First things first. Last night's debate for Libertarian National Committee Chair was one of the most interesting events I've ever attended. Ernest Hancock, Wayne Root, Mark Hinkle, George Phillies and my friend John Jay Myers, in their own way, each represent a different segment of LP priorities, bring a different skill set to the job, and any one of the five would do a good job for us as LNC chair.
Here's George Phillies, in a much calmer, less argumentative setting. This guy has a wicked sense of humor, and had some good things to say about Libertarians being perceived as Republican Lite.
Here's Mark Hinkle at another debate. Mr. Hinkle comes across as the Bob Dole/John McCain/Chris Dodd of the party - a guy who has helped us in various capacities for a long, long time, and believes he would be the best administrator.
For those who like their meat a little redder, here's Ernest Hancock in action. Mr. Hancock, believe it or not, is off to the left of us on several issues. (That's getting harder and harder to define these days. If you're against Obama's war, torture, extraordinary rendition, and all the other things our current administration is up to, does that make you a liberal or a conservative? Labels are difficult.)
Here's some Wayne Allyn Root, compliments of Reason magazine. No Youtube videos do him justice, since they don't allow you to experience the molecules vibrating in response to Wayne's hyperactive, enthusiastic presence. If you ever want to have a sincere discussion about how a sincere Christian can advocate the legalization of marijuana, prostitution, and gambling, Wayne is your man.
John Jay Myers was a late entry, and it kind of showed. J.J. has expressed concern about the beliefs and methodologies of several of his fellow candidates, and threw his hat in the ring at the last minute. He's also running for Congress. Here's John Jay ripping into his Republican opponent, Pete Sessions:
Good times, good times. As far as the scoring goes FOR THIS ONE EVENT, I had Hancock and Root more or less tied for first, Phillies trailing them, with John Jay and Mark Hinkle bringing up the rear. John just wasn't ready for the debate, having spent all his energy recently on the congressional bid. Mark Hinkle made the mistake of answering the moderator's questions, instead of going into his qualifications and pre-rehearsed rants. I don't know what classes Phillies teaches, but I'd like to sign up for some of them. But he didn't have the high-wattage enthusiasm of Root and Hancock.
Had this debate been about specific issues facing the nation, rather than how the LP should be administered, how fund-raising should work, etc., I'm sure that we would have seen a much different result.
It was what it was.
Imagine that you're a goldfish. Yes, a goldfish. You've had to spend some of your time in plastic bags, some of your time in little bowls, and a little bit of time in aquariums with a few other goldfish. Then one day you get dumped into a pond in China, the ancestral home of all goldfish, and the environment where goldfish really belong. You'd be pretty dang happy, right?
That's how I feel in the Libertarian Party. Lord have mercy, I love these people and these events. Speakers don't have to start off by explaining why 90% tax brackets are counter-productive. We all assume that it's racist to lock up huge percentages of our minority populations to create government jobs. We know that the U.S. Government is going to have to inflate its way out of the current financial mess, and that it's going to get ugly.
The Libertarian Party assumes that you have certain rights that you were born with.
Look at the convulsions that the Republican and Democrat parties have gone through in the last 50 years, with old Democrat racists like Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond and George Wallace stranded in their party long after it had switched from ethnic racism to institutional racism. The Republican Party has somehow morphed from a small government, Old Money, somewhat anti-war outfit into a gaggle of big-spending, kill 'em all, gang of wannabe Theocrats.
The Libertarian party's platform (as opposed to our stratgies and tactics) doesn't really change. Small Government. Leave everybody alone.
I've had a good time at the pond in