REAGAN AIDE DEFECTS TO LP
Frontlines correspondent Bruce Ramsey reports from San Francisco:
The new National Director of the Libertarian Party is Ned Hutchinson, a 44-year-old former Reagan official. He joined Ronald Reagan's administration in 1967, and for the past six years has been Reagan's appointments secretary, in charge of recommending to Reagan appointments to judicial, executive, and other government posts. On January 30, his own job finished, he broke ranks with the GOP and joined the Libertarian Party, becoming the LP's new national director.
"I've stood for maximum liberty and minimum government as long as I can remember," he said. "Seeing the GOP in Washington throw away individual liberties and violate their principle of fiscal responsibility with a $51 billion deficit is too much. The Republican Party no longer stands for anything."
He said that he had been introduced to libertarianism about a year and a half ago by Antony Sutton of Stanford University, and had made up his mind several months ago that when his job in the Reagan administration was finished, he would join the LP.
For the next six months, his job is to get the LP on the ballot in as many states as possible. Now it is only on the ballot in two states, Washington and Colorado. In California, getting on the ballot requires either 610,000 signatures or 61,000 people registered as Libertarians—contrasted to the State of Washington, where it only takes 100 signatures. In view of the mathematics involved, Hutchinson says he will go for the registrations.
"We don't really know how many registrations there are," he said. "Some counties don't count minor party registrations if they only have a few. I would guess the number at below 5,000."
He is concerned that some of the publicity seeking stunts staged by libertarians have backfired at the polls. He noted that Elizabeth Keathley, a libertarian running on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, had gotten plenty of media attention after she campaigned topless on the beach at Santa Monica, but she received only 1.2 percent of the vote [75,004 votes; four cents a vote —Ed.]. Similarly, Jerry Tuccille in New York challenged his opponents to a game of Monopoly, proclaimed that Chester A. Arthur was a great president, and sent a Godiva-like blonde in a body stocking riding through Central Park on a horse named Taxpayer. Yet Tuccille only got 10,800 votes out of a projected goal of 50,000, while Kay Harroff in Ohio, waging a much more idea-centered campaign, got almost 80,000 votes, spending 7½ cents per vote.
"Tuccille spent $6 a vote, which is a lot," said Hutchinson. "He got their attention, but he didn't sell them. There are responsible and attractive ways to get people's attention; I don't think a minority party has to be bizarre to be successful."
The LP told REASON that Hutchinson will be working out of the LP's San Francisco headquarters with National Chairman Ed Crane and an administrative assistant, Linda Webb, who was a top aide to George McGovern in California during the 1972 campaign. Crane stated that the hiring of Hutchinson "will provide for the continued growth of the Libertarian Party and accelerate our organizational efforts dramatically. Ned is a man of great resourcefulness and we are most fortunate to have obtained his services."
The Institute for Humane Studies, in conjunction with the University of Hartford, will sponsor a symposium on Austrian Economics at the University of Hartford, June 22-28, 1975. The primary focus of this particular conference is to provide younger scholars with an opportunity to present papers that explore some aspect of Austrian economic theory or history. Senior academic economists have been invited to comment on these papers and also lead occasional evening discussion periods.
Many young economists with an interest in Austrian economics have already agreed to present papers at the Hartford symposium. Economists such as Ed Dolan, J. McCulloch, Walt Grinder, S. Shenoy, and G. O'Driscoll will deliver papers in addition to many others. Senior economists such as Murray Rothbard and Israel Kirzner have already agreed to attend as commentators. In addition, it is expected that F.A. Von Hayek will deliver the keynote speech at the opening banquet.
Dr. D.T. Armentano, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Hartford, will act as Director of the symposium and will also deliver a paper titled: "Competition & Monopoly: Some Austrian Perspectives." For further information on the conference please contact Dr. Armentano at 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Frontlines".