Happy 35th B-Day to the LP


The Libertarian Party started up on this day in 1971. Check out this fun video the party has created:


NEXT: Righting the Wrong of Cheaper Milk

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  1. Wow. I just had to pause it to ask:

    Carole Ann Rand?

  2. “Battered Voter Syndrome”?!
    And who says Libertarians are tone deaf?

  3. Carole Ann Rand?

    No relation. She completed her entire commercial in less than 1074 pages.

  4. And who says Libertarians are tone deaf?

    Mostly those Libertarians with no sense of humor, AFAICT.

  5. My reaction to the video was to think about the time I wasted on what was once a very promising party, now in the hands of either clueless nutjob conspiracy theorists, ranters on incomprehensible or marginal issues, or “moderates” who foolishly believe they can get elected by compromising and sounding more like the major parties.

  6. Happy birthday, nothing. Shrivel and die, LP. Shrivel and die! Maybe then we’ll be able to actually advance our ideas, you foil-hat-wearing silver eaters!

  7. Jim Lesczynski_ I found the ad a bit amusing. But I also understand that there’s a sizable contingent of folks who would be offended by an ad that seems to poke fun at battered women. A failure to realize that indicates, to me anyway, tone-deafness.

  8. Peter, I think we all just got older. I didn’t know Dana Rhorbacher very well but I did get to a couple of his parties at the penthouse in Belmont Shore and they were great. Now he’s a conservative Republican all growed up and not getting stoned no more. Ditto my old buddy Royce, who wasn’t a stoner but he was an anarcho-capitalist. Now a conservative Republican Congressman and friend of Reason. He got gold stars for spending restraint. Point being that youth is starry eyed and what we took for earnestness at twenty may have actually been closet lunacy.

    Timothy, ahem. Just what’s wrong with a tin foil hat?

  9. hey 12 days after I was born…cool

  10. BTW, it is instructive to note that Tonie Nathan’s electoral vote and nomination as the first woman to run for veep is pretty much disregarded by every women’s organization in this country. Sorry guys it was Geraldine Ferraro not Tonie Nathan. I personally complained for a long time and I have noticed that in some cases Ferraro’s claim now comes with a disclaimer major party candidate. Better than a poke in the eye I guess

  11. TWC: Tin foil doesn’t keep out the mind control rays, you’ve gotta use depleted uranium foil. Like the LPers are smart enough to know that, though. Idiots.

  12. It’s amazing, looking at history libertarian party ran it’s strongest race back in 1980, when according to everything I could find the radicals took control of the party and all the moderates left(much like the same battle we’ve had recently with the moderates losing)

    Anybody, back from around that 1983 have more of a unbiased history?


  13. Wine Commonsewer — I was referring to the days of Harry Browne as the promising days. I am not that much older now.

    The LP appears to have fallen into the hands of a combination of Harry’s jealous detractors, compromisers (including but not limited to the “Iraq Exit Plan” types who think they can appear “reasonable” by calling for re-stationing American troops rather than bringing them home and honorably discharging them) and a variety of delusional types including consiracy theorists, income tax deniers, and those who say “Move to New Hampshire (You First)”.

  14. joshua,

    Small world. The LP came in to existence exactly 4 days before I was born.

    And after seeing that video, I’m a little more sympathetic to the LP. I might even rejoin.

  15. I know it was only a 10+ minute movie, but I wish they could have included Stan Jones, Mark Brophy, and Howard Stern in a montage.

  16. It was misleading for the ad to say Hospers-Nathan “got enough votes” to receive one electoral vote, as that vote was cast by a faithless Nixon elector and was completely non-dependent on whether the Hospers-Nathan ticket had received on one popular vote or one million. (In fact they got 2,691, far, far below their subsequent performances, which have never gone below 173,011 (1976) and have been as high as 921,299 (1980), but have not inspired any major-party electors to defect.)

  17. When you vote, do it for your children. Vote libertarian (from David Bergland’s spot)

    I guess even libertarians aren’t immune.

  18. cast by a faithless Nixon elector

    Yes, James, you are sooooo right. I think that was Roger Bloxham that did the deed but I’m so old I can’t remember for sure.

    Peter wins the thread:

    ….and those who say “Move to New Hampshire (You First)”

    Peter, I’m not that old either. I just made up all that other stuff. Pay it no mind.


  19. Peter, I actually thought the Ed Clark days were going to work. He had Koch money and a good campaign. He got a lot of votes but despite the great campaign, it just never happened. I truly expected a Perot showing from that. Still disappointed that he wasn’t able to reach America.

    As Ever,


  20. Peter K.,

    Gee, and I thought that the LP’s problem was that it had too many impatient pricks who got all pissed off and stomped away whenever people didn’t agree to do things the way they thought they should do them.

  21. If I send a birthday card to the leader of the LP, do I address it to him or to the parent whose basement he lives in? And should I write the birthday greeting in English or Klingon?

    I keed! I keed!

  22. I gotta say that I did get bored a bit with the sunshine enema. The LP has made some amazing progress in terms of influencing American politics, but it has made virtually no progress electorally and the video kept pretending as if it did.

  23. TWC — I was a so-called liberal in 1980. I thought Carter and Anderson were too right-wing, let alone Reagan. I heard of Clark, but I really did not get libertarianism until years later, after a lot of real-world experience with the actual effects of things I had supported. I’m sorry to say that in 1980 I voted for [here I cringe] Commoner.

  24. James K is exactly right about the Hspers/Nathan electoral vote. It was cast by Virginia’s Roger MacBride.

    I don’t think of RMacB as “faithless”, rather, by reacting to Nixon’s criminality he kept faith with the Constitution. He was proved right about that, too.


  25. I forget the name of the last guy that ran. They must be embarrassed of him though because they didnt include him in the video. He was pretty bad. He was too extreme and wasnt… didnt have much charisma. I hope they do better in ’08.

  26. Maybe I should have put “faithless” in quotation marks; it is the standard term, which perhaps reflects our media’s pro-two-party bias.
    I knew the MacBride story in outline by heart, but I got the exact vote data got off Wikipedia.

  27. “Faithless elector” is indeed the term used for folks like MacBride. It is based on the fact that several states actually have laws demanding that Electors pledged to a slate vote for those candidates. It is unclear whether such laws would be binding on an Elector once he was sworn in. While each Elector represents his state as much as a Senator or House member does, I’d think that an office created by the Federal Constitution would be immune to mere state legislation. Has the SCOTUS ever ruled on this?

    (former candidate for Elector)

  28. 35 years is 5 years late for Carousel.

    Call the Sandmen!

  29. Kevin

    I was under the impression that those laws went back to the McBride incident. There was also an elector for Nixon who went for Wallace in ’68 as well, if I remember rightly.

    I do know that Florida has such a law because I was made aware of it when I signed up to be an LP elector some years back. I really did wonder at the time if such a thing was truly enforceable.

    I watched for challemges over the years. If there has been one it’s slipped by me.

    I think McBride was the last “faithless” elector.

  30. It looks like the state laws on Electors were upheld back in 1952. (Ray v. Blair) I’m thinking this was an upshot of the 1948 Democrat/Dixiecrat split. There have been Electors exercising their Constitutional power independently since 1972.


  31. Thank you, Kevin, I stand corrected. And better-informed.

  32. I forget the name of the last guy that ran. […] didnt have much charisma.

    That was Michael Badnarik, and, to be fair, he had more charisma than John Kerry. Of course, a fence post would have more charisma than Kerry.

  33. Michael Badnarik did have charisma, but he was nonetheless an embarrassment. A partial listing:

    First, because he was a “Putney Swope” nominee, he got in despite many in the party not knowing much about him, except that some knew he was not Gary Nolan while others knew he was not Aaron Russo. And that was all that mattered.

    Second, he is and was an income tax denier, someone who believes and advises others that the Internal Revenue Code does not require one to file an income tax return or pay an income tax. (If that was actually the case, the Libertarian Party would be FOR it.)

    Third, to make matters worse, he advocated militarizing the borders, as if the U.S. is at war with Mexico and Canada. (Not that he favored attacking them, unless any of their citizens happened to be employed in the United Nations buildings when he decided to attack those.)

    Fourth, after he got the nomination, he was taking advise from Aaron Russo.

    Fifth, he advocated that libertarians should move to New Hampshire, and promised to do so “if” he did not get elected President. (I don’t think he kept the promise, inasmuch as he was last seen earlier this year running for U.S. Congress from Texas.) The Free State Project people in New Hampshire were so excited that they jumped for joy to get him on the ballot there. (Unfortunately, in New Hampshire — like most states — what determines ballot access is the number of valid signatures collected, not jumps for joy; the Live-Free-Or-Die state was the only one NOT to have Michael Badnarik on the 2004 ballot.)

  34. One thing I’ve noticed is how much more media coverage the LP seemed to get 20 years ago. I don’t think it reflects an erosion in support as much as a loss of novelty. The LP doesn’t even manage to tag on to pieces on other third-partiers like Perot or Nader anymore, though there were a couple of stories about LP candidates playing spoiler in 2006, I recall.

    I’m an outsider to the LP, but I just don’t see the energy there that I did 20 years ago. Hence all of the “liberaltarian” crapola.

  35. ChrisO

    A lot of the people who made the LP what it was in 1980 are now at Cato.

    They were driven out in the early 80s by some people who though they’d failed the “purity test”.

    Interestingly enough most of the “purists” had bolted by the early 90s. There is actually a difference between a political party and a church.

    The 1980 campaign was every bit as radical as any since. But in addition to stating the radical goals the Clark campaign ennunciated a practical, incremental program to achieve those goals.

    They also had the benefit of the Anderson campaign. Third parties were all the rage back then. After Nixon and Carter people were giving serious considerations to alternatives.

    I don’t think the “two-party system” was ever in as much danger in my lifetime as it was then.

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