Again, the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County was featured prominently in a news article, in support of local restaurant owners, employees, and patrons, and in opposition to the food & beverage taxes. From today's Noblesville Ledger:
Calling it a "Republican-led tax increase" to support the state's financing plan for a Colts stadium and expanded convention center, Hamilton County Libertarians Rob Place and Wayne Kirk told city councilors that some people may "vote with our feet" by not attending games or buying Colts merchandise.
"Let's not use our small business owners as scapegoats to solve a minor budget problem," Place said.
Libertarian Mike Kole said good representative government responds to the will of the people. "The majority of Hamilton County residents are opposed to any tax increases, for any purpose," he said. "Affected business owners and employees were not consulted as to the impact they would feel.We didn't defeat this motion. It passed, 5-2. But we changed those two votes. Those two Councilors had to respect the fact that we run serious local candidates, and that we could beat them in the local 2006 elections.
The county council arrogantly rejected the will of the people in order to placate the governor, on the basis of party politics."
As we continue to build on our momentum with more pub crawls and media events as these taxes are considered by Fishers and Westfield, we may well see Libertarian victories- defeat of the taxes- in one or both of those Towns.
Here's a clue for my fellow Libertarians who check this blog from across the country: Follow Tip O'Neill's advice. He said that all politics is local. You can interpret that statement many ways, but I do it this way: forget about Federal issues. Only address local issues.
This is tough advice for some Libertarians to swallow, because they are most passionate about Federal issues. Remember that nobody starts at CEO. You have to show people that you can be effective and trustworthy at the local level before they give you the keys to the Pentagon, the Capitol, or the White House.
Besides- it's easiest to make our case where people have an immediate connection to the issue at hand, and they feel specifically let down by the existing political power, and where there is a feeling that something can be done about it. If either of these three elements are missing, Libertarians aren't going to sway voters in large blocks. That last element is missing in a huge way when talking about Federal issues.
So, if you want futility, focus on Federal issues. Consider: if you oppose, say, the war in Iraq, do you think that there is much you can do about changing the policy? Heck, you have a major party trying to affect that, with no success.
If you want success, take on local issues, where you can look local policy makers in the eye and make them see the opposition and feel it viscerally. US Senators and even US Reps aren't threatened in the slightest by a hnadful of local opponents. After all- they get their campaign support nationally any more, and from corporations. Indiana's Senators scarcely even campaign at home. Local officials- county commissioners, county councilors, county recorders- they all get their support locally.
Election returns bear this out. The higher up the ticket you look at Libertarian candidates, the lower the election results. As you descend down the ticket, you see higher and higher returns.
Why buck the trend and common sense at the same time? Let's win local elections and earn the trust of the American people. When we do, they'll beg for the chance to give us the keys.