Third Parties

Indy City Councilman Jumps to the LP

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Indianapolis City-County Councilman Ed Coleman is ditching the GOP and joining the Libertarian Party. 

Coleman says the Republican Party no long represents its stated principles.  He says he has become disillusioned by the GOP's abuse of power and lack of transparency in governing, particularly when it comes to the city's Capital Improvement Board, a quasi-government agency charged with dishing out corporate welfare (including the sweetheart deals worked out with the city's two professional sports franchises that I blogged about earlier today).

The Libertarian Party takes a lot of abuse, much of it deserved. But under the leadership of Mark Rutherford, the Indiana LP has made some impressive progress in recent years.  Rutherford recruited a host of accomplished, serious candidates for several local, state, and federal races. As Dave Wiegel pointed out last fall, the Indianapolis Star had high praise for LP 2008 congressional candidate Eric Schansberg, calling him a "prime example of how far the Libertarian Party has advanced in Indiana."

Last November, Indiana (my home state) voted for a Democratic president for the first time since 1964. If the state's LP can consistently field reputable candidates that siphon off even a small amount of the vote, it could present some real problems for the state's Republicans.

Thanks to Joshua Claybourn for the tip.

NEXT: Capitalism Classic

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  1. I hate it when GOP people switch – it just reinforces the Libertarian as pot smoking rupublicans meme.

  2. I have been following the Indiana LP for several years. They’re serious, level-headed, and well-organized. They’ve basically been kicking ass. While I’ve pretty much written off the LP nationally, I’m very impressed with Indiana’s organization. They deserve any support the rest of us are willing to lend.

    IIRC, other states which have strong LP organziations include Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia. Let me know if I’m missing any.

  3. Organizing libertarians is like herding cats. My hat’s off to anyone with the slightest bit of success in this regard.

  4. .it just reinforces the Libertarian as pot smoking republicans meme.

    and why is this a bad thing?

  5. I hate it when GOP people switch – it just reinforces the Libertarian as pot smoking rupublicans meme.

    Is it just me, or is it the case that Dems never dump their party for the Libs? Why might that be?

  6. Eric Schansberg is now a Republican…oops.

    This is such a non-story in Indy that not a single member of the local media showed up for the “press conference”.

  7. “Is it just me, or is it the case that Dems never dump their party for the Libs? Why might that be?”

    It’s just you. A lot of people (such as myself) spent a lot of time believing that the democrat party actually cares somewhat about freedom (at least relative to the republicans). I am not sure why I let myself believe that for so long, but I expect that a lot of people are in the same boat.

  8. RC Dean – are you talking about people in general, or elected officials?

  9. This is such a non-story in Indy that not a single member of the local media showed up for the “press conference”.

    The local media in Indy isn’t exactly noted for go-get-it-tivness or thinking-outside-the-box-ness.

  10. Plus, Indy is the one big city in America more boring than the one in which I toil. You’d think the press corps there would be anxious for a little something out of the mainstream.

  11. RC Dean – are you talking about people in general, or elected officials?

    Elected officials.

  12. I hate it when GOP people switch – it just reinforces the Libertarian as pot smoking rupublicans meme.

    The only Democrat in history to jump was Mike Gravel. And he’s still trying to figure out why the party didn’t like his idea to tax and regulate everything that moved.

  13. Then I’d say it’s not all that often that Republicans switch, either, although more frequent than Democrats.

    Back in the 1980’s – prior to PC / speech codes, Democrats were generally better on the 1st Amendment, (think Ed Meese) the 4th Amendment, the WoD, the 5th Amendment, and a few other issues.

    IMO, Clinton was a big factor in the Democrats becoming almost completely un-libertarian. While much better than typical Democrats from a fiscal point of view (helped by a Rep Congress), he helped push the Dems into a “we’re tough on crime, too” stance that all but destroyed the Dems advantage for most civil libertarian issues. His administration was also not big on the 1st Amendment.

  14. FIFY

  15. Back in the 1980’s – prior to PC / speech codes, Democrats were generally better on the 1st Amendment

    Nah, they wanted to save the Fairness Doctrine, and they opposed equal treatment of religious & non-religious organiz’ns in contracting with or getting favors from gov’t.

  16. I can confirm that both the current State Chair of the LPIN (that would be me) and the current Vice Chair (Dan Drexler) are both former Democrats.

    Sincerely,

    Todd Singer

  17. In addition to Todd’s comment, the current Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Marion County is also a former Democrat.

  18. The Indiana LP is chock full of libertarians in name only. A short conversation with the activists and the candidates will demonstrate what an unprincipled bunch they are. Few could name a single prominent libertarian intellectual, aside perhaps from Rand.

    Typical was the 2006 LP candidate for Indiana Secretary of State, whose major issues were: 1. Bringing the Bureau of Motor Vehicles under the control of — guess who? — the Secretary of State; 2. Opposition to gerrymandering; 3. “Voting machines we can trust”; and 4. “Promoting voter turnout.”

    http://mikekoleissues.blogspot.com/

    With few exceptions — including the recent candidate for governor — the Indiana LP is Libertarian without libertarianism.

  19. Well, at least none of those stances are anti-freedom.

  20. Robert, I take it that you are responding to me. The very existences of the Secretary of State, and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles are anti-freedom. The LP candidate took no positions on those issues that couldn’t have been taken by Republican or Democratic candidates; or which diminish the existing limitations on freedom. So, your point is more correctly that he didn’t propose anything that would extend the power of the state vis-a-vis those agencies. That is the purpose of the Indiana Libertarian Party?

    I didn’t mention that, before he ran for Sec. of State, Mike Kole had a job issuing permits on behalf of one of the local governments, and he declared that he was “proud” to have done that. Mark Rutherford, for whom Mr. Balko has such kind words, was a prosecuting attorney who, to my knowledge, never expressed any objection to the prosecution of victimless crimes while he held the post.

    Excepting Andrew Horning, Indiana LP candidates have been most adroit at hiding any hint of libertarian principle from the voters who they vainly hope will embrace them. They claim that the time to be principled is after they take office. Yeah, sure.

  21. Coleman was first elected in 2007 to the Indianapolis City County Council as an At-Large Representative in the 14th largest city in America, and represents a little under 800,000 Hoosiers. He is now the highest elected official in the Libertarian Party within the United States.

    That sounds like we are pretty organized, and are actually functioning in government.

    By the way, 4 or 5 of Horning’s proposals are being considered in Indiana’s legislature, due to Andy and other INDIANA libertarians (small L as well as big) lobbying their legislator, and explaining in a calm manner the effect libertarian principles can have on our State and local governments. We also have about a dozen libertarians working of state and local boards to reform from the inside.

    Anarcho litmus tests hurt your cause, and alienate you from actually making a dent in the massive problems we have in this country. Just because we don’t speak in the same terms as yourself, it doesn’t mean we aren’t fighting for the same cause. If you were on the ground in Indiana, I’d think you’d be please with our level of radicalism.

  22. “Anarcho litmus tests hurt your cause, and alienate you from actually making a dent in the massive problems we have in this country.”

    Translation: Abandon principles and behave opportunistically. Just the strategy which has increasingly marginalized the LP. This is precisely where the Libertarian Party and libertarianism part company: right where it matters most.

    I live on Earth. In Indiana. What I find is a party whose members are poorly read, know little about libertarian principles and history, and who will grasp at almost anything they think will get LP candidates elected. In short, it’s a party which has abandoned principles even before gaining power. It begs credulity to imagine that the devotion to principle of LPers would grow once they were elected. Every Hooser LP member I’ve heard from in detail says the same as you do: principle should be sacrificed to necessity. Mostly it’s the necessity of the person speaking to be elected.

    Speaking of which… Government is, by its nature, a socialist enterprise. Why would genuine libertarians want to gain positions of power in a socialist operation?

    This councilman is now a member of the LP. What in his political history demonstrates that he is also a libertarian?

  23. DISCLOSURE:

    ARE YOU NOT FROM INDIANA MR BALKO???

  24. Ed Coleman’s courage is inspiring.

    “As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.” –Quote by Marianne Williamson

  25. Jacob Perry is incorrect about my party affiliation.

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