Can the Weird Turn Pro?

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Libertarian Party-watcher–and former Michael Badnarik in 2004 staffer–Thomas Knapp wonders if the LP could stand another Badnarik run for president, given some of his particularly eccentric views on income taxes and drivers licenses, in the aftermath of what just might be a very impressive showing in Badnarik's run for Congress this year. I wrote for Reason an I-was-there account of Badnarik's amazing and unexpected winning of the LP presidential nomination back in June 2004.

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  1. Isn’t this a little like wondering who will make it to the tiddlewinks championship runoffs?

  2. Or who will be declared World’s Tallest Midget?
    Sorry. Carry on.

  3. Hey, the LP may be feckless and hopeless, but there’s always that one strong candidate that could make a splash. Like Perot did in 1992.

    I’m thinkin’ a Kurt Russell/James Hong ticket would do it. Heck, they might win.

  4. “…given some of his particularly eccentric views on income taxes and drivers licenses…”

    Not to mention the take on his old website regarding prison inmates and exercise.

  5. I’ve tried posting this 3 times and it hasn’t appeared to work, so apologies in advance if this is the 4th copy that magically shows up…

    Seems like going through the motions of trying to act like a real party is a bit of a waste at this point. Wouldn’t everyone’s energies be better spent if the LP acted more like a meta-party, or PAC or whatever. Basically just form a voting block that tries to muscle the most palatable guy with a chance of winning into adopting some libertarian principles. In areas where you poll at respectable counts, sure, run a candidate, but why waste everyone’s votes when you KNOW you’re only going to get 5% or so of the vote? I’m sure there are a LOT more libertarians out there (I’ve talked with a lot of them) that have comprimised on one of the standard parties based on whether they’re more socially or fiscally libertarian. Has this been tried before?

    While I’m at it, I’d like to propose that the californian LP adopt a ferret in a star trek uniform smoking a joint as their new mascot, as damn near every Lib in CA seems to have as their issue either a ferret fetish, legalizing pot, or an obscene obsession with Gene Rodenberry(sp?). Anyone else notice this trend?

  6. jasno.

    I know, the whole ferret issue does sound kooky, and made to sound even kookier by our former lt. governor candidate.

    Not to excuse him, but things do seem very different from the perspective of an otherwise law abiding citizen who gets his house broken into by gvmt agents for owning a pet that is much less dangerous than your average cat or dog (and legal to own in 48 other states)…. no, not me, but it has happened.

    If Libertarianism isn’t against this kind of government intervention, exceptional though it may be, then… what good is it?

  7. Getting the LP nod for President is like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics: you might be first, but at the end of the day you’re still retarded.

  8. Timothy,

    Unless the planets align and an LP candidate wins. How weird would that be? He’d probably swear an oath to uphold the Constitution and the Charter of the United Federation of Planets.

  9. PL: Entirely possible, which is pretty sad if you think about it.

  10. With the current mindset of our nation, the Libertarian Party needs to focus much more on foreign policy. We need to show AMerica that the LP is the only legitimate Antiwar party, while still being economically conservative and anti-gun control.

    Also, the LP needs to refrain from making ludicrous statements about how “Lincoln was a bloodthirsty dictator and the South was right.” That’s a pretty hypocritical statement, claiming to be the party of Liberty yet supporting states that made their livelihood off the backs of slaves…

    With the incompetency of the two major parties, there is no reason why the LP isn’t a political force.

  11. With the current mindset of our nation, the Libertarian Party needs to focus much more on foreign policy. We need to show AMerica that the LP is the only legitimate Antiwar party, while still being economically conservative and anti-gun control.

    Also, the LP needs to refrain from making ludicrous statements about how “Lincoln was a bloodthirsty dictator and the South was right.” That’s a pretty hypocritical statement, claiming to be the party of Liberty yet supporting states that made their livelihood off the backs of slaves…

    With the incompetency of the two major parties, there is no reason why the LP isn’t a political force.

  12. We need to show AMerica that the LP is the only legitimate Antiwar party, while still being economically conservative and anti-gun control.

    Considering how scattered the foreign policy views of the libertarians on this site (both wrt Reason writers and H&R posters) are across the political spectrum, that seems like a surefire way to keep an already thin base divided. It might make sense to come out against a highly interventionist, lucre-burning foreign policy on one side, and a hard-core isolationist mindset on the other; but beyond that, it would probably be a good idea to maintain a laissez-faire approach to geopolitical disagreements.

  13. If the LP nomination is useful, why couldn’t Carla Howell even come in 2nd in 2000 for US senator from Mass. with plenty of money and a laughing stock who barely qualified as the GOP nominee?

  14. “Considering how scattered the foreign policy views of the libertarians on this site (both wrt Reason writers and H&R posters) are across the political spectrum, that seems like a surefire way to keep an already thin base divided. It might make sense to come out against a highly interventionist, lucre-burning foreign policy on one side, and a hard-core isolationist mindset on the other; but beyond that, it would probably be a good idea to maintain a laissez-faire approach to geopolitical disagreements.”

    To elaborate, by antiwar I mean anti-Iraq. We should agressively tout our opposistion to this war and any other needless war, but instead keep our troops in our own borders for defense. Neither of the two major parties are isolationist, so we need to “play-up” our isolationist stance. Otherwise, how are we different?

  15. . Neither of the two major parties are isolationist, so we need to “play-up” our isolationist stance. Otherwise, how are we different?

    If stressing isolationism is key, then why not push the greens? They’ve been consistently anti-war. So has the Constitution Party (eek).

    Try buffing up the LP’s **limited government** principles, since neither of the major parties are supporting that PoV either. You’ll probably get a bigger draw than trying to fight over the isolationist crowd amongst the fringe left and right wing parties.

  16. Scotty wants to define isolationism as the distinctive policy issue for libertarians. Regulars can guess my thoughts on that prescription, but it does open up an interesting line of thinking.

    If we wanted to pull all of our unified might behind a single policy, what should it be? I’m interested here in strategy. What can we influence and what would be the play?

  17. “…While I’m at it, I’d like to propose that the californian LP adopt a ferret in a star trek uniform smoking a joint as their new mascot.”

    That’s actually not a half-bad idea! I can see a lot of kids and hipster types wanting to wear this on t-shirts and stuff, a la Joe Camel.

  18. “…While I’m at it, I’d like to propose that the californian LP adopt a ferret in a star trek uniform smoking a joint as their new mascot.”

    That’s actually not a half-bad idea! I can see a lot of kids and hipster types wanting to wear this on t-shirts and stuff, a la Joe Camel.

  19. I’m thinkin’ a Kurt Russell/James Hong ticket would do it. Heck, they might win. -Pro Libertate

    Wow! I knew that Kurt Russell was a libertarian but I didn’t know about James Hong. Jack Burton and David Lo Pan would be my dream ticket. Can we get John Carpenter some sort of cabinet position or something?

  20. If we wanted to pull all of our unified might behind a single policy, what should it be? I’m interested here in strategy. What can we influence and what would be the play?

    owning ferrets and legalize pot thats what i am here for at that is what i will stand by. 🙂

    Seriously,
    How about less taxes and cut spending…ie balance the budget. It took Perot a long ways and that guy was a pure nut.

  21. Can we get John Carpenter some sort of cabinet position or something?

    dude the guy is like 90…We need to squeeze as many films out of that guy as we can before he is worm food. No time for political work when two thirds of his work is ussually pure crap…but when he is good he is Great.

  22. “I’d like to propose that the californian LP adopt a ferret in a star trek uniform smoking a joint as their new mascot, as damn near every Lib in CA seems to have as their issue either a ferret fetish, legalizing pot, or an obscene obsession with Gene Rodenberry(sp?). Anyone else notice this trend?”

    Christ, I wish the LPC rank ‘n file were that cool. Leaving behind Badnarik, the militia folk and Austin’s cable freak show line up (Alex Jones,Terry Liberty Parker, et al.) was one ofthe bigger mistakes I made and that includes winner ideas such as a root perm make me look like Prince.

    Some blogger wrote without any irony whatsoever, “Moderates Sweep 2006 California Libertarian Convention.”

    http://blog.360.yahoo.com/knowinghumans?p=275

    By the second day of the convention, I contemplated jumping just to escape another “Pragmatarian.”

  23. What I’m driving at is this:
    There are a lot of displaced Republicans after Iraq, the Patriot Acts, and a failure to cut spending and taxes.. The Libertarian Party is the biggest 3rd party in America, so they will go here. A platform of isolationism, low taxes and low spending, no gun control, pro-legalization, and a strong defense of individual liberties should attract quite a few voters. This is how I percieved the Libertarian Party when I joined it. I joined because of the isolationist foreign policy, conservative economic policy, and they are the only party that will uphold the Constitution. The latter two is what separates us from the Green or Constituiton parties.

    Right now we need unity above all else. When I see John Hopers endorse Bush over Badnarik, and other Libertarians voting for Bush, I ponder what the true Libertarian platform is.

  24. MayDay72, you don’t know the half of it. First, Hong is an American, born in Minneapolis. Since Russell is from New England, it would be a balanced ticket.

    In addition, Hong would kill in all of his debates. Here’s a sample of him crushing McCain: “Shut up Mr. McCain! You were not brought upon this world to ‘get it!'” Russell would simply wear his Big Trouble in Little China tanktop along with his Escape from New York eye patch to each debate.

    When agreeing with the presidential candidate, Hong would simply say, “Indeed!!”

    Incidentally, don’t write off future Secretary of State John Carpenter as past his prime–he’s not even sixty yet.

    Of course, I stand by my endorsement of Penn & Teller as the perfect LP candidates.

  25. There are a lot of displaced Republicans after Iraq, the Patriot Acts, and a failure to cut spending and taxes.

    Well, before 9/11, I was a registered (and voting) Libertarian. The “turn the other cheek” wing of the LP soured me on voting Libertarian, and while I have some reservations about the war in Iraq, I still feel that it was warranted. (The “war on terror” was not specifically against Al Qaeda, and while Saddam was not behind 9/11, his links to terror were fully documented, from his use of poison gas against the Iranians and Kurds, to his payouts to the families of Palistinian Islamikazis.) We didn’t start the war on Islamic fundamentalism, but I sure as hell want to see us finish it without surrendering due to a lack of fortitude on the home front.

    I can only speak for myself, but if the LP were to eliminate the isolationist rhetoric, I’d be back in a moment. I can’t see myself voting for most of the offerings of the Democratic Party, and if the GOP picks one of their social conservatives they won’t get my vote either. I may well sit the next election out, because nobody will be acceptable to me, even if I hold my nose and close my eyes. I want reduced spending, fewer business regulations, steadfast foreign policy, and a gay-neutral, anti-gun control, marijuana-legalization, abortion-amibiguous domestic agenda.

  26. Thanks, but we prefer non-interventionist to isolationist. The LP doesn’t want to isolate America from the rest of the world, they simply want American government foreign policy to stop at the border. American businesses would be encouraged to trade with the rest of the world, and our borders would be open to all.

    I don’t see the policy changing any time soon. It’s a natural outgrowth of the “no-force” principle of the LP, the cornerstone of the LP’s whole philosophy. And I agree with all of it whole-heartedly. It’s one of the things that makes me proud to be a member of the LP: it was founded on principle, and stands by those principles through thick and thin. (Though its principled positions seem to marginalize the LP at every turn.)

    If I might make one point, on behalf of the recently-departed Harry Browne: The US has waged terrible war on Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks still elude justice–and Saddam Hussein was never and would never be a credible threat to the United States. So what have we accomplished? All war does is wreck things and kill people, and most of its victims are wholly innocent.

    larry

  27. Larry- You’re my Hero!
    Amen!

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