Live from the LP Convention: Some Early Fare-thee-Wells


The platform debate-presidential debate-nomination battle structure of the LP Convention has a nice clarifying effect on the race. A few hours before voting starts, we know whose pre-Denver bluster was never tethered to reality. So, here's a quick guide to the people you'll never hear about again after this afternoon.

Christine Smith. As candidates rushed to hand in tokens yesterday, Andrew Ferguson of Liberty and I spotted Smith walking back from the convention hall. "Are you going to be in the debate?" Ferguson asked. She said no. Then she energetically (some would say angrily) pointed out that she had enough tokens to get nominated, and she wasn't out of this. "The debate's only a beauty contest!" said Noel Stephenson, a Smith backer walking right behind her. It's a funny argument from a candidate who's telling conventioneers to pick up copies of the local alt weekly, which is running a short profile on her featuring a publicity shot that can't be less than five years old.

Alden Link.
"I thought, from his picture, that he'd sound like Lawrence Tierney from Reservoir Dogs," one delegate told me. "He sounds like Elmer Fudd." That's about it.

Daniel Imperato. He became a mascot of sorts in Denver. By Saturday everyone had an Imperato story; his bragging about his multinational lamination business, his claim to have laid fiber-optic cables across the Atlantic Ocean, his bizarre flyer that portrays him shaking hands with the Pope as George Washington looks ghostly on. After lunch on Saturday he made some news by dropping out of the race and endorsing Barr in a rambling statement that had to be heard to be believed, with his repeated "witticism" that "McCain is a pain!" and a mystifying story of Barr giving him a stick of gum in an airport.

Jim Burns. The classic example of Matt Labash's "sane fringe candidate," Burns did no harm and won little support.

Robert Milnes. A sad figure who spent months 1) saying he'd accept the mantle of a cross-party progressive alliance and 2) begging for money to get to Denver; Milnes was here in spirit. Plenty of people, including the comic Doug Stanhope, received his appeals for travel money. It's for the best that Milnes didn't show up (take a second and read his platform plank on back-to-Africa emigration), and I hope that for everyone who pokes fun at him, there's someone else trying to get him help.

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  1. “Never hear about again” might be a tad harsh for Smith and Burns. After all, they are both sane. Also, wasn’t Smith actually elected to something?

  2. Libertarian Convention: Day Two
    In the middle of a question and answer session about gun control, a man stood up.
    “This is actually not a question about gun control, but a comment to whoever turned off my GameBoy yesterday without saving the game. I would like it very much that who ever did this would come forward and admit to what they have done. It was a long time since I saved my game, and because of who ever you are, now the 35 Pokemon I tried hard to capture are gone.”
    He was on the verge of tears now.
    “My Charizard was at level 35”

    Whispered the man sitting next to me
    “What kind of man would touch another man’s GameBoy, let alone not save the game?”

    At that moment I began to dig my pen deep into my arm, hoping that the pain would be enough to distract me from the convention, but it didn’t work.

    I then wiped the blood off of my pen and wrote “Matt Welch is dead to me” as a reminder to myself, just in case I ever forget.

    Signing off,
    Dave Weigel

  3. Biggest winner of last night’s debate?

    Jim Pinkerton. Actually, the convention organizers, Bill Redpath and the LP HQ staff for inviting him to moderate. What a huge coup for the libertarian movement to have such a distinguished political pundit as the Moderator.

    That lone act just boosted the LP’s credibility and the credibility of the entire libertarian movement 100-fold.

  4. It’s for the best that Milnes didn’t show up (take a second and read his platform blank on back-to-Africa emigration), and I hope that for everyone who pokes fun at him, there’s someone else trying to get him help.

    In today’s insecure, ever-changing and oft-frightening world, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy and safe to know there’s one reliable constant: the guys trying to get the LP nomination are batshit insane. I thought “Smurf” Jones would be a hella hard act to follow, but a libertarian offering subsidies for black Americans to move to Africa and additional subsidies for native Americans to have lots and lots of babies to get their population numbers up certainly does the trick.

  5. It’s for the best that Milnes didn’t show up (take a second and read his platform blank on back-to-Africa emigration)

    Just add the Bearded Lady and Monkey Boy and then it sounds like you’re visiting the carnivals of my youth.

  6. Does Robert Milnes post under the name “Grand Chalupa”?

  7. wouldn’t it be odd if Milnes’ dreams came true, sort of, vicariously at least maybe, and the party ends up with a Barr/Gravel ticket? I don’t predict it, mind you, but the road show this summer would be fantastic. Barr gittin all religious-like atoning for his sins against the father (… and the other father) and how he’s seen the light. maybe he can cart around that Alabama preacher who helped Ron get so many converts in the South….

    and Gravel hitting the College circuit ranting about the MIC, compulsively glancing up at the auditorium rafters hoping the sniper will strike while the camera angle’s just right, getting yelled at by his campaign handlers to stay off the liberation theology, er, ‘direct democracy’ shit.

    good fun. I can see it now.

  8. Unfortunately, I’m reconsidering my support for MaryRuwart due to the picture of Smith and also due to the fact that I feel sorry for Link due to the city he lives in, what I refer to as “TheSouthBronxOnTheHudson”. Hopefully their positions on Child Rights are as advanced and libertarian as Ruwart’s.

  9. i’d never heard of alden link before, so i just checked out his website and they have a link to search for all videos containing the terms “alden link” on youtube. if you click it, it brings up 6 videos, none of which are in any way related to this guy. does he know how youtube works?

  10. Uh, when I called Smith “sane” above, please note I hadn’t heard her speak at that point.

  11. Who was Doug Stanhope supporting?

    He is my kind of LPer – and a great comedian.

  12. BakedPenguin,

    I was wondering about that… I hope you’ve learned your lesson: always assume a Libertarian candidate is insane until proven otherwise.

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