Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Libertarian National Committe Chair debates, Austin TX, February 27, 2010

I'm at the Libertarian State Leadership Conference in Austin, Texas this weekend. 
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 Austin China. In a few hours it will be over. Back to the fishbowl.


TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Allen - it was good to see you and I know you were feeling a cold coming on (or already arrived) there at the end. Need to do this publicly (not just on your well read blog comments) - but I'm very appreciative of you and your leadership, creative ideas, commentary and ability to perceive problems and solve them in a logical and straightforward manner. Something I'm not the best at!

I agree with your assessment of the Koi pond in Austin. Although, I'd have placed John Jay a bit higher since I know his philosophical foundation is firm AND is a great motivator. Calling Root a 'scammer' was pretty ballsy! I don't know if I could've said that, even if I totally bought into that.

It was a fun event and I feel the hob-knobbing with the top of the LP woodpile was probably helpful too! It was cool to meet David Nolan. I wish you'd post that pic of you and him.

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate to be there for one of the most enjoyable PL panel ‘debates’ I’ve seen in the entire time I’ve been involved with the organization.

In a nutshell, here’s what I saw happen:

George put up a surprisingly coherent presentation, but ultimately said, “I want to be LNC Chair and will organize it like I did Massachusetts.”

Mark said: “I’ve been around a long time, vote for me”.

John said: “Buy my website idea”.

Ernie said: “The LP should join the freedom movement–the Love-a-lution”, and here’s how (detailed his plans and backed them up with multiple examples of success), we can turn the PL into an actual political force by freeing minds and empowering individuals.”

Wayne said: “I’m Wayne, I’ve been hailed by the neo-con media as a ‘friend’….I’m Wayne.”

Had there been enough physical ballots for all the attendees, I am confident that Ernest Hancock would have won right out of the gate. The young people coming into the LP want to “do” something, not relax in the confidence that the LNC has polite and sedate meetings.

John Jay Myers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Jay Myers said...

I only know one thing, that before I jumped into the race only two candidates could win. Wayne or Ernie, which is why I jumped into the race 1 hour before its start.

With no time to prepare. I do think my website idea (that I am not "selling") would be great for the Party. But the reason I am running can be summed up here in what should have been my closing remarks:

We have Ernie passing out "Obama Deception" dvds at our state chairs meeting, which regardless on where you stand on Alex Jones, you understand that if this is the face of the party our growth will be stunted and our message blurred. I believe our government is corrupt and lord only knows what they are willing and able to do, but if that's what you believe, then the best solution is to limit the size, scope, and power of government and build a coalition of all who want to do that. We have to be careful how we deliver our message, or we will go from 3rd largest party to 6th largest party real quick. We have a message that makes sense to most people - obey the Constitution, let people keep their property and the fruits of their labor, let the voluntary decisions of individuals dictate how resources are allocated, and stop interfering in the internal affairs of other nations. You can't have corruption or conspiracy when there is less power to buy or money to spread out, and most people understand and agree with this message.

Wayne says he wants to appeal to the right because "that's where the money is" and told me at a meeting at my home that "we have to be in middle east to protect Israel". Bringing our troops home now from around the world to me is our biggest selling point.

Ernie told me at Freedom Fest he doesn't believe we need to be a party at all, and asked me why I bother voting. I am trying to make Dallas County the best county in the nation, but I can not do it if our leaders at the top don't understand that WE ARE A POLITICAL PARTY. We are showing up, giving our time and money, and running for office so that we can get people elected. No one will join a party in order to not vote for candidates for public office. We should be boycotting the two major parties, not boycotting the political process entirely.

Wayne thinks we should change the name to the "Wayne Allyn Root Party" I said that before and someone told me that "the bylaws would not allow for it" I was joking, but it's scary that people believe he would try.

I just want you to know that I understand that we are a political party and that I have a plan and a vision to grow the party, educate our members and the general public, and get people elected. I understand that we will not attract new membership unless we distinguish ourselves from other parties without alienating the majority of Americans. The Libertarian Party is the only one that stands for the American principles that defined our country, and it can once again, but only with leadership that focuses on our true principles and lives those principles every day.

As a candidate John Jay Myers for U.S. Congress, I want to End the Wars and bring our troops home, I want to end corporatism by getting government out of business, I want to end the banks ties to Washington, I want to reduce/end entitlement spending, and make marriage, religion, and a nanny state none of governments business.

As John Jay Myers candidate for LNC chair I want to make sure I that I can get that other John Jay Myers elected.

Many men strike at the branches of evil, I will strike at the root.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Yeah, George Phillies used to be the driest, dullest speaker. He's upped his game on that front in recent years.

In fact his finest moment at the 2008 national convention was his concession speech. After a scathing, angry, concession speech from a lesser candidate, he gave a much needed refresher with his "the enemy is not in this room" line that had the room on its feet cheering in full throat. All in front of the live C-SPAN cameras.

However, I don't think I'd vote for him. I'm not all that impressed with what he's done in Mass. he's ticked off a lot of people that I respect down there.

As a candidate for public office, I think he'd do a great job. But I don't think he'd be all that good for chairing the LNC.

From a purely handicapping the race standpoint, he's kinda a hard one to place.

He doesn't really fit in with any of the traditional factions of the party. That could be a positive for him, but in his past races for Chair and the Presidential election, it hasn't borne much fruit for him.

It looks like Wayne Root wants to be the huckster-in-chief of the LP, and less of a real chairman. Which could hurt him even with those who would support him. Again, more of a candidate than a manager.

To his credit he has been the only VP candidate in recent memory who didn't disappear the moment the nominating convention ended. Probably that stems back to allowing Presidential nomiation runners up to immediatly join the VP nomination race. It was a new rule in 2008, one that I like.

Everyone else, I have yet to get a good idea about. I look forward to hearing about them in the runup to the national convention.