LP Convention 2008: There's a Starman Waiting in the Sky

I arrived in Denver at 1:20 p.m. local time, delayed by a stomach-churning, plane-rattling tornado (the rattling was from dodging the twister, not from getting sucked in), and caught one of the many airport-to-convention shuttles. Five LP delegates sat with me: Two for Barr, two for Ruwart, and one undecided. One Barr delegate would be happy with Root, and one Ruwart delegate* was intrigued by Gravel. Without getting too Thomas Friedman-y and imparting the wisdom of the ages to people I shared a ride with, there's no reason yet to doubt that those four candidates are in the top tier, and George Phillies and Steve Kubby are staying somewhat credible.

Happily, most of our conversation wasn't about the presidential race. Robert Latham, a Utah delegate (for Ruwart) and attorney, regaled us with stories of his state's draconian DUI and drug laws. For example: What happens if you tell a cop you're sober now but you toked a month ago? He can take you in: the drug's "in your system." Latham has taken six cases to jury, aquitted four clients and gotten partial acquittals for the others.

We turned to the speaker schedule, and couldn't figure out if Richard Hoagland—an author who argues that NASA is covering up evidence of dead civilizations found with their probes—was an official convention speaker. Hoagland, Latham mentioned, had really had an impact on Utah House candidate Joe Buchman. "He went to one of those conferences and came back convinced."

Latham read my expression: I was wincing. "You'll meet him," Latham said. "He's not a kook. He talks about this as a secrecy issue, in a relatable way."

"No matter how he talks about it," I said, "can't the two parties use it to marginalize him? I mean, how is it playing."

"It's playing pretty well!" Latham thought about it. "The polls aren't great, though. We just got the first one in from the district and we've got... zero percent. I was hoping to start off better than that."

I wouldn't have thought much of the conversation, but about a minute later we rounded 46th onto Brighton and saw a panhandler on the left side of the road. His sign: SPACE SHIP BROKEN. NEED MONEY FOR SPARE PARTS.

*I'll refer to supporters of Candidate X as "candidate X delegates," but obviously, nothing is binding them officially to their choice.

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  • Ironic||

    Which one of the LP presidential wanabees is actually a libertarian?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Richard Hoagland-an author who argues that NASA is covering up evidence of dead civilizations found with their probes-was an official convention speaker.



    Awesome. Can we assume that Blue Man Group will provide the official entertainment?

  • Colin||

    Why would anyone tell a cop they smoked pot a month ago? They should arrest you for stupidity.

  • ||

    The LP: happily keeping libertarianism on the fringes.

  • Plant Immigration RIghts Suppo||

    NASA: We make 1980's technology look exciting!

  • Colin||

    Better a UFO nut than a truther.

  • ||

    Dave Weigel,

    Thanks so much for the detail-laden, colorful updates. Some of us are really intrigued by all of this and wish we were there.

    In this day and age when most events seem to be covered Seven Ways to Sunday, this confab is the exception.

    Keep us informed; you're our lifeline.

    Great job so far.

  • Episiarch||

    "It's playing pretty well!" Latham thought about it. "The polls aren't great, though. We just got the first one in from the district and we've got... zero percent. I was hoping to start off better than that."

    Yeah, zero isn't too bad. I mean, it's not negative!

  • ||

    SPACE SHIP BROKEN. NEED MONEY FOR SPARE PARTS.

    Yeah, it's probably been done before, and the next time I saw it I'd just drive right by. But the first time I saw that I would have to stop and give that guy ten bucks. That's kind of awesome.

  • PLant IMmigration RIghts Suppo||

    "Better a UFO nut than a truther."

    Better either of those than a statist.

    For the record I am not any of those three things. I just saying I would rather for a truther or UFO nut than a statist.

  • ||

    Why don't they just hold the LP convention at Burning Man?
    Or even better: The bottom of an ocean.

  • ||

    Jamie Kelly,
    Why don't you just go play in traffic?
    Or even better: The bottom of whatever named body of water is most convenient.

  • ||

    delayed by a stomach-churning, plane-rattling tornado (the rattling was from dodging the twister, not from getting sucked in),

    Aw, quit making excuses for Big Cyclone.

    Seriously, I hope you have pictures from that experience.

  • ||

    Please tell me that Hoagland is not, in fact, a speaker at the LP convention.

  • ||

    The Libertarian Party is so filled with fucking lunatics and fringe thinkers that it's no wonder nobody takes them seriously.
    Fuck 'em and their blue men.
    They're doing more to destroy any chances of libertarianism actually taking hold in the United States than all the neo-con and liberal think tanks combined.

  • ||

    SPACE SHIP BROKEN. NEED MONEY FOR SPARE PARTS.

    I am with Warren here. For that ingenuity I would part with a couple of bucks. Who knows, perhaps it was an LP delegate trying to scrounge up cash for a room. I keed, I keed!

  • Bingo||

    God damn conspiracy mongers take a lot of credibility out of the sails of libertarianism.

  • ||

    Aldrin needs to slug Hoagland, too. If the LP is this far gone, it may never be relevant. Having fringe people in the tent is one thing; having them run the show is another. Not that this is a new problem.

  • B.P.||

    I've seen this panhandler before.

    When is the Reason happy hour for us Denverites?

    I got a notice from "Be the Change" about a "Libertarians for Justice" event at the Sheraton today at 5 pm regarding.... 9/11 trutherism. The film "Improbable Collapse" will be shown.

    Hopefully Dave Weigel will give us a recap.

  • fyodor||

    B.P. or Weigel,

    It costs at least $99 to attend the convention so that leaves me out.

    But if there's any unofficial and free events (aside from digestables), lemme know!!!

  • Bingo||

    I'm thinking of going to see Ron Paul speak tonight in Phoenix but the prospect of meeting so many crazies is kinda off-putting.

    Are there usually hot single ladies at these things or what?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Bingo - yes.

    But they're all crazy.

  • GG||

    Bruce Bartlett tells the LP to just give it up, and suggests libertarians join the NRA instead.

    Does the Libertarian Party Matter?

  • ||

    So, are you a Golden Smog fan?

  • Franklin Harris||

    "Better a UFO nut than a truther."

    Better either of those than a statist.

    For the record I am not any of those three things. I just saying I would rather for a truther or UFO nut than a statist.



    Which is exactly why the LP is ground zero for kooks.

  • Franklin Harris||

    If Richard Hoagland is a speaker at the LP National Convention, I'm not voting for the LP presidential candidate no matter who gets the nomination. I can better rationalize a strategic vote for Obama than I can enabling the LP's enabling of its kook fringe.

  • Bingo||

    Ah well I'll be at the the Phoenix Ron Paul speech in 45 minutes. I'm the cosomotarian wearing an olive-colored polo shirt and jeans. Stop by and say hi and we can chat about the quartasians, UFOs, and the great neo-con reptoid conspiracy.

  • Colin||

    Hey, Dave -- seen any Tucker '08 posters yet?

  • ||

    Richard Hoagland-an author who argues that NASA is covering up evidence of dead civilizations found with their probes-was an official convention speaker.

    I'll take a wild guess and assume that Cocoa Puffs are the official continental breakfast of the convention.

  • Shawn Levasseur||

    I've been here a couple of days. No evidence of Tucker Carlson, nor of any campaign on his behalf.

  • free the data||

    Hoagland is a bullshit artist and possibly COINTELPRO. But increased government transparency, including at NASA, is a legitimate issue for the Libertarian Party to consider.

  • someone has statist thug value||

    This is cute. "Pro Libertate" thinks agents of the state should beat citizens for asking them questions.

    Aldrin needs to slug Hoagland, too.

  • ||

    Colin | May 22, 2008, 5:27pm

    That was my reaction to that line too.

  • ||

    Aldrin is a private citizen. It's a free market slug I request.

    As for asking questions, well, there are intelligent questions and there are not. Hoagland falls into the latter category.

    Neil Armstrong hasn't slugged anyone, yet. Perhaps he should do it. I mean, the First Man on the Moon beating up some guy would really mean something. Not so much so with the Second Dude.

  • B||

    "One Barr delegate would be happy with Root, and one Ruwart delegate* was intrigued by Gravel"

    If there was ever a sentence that summed up why the Libertarian Party is totally insignificant in this country, the above quoted sentence is it.

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