's no way a leftoid like Gravel's going to win them over.

    He'll largely serve to drag some disenchanted lefties along with him into LP politics, which may help broaden the libertarian base and would be a good thing. I don't want him to be the nominee, but I think him running for it and losing would have some positive effects.

  • jimmy||

    this is hilarious! i'm so glad i quit the LP after badnarik's love affair with marxist david cobb and the whole ohio recount thing.

    FWIW, neil boortz is dreadful, but why not bob barr? he has as much gravitas and name recognition as an ex-congressman as ron paul does, and seems to have moved far away from some of his old republican views. he would be far better than the typical LP crackpot candidates.

  • ||

    Well, I'm applauding Gravel on this one, mostly because getting involved in the LP is the quickest way a politician can guarantee his career will disappear into a black hole, never to be heard from again...

    I think the Ron Paul experience-millions of dollars for about 5 percent of the primary vote-has brought opinion of this kind of campaign back down to terra firma.

    Compared to what? The LP would die for 5% of the primary vote. It's hardly a landslide, but 5% of the primary vote probably beats the cumulative vote of every LP candidate in the general since the inception of the party. By libertarian standards, he was a roaring success. I'd be more interested in building on what Paul accomplished in the Republican party than in cheerleading the LP's lurch left with Gravel.

  • Peter||

    It confounds me that Gravel would seek to choose the LP as his platform, as it also confounds me and logic when that miserabalist, Bill Maher, claims to be "libertarian". While Gravel does support the second amendment, free trade, etc. (which admittedly I was not aware of), he always seems to use the same zero-sum, class warfare, anti-corporate rhetoric of the latter. I seem to hear way too much from him and types like Maher to the effect of greed being an inherent sin that we as a country must purge ourselves of. Indeed, CEOs commit no more crimes in this country than any common thief (not counting drug-related crimes of course), and so I'd argue that the problem with so-called corporate corruption is no more of a plague to our society than software pirating or insurance fraud or murder. "FDR" should be the red-flag acronym for any true libertarian that Gravel is in the wrong place. I hate to sound like an extremist, but I get very passionate about candidates being economically literate in this age of emotional legislating.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Liberals who don't want to take complete control of our lives aren't more libertarian, they're just less authoritarian, and there is a difference. It's a difference that seems to get muddled during this election.

    To the degree they are willing to refrain from taking control of our lives they are libertarian. Have you ever considered that if the Libertarian Party were to accept all comers, even the ideologically impure, then educate the newcomers about libertarianism after they are in the tent, that the party might actually grow in numbers?

  • JCoke||

    I think the Republican conservatives tried a tactics like that once...

  • JCoke||

    I know.. that is the worst English ever seen on these boards... I changed my sentence midway and didn't check it over.

  • ||

    This is a great example of why libertarians will never amount to anything in politics. Somebody actually wants to join the party and what do libertarians do. Talk shit and tell him to go away you're not libertarian enough.

  • Kolohe||

    the top tier of LP candidates

    Comedy GOLD, I tell ya...

  • ||

    I have to agree. An FDR libertarian? FDR = anti-war and anti-imperialism? Lawl?

  • stephen the goldberger||

    Gravel is running for president as a Libertarian? Choosing him would be suicide for the Libertarian party. If he wants to try an be part of the party, fine, but there's no way he'll represent it as its presidential nominee.

    Its clear Gravel is trying to find some way to maintain relevence, if he thinks the party will grant him the nomination just because he's a nationally recognized name he's delusional.

  • ||

    What's next for the LP? As a FDR man, will Gravel and LP leadership, publish a taxpayers sponsored, "up to speed" guide in Keynesian economics, for the "people?"

    I'm going to relinquish my libertarian voter registration status, and go back to being an independent.

  • Nash||

    I realize Gravel is basically socialist on all matters economic but the truth of the matter is he's more Libertarian than any other candidate running not named Ron Paul under the R or D banners.

    I took several of those "who is your candidate" tests. They had different questions mind you but all scored the same way. I knew Ron Paul was "my candidate" but I was always curious about who would end up #2. Gravel did in every test I took.

    I don't know if that's more of an indicator of Gravel's libertarian views (anti-war, anti-income tax, anti-prohibition, anti-snooping) or more an indictment of how authoritarian the rest of the field actually is/was.

    Yes Gravel is a crackpot but that's not the issue here and it isn't like the LP doeesn't have plenty of those types already anyway.

    Ideologically speaking and all issues being equal he's more Libertarian than say, Obama, Richardson, Romney, or Thompson and he's especially more Libertarian than Hilary or McCain. It's all relative and compared to the mainstream "field" Gravel was better than all of them except Ron Paul.

  • Peter||

    Hey, and what's wrong with Bob Barr anyway? I dig the 'stache too.

  • ||

    Once again, Libertarian with a capital L refers to the Libertarian Party. The word libertarian with a lower case L refers to libertarianism in general.

  • ||

    How come nobody was complaining about Wayne Allan Root(WAR) joining the Libertarian party after writing a book just a couple of years ago called Millionaire Republican. If you think Gravel is nuts watch a video of WAR giving a speach he makes Mitt Romney look sincere.

  • ||

    the Boortz/Huckabee Fairtax is NOT a VAT. Read the damn book.

  • Geotpf||

    Gravel is not a libertarian. Not even close. He's a pacifist socialist who happens to buy into the Fair Tax plan for some odd reason. Besides, the LP is too idelocially pure-they will go with an unelectable pure Libertarian over a popular candidate with more realistic views (pure libertarian thinking is not realistic, either in actually working in the real world or having a chance at electoral success).

    As for somebody with name recoginition running for the LP presidential nomination, Bob Barr is easily the best choice. But even he is probably not "pure" enough.

  • ||

    Considering that from a Libertarian perspective, FDR was the worst president ever, I have to conclude Mr. Gravel is senile and meant to say "Green Party."

    Granted, there's some overlap in our ideas:

    He wants to see the IRS destroyed and the income tax ended; so do I. I abhor it because it is not flat and income shouldn't be taxed; he abhors it because it isn't "progressive" enough.

    He thinks marijuana should be legal, but it's a utilitarian argument, not a principled one, and even one he contradicts with his argument in favor of a "public places" smoking ban. Meanwhile, the free market, free minds, strong property rights crowd would simply tell you that marijuana should be legal for the same reason "public places" smoking bans should not exist: it's none of our business what other people do with their own property.

  • ||

    Besides that, the Randians (oh no a word I just made up!)

    Who ever wrote this really thinks that they made up Randian ?


    Seriously, Dave Weigel, you never saw a post here by Ayn_Randian or visited rebirthofreason.com or any other Objectivist website? WTF?

  • ||

    Gravel isn't a libertarian -- LP voters would be fools to sully their good name by voting for him -- and by "good name", I include blue-skinned guy.

  • indented text means quoted tex||

    Seriously, Dave Weigel, you never saw a post here by Ayn_Randian or visited rebirthofreason.com or any other Objectivist website? WTF?

    David Weigel didn't write that, that was a quote from New Skeptic

  • Spermy Anus||

    Gravel? Wasn't he the old coot that starred in the YouTube vid where he stared silently into a camera for like 5 minutes before walking away and throwing a rock into a public pond? If libertarians interested in protest voting DONT vote for this guy they are nuts!

  • javier||

    I am not a LP member but i do have a certain degree of respect for them. However, if they nominate Gravel, they deserve the same disdain that the other two parties get from me.

  • LevStrauss||

    Gravel seems like a great guy and I will always be thankful to him for periodically breaking up the circle jerk that was the Democratic debates. It was the only thing that made them interesting besides drinking every time Richardson says "diplomacy".

    That said, he should be welcome to the LP, however he shouldn't be the nominee by a longshot. He has a voice that is useful, maybe over time he will become more libertarian and serve as a bridge to convert other leftists, although I really don't understand how a leftist can really be libertarian. We should welcome "Kos-motarians", albeit as a minority interest in the party.

  • alan||

    the Boortz/Huckabee Fairtax is NOT a VAT. Read the damn book.

    The book is even worse than the general idea of the Fair Tax. A monthly stipend for most families coming from the government, how does that increase autonomy? Even if you accept the idea that it is a tax rebate and not a subsidy, why should they benefit from holding on to my money and then dolling it back to me? The Fair Tax is a terrible idea because for many within the libertarian ranks it takes their eyes off the ball of real tax reform. Even Boortz says that it is designed to be tax neutral instead of starving the beast.

    I'm not crazy about progressive taxation but I sure as hell oppose regressive means. You are quite correct in describing his book as damned.

    Fair Taxites are the worse thing that ever happened to libertarianism, even worse than Namba showing up at LP conventions.

  • Spermy Anus||

    a vote for Gravel vs. a vote for HRC, Obama or McCain? That is a no-brainer, if he does not deserve the LP nod ... if those were the ballot choices, the Spermy Anus is pulling Gravel's lever!

  • alan||

    Even Boortz says that it is designed to be tax neutral instead of starving the beast.

    it should read,

    Even Boortz says that it is designed to be revenue neutral instead of starving the beast as all sensible proposals of reform have done.

  • ||

    Bickering over who should be chosen for Libertarian Party presidential candidate is like bickering over who should be the starting pitcher for a AA baseball team.

    I'm sorry, it's my job to tell things the way they are.

  • alan||

    Bickering over who should be chosen for Libertarian Party presidential candidate is like bickering over who should be the starting pitcher for a AA baseball team.


    The AAA contain as many losers as the AA's. New York Yankees meet your two senators.

  • ||

    Besides that, the Randians (oh no a word I just made up!)



    Who ever wrote this really thinks that they made up Randian ?

    If you look at a blog post from a few days ago, it appears a commenter took the blogger to task for using the word "Randian." The commenter claimed no such word existed.

  • alan||

    Well, dammit, Andrew, context is everything. The commentator can still keep the shiny red ball.

  • Pablo Escobar||

    Gravel is playing a political stunt and trying to get the Ron Paul libertarian vote/money. He admitted as much when he said in an interview (paraphrased), "If Ron Paul could raise that much money, why can't I?"

    Too bad the LP fell for it. Hopefully this won't distract the more viable Ron Paul Republicans from taking back the Republican Party.

    I'm quite glad Ron Paul isn't flushing all of his campaigning efforts down the toilet by running as a 3rd party candidate. This is going to be a revolution that takes time, just like it took time for Ronald Reagan to build a coalition and get elected President.

  • Brandybuck||

    Ooooh! The Shilly D links to LRC! Weigel had better watch out, or they'll cancel his subscription to Cosmoid.

  • ||

    God invented Fair Tax advocates so 9/11Truthers would have someone they could call "nuts".

  • SIV||

    I agree with Francis the Talking Mule

  • ||

    David Weigel didn't write that, that was a quote from New Skeptic

    Sorry, Dave. My bad.

  • ||

    Didn't Mary Ruwart also put her name in the hat as a candidate for the LP presidential nomination. She would be a far better candidate then Gravel or any of the the other candidates currently running.

  • JF||

    "FDR" means "Free Domain Radio", a weekly podcast by libertarian Stefan Molyneux. Duh.

  • ||

    Did I miss a debate about whether or not I exist?

    I do. And I like to think Objectivists don't "stink up" the libertarian tent any, either. I shower.

    Seriously, where the fuck do these guys think John Hospers derived the infamous "pledge" from in the first place?

  • ||

    First, I think you should have asked Mary Ruwart for her response as well.

    Root is a hoot! He's a conservative who "stumbled into the wrong party" himself. And for him to ridicule Gravel's name recognition is actually funny. I have long known of Gravel but never heard of Root until he decided to run for the LP nomination. The man is too full of himself and too Right-wing. I don't doubt that if he walked around gambling centers he would be more well known than Gravel but talk about skewing the sample in one direciton. Gravel would have the edge if you walked around a lot of universities where Root is an unknown.

    Phillies says he won in a debate with Gravel. Well, I wouldn't doubt it. I heard Phillies, Senator Gravel probably feel asleep during the presentation and slept through his rebuttal.

    Clearly Mr. Walker's complaint is that he wants the Libertarian Party to be more conservative. I personally want it to be more libertarian. So I prefer not to have the anti-immigration crowd running for office. I'll go with Mary Ruwart any day. And I suspect that she is actually leading the race now that she has declared.

    Read the commentary on Gravels positions at www.freestudents.blogspot.com. It lays out his different campaign issues.

  • ||

    my thoughts: Run if you want, get rejected because you are a socialist asshole. hit reset. find another party.

  • Spermy Anus||

    Oh my brothers ... the fractured libertarian movement continues apace! With no end to the infighting and muddled mix of characters in the greater community in sight, methinks any elected office is out of reach for just about every libertarian. We will continue to be fringe-kook-others in the eyes of the world at large.

  • ||

    "Gravel is in no way, shape or form a Libertarian. He's just a big government, big-spending, redistribute the wealth, liberal- big difference."

    I'm sick and tired of these ideological pricks. It's a lot easier to convince a big-gov't liberal that the gov't is a poor choice for helping the less fortunate than it is to convince a theo-wiretap-con that America isn't going to die because terrorists occasionally pull off a big score.

    Nick G. recently posted a thing about libertarians becoming the mainstream, and I believe that's true. But its a fractured middle, with anti-regulation but big-police-state and cultural war conservatives going against tax-and-spend but pro-personal liberties liberals. Both have libertarian angles, but neither is a purist.

    The Libertarian Party could gain serious traction if it opened its tent to both. Sure, there would be an ugly debate. But those debates are what the LP needs to gain a practical edge. Hopefully the LP will end up saying, yeah, regulation stinks but sometimes it is necessary (Cato seems to have taken this angle re energy policy), and a realization that terrorists want to change our lives (by killing), but we shouldn't give up the idea of America in the process of protecting it.

    Now more than ever there should be space in the LP for both camps. The libertarians of whom Nick G. spoke in his recent post aren't hardcore right or left. Their pragmatists who see gov't intervention in business and culture as an infringement of our rights and a waste of money. Tax and spend liberals like Gravel should be just as welcome as former drug warriors like Barr. Maybe they'll get together and come to a consensus that is superior to the major parties.

  • ||

    I don't know if Root is as insane as your typical LP candidate, but damn does he sound like a blowhard.

  • ||

    Lamar,

    It is actually very hard to convince "big-gov't" liberals to abandon that that thinking. the general mode of thinking is " if only the right person..." It is a fundamentally flawed way of thinking.

  • ||

    I really should have previwed my comment, buy what the hell, i went to public school.

  • Kolohe||

    I'll give the metaphor/simile primary to Phillies over Root. The deacon thing works better, is somewhat less snarky, and in some small way relates to the current zeitgeist.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    Root sounds like a blowhard as opposed to Philles?? Really??

    Root is exactly what the party needs, someone who can generate some excitement. He will sell the message to people who've never realized its what they've believed all along. Philles is an academic, which just about guarentees he will come across as an inaccesible blowhard.

  • ||

    The deacon thing works better, is somewhat less snarky, and in some small way relates to the current zeitgeist.

    -5 Kolohe; everyone knows there's no such thing as a current zeitgeist. You can only identify the zeitgeist after the period of time is over.

  • Kolohe||

    Yeah, well I heard today that you don't exist, so thpppbt.

  • Kolohe||

    or was that God? I sometimes get you two confused.

  • ||

    WA Root:

    Gravel is in no way, shape or form a Libertarian. He's just a big government, big-spending, redistribute the wealth, liberal- big difference.

    If this is true, I withdraw my welcome that I bade below. Being anti needless wars, such as Iraq and the nebulous "war on terror," is a necessary but insufficient requirement to claim to be a libertarian.

    One must support individual liberty in all areas of human action including economic, which is called capitalism.

    A libertarian wishes that all human action that does not entail force or fraud be legal.

    A libertarian knows that the only good reason for politics is so that the importance of some future politics is reduced.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Too bad the LP fell for it.

    Are you sure any falling for it has been involved. Anybody who can vote can register as a Libertarian. Has it even been established that Gravel has registered Libertarian or become a member?

    (That registering Libertarian and becoming a member have nothing to do with each other, and what it says about the core problem of the Libertarian Party is a topic for some other time...)

  • Jeff Wartman||

    To claim that Gravel's move to the LP is about anything other than self-promotion and money is naive.

  • ||

    or was that God? I sometimes get you two confused.

    A common, if understandable, error. :-D

  • Bingo||

    Jeff:

    Yeah because god knows that libertarian candidates are just loaded to the fucking brim with campaign contributions.

  • Jeff Wartman||

    Yeah because god knows that libertarian candidates are just loaded to the fucking brim with campaign contributions.



    That's not his line of thinking -- he's not aware of the massive fundraising problems the LP has, he is looking at what "libertarian" Ron Paul has done with fundraising and trying to duplicate it with this stunt. He's just not knowledgeable enough to know it's doomed to failure.

  • ||

    "I've been called a "Ronald Reagan-esque communicator for the LP." I believe that is the most important quality by far for any third party can ask for in a Presidential candidate in a sound bite world aimed at the MTV generation."

    Wow. Really? WAR drives me insane.

  • ||

    Anyone who still uses the phrase 'MTV generation' unironically is clearly a doofus of the first order.

  • ||

    David Weigel: what did all the millions in money and gazillion in free advertising and and dominating the polls in 2007 bring to your man: Rudy Giuliani? McCain dominated media coverage, while Paul got less than 5% of the coverage and had to get name recognition out. Still, you do not mention that he received up to 25% and 11% on a national poll should he decide today to run third party. McCain will be facing quite a lot of problems...
    On Gravel, I do not think he will necessarily be the nominee for the LP, he may be VP candidate and attract left wingers and even Greens while a Barr or Ruwart as nominee would attract from the right, making it quite a formidable combination.

  • Travis||

    I've been called a "Ronald Reagan-esque communicator for the LP."

    The only time I've heard that was when WAR was saying that about himself and he said it three times in the same speach. He's not even a good orator.

  • B||

    "I would argue after my thousands of hours on national TV and millions of calls from American male sports fans and gamblers, my name recognition is far higher."

    Dude, you need to get out more. Both you and Gravel are at Dennis Miller-esque levels of obscurity, OK?

  • 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 ||

    I know who Gravel is (if only by virtue of his rare-these-days anti-imperial stand), but who's this Wayne Allen Root guy?

  • Taktix®||

    ...making it quite a formidable combination.

    Ha ha. That's good. You kill me...

  • ||

    Root is exactly what the party needs, someone who can generate some excitement. He will sell the message to people who've never realized its what they've believed all along.

    And, he'll do it by accomplishing something I never thought possible: being the biggest douchebag the LP has ever run for any office.

  • Daniel Reeves||

    Of course I'm voting for Obama but in a perfect world Mike Gravel would be our president.


    No, in a perfect world, Milton Friedman would rise from the dead and seize the presidency for eternity.

  • MK2||

    "A libertarian wishes that all human action that does not entail force or fraud be legal."

    And all human acton that does entail force or fraud should be illegal?

    Fraud: Sexual seduction, extra-marital affairs, Santa Claus, health foods, weight-loss programs, religion, psychology, astrology, forune telling,pyramid schemes, speed reading courses.

    Force: disciplining children, collecting debts, defending life and property, evicting deliquent tenants, training animals.

  • MK2||

    No one has mentioned Gravel's association with Holocaust deniers. Just what Libertarians need after Ron Paul.

  • ||

    Can't we just stop running old people with serious baggage?

  • MK2||

    More Fraud: Freud, psychiatry, postmodernism, Andy Warhol, Dr. Phil, Lou Dobbs, Ginko, Tiger Balm, vitamin E, Fox News

  • MK2||

    Extended waranties

  • Mr. X||

    I think it's a positive development that people who have been elected to Federal office (Barr, Gravel) are drawn to the Libertarian Party.

    That said, Gravel shouldn't be given the nomination.

  • MK2||

    Deepak Chopra

  • ||

    I think anyone who's excited about Gravel joing the LP needs there head checked.

    Here is a guy, who like Root said, is seeking the Green Party nomination. Which really is a polar opposite of the LP. Believes we should be working towards a World Government, a gun grabber, and would get rid of the IRS in favor of a "progressive" tax.

    "But he's against the war and for civil libertys". Yeah, but he's also for Government control on everything. Universal Pre-school, and more Adult education.(Whatever that means)

    To read most of the post on here, just goes to show, that the Libertine lifestyle is more important than the Libertarian philosophy.

    And by the way, where has Brian Doherty been? He's the one who should be commenting on this. Being thar he does believe in the Libertairan Philosophy. And does look at the Government as the evil that it is.

  • MK2||

    The American school system

  • ||

    I think all the yapping on this thread just proves that any political party based on an actual political ideology is doomed in these here United States. Doomed, I tells ya!
    (And I'm willing to bet that Kubby -- Who? Who? Yeah, but I'll vote for him, bud -- will be the LP nominee.)

  • Mike Laursen||

    "A libertarian wishes that all human action that does not entail force or fraud be legal."

    And all human acton that does entail force or fraud should be illegal?


    You may want to check out a Logic textbook.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    For someone like Gravel to "convert" to the LP, he would need to prove he's had some kind of fundamental shift in his views on government size, scope, and cost.

    So far, I'm not convinced he isn't a better Green Party candidate.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I hope Mary Ruwart makes some progress. She'd make a great LP front-runner.

  • MK2||

    Mike

    I realize that outlawing everything that does involve force and fraud doesn't logically follow from legalizing everything that doesn't involve force or fraud, but it's fun to think of all the fraudulent activities--our economy is practically dependent on them--that are perfectly legal. Libertarianism--nice theory, wrong species.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Fair enough. There are more varieties of libertarians than just those who reduce libertarianism to simple axioms about force and fraud or a non-aggression principle.

    Personally, I think it is very useful to use such principles to analyze political questions, but I don't think they give enough guidance to tell us the right answer to every situation that comes up in this oh-so-tangled real world we live in. Figuring out the right thing to do in this world usually involves looking at problems from many viewpoints, and artfully resolving them all.

  • MK2||

    Mike

    I applaud your pragmatism, the real secret of America's success. God save of from utopians of all stripes.

  • ||

    Mike Laursen:

    And all human acton that does entail force or fraud should be illegal?

    You may want to check out a Logic textbook.


    If you think that what I wrote is illogical, it's you who would benefit from a logic textbook. Yes, all human action that does entail force or fraud should be illegal. The only alternative is that all human action should be legal. (I'm ignoring the ridiculous option of everything being illegal.)

    It has to be cuz things have to be either legal or illegal. There are only two choices. It's just logical.

  • ||

    Mike Laursen:

    Figuring out the right thing to do in this world usually involves looking at problems from many viewpoints, and artfully resolving them all.

    But the non-aggression principle trumps everything else and provides the critical guide.

    It doesn't matter how kind the master is, or how much of an increase in the prosperity of society in aggregate is provided by the labor of the slaves, slavery is always wrong.

  • Mike Laursen||

    If you think that what I wrote is illogical...

    Rick, I was replying to MK2's reply to what you wrote.

    Yes, all human action that does entail force or fraud should be illegal.

    There's nothing illogical in what you're saying, but I think it's not practical nor even desirable. Reread what MK2 wrote. Even though he was being illogical (on purpose), he made a good point.

    The only alternative is that all human action should be legal.

    That would be better. At least, it's not based on the premise that we can create some perfect legal system administered by some perfectly-behaved authority.

    It has to be cuz things have to be either legal or illegal.

    There are tons of matters in life that are in the fuzzy legal area. People can cook up unique scenarios at a higher rate than legislators can make up laws declaring the things they do to be legal or illegal. And no law is truly established until it has been tested in a series of court decisions, and generally accepted by the culture.

    But the non-aggression principle trumps everything else and provides the critical guide.

    Often it provides clear guidance. Sometimes not. What does it tell us about how the Israelis and Palestinians should reconcile their conflict? What does it tell us about whether abortion is right or wrong? Or whether a family should have the power to withdraw life support from a family member? About when a person can be considered an adult responsible for his own decisions?

    It doesn't matter how kind the master is, or how much of an increase in the prosperity of society in aggregate is provided by the labor of the slaves, slavery is always wrong.

    Who was talking about slavery?

  • MK2||

    But the non-aggression principle (Jesus) trumps everything else and provides the critical guide (Salvation).


    Mike,

    Never argue with a fundamentalist cuz it's pointless.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Yeah, I know. I'm doing it only for the entertainment value.

  • Andrew||

    I am running for Utah Attorney General as a Libertarian. I welcome Mike to our party. I will be a delegate in Denver; and I may even vote for him. I like his positions, which makes me more "liberal" than many Libertarians. But there is room for that in our party. I also acknowledge that other candidates have worked a lot longer to build it. I think this is a positive development, and I ask those who rush to say he is "not LIbertarian enough" to show more tolerance, and to support their own candidate with their best efforts.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Amen, Andrew!

  • lee brenn||

    The LP National Convention in Denver will consist of a pack of pale aspies nominating Ruwart and circle-jerking over the new platform planks for 72 hours.

    I'd be shocked if they let Gravel say a word. Which doesn't bother me none. Hell, if I even go I'll likely be good and blotto in Stanhope's suite for a good part of it.

  • ||

    The LP nominating process doesn't require any kind of organization. Ask Michael Badnarik. All you have to do is travel around the country, inspiring more people to attend the LP national convention as delegates (on their own dime) than the other candidates do.

  • ||

    MK2:

    And all human acton that does entail force or fraud should be illegal?

    Of course, and has been observed here, that doesn't follow. But your list is still interesting:

    Fraud: Sexual seduction, extra-marital affairs, Santa Claus, health foods, weight-loss programs, religion, psychology, astrology, forune telling,pyramid schemes, speed reading courses.

    Some items in your list I don't consider to be fraud and some I do. But none of them would I make illegal. But the similarity of, for example, fortune telling (billed as prophecy, not entertainment, where the fortune teller doesn't believe the bunk) which is clearly fraudulent, I think opens up to question all laws that proscribe fraud. Perhaps a new libertarian principle; one that authorizes government prohibition against force but not fraud? I've considered this before. I think it's interesting.

  • ||

    MK2:

    But the non-aggression principle (Jesus) trumps everything else and provides the critical guide (Salvation).

    Force: ... collecting debts, defending life and property, evicting deliquent tenants...

    Maybe if you weren't to busy conflating religious fundamentalism with philosophical principle for the purpose of insult, you'd at least have a grasp of the basics. The libertarian proscription against force is against the initiation of force. In this thread you've made mistakes in both logic and fact.

  • ||

    I'm glad Gravel is still running and promoting a 2nd party to our two-headed one imperial corporate war party.

    During the primary season I've told people Gravel was running as a Democrat and had a sort of libertarian streak in him.

    NOW, I know I've read a lot of the above criticisms of him.

    But here: He is against the phony & failed drug war. He is against the imperial wars.

    And here is one that I had thought that would make Libertarians and libertarians really like him: He said in the debates that we should eliminate the income tax.

    There is one thing that I never quite understood about the Libertarians. Or at least thought they were being disingenuous because of it. They call for getting government out of the economy. But they do not call for the revocation of all corporate charters.

    Corporations, including the modern day business corporation, is a legal construct. It exists only as a set of government constructed laws. And grants privileges such as limited liability to owners/shareholders among other things. It was only this way for around one hundred years of the US.

    So where are Libertarians on this?
    Laws construct corporations and distort the magical "free market"®. Are they merely ignorant of this history (I'm guessing probably) or are they being disingenuous and just want to continue making their quick bucks & in 1984 style want to "free" corporations from government oppression?

    For more on the history of the legal entity that is the corporation one can check out this nifty site: http://www.poclad.org/

    Mike Gravel might be able to offer up the critique of corporations as quasi-government entities, or at least the legal entities that these things are into the debate.

  • ||

    Mike Laursen:

    Rick, I was replying to MK2's reply to what you wrote.

    Mike, sorry, my bad. I thought that you italicized where you didn't mean to. I shoulda read more carefully.

    Reread what MK2 wrote. Even though he was being illogical (on purpose), he made a good point.

    I don't see any evidence that it was "on purpose" and please see my rebottle above.

    And no law is truly established until it has been tested in a series of court decisions, and generally accepted by the culture.

    If it has the force of the state behind it, harm can be done regardless of cultural acceptance.

    What does it tell us about how the Israelis and Palestinians should reconcile their conflict?

    It points toward the equity of both the Israeli government giving back the West Bank to the Palestinians and to the Right of Return.

    What does it tell us about whether abortion is right or wrong?

    I think that it implies that associations should be voluntary, so abortion should be legal. ("right or wrong" is a different matter.)

    Or whether a family should have the power to withdraw life support from a family member?

    Interesting. It seems to me that there is no initiation of force unless it's the sick person whose funds are being used for life support.

    About when a person can be considered an adult responsible for his own decisions?

    Yep. I don't thonk that it informs that question at all.

    Who was talking about slavery?

    I was just citing an example where utilitarian considerations clearly aren't necessary at all.

    Yeah, I know. I'm doing it only for the entertainment value.

    Be careful of whom you join in insult. :)

  • ||

    Andrew:

    ...and I ask those who rush to say he is "not LIbertarian enough" to show more tolerance,

    It's a question of is "enough" appropriate in his case.

  • MK2||

    Rick Barton is a libertarian Jerry Falwell without the charm.

  • ||

    MK2,

    You're ratcheting up your insults when instead you should be reinforcing your arguments. Oh yeah, you aren't actually making any arguments.

  • ||

    MK2,

    Also, did you even read my post at 2:05pm? The libertarian Jerry Falwell bit clearly isn't apropos. But I guess it sounded cute to you and that was good enough.

  • MK2||

    Wait a minute, Jerry..er..Rick, doesn't abortion constitute an initiation of force against the fetus?

  • Fu i Sand||

    I'd like to alter a part of a sentence in my post above.

    "...Libertarians and libertarians really like him"

    take out "and libertarians" because it has a much too wide range to apply for what I wanted.

  • ||

    MK2:

    Wait a minute, Jerry..er..Rick, doesn't abortion constitute an initiation of force against the fetus?

    Interesting point. It's certainly force. But is it initiation when the fetus in incapable of an existence separate from the mother? The mother is just ending an association that she does not desire.

    Note that I said thet the non-aggression principle provides the critical guide, not the rule in every case. Although I'm solidly pro-choice, I have problems with my own principled argument for that position. By my justification, shouldn't it be legal for parents to just ignore a child and let him/her starve? Can anyone help me here?

  • MK2||

    Some problems just can't be solved by slogans. Life is a bitch.

  • ||

    MK2,

    You'll never make progress if you conflate principle with slogans.

    As to "Life is a bitch". I never liked that slogan-Too negative to have the ring of truth..

  • MK2||

    Rick

    Your inability to deal with life's bitchiness is probably what makes you think in slogans and cry out for help when a slogan doesn't seem to work.

  • ||

    MK2,

    You're still referring to philosophical principle as slogan cuz it's easier for you to be dismissive. Being dismissive is all you have cuz, as you have demonstrated here, you lack understanding of even the basics.

  • MK2||

    Rick,

    You wouldn't know a philosophical principle from a Bible verse, but I give you the last word.

  • ||

    MK2,

    I don't want a last word. Oops, I guess I just took one. Anyway, no hard feelings.

  • MK2||

    Okay, I'll take it. Simplistic ideological rigidity and religious funadmentalism are kissin' cousins. No hard feelings on my part at all. I'm just breakin' your balls.

  • ||

    My balls are well intact. Knee jerk nay saying often leads to miss-categorization. Me thinks you've been owned on this thread.

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

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