Libertarian History/Philosophy

Jack Donaghy for Libertarian Party Nominee?


Donaghy 2012

Even since the idea of Silicon Valley congealed in the popular consciousness, libertarians (and Libertarians) have fantasized about tapping into the nation's rich geek playground as ideal recruiting and fundraising turf. But with a few notable exceptions, that strategy hasn't really panned out. But now Fast Company magazine has arrived at the same conclusion from the rich geek's perspective:

If Libertarians want to have a real impact in 2010 or 2012, they need to recruit from the business world, where their values will resonate most. Places like Silicon Valley, Austin, and Seattle. You don't have to look far to find high-profile CEO types who are likely Libertarians hiding out in the major parties. Starbucks's Howard Schultz has broken with Democratic tradition (and his political donation record) and fought unionization. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, a Republican candidate for governor of California, strays from her party on social issues. Same goes for Cisco CEO and Republican fund-raiser John Chambers. These leaders could help build a financial base for the party, a complement to its significant grassroots online fund-raising operation that Ron Paul created in 2008 (only Obama and Hillary raised more).

Author Carlos Watson offers an an electoral strategy based on a peculiar comparison with the TV show 30 Rock:

Candidates would need to be a visible and sharp departure from the party's current wing-nut-and-professor rep—young folks with pedigrees in clean tech and biotech, not politics, and solid ideas of how to get us out of the economic crisis. The party would then cast a larger shadow than justified by its numbers—kind of like 30 Rock three years ago, a show that slowly evolved from critical darling to broader phenomenon.

Counterproposal: Maybe the Libertarian Party should just skip the middlemen and offer fictional CEO Jack Donaghy the nomination.

Via Michael Sciortino.


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  1. Yeah, but the fundamental problem with politics is that smart, talented, motivated individuals stay the fuck away from it. Why would you subject yourself to having your life put under a microscope for a pittance when you can go into business and ACTUALLY CHANGE THE WORLD.

    Until we can figure out a way to fix that, politicians will continue to be the scum-sucking, inept cretins like we have today.

    1. young folks with pedigrees in clean tech and biotech

      Jesus.. do you even read this shit before you post it? Someone like that would voluntarily go into POLITICS? Sweet jesus…

  2. “Young folks with pedigrees in clean tech…”

    So you mean people who sell vaporware and snake oil? Sounds perfect for politics.

    1. Yeah.. last time I was on top of Mt. San Jacinto I looked down to see acre after acre of wind turbines spinning in the constant breeze. Must have been hallucinating from the altitude.

      And those stories of people going off-grid with solar panels? Just more communist agit-prop.

      1. …acre after acre of wind turbines…

        One of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. It’s like some sick memorial to the inventor of the egg-beater.

  3. No background, clean tech or anything, would keep the usual suspects from smearing a L/libertarian candidate. The assbag trolls actually read what we think and still spin ridiculous strawman bullshit and whine about Ayn Rand. Opposing a black Democrat for national office? The pet press corp would brand him as the unholy progeny of Bush II, Cheney, and Pinochet inside three minutes.

  4. But with a few notable exceptions, that strategy hasn’t really panned out.

    As somewhere who lives here, that’s not at all surprising. This area is overwhelmingly progressive. The geeks here just the same, just more introverted. I think I read somewhere that 90% of employees at the Googleplex are registered Democrat. That ranks right up there with San Francisco and Berkeley in terms of unnatural skew.

    There are a lot of folks who call themselves “libertarian”, but they’re really progressives pretending to be liberaltarians. Their motto seems to be “freedom for me, but not for thee”. They want government out of their own lives, but want government mucking about in other people’s lives. For a while during the Bush years it seemed that some of them might be catching on to the libertarian ideal, but now that Obama is prez, they’ve given up any pretense of wanting smaller government.

    There are exceptions, of course, but they’re hard to find. Frankly, except for an inflated sense of entitlement due to high starting wages for tech startups, we’re not that much different than the rest of the nation.

    1. The article was talking about the heads of those companies, not the rank-and-file, right? Those who have had to deal with government bullshit trying to start a company would hvae a different perspective than 23 y.o. Joe Compscidegree.

    2. Why would you register for the LoserParty in a state with a closed primary? It would be like registering Democrat in Utah. You’d be voting for who gets to lose in November, rather than voting for the least offensive winner.

  5. Few men of first class ability can afford to let their affairs go to ruin while they fool away their time in Legislatures…But your chattering, one-horse village lawyer likes it, and your solemn ass from the cow countries, who don’t know the Constitution from the Lord’s Prayer, enjoys it, and these you always find in the Assembly; the one gabble, gabble, gabbling threadbare platitudes and ‘give-me-liberty-or give-me-death’ buncombe from morning to night, and the other asleep, with his slab-soled brogans set up like a couple of grave-stones on the top of his desk.

    – Mark Twain

    1. This “Twain” character sounds like a racist. Someone check to see if he ever used the n-word.

    2. I always love a good Twain-formation snap.

    3. Now you know why I despise democracy.

      I’m way more into the idea of making congress more along the lines of jury duty. They get selected from the general populace, not selected by baboons (DNC and GOP) and then “elected” by monkeys (typical campaigns).

      Nobody with an ounce of self respect combined with four grains of intelligence would want to go through that.

      The democratic system is rotten at root concept. It will provide rotten results so long as we continue to follow it.

  6. Most of these guys are former nerds mad that the jocks from Republican families stole their lunch money. They will never identify with Republicans.

  7. taping/tapping “into the nation’s rich geek playground” – what’s a little p between friends?

    I can’t find it in me to care anymore about politics. Other than being angry, and jaded. The Koolaid just doesn’t taste good anymore.

  8. They will never identify with Republicans.

    Good. We just need to get them to not identify with Democrats either.

  9. Jack Donaghy: “Oh god. Push the envelope… You know who uses that phrase? People who don’t have the guts or the brains to work inside the system. Letter writers, radicals. Howard Dean.”

    Liz Lemon: “You just don’t get her. You’re like the talking mailbox.”

    Jack Donaghy: “I’m going to assume that is a Haldeman reference in which case… I thank you.”

  10. The mathematics of the America electoral system at all levels means that 3rd parties can never do more than serve as spoilers in close elections. Not since the Whigs transformed into the Republicans in the 1850s has there been serious party change. If nothing else, 3rd parties cannot survive because if they do become successful at some juncture, one of the main parties will simply steal their issues.

    Worse, 3rd parties tend to attract people mostly interested in imagining that they belong to an elite group struggling against the stupidity of the majority. Such people are often extremist and will often actively sabotage a party if the party begins to gain popularity. Leadership is often more interested in grandstanding by tilting at windmills than practically advancing policies.

    The key to success in contemporary politics lays in creating blocks of voters who will endorse and fund candidates within existing parties who support the block’s ideas. A libertarian PAC or version of would be far more powerful and practical than the entire libertarian party.

    No bigtime successful individual is going to invest time a 3rd party save as a vanity project. People who needs to get things done in the short-term have to work within existing parties, period. Big and small “L” libertarians should concentrate on building a block and then recruiting high profile individuals to the block.

    1. I have to agree with Shannon on these points. Seems like religious groups understand the “block” approach in Shannon’s hypothesis. Although I remain firmly libertarian, I stopped supporting the Libertarian party when I realized that my money was simply disappearing in the void. Makes much more sense to stand behind a Ron Paul than a Bob Barr.

    2. I disagree.

      Neither the Libertarian party or greater libertarianism will ever succeed by playing within the existing two parties of state structure. It just does not work.

      Sure, I agree with your point on the last major transformation being a 150 years ago. However, I submit that your position might be somewhat influenced by a much narrower conception of reality, i.e., what has transpired in since 1854 in the United States is the only barometer of whether the Libertarian party or greater libertariansim can succeed outside of the existing two parties of state structure.

      1. She already covered you, Mike:

        “Worse, 3rd parties tend to attract people mostly interested in imagining that they belong to an elite group struggling against the stupidity of the majority. Such people are often extremist and will often actively sabotage a party if the party begins to gain popularity.”

      2. I would argue that there have been major transformations since 1854. However, instead of forming a new party, the existing parties changed.

        That’s something libertarians can work towards. However, that’s going to require changing the opinions of regular citizens. So, it would likely work best in the form of well funded organizations that promote libertarian ideas. If you can change enough minds, the parties will have to adjust or they will die and be replaced.

        It’ll probably cost mucho $$$, but I think it would be the most realistic approach. The laws are setup to promote a 2 party system, so you need to shake things up and force the parties to either change or be replaced. This is probably an ideal time to try something like that as well. The economy is in a bad state, so if you can control the “story” of what’s going on and what caused all these problems, you can influence the opinions of individuals out there.

        1. Wish I could believe like you do. I don’t.

          It would cost more than just mucho dollars. It would have to start with some political blood-letting.

          To begin with, if you want the American people to take the message seriously, step 1 is to dump the anarchists over board. Face it, that message isn’t going to sell to the masses. Don’t waste your dollars on it.

          Then we’ve got to get priorities straight. Legalizing drugs is a fringe issue that’s better left for the distant future. Gay rights is a side issue. And foreign policy has to evolve into something other than a playground that libertarians would prefer not to think about. Because the American people at large aren’t going to buy the message otherwise.

          People are hungry for someone worth voting for. But the requirements I just laid out are entirely beyond the capacities of the libertarian party, whether you use a big or small “L”.

          I’m still looking for something beyond irrelevance that the libertarian party could hope to work towards. I haven’t seen it yet.

          1. I don’t think that the simple notion that liberty is the default and unassailable circumstance of human beings is irrelevant. You seem caught up in procedural problems, which, admittedly, modern libertarians are not very good at addressing (or reverse engineering).

        2. A far better investment would be figuring out how to put together a representative form of government that is not a democracy. Appoint members of the house (like jury duty), from the pool of people who meet x qualifications. Appoint members of the senate from the pool of people who meet y qualifications.

          Not sure what to do with governors and the president, maybe some republican process where the “electoral college” is appointed like jury duty.

          Democracy is a great idea until you spend 10 sober seconds thinking about what it’s going to achieve. Exhibit A: the current condition of the US of A.

          1. As soon as I posted my response to your previous post, I saw this one. Sigh. X? Y? You are trapped in a world of theory, too.

  11. If Jack Donaghy were a real person, I’d vote for him.

  12. A few people have mentioned something I’d thought of – getting a news network and making all the talk shows libertarian. The GOP has Fox, the Dems have MSNBC and PBS, we should get our own.

    It would be low-rated, especially at the beginning, and the big kids would make mean jokes, but it would get libertarian ideas in front of people on a far more consistent basis than is currently happening.

    1. If this were to happen, I might actually buy a TV.

    2. Awesome idea.

      I think that Ron Paul’s contributions came from the size of his soapbox, not his political influence, for instance.

      Maybe my motives for supporting such a thing are completely selfish, which is fine. I could watch a cable news network for once and NOT feel the urge to break things.

  13. Well if Jack Donaghy is a libertarian of any prominence, I am sure he has “questions” about 9/11.

  14. You’re proposing the Libertarian party recruit candidates with real jobs? What about the pot activists? What about the pagan vote? Who will they turn to?

  15. “…significant grassroots online fund-raising operation that Ron Paul created in 2008 (only Obama and Hillary raised more).”

    We have to keep Ron Paul in to keep the Christian Identity-type racist base on board.

  16. But Jack took bailout money last episode. Oh, the shame he must have felt.

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