Thursday, May 27, 2004

To Atlanta!

This will be my second time being a delegate to a national convention of the Libertarian Party, and my first as a delegate from Indiana, and first time voting for a presidential candidate. Here's my wish list for outcomes:

1. Gary Nolan secures the nomination for president. Nolan has done the campaign work of a real candidate. He's articulate. He's reasonable. He will help build the party. He's careful not to give reasons to people for writing us off as kooks, cranks, or builders of air castles.

2. Michael Badnarik is nominated for VP and wins. Badnarik is an incredible Constitutional scholar and instructor. This alone does not make for a perfect presidential candidate, sadly, as the American people don't have the attention span for it in a presidential candidate. But as the VP candidate, Badnarik would have the ability to speak to those Americans more inclined for a ponderous, time-consuming discourse, and teach them why the Constitution works, and why the LP is the only party that supports the Constitution. Nolan and Badnarik would be a first-rate team.

3. Some of the platform planks get kicked out. I dream big and hope that the whole platform goes down, but then, I'm a realist about these things. There are a number of planks that nearly went down in 2002: abortion and immigration come immediately to mind. To some libertarians, this is sacrilege. To me, the platform is a sacred cow. It doesn't do a very good job of supporting our candidates. In fact, it often works against us. The crazy thing is, we've called ourselves the 'party of principle' so people actually believe it to be true. When they read our platform and see that we are for the legalization of drugs, they approach our candidates and say, "I can't believe you are in favor of crack"! Nothing like standing at the polling place with a group of voters each with an attention span four seconds long trying to explain that, 'you own yourself', 'you have the right to do what you like with your life so long as you do not intitiate force or fraud against another person', and then make the distinction between advocacy for legalization and advocacy for use... just to give one example.

Many voters will vote for Republicans despite that party's general opposition to reproductive choice. Many will similarly vote for Democrats despite that party's general support of higher taxes. When it comes to the Libertarian Party, many voters won't vote for us because we have led them to believe that in order to do so, you have to believe in our entire platform. What are we, frickin' stupid? I want every vote from every voter who believes that we are even 1% better than a Democrat or Republican.

The purists are holding us back. Get rid of the platform and go with a mission statement or statement of principles. We don't need a cumbersome document. Look at the Bill Of Rights. It's simple! I find it entirely ironic that we tell people we will make their lives easier by stripping away layers of government, and yet, we have been stubbornly resistant to do that with our bloated platform, clinging to arcane gobledeegook for a personal warm fuzzy over achieving the goal of electing people and moving policy in our direction. Can you trust a group that tells you they are for streamlined government *and* has a plank on as-of-yet undiscovered resources? I think not.

4. I find a good reason to vote for one of the candidates for Chair of the LNC. I haven't found one yet. Hancock scares the crap out of any reasonable person. Phillies tempts me with talk about being a real political party, then scares me by using kook words like 'slavery' that chase away average people. I have not heard anybody say anything about Dixon that is more positive than 'well, he's not the other guys'. I've never voted NOTA before, but I am strongly leaning that way right now. Unless one of these guys shows me something in the debate, I'll have no choice but to vote NOTA.

Should be fun!